Man vs Phaal

17 08 2011

When I have a spare moment I quite like watching the television show Man vs Food with hyperactive glutton Adam Richman.

For those of you who haven’t seen the show Adam travels the length and breadth of the US taking on various food challenges, most of the time these challenges are focused on Adam eating ridiculously large servings within a set period of time. These episodes are all very well and good but my favourites have been the episodes which feature some slightly spicier adversaries.

One such episode featured Adam taking on the phaal challenge at the Brick Lane Curry house in Manhattan.

I was intrigued to see this episode for a number of reasons; firstly I love Indian cuisine, I would possibly go so far as to say it is my favourite food, added to that a good phaal has to be one of my favourite dishes and I have eaten so many of them that I have lost count. Some were better than others but they all have one thing in common, they are all pretty damn hot!

Secondly I was intrigued to get a look at the food being served by the Brick Lane Curry House  seeing as I grew up within spitting distance of the actual Brick Lane in East London and have eaten my way along the entire length of it over the past 20 years or so.

Well I watched it and I laughed and laughed and laughed some more, whilst I am sure that it IS a very hot curry I am completely not convinced that it requires quite the hullabaloo that seems to surround it.

Enjoy…

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Banks UCB – Ultimate Curry Beer

28 06 2011

 

Here is a bit of an oddity that I turned up on draft at the Coppermill in Walthamstow last time that I was back home.

As the sharp eyed amongst you may have spotted UCB stands for Ultimate Curry Beer and it has been brewed specifically to accompany said food stuff, now as anyone who has set foot in the Coppermill will know there isn’t really food on offer in the pub, pickled egg anyone, as such I was drinking this with my usual accompaniment of more pints.

I have heard from a few people that UCB really isn’t a beer to be drunk by itself and whilst I don’t completely agree with them I can see their point, it has a very strong, very hoppy flavour and may not be to everyone’s tastes, however with a good spicy curry it would work perfectly.

Personally I like strong tasting beers and actually enjoyed this as a nice pint for a relaxed afternoon session, the 5.3% ABV is easy going enough that you could sink more than a few pints with ease yet strong enough that know you still know youare having a beer.

In terms of appearance UCB is a rich, golden brown with a fairly thick creamy head not unlike a pint of stout or dare I mention it… Caffreys – Shudder. The head lasts well for the duration of the pint with a fair amount of lacing.

In terms of taste and aroma the hopping comes through very clearly along with some strong citrus and a little floral hint, as mentioned previously the hopping IS strong but in a refreshing way.

All in all a pretty good pint and worth a try IF you happen to come across it, if you are lucky enough to come across it at the same time as a good hot curry then you are in for a real treat.

3.6/5





The Kings Ford – Chingford E4

22 10 2010
The King’s Ford
250-252 Chingford Mount Road
Chingford
E4 8JL
Phone
020 8523 9365

The Kings Ford is part of the JD Wetherspoon chain of pubs and as always with Wetherspoon pubs you mostly know whar you are gonig to get before you even enter the door.

There is the usual cheap, cheerful and filling pub grub there are the same specials nights and same offers that you see scrawled on chalk boards the length and breadth of the country.

There is also the same bittersweet feeling that accompanies all Wetherspoon venues; I always feel a pang of dissapointment that the pub in question is part of a chain and isn’t an independant local free from the whims of big busines. However at the same time this is always offset by the fact that if Wetherspoons weren’t around there would be even fewer pubs then there now are and far fewer pubs would serve real ale

All that aside the King’s Ford isn’t a bad little pub; certainly it is one of the few options if you want to drink well kept real ales at a pub in Waltham Forest and that alone makes it worth a mention.

You certainly wouldn’t visit the King’s Ford for the decor, it is dark and dingy inside and looks like it is overdue a spot of renovation, but then I guess Wetherspoon have bigger fish to fry then the wallpaper of a pub in Chingford.

The atmosphere in the pub is nice enough during the day and in early evenings when it is mostly old men passing the day away enjoying a cheap pint or 5. Over the weekend it does get busy, the cheap price of drinks makes it a popular place for people to start the night off before heading on elswe as such there can be a distinct lack of seating from about 8.30 onwards.

Service is normally good and the pub seems really well run, the current management are strict on checking ID which seems to deter a lot of the underage kids that often make a Wetherspoon pub their home from home.

There are usually at least 5 ales on tap and the selection is good, even by Wetherspoon standards. Last time I was in the King’s Ford they had Abbot Ale, Greene King IPA, Rudgate Ruby Mild and two beers from the Brentwood Brewery – Chockwork Orange and Hope & Glory.

I can really recommend the Chockwork Orange, it is a beautifully complex dark ale coming in at a pleasant 6.5%.

As well as the real ales on tap they also had a cider that managed to fall outside of the usual strongbow or magners selection  in this case it was Weston’s Marcle Hill.

If you are looking for a traditional English pub full of character then the King’s Ford probably isn’t the pub for you, but if you are looking for a good selection of real ales at a great price and happen to be in the area then give it a go.





The Coppermill – Walthamstow E17

1 10 2010

Address: 205, Coppermill Lane, London, E17 7HF

Tel: 08721 077 077

Stuck away at the bottom of Coppermill Lane by Walthamstow Marshes The Coppermill is a local pub in a way that very few pubs in London seem to be anymore.

Most of the people you will find drinking in here are locals  and the pub caters to their wants and needs; you won’t find Thai food rushing out of a kitchen or theme nights or a 2nd rate celebrity chef  on site but you will find a quiet pleasant pub which serves good beer that is well kept. A far cry by the standard of pubs in Walthamstow.

Whilst it is a little off the beaten track it is still close enough to the tube and overhead train stations to make it easy enough for a visitor to find (less than half a mile from Blackhorse road and St James street stations and about .8 of a mile from Walthamstow Central)

The pub is a  little on the small side and if you don’t manage to get a seat it can feel a little cramped; there is one single bar with seating around the outside of the room and there is now seating outside which is really nice on a summer’s evening.

The decor of the pub is a little overdone and if you didn’t realise from the get go that it’s a local pub you certainly will when you see that there are caricatures of regulars all over the place and that some people seem to have assigned seating…. All that aside I have never felt unwelcome in the Coppermill and the atmosphere is very pleasant; I also have it on good authority that they are more welcoming to gays and lesbians then most of the other pubs in the local area.

There is no really food offering here but that isn’t what this place is about,  if you are hungry mid-session there are the usual crisps and peanuts on offer along with some bar snacks more to my liking; pickled eggs, jellied eels and sometimes even some rollmops (pickled herrings rolled up with onion and gerkin) delicious!

When it comes to drinks all the usual culprits are available along with 4 handpumps, normally they have Greene King IPA, Fullers ESB and London Pride on the ramp and all are very well kept.  The 4th pump is for guest beers which rotate fairly frequently.

Most recently when I was in the Coppermill they had Thwaites Wainwright on as the guest beer which was no hardship, I have also had very good pints of Bombadier and Ringwoods Old Thumper out of there as well.

If you are looking for a nice day out I can think of a lot worse things to do then take a walk or cycle through to the marshes or the River Lea and popping into the Coppermill on the way.





Turkish Lahmacun

22 03 2010

If there is one thing that I miss about the UK, and let’s face it there aren’t that many things, it’s the wonderful variety of different cuisines that are available to you on your doorstep, particularly where I am from in East London.

One of the many styles of food that I get a craving for quite regularly is Turkish and when I get that itch there is really and truly only one thing that is going to scratch it – Lahmacun.

These delicious little flat breads topped with spicy meat and a tangy peppery sauce are divine and as soon as you try them you will see why!

As I haven’t got a Turkish or Greek deli anywhere near me I have had to make some substitutions for a couple of ingredients however it isn’t many and the Lahmacun still taste great!

Ingredients:

10 mexican tortillas or any other type of flat bread
500 gr lean ground beef or lamb
2 medium onions
1 handful of parsley finely chopped
1 tbsp red pepper paste*
2 large tomatoes, seeds discarded
1 tsp flaked peppers or 1 red chilli de-seeded and very finely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 tsp salt

Method:

Chop and mix together all the ingredients except the ground beef / lamb. When it is well mixed together  knead it in with the ground beef. Put the mixture into a plastic bag and Refrigerate for about an hour, then let it stand on the work surface for 20 minutes or so before cooking.

Set the oven to about 180 and make sure you have two baking trays ready. Take some of the topping  and spread it over the flat bread as one even layer.

Place on the baking trays and put the trays on the second rack from the top in the oven. Bake for about 3-4 minutes, making sure not to burn the edges of the bread.

Place a paper towel at the bottom of a large pot. Fold the cooked Lahmacun in half and put them in the pot to keep them warm with the lid closed.

 When all are of the lahmacun are cooked, serve with a simple side salad while they’re still warm.

* If you can’t find turkish red pepper paste then you can follow the recipe here in order to make your own.








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