Pastry Paulie

Well regular readers may recall a posting I did fairly recently on that podgy cup cake, Paul Hollywood, co-host of the Great British Bake Off. Here’s the link if you didn’t see it then:

https://pastapaulie.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/bake/

It’s a dry and witty read of course but mostly it’s cutting as I can’t take easily to a 47 year old man whose twin passions are a) cake-making and b) his bloody appearance. He should have the words ‘sponsored by VO5 extreme gel wax’ etched onto his forehead. There’s just something deeply unappealing and untrustworthy about a long-term married man whose grooming regime would make Liberace blush. And wouldn’t you know it, he’s only gone and run off with his co-presenter on the American version of the show 34 year old Marcela Valladolid. You could have knocked me over with some choux pastry when I read those headlines. Who’da thunk it eh? I kinda knew all that  styling mousse wasn’t for Mary Berry’s benefit. Talk about having your cake and wanting to eat some muffin on the side. I wonder what the missus said when Paul offered her this tiny peace offering? Oh I wish I’d been there:

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modern times… part 1

Right this posting has nothing to do with music at all but it has everything to do with the times we live in – especially for someone of bus pass years. Almost every day I come across something that makes me smile and shake my head in disbelief or just makes me shake with bloody rage.  Today was mostly a case of the latter. GRRR.

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good with wuds

After a busyish sort of day I’ve had a couple of hours just to myself this afternoon, and I’ve done nothing other than sit here and just think about, well, unimportant things – blissful. Regular readers will recognise this tendency of mine to muse on life’s big issues and today I’ve been giving thought to the Co-op and more specifically to their strap-line ‘Good with food’.

It’s one of those snappy little brand phrases which is almost perfect. It sums up the essence of the supermarket and looks great written down because of the repetition of the ‘ood’ expression. It’s tempting to say ‘nice assonance’ but the English language is nothing if not contrary and wouldn’t you know it, the words good and food are pronounced slightly differently. Perfidious Albion eh. It’s the most powerful language on earth but it must drive new learners to absolute distraction. But that’s why I find it so utterly intriguing. To be truly perfect, food would need to be pronounced as fud but of course it isn’t. So the canny Co-op have employed the fine Scottish actor John Hannah, who has a distinctive S. Lanarkshire accent, to do the voice-over in their adverts. So that when you hear the line it sounds like ‘Guid with Fuid’.

Hats off; they nearly pull it off. But I still see one thing and yet I want to hear ‘good with fud’ which just makes me smile. Don’t you love it when things that are almost brilliant but slightly imperfect? As John Hannah might say ‘wuds are guid’. Typical Scots; English mashers!

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cooking for men (wddc): sausage and ciabatta bake

This is a perfect recipe for all those blokes out there who reckon they can’t cook. It’s simple, really nourishing and will impress the pants off your wife/girlfriend – figuratively fellas, but hey you never know!

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cooking for men (wddc): gnocchi on the oche

The first posting on cooking for men who don’t do cooking, for ages and ages.  It’s based on what used to be my least favourite pasta, the rather filling gnocchi, and it includes three varieties of cheese (one mild, one smelly, one salty), plus unloved spinach and some prosciutto. It sounds totally unpromising but this is my wife’s signature dish and trust me fellahs it’s simple to cook and if your guests are hungry and kind of have a hankering for things that look and taste utterly Italian, they’ll love it…and you. So fill up a glass of cool wine whilst I take you through the ingredients.

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the best little seafood restaurant in the world (well sirolo)

Well we’ve had a real battery re-charge here in Italy, the weather’s been lovely the last few days and we’ve worked our socks off on the house and in the garden. We’ve only a couple of days left before heading back to the UK and almost on queue the weather’s turned all British on us. Instead of a glorious sunrise bursting through the window we had rain beating against the pane this morning. We’d only 6 more olive trees to prune as well but we reckon we deserved a day off from the paesano stuff.

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The Restaurant

Well it’s the season for tv series’ finales and last tonight we endured the Strictly Come Dancing climax (could have phrased that better), hosted by Britain’s oldest and most irritating non-entertainer and won by the BBC’s very own Stuart Little – Chris and his equally diminutive partner Ola, a pairing affectionately nicknamed Tiny Cola. God they dragged it out but at least we don’t have to put it with it any more at least until the new season starts, probably around 14 January.  And a couple of evenings ago we watched the concluding episode of The Restaurant, where the very Gallic and charming Raymond Blanc sets out to find another pairing worthy of investing in a joint restaurant operation. Just imagine winning your own restaurant eh? For those of us who enjoy a bit of cooking it must be a dream come true. And the winners of this season’s competition were a very special pair indeed, affectionately known as Can’t Cook Cola.

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