Thursday, 6 November 2014

Fruitful Mellowness

By: Mr Robot

There's a fair amount of misery involved in the English Autumn: it's cold, it's soggy, it's grey, it's dark... whatever all-too-brief summer we actually had disappears practically overnight and before you know it you're looking at six months of chilly rain before the slightly warmer rain comes round again.

But there are upsides: warm fires, dark beer, cosy pubs on a chilly day, bonfire night, that bite in the air that makes you glad to have a fur-lined nose, misty mornings and leaves turning and, of course, the food.

This is the season to make soups and stews, puddings and pies, and many things rich and dark and gloopy. It's my favourite time for cooking, plus it's game season.

So the other weekend I decided to indulge myself with a long Sunday in the kitchen, a brace of pheasant the butcher had talked me into, and Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food to keep me company.

Pheasant, hiding in a hedge of bacon

Actually I started off by knocking up a very fudged Onion Soup that would get me banned from la belle France if I dared call it French - but you know whereof I speak. Yes, it involved an Oxo cube and, yes, the wine was cheap Spanish, but hey, at least it had wine and the cheese was a rather nice Gruyere even if it was on top of toasted Generic White Sliced. We enjoyed it anyway. It was that kind of weather.

My deepest apologies to France

But that was merely a precursor to the pheasant, which I prepared in the Kerridge style with many well-browned carrots along with garlic, orange, stock and I can't remember what else. Everyone's favourite setting of gas bugger-all for, ooh ages, enabled me to knock up the prescribed game chips and bread sauce (Generic White Sliced sauce, to be precise), and turn my mind to pud.

Never mind the presentation, here's the dog's, er, pistols

Now, I've done the pheasant before so know it to be worth treasuring, but I'd never tried these steamed ginger puddings. It was a fair bet though, because Kerridge's book has never let me down and his little date & toffee puds would entice me under a moving bus.

In any case it's enough, I submit, just to note the key ingredients of ginger, syrup, vanilla, puddingness and custard. There's a bit of jazzing around with lemon and ginger wine but really, if that doesn't get you I don't know what will.

Honestly, what more do you want?

Happily the recipe makes six puddings, which works perfectly for the two of us.

Creaking already from the immensely rich & savoury pheasant, and a startlingly good bread sauce (I know - I've avoided it for years on the assumption that, well it's bread... made into a sauce. Idiot), we actually ate only one each.

Serves two, eventually

Remarkable isn't it? We experimented with freezing the others and it's worked pretty well - just reheated by very gently steaming. If anything, freezing brings out the ginger more. But I digress.

We were sated and then some, and insanely happy. This is food that makes you really appreciate the grotty, wet, miserable weather just the other side of the window. To celebrate we finished with a glass of mulled cider, and then a whole load more. Doesn't get much better, to be honest.

All images (c) PP Gettins

We don't give away other folk's recipes. Buy the book instead - you'll never regret it. You can probably get it cheap on Amazon, or better yet pay full whack for a copy signed by the great man himself.

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