Yes…I keep my spices in specimen jars.
Name: Oxford Black Porter
Rating (1-5): 4.5 out of 5 Night Train bearing St. Nicks
Notes: You look all over for a Night Train themed Christmas picture then two come along at once. Since I probably won’t need it again during the Advent Stout and Porter Calendar events, I used this boozy Father Christmas tonight. No other justification except Jackie has to take a late Tube home from work (suppertime is 10 pm most weeknights).
Tonight, the recipe was for some chicken breasts done up with pakora batter. Here you go:
2 split Chicken breasts
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 tsp garam masala
3 garlic cloves crushed and minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder (7/8 paprika, 1/8 cayenne)
1 cup gram flour (chickpea flour)
3 tablespoons rice flour
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
large handfull chopped fresh coriander
coconut oil to fry
Make a marinade with yogurt, garam masala, garlic, chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Coat the chicken well and rest for 1-2 hours. I skin the chicken to get the marinade into the meat but if you leave the skin (which is also good), lift it up a little and squeeze some of the yoghurt mix under it with a pinch of the fresh coriander (before using the rest of it in the batter).
Meanwhile mix remaining dry ingredients and the fresh coriander (cilantro in the Western Hemisphere) then mix in enough milk to make a thick batter.
Dip the marinated chicken in the batter and deep fry. I tend to not-so-deep fry to a light crust and finish in a hot oven but mainly because I don’t want the house to smell like frying for the next week or so.
Here it is just before the last step. Yum.
Name: London Porter
Brewery: Meantime (made for Marks & Spencer, but Meantime has a highly respected version of their own)
Rating (1-5): 5 of 5 James Brown Funky Christmases (because this is the closest I could get to “Night Train” in honour of the evening’s entertainment):
Notes: A few days after the US election, Wyatt Cenac cut an outraged and outrageous EP on the topic. You can get it for free by signing up to his newsletter at his website. So, his comedy stylings were the accompaniment to tonight’s Advent beverage. Smooth, darkest brown, smelling a bit like a furniture shop, and probably a bit colder than necessary the beer is a pleasant distraction. The stand-up is pretty much on target, too.
Name: Double Stout
Brewery: Hook Norton
Rating (1-5): 4 out of 5 Tree Mishaps
Notes: On this date in 1933, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, thereby repealing the 18th Amendment and proving that Americans have both the capacity to fuck things up royally AND tend to sort their messes … eventually. Coincidentally, I am drinking today’s Advent beer whilst reading an article about Trump in yesterday’s paper (I shouldn’t need to supply any further details).
The Misty Moon is one of the friendlier pubs I’ve found out here, since moving inside the M25. It used to be a Wetherspoons and, according to the fellow I was sitting with, even ‘Spoons couldn’t make a go of it in competition with the builders’ pub across the way; this pub reopened as a proper free house at about the time the competition closed down and the locals gratefully pack the place all day and into the night.
I had a feeling that Northwood was a fairly middle-class neighbourhood but I got a grand working people’s vibe in the pub. Pro-Brexit for a lot of the wrong reasons, everyone seemed happy to hear out this former foreigner on how proud they should be at taking the first brave step toward killing the beast that is the EU. Well worth a longer visit, this pub is.
Name: Chocolate Porter
Rating (1-5): 3 out of 5 Santa moons
Notes: There is a column in the Observer on the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time. This week is Number 45, A Room of One’s Own by the distasteful and eminently unreadable Virginia Woolf. More like, A Room of One’s Own Near Enough To One’s Servants’ Quarters So One Needn’t Pour One’s Own Cocktails.
I’m also not a fan of this Chocolate Porter with the hint of cherry in it. 22 days till Boxing Day.
I came into the Gate prepared to dislike it but it won me over with the weird mix of jazz tinged Muzak peppered with Christmas songs covered in styles incongruous with the originals (like The Shins doing Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime and sounding a lot like the Pet Sounds era Beach Boys).
More of a restaurant than a pub, I probably could have talked to one of the suits but opted to sit near the kitchen door and watch as the waitresses emerged therefrom chewing desperately so they could swallow the portion nicked from the plates they were delivering. Like I said, I warmed to this place.
Name: Double Stout
Brewery: Shepherd Neame
Rating (1-5): 4.5 out 5 Drunk Uncles
Notes: A sunny but nippy day, a bit of thrift store prowling, fish monger purchases (prawn and artichoke pasta tonight), and a leisurely 4.2 mile loop in the setting sun before reinstalling some software. A close to perfect Saturday finished with a close to perfect stout. Advent continues….