Friday, 30 November 2012

The Bosna

We've all been there. You emerge from a bar or club in the small hours of the morning. You've had quite a lot to drink. You need food... not only to cure the munchies, but also in the desperate hope that it will soak up some of the alcohol, ultimately easing the inevitable hangover.

Usually you would go in search of a kebab, burger, or a bag of chips. But if you're in Salzburg, only one thing will hit the spot - a bosna.

The bosna is a bratwurst sausage in a bread roll, topped with a spicy sauce and curry powder. It is a relative of the currywurst, but personally I've never been a huge fan of this breadless cousin. For me, the bosna wins hands down.

I made my sauce from a mixture of mayo, mustard, ketchup, curry sauce, and curry powder.

I fried a bratwurst, and an onion. I lightly toasted a large hot dog roll under the grill.

I assembled the sandwich, and topped with fried onions, more curry powder, and salt & pepper.

This tasted very authentic - really close to some of the filthy fodder I've eaten in Austria. The only thing that let it down is the sausage (bought from Sainsburys). The texture was too smooth, almost like a bockwurst or frankfurter. It should be more coarse and meaty - I actually think a traditional english pork sausage would be a better match.



Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Chilli Nacho Pie

"What's that?" my wife asked as she arrived home, smelling something cooking. "Lasagne?"
"Not exactly," I responded hesitantly.
"Shepherd's pie!", she exclaimed, peering through the window of the oven.
"Erm... sort of".
"What is it, then?"
"Er... chilli pie. With tortilla chips in it".
"What? What the hell? Why would you do that?"
"Because it tastes good", I replied, truly believing I was stating the obvious.
"I'm going to tell everyone on Twitter what my stupid husband is eating for dinner".

And so it went. But I maintain that this pie really does taste good.

This is a dish of layers. Chilli, tortilla chips, more chilli, then mash. I like my chilli with lots of cumin, fresh chillies, and tomatoes. Sainsburys "basics" tortilla chips are actually perfect... not too salty. And most importantly, cheap.

To make the mash extra tasty, I added cream, butter, egg yolk, grated cheese, salt and pepper, tabasco, some surplus gravy from the chilli... and a few handfuls of crushed tortilla chips.

After half an hour in the oven on a high heat, you have a nice crispy crust!

To be honest, this pie isn't really all that filthy. In fact it's practically proper food - it even has vegetables in it. But it tastes great, and for my money it's much more enjoyable than a crappy old shepherd's pie.



Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Chips with Curry Sauce

Northern English cuisine is a strange phenomenon. Although we Southerners are of course partial to chips, in the North they are the dominant staple. I remember as a young man, ordering a takeaway curry in Liverpool, and being asked if I wanted "half and half" with it. I had to ask for an explanation. It meant half a portion of rice, and half a portion of chips. Needless to say, I had never heard of such a thing...

Although I never really got into the "half and half" thing (also common with Chinese takeaways, by the way), I do really enjoy chips with curry sauce. It's not something you really see in London, but lots of chippies in the North seem to do it - whether in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle... everywhere, really. If you've never tried it, it's nothing like Indian curry - it's a milder, sweeter sauce, almost yellow in colour.

So, if the chip shop won't give me curry sauce, I'll have to find some from elsewhere. So what's the best curry sauce to smother your chips with? I looked at two options.

1. Japanese curry sauce

This stuff is available from pretty much any Asian supermarket. It comes as a solid block, which you mix with water and heat up. The resulting sauce is smooth, thick, and rich in flavour. An excellent substitute for chip shop curry sauce - but at £3 a packet, it is not cheap.

2. Sainsbury's Basics curry sauce

Not so long ago, this stuff cost something ridiculous like 10p a jar. Even at its current cost of 26p a jar, they can't be making any money on this. It is a bit sweeter and creamier than the Japanese sauce, but still a reasonable approximation of chip shop curry sauce. I would pick out the sultanas though, which in my opinion are quite unsuitable for our purposes here.

The Sainsbury's sauce doesn't taste quite as good as the Japanese sauce, but at this price, it has to be a clear winner - and it's much simpler to prepare too. It's also great for making coronation chicken if you mix it with some mayo!



Monday, 19 November 2012

Deep fried ice cream

I'd never tried deep fried ice cream before. I'd never even seen it before. Hell, I'd certainly never  seen it on a restaurant menu. It's hardly a common dish on these shores, but it's something I was desperate to try. So after my attempts at deep fried pickles and a deep fried mars bar, this seemed like the perfect conclusion to my deep-fried triology.

Obviously the main concern was that the ice cream could melt while being deep fried. You have to make sure that the ice cream is very cold, and that the oil is very hot. I think it also helps if the ice cream has a reasonably thick coating.

I made a ball of ice cream, and coated it with tasty crispy things. I used crushed cornflakes, brown sugar, chopped nuts, and coconut. I pressed the toppings firmly into the ice cream, then put it back in the freezer for a few hours.

For the batter, I used mixture of milk, beer, cornflour, and self-raising flour. Yes that is a bottle of Brewdog IPA. Yes it is a waste of a good beer. But I didn't have any cheap beer at home, and couldn't be bothered to go out. I picked up the ball of rock-hard ice cream with a fork, coated it thoroughly in batter, and dunked it in the (very hot) oil.

It sizzled and spluttered like crazy, as the cold ice cream hit the oil. But it really didn't take long to crisp up... maybe 25-30 seconds. I lifted it out carefully... this thing was quite fragile by this point.

Hey presto, the ice cream was still cold, and still fairly solid. The cornflakes and stuff became embedded in the batter, forming an awesomely crispy layer around the ice cream. It actually reminded me a little bit of biting into a McDonald's apple pie, but obviously with ice cream inside (duh).

You should really try this. You HAVE to try this.



Monday, 5 November 2012

Mutton Egg Roll (Nizam's Kathi Kabab)

I love Indian food. Always have done. As a young child, my parents started me off on chicken biryani, before gradually progressing to the good stuff, and I've never looked back.

The food in India varies greatly between regions. Sometimes the curries and tandoori meats quite closely resemble the stuff you can get here in the UK. At other times, it is completely, utterly unfamiliar. But most of the food falls somewhere in between.

Nizam's Kathi Kabab in Delhi is a popular place with locals and tourists alike. Most of the food will sound familiar enough to allow regular curry eaters to order with confidence, but there is nevertheless a significant element of the unknown.

I went for the modest sounding "single mutton single egg roll". Imagine a nice, greasy, spicy, mutton sheek kebab (by the way - in India, 'mutton' actually means goat). Now imagine that it's wrapped in a thick, eggy pancake. Sounds good, right? Now imagine the whole thing is deep fried until it's crisp, golden, and dripping with fat.

It was one of the best things I have eaten in my whole life.