GASP! SHOCK! HORROR!
I suppose the scene was fairly innocuous at first. Two blokes sitting there by East India Dock DLR, having a coffee and a chat. We could have been work colleagues on a break. Of course, we then delve into our bags and start explaining to each other what we had brought for the exchange. The look on the third bloke's face sitting on the table next to us was a picture. OK maybe ferocious incredulity is taking it a bit too far but as he looked over blankly, with a paper cup poised just below his open mouth, you could tell that he was definitely having a "what the f....?" moment. It was even funnier when I handed over Vivienne, the fourth daughter of Veronica and said to Jim "be careful when you open the lid, it may explode". As he switched from perplexed frown to nervous glare, you could tell that the poor chap really didn't know what to make of it all. I very nearly went all Michael Winner on him, saying "calm down dear, this just a commercial" but thought better of it. It was far better to have him think that we were some kind of epicurean splinter cell getting ready to terrorise London with sourdough starters and hazelnut biscuits than tell him the truth. So we just got up and left confused guy there. Jim walked off with a variety of spuds from my allotment and the aforementioned Vivienne and I jumped back on the DLR with a tub of jambalaya and said nutty treats.
When it came down to tucking into Jim's cajun speciality in the evening, I very nearly got rumbled again, this time by my boss. As I have made mention on here before I am trying to keep this project under the radar so to speak, primarily as it would just create hassle and I wouldn't be able to speak as freely as I like. So when Mr T (no relation to "ain'tgettingnoplanefoo") came bowling in at 8PM after his usual evening preprandials, I was just setting up the plate on my desk to take some shots. Fortunately for me, he's a four bottles of wine a day man and was pretty oblivious to what I was doing, so I snuck the plate back into the kitchen in the corner of the office. Also Mr T had bigger things on his mind like the fact that the office telephone system had gone up the swanny that day and with alcoholic bravado, was bellowing down his mobile to BT. So from the safety of the kitchen I was able to tuck into my jambalaya without recourse. Just as long as I kept popping my head out and shouting things like "you tell 'em!", "damn right!" and "boy, aren't BT bastards!" with rice spraying out my mouth with each exclamation.
So what was James' jambalaya like? Well, despite the fact that I was wolfing it down as fast I could and spitting half of it back out, goading my boss on, I thought it was very good. With moist pieces of chicken thigh, plump prawns and chunks of spicy chorizo, it was certainly filling. The peppers and onions had been softened thoroughly and took on a delectable caramel sweetness which worked well against the chilli. Saying that, maybe Jim could have been a bit braver and slung some more heat into the mix but that's personal preference speaking out here. He had been worried that the rice, now a day old wasn't up to scratch but the technique of sprinkling some water over the grains before warming back up in the microwave, perked them up just fine. And whilst we're on the subject, the whole nuking of meals in the microwave really hasn't been too bad so far. A lot of contributors have expressed concern before with this method of reheating but I think that's down to memories sticking in the mind of supermarket ready-meals perhaps? If you want my opinion, proper home-made grub doesn't really suffer in the same way as mass produced trays of slop in the ping machine. Just a bit of food for thought there. I had Jim's hazelnut and sesame biscuits once Mr T thundered off for the night and they were also very good too. I could even get the hint of sherry that he added, ususual but still very good.
Thanks big fella, lets hope that the flying squad doesn't come swooping in when you go out for a coffee in the near future.
Biggest Jim's recipe for Jamabalaya can be found here.
Hazelnut and Sesame biscuit (with a hint of sherry)