Challenge: Cooking all 124 recipes from the new Brave New Meal cookbook in 365 days.
5 recipes down, 119 to go.
Bad Manners Smashed Cucumber Salad
Where I come from, when you say someone is smashed it means they are fall-down drunk. So obviously I was very surprised when there was zero booze involved in this recipe.
Rather than be disappointed, I opened a bottle of wine, decided not to hold it against the Bad Mannered chefs, and gave the recipe a chance.
This recipe comes from Brave New Meal, Bad Manners new cookbook (They were previously known as Thug Kitchen) and can be found on page 53 next to a pic of mouth-watering bowls of food on a tablecloth (which is as colourful as the language coming out of Michelle and Matt’s mouths.)
It says that the cooktime for this is 75 minutes. But the prep work is over so quickly, it’s just the chilling in the fridge time that takes at least an hour.
I got totally confused with what Bad Manners had written in the recipe, but that could just be me not getting it and being a bit slow on the uptake. (After all, I’d opened that wine)
They said to slice the cucumber into 1 inch pieces. Quote, unquote: ‘think smaller than your pinkie finger’. What the friggin’ fuck? I mean, what does that actually mean? That pinkies are thinner than an inch? What about different sizes of fingers? Everyone’s got different sized hands. And for us over here who use centimeters instead of inches, it just get doubly confusing. And for us over here drinking wine, the confusion just triples.
I chopped away to my heart’s content. I poured more wine in my glass, then I chopped some more. I sprinkled salt on and while I waited for the cucumbers to release their water or whatever they were doing, I drank some more wine. I sat there contemplating old grannies who take water pills (aka diuretics) so they don’t get fat ankles. Or is it to release salt to lower their blood pressure? I couldn’t seem to remember…it was like the wine had bound and gagged my thinking capabilities, and had dragged them into some other room before plotting how to traffic them to other countries.
Finally the 15 minutes had passed, and the cucumbers were released from their strange salt bowl purgatory, and were allowed to mix with other ingredients again. I sensed the relief they were feeling at coming out of isolation. I added all the spices and sauces that the Bad Mannered chefs recommended, and mixed them all around. It was looking like a real cucumber party in there. Once everything was all mixed, I popped the whole shebang back in the fridge, shutting the fridge door and leaving them to get to know each other in the dark.
I had an hour to wait before the salad would be ready, so I decided to kill time drinking more wine. I got back to contemplating old ladies and their swollen ankles, how much wine you had to have drunk before you could be considered ‘smashed’ and why some cats get scared if you put a cucumber behind them on the floor.
When I woke up the next day, slumped over the kitchen table using my folded arms as a place to rest my head, I figured that the salad had had plenty of time to marinate. I grabbed the bowl out of the fridge and grabbed a fork and set to work. I popped a pair of sunglasses on for good measure, because the lights seemed quite bright that morning.
It tasted so friggin good. I’ve made it several times again since and it tastes equally good if you aren’t smashed or hung over. The spices give it a nice kick. I know they recommend it on a hot as balls day because of the cooling cucumber, but I think there’s something quite warming about it as well because of the chili flakes, so it works well in the winter too. (I mean it’s snowing outside as we speak.)
I also suggest throwing it in a Christmas themed bowl to get in the mood for the holidays. Honestly, as a snack, if you like this as much as I do, then this is just a portion for one. When I have people over I double or triple the recipe, and this has fast become a new favourite recipe of mine.
Whether you’re a budding alcoholic, a seasonal drinker, or a teetotaler, this cucumber salad is bound to warm and delight both you and your sleepy tastebuds. (Unless you hate cucumbers, in which case this shit’s not for you.) Check out this awesome happy dude’s opinion on why consuming cucumber is good for you. (P.S. he will tell you in song, so hitch up your skirt and prepare to dance along, or at least get ready to shake your hips a little.)