SCROLL DOWN TO THE BOWL OF STEW FOR PIRI PIRIS.
DRUGS BIT COMES FIRST:
SO IT IS quarter to eight pm on Sunday. NOBODY has any heroin. Those that do cannot get it together to sort out cars. I got so wound up I bashed away at every phone number I had (bar one or two). I have quite a lot of numbers representing 10 different businesses. And not one of these people can get it together to either be somewhere when I come or deliver!
The most businesslike tale of drug dealing I ever heard comes allegedly from New York City. Of course New York has been a homeland of hard drugs longer than practically anywhere else in the Western World. Heroin didn't come to London till the 1960s ~ up till then Paris was the major hub of European narcotics distribution ~ not Amsterdam, as today.
Anyway this was the story. You went up to a certain apartment building where you encountered an empty bucket dangling by a long long string. Into this bucket you put your money and yanked it (I expect ~ so the folks on the other end knew they had a customer) then up up up the bucket would go, presently to come down again bearing the exact quantity of heroin paid for.
I can just imagine what the neighbours might have said "Did you see that bucket going up every day full of money?"
"No! But did you see that one going down full of drugs?"
IT'S MONDAY AFTERNOON and by now I'm feeling better. I didn't even put down yesterdays morosity to Unsacred Sundays ...
Today I got paid and as well before visiting my dealer I went to the butchers and Morrisons (formerly Safeways) the supermarket. I had assumed the halal one on the corner would be cheapest for diced meat. Wrong! Today I got beef cubes, £3 worth at £2.10 a LB. With it I made a very pleasant peas pobble piri piri stew with dumplings; (serves 2) here's how:
There are three ways of making a stew in my opinion. Three textures. When I told a certain friend I was "learning to make stew" I got back the reply: "Anyone can do that," and maybe they can, but mine are a million miles from dead bits of lamb floating in leek-and-potato gruel. I learned to cook vegetarian before I ever handled meat, so mine's properly spiced. I don't bother adding potatoes as I far prefer bready-carby dumplings. Yumm...
Texture is really important in cookery. Industrial manufacturers of prepackaged food call it "mouth feel". In a stew with baby potatoes a nice point of contrast can be established by the addition of tinned water chestnuts and halved button mushrooms along with tiny dumplings. All four have a similar white appearance but ever so different "mouth feel" ...
A standard beef or lamb stew would be all cubed, ideally with the meat cubes slightly larger and more prominent than the veg.
Or you can do one with meat cubes contrasting against a background mush. This is really nice if you want lots of dumplings
The third way if peas-n-pulse pobble-bobble. A really nice consistency as below:
BEEF & PEAS POBBLE PIRI PIRI HOTPOT
~300g cubed beef. I cut the cubes myself into 8 or 10 bits the size of board games dice
~1 large onion, diced
~1 tsp garlic paste
~5 or 6 closed cap mushrooms cut into 6es
I fried in a wok; transferred to med/large saucepan for part 2:
After about ten minutes boil by adding
~1/2 can chopped tomatoes
~about 1/6th of a 500g jar Ragu original. I always used to assume the ultra-tomatoey flavour of Ragu and the like came from dodgy industrial process, until I realized each jar contains something like "150g tomatoes per 100g" ie to make yourself you'd need to bake several cans of chopped tomatoes in an open casserole dish for several hours. And you still wouldn't save any money at min. 35p a tin tomatoes and £1 a jar Ragu so I buy it predone. But if you're against this I understand your opposition. It makes a far nicer tomato additive though than plain old tomato paste. Now add:
~half a tin Dunns River mixed beans/peas: red kidney, black eye, gungo
~1-1.5 tsp mixed MILD curry powders, jerk and cajun seasonings: turmeric, mustard, fenugreek, chili, cumin, cayenne, ginger, allspice, cardamom, pimento, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, cloves, oregano, sage, thyme, marjoram, bay...
~2-3 tsp paprika
~1 tsp mixed herbs: parsley, sage, marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil
~0.5 tsp extra thyme
~0.5 tsp honey mustard
~1 tsp tomato ketchup
~1 tiny carrot, diced and fiercely boiled with water added in last hour (coz I 4got to put it in far earlier!)
Cook in a covered pan, stirring occasionally. Add fresh boiling water as/when necessary. Verge towards too much water rather than not enough. Dumplings need it. Uncover pan and boil off any excess after dumplings done.
Dumplings: 2 parts selfraising flour to 1 part vegetable suet. Add pepper to taste.
Ensure a good 2 inches hubblebubbling water clear for dumplings to form in lovely baroque bready crags
In last 15 minutes add 2 handsful or about 2/3 coffee mug full of frozen peas and ensure they boil up nicely. The peas add a lovely flavour.
The extra flour from the dumplings usually thickens what surplus juice remains, but if your stew's still too watery, boil off any excess by removing the lid. Stir well to prevent subterranean sticking...
PS: My robos really like frozen veg straight from the freezer. Of my Hamsta MCs, Trotter Donkey seized on a frozen pea just now and scuttled off gleefully like an ecstatic furry hippo ...
FILM: Cockatiel Jailbreak ~ The Squarkshank Redemption
I got this from the blog Cute Overload that I follow...
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