It is a wonderful time to be alive if you are a fan of television. The medium that once played second fiddle to cinema, its glitzier, big budget brother, has stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight these last few years with programming that is nothing short of riveting. You would think with top tier shows like Breaking Bad ending and Mad Men coming to a conclusion this year that choice would be a little on the slim side when it came to quality viewing in TV land. But it is, in fact, just the opposite. TV is going from strength to strength with new shows like House of Cards and Fargo quickly rising to fill the gaps left by their predecessors. And then there is True Detective. What an INCREDIBLE experience.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot away to anyone who hasn’t seen this show, so in short True Detective follows Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey), two Louisiana State Detectives who are both seemingly at odds with the world around them and totally at odds with each other. Thrown together as partners, they investigate a series of gruesome ritualistic killings in what appears to be an open and shut case. But as we follow them through two interconnected timelines, seventeen years apart, they start to unravel a scenario a thousand times more depraved, horrifying and unimaginable than anyone ever thought possible.
If you haven’t seen True Detective, camp out at your local JB Hi-Fi the night before release so you can get your hands on the first available copy.
Go home and watch every episode back to back, you will thank me, I promise you.
This 8-part, critically acclaimed drama makes perfect use of television’s long form medium, utilizing it to create a truly immersive and engrossing viewing experience; perfectly paced and drawing the viewer in with each reveal and event. The entire show is written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga who both serve as the show’s Executive Producers. It is this unbroken collaboration and vision throughout the season that helps deliver the level of intensity and dramatic tension throughout the show. This can been cited best in the six minute long take at the end of Episode Four, a chase scene so well constructed and executed that it leaves you breathless by its conclusion.
The cast is perfect with deserved praise going to the two lead actors who are nothing short of brilliant. Who would have ever thought that Woody, the dim bartender from Cheers and the pot smoking, high school girl lovin’ Wooderson from Dazed and Confused would end up being so damn incredible!
The show has it roots in detective pulp fiction magazines and Showrunner Nic Pizzolatto cites writing influences as diverse as the 1895 novel The King in Yellow, the works of several well-known nihilistic philosophers and cult horror author Thomas Logotti. The series is planned to run in an anthology format so prepare yourselves for a new cast, city and killer when Season 2 goes into production.
I was originally going to make a classic Louisiana style dish to go along with the series but I noticed something unusual and totally awesome in one of the final episodes of the season, which changed the direction of the food I was going to cook. In this particular scene, the detectives Hart and Cohle are sitting and arguing about the case while having lunch and a couple of beers in what appears to be a run down highway diner. As the scene progresses however I noticed a bottle of Sriracha Chili Sauce on the table and a tiny, old Vietnamese lady serving the customers what appears to be Vietnamese Pork Rolls. This is not what I would expect to see two cops chomping down on in a highway truck stop in rural Louisiana. This wonderfully random moment was a totally unexpected touch and as the rule goes, once you see somebody eating one of these you must have one straight away! I am sure anyone that has enjoyed one of these to die for gastronomical delights will agree with me, and for those who haven’t had the pleasure… they’re the reason you see lines 50 people deep outside of Vietnamese Bakeries at lunchtime!
Bánh mì pâté chả thịt
Roast Pork Belly Baguette with Pork Liver Pâté, Pickled Carrot, Cucumber, Coriander and Fresh Hot Chilies.
Feeds 4 True Detectives
For the Roast Pork Belly
800g Pork Belly (Unscored)
1 Disposable Razor (without lubricating strip)
For the Pickled Carrot
2 Carrots Peeled and Grated
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup White Vinegar
4 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
4 White Baguettes from Vietnamese Bakery (No exceptions on this!!!)
4 Red Thai Chillies finely chopped
1 Bunch Coriander
1 Cucumber sliced lengthways into thin strips
Pork Liver Pâté (store bought is fine)
Maggi Seasoning (available at most Asian Grocers)
Sriracha Chili Sauce (Optional)
For the Roast Pork Belly
- Place Pork Belly skin side up on a chopping board and shave off any hairs with the disposable razor.
- Place Belly into a colander and pour boiling water onto the skin until it shrinks and retracts.
- Place Pork Belly back on chopping board and with a small knife or carving fork poke hundreds of holes into the skin, making sure you get a good coverage across the surface.
- Grab a handful of Sea Salt and sprinkle over the top of the skin, cover and put in the fridge for at least a couple of hours but if you can, leave it over night.
- Remove Pork from fridge and place skin side down on a wire rack in a roasting tray.
- Heat oven to 220 Degrees Celsius and then add the Pork Belly cooking for 25-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat.
- Remove tray from the oven and flip the meat over and cook skin side up for 25 minutes.
- Remove meat from the oven and crank the grill up to full.
- When very hot place the roasting tray underneath and cook until skin is crispy, should take about 5 minutes.
- Rest for 15 minutes and cut up into bite size pieces.
For the Pickled Carrot
- Place Grated Carrot into a heat proof sealable container
- In a small saucepan add the sugar, vinegar and fish sauce and heat over a medium flame stirring constantly.
- When pickling liquor is almost at boil pour over the carrot, mix well and refrigerate.
- Remember to strain before use. Keep any excess pickled carrot in the fridge.
- Cut the Baguettes in half and slather one side with Mayo and the other with the Pork Liver Pâté.
- Add the Cucumber and Pickled Carrot.
- Stuff in as much Pork Belly as is humanly possible.
- Season generously with the Maggi Seasoning and top with Thai Chillies and Coriander and for those who like it extra hot some Sriracha Chili Sauce.
- Now the best bit, enjoy. Try and see if you can stop at one… I bet you can’t!