CHOCOLATE ORANGE - CLASSICS EDITION
Wilkommen to the all-new Food Legend Classics range. In this new spin-off we aim to address old favourites, to shine a light upon forgotten gems and just say hey shexy. First up is the world beating most-respectful, Chocolate Orange.
Now, I’ve heard the Chocolate Orange referred to as a Chocolate Egg. What is wrong with you people? Get your house in order. It has segments like an orange, it tastes like orange, it says orange on the packaging. Oooh you know what I like, that Chocolate Egg. No.
Forget the Jif lemon, Chocolate Orange is a design classic. That leatherette wax stamp sealed cloak that it comes wrapped in? Fuggedaboutit. I find it hard to believe that the iconic wrapper hasn’t been turned into handbags and made into suitcases, y’know, like Louis Vuitton or something. I want to see streets lined with vendors peddling bootleg versions of the Chocolate Orange leatherette. I want a t-shirt with full pattern print, I want an ipad case flecked with it, I want a fucking oil painting of a tiger with the stippled markings of the Orange’s blouse.
It starts off classic and continues in the same vein. The Chocolate Orange comes housed in a cardboard box, complete with window. A globe within a cube, how perfect is that? That’s like some Chanel no.5 shit. So the leatherette towel it comes blessed in is totes bloody parallel universe Burberry re-imagined and the outer/inner form relationship is high-end charcuterie too?? The price point on this god-send must be sky rockets at night, right? Think again! It’s the greatest bargain of our times! They’ve made the inaccessible accessible to all! The price makes you think it must be a bootleg but it snodally snisn’t! Well, to be honoured, I’ve never bought a Chocolate Orange at full RRP…don’t even know what it sells at, £3-something? They’re eternally on offer, Tesco is shoving them down all y’all faces at £1.75-ish at the minute.
Ok, beyond the packaging things continue on a meteoric. I’ve touched upon the Chocolate Orange before in a prior ‘best of’ round-up. I mentioned how one of the key joys of the Chocolate Orange experience is the unlocking of the segments. I mentioned how one likes to prank the room by ‘accidentally’ tripping with the Orange, throwing it to floor/wall to part the segments. It’s still as timeless a jape as it ever was. There haven’t been many new developments since but amping up of the act is encouraged. If you’re presenting the Orange to a group then fall and throw as hard as you can. Go down like a house of bricks, smite the Orange as if attempting to shatter the earth’s core. I feel like as I get older I’m increasingly becoming a fan of the upward trajectory followed by the downward spiral. I’m a fan of watching the audience’s eyes, like focusing on the spectator rather than the tennis game, working out the ball’s path from the flicker of the whites, deepest joy.
I envisage an old butler-type suited and booted, carrying the Chocolate Orange upon silver platter to an expectant dinner party. The guests applauding and looking at each other triumphantly, hard-ons implied but never shown. The Butler skids upon a puddle of jus and the trajectory of flaying Orange is shot in slow motion and we switch to the dinner party’s open mouths and following eyes as one by one they dive over each other attempting to catch the airborne Choc. All comers fail and the Orange explodes after connecting with the skirting board, the slow motion shows the shudder of the sphere but of course the Orange’s sequined wax-stamped jacket keeps the segments in formation. Entry has been forged and everyone knows it. The dinner party is split 50/50 between laughter and tears, while the butler scuttles away to darn his spoiled trousers. Clear your desk, Jeeves.
Don’t know how many segments a Chocolate Orange has in relation to an actual orange. I’d say more, they’re thinner and more slatted (slatey). I’ve never counted either. I’m going to guess that a Chocolate Orange has 36…or 24. I don’t care how many an actual orange has…4 or whatever? Point is, they might as well retire the old-fashioned orange because that shit is played out. Respect due to the Grandfather, respect your elders and all that, but your pith and pip game is musty as old typewriters and moth balls.
The wax stamp on the leatherette reads “Made with real orange oil”. Most of us call it orange juice, the wet derived from an actual orange. If it isn’t a typo then one can only presume that an oil from an orange must involve machines and various clamps and flasks, think how little juice an orange actually yields for the drink ‘Orange Juice’, oil must be super refined – by its very nature, yo. Anyway, long story short, who cares. Chocolate Orange segments are crazy juicy. They’re milk chocolate solids alright but each slat is a journey across land and sea. They’re just beautiful. FML, I want to die on these rocks, my clothes tattered and a Chocolate Orange in my mouth. Sex games of the rich and the famous, always complaining, always complaining.
The segments are a trip. They’re so moreish and utterly joyful throughout their 20+ chapters, it doesn’t get old, the connection just gets deeper and more tribal. Chocolate Orange is the original boxset. Forget your DVDs and your Blu-Rays, your Wire and your Everybody Loves Raymonds. Snuggle down in your jim-jams on the sofa couch and whack out your Chocolate Orange boxset. Devour all 20+ seasons before nightfall. Go on love, treat yourself.
Impossible to talk about the Orange and to herald it as the best thing since sliced ham without mentioning the infrastructure that keeps it all together…the spindle. Whooping and hollering from the top tier, a single pair of underpants land upon the stage. The spindle, or core, is the apple-like spine that keeps the Orange’s segments, or soldiers, together. I’ve talked in prior episodes about how I think a collection of the spindles threaded onto a necklace would make a bitching fashion accessory. The spine of the Orange is well sought after. I heard a beautiful story recently that one of my friends saved the spindle of the Orange for his beau, not in the moment of eating the Orange but in the hours/day long aftermath. Respect due infinitude. That’s a gift. The core is such a rare treat because its genetic make-up is different from the rest of the segment slats. By its very nature it’s more spindly and less solid, and of course a variation in shape and form always excites.
Chocolate Orange is famous, deal with it.
CHOCOLATE ORANGE - CLASSICS EDITION
FISH ‘N’ CHIPS SALT & VINEGAR FLAVOUR BAKED SNACK BISCUITS
2014 whassup, girl! Wow, what a crazy year so far, am I right? What’s your top 20 crazy things about 2014 so far? January was FUBAR. If you blinked, you missed it. Februhaha has come out of the traps like shomebody shtop me! My wife! The nation’s shortest month may also prove, at this rate, to be the nation’s craziest month. If January was the dry month for many then February is going to be the retox, I’m renaming February “Febpriory” because peoples is gonna be begging for rehab come March of the penguins. That’s right, y’all be looking like penguins; straight up dead-eyed monotone drones in tuxedos come March. April is gonna be rebranded as “A-pill” because after the sober March of the Penguins, everybody gon’ be relapsing and reaching for they alka-seltzer. Come what May, June Sarpong, July surprise, Smaugustboard, Methtember, Rocktober, Snowvember and Dicktober. Remember where you heard it first, 2014 is a straight up ghost.
Wait a monument, Fish ‘n’ Chip flavour savoury biscuit things…haven’t we seen this before? Why yes we have. It was the Eighties, or the Nineties – snacktacular decades I’m sure you’ll agree. I’d not heard any Wispa-style bring back the retro snack whack attack about these though. Probably because the name isn’t catchy enough to hold up on a stick during Rizzle Kicks at Glastonbury. Bring back those fish & chip biscuit crisp shaped not crisps things! Yeah, do one mate.
I was told about the remake by good old people power, get down to Tesco they said. Didn’t pick this bag up at Tesco though did I? You’ll never guess where. Oh go on then, it was STAPLES. Stationary giant of boredom fame, Staples. The very same! Multipack of Uniballs, Staples! Reams of 70gm economic printer paper, Staples! They had a display stand and everything. How queer, I’d heard about them the day before and here they were, right here right then.
The price point was a sexually charged 69p. My colleague, Jon, was quick to point out that they would have retailed at about 10p when they surfaced decades ago. We had a good laugh from the counter to the car while Jon shuffled his 10 individual sheets of thicker than average printer paper. I almost crashed my car all the way home thinking about what Jon said. He was bloody right, that was the truth core that made the joke hit home hard. He was right, I’d been ripped off. What else was I to do though, drive my car back to 1990 and get down the newsagent? Maybe I was best to not buy them in the first place and just enjoy the memory. 10p would represent unrealistic value in today’s market, 40p would be a rare bargain given the size of the bag and 50p would be a totally acceptable deposit. 69p is around the racy limit I would and did pay. Funny how life works out sometimes.
Is it me or did our wagon wheels used to be bigger or is it just our hands have got smaller ha ha?
Credit to the Fish ‘n’ Chips biscuits team, the packaging is absolutely grade-A stunner. They’ve achieved a fantastiche pastiche with fantache panache with their tabloidtastic red top packet. I almost had a little laugh in my head when I saw it,
“bastards” I thought,
“you bloody bastards have nailed it”
Those unfamiliar with the history of actual fish & chips might not know that the nation’s favourite used to come wrapped in actual bona fide what’s the story morning glory newspaper! That was until it was leaked to the press that the ink leaked off the newspapers and gave everyone black chips, Black Chip Friday RIP. Never forget.
The packet even has fake headlines and stories with puns that would make your Nan blush. Absolutely fantastic behaviour. The packet is such a delight that I almost don’t want to throw it away. If they made crisp packet frames like they make record cover frames, you know that this Fish ‘n’ Chip would be featuring on a fair few many walls across this fair land. You might achieve the nadir of retro cool if you did the old shrinky packet oven act on this packet and fashioned it into a key fob, wouldn’t that be smart! You’d be rocking the snazziest, uber chintz keyset in all of fobdom!
Awesome packaging aside, let me address the question on everybody’s lips… is this Fish ‘n’ Chip taste like fish & chip?
Bit of a noodle masher this. Despite the name, it isn’t trying to taste like fish & chip. They’re salt & vinegar flavour, see. It merely looks like fish & chip. More like, the chip looks like chip but the fish does not look like a fish from a fish & chip shop. It looks like a fish from a cartoon. The manufacturers (Burton’s?) have bottled it on that front. Come on guys, show some respect for yourselves and the consumer. You don’t need to put a crude cave painting fish in there…why harpoon the art of fish ‘n’ chip so succinctly with the cover art and then plonk a fish-by-numbers in the packet? That aside, the appearance of the Fish ‘n’ Chip fools one into thinking that you are eating a snack that is beyond regular salt & vinegar. You can almost fool yourself into thinking that you are eating a Scampi Fry. Fool though the mind might, Fish ‘n’ Chips do not have the chalky bitter dry pillow depth of the pungent Scampi Fry. A much closer reference point for Fish ‘n’ Chips would be the ubiquitous Mini Cheddar. Unfashionable though it is to admit it, we’ve all had periods of Mini Cheddar reliance in the past. You’d be hard pushed to think of a more forerunning baked savoury biscuit. Fish ‘n’ Chips are better; they don’t have the mouth caking capabilities of the one-note Mini Cheddar. The vinegar keeps things spicy and the salt is a seasoned tastemaker.
The shape of Fish ‘n’ Chips makes this snack more interesting and vital than it ever should and this is surely the must-have snack of early-2014 to be seen at the bus stop with.
MINT CHOC PRINGLES
Christmas bells! It’s an excuse to get messy isn’t it? The week prior there are no rules. You can turn in drunk, you can run someone over, you can make off with your wife’s boss. Carte blanche, mate. Get your chipolata out and whack it on your accountant’s desk. He/she will be loving it! Bloody make your own gunpowder crackers that take your opponent’s arms off. Effing peg a satsuma up your neighbour’s exhaust pipe. Chebbing lob a frozen turkey through some old get’s window. Doesn’t matter, even if your “mark” isn’t up for shits nor giggs, it’s their loss and sadness – it’s Christmas, you pog! Get with the tinsel times, Scrooge!
Look at this pig in blanket giving it all Mr Christmas though! Up in my ivory tower eating my prawn sandwich, I haven’t had a bleeding smartprice mince pie yet! I’ve not even seen that stank ass advert for John Smith’s with the rabbit and the bear “going at it”, even. Cost 7 million pints don’t you know, bloody disgusting! Christmas isn’t Christmas until you see that Coke advert with that fat beard bender in the car is it. Well, I’ve not seen it. I’ve not even had a Christmas sandwich from any of our nation’s leading supermarkets. I’ve hardly even taken advantage of the supermarket Christmas booze deal inferno. Woe is mine, anyone would think that I wasn’t up for it – but I am!
I’ve been banging on Morrison’s front door recently and this is where I picked up my first explicitly Christmas “treat” of the season. Mint Choc Pringles! Of course, they’re the number one item on everyone’s Amazon wishlist. No, not chocolate clad crisps like those chocolate clad stacked crisps that I can’t even remember the name of because they sucked so much. Actually mint chocolate favoured crisps! Nan on a flan! Literally no-one ever asked for this. As far as I am aware it is part of a two-pringled prong attack from Pringles for the festival season, the other flavour being “Cinnamon”. Cinnamon sounded too yawn by half in comparison.
Let us start with the smell. It would be a shame to fart into this Pringles tube after use because the aroma of these crisps is so sublime. It smells roughly like a chocolate potato, or more a potato wearing chocolate scented perfume. Or more like a potato wearing chocolate scented Lynx. It spikes your nose a bit and I guess that’s the mint, I can’t pick that out at the fore but I think that’s because my nose only has two channels; nostril one and nostril two. I can only smell chocolate and potato normally anyway so I drew the good straw on these.
The appearance is that of a regular Pringle. Not unlike a parmesan shaving of the Moon’s surface or a skin shed dead from an elephant’s hide. Having said this, I was just resting one of the Pringles on my coat (I’m horizontal, and cold) and it has left a glittering star studded residue, I’ve not matched traditional flavours on my clothes but this would suggest that the coating/flavour dust is amped up for extra coaty Christmas fun. The glitter suggest sugar too, obvs.
The taste is fucked. Sorry guys, but it is. They make your mouth go cold almost instantly. I think they’ve definitely been sprayed with deodorant. The mint effect is powerful and verging on realism. It shoots up like a big-budget firework and then cascades to reveal a dancing sickly chocolate bar coughing and spluttering with a spinning cane. All this is happening upon a village fete style float but the van is a giant Pringle on wheels and Danny De Vito’s Penguin off Batman is lurking ready to turn onlooking children’s laughter to screams with his modified mint choc Pringle gun. I’m almost entirely sure that these are gross. Pringles prides itself on the tagline “Once you pop you can’t stop” but you bloody can stop with these mutants. I’ve stopped more than I’ve started. If you chained a tube of these you would certainly vom…and not in a good way. They’re more sweet than savoury which is pretty shocking considering that these are crisps. You’re not supposed to be able to make a crisp sweet! I tote bags could have jonesed for these, I love eating actual real-life chocolate with crisps together in the same mouth. This 100% ain’t that. I don’t know what this is. Did I say it makes your mouth go cold? Freaky deaky.
My mouth feels punished and perfumed in the afterglow. Filthy gorgeous? It tastes like I’ve been nibbling on pot pourri. It feels like I won gold medal at the fart championships and my prize was a lifetime’s supply of Febreze sprayed into my mouth all in one go.
Some credit must go to Pringles for blowing the lid off the crisp game; I can scarcely believe that one of the big brands has actually got its bollocks out for once. When I thought about Pringles bollocks I didn’t think they’d be perfect glass baubles that on closer inspection would reveal your ultimate nightmares in their reflection. It’s always the quite ones, innit.
BLT / BBQ CHICKEN DOUGHNUTS
Int bread brilliant. Been thinking about it of late and I’ve officially decided that bread is the greatest food of all time. I doubt I could tire of eating bread and don’t even get me started on toast. I got back into baguettes recently (2013 what’s up) and oh snap, why isn’t everyone eating these all the time? There isn’t a choice stockist on my daily route so that’s why I’m not eating one right now. They sell them at my local co-op but they’re inevitably stiff as a stalewart and overpriced – classic shitehawk co-op! Go back to bed, you can’t even get bread right. What I’m saying is, bread and butter is my bread and butter. Why do you think sandwiches are the most famous lunch option of all time? Bread sells.
Imagine if all bread throughout time wasn’t bread though; imagine if all bread was donuts. Imagine you’re eating a sandwich but the bread is a donut. I know we Brits are supposed to spell it “doughnut” but I just feel like such a Gran typing it out, it seems an unnecessary overthinking, just do-nut man and get over it. “Doughnut” is total bowler hat territory; it makes as much sense as spelling sandwich “sandwhich”.
We’d heard about this donut savoury crossover trend. The mashed out terrain was paved by the brioche burger bun explosion one would fancy. My friend told me of a burger called the “Luther” which comes served in a glazed krispy kreme donut and tops 1,000 calories on the fat man charts. Some can’t stomach it but I’m into a bit of sweet/savoury crossover – I like to think I’m an early forerunner, crisps and chocolate anyone?
I was in Morrisons with Lady Legend, we’d basically just gone in to check out the buoyancy of the eternally spritzed vegetable selection. Check it out crop dusting/sprinkler system fans, the vegetables look holy and make all other fruit/veg displays look positively knackered. Visiting Morrisons is like visiting a foreign land, such is my unfamiliarity with the store layout. It’s not a land too foreign though, it’s a land where pies are still the national dish and bags of sausage rolls are the eating man’s briefcase. It was around bonfire night, I was picking up some parkin – I was looking to exchange £1; that was my only aim. On the way to the self-serve I stunted past the packaged sandwich display, craning my neck for any reduced opportunities. There wasn’t any but camouflaged within the usual suspects was a double donut sandwich £1.50 OMSQUEEEEEEEEEE!!
On paper I wasn’t fancying the BLT donut option much, the BBQ chicken option was popping more but we know from past experience that BBQ chicken packaged sandwiches are inevitably drabzilla. I slept on this double pack overnight and penciled in an early lunch the new day, I was jonesing to git into it. On opening the packet my worst fears were realised, something I thought I’d seen but persuaded myself otherwise, the donuts were NOT sugared nor glazed. The donuts were bald.
Bald blank donuts, nice one. What’s the point of playing your wildcard if you’ve not sugared nor glazed it? I don’t really care what the donut sandwiches taste like after this point because Morrisons tote bags dropped the ball, they half-arsed and dodged the bullet. An unsugared donut is essentially weird tasting soft bread. They could have gone in all guns blazing like pop, pop, pop but they didn’t.
The innards were good as it happens. The BLT beat the BBQ Chicken by some stretch. The bacon was sweetcure and tangible, the tomatoes were choice. The donut part just ruined it, not saying it woulda been Hollywood on normal bread but I am saying it *might* have been blockbuster on a glazed donut.
Might get my own donuts and give it a whirl.
Might get fat and eat a twirl.
TESCO BOSTON CREME DONUT
Christmas is cancelled. I went to Aldi yesterday and of the many chocolate Santy Clauses a good few had their heads caved in; their foil outers spliced and two-faced, decked by the hands of youth and folly. I can relate, who doesn’t like to poke their finger through a Faberge egg? Makes one feel alive to smash up a display doesn’t it? I long to drive my shopping trolley through a tower of teetering baked bean tins. Does it make me a bad man? I picked up a pristine 99p Santa and rested his against the metal rim of the shelf, I wanted to show these half-hearted finger pokers how it was done – I longed to lop his head off so spectacularly that the aisle would become a mist of choccy detritus and glittering foil confetti. I wanted to make children cry.
Lady Legend stopped me. She said I didn’t need to go through with my vulgar display, she said I was better than that. She broke off a bit of a smashed-in Santa and placed it in my palm. More often than not, Lady Legs is my moral compass. Sure, sometimes she’s skewed or too close to a magnet but she’s always there. Except from when she isn’t…
Remix, I’m alone in Tesco Express. NEE NAW, NEE NAW! Bargain hunters head to the Tescoloids in Heaton Chapel, Stockport on the A6! Price malfunction on aisle five! Tesco’s “Boston Crème” donut is retailing for 50p rather than the 80p advertised online and instore elsewhere. As a Krispy Kreme alternative, it’s an absolute steal at this hilarious RRP.
Picture the scene, it’s a donut but encased in a thin chocolate icing outer. This chocolate-effect layer is decorated with a marbled white zig-zagging. Inside the shiny outer, and it is shiny, lies a regular sized donut – light as a leaf and more inspired by the KK template than Tesco’s gateway bread heavy donuts. Within that donut lies a crème core, a vanilla crème that screams “THIN CUSTARD”…in a good way.
I went to pick one up, at a low ebb, and almost had to abort my quest because I couldn’t open the plastic bag to place one inside. My fingerprints and all prior purchase had somehow left me in the night and now I was stood, embarrassed, flailing and failing with the plastic bag. Maybe I could tie a bag around the donut without opening it I thought, maybe I could do away with a bag altogether. The slight stickiness and bizarre perma-sweat of the donut’s casing made a no-bag scenario a moot option; this puppy would pick up all manner of shrapnel left to its own devices, raw in the devil’s basket. After a few hours trying, my grip returned, I got in and skedaddled out, praise be!
This was my 4th or 5th purchase of a Boston Crème. It’s a triumph! One of the standout elements of the donut is how the casing stays together. You’d expect it to shard and fall away, later to find melted chocolate spots on your crotch. I can’t abide this behaviour anymore; good portions of my life to date have been ruined by unforeseen landslides. I’ve shaken more drinks without lids on than I care to remember. At least one pair of jeans has been thrown away following a Mars drink eruption. You should’ve seen my grease stained chinos at college, slowly eroded by flaked pastry from a hundred hot sausage rolls. I’ve been a mess and I’ll be a mess again, but not whilst I’m eating a Boston Crème.
Did I mention its light as a lid? Sure is! The inner membranes are peppered with air holes; it’s like the perfect bake – more immaculate than natural sponge. The piping of the crème is just that, piped. There’s a sequence of worm holes that give a more pleasant experience than the traditional oozing central pocket. Basically, you could eat this donut on the move and not need to have a bath afterwards. It’s a sweet treat that can’t be beat.
I’ve never really got the dunkin donuts and krispy kreme naysayers. If they’re rinsed off with the pricepoints of said powder puffs then mebbies fair dos, but it’s just a good donut ain’t it? It’s light and sweet, it might not fulfil like the sugared bread buns of olde BUT come on, it’s better than that. It’s better than the six/twelve portion of standard sugar rings from supermarkets for a fraction of the cost of a single supreme. Quality-wise it is, quantity-wise it obviously isn’t. This Boston Crème is of dunkin crème descent, template-wise, equally as refined yet slightly more substantial, and less than half the price. Or at least it is at the current price malfunction.
A HISTORY OF JAMIE OLIVER
Solid milk chocolate in a crispy sugar shell? It’s a story we’ve all heard a thousand times before, it’s so familiar that I feel like I’ve been a solid milk chocolate in a crispy sugar shell. It’s like that programme with the celebrities where they get hypnotised and believe they’re in a different time. Where are you now? I’m in ancient Rome, what’s poppin’ my liege! It’s great here; I’m firing arrows at the moon, my maidens are fair to middling, Baldrick is making me a pheasant mayo sandwich. I’m walking down the streets I’ve walked a hundred times before, familiarity is fabulous! NEW! Dairy Milk Pebbles! They’re like mini eggs but not! a bit like Smarties! something akin to M&Ms! I feel I exchanged my horse for a grab-bag of these in Ancient Rome. When I removed my pelt for bedlam I could have sworn one rolled from beneath my undercarriage. These Pebbles I hold must be from another time, surely! Solid milk chocolate in a crispy sugar shell, I’ve been here before!
Think of Galaxy’s Minstrel; so smooth and so refined. The pleasing curvature of the chassis, the purity of the build, that’s what Pebbles have attained here. I offer Minstrels over Smarties or M&Ms because Minstrels are more a marvel, in terms of smoothness/rigid body, for their pleasing over-size. You could walk upon Pebbles in place of pebbles on your local beach and not be disappointed. They’re shaped, believe it or not, like pebbles. For plastic fans, they’re slightly smaller than a plectrum. If Mini Eggs truly are a seasonal delight then there is a place for Pebbles as a mainstay. They work out like a Mini Egg but squashed, I want to say a 2-D mini-egg but they still rise from the page. Pebbles’ shell is fired and glazed, unlike the barnyard “tooth” of the Mini Egg where you half expect to find a feather attached. Mini Eggs are fairly unbeatable, they’re top of the confectionary elite that leave you wanting more, more, more. Due to Pebbles’ strength in lack of depth, grab-bags come steeped with shoals of the fellows. You can fully submerge your fingers like you would dipping your toes in the sea. You feel nothing of grabbing a handful, a shuck, and playing with the clickity-clack tactiles, swaddling them around before skimming one in off your tongue. I’m thinking in terms of if you were sharing a bag, or being a restrained gatherer when offered. It’s not like Mini Eggs where you’d feel guilty about signing more than a threefold. Have you got a knife? Shall I carve this third Mini Egg in two? We can split the difference. Such frugality reminds one of the time I was at my friend’s (let’s call him Blankdrew) house after a bout of school. Blankdrew’s Mother was that winning one-two punch of loud and large. My face was in their fridge no sooner than my foot had crossed the threshold. I was 12 years old and I was looking for choccy. I spied a case of bootleg After Eight mints, sorted I thought and asked Blankdrew if we could partake. Blankdrew shouted to Mother, owner of the fake Eights, she borked back that we could share one, between us. One. Between us. The afternoon spiraled out of control from there and came to a climax of “deadleg” punches in Blankdrew’s bedroom. I left, the hobbling victor, after administering some solid blows to Blankdrew’s lower thigh, leaving the receiver temporarily immobilised. I only wish I’d have grabbed the fake Eights on my way out and unleashed an arc of mint chocs and paper wallets across Blankdrew’s driveway.
Pebbles’ shell is crisp, as advertised, substantially so, not the brittle clasp of Smarties, nor the filo membrane of cheaper chocs. Speaking of cheap chocs, it’s Cadbury’s here, darling, so you know that sh1t be flying off the chains. I had a large amount of fun with these, they keep giving for a time. I picked up my pouch for an introductory £1.50 from my local Co-Op. Though it’s 50p more than I like to be paying for my introductory grab-bags, it is approximately 50p more laughs so I’ll say leap on board now before the RRP shifts towards the £2 mark.
STUDENT FOOD GUIDE
Think student, think Scott Mills. Radio DJ Mills is the oldest student in town. He famously still lives in halls of residence, 38 years after completing his Leisure & Tourism course at Loughborough Uni. And you can see why! Students love a bit of it. To live in halls of residence is to love in halls of residence. Residence though, bit of a residential word ain’t it? “Halls” sounds a bit pipe and slippers too. Not very on-point to describe the mayhem that goes on within is it? It’s like when people used to call uni “university”, what daa faa does that mean? Food Legend is officially starting the campaign to rebrand “halls of residence” as “halls of resi”, or even better “hall-o’s”. It’s going to be a word of mouth thing rather than an actual “here, sign this petish”. Look out for it anyway, it’s going global!
It can be a daunting prospect living away from home for the first time. Your head may fog with the mere possibility of being able to go out on a school night just like *click*. You can buy all the offensive posters you want and plaster your room with them; F this, suck that, chong on those. You’re finally free from the shackles of adolescence; you’re a man mountain, a well of womanhood. You have to clean your own underpants, you have to brush your own teeth…or not! What would happen if I didn’t brush my teeth again? What would happen if I didn’t wear underpants again? What about him over there, that quiet one in the corner…will he wash my underpants? He looks like he’d wash my underpants. Maybe I’ll find my new Mummy here. Maybe your halls will come spring loaded with a mature student, the kind that might milk you and wipe your bot. Yes, a new Mum or Dad. I knew I came here for a reason. There are so many things you don’t know or you never paid attention to when you were a child. You get a mental block midway through using a tin opener, which bit goes where? Topside or sidewinder? Some of you may never have used a tin opener, it’s all ring pulls these days. I’m not here to answer the big questions. I’m here to tell you what to eat as a student.
The shopping list for student life is much the same as the shopping list for Leeds festival 2000. You don’t want individual ingredients (or elements) that combine to make a larger, complex mass. You want bish, you want bash, you want bosh. Peperamis are the first thing that should be on your list, get down to your local wholesaler with a card carrying member and hook yourselves up with 100 boxes or more. Even if you’re a vegetarian it’s worth a punt. Think of it like on Big Brother when a non-smoker housemate has packed 200 cigs in their suitcase. No they don’t smoke but yes they are doling them out for instant mates (just add cigs). What a future-classic statement to just be throwing out gratis Peperamis like you’re the King of Spain on Mardi Gras. Whoa, who’s THIS guy? We’ve all seen Clint Eastwood leaning against a doorframe, or cow shed, chewing on a toothpick/twig/Peperami. Who doesn’t want to become a cult near-mythic entity on day dot of halls of resi? Plus, they’re not half bad either.
Next up is Babybels, that iconic bouncing cheese. This could be seen as a vegetarian alternative to the Peperami option but for true legend status I’d recommend packing both at all times. This can be pulled off using the same approach as the meat substitute but there is potential for added flair. Straight up carry an open net in your blazer pocket as a second-lining or get the girls onside by teaming your bundle on the end of a bamboo stick for instant bindle hobo-chic. Hobo with a cheesestring? I’m all up for you just popping these off in your room but I’d recommend learning a few tricks. First off, and this is pretty much essential, you need to master the art of rolling the Babybel down the inside of your arm, flicking the reverse-elbow out (the hinge?) and catching it in your hand. This trick is your bread and butter. If you were a magician, you would be David Basics at this point. Nonchalance is key; you want to be popping this stunt off semi-permanently as you drag your flip-flopped feet from A to B. Bonus points for yawning and texting at the same time. If you really want to go project how horizontal you are then aimlessly launching the Babybel after catching in a stone-skimming action is a must. Further bonus points at this advanced level come from hitting a person or knocking something over. Headshots = one pint of lager. Ballshots = bachelor of the universe award, first clarse honours mate. Another thing you can try with your wax jacketed cheese is to just covertly bowl out Babybels down your halls corridor whenever you hear someone coming. This is best achieved by lying on your bedroom floor and back-paddling the Babybel with your hand through the crack in your door. Maybe “phantom cheese roller” wasn’t the title your parents expected that you’d return home with after three years at the coalface but deep down they’d be proud.
Showboat snacks aside, your real meat and drink should be the humble pasta bake. All you needs do is stock up on jars of pasta bake sauce. You don’t even need to cook the pasta, you just lob it on and bung it in the oven. Lob and bung should be the Horne and Cordon of your culinary skillset, if you can’t lob it or bung it then chances are it’s a precious waste of the old time stuff. Midways through the cook you want to draw it out of the oven and sprinkle (or rather, lash) on a couple of fistfuls of your non-finest cheddar. Don’t ask me how but it comes out golden and crispy. Speaking of crispy, don’t be shy of mixing it up a bit. Why not lob a couple of crisps on there? You want to carve a third/half of a tray per-serving. The leftovers will sit in the baked-on tray in your fridge until midnight munch o’clock.
Freaky points can be garnered by going the other way and rejecting junk. Instead of your stereotypical stude noshing on a bag of crisps, you could be a salad bag snacker. Mixed leaves instead of mixed nuts if you get what I’m saying. Just dog around in your slobs with your hand in a bag of watercress and rocket. Get into sparkling water. Really get your fill of the RDA for H2O, lash it down like it was pure pints – make a big deal of it to onlookers in your kitchen, “God, I’m so hydrated fuuuuck”. Get into weird stuff that no-one’s ever seen before like lychees. Preach about the sugar content of Innocent smoothies outside your Sainsbury’s Local. Fuck 5-a-day, you’re on 35-a-day and you don’t care who knows it! Stick your nose up at those snack-size Mars bar munching monkeys with their freeze dried water activated arses. You’re born of the earth and you yield nature over nachos.
Basically, forgetting the above, your basics are store cupboard. You don’t want chilled items that sit waiting like cheese on deactivated mouse traps for your flatmates to pilfer. You want a basket or bin of go-to bedroom-based items that fuel your tank for getting tanked. If you’re out and about then you want handheld hot HD-ready takeaway tittle tattle. If you’re too vaporised to veer outside then absolutely yes I endorse stocking up on Dr Oetker frozen pizzas but please do padlock your allocated freezer drawer. Soundproof your room with cement bag sized multipacks of Monster Munch by all means. Food can be used as pranks too, why not wang a piece of sushi under your mate’s bed for fishtastic results? In time you will achieve the next level of humanity but for now it is expected, nay, encouraged, that you eat out of the bin for a few years ‘til you’re back on your feet.
P.S. Other endorsed foods include beans on toast, supernoodles on toast, butter on toast, bread on toast, toast on toast, fart-scented Swedish meatballs, Rustler Burgers, Heinz spaghetti, Pringles andddd Flumps.
MINDI’S CURRY POTS
Chicken Tikka! It’s the nation’s favourite. My old Gran can’t eat it. My old man swears by it. Indian takeaway on a Friday night? Best of British to you, mate! Lashings of lager I presume? Don’t mind if I do! Ring of fire? Never experienced it but I wanna! What’s the matter, mate? You’re acting all euphoric. Are you on a curry? Get the nurse, he’s not moving! He’s just laughing! How many did you have, mate?? I’ll hold up my fingers and you nod when it’s how many. Stay with me, mate! Beep beep beeeeeep. We’ve lost him. The patient blissed out at 10.37pm, Friday night. “The Power of Curry” by Frankie goes to Bollywood skips on CD in the background. This was his favourite song, he loved curry.
Mindi’s has introduced a new snackpot luncheon-themed microwave activated ready-made curry range. More power to them. You’ve got your “Classic Chicken Tikka”, you’ve got your “Chickpea Chana Masala”, you’ve got your “Kick Ass Chicken Korma” anddd you’ve got your “Fiery Chicken Masala”. They’re retailing at £3.99 a pot and you can pick yours up locally from Booth’s in Salford Medium King Prawn City. I gather that Booth’s is the only outlet at the moment but lord, what an outlet. Have you been in that particular branch? It’s like a top-drawer car showroom; I want to have my wedding in there. Not popped the question to Lady Legend yet but her “yes” guns were blazing when I asked her to accompany me on this curry voyage. She’d even brought her own naan bread! I should note at this point that Mindi’s sent me a selection box of the aforementioned curries for review purposes. Curry in the morning? From a postman? Lady Godiva!
I’m dropping the word “snackpot” like it’s common wordplay but if you can’t fathom won’t fathom then imagine one of those Innocent pots, it’s like that. I’ve got beef against the Innocent pots, mainly thus…they’re shit. Whoa, throw rocks at the king and you best have a good hidey hole. I know, right? Don’t get me wrong, I admire the spinach leaves in there and the photo-realism of the ingredients but I just think they’re boring. Under-seasoned and bland he says. Whoever bought one at full RRP anyway? Their whole shelf lifespan is basically them queuing up to get in that reduced counter. We’ll hit it if it’s sub-£1 but not a penny more. So these Mindi’s come in an identically shaped plastic pot/tub. From the cross section first thoughts were that the mix was a bit rice heavy and that the whole piece didn’t fill the tub as much as we’d like. The curry element sits at the bottom with the rice layer on top. The idea being that you microwave it and presumably nosh it from the tub on your lunchbreak. We (unforgivably) don’t have a microwave at Food Legend HQ and so we were relieved to read the alternative hob reanimation guidelines on the packaging. The transition from tub to pan was as pleasing as these things can be, it didn’t drift out in a semi-solid tub shaped relief at least. The beauty of these things, as realised later, is that in the pan process (or indeed the half-way microwave stirring process) the rice is thoroughly mixed with the curry, making for coated grains. So what you say, maybe you like your rice as white as the driven snow, a separate entity from the curry to be introduced slowly on your plate and on your terms. Anndddd no, you’re wrong. That’s like so last year and every other year since rice and curry came out.
Fiery Chicken Masala is the real boss of the set. It come with a three chilli rating, the hottest of the job lot. With ready-meal curries I’m always thinking yeah yeah when it comes to the spice warning, none seem to fulfil that urban promise. This wasn’t blow your face off hot but it packed a heat, a genuine earthy heat that satisfied. More a kick than a punch, you might even say it was “fiery” like it promised. The pieces of chicken were realistic and large. The size variants differed slightly which pleased. Nothing worse than a shop bought curry with identical small meat sizes…am I right? *tap tap* Is this thing on? The chicken is nice and flavourful and not small and rubbish, what more could one ask for? It was tasty, there was bits in there. Don’t know really, I had great fun. Lady Legend concurred that this was something special. I should add that we consumed one pot each for our evening meal. We added a cucumber yoghurt medley and a tomato onion mash up. I’d suggest adding similar elements should you find yourself fending with one of Mindi’s tubs for your tea. It was a gracious and filling amount.
Next day we shared a “Classic Chicken Tikka” and a “Chickpea Chana Masala”. The chicken tikka topped the masala by an angel’s whisker. Some of my best friends are chickpeas but as a card carrying chicken monster, I got to go with my boy chicken. There were visible mustard seeds in that chicken tikka too, how you gonna go make me pass on that? Having the two curries on the plate was the bomb, variety truly is the spice (chamone) of life. Both these curries carried a chilli rating of two, they were pangful and not without zest. Lady Legend remarked that she “didn’t want it to end”. You know it’s been a successful night at the dinner table when Lady Legs has her fingers out and is practically eating the plate. In truth, I had to hold back. My plate could have been left spinning with its content beamed up from it in a flash of light. Instead I tried to make it last, to dwell on mouthfuls thinking about how it made me feel. I’ve mentioned before that I might not have any taste buds. I find it hard to pick apart flavours in a crowd. I know when something is good but sometimes I can’t say why, especially if I can’t see it…especially if merged in a sauce formation. Both of these boys had stuff going on beneath the bonnet, they were legitimate finely tuned curries.
Today came “Kick Ass Chicken Korma” and “Chickpea Chana Masala” (again). It’s a bit strange to see the legend “kick ass” before “korma” when our domestic tongues are used to korma being the whipping boy of currydom. Has korma ever kicked anybody’s ass with its mild-mannered coconut tones? Even associating the word “ass” with curry is a bold move from the branding team. Did it kick my ass? Maybe it kissed my arse. Did I kiss its arse? I’ve got my hand on its arse right now. It’s a good arse, ooh it’s really bright and saucy. It got lucky because that’s how I like my arses. It was rich and creamy (again, great arse) like the description offered and the chicken pieces were as genuine and life-like as the other chicken pots. Less spiceful (this was a one chilli rating) curries can prove a mite disappointing but the korma is such a distinctive taste that it swerves that danger. The chana masala was a great laugh as it had been the night before, I miss you already mate.
It is said that Mindi’s uses rapeseed oil instead of ghee and that’s how the tubs present a healthier, lighter option. It is also said that Mindi’s tubs are gluten free. In truth, we don’t know what gluten is. I know I should by now but I close my eyes and I picture yeast, the elasticity of bread dough. I certainly didn’t miss the gluten even though I don’t know what it is. Mindi’s offerings beat any supermarket ready-meal curry that I’ve ever encountered and trounces a fair few takeaways too. It didn’t feel dirty or dishonest, it was fair and true. For a penny shy of £4 you’d be the best dressed chicken in town if you returned to your office toting a tub of Mindi’s. I hear on the grapey-v that Mindi’s are planning to add a Lamb Seth Rogan and a Lentil Sophie Dahl to their range, and also a strictly sauce strand. Mindi’s is one to watch in the supermarket sweep stakes. To my mind no-one else is offering the tub-format curry for power lunchers on the spritz, credit to them.
My household is sad now the complimentary curries have gone. It was said in the heat of the moment that we could eat Mindi’s tubs forever. It was a wild rollercoaster while it lasted. I never thought I’d pick Mindi over Mork but now look at me. I love you?
P.S. More curry please