Sunday, 12 September 2010

Food festival

One of the nicest things about being an author is that sometimes you are invited to do things out of your day to day life - well, I've never cooked in front of a group of strangers before, but today, on the live food stage at Brighton & Hove Food Festival, I did.  And jolly good fun it was too.
The real chef was old mate Andrew Kay, but I was allowed my own radio mike, chopping board and very sharp knife, which I eyes with a great deal of mistrust. I was convinced that I'd cut myself and bleed on stage, and there's nowhere to hide, as there are those horrible professional mirrors above the working surfaces and cooker, as well as cameras following your every move.... But, fear not, all went well.
It was a stonking wonderful autumn day, bright blue skies, sunshine and a hint of falling leaves and conkers in the air.  Tapas was on the menu, so we knocked up Chorizo and Butter Beans, Chicken livers in Sherry, Green beans braised in Olive Oil and Garlic and some Padron Peppers - now, I'm sure you are all aware that the infamous padron peppers is the equivalent of a gastronomic game of Russian Roulette.  These pretty looking green things are briskly pan fried in olive oil till blistered then drenched in flaky sea salt and eaten warm.  They are sweet and delicious - but - one  in ten are fearsome hot.  I mean, mouth numbingly, sweat inducing, throat clutchingly hot.  What to do? Well, I picked a random looking innocent and chomped away.  Nothing but sweetness and a salty taste.  Andrew was not so lucky.... Poor boy, nor the woman sitting in the second row.  A certain amount of schadenfreude on my part was going on, it had to be said.
The food went down incredibly well, judging from the rush of people to sample it - but the best was definitely the Chorizo and Butter Beans.  A perfect quick snack or a great supper dish with some crusty bread and a sharp green salad. So, here it is.....
Olive oil
1 large sweet onion
1 good quality cooking chorizo
2 or 3 tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
1 large tin of Butter Beans, drained
 Pinch of smoked sweet paprika
Slug of sherry

Throw the thinly sliced onion into the hot oil along with the garlic and sweat for a few minutes, add the chopped chorizo and watch in amazement as the colour from the chorizo turns everything the most glorious colour.  Breathe in the heavenly aroma for a while whilst stirring and imagine a back street of Barcelona, complete with orange trees and clinking wine glasses and a rather gorgeous man smiling at you... oh sorry.... I drifted off there for a moment....anyway, let it all sizzle away for about 10 minutes then add all the rest of the ingredients, put the lid on the pan and leave it for another five to ten minutes. Time to pour a glass of wine and make the salad.  That's it.  Simple and gorgeous.  Cheers.

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