Hormonal kebabs

Tehran, dateline mid-1990s. I was ensconced in the not-totally-fabulous Esteghlal International Hotel, biding my time, waiting for a drill rig to be released from customs clearance which was taking weeks. Fact is, there wasn’t a great deal to do in Tehran if you don’t speak the language, and you’re not in to strolling around the polluted streets or drinking tea in one of the many tea houses. I’d been to the carpet bazaar a few times and bought some antique rugs. I’d seen the crown jewels (they make the British crown jewels look like baubles). I’d visited the Shah’s palaces and the incredible carpet museum. The only thing left was to get to know the amazing food and try to get drunk, which is possible in Tehran with the right contacts.

The Hotel Esteghlal. Not so great after 6 weeks.
Continue reading “Hormonal kebabs”

In Praise of Eggplant

Just kidding.

If you ask me, eggplant has no point. Nada. Zip. Far as I’m concerned, it could vanish from greenhouses and shops around the world and bugger off to the great compost heap in the sky. I wouldn’t miss it. Any vegetable that’s become the unofficial Emoji for a penis really needs to take a long hard look at itself in the mirror.

I’m officially a dick.
Continue reading “In Praise of Eggplant”

Jam is Dangerous

I make jam. A few years back I used to make a lot of it. As a novice jam maker, I did what any naive beginner does: I attacked the world of summer fruit with gusto. Raspberries. Strawberries. Peaches. Anything I could get my hands on was boiled up with sugar and stuck in jars. I even made fancy labels. My jam cupboard is still full of dark, sticky mysteries from that period of my life.

Leave us alone.

What nobody tells you about jamming is the sheer danger involved. It’s lethal. I embark upon each batch with trepidation.

To get a jam to set, particularly the jelly-based ones like marmalade, you heat the fruit juice and sugar up to a rolling boil. Then you keep boiling it to reduce the liquid down until the setting point is reached; when a drop of jam placed on a cold ceramic saucer quickly sets and turns to jelly.

Continue reading “Jam is Dangerous”