It was one of those days. Actually, it's been one of those years but today was just one of those endless series of irksome little problems that, individually, wouldn't really register but, one after the other, can leave you in the sort of mood where even puppies risk a kicking.
The car battery died. My Blackberry, after weeks of efficient running, decided it would no longer sync my diary and Google Calendar. I missed the early LFF screening due to what I shall euphemistically call "domestic issues". I had another row with Orange. The post strike disrupted my capacity to earn. Twitterberry joined Google Sync in the apparent work to rule dispute... As I say, nothing there to really ruin a day but one after the other and all before 11am? Gah.
I needed cheering up then and, happily, that was about to happen. A few weeks ago, my mate Iqbal introduced me to a good friend of his, Daljit. As well as being the talented creative type behind the rather marvellous design agency Digit, and responsible for the highly entertaining digital installation "Four Seasons" at Roast, Daljit has a new venture on the cards: Indian sausages. Would I like to try them? he'd suggested after our initial meet. Having never knowingly said no to a pork product, the wasn't much doubt to the answer, and so we scheduled a sausage-tasting lunch at The Cinnamon Kitchen.
The sausages will, hopefully, soon be generally available under the brand name Mr Singh's Bangras. As a lover of a pun (see, well, title of this blog for example), I found the name particularly chucklesome - come on, who could say no to Bangras and mash? - and was eager to test the product. The name may be jokey but the product is anything but: Mr Singh's Bangras are a serious, and seriously good, sausage.
The Bangras are based on an old recipe by Daljit's grandfather, Harnam Singh, who was a butcher in the East End. Incidentally, that smiling chap in the marketing photograph? That's not the most perfect casting imaginable, that's actually a pic of Harnam. It's also, coincidentally, the sort of expression you'll pull after trying a Bangra.
We enjoyed them today as a starter: a single date and apricot Bangra on a bed of masala mash.
Over the years, I've tried a lot of "cross cultural" foodstuffs and have usually been disappointed. So often, the Indian influence is toned down as if to not scare sensitive English palates. That's not an issue here. The rich date taste is what hits first, and then the spice kicks in. We're talking proper heat, the sort of bite that fills the mouth and makes the eyes widen involuntarily. However, at the point you think they've gone too far, the sweetness of the apricot - and a little orange peel - kicks in to round the whole thing off. And all the time that's happening, you can still savour the moist, all-round piggy gorgeousness of the meat. It would be fair to say then that I'm a convert, and also that I finished the day in much brighter mood than I began.
Mr Singh's Bangras will soon - with luck - be appearing in select supermarkets. I'll keep you posted. And with a little luck, the generous Mr S may be sending me a few over sometime soon. In the spirit of today I think that I might just have to get a few bloggers around for some sausage butties, don't you? Drop me a line if you might be interested...