Thursday, 29 November 2012

Northern Anarchist Cookbook IV:

Northern Voices - Slippery Chicken & the Slippery Sophistry of the Civil Servant
TODAY'S salad is special because it is one of Northern Voices' own recipes that we are presenting to you the day before Radio Four's 'Food Program' presents its Food & Farming awards.  It is our 'Chicken & Mango Salad with Warm Pine-Nut Dressing'; we claim it as our own even though it is based on Francis Bissell's 'Chicken & Melon salad with Sesame Dressing'.  And, as a special treat we are going to dedicate this dish a very special man - Mike Ballard - who has distinguished himself as someone who has been nothing if not lofty in his demeanour - Mr. Ballard has had a reputation as an educated man and original thinker around Greater Manchester's political circles and is now a groupie who attaches himself as a kind of fellow-traveller to the Anarchist Federation in this country. 

Of course, our recipe for Chicken salad is simply a variation on Francis Bissell's, but it is possible to claim it is original because the rule for creating a new recipe only requires that I substitute at least two ingredients, in this case Mango and pine-nuts for Melon and sesame seeds, and Hey Presto! we've invented a new dish.  Mr. Ballard's approach to politics is rather similar to our approach to cooking - a few slights of the hand, a sprinkling of new ingredients and all the logic of the managerial tick-list, and behold he has a theory based on some cookbook concept.  Mr. Ballard is a recently retired civil servant - a former housing manager at Manchester Council.

'I took a pragmatic stand,' he told me earlier this year, 'when I accepted the decision to ban Northern Voices and the NAN (Northern Anarchist Network) from last December's Manchester Anarchist Bookfair''Perhaps you would have preferred it,' he added, 'if I had adopted a more principled position!'   At that time he claimed that he had invested too much time and energy into the event to let principles stand in his way.  So it was that both the NAN and Northern Voices were effectively blacklisted from the bookfair by the organisers and no clear explanation as to why was forthcoming. 

Worse was to come at the London Bookfair on October 27th, this year when Mr. Ballard joined a group of twelve Anarchist Federation affiliates that molested and threatened the sole stall-holder on the Northern Voices' stall at 10 in the morning; giving me until 11am to vacate the premises.  What kind of anarchism is that?  This incident has now been well documented as something more like Kristallnacht or the Rise of Arturo Ui than civilised politics.  This incident has now been well documented on this Blog.  No doubt Mr Ballard will produce some splendidly slippery sophistry to justify him being part of the raiding party, even if he was not present when the schoolmistress, Sally Hyman, finally ejaculated the salad cream on her second visit at 11am.  As Orwell wrote of W.H. Auden (see 'Inside a Whale'):  Mr. Ballard's kind of sophistry is like 'Mr Auden's brand of amoralism is only possible if you are the kind of person who is always somewhere else when the trigger is pulled.'  For this reason I think it is very appropriate that we dedicate this highly recommended and delightfully slippery Chicken dish to Mike Ballard.

Serves 6:
3 5 oz./ 140 g skinless, boneless chicken breasts.
2 mangoes, sliced, deseeded and peeled.
2 tbsp of pine-nuts.
3 tbsp of sunflower oil.
1 tbsp of rice or sherry vinegar.
2 tbsp of shredded fresh root ginger.
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed.#
2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil.
Poach or steam the chicken for 8 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, slice, and arrange the slices on plates, alternating with slices of mango, or put a fan of chicken slices on oneside of each plate and a fan of mango slices on the other.  In a small, heavy frying pan, toast the pine-nuts until golden brown.  Scatter them over the chicken and mango.  In the same pan, mix all the other ingredients, except the sesame oil, and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and spoon over the salad.  Serve immediately.

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