Well, perhaps ‘Bogus Journey’ would be more appropriate seeing how poor Marina and Ted ended up.
I think I have mentioned before that one of Goon’s flatmates is into having late night parties with her church friends in Goon’s living room. When this happens, Goon and I tend to eat out.
The reason why we abandon the kitchen when these parties happen is simple. Like their host, this girl’s friends can be a bit funny about what they term ‘weird food.’ Weird in this case means things such as pigeon, rabbit, and duck as well as ostrich and other alternative meats*.If anything gamey is around, the party host gets a little upset, not wanting to ‘weird out’ her friends.
Unluckily for her, on the day she decided to spontaneously invite people around to the flat, I happened to be cooking one of the weirdest things I have to date.
As she came into the kitchen to make her friends a pot of tea I was busy rinsing a pair of red mullet, which I’d decided to name Marina and Ted after an amusing menu item I’d seen on holiday in Sri Lanka**.
The party host shuddered at the sight of the whole fish, before getting out her supplies. I didn’t say much, in the hope that she wouldn’t turn her eyes in the direction of the hob. However it was only a minute before her attention was caught by the large bubblng pan.
HOST: WHAT is THAT?
ME: Do you really want to know?
ME: You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you, you know.
HOST: It looks like…an…egg?
ME: Yes, it is an egg.
HOST: WHAT ON EARTH MAKES AN EGG THAT BIG???!
At this point Goon and one of the guests showed up.
GUEST: Hi…where’s the… oh, wow! Is that an ostrich egg? Cool!
I decided I liked this guy.
The host, looking slightly pale with her hand over her mouth, ushered her friend away. Goon shook his head sadly and said, ”Oh Dear. It’s not a Tesco Value chicken egg. She doesn’t understand.”
The ostrich egg was being boiled in advance so I could make a scotch egg with it in the next couple of days. Dinner for that evening was
on Marina and Ted.
The two mullet were in for special treatment. I was using a recipe from Gordon Ramsey’s ‘Secrets’ which involved dissolving some saffron in oil and applying it to the fish skin, which makes the skin a beautiful colour and gives the flesh an amazingly strong saffron flavour. Since there wasn’t much to the two fish, I also stuffed them with some chopped king prawns flavoured with finely chopped parsley and garlic.
As the two fish were being prepared for the oven, another guest wandered in. He came over to where I was, looked at the fish and said “Eurrgh!”
Now, I’ve been told that, when I’m really angry, I have a very scary, psychotic look. I wasn’t really angry at this point, but it appeared my moderate irritation had generated the same expression because this guy looked properly terrified.
He started stammering. ‘ Uh-I-d-don’t…l-like…f-fish.”
Maybe I should feel bad for what happened next. But I don’t .
I bent down so I was on eye level with my two mullet, put my ear close to their heads and then looked at the guy, careful to hold my psycho expression and said, ”Marina and Ted say they don’t like you either.” The guy laughed nervously then, perhaps deciding that I might actually be a psychopath, left at speed.
God, I wish I could be that quick all the time.
I was still chuckling to myself as Marina and Ted came out of the oven. I decided to serve them with ratatouille as suggested by the Ramsay recipe, but also added some spiced long grain rice to turn it into a main course
And a very satisfying main course it was too. The saffron really complemented the flavour of the mullet and the ratatouille was perfect with it. I’m glad I added the prawn stuffing as those fish were pretty small.
That was a great meal. I scared the hell out of someone, had tasty food and Goon got to play with the fish skeletons. Perfect!
* Note that normal food by definition is chicken, pork, beef or lamb (flesh only- no offal) frozen peas or potatoes and that all of these must cost less than £1.25 and be packaged with a blue stripy label.
** The misprint on the restaurant menu simply read ‘Marina and Ted Mullet’. Apparently after correcting spelling and grammar, it would have read ‘red mullet from our marina.’