Monday, 7 September 2009

Meals On Wheels

Autumn is now upon us, my favourite time of year. The corn will be soon harvested, the trees will shed their leaves, the nights will draw in and the air will turn cool. And so through some symbiotic process, I shall dust off my slippers, slip a thick cardie on and proceed to shuffle around the house farting, eating soup cold out of the tin until Christmas. Yeah I love this season, gives me the perfect excuse to act like a miserable old git. I've lost the hair and the teeth are soon to follow if the pain in my jaw is anything to go by (lest we forget the hemorrhoids). I know I'm only 34 but why shouldn't I revel in this new sweet smell of death and decay in the air that surrounds us, meergh!

OK, I'm waffling on like a complete prat here, I'm not that morose a person, no not at all but there is something about this time of year that makes me contemplate the future and wonder what will happen when I reach my autumn years. I've made mention before that I want a change. I want to do something in the grand arena that is food, whatever it may encompass. Like hosting my own television series called "Come Dine On The Farm With Me During An Economic Crisis" for instance. Will I succeed? Who knows. I'm still trying to figure it all out. But whatever happens when I retire, with fortune or not, as long as there is someone like Jan from The Ample Cook to provide me with meals on wheels then I shall be a happy old man.

I was very excited when Jan contacted me to participate in a WMPC swop as she was the first person outside of London to do so, living as she does in Rochford and I'm very keen for this project to include foodies outside the M25. After an email exchange to work out logistics, I was even more enthralled at Jan's suggestion that her hubby, who shall be known as "Tiny", would be happy to courier the grub on his motorbike to my house the afternoon before my late shift. Fantastic! This is exactly what the rest of you lazy blogging buggers should be thinking about. Why the hell should I be racing around town collecting dinner from the likes of you? I mean, don't you know who I am?!* And better still, Jan decided in the end to accompany Tiny to my gaff which was great as the main aim of WMPC is to meet the faces behind the blogs. And for the record they came down the A127 by car, Jan didn't have to ride pillion.

I was little bit late for our meeting which was a couple of weeks ago now (I've been a bit lax writing this report up too) but when I finally made it home, my eyes zeroed in on the massive cool box that lay in the middle of the kitchen before I could turn and say hello to our guests. I've neglected to say so far that Jan also runs her own catering business Feast Direct, and it looked like she had indeed provided a feast. I can tell you, once we had got everything out of the box, I wasn't sure if Jan had taken me to be some glutinous greedy pig and felt that this was the least she should provide without recourse. Who had she been talking to on twitter I wonder? I'm kidding of course but she was generous in the extreme and I felt quite measly handing over some potatoes, leeks, two cobs of corn and some very old runner beans. For this I received, and wait for this:

  • 3 hefty slices of turkey, pork and bacon pie
  • potato, spring onion and chive salad
  • tomato, red onion and basil salad
  • roasted vegetable cous cous
  • homemade coleslaw
  • courgette pickle
  • plum jam
  • plum chutney
  • bramley apple cake
  • conundrum cupcakes (which I couldn't work out - Chomp Whores Perky maybe?)

This in fact fed the family for a couple of days and for that I am very grateful Jan, the twins loved the cupcakes. When I took some portions to work the next day, I felt like a regular Yogi Bear with this pickernick on my desk with my colleagues snooping over my shoulder like Park Ranger Smith. For my money, the turkey pie and courgette pickle were the main stars. Although already sliced, the construction of pie had that artisan quality, it looked just perfect with firm yet moist pastry and big chunks of succulent meat surrounded by jelly. Combined with the tart pickle it was a taste sensation. Really good. The potato salad was luxuriously creamy with nice mild bites of spring onion and the coleslaw also delivered a satisfying crunch. The cous cous was light and fluffy and flavoured well with the roast vegetable but unfortunately the tomato salad suffered overnight having turned quite soggy and listless, if I had eaten it when it was fresh straight from the cool box I am sure it would have been delicious and fresh. The apple pie rounded off my picnic in the office superbly though I would like to try it again with some cream in future. Hmm, if I keep doling out these utterances then any image of myself as a greedy bastard will be justified methinks. The plum jam and plum chutney still reside in my cupboard unopened I'm ashamed to admit but they will plundered soon.

I have to say it was great to meet Jan and her hubby Tiny, despite having to strain my neck to look up at him. Meeting fellow foodies is never a chore and we already have plans to meet up again at the Rochford Beer Festival later this year. Hopefully there will be some more pies on offer then, nudge nudge, wink wink. But in the meantime Jan you've done enough to keep me going, thanks!

The Ample Cook and Food Urchin

"Hello, Mr. Ranger, sir!"

I still don't get that conundrum

Where's the cream?
* Oh you don't?..............shit.


  1. What a very kind review - thank you. It was lovely to meet you all, what a lovely family you have. Looking forward to welcoming you both to Rochford in November for beer and rib-sticking meat and pastry products ;o)

  2. Blimey - well done Jan!, all looks delicious, especially like the sound of the Pie. And lucky Food Urchin, you hit the jackpot here it seems dude.

  3. Wow thats a feast and a half. The pie sounds divine. Its like jackpot after jackpot with this project - 3 gold bars in a row every time - well done you :)
    At the end i suggest you repay everyone who took part by creating a big feast and inviting them all over to yours for a giant food blogging party :0

  4. You lucky boy! Good work Jan - I love your food, what a feast.

  5. WOW! You are so lucky. What a feast indeedy - I do like the sound of that pie. And the cupcakes, what an amazing effort!