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Katie’s PRIDE Cake

This article commemorates the official end of Pride Month. To support her LGBTQ friends, my daughter paid homage to their ongoing struggle for equality and freedom via the medium of baking.

I’m immensely proud of Katie for doing this, she has numerous friends that face bigotry everyday of their lives because of how an ever decreasing yet excessively loud bigots decide to make others lives hell simply because they’ve found love and companionship outside of orthodox gender roles. I have a very liberal stance when it comes to social diversity of any description and I acknowledge that from a white heterosexual male perspective, there are many things that I have yet to comprehend. I’ll never forget meeting someone who became a good friend of mine, Lily Summers, she was a Trans woman who shared my interests in politics and video-gaming. We both ran in an election in 2016. I’ll never forget her openness when she said to me “Never be afraid to ask me ANY questions”. Sadly, before the election came around Lily died of a stomach issue. I, like my colleagues were devastated we would never encounter her wit, openness, and kindness again. The news of her death made National papers with some political figures making some very hurtful comments of her death. It’s easy to get angry at these people, but then I thought, they clearly hadn’t met Lily because if they had, they would not be keen to share such an ignorant view of a beautiful person.

Although this cake is the sum of Katies efforts, I’d like to dedicate this to Lily, those gone before her and those who have yet to have their happiness challenged, none of you are alone, you have allies in those who see you as a person with loves, dreams, inspiration, a knack of beating me on Call of Duty and your allies will stand tall with you and fight for your equality, now and forever.

Ingredients

300g of self-rising flour, butter, caster sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

6 eggs

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 Tablespoons of milk

Red, yellow, green, blue, purple food dye (gel, NOT liquid) to desired effect (have to mix red and yellow for orange)

Method

  • Beat softened butter and caster sugar (after passing sugar through sieve)
  • Beat in the eggs, one egg at a time.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c fan and grease 6 x 18 cm diameter pans.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold in with wooden spoon.
  • Add the milk.
  • Separate mixture into 6 equal parts and add the food colouring accordingly.
  • Spoon mix into tins and bake for 20 mins.
Featured

Crispy Chilli Beef

I was a bit of a late comer to takeaway food. I was raised by my Grandparents, my Nan was a self-proclaimed Vegetarian that didn’t stop her from eating corned beef (I always assumed that was justifiable homicide) and my Grandfather, despite serving in Northern Africa and Italy as a Tank Driver in the Second World War had never tasted anything more exotic than a pork chop and referred to Tomato Ketchup as “Foreign Muck”. My Parents, on the occasions I lived with them (My brother was perpetually in hospital because of a unique type of Epilepsy) were of a similar ilk. It was only as a teenager in Secondary School when I exposed to greater multiculturalism (Well, as much as you can in an Orthodox Catholic School). There were Italian, Spanish, Chilean, Indian, Irish, Cantonese and one German family, I got to know a lot of the families, we shared loads of interests and I was amazed that people ate more than Roast Dinners, ham sandwiches and the occasional cake.

However, it wasn’t much later (I am a Sci Fi loving nerd that repelled females) that my first serious Girlfriend introduced me to Crispy Beef. It was a lifechanging experience for my tastebuds, I was now very keen to try all things red and sticky and Crispy Beef achieved its status as my go to thing to get as a takeaway.

I’m always in awe at the takeaway / restaurant cooks who bang it out in minutes, I can only assume they’re more experienced, better prepared and organised than I am. I will say prep on this dish is essential for the best takeaway level outcome.

There are a few options with this recipe. Firstly, the sugar. I personally prefer the tang of the dish which disappears when you add sugar and also, adding chilli flakes to the dish will increase its heat, so using sparingly if you prefer a milder dish.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

2 Pieces of decent quality steak (where fat can be easily trimmed)

100g Cornflour

Groundnut oil

2 Eggs

3-4 Spring Onions (for garnish)

Half an onion

2-3cm of Ginger

4 Cloves of Garlic

2 Carrots cut into batons.

1 Sweet Pepper

2 Tablespoons of honey

3 Tablespoons of Rice Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Light Soy Sauce

3 Tablespoons of Tomato Puree

3 Tablespoons of Tomato Ketchup

4 Tablespoons of Sweet Chilli Sauce

50g of sugar (Optional)

Method

  • To make the beef easier to slice, place in the freezer for an hour.
  • Finely chop the Garlic and Ginger (I prefer this to mincing it as it doesn’t waste as much)
  • Cut the carrots into batons, the onion into strips and the sweet chilli into thin “O” shaped segments. Cover with clingfilm and leave to one side.
  • Take your frozen steak and cut into thin strips, cutting away any fat, the thinner the better to get that takeaway / restaurant effect.
  • In a large bowl, mix 100g of Cornflour with 2 eggs and a Tablespoon of water thoroughly to make a thick batter.
  • Add your beef to the mix and marinade in the batter for 30-60 minutes.
  • Add 300mls of Groundnut oil to the wok and heat (woks are so versatile to work with it’s worth investing in one. They start about £6 in Asda)
  • Check the oil has heated by dropping a spot of batter in, if it bubbles and raises to the surface, you’ve got a hot wok.
  • Place 4-5 strips of coated beef in at a time, trust me, if you put too much it you just end up with a reformed steak in batter.
  • Allow each piece to brown before removing to a bowl lined with kitchen towel.
  • Repeat until all the beef is cooked.
Almost there.
  • Empty most of the oil into a container for recycling.
  • Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and carrot to the wok and cook until softened.
  • Then add the tomato puree, honey, tomato ketchup and rice vinegar, sweet chilli sauce, Chilli flakes and sugar to the wok and vigorously stir.
  • Once your sauce is heated add your crispy beef strips and mix.
For the Egg Fired Rice please see my recipe on this site.
  • Decant to bowls and garnish with Spring Onion and serve.
  • Relax and enjoy your red and sticky treat, take ownership for your creation, and ponder why we exalt a political system that allows us to be ruled by our lesser.
Featured

Egg Fried Rice

This lovely and simple recipe that will bring you the Takeaway favourite is economical and easy to make. The only things I would highly recommend is using a wok to do this rather than a frying pan and to cook your rice 24 hours before.

I love being part of a multicultural society, it opens my culture to different ways of thinking, cultural practices and tastes from all over the world in such huge combination we can truly see there is more that bonds us as a species than divides us. Personally, I feel as a self-proclaimed gutsy bugger, that food is a key construct in bridging divides it engages peoples senses and motivates curiosities into different cultures.

This Egg Fried Rice is a very thin thread in a huge multicultural tapestry, but without that thread, the tapestry would be incomplete. I really hope you try this and enjoy. As always don’t be afraid to experiment, you have a food artist within you, let them shine!!

Ingredients

2 Cups of Basmati Rice.

2 Cups of Water.

200Ml of Groundnut Oil.

6 Large Eggs.

3 Tablespoons of Teriyaki Sauce.

2 Tablespoons of Dark Soy Sauce.

Spring Onion for Garnish

Method

  • Measure out, wash and cook 2 Cups of Basmati Rice (If using a Rice Cooker, which I would recommend) add 2 cups of water.
  • Once cooked, fluff up with a fork, cover and leave for 24 hours.
  • Break six eggs into a large mug or bowl.
A Pint of eggs
  • Heat the Groundnut oil in the wok, this will heat very quickly so keep an eye on it (please don’t burn down your kitchen, if you insist on doing this, pop over to my old bosses house and offer to cook for her, she is genuinely unpleasant to be around)
  • Keep moving the eggs in the hot oil until they’re scrambled.
  • Make a ring of scrambled egg in the wok leaving the inner circle empty.
  • Fluff up your rice again and add to your wok.
  • Mix in 3 Tablespoons of Teriyaki Sauce and 2 Tablespoons of Dark Soy.
  • Stir all everything together ensuring that the sauces and egg are evenly distributed among the rice.
  • Decanter into a rice or pasta bowl and garnish with thinly sliced Spring Onion.
  • Allow those around you marvel at your skill as the creator of this Egg Fried Rice. Sit down, relax, and try to understand what kind of answer Barry Gibb was expecting when he sang “How deep is your love?” which to me sounds like a very personal question that should only be asked by your significant other or a qualified Medical Practitioner.
Featured

Lamb Linguine

Lamb is a delicacy around most northern European Countries and is obviously a major export of the Welsh Economy. British farming has taken a series of major blows in the past few years, between Climate change, Brexit, Covid and the sheer purchasing power of Supermarkets, our Farmers need as much support as we can offer them.

As a result, I sourced the minced lamb from a local butcher, along with some other meats I’ll be documenting in the near future on here.

I will be modifying my Ragu recipe a tad so the flavour of the lamb shines though and doesn’t get drowned out by peppers and such, however, as always, feel free to experiment with the quantities and balances of flavour.

Enjoy.

The Ingredients.

Ingredients

500g Minced Lamb (Preferably Welsh)

500g Linguine

300g Cherry Tomatoes

Olive Oil

A bunch of Basil

2 Cloves of Garlic

1 Large Brown Onion

1 Courgette

2 Stalks of Celery

1 Tablespoon of Rosemary

Salt

Black Pepper

300Ml Red Wine

Grated Italian Cheese

Worchester Sauce

500g Passata

1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes

Method

  • Slice the onion and garlic and put to one side. Then chop the tomatoes, celery, most of the Basil (leave some for garnish) and courgette.
  • Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and add your minced lamb, keep the lamb moving until its browned.
Minced Lamb, a local Welsh Delicacy
  • Empty the lamb into a colander and pour a full kettle of hot water over to remove and excess fat and allow to drain.
  • We need some fat in the pan for flavour, however, we don’t want a big pool of it, so responsibly drain most of the fat into a container for recycling.
  • Heat up the remaining fat in the pan and add the onion and garlic, stir for about 4 minutes or until the onion goes soft.
  • Reduce the heat and reintroduce the lamb to your pan, stir until its mixed with the onion / garlic combo and allow to simmer.
  • Now introduce the chopped vegetables (I know tomato is a fruit, I don’t really care) and mix.
  • Add the Passata, tin of chopped tomatoes, Worcestershire Sauce and the wine(assuming your wife hasn’t drunk it).
  • Stir thoroughly and reduce to a low heat, cover pan and stir frequently.
  • Twist your Linguine and drop in the pan so it fans out then add 1 litre of boiling water, add salt, bring to the boil then simmer for 12 minutes. (While its fanned, the weight of the softened pasta in the water will drag the dried pasta into the water, giving it a nudge into the water doesn’t hurt it you’re as inpatient as me)
  • Keep stirring the sauce.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain into the colander, then drizzle some olive oil over it along with some black pepper and decant to pasta bowls or plates.
  • Dispense the sauce over the pasta and garnish with Basil leaves and grated Italian cheese.
  • Serve up with some garlic bread, take credit for the meal (I won’t say a damned thing) then ponder why if The Matrix was a “Perfect Simulation” when why did the Red Pill exist?
Featured

Chinese Takeaway Curry

Who doesn’t love a takeaway? I mean, you might have a preference on your favourite ethnicity of menu and a tried and tested favourite on that menu, but we all salivate when we think of our favourite.

When it comes time to order in our house, the vote is always split between the picky eaters on one side and me and Katie on the other. So, I have been experimenting with my approximations of takeaway staples. This weeks Takeaway Tuesday is a mild dish that hit the mark and was enjoyed by all.

The only drawback with trying to cook dishes like curries is that the spices can be expensive. However, I’ve found two truths, firstly, where you can visit ethic stores, they’re usually family run, much cheaper in bulk than supermarkets and the people working there are more knowledgeable that your average supermarket staff. Secondly, the spices and herbs bought there have a long shelf life and once you have a bank of them, you will be able to whip up more and more dishes with easy access to these finds.

Also, in the UK (and I’m sure other countries have these) there are value stores such as B&M, Home Bargains and The Range that sell an array of spices and kitchen equipment far more economically than the larger supermarkets, as a result you’ll be equipped to have more and more culinary adventures.

Ingredients

Groundnut / Peanut Oil

4 Chicken Breasts

4 Shallot Onions or 2 Large Brown Onions

200g Closed Cup Mushrooms

2 Spring Onions (For Garnish)

Salt

Sugar

80g Petit Pois

8 Cloves of Garlic

2 Tablespoons of Medium Curry Powder

Plain Flour

1 litre of hot chicken stock

1 Tablespoon of Honey

3 Tablespoons of Light Soy

2 Bay leaves

Garam Masala

Method

This dish comprises of two elements, the chicken base and the curry sauce. Lets start with the sauce.

  • Chop half of the Shallots and the garlic.
  • Heat 2-3 Tablespoons of Groundnut oil in a wok and add the garlic and shallots until softened and take off the heat.
  • In a mixing bowl mix the 4 tablespoons of plain flour and the Medium curry powder, mix thoroughly.
  • Combine the mixture with the litre of chicken stock and then introduce the honey, Light Soy, a Tablespoon of Garam Masala and the Bay Leaves.
  • Add to the wok and bring to the boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Once it has reached a decent pouring consistency, run the mixture through a sieve, collecting in a container.

Now, the rest…

  • Rinse out your wok, leaving enough mix in there to keep it seasoned.
  • Slice the remaining Shallots / Onion and mushrooms thinly, then cut the chicken breasts into thin strips.
  • Heat 2 Tablespoons of Groundnut oil in the wok then fry the Chicken Strips, Shallot / Onion, and mushroom for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  • Mix in 2 teaspoons of sugar and 3 teaspoons of salt and mix well.
  • Add the Peas and the curry sauce and keep moving in the wok for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Feel free to add some water to the sauce if it becomes too thick.
  • Serve up with some steamed basmati rice and garnish with spring onion.
Fancy a takeaway?

Too much month and not enough money until payday?

Make Your own Chinese Takeaway Curry.

Its easy.
  • Sit back, relax, and feel proud that you’ve enabled yourself to make this fantastic dish. Congratulations!! You have acquired a skill that will change your world, and everyone will recognise you as the one true promised one, who alone will stand and usher in a new order of enlightened beings. If not, at least you can make a “banging” Curry (I’m down with the kids lingo).
Featured

Bara Brith

In most cases there are no better comfort foods than those from you’re childhood. My Grandmother and Aunty Winnie were exceptional at making this traditional Welsh Teacake, Bara Brith. There is nothing like sitting down, having a cup of tea and a sturdy slice of tastes and smells that hurl me back several decades to times of innocence where mortgage rates and deadlines weren’t a concern, Trump was just a rich guy that we only knew in passing and killer pandemics lived where they belong in dystopian sci fi comics and TV series.

This fruity tea loaf is a treat for the senses and below is the recipe I was taught generations ago. Enjoy.

Ingredients

500g Dried Mixed Fruit

250g Brown Sugar

500Ml of Hot Water

3 Tea Bags

500g Self Raising Flour

2 Teaspoons of Mixed Spice

2 Teaspoons of Nutmeg

1 Large Egg (Beaten)

Method

  • Add a 500Ml of boiled water to a large mixing bowl and add the teabags then allow to steep for about half, covering the bowl with cling film.
  • Remove the teabags, then add the dried fruit, stir thoroughly and replace cling-film.
  • Go find something else to do for 24 hours.
  • Add the Self Raising Flour, mixed spice, nutmeg and beaten egg to the bowl of fruit / tea combo and stir thoroughly.
Sugar, spice and all things nice….well, egg and flour.
  • Line a 900g Loaf Tin with grease-proof paper / baking parchment and decant the cake mix into the prepared Loaf Tin and make sure the mixture is evenly spread.
  • Pre-Heat the oven to 1700C, place tin and mixture in the middle of the oven and bake for 1hr and 25 minutes.
  • Once cooked, avoid the temptation to cut until cooled for half hour or so (you’ll just end up with “deconstructed” cake.)
  • Slice up and serve with a nice cup of tea, relax and ponder that in a near infinite universe, we live on a tiny rock orbiting an unremarkable star and as a consequence you will come to the acknowledgement that Karen’s opinion of you is even less significant than her very temporary existence on the aforementioned tiny rock.
Featured

Blueberry Cheesecake

Who doesn’t love cheesecake? Like so many other things in life only those who have never tried it. This lovely simple recipe is easy to make and is guaranteed to please. No oven is needed, just a little time slaving over a hob and patience waiting for the ingredients to set.

Ingredients

200g of Plain Digestive Biscuits

200g of Chocolate Digestive Biscuits

125g Butter

750g Mascarpone Cheese

300g Blueberries

2 Tablespoons of Icing Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract

Method

  • Get all the biscuits, pop them in a bag, seal it and smash seven shades out of it with a rolling pin until its fine biscuit rubble (I find it helps to think of someone you despise while do this, it becomes very cathartic)
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add your biscuit remains (that you probably imagined was your old bosses face). Then mix until the butter is saturated into the mix.
  • Line the base of a 20cm tin with a removable bottom with some baking paper.
  • Empty the buttery biscuit remains into the tin and compress using your thumb and a spoon.
  • Store in the fridge for about 30 minutes so the mixture becomes firm.
  • Empty the Mascarpone Cheese into a bowl and add two teaspoons of Vanilla Essence. Using a fork, mix thoroughly.
  • Spoon the cheese mixture on top of the biscuit base, evenly distribute it and smooth over with the rear of a spoon and return to the fridge to cool while you make the topping.
You could leave it there for am exemplary Vanilla Cheesecake, but no, it can get better.
  • Place the Blueberries, Icing Sugar and lemon juice into a small saucepan and heat. TOP TIP – Firmly roll the lemon on a flat surface before halving, you will get much more juice from it.
  • Keep the mixture moving while you apply the heat.
  • The skins of the Blueberries will breakdown in the heat and the juice will thicken. Keep stirring until you have a thick compote and allow to cool.
  • Once cooled, apply the Blueberry compote over the top of the cheesecake and return to the fridge for an hour.
Allow to set. No point spoiling it.
  • Keep refrigerated.
  • Serve with pride, you’ve made a cheesecake that hits supermarket versions out of the stadium.
Featured

Photography & Me

A passion of mine was ignited when I worked in an Opticians in my twenties. I was lucky enough to work with someone who could only be described as eccentric and never failed to be a source of intrigue and entertainment. Kelt Perrigo was by trade a Contact Lens Specialist but had a real passion for photography.

In days gone, the 9-5 routine got in the way of going out with a camera, these days I’m significantly limited in the distance I can walk. However, I feel quite lucky that I live in such a wonderful corner of the world. From my home, I have a few minutes commute to some of the most idyllic and breath-taking scenery around Gower and pushing slightly further afield I have some beautiful areas to walk around. Recently the weather has been enjoyable, which means not only is it good to get about but also, it’s a little less painful to walk around. Although I dose up on painkillers before I head out, I’m usually in dire need of a top up and a lay down once I return home. Getting engaged in local areas of beauty also tends to limit the impact of depression, even as a certified miserable bugger I can’t help but get a little cheery when I surround myself with beauty.

Camera wise, nothing special, a Samsung ST72 with a resolution of 16 Mega Pixels and a x5 Optical Zoom. I would love to get a swanky D-SLR but being restricted by funds, it will have to remain on the Wishlist for a while yet. I’m also quite taken with the camera on my mobile phone (Samsung A71), its got a load of bells and whistles but I prefer holding a camera and it has the advantage that while I’m in a “Mindful State of Flow” no one can phone or text me on a traditional camera and spoil the whole experience.

My first port of call last week was the Penllergaer (pronounced Pen-thler-ger) Valley Woods. This is a beautiful densely wooded area of Swansea, just off Junction 48 of the M4. Its home to an abundance of woodland flora and fauna and has a beautiful waterfall. The area has a load of different walking routes and is staffed and maintained by volunteers. If you’re in the area, I’d recommend popping along and supporting their efforts.

The next is Fendrod Lake. This 13-acre area is slap bang in the middle of Swansea’s Enterprise Zone, it’s a favourite for fishing and well known for catching carp, I don’t have the patience for fishing, as relaxing as it may be, I don’t have it in me to sit in one spot all day without getting into some kind of trouble.

I hope you enjoy the photos. I guarantee there’ll be more as a side feature as this project unfurls.

Featured

Chorizo and Prawn Paella

Chorizo and Prawn Paella

My take on a Spanish Classic

My first memories of Paella are a hideous, dried, just add water concoction from the convenience selection in a supermarket as a child. While it was served, some of it had not rehydrated and the peas could have easily been mistaken for buckshot, the hardened rice stuck between my teeth and the promise of a synthetic Spanish dish were bordering on blasphemy.

Fast Forward twenty years, before we were married and had money to travel, Jo and I went to Ibiza, we’ve never been “Party until the sun rises” people (sleep is a precious commodity that should be cherished) and we stayed in the centre of the island. We were invited to a night of Flamenco Dancing, Sangria and Paella. Jo was excited and I had an image of spitting out rock hard ingredients under the watchful gaze of a sultry and dusky Spanish beauty trying to concentrate on her choreography over a lobster red British Tourist inadvertently insulting her heritage.

However, I loved it. The aroma, the array of tastes and textures were sublime, and I have spent a long time trying to approximate the meal. I’ve given up replicating the traditional recipe in favour of this easy to create beauty. As always, feel free to chop and change the ingredients or method but this dish is guaranteed to please even the fickler of family members.

Ingredients

450g Large Prawns

100g Petit Pois (Frozen)

200g Chorizo

Olive Oil

3/4 Spring Onions

3 Tomatoes

3 Cloves of Garlic

Parsley

2 Tablespoons of Turmeric

350g Paella Rice

1 Litre of Chicken or Vegetable Stock

2 Limes

Method

  • Slice the Spring Onion, then chop up the Parsley, garlic, tomatoes, and Chorizo.
  • Splash some Olive Oil into a pan, heat then add the Spring Onion, Garlic and Chorizo.
  • Stir frequently until the juices leave the Chorizo and the Spring Onion softens.
Aside from providing a warm spicy taste, Turmeric has many recognised health benefits
  • Liberally add the Turmeric and stir into the pan mixture.
  • Making sure the prawns are thawed, stir in the entire amount followed by the tomato, peas, parsley, the juice of 1 lime and the Paella Rice.
  • Make 1 litre of Chicken Stock by simply adding 2 stock cubes to 1 litre of water and thoroughly mix, then pour into pan mix and stir.
  • Lower the heat to simmer for 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.  Cover the pan to stop the rice from drying out (I use my chopping board to cover the pan)
  • Serve in a bowl and garnish with some parsley and a quartered lime.
  • Sit back and relish in the fact that you’ve created a dish that’s far more enjoyable than any dehydrated cack that can remain on the supermarket shelves where it belongs. Plus, I don’t mind you taking credit for your creation.
  • Enjoy!
Featured

Malteser Cheesecake

Malteser Cheesecake

I heard a Cardio-Vascular Surgeon say once “The best way to a woman’s heart is through the rib cage”. As I lack the surgical skills of my old colleague, I must rely on my Cheesecake recipe. It never fails to delight my sweet-toothed wife and in fact, I’m afraid to take the finished product out in public in case it induces a Benny Hill-esq type of chase and due to my disability, the women (and possibly men) wouldn’t take long to catch me.

Seriously though. My daughter, Katie, wanted to use some vanilla extract in the Mascarpone Cheese. I understood where she was coming from, however, I wanted three separate experiences from this beauty. I wanted the Crunchy and salty takeaway from the base, followed by the rich creamy experience of the Mascarpone and not least of all, the lightness and chocolate mix from the confectionary topping. By all means, personalise your experience some vanilla essence if you wish, but personally I prefer the contrast in taste and texture in what was provided. The process of making this cheesecake also involves a lot of smashing things with a rolling pin, so ideal after tolerating your colleagues at the office.

Ingredients

200g Plain Digestive Biscuits

200g Milk Chocolate Digestive Biscuits

125g Unsalted Butter

A Pinch of Salt

750g Mascarpone Cheese

300g Maltesers confectionary.

Greaseproof paper and a 20cm cake tin with a detachable bottom

Sealable sandwich bags

A rolling pin or any other blunt object that could inflict damage to biscuits.

Method

  • Trace a circle around the detachable bottom of your cake tin and place the circle of greaseproof paper into the tin.
  • Place all your biscuits (cookies for our American readers) into a sealable sandwich bag and beat until its nothing but crumbled remains, like my hopes and dreams. Then place to one side.
  • Take about 8-10 Maltesers out of the packet and put to one side, then put the remainder of them in a separate sealable sandwich bag and unleash your pent-up rage until the confectionary is a rough chocolate and malt powder. Put to one side.
  • Cut up your butter into small cubes and melt in a saucepan.
Going
Going
Gone
  • Add the biscuit mix and stir until the butter absorbs into the crumbled mix. Introduce salt to taste, remembering the high salt content already in the biscuits, literally a pinch will be fine.
  • Press down with the back of a spoon until the biscuit mix is compacted down and flat. If its not compacted it will blend with the soft cheese.
  • Introduce the Mascarpone cheese and with a clean spoon so not to get butter on your cheese and level out.
I know it looks like a tub of Polyfilla, just stay with me
  • Evenly spread the Malteser Dust on the cheese level, there should be enough for a nice thick layer.
  • Cut the remaining Maltesers in half and distribute around the surface of the cake.
  • Cover in Cling Film and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • Serve and be amazed.
Voila!!!!
Featured

Doritos Lasagne

The Ultimate in Comfort Food

Doritos Lasagne

I first came across this concept by listening to the Editor of Politics.co.uk and author Ian Dunt on a podcast. He was mocked by his co-panellists but by the gods Old and New, he had hit gold.

I use a combination of my Beef Ragu which is complimented with two jars of cheese dip (carrying on the Nacho theme) infused with Chilli Cheese instead of the Bechamel Sauce.

I heartily recommend this dish, which is relatively easy to make, reasonably economical (but not the cheapest) however, probably not the healthiest. That said, its my opinion that life is for living and carbs are for eating.

Enjoy

The components to this beauty

Ingredients

750g Beef & Pork mix mince

200g of Button Mushrooms

1 Brown Onion

2-4 Clove of Garlic (dependant on size)

3 Tomatoes

1 Can of Chopped Tomatoes

500g of Passata

Large Bag of Cool Doritos (off brand doesn’t work as well)

Two tablespoons of Chipotle Paste

2 Balls of Mozzarella

Handful of grated cheddar

Method

  • Grate 100g of Chilli Cheese and add into a mixing bowl with 2 jars of Cheese Dip. Put aside until later.
100g of Chilli Cheese
Two jars of Cheese Sauce
Their cheese powers combined
  • Finely chop the onions, garlic and tomatoes, then thinly slice the button mushrooms. Then put to one side.
Button Mushrooms, tomato, garlic and brown onion
  • In a large frying pan cook the beef and pork combo until brown, place in Colander, boil a kettle of water and pour over the cooked mince and allow to drain.
Rinsing the minced beef and pork in boiled water drains a lot of excess fat off.
  • Leave some of the excess juices in the pan and add a Tablespoon of Chipotle Paste, then the add the chopped and sliced vegetables.
  • Once browned and softened add tinned tomatoes, passata along with the remaining tablespoon of Chipotle Sauce then mix well. Finally add the cooked mince to the mix and stir.
  • Spray some Fry Light in a large Lasagne Dish (this makes the dish easier to wash clean later) and apply the bottom layer of Ragu sauce.
  • Cover this with a blanket of Doritos and cover with a layer of the pre-prepared cheese mixture.
  • Add another layer of Doritos, then another layer of Ragu.
  • Add the remaining Doritos to the top layer.
  • Slice Mozzarella and cover the top level of Doritos, don’t worry if its not covered, Mozzarella has a low melting point and will do the job for you. Finally, sprinkle the grated cheddar over the top.
  • Place into a preheated oven at 180oC for 20 minutes
  • Once cooked, allow to cool for 10 minutes, this will make it easier to serve.
  • Put your feet up and enjoy.

Farmhouse Carbonara

My mouth instantly started watering as I uploaded this photo

Farmhouse Carbonara

As you might have guessed I’m a massive fan of Italian food. Its typically cheap to make, its smells amazing, it CAN be healthy and it just gives that “carb hug” when you need it the most. As I’m keen to point out “I’ve never met a carb I haven’t liked”

Carbonara is a favourite in this house. This Particular version has been inspired by a meal we had out at Florentino’s in Carmarthen (a town about 20 miles from where we live. If you’re in the area and are lucky enough to have the spare cash, I would heartily recommend visiting these guys. Until then, here is my approximation of their Carbonara with a few twists.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 Chicken breasts, dependant on size
  • 450-500g of Mushrooms (preferably Chestnut variety)
  • 500ml Double Cream
  • 1 ball of Mozzarella Cheese
  • Smoked Pancetta
  • Grated Hard Italian Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • Tarragon
  • Tagliatelle
  • Olive Oil

Method

  • Chop up the Chicken and Mushrooms into chunks.
  • Add a small splash of olive oil to the pan and heat until visibly hot.
  • Empty the Pancetta into the hot pan and cook.
  • Leaving the oil from the Pancetta in the Pan, add the chicken and mushrooms and stir until chicken starts to brown and mushrooms become soft.
  • Reduce Heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • Place the Tagliatelle in a deep saucepan and add salted water (not only will the water boil quicker but the sodium from the salt will prevent the pasta clumping) Bring to the boil, simmer for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • The egg yolk is optional, personally I prefer it, so separate the yolk from the white of the egg.
  • Cut the Mozzarella into cubes and add it to the pan along with the egg yolk and Double Cream. Keep this moving in the pan with a wooden spoon. The mixtures colour will go from white to a light beige, this is because of the additional ingredients and is nothing to worry about.
  • Add a few tablespoons of the Pasta Water to the sauce when it becomes thick, this will obviously dilute the sauce but give it a little dimension with the combination of carbohydrates and salt in the water.
  • Once the Pasta is ready, drain in the colander and drizzle some olive oil over it, toss it around the colander, add to the pan of sauce and mix thoroughly.
  • Decanter into pasta bowls and garnish with some grated Italian hard cheese.
  • Sit back, take credit for the feast, after all, you made it and enjoy.

Mental Health & Me

June 10th 2021

I cannot believe that its been over a year since we all* had to batten down the hatches and do our upmost not to physically integrate, something unprecedented in our lifetimes. From my perspective, I worked my role in the NHS to the best of my ability until I was told by my manager that she didn’t like having people with a disability working in her department, so I retreated to my home where I my presence was needed and wanted (more or less)

My wife works on a Maternity Ward, she looks after New Mums and New-Born Babies. Due to the presence of Covid, she worked overtime attempting to cover absences, where due to sickness and a system that is designed to be streamlined rather than robust without her efforts and those of her “Green Angel” Colleagues would see a service neglect its demographic. As a combination of this and my disabilities I stayed home and effectively became a “House Husband”, my self-imposed tagline “A mans work is never done” was vetoed instantly, but hey, some people in this house just can’t get their head around irony.

To be fair, I am comfortable with the role. During lockdown, I got to help my daughters with their home-schooling, both are intelligent enough to make it so my intervention was minimal (to be honest, their knowledge of most subjects superseded mine) and to occupy our time productively Katie and I started cooking.

We’ve never been a wealthy family, luckier that most but that little spark of capitalism in me still acknowledges that we cannot afford things that a lot of people take for granted. Having to follow tight budget limits to ensure we had sufficient money to pay bills, buy groceries and put fuel in the car rarely leaves us with money for holidays, takeaways and other things ending in “ays” (I dunno, there just feels like there’s a lot of these).

As such, Katie and I came up with the concept of creating a way of letting the public know you can eat good food, prepared at home with a relatively small budget (its often healthy, but I hold the belief that life’s too short to worry about calories). Thus, Cooking At The Crowleys was born. This provided our families with meals, kept Katie and her ASD occupied during those long days in all but house arrest and became a work in progress for a future project.

However, returning to my lockdown role, it was convenient, I could maintain our home, cook meals, make sure that the girls had help when needed, I could work around the needs my disability demanded, but the isolation and cabin fever that came with it was overwhelming. My self worth had taken a knockout blow when I was told by my employer that my disability was a hinderance to function of the department and all my years of knowledge, skills learned and shared just boiled down to “You have a disability, your worthless to us, off you go”. My mental wellbeing wasn’t just floored, it was burrowing, heading to the hellish depths of hell below me. I tried to keep occupied, I meditated, I read and interacted with friends and family via digital communication, yet it wasn’t enough. My anxiety became crushing, that feeling of impending doom was ever present, the associated depression worsened and regular sleep was a thing of the past as anxiety and PTSD from my subconscious permeated my dreams, making me awake with cortisol and epinephrine surging through my body, leaving me hyper awake with my heart pumping, chest thumping, my body drenched in sweat from a dream I could sometimes remember but would soon withdraw like a predator into the shadows to stalk me another night.

The days following these episodes left me exhausted and my brain working with a skeleton crew, my conscious mind was a fog, and a breakdown was imminent. Luckily, my wife seen this coming and arranged an appointment with my GP who arranged a change in my medication which has, over the months, slowly worked.

Now, I’m working on this project. I get to experiment with recipes and tweak existing ones to make them more accessible for those having to count the pennies. I hope you enjoy the food I present and more so, try cooking the dishes for yourselves. I still carry my woes with me, but not being shackled to a thankless and poverty paid job does alleviate some of my issues.

Catch ya later!!!