Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Anti-cuts March + Knit & Craft Show + Singapore Black Pepper Crab Sauce, With Fish!

The anti-cuts march at Hyde Park, we were there. I went because I believe that some things are important but ultimately not profitable, like universal healthcare and education. I wish I'd brought my phone/camera along but I was minimising baggage and brought nothing.

Went for food at Piccadilly Circus after, passing paint-splattered Topshop en route, and after food we accidentally entered the 'violent' breakaway protest group and stayed to watch with the rest of the onlookers, tourists, and official observers. We were on the little memorial thingy near the station so had a relatively good view of what was going on. Yes, there was a little heap of things burning, but it looks a lot bigger zoomed in on TV. Riot police marching back and forth.

The demands of the protesters (at Hyde Park) seemed simple enough. Don't destroy the NHS, get money from outstanding tax still owed by wealthy tax evaders. A common question I heard was: But why did they get Topshop? The answer is: He evades tax, tax enough for you and me. Let's not buy bullshit clothes from the Topshop-Arcadia empire, they're not that good anyway. The big Topshop on Oxford Circus also sells ridiculously overpriced old clothes in their vintage section - get the same from your local charity shops, or if you're in London, the East End Thrift Store is amazing.

Of course, that's not the point. It's not really about whether there's enough money from the public to serve the public (and to put things in perspective, surely the money that goes to commercial profits mostly come from average people, people buying Panadol, people buying Topshop clothes, for example, and this somehow accumulates in the offshore accounts of a few people. It would make a huge difference if this money was funnelled back into salaries for workers, or actually put into research.), it's about their free market fantasy. Some stuff, just isn't profitable.

Happier matters: the week before that I'd gone to the Stitch & Craft show at Olympia and got some lovely cowboy fabric with which I made a little clutch. I'm also going to make a tote. Let's rebel against capitalism and make our own accessories! I have pictures from it I need to put up.

I also successfully cooked black pepper crab but with stingray instead of crab. Black pepper crab is a food of Singapore, where I'm from. I got my version from my mother's amazing cookbook. It is tasty and most importantly tastes authentic. I haven't tried any black pepper crabs or whatever in London but I'm sure this recipe is better and more authentic than them. If they even exist. Truth.

I mostly followed the recipe, but simplified it into two major steps: blend and fry.

Singapore Black Pepper Crab Sauce (with ray wing)

Blend with a little water into a paste: 1) one onion chopped into quarters, 2) about 10 garlic cloves, 3) 10 dried bird's eye chillies (I use dried piri piri from the African shop because I can get that on my way home). I used my handy mini chopper. I like very very spicy food so I don't recommend you use 10 dried piri piri, unless that's how you roll.

Blend together the sauce: 2 tbsp of each of these (pictured): soy sauce (I used light soy sauce), thick soy sauce (I used Ayam Brand kicap manis instead but Waitrose has a version, I think called ketjap manis), ketchup, oyster sauce, ground black pepper. You're meant to use 1 tbsp fish sauce but I have the little bottle of Bart's fish sauce with a very small opening, so I used a few tiny shakes. This bottle of fish sauce is not sensible if you use fish sauce frequently.

You're also meant to use spicy sesame oil but I don't have any. Blend the ground black pepper

I used a ray wing and pre-fried it. It's soft and white and flakes, so I imagine you can cook a can of tuna in this sauce and the effect would be similar.

After frying, remove the ray wing to drain onto a plate, and fried the paste until fragrant and not moist.

Return the ray wing to the wok and mixed it in with the paste, fry quickly for a few seconds.

Add blended sauce and half a cup of water, and cook through. Sauce should be thick.

I added little tomatoes before serving, like the picture in the book, although the recipe calls for quartering regular tomatoes. Serve with plain boiled rice or fried buns/mantou. Rice is easier.


1 comment:

  1. This was the day James started preferring his Wife's cooking to his Mother's.