Three Things: Paella at London BBQ School, Andy Bates' Southern Fried Chicken Livers and Cheese on Toast
|Three is a magic number|
Of course, regular readers of this blog will be scanning this with rolling eyes and going "Oh yes, off he goes again, with another idea, let's see how long he keeps this one up."
Well, let's see shall we? Eh? YEaaaaah? *shakes fist in the general direction of imaginary people*
Oh and the lists will be short, keeping the number to three. Because three is a magic number, yes it is, it's a magic number.
|Rachel McCormack's wood fired paella at London BBQ School|
However, when I returned in the latter part of June for preview of a class, his grand plan began to make sense. He might still get his fingers burnt but this is a great concept in the offering. The space is still rough, with shorn brick surroundings and a battered concrete floor but in one corner, a small functional kitchen stood and along one wall, the heads of three Kamado Joe's all popped up smiling, all embedded within in a bench. The roof was still missing. Large perspex corrugated sheets had been fixed up to provide shelter from the elements but on that night it wasn't needed. The air was close, sticky and warm and besides, a wood fire in the centre was roaring away (on corrugated steel) with guest tutor Rachel McCormack keeping a close, beady eye over it.
"Right! This is good to go. Now, where is that chicken? Stop with your chatting and someone get me that chicken."
Having been to one of Rachel's cookery classes before, I do like her brusk yet encouraging and effusive style of teaching. Don't expect to be taught how to brunoise an onion or clarify consomme. It's "Chop that" and "Keep an eye on that stock, it needs to be well seasoned otherwise all this effort will be nothing." Which falls in line with the no-nonsense style of traditional Spanish cooking that Rachel is known for. Get on with the task in hand and then we can have a laugh when we eat, so to speak
This is exactly what we did. After standing around for short while, supping beers and being mesmerised by scarlett bubbles dancing on pearled rice, the sitting-down-to-eat-and-digging-in-communally-around-a-bench was the best part. Bar perhaps being allowed to throw more wood on the fire. Yes, this BBQ school definitely caters for the needs of your inner pyromanic.
Billed as the the best fun you can have in public without getting arrested, I would have to agree. Though if the police were to find you, in a derelict building, dancing around a glowing pit in the dark, with mouths all greasy, they would probably would find some reason to sling the cuffs on the you.
If this sounds of interest, please go here for a list of classes available and Rachel will be running her wood fired paella class this Sunday. There are just a couple of spaces left.
|Southern Fried Chicken Livers with Chilli Slaw and Baconnaise|
(SLAP! STOP IT!)
This dish was different. I saw it ping up and afterwards, I practically ran to the shops to get the ingredients because it looked good, it sounded good and inherently, I just knew it would be good. I mean it really twisted my mellow man.
Quick and easy and slightly messy to make, this was an instant hit in the house and I have made them several times since because:
a) When coated, battered and deep fried, chicken livers transform into these rich, intense, meaty nuggets of crunchy joy and quite frankly, they piss all over any offering that McDonalds or any other fast food outlet can deliver (which probably isn't difficult).
b) Slaw with chilli is a bit of a revelation. Ordinarily, I can take or leave coleslaw but imbued with some heat and grassy coriander, this was a bit of a step up for me. Too far a step for the kids first time around and subsequent tears mean I now make a separate batch. But yes, very good.
c) Home made baconnaise. Why on earth have I been scooping that plastic crap, out of a jar, with a spoon, and sticking it straight into my mouth? When all this time, I could making the real thing? Anyway, mayonnaise of the Gods.
d) Be careful though because chicken livers do spit when deep fried.
e) They are also cheap to make.
f) Oh god, this section is beginning to drag and I have started making lists within lists.......
f) Look, just try this recipe will you.
|Cheese on Toast|
For instance, you can work and toil all day on something like, I don't know, a lovely bollito misto that looks appetising and fragrant, meaty but fresh, resplendent with salsa verda and bathed in a light broth. And no-one will give an absolute frig.
Post a picture of cheese on toast and the world of Instagram will fall at your knees. This picture has got the biggest number of 'likes' to date and this has totally flummoxed me. I mean, does this suggest that should I just stick with the toast? Seriously, I really don't know what to say or how to comment on this glitch in the Matrix.
Which is good because this is too f**king long already but if you could enlighten me, I would be much obliged. In the meantime, I shall be working on next week's list....list.