The Final List

Monday 18/7/2005

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Diary and Notes

Some time ago I started compiling a list of people I wish to punch in the balls (see 24/4/2005 and 29/4/2005). There were some rules, (as there always are with my schemes) which said that I could pick one historical character, one fictional character etc. I had gotten so far as Hyacinth Bouquet from possibly the world's worst sitcom: "Keeping Up Appearences." And of course the Dalai Lama - so who's next? Who are going to have that great honour of being the final three?

I have thought long and hard, especially about who was to be the historical character I would like to punch in the balls. Dr Richard Beeching (1913-1985) was one candidate but then I realised that after punching him in the balls I would have to kick him when he was writhing on the floor and that's not part of the plan. There were the obvious chatacters; Hitler, Pol Pot, Göbel's wife (if you've ever seen the film Downfall you'll understand this) but that's not what I want, what I'm looking for is somebody very special and I think I've hit on it. Pope Urban VIII is my man, for I believe there is nobody smugger, more willling to stare truth in the face nor more willing to allow others to suffer so that his obviously defunct belief system can flourish, than he. I shall go back in time to 1633, just before Galileo is forced to recant and punch him squarely in the balls. I'm not sure what impact this will have on the development of Western society but I think it might be quite important. Especially as Galileo will be able to make a sneaky exit in all the fuss. I might even wear a knuckle duster for that one.

Next on my list must be somebody alive and from a different sphere of influence than the others. Here I decided on somebody food related (as this is my passion). I've decided on Bernard Matthews. Now I have nothing against Bernard in person, he's probably a lovely man, but his contribution to British food is so negative that he deserves a good right to the goolies.

My final person is somebody I met whilst at a conference in Paris. His name was Jonathan and it was during the England - Portugal game of the last European cup. I had gone to an English bar near the Pantheon to watch the match (I forget the name of the place) and was of course rooting for England. There was an exceedingly fat man sitting at the bar next to me who being American was rooting for Portugal (though I didn't quite get this to start with). He explained he didn't like the English (that's why he was in an English bar of course) which considering I'd already told him I was from that part of the world came as a personal insult. I wont say too much more (apart from he was drunk, smelt of sick, the woman he was with said she was going to the toilet and never came back and he kept smacking me on the back and calling me 'buddy' - especially during the penalty shoot out which Portugal won). This giant sack of lard is my final entry on my list of people I can punch in the balls without and karmic repurcussions. I will make a small laminated card and carry it with me always.

And if the overweight Jonathon ever accidentally reads my blog, I should like him to know that he is the most irritating person I have ever met in my entire life and I hope he get warts on his arse - plus England can take the USA at football, every time.


Today's dinner was quite something else, not normal Monday night fare, more the sort of thing I'd do if I was entertaining. Chongqin hot pot (often called Szechuan hot pot) is one of those things, like fondue, that everybody loves. It's as much theatre as cookery, but sometimes a little theatre isn't a bad thing. It is supposed to be spicy, blisteringly spicy. Mine wasn't too hot (it was still hot, just not enough to induce asthma attacks) - it was however very tasty.

The hot pot is cooked at the table (we had a Trangier but a gas burner would have been better). A selection of meats and vegetables are boiled in spicy stock. Each person picks up some things and puts them in and when it's cooked they are taken out and eaten and then something else added. The meal can take some time and is great for parties.

I also had some big Chinese dumplings which I bought in China Town and steamed. They were sticky rice stuffed with lentils and pork fat and wrapped in a banana leaf. There was something else stuffed inside them but we couldn't work out what it was. Not the tastiest things on the planet but went very well with the hot pot.

Cake Blog

Chocolate and Marscaponi Cheesecake.


  • Chongqin Hot Pot
  • Pork and Rice Dumplings


    Chongqin Hot Pot (Stock)
    12 Green Chillis
    3 Cloves Garlic
    2cm Ginger
    3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
    1 tsp Szechuan Peppercorns
    2 tsp Salted Black Beans
    100ml Soy Sauce
    250ml Light Chicken Stock
    1/2 tsp White Pepper
    1/2 tsp Sugar
    1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
    4 Dried Chinese Mushrooms
    2 Spring Onions
    Hot Pot Additions
    Sirloin Steak
    Chicken Breast
    Chinese Sausage
    Tiger Prawns
    Tofu (Firm)
    Pak Choi
    Green Pepper
    Red Pepper
    Baby Sweetcorn
    Snow Peas
    Spring Onions


  • Stock: Dice 10 of the chillis and fry in the vegetable oil until they are black. Seive the burned chillis out and discard. In the spicy oil gently fry the thinly sliced ginger and garlic and the white pepper. When the garlic has softened (but not browned or burned) add the stock. Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes then slice, discarding the stalks. Add to the pot. Chop the spring onions and add these. Grind the szechuan peppercorns and the salted black beans in a mortar and pestle and add to the stock. Chop the remaining chillis, add these, the sugar, loads of soy sauce and sesame oil. Simmer gently for 30 minutes. When the stock is ready transfer to the table burner.
  • Hot Pot: Chops everything the same size. bring to the table and add a few meat/veg items at a time to the stock, cook, remove, eat, add some more.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for three people