Tuesday, September 23, 2008

King Sizzler

There's a chippy near my Mum's house in England and it's called Sizzlers. Whenever I drive past it, I'm always tempted to pop in for a cheeky Pukka with some scraps on the side, but I can't get past the name. I just think of its murky stainless steel fryer ranges, day-old batter mix and where the frymaster's fingers have been. Sizzlers.... I think of hot spluttering choking fat, the air thick with vinegared spud moisture and the windows streaked with condensation. I think of drunk Fridee night spot-enamelled Chavs sharing a nasty battered sausage with soggy fat-soaked chips fighting over who's going to mount the neighbour's dog first.

Alas I am a Northern Monkey and even fried food from a place like Sizzlers is in my blood in the worst, familial and most genetic sense. And I love it shamelessly. I know another man who loves to fry. This is a man you know.

We ate at Adam's place a couple of weeks ago, and he prepared for us some really simple, rustic fayre. Before the scoffing began however, we had to watch while Chef 'Pistol' Pete got his pink arms out and showed off his new tattoos - a shiny knife and a rather happy piglet galloping up his arm towards it. Did I mention that Pete is Jewish?

A sumptuous white bean and sage soup was topped with fried ingots of bacon. The soup tasted of white beans and was seasoned well. When the spoon I raised to my mouth snared a chunk of the fried piggy on its way upward, I murmured with delight. Sadly no beans remained intact to chew on, the mixture having experienced the whirring might of the stick blender, but the sage was there in tiny green flecks and danced on the tastebuds when the two made contact.

Fried green tomatoes had a crisp breadcrumb jacket, while the fruit's flesh remained juicy and sufficiently tart. The addition of fennel sausage was a great idea. A dish this vegetarian definitely needs some meat.

His Guinness ribs were delicious, and though I couldn't exactly detect the stout, the meat had a beery bitterness which I enjoyed. Ribs had been twice-cooked resulting in highly moist pork and it shredded with ease even between the fingers, the remaining bones left cold, white and cleaner than if they'd enjoyed a few minutes in a medical autoclave. Adam has a knack with meat. When he gets too old for his current job, he should go into barbecue.

A bread-based dessert with fruit was good. The fruity bread was fried, of course, mixed with prunes and chopped mint and placed in front of us. A first mouthful was dryish. Then he remembered to whip the cream and put that in front of us too. This was exactly what the pud needed. Simple and delicious.

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