Yipee! It’s finally the bank holiday weekend and here at RPS and CICO Books, we couldn’t be happier! With three days to relax, sort, and enjoy everything that we’d normally cram into two, there’s definitely time to pop open a bottle or three with friends and tuck into some good grub! Enter Helen Graves; author of My Drunken Kitchen and our go-to-gal on drinking and dining. Today we’ve got two recipes from the new book that are perfect to enjoy with mates (though Helen covers all things booze-food related so check it out if your looking to dodge that dirty takeaway or in need of a hangover cure on Monday…)
Firstly, a couple of ground rules. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that you shouldn’t be cooking if ‘you are completely hosed’, as Helen would say, so just use your common sense. And with that in mind, here are a couple of other guidelines from the book;
As a piece of general cooking advice, it’s best to read the recipe and get all your ingredients out and ready beforehand, but in the drunken kitchen, this is pretty much crucial.
Don’t walk away from the kitchen or leave anything unattended at any time. PLEASE. Again, this is good general advice.
Never, ever consider deep-frying when even mildly inebriated. You won’t find any recipes requiring you to do that in this book, for good reason.
So, whether your off out to the pub - potentially ending up with a whole load of hungry pals back at yours afterwards - or you’re planning a little booze-filled dinner party, we’ve got a recipe that will save your skin… Below is Helen’s Obscenely Large Garlic Butter Loaf, with Cheese or ‘Nduja for an easy to throw together feast and her delicious Peshawar Lamb Chops if you want a do-ahead dish. Cheers!
Obscenely Large Garlic Butter Loaf, with Cheese or 'Nduja
This is essentially a way of making cheesy garlic bread for a shitload of people at once. I can also see this pull-apart behemoth deployed with a hangover, to be picked at from the comfort of the sofa, pre- and post-snooze. There are many embellishments that can be added to the basic garlic butter, but I must say I do enjoy the classic hookup between cheese and onion. Still, I give some suggestions below. There are many options. My favorite is to omit the cheese and onion and add blobs of ’nduja, a spicy Calabrian sausage that melts into scarlet red pools and soaks into the bread.
1 sourdough loaf, unsliced
12 1/2 oz (350 g) cheddar cheese, grated
5 oz (150 g) butter
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, crushed (personally I love garlic, so often add more, but just adapt to your taste—this ain’t highfalutin)
4 scallions (spring onions), finely shredded
A handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
Makes 6–8 servings
1. Variations and suggestions for embellishments: chili flakes, pine nuts, chipotle flakes, bacon bits, very ripe diced tomatoes, za’atar, Parmesan cheese, pesto, mozzarella, mustard, crumbled sausage, ’nduja, smoked garlic, rosemary, oregano.
2. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (170ºC/Gas 3). Cut the loaf in a crisscross pattern almost but not the whole way through. Put on a baking sheet lined with foil, and stuff the grated cheese into the gaps.
3. Melt the butter with the garlic and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the embellishments, then drizzle over the cut loaf. Sprinkle over the parsley and scallions (spring onions). Wrap in foil and bake for 15 minutes.
Peshawar Lamb Chops
So you’re having mates over tomorrow and you want the opportunity to sink a few and have a laugh without spending all your time mucking about in the kitchen. It’s not sociable and it’s not really that fun if you’ve been cooking for so long that you can’t be bothered even to eat the meal at the end of it. I think we’ve all been there. I’ll start, then, with a recipe for Pakistani spiced lamb chops. Get the marinade together the day before, wang them all in the fridge overnight, and the meat will need only very quick cooking the next day.
There is a restaurant in east London called Tayyabs, which is famous for its lamb chops. They are smothered in an intensely spiced marinade then grilled for a really smoky flavor. They’re so addictive that every last morsel of spice must be sucked from the bones, and, of course, the chef keeps the recipe a secret. I’ve had a go at replicating it here. Serve the chops piled high with a lot of napkins, or, if you really want to be practical about it, a whole kitchen roll per person. You’ll see. The yogurt sauce makes for a very nice bit of dippy dippy on the side as you feast, medieval banquet-style, on a big ol’ plate of chops. Throw the bones over your shoulder once you’ve gnawed them clean, for maximum jinks. Drinking from a goblet would be a nice touch, come to think of it. This recipe can easily be scaled up to feed more people.
10 small lamb chops
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 in (5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp garam masala
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 1/2 oz (100 g) thick yogurt
1 tsp freshly ground
Melted butter or ghee, for brushing
For the raita
4 tbsp natural yogurt
A small handful of fresh mint leaves, finely shredded
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Makes 10 chops
To make the lamb chops
1. Place each chop between two pieces of plastic wrap and bash out with a meat mallet or rolling pin until roughly half the thickness.
2. Mix all the remaining ingredients except the butter or ghee and pour onto the chops, really working it into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. I’ve marinated them for 48 hours before with incredible results, but it depends just how much of a do-ahead drunk you can be.
3. Heat a griddle pan to a very high heat and cook the chops for a couple of minutes on each side (or use a BBQ grill or broiler/grill if you prefer).
To make the raita
1. Beat the yogurt with a fork until smooth. Add the mint and lime juice, and some salt and pepper. You can also make this the day before; just give it a good stir and allow to warm up a little before serving.
Have a great weekend everyone and happy bank holiday!
My Drunken Kitchen by Helen Graves is available here, published by Dog 'n' Bone Books.