Democracy? We all voted for Spicy Meatballs but the Americans shot the Chef and made us eat Hamburgers instead.
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Diary and Notes
After yesterday's rant about those who feel themselves above the common man, I thought I'd have a political rant (all based on today's dinner of course). I'm thinking of renaming the website; Nosh-Blog - a Socialist's Guide to Eating. What do you think?
"Politics, now he's doing politics. Who's he think he is, Ben Elton." I promise not to mention Maggie Thatch (although she does have some relevance to the Pinochet trial, but that's another story).
Now there's a reason why I'm ranting today and it's all because of today's dinner and the horrendous events of the 11th of September (or 9/11 as the Americans call it). September 11th 1973 that is. I shall elaborate:
If you are ever in Bristol, England, there's a Chilean restaurant called Casa Sudaka on Zetland Road, where the food is not so good (see the review here for instance) but the atmosphere is excellent. The owner is often a little tipsy and if you're lucky, might offer you a glass of strange, South American booze for free. He also has a great selection of odd wooden puppets which have giant penises which shoot out when you press their heads. It was here I first had today's meal and that's what made me think of Chilean politics. Before the coup of September 11th 1973, the owner of Casa Sudaka used to be a member of the government of Salvador Allende. After the coup, he was forced to seek political asylum in Britain, where he now serves up dodgy Chilean food to students, who are allowed to bring there own beer. He may not be much of a cook, but he spins a good yarn and was only too happy to puff on a giant cigar and talk of the haydays before the fledgling democracy was crushed.
Now well documented, the history of the Chilean coup remains one of the less savoury incidents of the twentieth century. The democratically elected government of Chile was overthrown by a U.S. backed coup and a fascist dictatorship (which saw the murder, torture, rape and disappearance of thousands) was installed instead. The new government was, however, much more well disposed towards free trade and everyone was happy and smiling within a matter of only thirty years. There is a frightening ring about this, when we consider the 'democratisation' of the world currently underway. There's a democratically elected government in Venezuela at the moment (a country with a lot of oil) but they aren't pro-American. I wonder how long they'll last.
Just to be up to date, the former Allende man is still a committed Marxist, but his son has gone native in Britain and fallen in with capitalism in a big way. He's political too and the last time we spoke, he was plotting to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro in Cuba, so that the people could be free of his father's evil communist ideals and embrace the culture of the dollar once again. I really wonder how father and son ever manage to remain such friends.
So today I had something almost Chilean. You can get albondigas in every Spanish speaking country on the planet and they'll all be completely different. Albondigas are just meatballs. In Mexico they put them in soup, in Spain they serve them in tomato sauce as tapas. Today's albondigas were a bit of a mix of all the different meatballs I've ever eaten (except perhaps Campbell's and Subway's). Use good quality minced steak and about 1/3 pork to beef and you just can't go wrong.
For more information on the overthrow of Salvador Allende click:
For more information on how to make good albondigas (not like the ones at Casa Sudaka) read below.
Today's cake (bienenstich) was superb. When I bought it from Gerhardy bakers it was still warm, so I ate it for my lunch. It was a sponge, filled with a really fluffy vanilla cream and topped with almonds.
Paulaner Müncher Original
For the meatballs: Minced steak, minced pork, onion, paprika, chilli powder, fresh coriander, salt, black pepper, sour cream
For the sauce: Red pepper, onion, garlic, vegetable oil, fresh chillis, white wine, tomato puree, tomato ketchup, salt, black pepper, cheese (I used erdammer but cheddar, gruyere, gouda, anything that melts well will do).
Chop some onion very finely. Put the onion into a bowl with all the meatball spices and coriander. Add the meat and mix really well: feel the joy of the pre-Pinochet, Chilean potter, happy in his work, content that his government loves him and is working for his well being. When really well mixed, roll into large balls (like the cannon balls which blasted the parliament building where our beloved Allende was soon to take his own life) and place into a ceramic dish (preferably one made by the skilled hands of an unopressed craftsman). Put the dish in the oven for 1/2 an hour. After they are brown on top, turn the meatballs (to allow all of our people to bask in the sunshine of a free society) and now add chunks of red pepper to the dish. Cook for another 1/2 an hour. While they bake, make your sauce.
Fry some onion, garlic and chillis in a little oil. Add some salt and pepper, a glass of white wine and bubble away to reduce. Stir in tomato puree and some ketchup, add water to make the sauce quite runny and put the lid on and simmer until the time when meatballs are good and brown all over and all the peoples of the world are at peace.
When the meatballs are done and with the meat juices still in the dish, pour the sauce on top (like the blood of our fallen comrades, let it cover the land so that the world will see what has been done) and place it all back in the oven for another 3/4 hour. The sauce should reduce and become quite thick. Now grate a handful of cheese over each spicy meatball, make sure each one is covered. Cook for another 15 mins to let the cheese really melt and make a radiant sunglowing yellow shell for each giant ball of red hot mouth burning meat. Drizzle a little sour cream over each meatball and eat with the joy of the people in your heart.
I made this again on the 10/11/2005 (almost a year to the day after I last had it) and took a photo. Delicious.