Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Veggie Curry

Don't be put off. It's not really veggie.

You will NEED, in the way of ingredients:

Spuds. Not too floury. Maris piper or summat.
Onions (because everything needs onions).
Mustard seed (black).
Chillis (because it's a curry).
Peppers (red/green/yellow etc.)
Coriander (a shedload), but not dried.
Anything else beginning with "C", to be truthful.
Other veg. Rooty stuff, such as parsnips, swede, carrot, yams.
Okra, aka Ladies' Fingers.
Oil (could be olive but it tends to brown). Ghee would be nice. Groundnut will do.
A lamb bone. Beef will do but lamb's better. Marrow, you know. Butcher's will give you this.
White wine.
Gin and either tonic water or good quality lemonade like Gini.


Beetroot (not pickled).


A Le Crueset (shameless plug) or similar cooking pot suitable for hob AND oven. A lid is essential.


Put some oil in the pan. About a spoonful. Heat it until it is smoking hot. Now, holding the lid with one hand, and a pile of mustard seeds in the other, in one deft movement throw in the seeds and whack on the lid IN THAT ORDER. This is an acquired art.

Wait until the dust settles and the noise stops. Put burnt hand under cold running water until the pain subsides.

Turn down heat to as low as possible.

Put in salt. Lots of salt.

Chop up onions and garlic and chillis and peppers and sling them in.

Let them all go soft, whilst drinking gin.

Sling in coriander (take out of the bag first and remove any elastic bands etc). Don't cut it up or anything silly.

Put in spuds, chopped up. Heat on low for 10 more minutes, give it a stir. Drink gin.

Add all the spice and any other spices etc you feel appropriate. Slosh in wine.



When happy, put in oven on 101 Celsius (no more) for about half an hour. Drink gin and/or wine. It will go disturbingly dry.

Pull it out. If the coriander hasn't wilted somewhat, put it in again for ten minutes or so.

Now add all other veg (BUT NOT OKRA), chopped up, and the lamb bone. Cover with water and/or wine and/or stock such as Bisto, Oxo, that posh Swiss stuff etc.

Cook for anything between half and six hours. I prefer six. Look every now and again, if it's dry add more liquid. Not gin.

Add Okra. Cook for another 20 minutes or so.

Eat. Drink remaining gin/wine/cider/wine/more wine.

Can be served with rice.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Marvo Stars

Wilkommen. Bienvenu. Welcome.

I have no idea how the Michelin Star system, the benchmark by which fine diners choose their venue of choice, works. I should. I eat in many of them. I know that they let me down, often.

So, I, Marvo, have decided to start my own system to let people know the reality of fine dining throughout the world.

No more bull. I have recently travelled the world (all right, little bits of Europe) and have eaten and (become) drunk in some strange places.

As an introduction to this blog, let me say that of the many Michelin Starred establishments of whom I've recently been a guest, I can thoroughly recommend the Ivy (good for celeb-watching) in London, Arzak (pyrotechnics) in Spain, and Toni Vicente (huge brandy snaps) again in Spain. The absence of a recommendation at this point probably indicates that I haven't been there, or that it's actually pants. 

Michelin base their awards on service and food. Broadly speaking. God knows how they come to their decisions. Trust Marvo though, I won't let you down.

My criteria are these:
  • "Wow" factor.
Ah. You've seen through my ploy. Yes, that's it. Food, service, welcome. Anything. But it must be hugely WOW. Because that's why you're not paying £2.99 for a piece of breaded beef in a crap bun.

It needs to start on arrival. It needs to go all the way through the experience. And in the morning, you shouldn't be thinking "Shit. I paid THAT?"

So, in my inaugural Marvo Star blog, I'll not keep you in suspense. I'll go for the killer. If you think you've got somewhere better, faster, more shiny, let me know.


The Jesmond Dene, Newcastle.

Look it up. It's on Google. Trip Advisor. All sorts.

And it's bloody brilliant. Get a cab (only, obviously, if you're staying in Newcastle). A chap, a very nice chap at that, will open the cab door for you. Even if it's a pikey student-type cab.

They have a "tasting" menu. Go for it. It features wow, wow and wow. The head chef, a Pierre Rigothier, has a seriously sharp knife. And he's on Twitter, so if I'm wrong, you can flay him. But you won't be disappointed.

Compare this with certain places (I'm taking legal advice before I name them). Where they serve foie gras, fresh foie gras, in a lump, lightly fried, in a Silence of the Lambs-stylee. Just DON'T. Where they think that a selection of stupid cuttings on a Chinese spoon passes for an amuse bouche. Just DON'T.

All right, it will cost you. Over £100 a head. Plus the fat end of £50 for the wine to go with it. But in the morning, you'll thank me.

That's the first one. I hope the blog gets better.

Thanks for looking.