Friday, October 22, 2010

many thanks bill

today i must offer my thanks to bill jones, who has allowed me to borrow (welsh translation, lend)the full series of thirteen episodes of 'the dragon has two tongues'. this was first broadcast in the mid '80s, 1985 i think, and it either was repeated or it was broadcast in the summer, because i was a student in Stoke at the time.I think it was probably the first time that i became aware of the power of a disciplined mind, and that mind belonged to Professor Gwyn Alf Williams. had i not dropped out from the history of our kings and queens, and from the spinning jenny and the raddling nancy (source: blackadder 3) then i think it may have tempted me to pursue an alternative academic career. however it was too late for that, the die was cast. it was also presented by that arch-functionalist, wynford vaughn thomas, a man whose face darkened my screen through much of my early televisual life. i didn't really know what functionalism was back then, not having been introduced to this until my haralambos-dominated sociology course began, but it always struck me that his history was one dominated by a lack of conflict. on re-watching this magnificent series, my blood boils once again. i'm currently on part 11 of 13, wish me luck on getting to 13 in one piece.



Monday, October 18, 2010

do bad things come in threes? they may do but what about these recipes

this has taken me time to get done. for some reason the computer is going mad and i've had to come to the blog-site via a different route. does that count as bad thing number 1?

if not, thursday last could. we were fullish according to the bookings book and so had a full quota of staff on, but as 8.00 came and went our table of 10 didn't show. it was a pain, could have been a phantom booking (we've had many) and what pushed us to that way of thinking was the phantom telephone number. thursday was a bit of a pain, although not that hard to do. but .....

friday, said party turn up for their table and we have nowhere to put them. this for me was the worst aspect because it was a birthday party and we're not exactly in the middle of town. fortunately thai thai is close by and i sent them there. i can only hope that they had room because i felt pretty bad.

not as bad as i was too feel a minute later when i got back to the kitchen. with my absence, kelly had taken over the ravioli plating and was just about to finish when something caught the jug of hot brown butter sauce and sent it careering off the table and onto the floor (i was still finding stuff on the wall the following day). this knocked us back by 15 minutes, what with clean up and re-cooking, and we never recovered.

the menu is a nice one. the posh chilaquiles have been a hit, the casumziei, as always, ignored for two days, when i had prepped the stuff, and popular on saturday when i hadn't. mad pasta making in the middle of service but luckily it was for sharon and andy and friends, who are always very forgiving. the pakoras (Q. what is the difference between a pakora and a bhaji? A. Apparently the outer layer on a bhaji is thicker than on a pakora) are my favourite, especially with a thai curry paste.

thanks must go to isa chandra moskowitz for the brownie-pumpkin recipe, the brownie will become a part of this place.

as i've just done a handout for the food festival, here are a lot of recipes

Black Bean chilaquiles with feta, sour cream and chunky guacamole

one onion, finely chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced,
100ml dry sherry
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried mixd herbs
1 tablespoon of chipotle in adobo
1 measure of ground coffee
100ml orange juice
200g of black beans, soaked overnight and drained

fry onion, carrot and celery until soft. add garlic and fry on low heat for 5 minutes. turn up the heat and add the sherry and reduce by half. add cumin, paprika, herbs, chipotle paste, coffee and orange juice and allow to cook gently for 5 minutes. add the black beans and cover with vegetable stock. cook until the beans are starting to break down, being sure to check that there is enough stock. once cooked allow to cool.


Finely chop one red onion, and halve 200g of cherry tomatoes. mix and season with lime juice, salt, sugar, fresh coriander and pepper. Add the chopped flesh of one avocado to serve.

Sweet and sour tomatoes

Set oven at 180C. Roast 200g of cherry tomatoes in olive oil, sprinkling with sugar and white wine vinegar. Roast until just starting to break down.

For the chilaquiles you will need some 4" discs cut out from wheat or corn tortillas. Set a deep fat fryer at 190C and once ready, fry the discs until golden and crispy and are now nachos. Drain on kitchen roll.

To assemble

place a little sour cream on the plate and place one disc on top. add some black beans, sweet and sour tomatoes and feta to the top of the nacho. place another nacho on top and repeat until you have four layers in total. Top with more sour cream and coriander to garnish.

Scatter the rest of the plate with chunky guacamole.

Courgette and carrot koftas with rocket, satsuma and beetroot and smoked chilli dressing.


1 400g tin of chickpeas
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 preserved lemon (optional)
a handful of chopped mint, parsley and coriander, in whatevr proportions you like.

Place the ingredients (leave chickpeas out) in a food processor and blend until pureed. add the chickpeas and process, leaving some whole for texture. Place in a bowl.

grate one small carrot and one small courgette and add to the bowl. add about 3 tablespoons of gram flour, enough to remove most of the moisture from the bowl.

heat fryer to 190C. take dessertspoons of the mix and drop into the oil, four at a time. fry until golden. if the mix is too wet it will start to breakdown, so increase the amount of gram flour.

Drain on kitchen roll.

Smoked chilli dressing

1 teaspoon of chipotle paste
300 ml yoghurt
Grated jaggery and lime juice to taste.

place the first two ingredients in a jug and process with a hand blender. add the jaggery and lime juice in small quantities until you have the right blend of sour, sweet and heat.

to serve dress a salad of beetroot, satsuma and tomato with lemon juice, place two re-heated koftas on top and cover with the chilli dressing.


Just use the base mix with gram flour added. I like a little smoked paprika in my mix. Cook as above.

Pea and mint tameyas

An Israeli variation. Add lots of peas and mint to the base mix and then add gram flour.

Onion Bhajis

One large onion
2 tablespoons of your favourite curry paste (not sauce)
A squeeze of lemon juice
A pinch of salt

Cut onion slices thinly. Add the curry paste, lemon juice and salt and allow to sit for an hour. Add enough gram flour to this mix so that the mix will fall from a spoon. Do not over-add or the bhajis will become too doughy.

Drop dessertspoonfuls of this mix into oil at 180C and cook until brown and crisp.

Sweet potato and carrot pakoras

Grate one sweet potato and two medium, or one large, carrots into a bowl. Add two tablespoons of thai red curry paste, preferably home-made, and mix. Squeeze in 30 ml of lime juice and a pinch of salt. Allow some time to stand. Add gram flour as before and cook as before.

Tamarind and raisin chutney.

In a blender put 300g raisins and cover with warm water. Blend. Add tamarind in stages because the type of product that you have will be watery or stiff, very sour or not so. Taste as you are going; you are looking for a ketchup consistency and the right blend of sweet and sour. You can use agave nectar or honey to sweeten if needed.