Monday 20 May 2013

Meat Free Monday: Baked tomatoes and feta and a bottle of Bucky

I don't generally consider myself a playful cook. Actually, I tend to look sideways at people who give themselves those sorts of labels. But this was a fun meal for a couple of reasons.

Firstly the recipe I mostly followed for the tomatoes was in Afrikaans. I don't speak Afrikaans. But after a steer from Paul (uie is onions) there were enough cognates to English and culinary German for me to get on with. Some of the words look odd but are recognisable if you try to say them out loud ("olyfolie", "kersietamaties"). Fun.

The dish would have been a raging success too, had it not been for my utterly flavourless and woolly out of season tomatoes. I know, out of season tomatoes, I brought it on myself. But I didn't expect them to be quite so crisp.
The other fun element to the meal was anticipating the expressions of horror that I know will cross my Scottish readers' faces when I reveal the secret ingredient in my caramelised garlic baguette. You see, normally I would blanch my garlic cloves and then cook them in a mixture of sugar and cheap balsamic vinegar. And unfortunately (in a way) I only had nice balsamic vinegar. I decided to use some not-brilliant sherry vinegar and add a bit of extra richness with some fortified wine.

Buckfast Tonic Wine, to be precise.

Why, you may well ask, did I have a bottle of Bucky, recently linked to over 7000 crimes in Scotland in the last three years? A drink that is actually being sold with anti-crime labels, so strong is the association with antisocial behaviour?

Well, that's down to Paul's sense of humour and ideas of romance. You see, I spent five years working for a charity that helped Scots living in London who had run into difficulties. Some of whom, no doubt, had a passing acquaintance with the bottle of Bucky.  His fascination was compounded by the Ted Leo and the Pharmacists song. Paul's sense of romance led him to proclaim that as runner-up to be "our song" (current front runner is the Arctic Monkeys Dancing Shoes, for the lyric "put on your dancing shoes, you sexy little swine"). Then he spotted some of the dread beverage in our local corner store and  felt compelled to buy it.

We had to taste it, of course, but it wasn't something I would choose to drink again. Essential thriftyness and the fact that it had been bought as a somewhat romantic gesture prevented me from throwing it away. But drowning the flavour with sugar, vinegar and garlic was A-OK.

I cooled the garlic cloves and rolled them into the centre of some baguette dough, baked it and served it to mop up the baked tomatoes and feta. Due to the flavourlessness of the full-sized tomatoes, I drizzled the dish with the remaining garlicky Bucky caramel. Fortunately there wasn't enough of it for the caffeine (which I had forgotten about) to interfere with our sleep.


Simona Carini said...

You had me laughing all the way through your post. I am glad you decided to prepare this dish, so we could enjoy the delightful story (and learn about the bucky :)

Joanne said...

Well aside from the association with antisocial personality disorder, this sounds like a delicious meal!

grace said...

anemic tomatoes are the worst offenders. glad you're tapping into your adventurous side. :)

Barbara said...

What a fun post! Made me smile and so pleased to learn about Bucky.
Love that salad, but know exactly what you mean about the tomatoes!


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