Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mr Fritter's Wild Ride

Ms Pillsbury, I need my OCD t-shirt back.  I could also do with a copy of Finn’s “Can’t Dance” ensemble, but then the key compulsive message may be lost…as I’m sure it is already to those who do not identify as Gleeks…or even casual users of Glee. It’s addictive.

I like order.  Create process. Build frameworks and construct paths.  In mess I find method.  It’s madness. I recall loosely my Barbie’s colour coded wardrobe and chide myself for not filing that recollection more clearly in my childhood annals. 

It’s not actually that bad (smile cringe combo)…no, really.  I’ve managed to limit my web-diagnosed condition to something more akin to OCKD. Obsessive Compulsive Kitchen Disorder is a lesser-known condition inflicting millions of chefs and kitchen professionals worldwide. OCKD is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that encourage intense repetitive behaviours such as fastidious plating, fanatical mise en place prep and a strict adherence to work station cleanliness.  

This condition, if left untreated, can lead to serious and life altering results for sufferers: rave reviews, Michelin stars and publishing deals have been know to result in the most extreme of cases.  In my case, I just have a very clean kitchen.

As MC Skat Kat and Paula Abdul know well, the appeal of opposites is irrefutable…unless you subscribe to one of those “Owners who look like their dogs" websites in which case you’ll know narcissism transcends the boundary of species…and that you should never buy a bulldog.

My balance comes in the form of Julio “Don Juan” Estevez. The kitchen alter ego invented by my boyfriend for introduction to the blogosphere.  I have a feeling the whole persona may pre-date me and has probably featured prominently on dance floors way before tight white chinos were casually endorsed by Ralph Lauren and introduced to the non-Latino fashion conscious community.     

Anyway, Julio is a kitchen vigilante. A wild man with bi-carb and as unpredictable as my Dad’s soufflés.  Whilst popular for his choice of kitchen attire, he is most renowned for his epic dish Tuna Fantastique. I’m unable to pass onto you the four key (translate only) ingredients but can confirm that despite my initial and patronising scepticism the dish is in fact worthy of it’s proper noun.  He is also credited with inventing not just Jeans and Thongs but also Crepes and Hummus.  I refute allegations he invented Jackets but am fairly confidant he is may be responsible for the reintroduction of Jagger Hips to modern choreography. But back to the kitchen…

Not content with single dish supremacy Julio (I’m sorry, I can’t honestly go on with the rest) recently decided to expand his repertoire to the brunch market…a necessary skill set I would imagine for post-Don Juan occasions .  The last thing I was expecting to see taking a role in this expansion was a recipe book…yet there he was, measuring cups and all, consistently unpredictable.

His mentor? Peter Gordon and “Fusion: A Culinary Journey”.  If you lament queuing for brunch on Marylebone High Street, this book is the perfect weekend solution.  Many of Peter’s signature Providores recipes are in here from his poached eggs with chilli butter to banana and pecan French Toast with vanilla verjus syrup and lardons.  I’m a little sad the recipe for his yuzu hollandaise isn’t in there but I do fear the day hollandaise enters my home on a regular basis.  

The project? Sweet corn, five spice & date fritters with tomato and avocado and my previously unknown friends over at The Tribune have kindly beat me to Peter’s recipe so if you don’t already have the book (i.e. you are not antipodeans and you enjoy the queuing process) here it is: Sweet corn, five spice & date fritters with tomato and avocado.  

Julio kicked out the dates and added a table full of additional condiments.  The little guys (yes, a continual problem I have personifying my food) were dressed in fresh goats cheese, hummus (who was complicit in his move from crepe to fritter), salsa and yoghurt and gave the juicy corn kernels the best mini pillows to hide in. New wave fritters staring in their first dish:  Mr Fritter's Wild Ride.  If ever a dish were to resemble its owner (I’m not sure there are websites for this phenomenon just yet) this would be it:
Miss Devour: She likes it neat.

Julio “Don Juan” Estevez: And he makes a mess
It’s incredibly difficult to script a finale incorporating both the Mighty Ducks and play list samples from “Essential Julio Iglesias Volume 2”. Even working in an indirect reference to Charlie Sheen, garbage bins and Perma Tans is proving tricky.   Hhhhm, perhaps I’m best just to compulsively reorganise my kitchen in anticipation of Julio’s forthcoming weekend culinary insurgence…just kidding, I alphabetised my ingredients store yesterday.


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