Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Dogfather, and Chilli

When I was younger, there used to be an American fast food chain called A&W in Singapore. As far as I can recall they mainly sold three things: a) hot dogs called 'coney dogs', waffles, and root beer. I liked my root beer in float form. One day they packed up and disappeared, leaving canned root beer in their wake, and left me with a hankering for hot dogs.

On Saturdays, there's a little market thing on North Cross Road in East Dulwich.
You walk past the hog roast, past the clothes, past the fair trade coffee van (the coffee is lovely, and you can get bags of beans), past baked goods, somerset fudge, caribbean food, stews and pies, and towards the end you'll get to a stand called the Dogfather Diner.

They have light up cactuses, hot sauce, jalapenos, a dog, and a long queue.

We like their hot dogs. They're hot dogs that remind me, very much, of the A&W coney dog but much, much better. The hot dog (sausage) bit of the hot dog is 100% beef, kosher Shechita, halal, and there's even vegetarian options - a hot dog for everyone. I'm not sure what the vegetarian option is because the regular hot dog is so awesome.

We like the Mexican Elvis.

It's got beans, cheese, guacamole, jalapenos, and onions. I'm not sure how it's Elvis, but there you go. All that's missing is root beer.

Please, you need to go to this place.

Today me and James cooked chilli.

Here is the recipe:

My tasty and easy Chilli Recipe

I have an inauthentic but easy and great-tasting chilli recipe. I read lots of differet chilli recipes and tried a few different ones before assembling this, maximising simplicity and taste, and minimising time spent on cooking and skills required.

Cook your rice. I cook mine in a rice cooker that can keep the rice warm for some time, so I put some rice in the rice cooker and press the button before I start everything else.

First boil some water.

Next choose your dried chillies and steep them in the hot water. This is important, because you'll need to steep it for at least 20 minutes. We chose a mixture of de Arbol chillies, chilpotle, ancho, half a naga jolokia, and some others from my dried chilli collection. You can have what you like or what you have. I usually use the types that I want and as many as I want. You will make a chilli paste with these. The more chillies, the thicker the paste. The dried chillies also provide the bulk of the flavour for the chilli dish itself. I like adding smoky-tasting chillies in. If you're looking for dried chillies in the UK, I got many of mine from the South Devon Chilli Farm website.

I realise I'm meant to dry-roast the chillies first in a heavy-bottomed pan or skillet, but I don't. I kind of fear dry-roasting, it sounds like something that requires common sense or a specialist dry-roasting skill. Without dry-roasting the chillies, the end result might be inaccurate but tastes well enough to me.

Meanwhile dice 1 red onion and mince 6 garlic cloves. We used a garlic press. James is good at dicing onions and diced it.

Also use the time to assemble the following items: mince, 1tsbp ground cumin, 1tbsp chilli powder, 1tbsp dried oregano, 1 can kidney beans (drain) and 1 can tomatoes (I used canned plum tomatoes, but have used other things like canned cherry tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, etc.)

At this point the chillies should be ready. Put the chillies and a bit of the chilli soaking water in your blender (I used my mini chopper), and blend it to a paste.

Heat up some oil in your pot of choice. I used my Zojirushi electric thing that I've talked about earlier, the one with the adjustable heat slider.

The method is easy:

Fry the onion and garlic.

Fry mince until browned.

Add cumin, chilli powder, oregano. Continue to fry.

Add drained kidney beans. Continue mixing and frying.

Add chilli slush and can of tomatoes. If too thick add some chilli soaking water.

Add salt to taste.


Put lid on and simmer until done to the consistency you like.

Tomorrow is strike day, but I've just started my new permanent job and haven't joined the union yet. I only received my pensions information pack in the mail a short while ago. There's lots of PCS application forms all over work and I've picked one up and filled it in, but that means that I'm now too late to join the strike. I'll have to go into work instead of march with the people.

I will have to bring some chilli for lunch so I won't have to walk through the picket twice.

And I will unionise and not be a scab in the next strike.

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