jamie remover.

So there I was in front of the sink today, holding a shiny clean butter knife in each hand. I turned around to face the kitchen island bar thingie, which I knew was the next thing I’d wanted to do, but once facing the island I was at a bit of a loss as to why I had not one but two butter knives, since I was the only one there. I looked down and saw the two pieces of fresh toast I'd just toasted. Ah, right, of course: one knife for buttering each piece of toast.

Welcome to temazepam. Luckily Thursday night’s dose was my last, and hopefully by tomorrow I will begin to return to Logic Land. And being able to type all of the letters in a word in the right order.


So I bet you’re wondering what that has to do with the hellish carnage pictured above, aren’t you? Nothing. But I’ll give you five whole U.S. dollars (equivalent to approximately 1 euro these days if I'm not mistaken) if you can tell me what book that photo is from (with a prerequisite being that you don’t already own the book).

Give up? Good, I can't spare the cash. It’s a photo from Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook, which is actually………pretty good. Entertaining, beautifully laid out and interestingly photographed, and pretty honestly Italian (for example, they're using the kid's plastic wading pool to catch the draining bloody entrails of a freshly killed animal...we saw that all the time in Italy). I’m borrowing somebody’s copy, and the reason I am is because when we were in Bergen last month:

Kenny made some very very good Sicilian polpette di tonno (tuna meatballs to me and you) based on a recipe from the book. He didn’t have the book with him in Bergen (which says several good things about Kenny), and couldn’t remember all of the ingredients because he was so fucking wasted (not really, he's a dad now), but what he did do was both attractive (though this picture does it no justice):

And really really fresh and delicious. Actually I think he did end up remembering all of the ingredients now that I've got the recipe in front of me: tuna, pine nuts, cinnamon, oregano, parsley, breadcrumbs, parmigiano-reggiano, eggs, and a lemon.

I’ve wanted to make polpette di tonno for a long time, I don’t know why I never got around to it. Sicilian food would probably have become my current cooking focus if I hadn’t gotten all goo-goo eyed over Surinamese food. I think it’s actually ga-ga eyed that I mean. Can it be either. Both? Is there a Dutch equivalent he wonders.


Anyway, my point was, Jamie Oliver, new cookbook, not bad…but for the love of baby jesus up in heaven, does Mr. Oliver have to be in so many of the pictures. Aaaaaaahh! Every other page, his faux-surfer mug is all proudly and goofily offending most of my sensibilities. Usually: I can stand a picture of the chef on the inside flap, plus one or two “action shots” either in the kitchen or “at the market” picking up something and pretending to smell it--that usually does the trick for me. Unless it's Tom Colicchio, then, well...the more photos the better, baby.

I may just need a Jamie Remover if I'm to look at this book any more. Or maybe someone give me another Crazy Drug an I just go all Hollywood psycho and slowly cut that bitch out of every picture in the book with my favorite childhood scissors, rocking back and forth and crying/mumbling (or mubling, as I just typed) all the while. Hmm, yes. But I think maybe I should wait until I buy my own copy of the book. Muble.


Hey, know how you can tell you’re a kick-ass cook? When you can make a rockin’, reasonably authentic-tastin’ (are pep-feignin', informality-indicatin' apostrophes another side effect of the medication, perchance?) tomato pasta sauce when your kitchen contains: no olive oil, no tomatoes, and no usable onions.

But you do have: canned mushrooms; canned black olives; tomato paste (not sounding very promising yet is it); dried oregano and rosemary; a lot of garlic; a nice jar of anchovies packed in oil; lots of fresh basil and celery leaf (ok there you go); and a substantial wedge of pecorino-romano cheese. And fresh ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.

OK, maybe not so impressive after all….but I thought it was a pretty tough challenge texturally. The sauce came out remarkably edible: I used an immersion blender to brutally impose a ragu state. And a long simmer mellowed the tomato paste-only problem. And I only used the oil from the anchovies. And I only re-bit my swollen lip once while eating it.


By the way, there's a point to Jamie's grisly-ness, and probly a valid one too...I was just "taking the piss," as those hooligans off to the immediate west like to say.

polpetti di tonno.

400g/14oz high-quality tuna
olive oil
55g/2oz pinenuts
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
100g/3½oz stale breadcrumbs
55g/2oz freshly grated Parmesan
2 eggs
zest and juice of 1 lemon


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