Sometimes Everything is Just Too Much

Tuesday 24/5/2005

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Diary and Notes

I went shopping in Chinatown to buy some things for a sort of dinner party thingy I have been asked to cook for (not today's meal, should appear on tomorrow's blog). I've been shopping in Manchester China Town quite a few times in the past and was always overjoyed by the range and bizarreness of the things on offer. I have tried a few of the frozen and canned delights; chickens' feet, dried fish, green eggs etc. but was always spared the gory details of what some things were as the names were all in Chinese and there was no descirption in English to frighten me - no more however, things have changed.

Realising that a lot of their customers are Westerners like me, the people at the supermarkets have started writing the names of things in English. Very helpful you'd think, wouldn't you? This seems like a sensible approach and I was all in favour of it as I strolled around buying jars of kimchi, some pandan muchi, soba, suchi rice and char sui sauce - until I came to the freezers that is, now I think I'd have prefered they left the writing in Chinese and let me go by look alone.

There are things inside the freezer which should not be.

Ok, so I'm being squeemish. My transparently bigoted Western views are preventing me from being open minded about what may be an absolute delicacy, but I don't care, there are things in the freezers which should not be!

And I mean that in a 'they should not exist' sort of way, not in a 'people should not eat them' way. The former is a much stronger form of revulsion.

Yes, they have their place in biology. I understand that without these 'things' pigs would find reproduction impossible and my pork chop week would have been a damp squib - but to eat them - there is no need to eat them!

Imagine going around somebody's house for dinner and taking a bite of your meal when the host pipes up and says "Ooh Tarquin, you really must have some of this lovely bread with your pig uterus."

"What? Says Tarquin and vomits all over the table.

Yes my friends. Pig uteri! Packs upon packs of them stuffed into the freezers. I am not normally a squeemish person and had no problem with the frozen pig maws which were next to them (not that I was going to buy any) but I can see no reason whatsoever why anybody would want to eat a pig's uterus. I can think of almost nothing worse. I'd rather eat rats. I think given the choice I'd wolf down a plate of hippopotomus bollocks - anything but this.

I wonder where the willies were? I have no doubt they eat them too!

Update 26/5/2005 - My friend Oskar just emailed me and said he had eaten a pigs todger in China. Apparently when it was given to him he didn't know what it was. What did it taste like? Oskar says: Actually it didn't taste of much, I just remember there wasn't much meat. It felt more like I was chewing on a sinew. Anyway, I don't think it is a coincidence that the SARS, chicken plague etc. started in South East China....

And on that I have to agree.


More Iranian/Persian food today. This is a real traditional Persian dish and there are loads of recipes for it on the web. It's supposed to contain either dried lemons or limes but I didn't have any so had to use some lemon juice instead. it's an excellent dish but needs the addition of some chilli powder or fresh chillis. I didn't use any, as I was sticking with the traditional dish - a success anyway but just would have been helped by a bit of extra zazz. Crank it up there Jonny Boy, don't cheat on the chilli.

Cake Blog

Blackcurrant cheesecake: Everybody's favourite.


  • Gormeh Sabzi
  • Khubz
  • Rice
  • Yoghurt with Herbs


    Gormeh Sabzi
    1 Neck of Lamb (approx 1kg)
    1 Onion
    2 Cloves Garlic
    Tbsp Vegetable Oil
    1 Can Black Eye Beans
    1 Lemon
    1 tsp Turmeric
    1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
    1 Bunch Fresh Parsley
    1 Bunch Fresh Coriander
    1 Bunch Fresh Spinach
    1 Bunch Fresh Fenugreek Leaves
    1 Bunch Spring Onions
    Salt and Pepper
    Yoghurt with Herbs
    100ml Greek Yoghurt
    Fresh Parsley
    Fresh Coriander
    Lemon Juice
    Black Pepper


  • Gormeh Sabzi: I managed to get a whole neck of lamb (on the bone) cut into thick slicesby my butcher. Any lamb will do (shoulder, leg) but you really want the bones for flavour (as I always say, meat + bones = deliciousness).
  • Brown the meat in a little oil then add the chopped onion and garlic. When the onion has softened add the turmeric and cinnamon, fry for a moment more then add enough water to cover the lamb along with the juice of a lemon. Stew gently for 2 hours. When the lamb is falling off the bone, add all the herbs (chopped), spring onions, spinach and beans. Cook for ten minutes or so to wilt the spinach and form a sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Yoghurt: Mince some parsley and coriander until almost a paste. Stir into the yoghurt with some lemon and pepper.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for three people