My little brother came up for a visit this weekend, and brought up the obligatory curries from
our Mum's local curry shop in Wibsey - the magnificent
In fact, I've been missing my usual Karahi Gosht Extra Spicy
so much that I made him bring up 6 of them
so I could stock up my freezer.
This is partly so that I can carry on our family's fine custom of a Christmas Eve curry
(which took over from our previous fine custom of Christmas Eve Fish 'n' Chips when all the chip shops stopped being open
when you might actually want to eat)
when I spend my first Christmas up here with the Eldoradoes this year.
But only partly since I requested them in the full and certain knowledge that Rachel won't be touching any curry described as "extra spicy" to save her life.
So into our Friday night curry-fest
and the chance to improve my imitation of their awesome
Extra Spicey Cottage curries reheat well in the microwave with a generous scattering of freshly chopped green finger chillies
and a handful of coriander leaves -
You can chop the stem end off the chillies, roll them between your fingers to squeeze out the seeds then slice them up.
Extra spicy my arse!
When you order a Spicey Cottage takeaway they also provide you with a tightly packed roll of three chapatis wrapped in paper for free
(Attention Scottish people - that's FREE. And extras only cost 10p each!), which you can also freeze.
These reheat moderately well in the microwave at the same time as the curry if you put them in a small plastic bag,
make sure to get them piping hot,
and put the remainder back in the plastic bag every time you peel a chapati off to prevent them drying out
and turning to cardboard. Microwaved tortilla wraps make a satisfactory substitute if you've eaten all the chapatis.
We lubricated ourselves for the event with a couple of bottles of Brew Dog's 18.2%
And a couple of bottles is really all you might ever need, delicious as it is, it's a bit like sinking a bottle of port.
It pretty much finishes you off for the night.
For Saturday night I had suggested the fantastic but slightly scary range of fine Dim Sum available from
in St. Andrew's square up in the middle of Edinburgh - but that's such a schlep when you're drunk.
So we compromised on discovering my local chinese takeaway the Wok Inn
at the bottom of Newhaven Road,
which was the right choice because it has absolutely magnificent takeaway food.
Very non-commercial stuff, far better than you have any right to expect from your local chinky,
and better than I'd remembered from the other time I tried it but had probably been a little too
cautious with the dishes. Don't bother with any timid lemon chicken type fayre but go straight for the off-menu
chilli-salt squid. It wasn't the dry dish I had expected, but it was lovely,
and the fact that it didn't seem to be listed in their computerised order management system and had to be relayed
in the traditional oral way just added to it's sense of authenticity.
Finally on Sunday, seeking for further amusement of an outdoorsy kind,
we met up with the Eldorado girls, and went down to Gullane beach for a wintry picnic in the sand dunes.
Unfortunately whilst running barefoot through the gorse bushes, Georgina managed to impale herself on a thorn,
and then took great exception to bro's attempts to perform open-foot surgery using a small pair of mussell shells I found
on the beach. Or "Nature's Tweezers" as I like to call them.
As compensation, and to take her mind off the extreme agony,
we went into North Berwick to visit the Scottish Seabird Centre
Georgina scored a cuddly monkey, and I found an interesting recipe for
in one of the National Trusts's cook books on display.
Can't take me anywhere!!
Rachel and I also started discussing my contributions to the upcoming
at her sister's place,
and how that might fit in with her family's venerated Christmas traditions.
These apparently include a traditional packet bread sauce mix,
and Rachel reacted with some horror at the suggestion that I might make the bread sauce from bread.
Thus I am faced with the task of developing an acceptable bread sauce version somewhere between
("Ugh - too lumpy")
and their Colman's
("Ugh - too shite").
I have begun this process with a trial run
for Grecky's Thanksgiving Dinner.
(though I'm risking Eldorado Family opprobium by adding that touch of horseradish).
I'm also down for supplying real
gravy (apparently they will be providing their own Bisto),
my Carrots Ricard
, and an Eggnog for Christmas Eve indulgence.