Wednesday, May 9, 2007

J. G. Ballard Prepares Beef Bourguignon

James Graham Ballard, aged 76, gathers together the following ingredients: 1.5 kg of chuck steak, cut into 5 cm pieces; 3 tablespoons of olive oil; 1 large carrot and 1 large onion, both peeled and cut into chunks; 2 sticks of celery (which the author of The Drowned World chops roughly); 3 bottles of burgundy wine (one for enjoying with Claire Walsh); 2 sprigs of fresh thyme; 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally; 4 bay leaves; 50gs of unsalted butter (purchased at the Metro-Centre); 225 g whole pieces of pancetta; 450 g of shallots, which the prominent member of the New Wave of science fiction has peeled; 2 tablespoons of flour; 375 g of chestnut mushrooms; 290 ml of fresh beef stock; 5 tablespoons of brandy; and a handful of flatleaf parsley, chopped by an author intent on brutalizing every human sympathy, according to Paul Theroux in his review of Crash.

In his Shepperton kitchen, the former internee at the Lunguha Civilian Assembly Centre heats a tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. The author of SuperCannes then adds the carrot, onion and celery, and cooks them for 2-3 minutes. He adds wine, thyme and garlic, along with 2 bay leaves. He brings them to a boil and allows the food to simmer for 15 minutes. He allows the saucepan to cool.

J. G. Ballard, who is not nor ever will be a CBE, places the beef in a large bowl and pours over the wine marinade. He covers the bowl and places it in the fridge overnight.

Having investigated the narrative potential of Principia Mathematica, Ballard preheats his oven to 150 C (Gas 2). He drains the beef from the marinade into a colander over a glass bowl. He reserves the marinade and sets it next to holiday brochures for Seychelles.

Ballard heats 25g of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. He adds the pancetta and cooks it until it is golden and brown. He adds the shallots and transfers it to a large casserole dish, given to him by Michael Moorcock in lieu of payment for “The Assassination of John F. Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race”, published in New Worlds.

William Burroughs’s foremost defender in the UK heats a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. He pats dry the cubes of beef from the marinade mixture using absorbent kitchen paper purchased at the Bentall Centre, that nightmare marriage of psychopathology and convenience. Adding the beef to the pan, he cooks it until the cubes are brown on all sides. He removes the beef and transfers it to the casserole dish with the bacon, shallots and vegetables. He pours himself a glass of wine. He repeats the above procedure with the remaining beef and also adds it to the casserole dish.

Does the angle between two walls have a happy ending?

The prophet of suburbia stirs in 2-3 large spoonfuls of the reserved marinade to deglaze the pan. He pours that into the casserole dish.

Ballard stirs in plain flour, the remaining marinade and the beef stock into the casserole dish.
The former assistant editor of the scientific journal Chemistry and Industry brings the dish to a boil, covers it and places it in the oven for 3 - 3 ½ hours or until the beef is very tender.

Halfway through the Warren Commission Report, Ballard heats the remaining oil and butter in a large frying pan bought in Munich after meeting Helmut Newton and cooks the mushrooms until brown. He reluctantly adds the brandy and continues to cook for a few minutes.

The author dismissed as an “aging semiotician” adds the mushrooms to the casserole dish, which he stirs and returns to the oven for the remaining cooking time.

J. G. Ballard is happy to serve the beef bourguignon with new potatoes, sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley and purple sprouting broccoli underneath the aluminum palm trees that adorn his study.

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