Thursday, 8 July 2010

And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire

You know when you've been out on the razz with the lads and consumed half your body weight in beer and spirits, smoked 40 Rothmans, eaten 12 packets of pork scratchings, laughed, jeered and snogged each other and rolled around on the floor and then been kicked out of the pub not for fighting but for suggesting that Wendy Richards (RIP) is prettier than the barmaid after which you'll make your way home, falling through numerous hedges on the way and then narrowly escape arrest for swinging from a lamppost. Yeah you know when that happens..............ok you might not but I do have to ask, why oh why does the curry house at that point seem so appealing. Actually that is a silly question. Of course it's going to be appealing. You're starving but you're drunker than 10 sailors who've taken on Ollie Reed (RIP) in a drinking competition and the Raj of India is the only option available because they're the only ones, bless them, who will take you in. No the bigger question is why oh why when surrounded by your mates, do you suggest with drunken bravado that we should go for the hottest things on the menu?


Because the male mind, thick, languid and blotted with alcohol cannot make reasoned choices and when goaded will happily decide that a phaal is the perfect end to a night out. Created in response to years of abuse from small minded pissed up oiks, the phaal really is a ridiculous dish that will leave you red-faced, sweating, crying with streams of snot running from your nose. Your mouth feels like someone has poured molten lava into it and that a brigade of fire ants are exercising their mandibles on your tongue and no amount of Kingfisher, water or sugar will douse the flames. Worse still, in the morning the pain will revisit but at the other end as you go through your ablutions on the porcelain throne, eyes closed, teeth clenched. If the Spanish Inqusition had the phaal at their disposal, then surely it would have been preferred tool for extracting confession over the red hot poker. After some very dainty wipes and a hurried telephone conversation to your protocologist, you swear later that you will never ever ever do that to yourself again. And I haven't. Not since my single days anyway. I have matured, I know better. But every now and then, the 'ring sting' echo of the past comes back to haunt me. And a certain young man going by the name of Nick and who writes Lost In The Larder was responsible for the most recent one.

Having reread that last sentence, I think I should just clear up that it was Nick's Cochinita Pibil Tacos that caused the last episode, nothing more, nothing less.........filthy gits.

I met Nick a few weeks ago now. He was coming up from his native Bournemouth into the big smoke to collect a huge stash of magazines and to attend a symposium organized by some Danish butter manufacturer. This could be considered as slightly odd behaviour but I was happy to meet Nick again as we had bonded at Bloke's Eat Beef and ever since then he had been eager to take part in WMPC. Nick was over an hour late getting to the arranged meeting point that day but given he that had to drive all the way from Dorset and make his way into Wimbledon before coming into town and was feeding me to boot, I forgave him (do it again though Nick, in the immortal words of Rory Breaker "I'll kill ya!") So we ambled around to Smiths of Smithfield for some brunch (club sandwich) and chat and after a short while it soon became clear that this guy was very passionate about food. Displaying a thorough knowledge of the produce available in his area, Nick earmarked local farms, shops, restaurants and deli's with great enthusiasm and reverence. You know how it goes in conversation when you often want to respond in kind to a subject, I have to say I started to feel like a dork and a fraud. What the bloody hell do I know about stuff grown, sourced and produced in Essex? Not much, I soon realised as we talked further. Nick's main thrust then turned to setting up a network in Dorset similar to the strong food community that exists in London where people engage with producers and restaurateurs at events, eat and drink with each other and write up about it in blogs and the like to get the information out there. That was the reason why he had 100 magazines to collect, he was putting on an event in Poole centering around a screening of Food Inc and was picking them up for goodie bags. Of course it has since happened and was very successful by the sounds of it and at this point in the game I can only feel a personal sense of underachievement. In fact I am the tardy one here. Damn these young go getters is what I say. Hats off to Nick for what he's doing though, it's certainly admirable that someone is making great efforts to showcase local food in it's infinite variety outside the capital.

But what of his contribution is Where's My Pork Chop? And what the hell did he do to my bum?

Actually his Cochinita Pibil Tacos didn't really wreck that much havoc, the initial school boy theme of this post came from Nick's enquiry the next day when he asked did I suffer any side effects to my posterior, making me giggle and think about past misdemeanors. No his meal of traditional Yucatán tacos were indeed delicious. Constructed from 7 hour slow cooked Dorset pork, corn tortillas, shredded cabbage and radishes with a chilli salsa and pink onions and I savoured every last bite. The pork was wonderfully tender and sweet with strong tones of citrus which contrasted well against the chilli salsa. The salsa did have a decent kick to it but it wasn't up the top end of the scoville scale and I was grateful for that. The addition of the plain shredded white cabbage did seem unusual to me but for texture it worked well and the onions which I presume had been marinated in vinegar added a lovely tart flavour. All to be washed down with some chilled, freshing Mexican Modelo lager. By the way if you are thinking of participating in this project and think that I can be won over by some alcohol then you'd be right. If I was to be at all critical with Nick's dish, I would say that he could have done me a favour and drained off some of the juice from the meat as my shirt certainly got a good Pollocking. But then again, that's nothing new.

Thanks again Nick, for a fantastico contribution to WMPC. Keep us posted on further events down in Dorset.

Cochinita Pibil Tacos

Chilli Salsa

Succulent pork

Delicious combination of flavours

Will you respect me in the morning?


  1. Only you could have based a post around ring sting! Those tacos look mighty, mighty fine though.

  2. Love the look of those tacos. Phaal though? Really FU? REALLY?!, pffft that's for lightweights isn't it? ;)

  3. Ouch - going to university in Brum and living very close to the Balti Belt I know all about those late night curry binges. Although the family nans (giant sized nan bread, not by-the-hour grannies ) did a lot to mitigate the boozy madness that descends on drunken students in a curry house.

    Those tacos look very fine indeed and i really like the addition of cabbage, both to add crunch and also to give a cooling taste to the hot hot heat of Mexican chilli.

  4. 教育的目的,不在應該思考什麼,而是教吾人怎樣思考............................................................

  5. Brilliant post - you had me laughing out loud.

  6. I agree wih Lizzie - had tears of laughter running down my face at your super descriptions.