Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Spaghetti Alla Putanesca & 2 Bottles of Red Wine

[Above: sauce 15 minutes into reduction.]
You will need:

1 tin of anchovies
2 cloves of garlic
Birds eye chillies, red or green
About a dozen salty olives (stone in) - Moroccan dry could be good
Olive oil

2 bottles of poor quality red wine

Hail Hungry Muthafuckas,

I am about to share with you some (not very) secret knowledge. You will thank me forever. This really is the best pasta dish you can make, and it will freak your mind the fuck out. It is cheap, it is possibly a bit nutritional and most importantly if you cook this - and you fucking cook it right - you will definitely score with a lady, or if you are a lady - a man (or another lady) - or if you are a man another man, or perhaps a lady and a man. In a jacuzzi.

So first: your look. I like to wear black from head to toe when I start fucking about with pasta dishes. A man in black and spaghetti. Maybe a little music, perhaps some David Crosby. Probably not. Let's cook.

Firstly, heat up some olive oil in a large pan, now finely chop up 2 cloves of garlic and 2 birds eye chillies and chuck 'em in the oil. It is time for the secret ingredient - anchovies. God was playing fucking hardball when he invented the anchovy. They really are the most useful little guys. You can add them to loads of things, a beef stew, roast lamb, and the great thing is they won't make everything taste fishy - just salty. So fear not the anchovy fish pussies, just reach into that tin and grab four of the hairy little scamps and add them to the oil and chillies. Oh God. Once the anchovies have started to dissolve add a glug of red wine. NB The kind of people I really can't stand are the kind of people who have a few unfinished bottles of wine lying around. I am not one of those people. You don't have to be either. This is why you have bought two bottles of wine. Open the first bottle of wine and pour a few glugs in the pan. You can now drink the rest of the first bottle of wine whilst you do the fucking cooking. Have the 2nd bottle after dinner. This might be a good time to send your dining partner out to the shops if they would like a drink. Once the wine is bubbling enthusiastically, add the tinned peeled tomatoes. You now have the makings of a good tomato sauce, just stone a bunch of salty sailor olives and chuck 'em in.

It is now time for the fucking 'reduction.' I recently saw an interview with Kylie Minogue where she mentioned a '20 minute reduction' on a tomato sauce. What she means is cook the sauce over a medium heat until it 'reduces'. All this talk of 20 minute reductions makes me like Kylie more. Though i'd give it about 23 minutes.

The key to Spaghetti Alla Putanesca is simplicity. There are several variations - you can add tuna, capers, and red pepper, but purists usually insist upon the garlic, anchovies, chilli, olives version. The purists are right. You are looking to achieve a 'primordial' holy trinity of rich concentrated tomato, saltiness and chilli heat. The sauce is now bubbling away - drink some fucking wine. Cooking is essentially about chopping stuff up and heating stuff up. As I've said before - to the point where people have said to me, "Actually, you have said that before?" - cooking is not a black art. Now get a pan of water on the boil, take it easy, there's no need to panic.

Fuck, shit, boiling heads, boiling fucking oil. You've now got to make your spaghetti. Actually you don't have to make any spaghetti, and now I'm going to tell you why, because there is another world, far away from the world we live in - the world full of arseholes with superinjunctions, arseholes with superinjunctions who write newspaper columns about arseholes with superinjunctions, and arseholes writing stupid food blogs - yes, this is a world where people do useful stuff, a world of doctors, nurses, and most importantly- spaghetti makers. The spaghetti makers get the fucking spaghetti into the shops, to feed the doctors and nurses and the arseholes with superinjunctions, and of course, you. NEVER MAKE YOUR OWN PASTA.

Once the spaghetti is cooked - I prefer al dente - drain and douse liberally with olive oil, then plonk the reduced sauce on top just like Kylie does. Now finish off the first bottle of red wine and get to work on the second. Chin, chin, and bon appetite.


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Spicy Kedgeree with Dirty Martini

You will need:

2 small fillets smoked haddock
1 medium onion
2 eggs
1 fresh birds eye chilli
2 cups white basmati rice
1 lemon
knob of ginger
coriander seeds
cumin seeds
madras curry powder
curry leaves (optional)

Good vodka
Good dry martini mixer
Green olives

We all know that Kedgeree was once a popular colonial breakfast dish. I have tried many variations of traditional kedgeree - lightly spiced, with lashings of tomato ketchup etc - but i've found them all to be lacking. This, is a much spicier ( hot wired if you like) version of the old classic, and it's fairly healthy - and this is something we shall be paying special attention to on this food blog. I like to keep my eye on how much  cholestrol is in my food, I have a lot of records to make, a lot of books to write, and God knows what other shit to fling out there. I need to be around for a while.

Before we get into the cooking and what-not, we need to think about a good cooking look. I like to wear a towelling dressing gown and vintage flared cords (wranger boot cut) I also like to cook bare foot. I'm sure many other cooks would think this a safety issue what with all the fucking shit flying around in the kitchen, but I disagree. Barefoot puts me at one with my fucking kitchen. Right, let's cook.

Fish first: smoked haddock is best. I know there's been a recent trend towards Coley and Pollock - for various reasons that we need not give a shit about - but I'm not having it. Coley and Pollock are cat food dude, and besides if you're going to try to score with a lady, you don't want to be serving her fucking Pollock do you.
   "Whatchya cooking me tonight loverboy?"
"Pollock." You see what I mean. So haddock it is. I'm a big fan of frozen haddock, it's cheap, (it's only fucking kedgeree and it's only fucking cooking for christ sake) we don't need to get all Rick Stein about it.

Timing, is everything when you're making Kedgeree. First, take the fish out of the freezer and put it in a bowl of cold water for around half an hour - now watch the fucker defrost. Actually don't watch the fucker defrost - get on with boiling a couple of eggs. Cholestrol-wise the jury is out on eggs. I don't fucking know, one option is to buy eggs with extra omega in them. Good for the ticker. On a recent episode of what is laughingly called 'Masterchief' the Australian judge castigated some hapless fucker for hard boiling an egg, as he attempted to whip up a frankly farcical 'Masterchief' appropriation of Kedgeree. The Australian wanted the egg to be running all over the rice. I cannot overstate how wrong this is. When you make Kedgeree you do not want eggs running all over the place fucking shop willy nilly. As your eggs are boiling take your now defrosted fishies out of the cold water and score them lightly with a knife, now gently massage some madras curry powder into the fish. Once again, no need to get all Rick Stein 'fishrotic' about this. It's just some old curry powder and a bit of old fish. When you've finished massaging, put the fish in the oven 180 c for around 7 minutes. Do not over cook the fish. Fish is fucked if it is over cooked. Time to chop up the onion, the ginger and the chilli, in they go, into the (large) frying pan, where they will be fried in a little olive oil for 12 minutes at a medium heat. I'm a stickler for the 12 minutes 'onion fry off.' Keep moving that onion around in the pan, I don't wanna hear about no onions sticking to the pan or getting 'Burnt.'

Fuck. Get the rice on - hopefully you've had a pan of water on the go as you've been doing all this other shit. You have? good. In goes the rice along with a tablespoon full of turmeric and a few fucking cloves. Now watch the rice boil for 10 - 12 minutes. Ye Gods! The fucking fish - stop watching the fucking rice boil and get the fucking fish out of the oven. If the fish has got a skin, then remove the skin. If the fish hasn't got a skin then you need to put a skin on it. Actually, only one of these statement is true. When you've decided which one, put the fish aside.

Spice time. Bung the spices in with the onion, if you need to add a little more oil then do so. We don't want anything drying the fuck up. It should be noted that you do not need to cook any of this recipe at a particularly high heat. Don't go mad dad. Now, peel those eggs. I hope for your sake that they are not runny. Chuck the eggs in with the onion and spices. Your rice must now be done, drain it and add to the pan, now break the fish into flakes and stir in with the eggs and onion. During the spice stage, you could add curry leaves into the mix. Curry leaves are aromatic, and as far as I can tell taste of fuck all. I could be wrong though, as my pallet is completely shot through years of boozing and eating really fucking hot food.

Okay you're almost done, you just need to squeeze in the juice of one lemon and stir until any residual liquid has been absorbed. Congratulations, it's time to 'plate up.' So, let's 'plate' the fuck 'up.' You could also serve this Kedgeree with a 'sad' salad. We'll look at the 'sad salad on another occasion.

Ding dong, it's fucking time for drinkies. One advantage with this Kedgeree recipe is that it works very well with a martini. So, seconds out, here's how you make a Dirty Martini. You'll need a good smooth Vodka, i'm afraid that you'll need at the very least an Absolute or Smirnoff. That cheap jack vodka like Glenns or what have you is fine for getting smashed on a Monday morning but this is a Goddamn Martini. So, One shot of vodka, to two shots of good dry martini mixer. Measure the shots properly - it makes all the difference. And on to the last stage: the olive, preferably a green olive with stone in. (the olive in the photo is a black calamata and it doesn't really work). The olive must be in brine, when you spoon the olive out of the jar make sure you scoop out a litte brine. This is a 'dirty' olive, plonk it and the brine into your drink. You now have a dirty martini to go with your spicy kedgeree. Chin chin, and bon appetite.

Yours, LH