There are some things even sporting disappointment can’t spoil. I’m writing this ahead of England’s Six Nations clash with Italy, and even if it’s as frustrating and uninspiring as their opener against Scotland, I’ll be OK.
That’s because I’m going to watch at Gibney’s, the cosy Irish bar below Richard Corrigan’s restaurant in Old Street. I’ll have a Guinness, some beef
short-rib on toast, and a slice or two of rarebit. A passion for bar snacks is
something to admire, I think.
By the time this column comes out, Italy should have been dispensed with – but then I thought that the same about the Scots – and England will be preparing to face Wales.
Former Harlequins lock Olly Kohn once turned out for the Welsh in a Six Nations match almost 10 years ago. He would have gone on to feature more,
most probably, but injury prevented him from doing so.
The reason I’m talking about all this in a food column is that after leaving rugby prematurely, Kohn set up a sausage and bacon business with his two brothers, called The Jolly Hog. It is based in Bristol and, crucially, is helping to push higher-welfare pork into the mainstream. A pack of bacon might be 50p more than regular supermarket stuff, but that’s really what needs to be happening if we’re going to eat meat sustainably.
Kohn and his family also have a restaurant on Bristol’s Wapping Wharf, where you’ll find one of my favourite places to eat, Box-E (go there). Pigsty,
meanwhile, is worth a stop too.
I asked Kohn to recommend some good rugby food. We settled on loaded fries. It’s a divisive dish, uncool, definitely, and unsophisticated, but one I don’t believe people don’t love when it’s put in front of them. You can make your own pulled pork by all means. Kohn is 6ft 5in and built like a bag of cement, so I’m happy to suggest using the Jolly Hog stuff. Here’s an easy one for the weekend.
PULLED PORK-LOADED FRIES
A pack of Jolly Hog pulled pork
Four rashers of streaky bacon
A handful of grated mozzarella, or more if you fancy
A handful of grated cheddar, or more if you fancy
Approx 260g French fries, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 x red chilli
2 x spring onions
A heavy drizzle of Sriracha
A handful of chopped coriander
Cook the pulled pork as per pack instructions.
While the meat is cooking, prep your toppings – chop the red chilli and spring onions into thin slices, and finely chop the coriander.
Place the rashers of streaky bacon under the grill and cook until crispy. Set aside and cut into pieces when cooled.
Once the pulled pork is cooked, layer a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar over the top of the pork and put under the grill until melted.
Layer the pulled pork and cheese onto the seasoned fries.
Top with the sliced red chillies, spring onions, crispy bacon, Sriracha and some chopped coriander.