This was not at the fish and seafood stall as you might expect, but at one of the fruit and veg stalls. I’d never seen them for sale before – I didn’t even know you could eat them (You CAN eat some species – see below…)
Anyway, I decided to try them. I said, “Can I have some of those barnacles please” to which the man replied, “Of course, how many would you like?” I decided on half a dozen, and he shovelled them into a brown paper bag, scrunched the top closed with a quick flick of the wrists, and handed them over. “That’ll be £75 please” he said, to my horror! Well, not wanting to lose face, I reluctantly handed over the cash. He must have sensed that I was somewhat horrified by the price, because he said, “Don’t worry, there’s enough for two people there – three each.” That’s little consolation, I thought to myself. Thinking ahead, I asked, “So, how should I cook the barnacles? Can you give me some ideas?” The man replied, “Oh, well, I wouldn’t even try, to be honest. They’re very tricky to get right and you might even poison yourself if you get it wrong. You really need a professional chef to cook them for you. I’d take them to a local restaurant – they’ll soon cook them up for you, they’re used to it”.
Well, later that day, off we went, my partner and I, to a local restaurant that we knew did a few fish and seafood dishes. When the waiter came for our order, I said, “Well, we’ve got these barnacles. The man in the market said it would be no trouble for the chef to cook them up for us”. The waiter said, “Oh yes, we can do that for you, no problem.”
Ten minutes later, out scurried a funny little chef carrying two plates – to my amazement it was none other than Antony Worrall-Thompson, off the TV. He set down the plates, and there were the barnacles, no sauce or anything, just three plain barnacles on each plate. Antony said, “That’ll be £50 please”. Well, I was FLABBERGASTED! I said, “£50! And you didn’t even supply the barnacles!”, and he replied, “Yep, that’s what I charge for cooking barnacles, take it or leave it”, and with that, he turned on his heel and scurried back into the kitchen.
So there we were, my partner and I, staring down at our barnacles, wondering what to do next. At this point, to my utter dismay, I woke up.
I ask you. £125 lighter, and I never even got to taste the flipping barnacles
Where DO these dreams come from!