Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Ackee and Saltfish (Version)

Above, ackee and saltfish (version)

You will need:

2 smoked haddock fillets
1 tin of ackee
1 medium onion
1 small/medium red pepper
small finger of ginger
1 clove of garlic
1 scotch bonnet chilli pepper
sprigs of fresh thyme or good manly pinch of dried thyme
half a tablespoon of Encona chilli sauce
table spoon/good squirt of tomato ketchup.

1 large blackened plantain.

serves 2

(pictured - Ackee and Saltfish (version) with 'rice and peas.' I didn't have a plantain.

Dinner parties. By Christ they're awful. Just think of the fun you are missing getting apocalyptically drunk on your own, smashing stuff up and blacking out. Instead some fuckhead has had the temerity to invite you to their dinner party. The thing with dinner parties is that people always invite people who don't know each other. The people you don't know have a name - no, i'm not talking about their actual names, usually names like Ollie, and Dom - the name for people you don't know is 'strangers.' My old mum had a saying about strangers: "Monday's stranger - Tuesday's friend - Wednesday's sworn enemy for life." Pretty soon these fucking 'Strangers' will try and engage you in conversation.
Ollie. "Hi, my name's Ollie, how do you know Dom? Have you met my partner Ross?" and so it goes on. When 'The Strangers' are not saying retarded stuff like 'Cheese! It's just like drugs, isn't it?' They will relentlessly pump you for information, until they finally ask you the dreaded 'What do you do?' Luckily, explaining that you are a musician who doesn't consider himself to be a musician and who doesn't have hit records, closes the conversation down pretty damned quick, Mick. (Maybe 'The Strangers' just think I'm a busker - perhaps I am a busker.)
Oh, on the subject of closing down a conversation, here are a few handy hints on what you can do if you get cold-called on the blower.  a) Tell the cold caller that you are planning on killing yourself later on in the day, b) Ask the cold caller if they mind if you take your clothes off whilst they are talking to you. The only good thing to have come out of any sodding dinner party that has had the misfortune to have me as a guest is the knowledge that it is possible to make Ackee and Saltfish at home that can taste better than it does in a restaurant.

Frankly this recipe is a bit inauthentic. I prefer ackee and saltfish using smoked haddock rather than saltfish. I've got a lot of fucking albums to make, a lot of godamn books to write and who knows what other shit I've got to fling in the face of the public before my number's up - and saltfish, well it's just too, er, salty, Moulty. Even if you leave it in water over night - and double boil it - that saltfish is gonna play hardball with your blood pressure. Besides, having tried both saltfish and smoked haddock in this recipe, I prefer the latter. Think of this recipe as The Clash's musical bricklaying cover of 'Police and Thieves' as opposed to Junior Murvin's transcendental hypnotic original. Oh.

You will of course need a sound system in your kitchen to play your authentic roots rock rebel dub plates. So it's a toss up betweens 10cc's 'Bloody Tourists,' or Radio 4, where you can listen to a comedy that has people on who are just like people you would meet at a dinner party.  Marcus Brigstock -  yes that's his name. They call him Marcus Brigstock. 10cc it is then. Let's cook.

Heat up a little olive oil in a large pan, chop up the onions, the garlic, and a good sized knob of ginger. Fish is a cunt for ginger. Turn up to a medium heat and add the chopped red pepper and maybe a side or two of the scotch bonnet chilli - you don't need me to tell you that scotch bonnet chilli is a muthafucka. So look the fuck out. Now get the fish into the oven at 180 for about 7 minutes, you want the fish to be a little under done. Plantain is a fine accompaniment to ackee, ideally get yourself a ripe (i.e blackened) one, heat up a decent amount of oil in a heavy bottomed pan, and chop up the plantain, put the chopped up big black banana to one side as the oil heats up. Now get the fish out of the oven, and hide it. That was a joke - you don't need to hide the fucking fish, you just need to skin the fucking fish. Good, it's all working out well. If you were going to panic, now would be the time to panic. It's ok, you don't need to panic.

Fuck! fuck, boiling bastards, Witches, howling demons of the spitting fucking oil, wailing women, and fucking dogs. Secret ingredient time. This will be the making of your ackee and saltfish (version) - a capful of Encona Hot chilli sauce, a squirt of tomato ketchup and a good shake of thyme go into the pan of onions and peppers. Thyme, thyme running and passing, you can't scrimp on the thyme. Now flake the fish into the mix and stir. It's ackee time. Ackee is the only expensive part of this dish, a small tin will set you back around £3.00, I'd imagine that outside of major cities it's pretty hard to come by. I would definitely imagine this. Drain the ackee and add it to the fish and onions and whatever the fuck else I said to put in that pan. Now stir at a medium heat for a few minutes. Plantain time. Chuck the chopped up plantain into the other pan of hot oil, stir at a high heat for a few minutes until soft and golden brown. If you cook for too long at a low heat the plantain will go hard. There is a 'scientific' reason for this but I'm not really interested.

Plate. The. Fuck. Up. You will definitely score with a lady if you cook this. So put on some alluring scent and fix up a couple of martinis. Chin chin and bon appetite.