Food

Kate Richards’ din­ner party turns into a dog’s break­fast.

North & South - - North & South -

Itook notes, but they’re mostly il­leg­i­ble, gin-drunk chicken scratch on torn-off pieces from an AA Mo­tor­ing notepad, so you’ll have to tol­er­ate some of the hazier mem­o­ries from my Snoop Dogg din­ner party. We ate lit­tle and drank a lot, in hon­our of the D- O dou­ble G’s Cham­pagne life­style. From what I can de­ci­pher, high­light quotes (or low­light, de­pend­ing on how you look at them) in­clude:

Of the en­trée: “I’m sav­ing my farts for the train home.”

Of the main: “I feel like I’ve eaten a brick that’s re­mained in­side me.”

Of the dessert: “If Snoop eats this ev­ery day, I’m sur­prised he’s not dead.”

Snoop Dogg’s de­but cook­book, From Crook to Cook: Plat­inum Recipes from tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen (Chron­i­cle Books, $49.99) is out on Oc­to­ber 29. Its 191 pages pay homage to the food mem­o­ries of his life. While ob­jec­tively ter­ri­ble (more on that later), the book se­duces with nov­elty fonts and gritty snaps of Snoop mov­ing sus­pi­ciously be­tween a ram­shackle wooden cupboard and a gleam­ing white­washed kitchen, along­side chefy-look­ing dishes he’s pre­sum­ably had some­one pre­pare for him.

Also fea­tured are sug­gested playlists for var­i­ous themed soirees, guides to the best sweet, savoury and ce­real-based munchies and, of course, a recipe for gin and juice. All that, and it’s proudly cannabis free. In­trigued, I de­cided to host a din­ner party to road-test a few dishes.

Snoop’s foray into cook­ing be­gan af­ter a guest ap­pear­ance on The Martha Ste­wart Show in 2008. The La-born rap­per Calvin Cor­dozar Broadus Jr (aka Snoop Dogg) formed an un­likely friend­ship with host Ste­wart, bond­ing over their shared love of cook­ing. The pair went on to pro­duce two sea­sons of a dou­ble­act TV se­ries called Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Din­ner Party, which you will not re­gret search­ing for on­line. Billed as a va­ri­ety show, it was a hit thanks to the hosts’ off­beat and un­likely chem­istry as well as cameos by other ma­jor celebri­ties such as Jamie Foxx, Seth Ro­gan and 50 Cent. Ste­wart wrote the fore­word for Snoop’s new book.

How­ever, hav­ing now cooked a few of his recipes, I sus­pect the pair might have bonded over in­car­cer­a­tion sto­ries rather than food. Snoop’s rich le­gal his­tory in­cludes brushes with the law for co­caine pos­ses­sion, traf­fic and firearms of­fences, and a mur­der charge on which he and his body­guard were ac­quit­ted.

Ste­wart her­self was fa­mously in­car­cer­ated for in­sider trad­ing, spend­ing five months in jail af­ter be­ing found guilty of se­cu­ri­ties fraud and ob­struc­tion of jus­tice. An un­likely pair they may be, but also kin­dred spir­its.

It took me sev­eral days to for­malise a three-course menu from the book’s var­ied 50- dish se­lec­tion. All had some al­lure, ei­ther from nov­elty fac­tor or their de­li­cious (read: ex­pen­sive) in­gre­di­ents. The starter was a no-brainer and a Snoop child­hood favourite, OG (“Orig­i­nal Gang­ster”) fried bologna sand­wiches, which came with mus­tard, plas­tic cheese, and bar­be­cue chip flour­ishes.

The mains were more lim­it­ing: carb-heavy and veg­etable-light.

My first pick was lob­ster ther­mi­dore, not least be­cause its in­clu­sion in a book hous­ing such recipes as a “mile high omelette” and “the lunch briz-eak” (sliced fruit topped with honey and peanut but­ter) seemed ridicu­lous. Snoop also claims to have first tried the meal in Aus­tralia, which was about as close to be­ing rel­e­vant to New Zealan­ders as he gets. But lob­ster is ex­pen­sive, so that got ve­toed.

Snoop’s “next level salmon” felt like a com­pa­ra­ble sec­ond choice, a honey-mus­tard coated fish dish with a side of green beans (one of the few times veg­eta­bles are men­tioned in the en­tire book).

Dessert would be ba­nana pud­ding, and wel­come drinks would in­clude the Mi­dori and Bai­leys shots col­lo­qui­ally known as “Quick Fucks”.

Through­out the party, we’d drink gin and orange juice – which every­one ex­cept North & South ed­i­tor Vir­ginia Lar­son knows is Snoop’s favourite drink – and Lin­dauer sum­mer blush, with Moët la­bels taped to the out­side be­cause I didn’t want to risk get­ting fired for buy­ing pre­mium bub­bles on my work credit card.

I’d started prep­ping dessert around 4pm be­cause the recipe re­quires chill­ing. Es­sen­tially, it’s corn starch- thick­ened cus­tard with ba­nana pieces, lay­ered in a glass with smashed bis­cuits and rum cream. I’ve made cus­tard be­fore, and it takes a bit of whisk­ing, but this was just silly. By the time the mix­ture was thick enough to go into the fridge to cool, it was past five o’clock. To get it to that point, I’d also had to add three times the rec­om­mended num­ber of eggs (are eggs big­ger in Amer­ica?) and dou­ble the amount of corn starch. It was a lot of arm power for a dish one guest de­scribed as sim­ply “okay”. Way too hard to make, it had a pow­dery corn-starch un­der­tone and, in my opin­ion, was too sweet.

The bologna sand­wiches were the hit of the night. De­spite be­ing slightly burnt (not Snoop’s fault), the mix of lun­cheon-style meat, tangy Amer­i­can mus­tard, cheese and bar­be­cue chips some­how worked.

One guest was so struck by this dish he patented an in­ven­tion to be called the Snoop Dogg Grill™ to press the sand­wiches for a more ef­fec­tive cheese melt and bread toast­ing than when you pan fry. If you’re read­ing, Snoop, and want to get in touch about this po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive busi­ness op­por­tu­nity, I can pass on the rel­e­vant de­tails.

I’ve put off writ­ing about the salmon be­cause it was truly bad – in fact, border­line ined­i­ble. That’s partly be­cause I over­cooked it (too much gin) and partly be­cause honey mus­tard salmon shouldn’t be a thing. The sweet­ness of the mari­nade against the rich­ness of the fish didn’t work. It was, as one elo­quent party at­tendee de­scribed, “a hard knotty rope full of sharp fish bones, but the beans of­fer light relief. I’d give it to some­one I didn’t like much.”

I’d pic­tured the evening be­ing a bit like the film Julie & Ju­lia. The re­al­ity was much less taste­ful. The night ended with a bomb­site kitchen and my lounge car­pet cov­ered in sod­den Froot Loop crumbs, one of Snoop’s favourite snacks. The next morn­ing, the smell of over­cooked salmon hung in the air.

Would I host a Snoop Dogg din­ner party again? Maybe a Snoop Dogg party. Given every­one seemed to en­joy the snacks and my hi­lar­i­ous Snoop Dogg quiz more than the meal it­self, next time we’ll prob­a­bly just go all out on the Froot Loops. +

Op­po­site page: US rap­per Snoop Dogg. Froot Loops are one of his favourite snacks and fea­ture in his new cook­book ( bot­tom). Left: Kate Richards with a stack of burnt bologna sand­wiches.

Be­low: Din­ner party guests are wel­comed at the door with shots of Mi­dori and Bai­leys.

Top: Guests raise their glasses of ba­nana dessert – or in Richards’ case, a drop of Froot Loop wine. Above: Snoop cel­e­brates his 40th birth­day in 2011 with an orange juice cake.

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