I can't really think why I didn't make this during my challenge year - it would certainly have been different.
So what delight am I whittering on about today eh?
No less than my greatest culinary invention ever - that most fabled of creations, Pastralloni.
"Pastrawhatsit?" you may ask
Pastralloni I reply. A strange chimera of a dish, neither this nor that, something over dressed and by the sound of it quite unpleasant.
It was originally conceived many years ago during a drunken debate about what great dishes had never been cooked before. I believe I had originally promised to cook it for my old chum Dr Phileus Algenon Welshegg (of the Salisbury Welsheggs) but never did, in fact the dish has only ever been cooked once before today and has so far remained unknown to the rest of mankind.
So what is this mythical dish, this Charybdis of the kitchen?
Surely the name is enough to negate the need for description.
I can more easily describe the dish by comparing it to the film me and my chums watched after eating dinner - Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds, which is worth a word or two.
What a great classic War of the Worlds is, quite one of the truly marvelous books of all time. I am also particularly fond of Jeff Wayne's rock opera version which had me spooked over and over again as a wee nipper and was really looking forwards to seeing giant tripods marching across America melting people with their heat rays. I knew the story well and was determined to give the film a fair viewing.
What a massive disappointment.
If it were possible to make a more vanilla version of a great classic I would be surprised. Bland would be too inane a word. New words need to be invented to describe the banality of this production - and the stupidity of the central characters had me fuming.
Imagine you had just run from a big city having been chased by giant fire spitting monsters to a quiet and safe house in the country (owned by your clichéd ex-wife and her perfect husband of course). With you are your two children who are frightened, in shock and hungry. All you have brought with you is a box of things from your cupboards at home which turns out to be some ketchup, bread and peanut butter. What do you feed the poor mites? Peanut butter sandwiches of course.
No you don't. What big house in the country doesn't have some food in the cupboards? Even if the inhabitants had emptied out the freezer and fridge (which I doubt they would have) there would still have been a can of soup or beans left. But stupid old Mr idiot doesn't even look in the cupboards to see if there's any food. And his even stupider kids (one of whom is killed and then brought back to life for the most saccharine ending to any film I can remember - who actually live in this house and should know where things are) don't say "Hey Dad, Mum keeps the canned foods in this cupboard here."
What utter toss.
The aliens aren't frightening at all (and that's when you get to see them) and the inconsistencies are just jaw droppingly obvious.
And I have to come back to the ending.
All through the film the army have been destroyed. Wiped out by zapping and crushing and maiming (this bit I liked) but in the end they suddenly appear again, all well organised and happy, all on the ball and saving America. I was almost sick.
Ok so I'm not doing the thing justice. By comparing my pastralloni the the film I have done myself a great dis-service. The food wasn't that bad at all.
Sadly it wasn't as good as it could have been. It is a bit like the War of the Worlds in that the last time I had it, it seemed much better. I think there wasn't enough meat sauce for the amount of pasta and it turned out a bit bland.
But it wasn't a complete disaster and nobody complained. The photo doesn't do it justice really - a bit like
Steven Spielberg's version of H.G.Well's book. So like my recommendation for this science fiction classic I am
advising people to stick to the original and have some rigatoni bolognese instead. Oh, and don't watch this film.
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
¼ tsp Fennel Seeds
½ tsp Chilli Flakes
2 Medium Onions
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Stick Celery
250g Minced Steak
125g Minced Pork
¼ tsp Nutmeg
1 Tube Tomato Puree
Dollop Tomato Ketchup
1 Can Cherry Tomatoes
2 tsp Capers
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Flour
1 Pint Milk
100g Strong Cheddar Cheese
¼ tsp Nutmeg
500g Puff Pastry
*All quantities are very approximate and for four people