Bigotry and Pasties

The other day I received some detailed feedback to my blog which I have in turn shared below:

‘Right mate, while I can appreciate you put alot of effort into this I don’t see any mention of the northern classic, the meat and potato pasty.

I’m not talking about any fancy rubbish that makes you slobber like pavlov’s dogs or whathaveyou, son, I’m talking about greenhalgh’s own. Follow it down with a pint of bitter or few and bob’s your uncle.

Perhaps your palette isn’t suited to England’s true culinary delights, perhaps italian and french quisine is more your cup of tea but the thing is mate, the time to learn is now. As an aspiring food critic you are no doubt constantly looking for ways to improve your ability to evaluate what the culinary world has to offer, well let me tell you now boyo, the greenhalgh’s meat and potato is the bee’s bloody knees. It’ll take your tongue to places unimaginable and line your stomach good and proper while it’s at it.

Now you might be thinking, eh, greenhalgh’s, why don’t I just skimp and go for Gregs, it’s the same, right? Well, you’d be bloody well wrong. Greg’s pasties are an affront to pastry and supporting that defiler of the north’s greatest treat is a travesty against food that even Houdini couldn’t escape. My mate Chris saw a spider crawl across the pasties on display in the front of Gregs and let me tell you mate, I’ve not let their produce touch my lips since.

Let the taste of meat and taters take you to paradise.

Also, now I’m fine with people being up for “playing for either side” in bed mate but if you’re going to drop such blatant hints as ” Plus plus, I’m a massive sucker for anything that includes black beans on the side. A truly spectacular affair and I’m salivating right now more than the collective of Pavlov’s dogs just thinking about it. “, you may as well just come out and state your new orientation bud. We’re all behind you bud, don’t you worry, you’ll be no less of a man.’

Given the length of the comment, my immediate reaction was that this must be one of my friends. However, upon further investigation, it turns out that this chap (who goes by the username ‘Ghostymudy’) is a completely random reader and obvious pasty enthusiast. I am flattered he has taken time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts and, amid the occasional grammatical slip and thinly veiled homophobia, he does make a point. I have neglected the pasty.

Shame on me as I talked of scotch eggs, sausage rolls and pork pies without even tipping my cap to this cornerstone of Great British snackery. So I thought I had better rectify that fact with the below attempt, although I fear I haven’t done Greenhalghs proud…

Cornish Pasties

Battle lines are drawn

Battle lines are drawn

I didn’t exactly use the same recipe as on the link here but I think I probably would have been better off if I had done. It seems to pay much more attention to the creation of the pastry which was my ultimate undoing. The proceedings started positively enough though as I sliced and diced my way through onion, potato, rosemary, thyme, skirt steak, carrot and butternut squash. All into 1cm pieces. Chuck in a bit of nutmeg and plenty of seasoning/olive oil and we’re looking rosy:

Breakfast of champions

Breakfast of champions

With the filling quite frankly nailed down to a tee, I swaggered over to the mixing bowl to begin the pastry. Plain flour, butter, water. Seemed simple enough especially after all the bread making. Naive fool I was and quickly found myself with a sticky ball of unusable gloop. Having run out of flour though, there was no turning back. The depressing montage below speaks for itself:

Six packages of pure disapointment

Six packages of pure disapointment

2013-06-23 14.19.48 2013-06-23 18.55.47I ate half of one of these an hour before having to play football. The undercooked innards plagued me well into the final third of the game.

Well Ghostymudy, we can but try…

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One is the Loneliest Number (Part One)

I was absolutely positive that a Simpsons episode existed where Homer moped down the street with this song playing in the background. After thirty fruitless minutes spent searching on YouTube for the video to insert, I’m still not convinced I’m wrong. If anyone knows which one I mean please let me know, its driving me insane!

Anyway that aside, I wanted to start what I hope will be a string of themed posts around a subject that I’ve struggled with over the years – being bothered to cook a proper meal when you’re on your tod. My aim being to create a collection of tried and tested recipes for the solo chef with the following criteria to dissuade away from the usual suspects of the stir fry, pasta or ready meal:

– Quick to make. Ideally 20-30 mins all in, no more than 50 mins.
– Cheap
– Tasty and varied in ingredients/cuisine
– Doesn’t rely on just cooking more and eating half the next day.
– Also, not a marked point, but stuff that uses up store cupboard items is always a bonus as a money saver as per the two recipes below.

Points one and two are self-explanatory but I think three and four are just as important. When you walk into your high street supermarket, the sheer range of different cuisines available at only a five minute blitz in the microwave does make for tough competition for aspiring home solo cooks. People will always be tempted to pay for convenience.  On point four, you can always get creative with leftovers to make new dishes and this is obviously a great way to save money. However, as I sit mashing my keyboard at work, usually by noon I’m giving serious thought as to what I’ll be eating that evening and I’m not often inspired by eating the same basic meal two evenings in a row.

So without further ado…

Pork with Garlicky Bean Mash

2013-06-11 20.15.00

Speed: 25 minutes
Cost: £9 approx
Taste/variety of ingredients: Good chunk of pork made a change for mid-week plus garlicky bean mash was delicious and not something I’ve ever made. Healthy alternative to mash tatties.
Leftovers: None (but I did eat both pork loins like a boss)

Really simple, quick and nutritious to make. I also had some leftover tomatoes and carrots that I grilled and boiled respectively. Cost is a little higher than I’d hope for single service but it wins out speed, taste and the no leftovers. Can see how few ingredients needed below.

2013-06-11 19.57.19

Shepherd’s Pie Potatoes

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Speed: 50 minutes
Cost: £4.50 approx
Taste/variety of ingredients: As mentioned before, mince for me is actually a bit of a treat so I lapped this up. Although the ingredients won’t win any prizes for novelty, it is a clever way of making a single service Shepherd’s Pie, essentially using the potato as the baking dish.
Leftovers: Decided to cook the rest of the mince pack at the same time, will sling on some spag later in the week no doubt.

Bit more labour and time intensive than the first recipe but basic and cheap to make. Little stodgy for the summer but would be perfect with a glass of red wine on a cold winter’s eve.

2013-06-18 18.54.47On an entirely unrelated note, check out these badass Gaming Cakes. Rock and/or roll.