The Fraudulent Insurance Claim

To make a Fraudulent Insurance Claim, you will need:

250g fresh strawberries
10-15 seedless white grapes
1 organic vanilla pod, steeped in Smirnoff Red Label vodka for 4 months
200ml full fat milk

blend the ingredients and drink

Color: 68
Texture: 38
Taste: 82
Overall: 70

The insipid pastel pink is the first disappointment when surveying the freshly prepared Fraudulent Insurance Claim. The tiny flecks of blended vanilla pod go some way towards compensating for this by adding a bit of character, but they don’t go far enough and the initial appearance is one of weak strawberry milkshake. Texture is poor. The inclusion of white grapes is regrettable at best; they add nothing to the flavour, but pollute the smoothie with annoying bits of unblended skin, turning the drink into less of a ‘smoothie’ and more of a ‘lumpie’. Or rather, a ‘thinnie-with-an-unpleasant-suspension-of-chewie’. However, taste is excellent – the strawberries are mouthwatering and refreshing, and the vanilla pod softens their sharpness. The full fat milk rounds the drink out with a hint of cream, and the vodka is subtle enough to add a tingle of excitement without endangering the driving license.

The Sad Clown

To make a Sad Clown, you will need:

200g raspberries
1 tablespoon Saskatoon Berry syrup*
1 heaped tablespoon instant hot chocolate powder
1 healthy pinch of dried chilli flakes
200ml full fat milk

*or any fruit syrup; this is more of a sweetener than a flavour component

Blend the ingredients and drink.

Colour: 100
Texture: 82
Taste: 94
Overall: 93

A true milestone in smoothie technology, the Sad Clown is a genuine revelation. It is deep, elegant, complex and endlessly fascinating – a truly 21st century drink. There’s a little something for everyone in there – a tangy fruit buzz, a smooth, mellow chocolatey undercurrent and an intriguingly warm after-swallow. So many seemingly incompatible things coming together into one joyous union. You might look at the ingredients with confusion, contempt, fear, incredulity – but the reality is something that even I, the restless smoothie experimenter, couldn’t have predicted. You might think that it’s a bit incongruous to give such a remarkable drink a name as inappropriate as The Sad Clown, but you might also think it’s not a good idea to mix raspberries, chocolate and chilli. In both cases, you’d be wrong.

The Dutch Uncle

To make a Dutch Uncle, you will need:

200g summer fruits (a roughly equal mix of raspberry, blackcurrant, redcurrant and blackberry)
2 large tablespoons of coconut yoghurt
50ml advocaat
200ml semi-skimmed milk

Blend the ingredients and drink.

Colour: 100
Texture: 82
Taste: 83
Overall: 86

A slightly deeper shade of pink to yesterday’s Raspberry Doncaster, the Dutch Uncle also has more darker flecks throughout due to the presence of the blackcurrant skins. Texture is spot on, with fewer raspberry pips to bother the teeth. Taste-wise this is a vast improvement. The smoothie has real depth, and is zingy without being too sharp. The advocaat and yoghurt add a refined creaminess to the drink without overwhelming the fruit or adding too much weight, and there are intriguing suggestions of coconut, rather than deafening proclamations. Alcohol content will be low (advocaat is around 14% by volume, so drinking an entire Dutch Uncle will be equivalent to drinking 175ml of medium strength beer, about a third of a pint), which means you should be able to enjoy one while operating heavy machinery.

The Raspberry Doncaster

April is here, the sun is out, and it’s time to continue my smoothie research.

To make a Raspberry Doncaster, you will need:
200g raspberries
25ml ginger wine
5 fresh basil leaves
200ml semi-skimmed milk

Blend the ingredients and drink.

Colour: 100
Texture: 76
Taste: 33
Overall: 55*

A beautiful, richly vivid deep pink sets the mouth watering instantly. Texture is good, not too watery, but not overly thick. One fundamental failing of the raspberry, however, is the presence of pip. These divide opinion in the smoothie world, some believing that they add pleasurable crunch to the drink, others, myself included, occasionally bothered by inter-tooth lodging. Taste was disappointing – what promised to be a sensual explosion ended up sour and a bit on the thin side. The ginger adds some welcome warmth to the post-swallow, but the basil was ineffective and the raspberries simply didn’t have the sweetness – or the sharp punch – to get away with being the only fruit component. Finishing the portion became more of an ordeal than a pleasure.

*the algorithm I’m using is taste weighted, for hopefully obvious reasons: (C + Te + 3Ta) / 5

Sexual Ealing

Yet more silly puns celebrating British life through the power of song.

Paignton A Picture : Alice Cooper
People Get Reading : Curtis Mayfield
Powys Slave : Iron Maiden
Purple Hayes : Jimi Hendrix
Push The Burton : Money Mark
Put A Lydd On It : Squirrel Nut Zippers
Quench My Thirsk : Playback
Reach Out (Aberdare) : The Four Tops
Redcar Pet : Duke Ellington
Rhondda Road Again : Canned Heat
Risca Business : Tangerine Dream
Ryde On Thame : Black Box
Save The Leicester Dance For Me : The Drifters
Sexual Ealing : Marvin Gaye
Sheffields Good To Me : Warrant
Sidmouth Be Love : Madness
Silver Langold : U2
Skipton My Lou : Leadbelly
Slough Dive : Siouxsie & The Banshees
Slowly But Chorley : Elvis Presley
So Dawlish-ious : The Fatback Band
Some Day My Prince Will Coombe : Dave Brubeck
Some Day My Prince Will Cwm : Miles Davis
Stoke In The Middlewich You : Stealers Wheel
Street Hessle : Lou Reed
Suffolk-Ated Love : Tricky
Suffolk’d Up : Leaving Trains
SuPurfleet : Curtis Mayfield
Surrey Seems To Be The Hardest Word : Elton John
Syston Addict : Five Star