Friday, 19 August 2011

Moroccan Wild Chicken Stew with Marc McBolan and Brian Jacks

You will need
For the stew:
2 chicken fillets
1 medium sized onion
2 cloves of garlic
chillies (to taste)
Harissa paste
1 tin of peeled plum tomatoes
A dozen or so stoned olives
2 or 3 anchovies
A few pinches of oregano

Stock or stock cube
Juice of 1 lemon
chopped parsley.

Hail Hungry Muthas

It has been a while. Has it not? It has. I have been busy, what with a fucking book out, fucking playing a whole gig, writing a mental show for the Edinburgh festival, recording a fucking concept album about wrestlers and then doing a load of paintings of the fuckers - to be featured in the forthcoming Luke Haines 1978 Grapple Calendar. (I'm not calling any wrestlers a 'fucker' by the way, you don't want to call a wrestler a 'fucker' even an old one, no I am calling the images of wrestlers wot I have painted 'fuckers.' I am not frankly a good painter, but it doesn't matter does it? 'Cos it's all art. Art exploding out of my stupid head straight into your stupid heads.) Yes, friends it is true, with all this fucking shit/productivity I have neglected the Outsider Food Blog. Can it really be two months since the 'the miracle of Dave Brock's face' appeared in a bowl of Rabbit stew? Yes. So to make amends, I hereby promise that this blog will now be a monthly 'happening.' And for August's 'recipe', I shall be cooking - in honour of the inaugural performance at the Edinburgh festival of 'The North Sea Scrolls' -  a dish with a distinct taste of the Highlands. Yes, my fellow gastroheads, the fucking Highlands.

Moroccan Wild Chicken Stew. It's not really Moroccan but it is wild. Actually, I just made this up from some old stuff I had lying around in the cupboard. The Moroccan bit comes from the remnants of some tube of old Harissa that I had lying around. You could make it a bit more authentic I s'pose if you did a massive bong and thought about Brian Jones whilst you were 'working in the fucking kitchen'. The main thing is that it's cheap, healthy and an idiot could make it. Which of course is exactly what will be happening a few paragraphs down. It goes without saying that you will definitely score with a lady when you rustle this muthafucka up. Before we start our 'work in the fucking kitchen,' We need to select the right sounds to cook to. Something with a Scottish flavour of course.

Marc Bolan. Marc Bolan was born Marc McBolan in Dumfries at some point in the 20th Century. We know this because he wrote a song about it called '20th Century Boy'. Careful attention to this song indicates that McBolan was a boy in the 20th Century, this means he could only have been born in the 20th Century. Unless he was born at the end of the 19th Century, then he could have been a boy in the very early part of the 20th Century, in which case he would have been about 80 when he died in 1977. I'm pretty sure he wasn't. Anyway, at some point in the 20th Century - fuck knows when - McBolan changed his name to Marc Bolan and had a load of hits with T.Rex. But before that, he called his group 'Tyrannosaurus Rex' - that's what we're going to listen to whilst we cook. 'Unicorn' by Tyrannosaurus Rex. Jeez, that was hard work.

 A small Christ with tin foil wings flaps uselessly and laughs at your so called kitchen units.  Fucking cook. Cook now. Fucking cook. Do it. Cook. Let 'the work in the kitchen' begin. Anchovies, God's second greatest creation. When God invented the anchovy he wasn't talkin' 'bout no picnic in the Goddamn daisies. Hell no. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and drop in a few anchovies. Remember the anchovies won't make the stew taste fishy, they will just add a rustic saltiness into the brew. Now as the anchovies gently cook and dissolve you can get to slicing up a medium sized onion. Note; I said slice not chop. Slice not chop. Right. On. Good you've sliced the onion now add it to the pan along with a few cloves of crushed garlic and a chopped chilli. It's all cooking the fuck along now. Erm. You've now got time to prepare some couscous. Boil some water. Add a stock cube to the water, stir, and then pour the disgusting stock cube water into a bowl. I know, I know. I am using a stock cube. Stock cubes are shit. They are a poor substitute for actual stock. I've experimented a bit with stock, but frankly what with all the fucking crap I'm juggling I haven't got time to stand staring at a pot of boiling bones for hours on end. So a stock cube it is. Now tip some dry couscous into the stock cube water and hope for the best. You can leave the couscous to absorb the water for around 20 minutes. Time to dice some chicken fillets the fuck up and seal them in the pan with the onions. Now, just brown the meat for a few minutes and then add a tin of peeled tomatoes. Once the stew is cooking, you can squeeze in a teaspoon of Harissa and chuck in a dozen or so stoned olives. i.e olives that have had too much of that fucking bong. Now the secret ingredient to achieve that true flavour of the Highlands: a few good pinches of Oregano. Allright, it's all happening now, you're just waiting it out for a 30 minute reduction on the stew. Time to listen to a bit of 'Unicorn' by Tyrannosaurus Rex.

'Unicorn' then. It's quite difficult to imagine where Bolan's head was at in 1969, and even stranger to think that in just two years time he would be at the top of the charts for six weeks having gone teeny bop nuclear with 'Hot Love.' There's nothing in British rock that sounds remotely like 'Unicorn' (er, apart from the first two 'Rex albums). Neither folk nor psyche, ' Unicorn' exists in a slightly foggy, hobbit world of its own. As a 12 year old, I had a dark secret that I carefully guarded from the Specials and Jam loving kids in the playground. My secret was that 'Unicorn' was my favourite album. I'd remembered watching the 'Marc' TV show when I came home from school, I also had an older cousin who had been a massive 'Rex fan, to the point that he had taken his displeasure out on the 'Tanx' LP by shooting it to bits with an airgun. Wow, it's just occurred to me that a boy shooting 'Tanx' with an airgun is a fabulously symbolic 'Sevs image. Of something.

Just as Oregano and some old Harissa are the secret weapon of this Wild Moroccan Chicken Stew. The secret weapon of 'Unicorn' is Bolan's sidekick Steve 'Peregrin' Took. By the time of 'Unicorn' Took had perfected his bongo clatter, chanting and array of feral animal shrieks. Bolan and Took parted company shortly after 'Unicorn.' Steve Took disappeared into the murky Ladroke Grove underground scene, sporadically recording his own songs with the excellent Larry Wallis, in Shagrat. None of these Shagrat recordings made it out into the world during Took's life. You can get them now, and you should, they're demonic and pretty great. I think I bought 'Unicorn' in early 1980, as part of a reissue twofer with the also classic 'A Beard Of Stars' (Bolan was always in better form with the less extravagant titles. 'Tanx' not withstanding). Steve Took died in October 1980 when he choked on a cocktail cherry, having gone on a binge after receiving a royalty cheque for the reissues of his early Tyrannosaurus Rex recordings. I've often wondered about that one.

Okay, the reduction is done, all you need to do is squeeze a lemon into the couscous and if you have any add some chopped parsley. Now drink a bottle of red wine. Brrring burr brring. Six fucks on a stick, there's someone ringing the door bell. Fuck, It's Brian Jacks, 1970s British Judo champion, and  somewhat bullying presence on TV's 'We Are The Champions.' Jacks, using his finely tuned psychic powers and innate understanding of the mysteries of the East, has detected that there is a heavy vibe of '70s nostalgia, emanating from your horrible house. That or he's maybe caught a whiff of the chicken stew.
   'Hi Brian' you say, as you let the Judo man in.
'Wot, are you - a fucking fairy?" says Brian, pushing past you. 'And drop down on the floor and give me 20.' Jacks is now jogging around your gaffe looking to round up enough people for a traumatic game of British Bulldog. He's out of luck. 'Round about the time I was heavily into 'Unicorn' my parents thought it would be a good idea to enroll me in the local 'Judo Hut'. I achieved the giddy heights of 'yellow belt.' Like most things learned in my formative years it has served me well.
'What the fuck is this? says Brian. 'Nancy boy music,' he sneers at the bleating tones of the 'Rex. I reckon Brian Jacks would be more of a Sensational Alex Harvey Band man.
'Nancy boy music and poofta food,' continues the champion, prodding the couscous. With that, he's off out the door and jogging off to the local gym - or 'judo hut.'

You're on your own, Brian Jacks has gone and you don't need to think about 'Unicorn' anymore. Plate. The. Fuck. Up. Maybe a lady will come 'round. You are on a high probability of scoring with this Wild Moroccan Chicken Stew. Me? I'm off to Edinburgh, and if there is any stew left i'll be sure to put it in a tupperware container and bring it up with me. Maybe i'll share it with you. Bon appetit and chin chin, until next month.