I’ve realised that when I read cookery recipes in the weekend papers, about 75 per cent of the time I can’t get through the whole thing before something makes me say “oh, fuck off” and I know I’m never going to cook it. I’ve also realised it’s much more fun to say “oh, fuck off” out loud.
Usually it’s an ingredient that will be a pain in the arse to get hold of, require a special trip to a really big supermarket, an Asian grocery in Manchester’s Old Trafford, or a delicatessen, and I’ll only use whatever it is once before it goes off.
Here are some of the different things in recipes that have made me reach the “oh, fuck off” point today:
- 2-3 tbsp chipotles en adobo. Oh, fuck off. If I have to Google it to find out exactly what ‘en adobo’ is, I bet my local Morrisons won’t have it.
- A quarter of a teaspoon of pink peppercorns. Oh, fuck off. I’ll use them once in a blue moon and besides they go soft and gum up the pepper mill when you try to grind them. I’ll use black ones, or most likely I won’t bother with the recipe.
- 2 juniper berries, roughly crushed. Oh, fuck off. When else am I going to use those, even if I can find some? Unless I have a rush of blood to the head and decide to try and make my own gin.
- 40g Japanese pickled ginger. Oh, fuck off. Like they’re going to have that in Tesco Express.
- 10-12 fresh curry leaves. Oh, fuck off. I bet they smell and taste great but I’d be surprised if there’ll be anywhere I know that sells them, and even if they do I don’t know what they look like so I won’t spot them. I could probably substitute curry powder but I’ve no idea how much and…oh, fuck it, the deal’s off.
- 1.5 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds. Oh, fuck off with knobs on. I expect this is actually in the spices section of Morrisons but I really can’t be arsed.
- 2 tbsp kecap manis. Oh, fuck off. Apparently it’s a sweet soy sauce that can be found in larger supermarkets, online, and in south-east Asian food shops. Well I’ll just spend an hour on the tram going to Chinatown and back, shall I?
- “Fill a very large pan with salty water – it should be salty like the sea – and bring to the boil”. Oh, fuck off. How do I know how salty the sea is? I can probably remember the right taste from last time I got some sea water in my mouth while swimming but I’ve no idea how much salt I’m supposed to chuck into a pan to achieve that level of saltiness. It doesn’t come up very often, to be honest with you. And I’m buggered if I’m going to be standing round tasting the boiling water I’m about to cook my pasta in. And yeah, I could take a guess, but the chances are I’ll overdo it and the whole thing will be inedible.
Main image by Chris Payne