- Food & Drink
After the wedding, the hangover. I knew action had to be taken quickly and efficiently, before my mind caught up with how my body felt. I also knew the Lambeth Country Show was on, which meant one thing: jerk chicken with rice and peas. If anything was going to appease my stomach, liver and kidneys, then that would be it.
Bellerina and I strolled through South London to Brockwell Park, our noses twitching for the first whiff of barbecuing meat. But when we got to the park and shuffled past the fun fair rides, sound stage and tombolas towards the smoke, we discovered we were a bit early and the fires were only just getting going. This was terrible news and, for a moment, I considered lying on the floor and giving vent to the primal wailing that was building in my chest, but Bellerina had a thought: coffee and snacks. I immediately brightened up.
We opted for a tray of pholouries with tamarind sauce. Pholouries are little puffs of curry-spiced fried dough that are perfectly fine by themselves, but when used as a sponge for the sweet and spicy tamarind sauce, they are heaven in a plastic tray. The cappuccino was from The Little Coffee Van and it was my kind of morning coffee. Lots of sweet, milky foam with a dark, bitter undertone. The sun began to shine.
While we waited for the jerk chicken stalls to get going, we wandered through the fair and admired the livestock, plants and jousting knights. But as soon as the food aisles were thick with smoke we raced down there. And then we paced up and down wringing our hands and asking: ‘But which one do we go for?’ There is nothing like hungover people for decision making. In the end, because we were about to drown in our own drool, we picked a stand with a medium length queue – a queue is a good thing, but we didn’t have the discipline to stand in one for long.
Oh, how much do I love you jerk chicken with rice and peas? Quite a lot, especially with a side of fried plantain. The chicken was blackened and crispy and helpfully cleavered into little bite size slices that I could stick in my mouth and then suck all the sauce and flesh off the bone. I don’t think I have been happier all year. Bellerina had the curried goat and her joy every time she found a bone she could suck out the marrow from was unending. I feel sorry for anyone sat near us in the picnic area because we were eating in the sort of way that is best kept private – or, at least, reserved for medieval reenactments, where bones get thrown to the dogs and juices run liberally down chins.
Because we are greedy, we decided to round off our day with a trip to the poffitures stand for a plateful of tiny Dutch pancakes topped with two spoonfuls of butter and half a packet of icing sugar. I love poffitures, mostly because they are an excuse to just eat butter, and these served their purpose admirably. Stuffed and sunburnt, we slept our way home on the bus.