Tuesday, 3 February 2009

[Turtlewind] The Turtle Cooks! (SLOW-O)



Well, it’s been a little time since I’ve been at enough of a loss to bother myself with this place, hasn’t it? To be frank with you, readers, the great and benevolent Mr Turtlewind has been a little busy of late. The slightly esteemed footballer Mr Gordon Ramsay called round asking if I could do him a favour and let him film the last of his televisual series at Turtle Grange. It wasn’t going to be the last in the series originally, but he coincidentally happened to have a freak head wound after he looked in the ‘secret freezer’. The scamp.

Anyway, now things have quietened down I am at last able to continue my sporadic attempts to educate you scribblers in the art of being mysterious and esteemed. But where now, after my ground-breaking comparative study of compressed carbon and urine?

Well, as many of you are aware, the Turtle is a dab hand in the kitchen. I have previously shared with you all the bliss that is the Tarte à la Boue. This scintillating culinary treat is my staple foodstuff of choice and the recipe was generally held to be an excellent one indeed.

Unfortunately, it did not quite beguile all who read it when I posted it to several cooking sites, with the not-very-esteemed-at-all writers creative_mind and theduke giving it quite scandalous ratings on the grounds that it was completely silly and a bit of a joke. The mysterious Mr Turtlewind chose to stand aloof from the ensuing circus and retain some dignity. They must have had some logic informing their belief the review was not serious, as both of them have such an overwhelmingly impressive sense of humour.

Still, if the diet of the mysterious Mr Turtlewind is incapable of impressing such lofty personnages as a man so attractive he wears a balaclava to stop women dying of LOVE, then I must broaden the scope of my kitchenarium reportage.

Barry, my faithful scorpion companion, has never been truly partial to mud pies other than on very special occasions. And it is with an indulgent smile that I prepare his nightly Chinese platters bereft of all but the merest tinge of earthy goodness. And so I present to you....

Chicken with Cashew Nuts in Hoisin Sauce
For this recipe, dear reader, you will need:

300g diced chicken breast
Some cornflour
Some oil
Some hoisin sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
Garlic purée
75g cashew nuts
25g mangetout
1 stick of celery
1 onion
80g beansprouts
1 red pepper
200ml chicken stock

1) Barry likes his meat to taste fancy, and he doesn’t just say that in bed! Once you’ve trimmed all the skanky white bits off your chicken, coat it in cornflour, shaking off the excess. Mix a tablespoon of hoisin sauce with the soy sauce and a teaspoon of oil (peanut oil, mmm). Crush a clove of garlic in the mixture and ladle it over the cornfloury chicken. It should look like a 3d model of someone’s intestines, so put it in the fridge and leave it to marinate for a few hours (one is enough, if you’re hungry). Someone might open the fridge and think you’re storing human guts in there. You see, cookery AND practical joke tips. I do spoil you.

2) Heat some more oil in a frying pan. Chuck in the cashew nuts and fry them until they go brown. This should take about a minute, unless you’ve been silly and used nuts that are already brown. Use unsalted cashew nuts, you scamps. Chuck in all the vegetables plus two more crushed cloves of garlic. You should have chopped up the celery and pepper, obviously. As for the onion, I usually chop it into eight, Barry’s sting holding the pieces in place for the last cuts (and injecting some lovely scorpion venom for that tart aftertaste). Stir around for about three minutes, until the beansprouts go floppy and then take them out and keep them warm.

3) Add some more oil to the wok and bung in your chicken. Stirfry for about four minutes until you add the vegetables again. At this point, you pour over the sauce you’ve been making.

4) The sauce consists of 200ml of stock mixed with two tablespoons of hoisin sauce and a bit of cornflour to thicken it a little (I am cornflour’s natural enemy, use your own discretion as it has broken my spirit). Pour this pleasingly muddy coloured goo over your frying food. Bring it to the boil, wait until it thickens a bit and then serve with plain boiled rice and a crisp, dry white wine.

Barry says he likes this meal because it ‘tastes of yum’, the little scamp. The vibrant contrasting colours of the celery, mangetout and red pepper make it an attractive dish, and only someone as esteemed as me could find fault in it. Most hoisin sauces are only good for one week, so you will often find yourself throwing away a half-full bottle. The same goes for the beansprouts, celery and mangetout, which are only easy to come by in larger quantities than listed here.
But Barry laps it up. The quantities I’ve used here would feed a small army of scorpions, or possibly even four humans, in case your family are freaks who don’t like mud pies.

Happy times and places
Your friend,
The mysterious Mr Turtlewind, Esq

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