We had to get a few signatures witnessed today, so we asked Neighbour Dave if he’d obliged us with his moniker. He was more than happy to (his words) and turned up at 3:30 on the dot to do the job. Whenever we have to get signatures witnessed, I often wish I was ambidextrous. That way, I could sign as someone else, which would save us a lot of problems. Mind you, I don’t think Mirinda would approve.
Not that it’s really a problem asking Dave. He’s always happy to help.
While he was here, he told us his goat story. Actually he asked “Would you like to hear my goat story?” Obviously, we said yes. I can’t remember what prompted it.
He worked in Saudi Arabia for a while. He was teaching the Saudis…I don’t know what because he didn’t say. He lived in a compound with a bunch of other people, which is where and how he met Gail. She was out there teaching midwifery.
He treated the Saudis like normal people, while other English ‘trainers’ were treating them like illiterate fools who didn’t know anything. It’s that old colonialist attitude of teaching the ignorant natives to be as ignorant as the people teaching them, shtick.
Dave’s attitude went down rather well with the locals and, in return for his excellent work and manners, they invited him and his workmate for a special meal in the desert.
Out they went on the particularly day, stopping between a couple of dunes where a poor, quivering goat was tethered to a pole. It was clearly going to be their meal. One of the Saudis produced a huge knife and held it aloft. He was blessing the goat and offering it as sacrifice to a god that still liked that kind of thing.
At this point, Dave was a bit concerned for the poor goat. He was also not keen on the man slicing the animals throat and sending great gushes of blood everywhere. All in all, he didn’t like the idea one bit.
“The guy lowers the knife and turns towards the goat, the blood-lust in his eyes,” He continued. “I looked at the poor goat only to see it running away into the desert! It was a blessed relief for both the goat and us.“
I can only assume the goat chewed through whatever inadequate rope was tethering it to the stick. As we all know, goats will (and can) eat anything.
Mirinda asked him what they had for dinner instead of goat. He said they had chicken, but it was already dead, so they were spared the ritual slaughter.
And, of course, I have a goat story as well. It is here.
We didn’t have goat for dinner. It was one of our two veggie nights so I dipped once more into the Ottolenghi book and made two small dishes: braised kale with crispy shallots and seared fennel with capers and olives. They were both delicious.
It was all very fiddly but worth it. I didn’t get the shallots crispy enough, so I’m obviously going to have to give it another shot. For anyone wondering, the white blob in the fennel dish is ricotta. I was surprised but delighted with its use. It cut through the kecap manis brilliantly.