Last week I was lucky enough to go to the National Theatre to see the completely excellent production of Othello, with Adrian Lester as Othello. I usually get to the theatre early, having once missed a performance because I got stuck in a traffic jam. So I was kicking my heels around the South Bank and around the back, stumbled upon a stall selling Jamaican sauces.
Being unable to eat gluten or dairy isn’t really a problem in a restaurant. If wanting to lose weight, but the job requires dining out, then avoiding those two will make weight gain impossible. Try it!
However, being unable to eat onions or garlic (or leeks or chives and so on and so on) really is a problem in a restaurant. Essentially, I need to ask, ‘What is the blandest thing on the menu?’ Everything with any zest, poke or interest has garlic and/or onions in it. So I invariably end up with a plain bit of meat or fish on my plate plus a side dish of squeaky green beans, the kitchen being stuck on adding butter to its veg and seemingly unable to reach for the olive oil.
The Jamaican sauce stall had small jars of tasty stuff on sale. I asked if any of them had no onions etc in, and to my joy a couple fitted the bill. One was a wondrous lime and ginger sauce. So I bought some jars of these, thinking, ‘Ner, ner, ner to the chefs!’ Then I saw a bottle of Scotch bonnet and Pimento oil, which I also bought. Next morning, I fried my duck’s liver breakfast in the oil – and, wow. What a start to the day. Duck’s liver with a warm, chilli tang.
So now I am extremely happy. Yes, my small handbag will be clunking with a couple of jars of tasty sauce and a tiny bottle of pimento oil. And these I will whip out so I too can have a tasty dinner. Enough boring beans. Enough boiled fish.
The stall was called Pimento Hill and normally hangs out on Borough Market – a place for a foodie to visit minus credit card. It has an online shop: www.pimentohill.co.uk where you can buy the lovely sauces but not the oil. However, if you come across Scotch bonnet and pimento oil, I heartily recommend buying it and adding it to food. Pimento Hill’s base oil is olive oil, so it can be used for cooking, or it will give a bit of punch to a salad dressing.
I suspect you can make your own and came across a couple of recipes on the internet. It basically seems to involve infusing oil with pimento berries that have been dry heated and bashed up plus a whole Scotch bonnet chilli. So I may give that a whirl.