Sunday, 2 March 2014

Everything Deep-fried is so Jolly Good (unedited) - South Shropshire Journal 21/2/14

The other day I was enjoying a pint of Hobsons best bitter (one of my top five favourite all time beers) in the Sun Inn in Leintwardine (one of my top five favourite local pubs) when I got a bit peckish. They don’t do food at the Sun but there’s a fish ‘n’ chippy next door. So I popped in, placed my order and twenty minutes later a smiley lady delivered it to my table in the pub. Cracking arrangement. As I sat there ploughing through a delicious pile of fried stuff – with a massive pickled gherkin and a tub of mushy peas on the side – it occurred to me that so many of my very favourite things have spent time in the deep-fat fryer.

Spanish churros, dusted with sugar and dunked in bitter-sweet hot chocolate; doughnuts from the chap at the fair who looks like he could do with a good shower; hot samosas; Italian fritto misto; Clive at Ludlow’s Green CafĂ© used to do amazing deep fried pigs’ brains with sauce gribiche. Love it all. Deep-fried stuff gets a bum wrap, but hang it: the taste and texture implications far outweigh the scare mongering from the Association of Squeaky Clean Arteries. Live dangerously I say. Although maybe not as dangerously as I did once after a few ‘heavies’ one evening in Edinburgh after wrapping up a week’s worth of board-treading at the Fringe (there’s so much you don’t know about me).

Under the assumption that I’d purchased a humble cheeseburger you can only imagine my horror and delight upon bighting into this thing. The burger itself had been injected with lurid orange processed cheese then dunked in batter and plunged in boiling oil. Reader, it was truly magnificent. The following day however, I became more familiar than I would have wished with pretty much every single service station between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Stevenage.

Every year a gang of us go to the Ludlow point-to-point races and every year, I’m the Scotch Egg Guy. It’s a faff of greater worth than any other faff I know, because of all the stupendous stuff to come out of the fryer, there is none better than my point-to-point Scotch eggs. This is an actual fact. I don’t know who invented this much-molested culinary marvel but I doubt it was a Scotsman (I refer you back to the Edinburgh episode). This is the only time I ever deep fry as the smell of bad pub kitchen tends to permeate the whole house for days. A properly made Scotch egg, still hot, with a crisp exterior, moist sausage meat, and a runny yolk would definitely make it onto my list of top five favourite things to eat ever in the whole world. 

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