When I'm not sending £20 of sushi to my girlfriend's work address by accident or being berated for spending £20 on sushi, I'm sourcing protein in more economical and relationship friendly ways. Here are some of my favourites.
3x3 Chicken Wings
Before Jamie Oliver MBE invented lemon, garlic and chilli, food in Britain was awful. This is my poultry themed homage to him.
3 gloves of garlic
9 chicken wings
Ideally your chicken will be in an indeterminate state of refrigeration somewhere between frozen solid and dangerously half-cooked. I find over-priced Western supermarkets in China provide this as part of the service, but you may wish to freeze four or five wings and leave the remainder out near to a window facing the sun for maximum effect. Place the chicken into a tupperware container, which can barely contain them; please note that you should use supermarket purchased tupperware and not tupperware your mother bought in the eighties that has been masquerading her attendance at an Ann Summers party ever since.
Next, squeeze the three lemons over the chicken without taking care to avoid any pips entering the container. Nonchalantly chop the chillies and add to the mix. Do not scratch your genitals or engage in an intimate act with someone. Use the brilliant trundle wheel themed garlic chopper you received for Christmas. You may wish to imagine your kitchen side is a school field, which you've been asked to measure by a teacher incapable of dealing with your natural energy and desire for attention, whilst rolling the chopper. Shake the garlic into the container, then spend ages picking the remaining 80% of garlic out of the no longer brilliant chopper.
Place the lid on the tupperware, enjoying the four satisfying clicks as you seal it. If making this dish more than once, on occasion you may wish to close two sides in tandem in order to revel in the stereo click. Shake it harder than a lady of the night with an over ambitious work schedule.
Cycle for four hours.
Pre-heat the oven to 180. Place the contents of the tupperware on a baking tray. Turn the chicken wings skin side down and place in the oven for three minutes.
After three minutes remove the tray. If you are around 175cm tall and naked after four hours of cycling you will want to take care of steam emitting from the top of the oven, no penis needs to be exfoliated. Turn the chicken wings skin side up and top with pepper, which, of course, is black because nobody should be caught using white pepper. Return the wings to the oven.
After another three minutes, in which time you should have put some boxer shorts and/or pyjama bottoms on, remove the wings and drizzle with the leftover chilli and garlic infused olive oil that you used to dress last night's salad with. Return the tray to the oven.
Every three minutes, raise the oven temperature by three degrees, remove the wings and baste with the juice which is now cremating the edge of the tray in a manner so severe that you are glad you gave into your girlfriend's demands to get a cleaner because your own cleaning efforts were "frankly, appalling". Repeat this three times.
Following three further minutes of what footballers do in hotel rooms remove the chicken for the penultimate time. I shouldn't need to say this, but by now your oven should be at 192. After one final basting, grind salt over the wings. As a man you should now turn the oven up to its full power. It really doesn't matter what temperature this is, what's important is that you've used something to its unnecessarily high, full potential.
Wait a further three minutes before removing the wings for the final time. Place the wings on a plate. Devour.
Make scrambled eggs. Serve with a quadruple shot black coffee in your favourite mug to kick start your metabolism.
Cynics may suggest that due to its high alcohol content that this isn't a meal for an athlete, but they'd be wrong. An alcohol based meal can be the fuel of champions if prepared correctly. Jockeys - and despite my own reservations, horse racing is a sport because it was on Grandstand - frequently live like alcoholics to keep their weight down and presumably also to blank out the boredom of being involved with horse racing. Cyclists recognise that if you're sleeping, you're not eating and if you're not eating, then you're losing weight. Tyler Hamilton's excellent throwing-shit-and-watching-it-stick tell all book about cycling in the nineties and very naughties recounts the days where cyclists would take drugs (obviously) to sleep through the hours they weren't cycling in order to keep their weight down. I have no interest in sleeping pills but I do love a Martini, which in the right quantity has the same effect.
100g of smoked salmon
1 thimble of Martini
Twice your daily allowance of alcohol units in vodka
Fill whatever vessel you desire to drink from with ice and top up with mineral water. If you live in the first world tap water is also fine to use. Put to one side.
Remove the salmon from its packaging, place on a small plate and dress with the juice of one lemon and a bit of pepper. Note: it is of great importance that you dispose of the evidence, particularly the sticker denoting the price of this delicious fish that has travelled some 10000km to be with you tonight. You do not want another conversation like that which followed the £20 sushi order after all.
Decant the olive brine into a plastic cup that was left unused after a house party. At this stage be indecisive about what to do with the olives. Eat an olive, then another and another. Stop eating the olives.
Remove the lid from the cocktail shaker and add two large ice cubes. Add a thimble sized amount of Martini. Two significant points here. So significant I'm going to have to use bullet points.
I have decided not to tell you which vodka to drink, though I have told you to drink vodka. Traditionalists harp on about gin being the true base of a Martini cocktail. This is nonsense, gin is a flavoursome delight to be reserved for gin and tonic. It is acceptable to have a vodka/gin mix in a Martini, such as the Vesper Martini, but if you know about Vesper Martinis I don't need to tell you anything because you've been to the place a Vesper Martini takes you, which is the floor, and survived to forget everything.
The reason I haven't told you what vodka to use is because I'm ashamed. In my formative Martini days I unwittingly got hooked on a cheap French vodka called Eristoff. Do as you want because I have no authoritative platform from which to speak, but my advice is to find a vodka with as little flavour as possible. The brine and Martini will deal with flavour, the vodka's there to send you to sleep.
Eat a few more olives.
Remove the vodka from the freezer. If you're vodka isn't in the freezer stop reading this, go to the highest point in the building that your empty soul is poisoning and throw yourself off it.
Guestimate how much vodka you could drink neat and add to the cocktail shaker. Twice.
Add a thimble of brine to the mix.
Now this really is important. Though I have had some wonderful shaken Martinis, the pinnacle being a cocktail so well made by one Hong Kong mixologist* that the Martini had a millimetre thin ice-crust, which you had to crack to enjoy the drink, you are not going to be able to make a good shaken Martini at home.
What you can do however is shirl (TM) the contents. Shirl the contents in a clockwise (or anti-clockwise - there's no voodoo shit going on here) motion, being careful not to breach the structural integrity of the ice, but give the liquid contents more access to the cubes than they would have if you were merely stirring your drink. You are looking to produce an acceptable temperature whilst not watering down the flavour or strength.
Smugly pop an olive into your mouth, chew, swallow.
At this juncture a whole world of options open up to you. Eat some olives whilst you ponder which road is the right route for you to take.
Your first decision is about the olives. Are you bothered? Should they continue to linger like a red herring in a Scandinavian crime drama? No. No they should not. Which means they're either in the glass, on the stick, or in your mouth. Put them in your mouth, chew, swallow, etc.
Empty your drinking vessel of ice and water.
What vessel should you use? A mug would be bolshy yes, but you need a glass. And you should use a glass, this isn't the war you know. If this drink uses the last of the brine it is ok to drink your Martini from the olive jar like a hipster toe rag.
Add additional brine to taste.
Consume quickly before someone discovers what you've been up to.
If having this dish for breakfast, be sure to imbibe the right side of cleaning your teeth.
*ordinarily I would declare this job title bullshit, but the man was an artist.
This is where I update on my progress. Expect lots of fabricated statistics and dated music references.