I am haphazardly watching a film about Garlic, but cannot sit still long enough to give it full attention. The laptop is in the corner of the kitchen, lamps and the light of the extractor bulb bathe the room. I move about the room, getting a drink, sitting down then getting up again. Each time I pass that point on the counter I remember those ripening, ripened and ripening more, bananas on the edge of the counter — their must registers each time. I have been trying to find a form I want to put them in that isn’t just porridge or cake. I remember a recipe, and begin to follow it, ignoring any measurements in the half-light, just setting the ingredients together, trusting it.
The film plays, I listen to its music and the words of people extolling the virtues, the euphorias, of that stinking rose.
I blend the flesh of two blackened bananas to liquid pulp, with what is left of that bottle of maple syrup, which has started, too, to create a grey must of its own on the liquid surface. I can see it in the bottle, and try in my pouring to avoid it at first…then tip the whole thing in. I add to this, ground rice, an arbitrary quantity that seems like it could be appropriate. Maybe salt gets added, and a little milk to thin? The mixture needs to sit for half an hour or so, so the rice can hydrate.
I try and sit back down. I get up. I get out a heavy glass jug and clean my hands freshly. I open a book to a page where it approximates fresh mayonnaise, set out the good oil on the kitchen table, a cloth to steady the jug, and a little squirl of a whisk, red. I crack eggs into a jar, the white getting on the counter, and hold singly each yolk round in an open palm, before turning them into the jug. Two or three.
Two people with long hair are both handed a small dead pig to sling over a shoulder, and bring in to the kitchen, they wear small t-shirts, music continues.
I add salt to the yolks, following the book. Whisk them a while to an emulsion, standing up, hovering over the kitchen table, watching… I later sit with the oil beside me. Adding it a blip at a time, then whisking again. Maintaining the emulsion. If the lights had been on I would have wondered at just how golden it was becoming.
The pigs get carried into the restaurant kitchen, you see the backs of the two men moving away from the camera. Many whole heads of garlic get sewn into the pigs’ cavities.
I keep adding the oil, and the consistency doesn’t change a bit, still like double cream, until it does. Not gradual, it is immediate, and startling. I set it down and go to check on the rice batter. You are to deep fry them in ghee. I put a pan on the heat and add a lot of ghee, the pan is wide and the ghee is half an inch deep across it. I spot in a little batter to check the heat. I spoon in a glob and see how soon it browns, turn it over. Take it out of the pan with chopsticks and onto a cloth. It is soft, and then it isn’t, just like the mayonnaise. It is crisp, still a little gritty from the ground rice (having not used rice flour as the recipe signalled, but having waited a fair amount of time). It is good, not too sweet at all. I fry a few more, filling the pan with unsteady blobs of ecru batter.
Now, pigs, alive, are out back, out back of somewhere, and whole heads of garlic are being thrown to them. They skid on the dirt earth, and the pigs nuzzle around, hoover them up.
The fried nuggets sit beside the hob, cooling and crisping. I get out a head of garlic and break off two large cloves. I look at the full hand of ginger that’s in the fruit bowl, waiting too to be used, another day. I think about how the film has brought me right here, the urge to hold and craft the bulb into something, brought forth from those words and those songs, the visual of long gone, long since eaten, other heads of garlic, or something. I squash the cloves and take off their pink paper jackets. I mash them across a fine grater, straight into the mayonnaise. I stir it through. The mayonnaise is on the kitchen table in its jug, and I only have to move across and pick out a nice round fried something, carry in over to the table, sit, and dip it right in to the heady, garlicky, slick. A good choice.
Something like Kolar Pitha
A loose following of this recipe by Sohla El-Waylly
Used much less maple syrup, and ground rice instead.
two egg yolks in a clean bowl or jug
a little whisk, clean hands
a little salt to give the yolks some friction
beat, then add good olive oil very gradually, then less gradually, to an emulsion. Easier, I think, in Scotland, in a cold kitchen, in the semi-dark, so that you don’t know it’s split until it has fixed itself. Oil was about 300ml. Two cloves of bruised then microplaned garlic. Some drops of lemon juice if you like.
the next day, and more
fresh pillowy flatbreads, wrapped around hot quorn bites (sliced across) with fine green leaves, and garlic mayonnaise.
gözleme (with just cheddar), garlic mayonnaise and tamarind, (pictured)