I have to say, it has been very quiet on the ol' western front with regards to Where's My Pork Choppage. At one point it seemed that people were practically queuing up outside my door, begging to participate but over the last couple of months, the offers have all but dried up. This has unnerved me greatly, leading to sleepless nights, loss of weight and a profound sense of paranoia. What have I done? What have I done? I haven't slagged off any cooking yet and why would I, the contributions so far have been wonderful. Mostly. No I have sung from the tree tops, waxed lyrical, rambled nonsensical, wibbled fantastical and spouted by and large a complete load of horlicks that has very little relation to the actual meals that my fellow bloggers have sweated over for me.
Ah, is that the problem?
Actually, I don't think so. No, after writing up my little irreverent reviews, everyone has been quite pleased and said they enjoyed reading them. Mostly. However, I did see some signs of discord in early January after my last post. Some antipodean upstart started to enquire as to when they, the bloggers, would get to sample a taste of my own cooking. Of course this was discussed on Twitter and one by one the filthy peasants started to revolt. Worried that the banging on my door would now be accompanied by flaming torches, scythes and rakes, I decided to pacify them. I'm not going to tell you exactly how but everyone who has contributed to WMPC thus far have been invited to join a special club. I don't want to go down the route of the Masons with initiation ceremonies involving nipple tweaking and half-rolled trouser legs. Let's just say that the only way you will get to find out the inner secrets of this newly formed sect is if you sign up to WMPC and cook me a bloody dinner.
No doubt half the blogging community already know what I am going on about because those who are in on it are a complete bunch of blabbermouths but there you go. This is the carrot on the end of the stick. It's not just about cooking me a meal anymore. Oh no. It's about being part of something that is bigger and greater than you can possibly imagine. Oh yes.
So let's welcome Sister Jassy of Gin and Crumpets into the group, the first blogger to contribute to WMPC in 2010. Hallelujah and praise be to the Great Pork Chop in the Sky.
I met Jassy on Monday, on the corner of Covent Garden station at noon. It was extremely cold and I began to regret turning up 15 minutes early but no matter, it was a pleasure to see her bright smiling face. I say it was a pleasure until she pointed out her adjacent office with windows giving full view of the corner that I had been standing on. It did run through my mind that Jassy could have quite easily spied the idiot in the hat and come down earlier but decided to leave me freezing my nuts off. But I let it go. Like I said, I have been pretty paranoid lately. Due to the temperature, we only had the briefest of chats but it was heartening to hear that she was looking forward to a sabbatical in the spring. Jassy is off to Ballymaloe Cookery School in the emerald isle and hats off to her, I wish it was something I could do. We made the swap and I had to apologise as I had promised to make her a 'bum sandwich' (for further explanation read this). The reason for not providing this delectable lunch offering was down to the fact that Mrs FU vetoed it. When I asked my missus why, she said "well, you haven't even given me a bum sandwich yet" which caused me to raise an eyebrow and a smile and for that I got a large stickle brick thrown at my head and called a "dirty sod". So instead I handed over to Jas, a bottle of finest Pirate Pinot Noir. We bid each other adieu and off I toddled to work. Toddling because I was trying to get some blood circulating in my system.
As I walked back, I had a butchers at the menu Jassy had printed off. Her offering had a distinctive ye olde worlde theme which pleased me to no end, it all looked like an excellent kick start to the proceedings. Medieval Spiced Beef Stew, Buttered 'Worts', Wholemeal Bread and Rice Pudding with Elderberry Jam. Lovely. Yet when I got the food home later that evening, modernity rose it's ugly head and it did look like everything was going to go belly up. Like all WMPCers before hand, Jassy provided everything in tupperware containers so I popped the stew in the microwave, left it to cook through thoroughly and went about the business of sweating the "worts" or spring greens as they also known in a pan. After 3 minutes or so the ping went off and I paid no attention until I started hearing strange creaking noises. So I opened the microwave door and pulled the box out to find that a vacuum had been created during the heating process. The golden rule when heating food in a container in a microwave is to remove the lid and place back loosely. If you don't then the lid will suck down and hold steadfast with the strength of 12 horses. After hearing 5 minutes of panting and swearing as I tried desperately to prise the thing apart with my bare hands, my good wife came in, told me to put the box down before I burnt myself and to stab the lid with a knife as that was the only way forward to release the pressure. Which I did, with the zest and zeal of Sir Lancelot. And the lid popped open.
So after a slightly stressful start, I was finally about to settled down to Jassy's stew. And yes verily it was very good. I must admit I had some reservations to the stew as some medieval variations of meat dishes can be quite sweet such as mincemeat pies when made to an original recipe but this had a nice balance of cinnamon, cloves and mace. Not too overpowering. The beef itself was fantastic, full of flavour and braised enough so that it held shape yet melt in the mouth tender. I have a nasty habit of over doing it so that the meat turns to mush but this was just right. The 'worts' were a vibrant, healthy accompaniment and the wholemeal bread was as authentic as could be. I had no idea that Marks and Spencer dated back to the 15th century. The big star was the pudding and at the risk of sounding Greg "IT JUST GETS HARDER AND HARDER" Wallace, I do love rice pudding. On Jassy's advice I heated it up, this time loosening the lid, and spooned over a dollop of rich Jersey cream that she also very generously supplied. It was great with subtle hints of vanilla and nutmeg, totally soothing and comforting, bringing back memories of childhood. The Peckham elderberry jam which I am presuming Jassy made via a spot of foraging had just the right amount of tartness to cut through. Delicious.
So thank you Jassy, for getting the ball rolling again and thank you for a gorgeous supper. I was stuffed.
PS I owe you a new tupperware box and 'a bum sandwich'
No. Verily. I. Can't. Remove. Oh. Bollocks
Cafe Murano, Mayfair
2 years ago