Chocolate, Pears and Pastry: When Puddings Go Bad.

‘What’s the prognosis Doctor?’

‘Well sir, it isn’t good.’

‘For heaven’s sake man, give it to me straight. I can take it.’

‘Well….you’re just shit at cooking with pastry.’

‘My God. I can’t believe this is happening.’

‘You’re not alone sir. Many, many good people have come to terms with this reality.’

‘But I just don’t think I can take this kind of rejection.’

‘It becomes easier…with time.’

And so on to my latest pastry-based culinary disaster. And I blame many, many things.

I blame the Hairy Bikers for a recipe that was never going to work.

I blame the tosspots who produce ready-rolled puff pastry. Have these morons ever actually cooked anything with this crap? Its so thin its useless.

And lastly I blame my hands – hot, sweaty bloody things that turn pastry to useless slippery mush in two seconds flat.

Even so it all started so promisingly – with a nice collection of ingredients all weighed out and ready to roll:

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The Vegetarian and the Carnivore

My culinary adventures (for they are many and varied) twist and turn between the needs of me (a complete meat freak) and my wife (a vegetarian with pescatarian tendancies). What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, no?

Anyway, where possible I try to recreate vegetarian versions of meaty creations. Here I tried a Vegetarian Cobbler. I thought I had already done a beef version on this blog but I can’t find it so I guess that will be a follow up. This veggie version is so wholesome and nutritious its like Mother Teresa got together with the Virgin Mary, invited Florence Nightingale round and they decided this was the best thing to bring to a Pot Luck Party.

The red wine has no place in the ingredients and yet its essential to the creation process

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Revisiting a Woman’s Handbag

You may or may not know it, but there is a wicked little widget on your WordPress account that lists all the search terms people have entered en route to your blog.

900 people have found Happiness Stan using Google, Bing and whatnot. They’ve used search terms like ‘is london bigger than new york’ and ‘keep food and drink away from the computer’. But the most intriguing search terms I have seen relate to the Pandora’s Box that is the contents of a woman’s handbag:

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French Cooking – and I Can’t Speak French – oo la la!

For Christmas my French sister-in-law gave me a recipe book.

So what, you might ask. Well, its in French. Now I haven’t gone near that language since I was 13. My mother, at the time, said:

‘Sure son, you can take Art at ‘O’ Level (the school exam you took at 16 in the 80’s)…so long as you do French too’.

‘But Mum I don’t get French, I can’t (won’t) do it!’

‘Well fine, you have to do Chemistry instead’.

So I took Chemistry (which turned out to be a bloody useless qualification) and never learnt French.

So there I was this weekend with a cookbook that I couldn’t read and a big piece of lamb. Enter the ‘Adventurous Eater’ – an 11 year old with superior Googling skills. I got him to intepret a recipe for lamb. I knew it was lamb because of the picture in the book. Anyway down to business. To create Moroccan Lamb (well its spicy and fruity anyway) you’ll need a bunch of spices and dried fruits and some lamb:

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