I have been following with interest these past few month Diane’s Kitchen Table, where the host of that blog has been undergoing a major kitchen refit. The results are spectacular to say the least. Wondering what was going to be created in this new space, I was informed that lobster risotto has already been completed.
Now in that part of the world lobster risotto might be an everyday dish; over here most people don’t even know what a lobster looks like (I know however that it is not supposed to look like the strange squashed frozen thing shrink-wrapped into a tube we Brits can find in the back of the freezer at the local supermarket).
And this got me thinking about what is common-as-chips or totally acceptable in one part of the world is completely outlandish and bizarre in another.
Take Sannakji for example, a dish I read about on a blog (sorry I cannot remember which one). It’s a Korean delicacy comprising octopus, sesame seeds and oil. Not bad if you like that sort of thing – straightforward, simple food. Except for one important feature. The octopus is still alive.
Yes that’s right. They chop it up, splash some oil on it and serve it with the tentacles still squirming around on the plate as you pop a yummy morsel in your mouth.
But here is the best bit. You have to watch how you eat it. Because the suckers on the tentacles are still working. People are known to have died because the suckers have attached themselves to the inside of the diner’s throat and choked them to death. Mother didn’t tell you to chew your food because she liked the sound of her own voice you know. She had a point.
Seriously ridiculous way to kill yourself. Better off sticking with chicken-based creations like this easy-peasy chilli dish. Mexican Chipotle Chicken Stew benefits from a smoky chipotle paste. Chicken is altogether less likely to wake up and nip you on the tongue than an octopus (although I am aware of the fact that chickens can run around the yard after their heads have been cut off). Seems a bit late to kick off about being beheaded though.
I found this recipe in The Sunday Times. It’s a Marcus Wareing creation. He’s a chef who is described as a ‘perfectionist’.
In my mind that means he is incredibly scary and has no sense of humour. I suppose you can’t have a sense of humour if you are a professional chef. I mean think about them – Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc – they aren’t exactly a laugh a minute are they; in fact, even with that happy-chappy exterior, you know Jamie Oliver didn’t build a multi-million pound empire by calling everyone ‘mate’.
And now it turns out that our very own Nigella has been cooking up more than just chocolate soufflé. I personally find it hard to believe that she was whacked out of her head whilst presenting Nigellissema, but it might go some way to explaining why she has a permanent look of bliss on her face.
Anyway back to Marcus, a very serious chef who doesn’t smile. Here is his Mushroom Cobbler.
My wife is currently between jobs. And she likes it that way. Who wouldn’t? However she is in demand. The recruitment consultant is chasing her around and she is facing the reality that, although her husband is extremely successful* even he will eventually struggle to meet certain demands – face creams, shoes and handbags do not, after all, grow on trees.
So we have together created a motivational tool to assist in the employment acquisition process. We call it the CONVEYOR BELT OF REALITY. The Conveyor Belt of Reality is a virtual machine that, just like in ‘Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game’ of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, passes before the eyes of the contestant a plethora of desirable items which they must memorise and then recall to win.
(For me the Conveyor Belt of Reality would comprise expensive cuts of meat, exotic spices and top-of-the-range kitchen appliances).
This got me thinking that if I had to find another job (sorry I mean a new direction to my career) I would need to rein in the orgy of food porn that I generate on a regular basis. Maybe I would create more dishes similar to ‘Roasted Vegetable Roll-Ups’ – wholesome morsels of healthy living that won’t break the bank.
(*success is all in the eye of the beholder, of course)
My oldest is currently explaining a new game on his iPad to me. It’s a global apocalyptic disease game. A map shows the spread of a disease by planes and ships criss-crossing the screen. Countries slowly turn from green to red as the epidemic takes hold.
Then the disease mutates and you watch the body count ratchet up. So, naively, I assumed the point of the game was to stop the population dying. Maybe it was even a bit educational. But no. The objective is to kill all human kind. The game tries to save people, you try to kill everyone.
The irony. There is a trend generally towards end-of-the-world films, TV, books, newspaper articles and of course ubiquitous rolling-news coverage. Should something nasty happen you will be able to watch it in real time from the comfort of your front room.
And if it does happen I will make sure my family of survivalists-in-waiting are fully prepared with a big hearty breakfast of American Pancakes with Pig-Flu Free Bacon and Sausages and Chicken-Flu Free Scrambled Eggs (I am assuming pancakes cannot act as flu transfer agents)
I love Angry Birds.
‘What’s Angry Birds’? I hear you ask. No I do hear you, I hear the voices. In my head. No I don’t really.
For the uninitiated, Angry Birds is just about the most popular App on the iPhone. You shoot little (and very angry) birds at some Bad Piggies who have stolen their eggs. It’s incredibly addictive.
So when my youngest son’s birthday came round last month I decided an homage to Angry Birds was in order (for he too is an aficionado of Angry Birds).