Monthly Archives: March 2012

Already Infamous

“I’ve got poetry in my fingertips.” Charlie Sheen

Awaken the senses
Loosen the belts.
Meat from the grinder
Or rib meat that melts
Suicide sauce
To give it a kick
Fries that are winning
And fingers to lick
Move over pretenders
Out the way!! Let them pass!!
Unctuous burgers
Simply kick ass!

“It’s genuine. It’s crystal and it’s pure and it’s available to everybody, so just shut your traps and put down the McDonalds.”  Charlie Sheen

And don’t get me started on the Chillidogs and Cocktails

“WTF?”  click here


Pie Week Part 2

“When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven.  It might be a trick, but if it’s not, mmmmmmm boy” Jack Handy

So, National Pie Week is over. Time to stop making and eating pies.

Yeah, OK. Nice try.

The latter part of the week was unfortunately hindered by a spot of illness, so I am sadly going to have to break my promise of a pie something nutty. There was also an issue with sourcing the chief ingredient – but it will happen. Stay tuned………

But what would be the something sweet? Having put the feelers out as to what  people enjoyed the resounding winner was Rhubarb.  Perfect.  Then an idea from Michael Wilkinson (follow him on twitter @chefmichaelcw) quickly followed. Roast the rhubarb with some star anise, a cinnamon stick, a vanilla pod and a good handful of sugar. So I did.

Following the apparent success of the goat pies, I again decided to opt for individual pies. Large for an individual serving but the folks at work didn’t seem to mind!

Served up with a good vanilla ice cream, which is always a great contrast to a hot fruit pie, they didn’t last long.  For the non-pastry fans in the office there was the option of a broken meringue filled with vanilla cream and topped with peaches and rhubarb syrup.

This was a bi-product of making the pie filling.  Excess liquid from the roasting was kept, sweetened further and reduced to thicken.  It was one of those things that was never in the mind to create but on seeing the excess liquid with its gorgeous pink colour there was no way it was going down the drain!!

Some of the syrup has been frozen and is to be saved for a warm evening when it can be added to a long drink or, if I follow more of Michael’s advice, to a shot of vodka.  Either way it’ll be a lovely addition and in saving it I was glad of the days when I used to watch my mum whenshe was cooking and nothing was wasted.

So pie week has come and gone.  But it’ll come around again next year.  That gives us 51 weeks to experiment with other fillings!!!

Time for a pasty…….


Pie Week Part 1

“A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he can see there isn’t enough to go around” Edgar Watson Howe.

I am no hero.

Pies are great. The only way to overcome the problem highlighted above is to make sure there is more than enough to go around.  That way there’s always seconds!

So British Pie Week is upon us. And several ideas came to mind at the start of the week. The first was a hot-pot pie made with my mum’s leftover hot-pot.  Scuppered by the fact that the original hot-pot was too good and there were no leftovers.  Second, The Hairy Bikers Cheese & Onion Pie, one which I have made before and it is always tasty.  The only alteration I made was to add a little more cayenne and mustard as I like the extra kick.  I will also confess that I used shop bought pastry as I am rubbish at making the stuff – my hands are too warm apparently.

Finally I purchased some goat meat to put in a pie.  I had no real idea what I was going to do with it but was rescued by The Lone Gourmet who provided a recipe for a Greek style goat stew. This recipe was pretty much adhered to aswell, little bits of tinkering included the tossing of the meat in seasoned flour to help thicken the sauce and the addition of one green and one red pepper to help bulk it out.  I was working with 500g of goat meat so the rest of the ingredients were upped accordingly. In an effort to keep an eye on the liquid levels I cooked the stew for three hours on a very gentle heat on the hob.

So then it came to the constructing the pie.  And it dawned on me……….

Why not make little individual pies?  I had been wanting to try this for ages. That was it.  With my pre-made pastry to hand I set about greasing 8 dariole moulds then lined them with the pastry and placed in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.  The tops were brushed with plenty of eggwash and the cases filled with the goat stew.  Pastry lid on and pressed firmly in place.  Lots of eggwash brushed on top, couple of little holes for the steam and whacked in the oven at about gas mark 5 for 25 minutes.

This gave me just enough time to pour an ale and contemplate what I was doing.  If Greek style pies were a good thing, why didn’t I see them anywhere?  Why had I guaranteed my colleagues to have their lunch for them the following day? Would the darn things come out of the moulds? Should I stop eating the remainder of the delicious stew before I burst?

25 minutes of nervous pacing later and the familiar “Ding Ding” of the timer went.

The oven door opened, my nose filled with the aroma of fresh pastry and goat stew.  My eyes were greeted with the golden brown tops of the pies.  So far so good. 

The pies were left overnight and then transferred to work.  After 20 minutes or so in a low oven to warm through they were turned out and shared with colleagues, one of which had never tried goat before. 

I am happy to report that the pies were very well received and I thank The Lone Gourmet again for the idea.

Now as we all know Greece is having a few problems at the moment, but I have taken steps to get this idea over there and you just wait and see if the economic recovery doesn’t take place soon after.

Stay tuned for more pies – something sweet and something nuts. Oh and stay outta Greggs.


And on the Eighth Day……

“Vegetarian – that’s an old Native American word for lousy hunter” Andy Rooney

I jest of course.

Although I have never really contemplated becoming a vegetarian I am also the person who generally doesn’t even consider the vegetarian option when out and about.

And out and about I was, having booked the day off work on Friday and risen in the morning to a beautiful spring day I decided to take a mooch into the city centre.  Is mooch a Macunian thing? Do others mooch?  If you’re unfamiliar with mooching it is essentially having a wander with no particular plan or destination in mind. Meandering through streets well trodden with no place to be or time to be there.  Trying to look up and around instead of head down and marching.  And this bright, crisp morning was perfect for a mooch.

So with nothing on my mind and my phone in my pocket I went into the city centre to see what I could see.  While sat having a coffee at FYG on Tib Street I sent a text to a friend of mine who studies at the University to see if they would like to meet for lunch.  Sadly they weren’t in town but recommended the Eighth Day Cafe.

Now my immediate reaction was probably quite dismissive but after my meat-eating friend spent several minutes waxing lyrical about the place they convinced me to try it.

Mooching was done. I was hungry.

I arrived at the place I had walked past so many times before over a number of years.  Down the stairs, trying to avoid direct eye contact with regular patrons just in case I should be recognised as an interloper.

There was a Dahl, a Thai Curry and a Veg Lasagne to try so I opted for the last of these with a portion of salad.

Tentatively I tucked in.

Incredible.  None of the dodgy meat substitutes which tend to make me screw my face up.  Just good honest food in a lovely, relaxed and friendly environment. In fact the friend who recommended it put it much more succinctly:

“Aye it’s alright. Proper lunch and no bollocks!”

So although it’s highly unlikely that I will ever fully convert, it is very possible that you may find me at least pausing over those dishes that have a little (v) next to them on the menu.

Mooch on.