For those of you who don't know, I recently received a slow cooker, as way of a thank you for a kind deed I did someone. This slow cooker has - as I knew it would - ignited a passion for cooking, that I didn't know was inside me.
Last weekend I used the slow cooker for the first time and made a Sausage and Potato Casserole. I chose that dish because it was fairly simple, but mainly because I hadn't had Casserole in a long time - maybe 15 years. I must say, that it did turn out very well and was absolutely delicious.
For this weekends slow cooker recipe, I had much grander plans. I have borrowed a One Pot / Slow Cooker recipe book by my very good friends Alyn and Emma (hi guys, hope you are well) and was going to make Spicy Pork Casserole with Dried Fruit. This is a dish inspired by the South American mole - and I don't mean the small, furry burrowing animal. You're not going to see one of those on my plate with an Apple stuffed in its mouth. And when I say South American mole, I'm not talking about some guy in a sombrero selling Brazilian secrets to the Russians. A mole is a paste made from chilli, shallots, and nuts.
So I'm reading through the ingredients last night making a list of what I need to buy, and out of curiosity I glance at the method. Good job I did look, because it says I need a food processor to make the mole. I don't have one, and the closest I could get to a food processor is me with a fork in one hand and my other hand in a plug socket. So I had to scrap that recipe idea.
Luckily, there are plenty of others to choose from, so I flicked through and found one I could do: Hungarian Cholent, which is a sort of stew with beans, grains, meat and vegetables. Some of the ingredients I'm using are new to me, as are most of the techniques - but its great fun and I am loving it. I expect to try my hand at other cooking apart from slow cooker recipes.
So I was out shopping today, when I bumped into some friends. These friends of mine were with friends of theirs, a young couple, and we all got introduced. When I shook the hand of the guy in the couple he really gripped my hand hard. You know how there is that idea that men show their superiority when meeting other men by having a stronger grip? Well this guy believed it!
I don't have a weak handshake, but I don't feel the need to crush the hand of any other man I meet - I just shake hands firmly but with a smile. A really strong grip can be a danger - you'll be really unpopular at Christmas dinner because you'll win all the cracker prizes, you run the risk of wasting toothpaste everytime you brush your teeth, and if you are a single man, there are certain times when too strong a grip can cause serious injury!
So yes, have a firm grip - but don't overdo it. If you are putting all of your energy into perfecting the strongest grip going in order to show how strong and manly you are, then you have more problems than you realise.