“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Is it just me or is everything shit? Sorry, but that's the title of a book I recently read (very funny, by the way) and it seems particularly apt this morning. Why? OK, I'll tell you why. I just ate a Jaffa Cake. Yes! A Jaffa Cake! Those things were seriously lush when we ate them back when we were kids, right? Moist sponge topped with awesome chocolate and a super tangy orangey centre. 

So why is that these days they not only seem a lot smaller than the used to be (I guess because our hands are now bigger? Naah) but they taste like cardboard dipped in Tesco Value Marmalade with some bog-standard choc plopped on top? I kid you not. I am sorry, but this is not the only instance of this kind.

Remember Wagon Wheels? Those things were friggin' HUGE when we were kids. Now they barely take two bites to eat. 

What's the deal?

Here we see proof that Aussie Wagon Wheels are bigger than English ones.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Food List

  • Turkey. Very important one, this. Really. If you miss this one, you may as well forget about everything else. Unless you are a vegetarian. In which case, Nut Loaf.
  • Roast potatoes. It really does not matter if you have two or three different kinds of spuds - mashed, sweet potatoes, potato salad, even - but this is the important one.
  • Veg. We had: Carrots, brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage, braised red cabbage and Bramley apple, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, parsnips (roasted).
  • Stuffing.
  • Cranberry sauce.
  • Bread sauce. I've spoken about it before on this here blog. This year on a visit to Tesco I noticed the Cranberry & Port Sauce and Bread Sauce were on a special deal - 2 for £2. So I cheated. Sue me.
  • Gravy. 
  • Cakes. Tunis cake, mainly. 
  • Biscuits. M&S version of the Fox's chocolatey ones. Nice.
  • Beer. Pedigree & Beck's Vier.
  • Wine. Cheap Spanish plonk from Waitrose.
  • Cream.
  • Plenty of tea and coffee.
  • I cooked the turkey the night before to free up some space in the oven. It was a big bugger - 7.75 kilos, or 17.09 lbs if you're Imperial. Took about 4 hours.
  • Now I am completely stuffed.
NB: oddly enough, we didn't buy a Christmas pudding. Now I love the stuff, but no-one else really cares in my house. So we didn't bother with dessert at all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lazy Mince Pies

So let's say you're like me and you are a naturally lazy person, but you want to make some impressive holiday sweet treats. Look no further. Here are my delicious Lazy Mince Pies.

What you need:

1 pack frozen large puff pastry vol-au-vent cases
1 jar mincemeat (I used homemade vegetarian mincemeat that was given to us by a friend)
Caster sugar
Vanilla extract

First, cook those vol-au-vent cases according to the package directions. If you like, brush them with milk before cooking. I didn't bother.

When cooked and cooled, fill them with the mincemeat.

Easy so far, right? Now comes the tricky bit. (OK, it's not very tricky).

Take some caster sugar (2 or 3 tablespoons) and a clean (very important) CLEAN coffee grinder. Put the sugar in the grinder, add a tiny drop of vanilla extract, and grind that stuff into powder. 

Next you need a sieve of some sort. I couldn't find one but I did have a strainer that came with a bottle of port. Put the sugar in the strainer, and sprinkle all over the pies. 

This kind of thing. £6 from Amazon.  

Serve and enjoy. Merry Christmas.

Om nom nom.


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