Sunday, 31 May 2009

jerk my goat - bbq

In light of the 'el-sorchio' weather, we fired up the rickety old bbq. I've wanted to cook goat ever since the butcher across the road from my house put up a sign in his window saying "we now stock goat".

I had a a quick browse on the internet for some goat related inspiration - of which there was plenty.

I quite fancied giving 'jerk' a bit of a go. Apparently, a traditional Jamaican style of cooking goat.

Key ingredients of jerk:

allspice (pimento)

scotch bonnet peppers





all smashed and bashed together. Its supposed to be a 'dry rub'.

The jerk seasoning was made up, then rubbed well onto the goat. I left it for a couple of hours to do its business while the bbq built up heat. I did drizzle a little olive oil over the goat before cooking.

The butcher told me to cook it slowly. I used tin foil on the bbq to slow the cooking down.

Whilst other more regular bbq items (burgers, kebabs etc) were cooked, the goat slowly, but surely did its thing.

Whilst I'm talking about kebabs - I'll let you in on a top tip: old bicycle spokes make excellent kebab skewers! I cut 10 spokes from an old bicycle wheel, cleaned them up thoroughly.. They did an excellent job. (and were free!)

Moving back to the goat.

It was great! Very tasty.

I'll cook goat again no doubt. I have plans for both curried goat, and also a roast goat leg.

Get a goat on your bbq!

goat links:

Goat Leg Roulade - Smoked

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Kerouac and Dylan; their relevance to food considered..

The most common precepts of religion - known as the Two Pillars of Wisdom - are that there is God, and that compassion is the way of being. It's widely been extrapolated, however, that Bob Dylan and Jack kerouac are in fact the only twin pillars of wisdom worth listening and paying attention to. 

Perhaps this means On The Road or Blonde on Blonde should take on some kind of greater significance? Unfortunately we know nothing more than that On The Road is a cracking book and Blonde on Blonde a great album. Clearly, as influential thinkers within the 20th century cultural zeitgeist, it is crucial that their relation to food is discussed within this blog.

Initially we were unsure what relations Dylan had to food, so undertook a careful analysis of his back catalogue. Sadly, few references to food were found, except for maybe "Hot chili peppers in the blistering sun" or a "Country Pie", however included here is a download of one of his excellent Theme Time radio shows, this time on the subject of food...

Jack Kerouac on the other hand wrote frequently about food, his fast paced evocative prose making it all the more tangible. Open-fire cooked canned macaroni cheese and peanut butter never sounded so good! If you check this website out (only thing that isn't cool is it's kind of a fey poetry magazine named after the man himself - which maybe tarnishes Kerouac's memory..) You can see all the different times he wrote about food and maybe pick up some recipes to boot!

Vitally, as this article shows, both artists, whilst being important in their respective fields, can be said to have contributed significantly to the realm of nourishment narration too. 

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Fruit Toot

Thursday's fruity efforts:
Banana x 1
Kiwi x 1
Raisins (assorted)


Apparently this: 

I'm not convinced.. 

Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble

Rhubarb + Ginger Crumble

It's an easy one this.

Demerara Sugar
Butter (unsalted)
Plain Flour

1. Get Rhubarb. Enough for your needs. Chop it up good. Lengths of about 4-5 cm. If the Rhubarb is thick chop it width ways to make it nice and thin. I think you want longish, not too fat rhubarb pieces.

2. Ginger. Optional, but highly recommended. Chop up (or grate) as much or as little as you feel is needed. Add that to your rhubarb pieces. Some people use ground ginger.

3. Place the rhubarb + ginger into a suitable dish.  Sprinkle a healthy amount of demerara - obviously more or less depending on how sweet you like these things. Stick it in the oven with a couple of spoons of water to get the rhubarb on the way to being nicely cooked. (Give it 10 mins or so)

4. The crumble itself. Get some plain flour. I then add about 1/3 butter to 2/3 flour. I use a knife to 'chop' the butter into the flour to begin with.. I then use my fingers to thoroughly rub the butter and flour together to make the crumble.

5. Remove cooking rhubarb + ginger from oven

6. Cover the top with your crumble mix..

7. Sprinkle demerara on top.. 

8. Stick it in the oven at about 150deg C until its all nicely cooked (golden on top). Probably 30-40 mins.

9. Eat. Totally ace with greek yoghurt.

I ended up having a somewhat lengthy, and confusing discussion as to whether rhubarb was a vegetable or not...

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Afghan, Rusholme

Following on from the delightful trip to Habesha, it was decided that we should take a trip to one of Rushholme's more understated cafes. Unlike a great deal of the other venues along the curry mile the Afhan Cuisine is not adorned from pillar to post with neon lighting, nor is there a slightly overweight, middle-aged man trying to tempt you in with offers of a 15% discount. Its certainly not another '£10-for-a-plate-of-slop' curry house.

There are two parts to the Afghan, upstairs, and downstairs. Upstairs offering more of a restaurant feel, and downstairs a cafe atmosphere. I prefer downstairs. Simple, diner-style furniture and large glass windows that allow an excellent, almost panoramic, view of the the curry mile.

[photo: joe sheffer]

We ate Quabily Pillow, Ashek, Challow Kebab. The food was hot, tasty, and arrived within minutes. The Quabilly Pillow is text-book, traditional middle eastern cuisine - the national dish of Afghanistan. It is essentially rice (lots) raisons, sliced fried carrot and lamb. The Challow kebab - served with white fluffy rice, cooked tomato and a roasted whole onion.

We drank a mint tea from dinky glasses.

Overall the Afghan offered a laid back, authentic (and cheap!) evening out. Varied flavours and spices, very friendly staff.

A selection of quotes from the evening:

"definitely got mint leaves going on" [rory on the subject of tea]

"nice foliage"

"I'm not sure if I have any thoughts ever" [rory, on life in general]

"its a dough that becomes crust with a filling of almonds, butter and sugar" [Morgane - talking about her crusty dough].

Props to Morgane - our French correspondent - for joining in on the trip, and taking the photos.. though the less said about the melodica the bettter.


Charlie.. (boucher, pompier, dompteur, et pĂȘcheur de haute mer)



Article from the BBC about Rusholme - The curry / kebeb mile.

Wikipedia Article on food from Afghanistan

Fruits you sir.


kiwi x 2
banana x 1


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Tuesday fruit count

Big-up the Tuesday fruit consumption:

2 bananas
1 apple
assorted grapes

how many fruits are you noshing?

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Reviews Habesha, Manchester

Tenastellen! (that's hello in Amharic, Ethiopia's main language, you uncultured louts..)

Today we're going to review Habesha, Manchester's only Ethiopian restaurant. It's something of a diamond in the rough and quite an unknown entity in the Mancunian fine dining scene, basically, no one seems to know it actually exists. We know it exists however, and we know it's good. 

Ethiopia cuisine is essentially based around Injera - a unique flatbread made from the Teff grain. For those not in the know it's something like a cross between a pancake and a crumpet. They say you make your mind up whether you like Injera's tangy soft vibe the second you take a bite, meaning there's no room to grow to like it - we both loved it immediately. 

Every meal in Ethiopia involves slapping down some Injera on the table and then spooning a motley assortment of stews and salads on top. Sources inform us one American tourist mistook his injera for the table cloth!

The other staples of Ethiopian cuisine generally revolve around stews and mince meat. Sometimes a boiled egg gets involved here and there. Most crucially, however there is Gored Gored - raw beef mixed with a few spices. We're firm believers that munching on some raw beef is essentially the eating equivalent of bunjee jumping and so obviously well worth a try. 

Habesha, despite often being devoid of any custom, has many admirable qualities (least of all their ability to regularly undercharge us when it comes time to get the bill). The inside is nicely and sparsely decorated, you get the aforementioned bill in a nice colorful case, the service is quick and friendly, etc. etc. But let's get onto discussing the food....

As one of our blog's correspondents has been lucky enough to experience Ethiopian cuisine first hand, having travelled there, we feel we are in a relatively unique position in reviewing Habesha. Luckily we found their dishes fantastic - the kitfo was nicely spiced, the injera tangy and chewy, much like a savoury wheat flavoured starburst (what do they call them nowadays anyway?) and the Gored Gored appropriately raw. Highly recommended!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Innovations in the cheese on toast field: egg as an appropriate entity...

I have to say my gran is quite a dashing older lady, however, more important is her input into the complex science of cheese on toast. Many distinguished scholars have often compared her pre-eminent advances in the field to the impact Darwin's Origin of the Species had on Evolutionary theory. Detractors however point to the striking similarity between her advances and so called 'Welsh' 'Rarebit', this is churlish we believe, and her innovation is clearly a separate entity in its own right. Even the Soviets were listening, rumour has it there's a whole filing cabinet dedicated to her work in a deep dark corner of the Kremlin. The most inspired addition is egg - it doesn't take an innovator to know eggs are nutritious. Below we brief you on her findings. 

To begin you break an egg into a bowl, add grated cheese and scramble with a fork. Add wholegrain mustard and a splosh of Worcestershire Sauce. Mix well. Toast bread. Add cheese/egg/mustard/Worcester mix to bread surface and grill. Completion. 
Brief no?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Soup Is Good Food!

Also coming up: 
  • An old lady's innovative cheese on toast recipe.
  • French people who cook good: an in depth review.
  • Food and sex in antiquity, aphrodisiacs and otherwise - a scholarly analysis.
  • Photography related to edible matter. 
  • Foodborne toxins, a taste test, Clostridium vs Anthrax.
  • And as a token of respect for our humongous French readership a critique and comparison of English pub food and French cuisine. This piece shall be written in the mother-tongue of our guest author, the world designated language of love, Français.
For now we'll leave you with 'Soup is Good Food' by Californian politco-punk-agit-upstarts Dead Kennedys,

Friday, 15 May 2009

Things to come..

  • The definitive round up of horrifying tinned foodstuffs.
  • Our guide to the inverse of dieting - ensuring calorific value for money.
  • Trip to the Afgan in rushholme.
  • Ethiopia - The culinary delights there of.
  • Goat - Curried.

Friday, 8 May 2009

The jelly baby showdown, Fortnum & Mason vs Bassetts

Fortnum & Mason - Purported to be purveyors of fine food and drink.

Bassetts - Makers of Sweets and Confectionary since 1842.

There has been a question that has been troubling me for quite some time: Who makes the best jelly babies - Fortnums, or Bassetts?

It is a tough call. 

In the green corner, we have Fortnum & Mason..  In the red corner Bassetts

Clearly the offering from Fortnum and Mason is larger.

The Bassetts jelly babies are significantly more rotund compared to Fortnums.

Taste wise, the Bassetts jelly babies are sweeter, more sugary. The Fortnum & Mason babies are more fruity.

In terms of texture, the Fortnum's babies have a harder / less squishy body. (Bassetts are softer)

I feel that the colours of the Fortnum babies are more natural - (above: left, Bassetts 'Lemon', right Fortnums 'Lemon')

Tasting notes.