Treat her like a lady..? No, she wants to be slapped like a Bitch!

Monday 22/11/2004

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Diary and Notes

You'll be glad to hear that there's no more restaurant reviews today, we're back on good old home cooking. I've returned from my trip to the big city, happy to be back, though a little disappointed that all the executives of the European Central Bank didn't put on a naked, candlelit, midnight, parade to welcome me. I think it might have been fun to see their little wieners, all shrivelled due to the bracing wind and -5C temperatures, lined up and on show. If it ever happens, I promise that I'll take a photo and put it on my blog. Keep watching, you never know.

When I go out for dinner I hardly ever order fish. It's always so dull. Some delicately flavoured white flakes with a little bland sauce and some excruciatingly boring steamed vegetables and a sprig of parsley. Why is it that British restauranteurs have this belief that fish neads to be treated gently 'to preserve its natural flavours' and all that crap. The British used to say this about everything in the fifties and sixties until they discovered it was complete bollocks and things were much tastier with a bit of garlic or some chilli or a good sauce made from stock and bacon and booze. For some reason this misperception continues for fish even today and it's wrong. There's no reason at all you can't give your fish a good telling off like your girlfriend screams for on a spanky night - treat her roughly and she'll reward you every time. So I say this to you with your 'Dover sole with just a drip of fresh lemon and parsley butter', you can have your fish missionary style every time if you want, but I'll have mine rough and dirty like you just know you wish you could.

If you haven't guessed it, I had fish last night, spicy fish and it was wonderful. The fresh tuna steak was a bit expensive but there's no reason you couldn't do this with any fish, absolutely any. I had some good spicy salsa, something worth making a giant batch of and keeping in the fridge for any time you have a snack and some crispy, salty, spicy, potato wedges. A damn sight better than haddock, chips and mushy peas.

Afterwards I had some cheese and biscuits which Fran had smuggled me from England. I had a mature English Cheddar which was fantastic (and was bought at Sainsbury's so I am forced to apologise for previous rants) and made me realise what a great treasure British cheese is. Nobody here in Germany believes me when I say that our cheese is light years better than their's, just like the rest of British cooking nobody is willing to accept that we have some skills. I am willing to challenge anyone, from any country, to bring their cheese for a showdown (at dawn of course) against my English cheese. We each bring six pieces, like the six shots in a Colt and I know they'll go down in flames. German, Dutch and even French, we'll take you all.

One final note on celery salt. Do you have celery salt in your cupboard? No. Well go any buy some. It's one of the greatest flavourings known to mankind and once you start to cook with it, you'll realise that a great colour has been missing from your artist's palette.

I made two seperate spice mixes for this meal. One for the tuna and one for the potatoes. The aim was: Potatoes salty, salsa hot and tuna meaty and peppery. Quite bloody marvelous.

Cake Blog

Cappuchinoschnite: Or a coffee slice to the English speaking peoples of the world. A light sponge covered in coffee cream. No bad for coffee cake.


  • Blackened Tuna Steak,
  • Crispy Potato Wedges,
  • Hot Salsa,
  • Crusty White Roll.

  • Mature English Cheddar,
  • Cheese Biscuits.

  • Binding Römer pils (The best beer so far, I get back from Frankfurt and find my favourite beer is from there).


  • Tuna: Tuna steak, black pepper, chilli powder, cumin, oregano, fresh lemon, oil.
  • Potatoes: Potatoes, oil, paprika, celery salt, black pepper.
  • Salsa: Onions, tomatoes, cucumber, tomato puree, tomato ketchup, chilli sauce, black pepper, lemon juice, fresh coriander.


  • Tuna: Make a little dry spice mix from the pepper, chilli, cumin and oregana on sprinkle liberally over the fish. Pat the spice to make sure it adheres. You want a good coating on both sides. Heat a frying pan or griddle pan to a high heat. Drop a little oil onto a piece of kitchen roll and rub onto the pan. (Peanut oil is really good as it can get very hot before smoking), try not to burn your fingers! Slap the fish on the pan. Leave until it smells like it's just about to burn, turn over and repeat. You want it good and cooked on both sides, blackened in fact. I think I gave mine about 5 minutes a side on a very hot heat.

  • Potatoes: Clean but don't peel. Chop into wedges. Boil for a few minutes and then drain, put in a tin with a little oil and bake in the oven. Turn every 15 minutes. When nearly crispy, drain off any excess oil and sprinkle liberally with the second spice mix. Shake them to spread the spices and put back in the hot oven for another 15 mins to really crisp up.

  • Salsa: Make the sauce first using tomato ketchup, tomato puree, lemon juice, fresh chopped coriander, black pepper and chilli sauce (I used Sriracha but I think Encona (original) is best for this). Finely chop all the onions etc... mix together and store in a jar in the fridge. If you have a pickled gherkin, chop this finely and add to the mix.

    And just one more thing...
    I keep getting more bizarre suggestions for challenges, this time from my very darling (and a little odd) niece Riann ,who's lifelong dream is to open a toast restaurant, where everything is served on or in toast. I cut and pasted from her email:

    i've been thinking of some ideas of 'foody weeks' for you to try:
    this idea came to me when me and dave were talking about opening my toast shop
    MICROWAVE WEEK (i'm sure nan can help you with that one!!!)
    A-Z WEEK (every ingredient in every dish has to start wiv different letters of the alphabet, in order. tricky but could be interesting)
    PASTA WEEK (different pasta dish everyday)