Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Hannibal Lecter's Kitchen Nightmares

I have to apologise. My original plan to write about the places I'm going to visit this year fell by the wayside. The problem is Spain. I'm back here and suddenly I find myself with a social life. And since it won't be long before I'm spending weeks sleeping alone in a field I thought it better to capitalise on the kind offers of liver abuse that have come my way. Thank you, Team Nerja.

And since a lot of alcohol has been absorbed over these last few weeks, it's only appropriate that I talk bollocks. My hunt for testicles proved more difficult than I imagined. Nerja seems to lack a proper local butcher and the supermarkets don't carry...erm...'speciality' cuts of meat. I learned that the word I needed to ask for was criadillas. I've also learned not to approach the supermarket butchers' counter and ask Tiene criadillas? (Do you have testicles?) In one, the bloke looked positively crestfallen. In the other, she really wasn't amused. Yes, Vende criadillias? (Do you sell testicles?) is probably the better way. You still get funny looks though.

So, with Testicle Supreme off the menu I had to become more inventive. A couple of weeks back, I had crabs. Sorry, I mean I ate whole baby crabs - shell 'n' all - and they were surprisingly tasty. Then I had a strange, green whelk-like thing that wasn't bad. But the showpiece meal in the Spanish round of my Eat Something Awful Challenge was pigs' brains.

I was initially surprised how small the pigs' brains were, but perhaps they were only special constables. There's something macabre about eating a brain - it's difficult not to feel like a zombie - but the secret was apparently in the preparation. So, for anyone who wants to try this at home, here's my guide to cooking up the ultimate brain food:

1. Take a fresh brain or two. Always ask permission first.

2. Don't eat it raw. That would be stupid.

3. Boil for ten minutes. Look at that lovely, grey scum on top. That's the pigs' hopes and dreams, that is.

4. Remove from the water. Cor, doesn't that look yummy?

5. Chop brains and sauté them in butter and garlic, just like you might do with real food.

6. Serve. Apologise.

7. Trick girlfriend into trying it first. Chuckle to yourself.

8. Face up to the inevitable and take a deep breath.

9. Make desperate attempt not to be sick.

10. Be sick.

Verdict: The brains in Spain fall mostly down the drain. Next week, toddler's eyeballs!