Friday, 9 July 2010

St Bernard

I have a piece of paper in front of me and the word Russia in a bubble.

Think of words Laura. Think.

Vodka of course, or wodka, coleslaw, borscht, cold, fur coats, the Kremlin, Gorbachov, Anna Kournikova , Chicken Kiev and James Bond films.

I could not muster 10.

I have always been fascinated with the notion of spy's and indeed the word spy. Our tabloids have been awash recently with the furtive few who have made their way into the US.

When I think of Spy's I tend to think of that Slugsworth chap who accosts young Charlie Bucket with information on the Everlasting Gobstopper. I have also watched every Bourne film at least 6 times and know that Spy's can also be quite normal looking blokes who go by the trendy name of Jason.

I was stunned by the equally stunning spy who is caught up in the latest scandal in the US, 28 year old Anna Chapman. Like something more expectant from a 60s spoof movie of the cold war, Ms Chapman is one of 11 spy's who has been working in cahoots and infiltrating in amongst typical suburban America. The spy's were a very back to basics crew using all the Pink Panther techniques of invisible ink, bag swaps and transmitter radios.

I like the subterfuge and clueso feel good factor of these heists, especially as she also hung out in one of my fave haunts, Starbucks. Why not write secret notes on serviettes whilst enjoying a skinny hazelnut with poppyseed muffin?

Back onto the cold front for Ms Chapman and back to some decent Ruski cooking.

I have been flirting with the Cold front recently, namely the freezer aisle in the supermarket and the shaped meat products.

Not one to invest in such uniformed protein shapes, I allow myself these as a treat once in a blue moon.

A snack (it does not have the sustenance of a meal) that has been a firm favourite in my back catalogue since the 80s is that of the Bootiful Bernard Matthews Mini Kiev.

As it goes, I feel the same for Turkey as I do about Tennis. I can cope with it once a year. It is dull, full of promise and like the length of a game, can be unpredictable when cooking. In fact Andy Murray should be on the Bernard Matthews adverts as opposed to our ruddy faced faux-farmer (more on him later).

I had some very special guests visiting my lair last week and I wanted a meal that would provide sustenance after a long journey, yet a big fat warm cuddle and tickle under the chin.

I allow myself a bag of Mini Kiev's every year.

A staple in my childhood diet. Back when our meals were autistically planned by my Mum, we knew that one day would be a processed food day. The whole house would be full of a smell similar to that in a hot and stuffy pie and cake shop. Buttery and warm.

The mini kiev's went in a perfect partnership with another big player from the freezer. Curly fries.

Bouncy, podgy and glistening with crispy oil, they had all the credentials of a delicious accompaniment to our Kiev. If you were really lucky, sometimes your curly fries had obviously spent a little longer on the extruding machine an you ended up with some serious slinky ring curly fries.

Beans provided the necessary moisture to this otherwise labour intensive meal on our incisors and molars.

The plate was a sea of rust and terracotta.

Not a green in sight.

And that was the way we liked it.

For those of you who led unprivileged lives as children, or had to exist on a sodium free diet and munch raisins on your lunch as opposed to Wagon Wheels.

Mini Kiev's are a dinky spherical ball of chopped and shaped Turkey meat. The ball is then injected with a heavenly narcotic blend of salty cream cheese and a garlic and parsley sauce. The deviant ball is then rolled in an autumnal batch of Annatto E160 breadcrumbs.

12 minutes from frozen for optimum oozage, the spongiform construction of the kiev provides a perfect host to the heady sauce that is penetrating the porous walls like Kerry Katona being under interrogation from Piers Morgan and Max Clifford after a night on blue wkd.

Like all things affected during the recession. I was surprised by my short change from the bag. Feeling through the bag, I could detect 8 balls. That is 2 and a half each for my soiree. Not a chance. I'll take 3 bags squire.

The dimensions make it easy work for full inhalation should you wish to eat it "dry" that is, with no accompaniments.

Carving into your turkey and there it is. Glutinous liquid gold. My guests were intoxicated and equally enthused with the notion of injected foods. More please!!!

Mr Matthews has been hit hard in his barbour jacket since the factory scandal in the annus horribulus of 2006 where two factory workers were caught on hidden camera playing baseball with live Turkeys, then the outbreak of Bird Flu. I am firmly of the opinion though that even animals are allowed days off sick. Mr Oliver then didn't do any favours with his exposure of the rabid Turkey Twizzlers on his school meal's horror campaign.

Yes, Bernard and his bootiful Turkey was well and truly stuffed.

A man who I would personally prefer to see suited and bootifully booted in Barbour attire is Marco Pierre White. The godfather of the kitchen has signed a six-figure deal to promote the turkeys and pre-prepared foods made by Bernard Matthews Farms.

To be frank, the scandal only put me off the boxes of crepe paper ham for a couple of years, but I still kept faithful to my beloved Kievs.

Traditionally made in Russia using it's more socially acceptable sibling, chicken, the Kiev is a gastro classic which is enjoying an electro induced 80s revival in many slick restaurants now. The Kiev is ideal for appealing to your inner child. Like tapping onto a soft boiled egg or poking a chocolate fondant pudding, there are very few pleasures for me.

Carving into your turkey and there it is smeared all over your plate in all it's wobbly garlicky glory. Injected food is a feat of physics in itself. I am shocked that Heston has not taken the opportunity to wreak havoc with homemade kiev's in his fat duck test kitchens yet.

My friend and I at this point (at least once per month) wax lyrical of fallen soldiers that have been AWOL from our supermarket shelves.

Ketchups, another injected food had all the script of a classic accompaniment to our Kiev. Being beige, it would have been perfect on the colour wheel of beige's and bronzes that bestowed us.
A potato croquette injected with ketchup which were cooked from frozen, have not been seen since the easily the start of the 90s. Frozen food fables say that they were pulled off the production line for health and safety regs. Damn you ES 00001. The underlying reason being that the temperature of the Ketchup was too high and providing people with a serious case of Pizza chin (the light abrasions suffered from escapee Pizza cheese on the chin).

4 rogue balls left in the freezer went down nicely as a cheeky amuse bouche to stave off the hunger pangs earlier this week.

So there you have it. Throw on your diadora tracksuit and Casio watch, whack on some KLF and you have yourself a little slice... er sorry sphere of history.

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