Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Wannabe Man

They say a man likes to do things alone. Being alone, they say, can make you lonely. I was alone, but not lonely quite yet. I had my choicest poison for company, and enough dope to last many weeks. That stuff can drive you crazy though, especially when you're alone. It can also give you epileptic cravings for anything sweet. I skimmed through my options. I didn't want to bake a cake. Baking is for pansies. I'd rather go for a frozen dessert. Frozen stiff, and a barrel of alcohol to wash it down with. Or better still, one could add the alcohol to the dessert.
I went hunting for the ingredients. I'm desisting from using the word shop, because that's way too emasculating. But then it occurred to me, only ladies would go to such lengths to 'get' ingredients for dessert. I altered my plans a little bit. I needed to make some other thing that would be a great excuse to go foraging for dessert ingredients. So I went hunting for some meat, a rather adventurous thing at this hour, considering I had very little moolah and only a cubbyhole butcher shop to buy it from. But I like hunting for meat this way. And for today's efforts, it gives a rough edge to the whole deal.
So I asked for an under-cut piece of pork. If you're in my city you'll soon realise this is a highly coveted piece. Most of the stock gets over because crony floozies from restaurants across town will flock here to handpick the best cuts early in the morning, even before the swine has bled its last drop. Luckily for me today, though, they had a piece left.
Normally I like conversing with the butcher. About how fresh the meat is and what different kind of cuts there are. Today though, he seemed amnesiac; a puzzled face that pretended to not know what he was doing. Most of all, I heard him tell his assistant to not wear that shirt to work. This annoyed the life out of me. This butcher, with the enormous shoulders and beefy arms wielding a gigantic meat cleaver, was beginning to look like a little pansy. I like my butchers hardfaced and stone-hearted; how else would they do justice to their jobs? Tenderness in a butcher is anathema to his profession.
I grunted at him to quickly carve me some pieces of chops. I think he got the hint. In a ruthless-but-deft stroke, he hacked the chops out, much to my heart's content. I handed him the money, in exchange for the meat. I walked out. There was a fish market up ahead. I like fish, but only the ones I've caught. So I gave the market a pass. Next to the fish market were these vegetable shacks. They sell fruits out there as well. I bought some peppers to go with the steak. Also some mushrooms, beans, leeks, courgettes, cherry tomatoes and chillies. Also an  avocado for a side salad. I was on my way to buying the ingredients for the dessert, when it hit me. The smell... It was so real that I lost my bearings for a second. I'll tell you why. If you sniff carefully, hovering somewhere in this market, at a point where the fruit, vegetable, meat and fish stalls intersect, is a place that smells exactly ........like a woman's netherland. Making a mental note of the spot, I left for home.
I marinated the pork chunks in soya sauce for half an hour. Before adding a dash of rosemary, I rubbed crushed garlic on the meat. Then proceeded to pan-sear the meat, first, and then the vegetables. They say when garlic and butter come together, a chef is born somewhere. I'd say when you add rosemary to the mix, all the sins a chef has committed in his lifetime are forgiven by heaven above. Once the meat is seared and sizzled golden on both sides, take it out and add chopped vegetables. That's it. Stir fry and it's done. 
It was awesome, to say the least. Now the excuse for a male chauvinistic dessert over, I proceeded to actually make it. Crushed some hobnob cookies to a fine crumble, and after adding a lavish portion of melted butter, set it in the dessert tray. I put it in the fridge, to make the base firm, and now focused on the condensed milk to make toffee out of. Boiled it for hours, and after layering the cookie crust (now out of the fridge) with split bananas, ran the toffee solution over it. Added whipped cream and shaved chocolate flakes on top and we're ready.
Now if you wish, you can pour the vodka on top of it. It'll taste like shit, but you can have dessert like a man.

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