Politicians and their plates: Alan Brown's curry
The SNP MP on his famous curries
Describe your favourite plate of food.
Curry in general is my favourite food with Indian being my preference. A lamb curry with rice and naan after a plateful of mixed starters would be my ideal meal.
Why is it so special?
I have a trusty cookbook that I depend on, and people say my curries have depths of flavours better than the standard or basic fayre across many restaurants and takeaways. Mind you I am a very slow cook, so I usually am late serving dinner. It is another of my tricks – serve a few wines, and by the time the food is served they invariably think it’s great anyway.
Who have you shared this plate of food with and what was the occasion?
I think Indian food lends itself to having a mix and match approach and for a few years, I enjoyed holding Hogmanay with friends and family for dinner and then adjourning for the traditional celebrations later. Typically, that kind of serving with friends will include mushroom, vegetable and chicken pakoras. Seekh and sometimes shami kebabs, vegetable samosas and cucumber raita. Mains would be a variety of curries, including pork vindaloo, chicken tikka masala, vegetable dopiaza, a dhal, homemade naans and my favourite lamb bhuna. If I am organised enough there is sometimes kulfi ice cream for dessert too.
Purists will be glad to know we have traditional steak pie on the 1st of January.
More generally, what’s your most memorable meal and why?
Probably a Christmas dinner of a few years ago. We split the meal courses between the family [my parents, and sister’s family] to reduce the stress levels and preparation work. I did amuse bouche and then a mix of starters which is my preference. We had a good mix of food, wine and playing games at the table. In the living room we had the coal fire on, played more games and finished with a cheeseboard and port. So, it was just a very enjoyable experience.
Have you ever had any culinary disasters?
An early curry attempt failed badly, with the then girlfriend and my parents, when the spice levels were so high none of the others would eat any more than a couple of forkfuls.
Another evening, I had some SNP branch members round for a social night. As I was taking gourmet pies out the oven, I lost the balance of the tray with the pies ending up on the floor. It is possible the fact that Killie had just beaten Celtic at Celtic Park for the first time in nearly 60 years, and the post-match pints, contributed to that disaster.
What’s your comfort food?
Steak pie and chips is my comfort food. Slow and well-cooked steak in a good gravy really hits the spot and there has to be enough gravy to dook the chips in.
Is there any plate of food that you would never eat?
I am a west of Scotland male who still eats like a child – I don’t do many vegetables and raw onions make me gag. I don’t like seafood either. Overall, a salad is a complete no-no for me.
What is your favourite thing on the parliament menu?
Probably jerk chicken. However, I like to take my own food down to London. I usually travel by train so it is easy enough to take down a bag with frozen portioned home cooking. I can confirm that the containers with frozen food passes through the airport scanners as well though!