Friday 25 September 2015

A Sauerkraut Spritz because why not?

It’s noisy and your eyes need a moment to adjust to the dark. There’s no room for elbows and people keep jostling past, the jostle all the more so a jostle because of the full skirts and aprons. Everything is dark wood, copper or printed cloth. And antler. There’s a lot of antler if you count up all the buttons. You smell onions frying and yeasty clouds of beer. It’s cold outside and you feel your face flushing from the warmth, from the beer. Those skirts are swishing back and fourth from the kitchen, their matrons handling big trays laden with heavy food. A bowl is placed is front of you. The cold has made you hungry and everyone around you is already eating. Inside it is a mass of steaming bacon and other pig’s anatomy, slivers of cabbage, juniper berries, bay leaf and thickly cut apple. You have primeval German brot (bread) on the side and are already spooning out yellow senf (mustard) with one of those little wooden spoons. 

Tuesday 22 September 2015

How to eat watermelon in six weird ways in two parts, Pt. 1

Some alternative things to do with watermelon when cutting it into slices, getting drippy sticky and spitting pits like you’re 5 just doesn’t cut it (possibly because you’ve been doing this all summer long and even before the summer really started with imported watermelons from Turkey) and that don’t involve smearing it with suntan lotion and wearing a life vest like a diaper*.

 1. Sprinkle it with hot chilli flakes, salty salt and oil from olives

You can still cut this one into slices but then you should use a knife and fork to eat it them.

2Make watermelon à la Provençale (it involves wine)

Make a circular incision around the stalk of watermelon, cut off the end and scoop out some flesh. Shake the fruit (over the sink) so that some of the seeds fall out (into the sink) and fill with a dry rosé (specifically, Tavel wine, which indicates wine from an appellation of the southern Rhone valley, the only AOC in France to solely produce rosé and a rosé, at that, which was, apparently, the favourite of Louis XIV). Stop the top with the cut off end and seal with cling film. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours.

To serve, take off end, strain wine, cut rest of watermelon into those slices we were talking about and serve with the wine.

3. Mix it with tomatoes and call it a salad

Whisk together 1tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Quarter and thinly slice ½ small red onion and toss it in ¼ cup white wine vinegar. Set aside to rest until onion softens and mellows which will take about 30 minutes.

Combine 4 beefsteak tomatoes cut into hunks with 1 medium watermelon, also cut into chunks. Pour in onion-vinegar mixture along with some extra virgin olive oil and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This will serve about 5 people and is the recipe of a friend.

*This happened.  


Monday 14 September 2015

Tongue's a-bub-bubblin'

Someone had to babysit the tongue. It is, as I write, a-bubblin’ and bouncin’ in the that there pot. It’s raining out. My instructions are to wait for the white stuff to flake off: if you’ve ever looked at your own tongue in the mirror after burning it, you’ll know what I’m looking for. Takes about two hours for a tongue this big and by ‘big’ I mean a forearm’s worth of muscle tuned to plucking blades of grass. Big enough for it not to be ready in time for dinner last night by 9 o’clock so we had Italian instead and more than one aperitif.

Tongue’s great, though I never thought I’d say it. But then, I’ve had to back down from higher mountains I’ve talked my way up. For years (3) I’ve maintained zero interest in the more internal of internal meats; not that I constantly had to defend myself but the suggestion has, on more than one occasion, come up. Turns out most of these things (minus kidneys) are delicious. The cow version of them anyway. Once I was tasked to make an extra sheep’s liver into something riffed from Ottolenghi’s Plenty. I managed to make it green but it was gross.

Saturday 12 September 2015

Deli sandwiches aren’t civil

Deli sandwiches aren’t civil. They’re not cut into triangles, you don’t nibble them. You hold it with both hands as its unburdened over the counter, smell through. Nothing through the wrapper unless you asked for cheese and sauerkraut or meatballs or brisket or peppers or pastrami and you asked for it warm, which I recommend. On Rye. Take extra napkins.

Deli sandwiches make wonderful cross sections full of falling-out cold cuts and I like it best when they’re wrapped in plastic (loud florists' plastic that snaps and crackles). Second best in brown paper bags that get greasy if you leave it for too long but it's best if you don't. They can take some good minutes to make and should also take enough time to eat because if you eat too quickly, you'll think you're too full to eat the other half. You could always share but I always forget to, preoccupied with being starving, which is advice I wish I had when, in New York, I spent $19,00 on one, which is to say something for the amount of meat in it, not that the city is expensive which we all know already. I ate the rest for a second lunch and even dinner the next day.

Saturday 5 September 2015

'Fou du roi' 2013, Le Temps des Cerises

“Fou du roi" 2013 is the kind of wine I want to make and the kind of wine my Romanian friend says her grandfather used to make and the sort of wine mom says my opa also used to make which is, I think, us all saying the same sort of thing which is, to say it another way, the kind of wine to drink from a cup dancing to Italo disco in the dark.

Tasting notes:

Not original but for real ruby red. Smells a like cherries rolled in undergrowth funk and eucalyptus bark strips. Carbonic macerated poppy sour cherries and other red berries that zap, crackle and POP with a dark edged sugar fizz sparkle that tastes, and makes you feel, alive. This shit is highly drinkable or as those less self-conscious say, ‘smashable’ ok you can kill me now. Juice for juice’s sake and I like to think, also for mine big merci to you, Axel. I love this wine.


"Foi du roi" 2013
Le Temps des Cerises, Axel Prüfer
Grenache Noir + Cinsault + Carignan

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