ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Monday, October 13, 2014

All my trials soon be over

'You'll be sitting around for hours', 'you'll get sent home early and told not to come back', 'You'll probably just do a one-day trial and that'll be it'...

Pretty much everything that people told me about jury service turned out not to be true. And that's probably for the best.

I started at Woolwich Crown Court last Monday (an absolute cuntbugger of a place to get to, by the way!) and I'm now well into my third case. It's been more or less non-stop and really rather interesting - both the trials themselves and the fascinating insights into the machinations of our flawed but strangely effective legal system.

Truth is, serving on a jury has been an ambition of mine since I was a child, and it's been at least as fulfilling an experience as I'd hoped for, if not moreso.

(I still want to release a single that makes the lower reaches of the charts, I still want to win a parliamentary seat, and I still want to race an Opel Monza against a Ford Granada coupe while listening to Queen, but at least I can tick jury service off the list now!)

The sad (but philosophically necessary) reality is that the more ambitious ambitions are, the more likely they will go forever unfulfilled, but while I'm on a role and still relatively young, it would be nice to try and fulfil some of my foody, drinky ambitions.

That's got to be easier than the Monza-Granada-Queen race, right?

1. I wants to eat me some Ortolan

If you have any sort of ethical problem with foie gras, you'll probably have some real issues with Ortolan bunting.

A speciality of the Aquitaine region of France, eating these tiny, endangered songbirds is now illegal, but they are still, reportedly available, if you have the money and the contacts.

Force-fed figs, blinded and drowned in Armangac, you eat the bastards whole while they're still mouth-searingly hot, crunching through bone, fat, and beak, keeping your head under a towel to conceal the unsightly spectacle. Sounds frightfully unpleasant, but by all account if tastes fucking delicious.

I don't care if it makes me the worst person ever - it's something I'd desperately love to try.

2. Let me cook a meal for a reigning monarch

Or even an abdicated monarch, come to that.

Wouldn't it just be really cool to casually bring out a big fuck-off plateful of Salami and Aubergine Tagliatelle or Miami Rice, and plonk it on the royal placemat with a cheery 'there we go Your Majesty, hope you enjoy it...'

(And then be told, probably via telegram or something, that, yes, HRH very much enjoyed it, and would I like to have a knighthood that I didn't have to buy from some dodgy website?)

3. Commercially brew

This is probably far more achievable, and I'm hoping that something will happen in this area in the next year.

I'd love to do a BV collaboration brew with a proper, commercial brewery and be able to order a pint of it in a pub. Man, that would be good.

4. Some hot Sushi-on-Skin action

From the land that brought us karaoke and tamagotchi cyberpets...
Another thing that's banned in a bunch of freedom-hating countries, Nyotaimori is what rich Japanese businessmen do for dinner after working a 27 hour day to seal the deal with the Chicago office.

Eating sashimi directly off the lithe, naked body of an attractive young lady. Has to be done, right.

5. Eat a unique meal personally cooked for me by a Michelin-starred chef

Any old cockjockey can rock up at a top restaurant and, assuming they have the money and the attire, eat food designed by the world's top chefs.

What I'm talking about is having Alain Roux or Nadia Santini come up with a dish they've never cooked before, and serve it to me.

(I'd happily return the favour! Alain? If you're reading? Nadia? Heston?)

So, give me a year or two, and we'll see if I can manage to score anything higher than 0 out of 5 on the culinary ambition-o-meter.

Now back to finding people guilty. Or not....

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