Friday, 19 October 2012

Deep Fried Mars Bar

It was only a matter of time before I got round to this - arguably the king of all filthy foods. Although I do understand that there are pretenders to the throne coming from the world of Scottish cuisine, including deep fried pizza, deep fried haggis, and "king ribs". Perhaps a field trip is required.

I wanted to get the batter right. Having failed with the deep fried pickles, I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. I used a recipe of flour, cornflour, baking powder, milk, and beer. Make a nice thick batter, dip in a chilled mars bar, and plonk straight into hot oil.

I knew the batter was good, as it puffed up, hardened, and went golden within a few seconds. It looked bloody brilliant. I ate it with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup (drizzled artistically, of course).

It really does taste a lot better than you'd think. Sickly and rich would be an understatement, and eating a whole one is a bit of a challenge. But a worthwhile endeavour nonetheless. I would suggest NOT chilling it first, if you want the inside to melt and go runny - only chill it if you want the bar to remain relatively solid.



Friday, 12 October 2012

Curry Doughnut

People often have certain preconceptions about Japanese food. The layman might typically think of sushi  - healthy, delicate, refined, prepared by highly trained masters, and savoured by straight faced diners in solemn temples dedicated to the de facto national dish.

But this is not the whole story. Japan is no stranger to filth - and I'm not talking about the abundance of dodgy porn, or unconventionally stocked vending machines.

A good example is okonomiyaki. A thick, gooey pancake which can be filled with cabbage, pork, seafood, noodles... pretty much anything. Before serving, it is topped with a sweet brown sauce (not a million miles away from HP sauce) and mayonnaise. It's heavy, greasy, stodgy, and delicious.

But the thing which really knocked me for six was the curry doughnut. Japanese bakeries are curious places, filled with tempting looking cakes and breads, which look quite innocent to unsuspecing western customers. French sounding shop names like "Vie de France" draw you further into a false sense of security. But beware, that delicious looking bun is quite possibly filled with red beans. And that enticing, golden doughnut? Probably filled with beef curry.

The first time I tasted one of these, it was a complete shock to the system. The first bite was confusing and disorientating. The second bite was bliss. I had been converted. Vive la Japon.



Friday, 5 October 2012

Deep fried pickles

I usually hate the trendy London restaurant scene. All that queuing, and sitting amongst armies of bloggers taking pictures of everything with £1000 cameras. Not for me. But I must admit that after visiting such a place, and trying deep fried pickles, I had to give it a go at home.

I made a batter from milk, flour, and an egg - plus salt and cayenne pepper. I dried out the pickles with kitchen paper, rolled them in flour, dipped them in the batter, rolled them in the flour again, and popped them into a pan of hot oil.

They were done very quickly - just a minute or so. I dried off the excess oil, sprinkled with more salt and pepper, and made a quick dip from mayo, yogurt, coriander, lime and cayenne pepper.

I ate them with a cheeseburger on the side.

They weren't bad, but to be honest my batter recipe wasn't much cop. They need to be a bit cripsier. Maybe breadcrumbs would work better. Or maybe I should just read a recipe, rather than making stuff up on the spot. The dip was good though.



Wednesday, 3 October 2012

"Malaysian" Burger

When I was (quite a bit) younger, I played in a band... not the greatest band ever, but we played a lot of gigs, and one of my favourite places to visit was Brighton. Fantastic town - cool shops, great pubs, lots of nightlife, great live music scene. Anyway, one of our favourite spots for a post (and often pre) gig snack was a place called Grubbs Burgers. The quality of the burgers themselves was nothing special, but the toppings were outrageous. They included "tropical" (peanut butter, pineapple, banana), "mango curry", and my favourite - "Malaysian" (peanut butter, chilli, lettuce). Dear God.

I've not eaten one of these things in a long, long time. So this seemed like an ideal time to recreate the experience, and share it with my dear readers.

I used normal Sainsbury's burgers from the fresh meat section... I doubt the ones Grubbs used were any better. I only had smooth peanut butter, but I improvised and added some chopped peanuts to make it crunchy. For the chilli sauce, I found two likely candidates in the fridge - some Chinese chili oil, and something labelled "Shu Han's sizzling shit-hot sambal". Sambal is actually and Indonesian / Malaysian chilli condiment, so it seemed perfect. I decided to use both the sambal and the Chinese chili oil.

I fried the burger on a high heat until charred, and mixed the ingredients for the "sauce" together in a bowl. It was very thick at first, so I added a little vegetable oil and some soy sauce.

Finally I assembled the burger.

It tasted amazing. Actually, a hell of a lot better than the Grubbs burger, if my memory serves me correctly. Thanks mainly, I'm sure, to Shu Han's sizzling shizzle (I believe this person is responsible for this awesome substance :



Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Boozey Chocolate Bar Milkshakes

Once upon a time, there was a bar in South London called The Funky Munky (cool name if you're 7 years old, I suppose). It was one of the few decent late night drinking options round here, with cheesy music, a laid back clientele of student doctors and nurses, and a well stocked bar.

One of the house specials was an alcoholic chocolate bar milkshake. Choose from their menu of chocolate bars, select a shot of your choice, and they'd whizz it up into a milkshake before your eyes. But the Funky Munky is no more (replaced by a bar specialising in craft beers, with an even worse name), so if I wanted to drink one of these, I had no choice but to make it myself. After all, I have a sweet tooth. I like alcohol. I like milkshake. It all added up.

Milkshake 1: Reeses, Baileys, Vanilla vodka

I didn't really have a strategy... I just threw the 3 peanut butter cups into the blender, with two scoops of ice cream, a glug of milk, a spoon of peanut butter, some chocolate syrup, a measure of Baileys, and a measure of absolut vanilla - I'm sorry, "vanilia". I turned the blender up high until it looked like all the bits had disappeared.

It tasted good. It was obviously sickly sweet, but quite more-ish at the same time. The only downside was that despite being in the blender for quite a while, there were still quite a lot of bits floating in it. The quantity was OK, it just about filled a medium size tumbler, which seemed about right if I was going to try a few different combinations...

Milkshake 2: Bounty and rum

Same method as before, except using a bounty bar and a generous slug of Sailor Jerry rum! Coconut and rum seemed like classic combination. But this one really didn't work very well... there were even more bits than the first one, and there were large sticky blobs of coconut stuff at the bottom of the blender. Frankly, a waste of the bounty bar, and a waste of rum.

Milkshake 3: Orange Aero and Cointreau

I was not going to make the same mistake again. I broke up the orange Aero, and melted it with some warm milk, whisking until it was smooth. Then waited for it to come back down to room temperature, and put it in the blender with the ice cream, chocolate syrup, and of course, the Cointreau.

This one was the best - a smooth, chocolatey milkshake with a nice orange zing. But these things are just so damn sweet... and by this point I was feeling really quite sick. And slightly drunk. Nevertheless, I bravely finished the third milkshake... and then went for a lie down.

I'm not sure I can totally recommend these. First of all, I have to wonder how the punters at the Munky drank these things without puking all over the dancefloor. And I think you'd get better results without using a solid chocolate bar - OK so the orange aero one turned out well, but melting the thing down felt like cheating, and not really in the spirit of the endeavour. But they certainly delivered on the filth front... there can be no question of that.