Thursday, April 22, 2010


Can you claim compensation against yourself?   Since the world has gone mad and every other advert on tv is some dodgy lawyer telling you how you can sue your neighbour for looking at you funny, I thought I'd take it that one step further.   On completing my very enjoyable first session back to yoga on Tuesday, I awoke rather sore and unable to walk without sounds of "ooyah...ouch" escaping from my mouth.   How annoyed was I then, to find an ill placed pair of high heels, jaggy side up, waiting for me on the stairs as I ooyah'd my way down them last night.

Needless to say, my pain this morning from the resounding crash of falling over said shoe and continued pain of lying dormant for 4 weeks and then doing 1.5 hours of yoga is still of the 'rather sore' variety and someone needs to be blamed.  Since I only have myself, then that witch is going down!   The content of my purse contains £4.25 but I have cakes in the fridge, I wonder if that will pay her off?

My strange obsession with People Who Sue began when I read about a lady who, having been invited to a dinner party, found herself falling through her host's dining chair, much to her chagrin but the laughter of others.   The host was apologetic and the lady in question had a bit of a bruised bum and ego but nevertheless, the night continued to much enjoyment of all. 

Two days later, the host receives a letter from a lawyer, explaining that she is being sued for "upset, pain and embarrassment caused whilst in the care of said host's home".   Yes, this was from her lady friend who fell through the chair.   The host, as you can imagine, was astounded and called her soon to be ex friend up and asked her what was the meaning of this; the lady said that people laughed at her and it was all her fault.

Oh dear oh dear.   I'm not normally at a loss for words yeah...we've noticed.....zzzzzzzz.....but this just leaves me speechless.   Since then, I've watched in horrific fascination at the People Who Sue and their reasons behind the extortion of money of course.   Any stories to fascinate me with?

But enough of that!   Cakes!   Yes, cakes!   I made Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes and Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes yesterday.   Why so many, Helen, I hear you ask?   Well, the strawberry ones I had wanted to try and was visiting my lovely friend Karen so was going to take some with me.  The recipe called for 200g of digestive biscuits to be ground and sprinkled on the top.   I duly complied, even though I knew such an amount was ludicrous and must be a typo ok, Brian pointed it out and called me an eejit, but first time making it, I stick to the recipe.   Of course, I was left with approx. 150g of digestive dust and when life gives you said dust, what else can you do with it but make it into cheesecake?   Hence the choccy mini cheesecakey thingies.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes.....lovely!

Topped with digestive crumbs and strawberries

Inside: strawberries, cake, cream cheese frosting

I'm not a big fan of baked fruit and was a bit dubious but these were delightful.  The recipe was from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook that the gorgeous Shona gave to me although I coloured the icing and added a little less icing sugar than the recipe called those digestive crumbs don't forget!   I'll play with the recipe a little and post it once I've given it another go.

The chocolate cheesecake pics and recipe to follow next post!   They're still setting in the fridge.   Not for long though................

When it comes to pasta dishes, I like to experiment and sometimes I get it right, sometimes not.   There are some key ingredients I always have in the fridge which means I can make a quick dinner or supper and feed any unexpected guests.   They are usually tomatoes, jarred artichokes, proscuitto, feta, Parmesan and some cream or creme fraiche alongside the veg rack of onions, garlic, chillies and ginger.   All of these ingredients keep for ages, except the cream and creme fraiche but I make sure I buy really fresh so that it will last as long as possible...that's me you see with her arm at the back of the chiller cabinet, tongue hanging out as I try and reach the freshest tubs.

Last night, I made pasta spirals for the kids and kept some back for myself.   I took out all of the fridge ingredients above as well as a green pepper which needed using and some lettuce leaves.   The pasta that followed it was incredible!   I was so happy with it, I wrote down quantities immediately, knowing I'd want to make it again and again.   

I reluctantly stopped myself finishing it and placed the remainder in the fridge as I'm always looking for good pasta dishes that can be served cold.   By supper time, I decided to eat it and it was just as delicious.   I highly recommend you try this...add or remove ingredients to taste...for example pine nuts and garlic would be nice but I love it exactly as it is.

Helen's Five Minute Spiral Pasta
 Ingredients (serves 1 greedy person or 2):
Handful or two of cooked spiral pasta
1 small green or yellow pepper, diced
Handful washed and dried lettuce leaves, any kind or spinach
A few slices of proscuitto, torn in half or quarters
Artichoke quarters; I used one and a half, chopped
A few tablespoons oil from the artichoke jar
A small handful of feta
Approx. 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
A large tablespoon Parmesan
A few tablespoons creme fraiche (I used half fat) or cream

Spoon the oil from the artichoke jar into the frying pan and heat.   Add the green peppers and cherry tomatoes.   Stir for a minute and add the proscuitto.   It will immediately start to crisp up, once it starts to go crispy, turn it over.   Add artichokes.    
Stir for another minute or two and throw in the lettuce leaves or spinach.   Stir again and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Add in the spiral pasta, feta, creme fraiche or cream and the Parmesan along with a really good grinding of black pepper.   Stir to combine and heat through then serve immediately.   You won't be sorry!

Spiral Pasta
Kelly had a craving for Mozarella sticks, the way a particular fast food restaurant makes them so I made her these:
Shallow fried mozarella sticks
She ate some but something was missing.....we figured out afterwards it was the sauce this particular restaurant gave you to go with it, no idea what it is though, could it be sweet chilli....but Brian polished them off, happily.   The mozarella was sliced, dipped in egg, seasoned flour, egg and breadcrumbs, shallow fried in groundnut oil and drained on kitchen towel.   Easy peasy and tasty to some; personally, fried cheese holds no interest for me.


Mhel said...

OOyah!! I love the strawberries and cheesecake cuppies.I just went to this gelatteria last night and had some cakes and gelatto. Havent posted yet, but I think you'll like their cakes...... Your pasta and the mozzarella makes me drool... Oh girl, you are always making me starvin'....

mimbles said...

"personally, fried cheese holds no interest for me."

Blasphemy! Not even haloumi?

The pasta sounds good, I like the idea of using the artichoke oil to cook with.

Rummuser said...

That story is unbelievable. This from a friend? What happened finally? Can you give me a link please? Thank you.

Caution Flag said...

Here's my confession for the day: I love fried cheese -- as horrific as it sounds. And that is why I must now diet before my next doctor's visit.

Helen McGinn said...

Mhel, can't wait to see the pictures!

mimbles, *L*, I knew I'd cause controversy! I'm sure I would, I've never tried haloumi fried. I do love all cheese, somehow done in this way is just bland for me unless it comes with a tasty dip. Mmmm. ;O)

Rummuser, It's lovely to see you. I shall see if I can find it, it's an old story; i'll send you the link if I do.

Caution Flag, oh, I like my fair share of fried food, that's for sure!

Helen McGinn said...

Rummuser, this isn't the original link but it is a newspaper article of the story.

Jo Campbell said... - some of the bogus ones make for great stories even if they aren't true!

Shelle said...

yum, this pasta dish looks divine, i must try it...i think i would just use butter, parm. cheese s&p though.

Anastasia said...

Or the woman who sued the guy who saved her life by performing a traceotomy. Ridiculous...

You know what else is ridiculous? How tasty all that food looks!

Jayne said...

Well you've probably heard of the bloke who went to do some tree trimming at a hotel. He put his ladder up to a branch and sawed away. The branch tumbled...and so did he...because he had rested his ladder against the outward side of the tree limb he was pruing. He still saw fit to sue the hotel (although whether he gets anywhere with that claim remains to be seen. Surely arch stupidity is unensurable)??!

Hey, when are you opening your cake shop? Your cakes look great. :)

Unknown Mami said...

I am thinking of suing you! Yup, that's right! Because every time I come over here I want to eat whatever you have posted. Everyone knows that I am trying to lose weight and you are aware that I am one of your "followers", therefore it is painfully apparent to all that you are deliberately taunting me and calling me fat in a roundabout way. I do not appreciate the derision and think you should pay. We could settle out of court if you like, but that would require you to make a trip to SF and be my personal chef for at least a week, then and only then would I consider dropping this meritorious case of mine. For shame Helen!

gaelikaa said...

We have a saying in Irish, "nil aon thon tinn mar do thon tinn fein." That means 'there's no sore arse like your own sore arse'. This is in ref to your suing story.

I love those cakes and pasta. You've given me some recipe ideas!

See you soon hen!

Ms Bibi said...

Fried Edam is my favorite. Mozza is OK, but once you had fried Edam with homemade Tartar sauce, you'll never go back.

Helen McGinn said...

Jo, thanks for that link; hilarious!

Shelle, it really was!

Anastasia, it IS ridiculous, isn't it? The world gone mad....the suing I mean, not the food.... ;O)

Jayne, yes, it's a reward-for-my-own-stupidity case. Thank you hon, I actually have started selling them. x

Unknown Mami, *LOL*!! Actually the punishment sounds pretty cool, i'll take you up on that offer; someone want to pay my airfare to San

gaelikaa, oh, so many things this could be applied too! *L*

Ms. Bibi, I'm willing to try everything once! x

mise said...

I'm just wondering what to sue you for, Helen. For having such a chummy blogging tone that you put the rest of us to shame? For inconveniencing us by making us add extra items to our grocery list? I have the same problem with best before dates on cream, so I freeze double cream in ice-cube trays for use in savoury dishes.

Nice you see you blogging again!

Cindi @ Moomette's Magnificents said...

OMG, those cupcakes look delish and I'm on a diet!

Stopping by from SITS!

aladdinsane12 said...

oh god- stepping on the heel of a shoe does NOT sound like a lot of fun. for some reason it made me think of when the burglar steps on a nail in "home alone." i could never watch that part!

anyways, the cupcakes look amaaaazing- you always make the best-looking baked goods :)

and 5 minute pasta? i'm down with that!

Carolyn @ My Backyard Eden said...

I'd like a cupcake please! I need to go brush my teeth and get to bed, but they are making my mouth water!

Hope things are going well for you!

Beth said...

Stopping by for a bit.... and need to come back to read more! The Mozzarella Sticks are calling me!! YUM.
Great stuff as usual!