Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Cook's Nightmare

Cook’s Nightmare

The art of making this dish is in not over-powering one flavour with another.

1. Kumquats. 1 Dozen.
2. Limes. 3.
3. Bean Sprouts 350 gram.
4. Lemon 4.
5. Timing In quantity and quality.
6. Large pan (8 pints) 1.
7. Carrots About half a pound.
8. Tomato As above.
9. Potato As above, above.
10. Celery 1 large stick.
11. Orange 2 large.
12. Patience In greater quantity.
13. Wild rice 1 small packet.
14. Garlic Like a canker, too little is no good,
too late, a 'Right Mess'.
15. Pitta bread 4 per person.
16. Water 5 pints.

Action Stations!

Put 16 in 6 and bring to boil.
Chop 2 of 3 and the same of 4.
Dice 7, slice 9 add to 16.
Cut 10 into 3 and add 1 piece.
Stir in a little 12 along with some 5.
A few more 1 and half of chopped 2.
Perhaps a little 14, then perhaps not.
Add half of 4 and a little more 2.
To an agreeable simmer turn 16.
Throw in some 1 with a touch more 12.
Add 13 with 5 and 14 perhaps?
Another piece of 10 and a little more 4.
Follow this with some 1 and a squeeze of 11.
Add 3 with 12 not forgetting more 5.
Heat 15 ‘neath grill and 8 thinly sliced.
Add 3 to the pot and the rest of 1.
Quarter remaining 11, 4 and 2.
A few minutes later and the dish should be done.
( Or not as the case may be ).

Chef’s Tip. It is imperative the cook attains a very relaxed disposition. Make sure you’re well and truly drunk before attempting the above. I suggest playing some Steel Band/Calypso music.

Pong Proof Kippers

These are ideal for shared accommodation where the aroma of Kippers can be over powering.

Roll up Kippers, put into tall jug and pour over fast boiling water to cover them. Cover jug and let stand in a warm place for 5 minutes, then take out fish, drain and serve with butter or similar spread.

Note: This method avoids cooking smells.

WARNING. Do not use plastic jugs.

We are looking for any dishes from the Caribbean worth a page in the
Pheasant Pluckers Gazette.

In Search of the Wild Parstie

The true, Wild Parstie is found only within the Ancient bounds of Cornwall. It shares the countryside with an even rarer beast, the Oggy. The Parstie is a communal creature, found in burrows on cliff tops, usually near old or dis-used tin workings. It is possible it came to these shores with visiting Phoenicians looking for something in which to put their sardines.

The animal can become something of a pest because of it’s delight in digging up carrots. These are mostly eaten or, like the squirrel, re-buried elsewhere to be forgotten. It is said only the Carrot Fly can equal the Parstie when it comes to sniffing out hidden roots. Unlike the fly this nocturnal animal is a great delicacy and in the open season great numbers are trapped. Usually with the aid of juicy carrots.

Methods of cooking are closely guarded secrets, though some would say they have the knack! It is upto a true born Cornishman to give the cook the all clear. As mentioned earlier there is also the Oggy. This is a solitary beast. So rare in fact very few have seen it let alone tasted it. Whereas the Parstie could be called carnivorous, the Oggy has more of an omnivorous nature.

In fact there is a dispute as to where it came from. Some say Marco Polo brought it to Italy from Cathay along with edible boot laces! Whether we owe it to Marco or not I will leave it to you, but the aroma of a lightly roasted Oggy eaten at the bottom of a Cornish Tin Mine shaft, is something few will fail to forget. Always assuming one can find both an Oggy and a safe mine shaft!

The strange war cry - oggie, oggie, oggie - heard in Welsh Valleys and around pit villages of Northern climes has nothing to do with Cornwall. Neither has the sub species often found in Dumnonia and other parts of Albion. Though a very distant cousin of these two delicacies, Haggii rotunda, is worth seeking out.

The marauding Picts and other non descript tribes hail the Haggii as their National dish. This is a load of palony as the animal was first known to nomadic shepherds of Ancient Persia. It came to these shores by way of William and his mates when they paddled over to play conquers with our lot. After a deal of trouble they herded it into Hadrian’s back yard. A few semi - wild specimens are seen in the Shambles now and again but be wary of imitations.

Those foolish enough to risk life and limb travelling North of so-called civilization, should look for the more lively members of the Haggii family, ‘The Balmoral Burper and Grampian Griper’. The condition of local peasantry is a firm guide to which species are found in the locality. Travellers are advised to carry a large stock of kaolin and morphine to ward off unwanted side effects.

An even rarer sub-specie is said to inhabit the banks of Ness. When disturbed it exudes an hallucinogenic liquid which makes it look larger and longer. This keeps would be predators at bay. The ‘strange spectacle on Loch Ness’ reported in the Inverness Courier by Alex Campbell on May 2nd 1933, is thought to have been such a sighting of Haggii rotunda ‘aquatica’.

Fortunately, those living in the South have only to contend with an annual loss of carrots and strange noises emanating from old tin mine shafts. Some say these are the ghostly voices of long lost miners. Locals however will recognise them as the calls of a love sick Oggy!

Joking aside, I understand the Cornish Oggy or Oggie was a great delicacy of tin miners. Do any of my readers have the recipe for this succulent and historic dish?

Ye Ancient Marrow Wine


From a 19th Century recipe found in a Ure Dale
farmhouse and still as going strong. Very strong.

Gather ye marrows.
They must be firm and free of ye mould.
A goodly weight of at least eight pounds each.
Wash well the outsides.
Take ye a sharp knife and cut off about
Four inches from the stalk end.
With a long handled ladle (or ye fiste),
Remove the seeds, leaving softe fleshe inside.
Finde a goode qualite ladies silk hose,
Preferably without her in it.
cut off the big toe and
Insert your marrow within.
(The big toe of the hose).
A hole should be made in the
Bottom of the marrow
And the whole hung from a hook in the larder.
Take ye a bucket or jar (with a funnel in it),
Then place it beneath.
The marrow is now filled withe
Dark raw sugar to it’s very top.
Cover with cut-off stalke end.
Continue doing this till there be no soft fleshe left.
Collect ye liquid and put in a large copper, or jam pan.
Boil for about ten minutes or one quarter inch of candle.
Add a yeast from ye Master’s best Frenche wine.
Strane liquor into earthen jars and
Cork lightly for about five days.
Cork tightly and wire.
Store in a cool place then
Forget them for about four years.

Advance withe care and open ye vessels withe not a shacky hand. The Liquor to be treated withe great reverence, or woe to they who imbibe in quantity!

Chefs Note.
1 Litre bottles are best for bottling. If there’s any left it makes a fantastic addition to Black Forest Gateaux .........

This recipe can be found on the Bert Fry page of
The Archer’s 50th Anniversary Annual

Every book must be chewed to get out it’s juice.
Chinese Proverb

Hay Ho Ham

I first came across this dish some twelve years
ago at a friend’s Winter Festival bash.

A boiler large enough to take your ham
One Ham of around ten pounds
A large handful fresh sweet hay
Enough fine bread crumbs
Blades of Mace, take two
Of Cloves, half dozen
Sugar one teaspoon
Green garnishing
One egg, beaten
One Bay leaf


Wash meat very carefully.
Lay ham in boiler and cover with cold water.
Add the Bay leaf, Cloves, Mace, Sugar and Hay.
Gradually heat the water to boiling over two hours.
Gently simmer, allowing fifteen minutes to every pound
pre-cooked weight.
Allow to cool in liquor.
When quite cold, remove skin. Do not break the fat.
Brush ham with egg and cover thickly with bread crumbs.
Brown quickly in pre-heated oven.

Serve with green garnish.

From a Recipe of 1740

Let us take a step back in time when life was
hard for everyone but all enjoyed the revelry of Winter Festival.

Take one lean side of beef.
Fourteen Pheasants.
Greens of the season fourteen pounds.
Bulbs of wild onion (garlic) fourteen.
One cask red wine.
Some cloves and cinnamon to mix.
A few potatoes, two stone.
And plenty of good cheer plus a draught
for the cook, for best effect.

I have simplified the above
for modern times.

3lbs good beef.
1 Pheasant.
A pan of greens.
4 cloves garlic.
1 bottle red wine.
1/2 inch cinnamon.
6 cloves.
1/2 pound potatoes.
Plus plenty of old English ale.

Cook beef and birds slowly with garlic, turning and basting.
Cook vegetables in method of your persuasion.
Heat wine but do not boil, add spices and
set aside in a warm place.
Create sauce from vegetable water
and meat juices/beef dripping


Egg Flipping Banana

Not too sure about it’s name but it tastes good

375/12 fl ozs Milk.
1 good sized Banana.
1 tablespoon Honey.
1 Egg.
2-3 tablespoons Yoghurt.
2 scoops vanilla ice-cream.
2 ice cubes.

Put all ingredients into a blender and mix till smooth.
Pour into chilled glasses.
Serves two.

Darjeeling Pheasant

This dish was first discussed by a former
Landlord of the Star in Ilkley and a local poacher.
In other words, no one could cook Pheasant
as good as the Poacher's wife.
We shall see!

As with the Duck so with the Pheasant.
Make sure the bird is well dried.
Take the sharpest knife you can find or
Grandpa's cut throat razor, lift the skin.
Spread a quantity of VINTAGE DARJEELING TEA
between the skin and the flesh.
Tie legs together.
If one wishes to season the bird from inside,
A roughly chopped bread cake mixed with parsley,
Can be stuffed up the peasants a......!
Turn oven to full.
Roast at a high temperature for about fifteen minutes.
Don't forget a trivet.
Remove and spike with a fork.
Leave to drain the juices for a while then return to oven.
Cook slowly until tender.

I find boiled rice, young vegetables with a gentle white wine go well with this dish. Also, for added variety, Alfalfa Balls and Chicory hearts.

The juices may be left to sauce another dish.

As a variation of the above use chicken, but use a Green Tea, for instance, Jasmine or Gun Powder.


Baked Plantain with Trout

Should you know a friendly poacher,
this dish can be a cheap appetiser.

Clean the fish well under a cold tap and dry. Peel plantains. They should be a little on the green side. Insert a split fruit inside each fish, liberally seasoning with nutmeg. Wrap each fish with lettuce leaves, or plantain leaves, and place in a shallow dish. Here it is entirely upto you. I prefer a gentle white wine. Not too sweet, neither too dry. Pour some over the fish but do not drown them. Place the dish in a pre-warmed oven for about thirty to forty minutes, at around one fifty-two hundred F. Serve with the remaining wine and a side salad..

Bloemkool End Kass Soep

From the Garden of Edam.

As accidents go, this one is one of the best.
You will, unfortunately, need the use of a liquidizer.
It is entirely upto you which cheese you use,
but blues are a little too strong.

About half a pound will do.
Take one large cauliflower (bloemkool), without leaves.
Chop into smallish pieces.
Cook a medium Leek, a small Carrot and a Potato.
When they have softened up, add the Bloemkool.
Chop cheese also into small cubes.
When veg is soft, remove from heat and spoon florets into liquidizer,
adding some of the water (it must be hot, not boiling).
Switch on and add the cheese with the rest of the florets.
Swirl it around until smooth, then return to pan and simmer.
The addition of herbs, salt and pepper is to your preference.

Serve with thin slices of black rye bread.

Bosworth Jumbles

8 oz Flour
1lb Sugar
6oz Butter
1 Large egg

Beat the sugar and butter and stir in the egg.
Add flour and mix thoroughly.
Shape pieces into the form of an 'S' and place
On a hot, greased baking tray or tin.
Bake in a moderate oven until a lightly browned.

This recipe is said to have been picked up on the battlefield at Bosworth,
having been dropped by Richard III's cook.

Cooking with a Blow Lamp

Modern camping often leaves much to be desired. Too many gas cylinders, plastic bags and ready meals. Overfull campsites, showers and eating houses. What happened to the sense of adventure, of being one with Nature, where necessity really is the Mother of Invention?

In the early seventies I set forth for Scotland and a fortnight camping. You could do the tour by car on twenty five quid in those days.

Unfortunately picked up the wrong box when packing the car and instead of my trusty Primus stove had brought along a blow lamp. Petrol blow lamp that is. A 1938 Max Stevert model.

Part of my tool kit included a half inch thick iron plate for standing one’s jack on in awkward situations. This became my hot plate. Cooking breakfast has never been so spectacular. The iron plate was placed over a hole previously dug and the blow lamp lit.

What followed often put fellow campers to flight as a six foot jet of flame issued from the blow lamp. After the lamp warmed up it was placed in the hole, under the iron plate, with the flame upward and cooking commenced in the normal manner.

Summerland Duck

Developed from a war time life saver into
a classic case of drunken culinary buffoonery.
Starting life in a Dumnonian Duck Pond it became
a firm favourite of all who followed, or tried to!

First catch ye Duck!
To save time, grab a butcher.
About three pounds in weight - the duck, not the butcher.
Some fruits of the Goddess Pommona.
2 Large onions and a little garlic.
A good handful of medium potatoes - keep their skins on.
4 Pints of the very best Vintage Devon Cider.
A goodly cup of honey. The runny stuff.
2 Penny loaves or a couple of brown bread buns.
About half a dozen crushed juniper berries.
Some sea salt and freshly ground black and white peppers.
A tablespoon of Spanish Rain.
Finally, a large comfortable chair and very loud whistle.

Let battle commence!

Turn oven to full

Wash bird well and set aside to drain.

Chop fruits of the Goddess.

Stuff one penny loaf up duck’s bum followed by chopped fruits and second loaf.
Tie legs together - the duck’s not yours.
Place trivet in roasting tin, followed by duck and put in hot oven for around five or ten minutes.
Remove bird, attack with fork and prick skin all over.
Return to oven other way up for further five or ten minutes.
Remove once again, drain juices into saucy pan, put bird on
trivet in roasting tin with about half a pint of cider.
Turn oven down to around 250-300F or whatever is applicable to your equipment. Replace duck once more.


Keep basting bird now and again.

At a suitable time before end of roasting,
chop but don’t peel potatoes.
Place in a roasting tin with some juices or a little oil.
Do the same with onions but don’t forget to peel them.
Place both tins in oven at required time.


Add to the juices in your saucy pan, Spanish Rain,
crushed juniper berries, a little garlic, salt and peppers.
Slimmer until it starts to thlicken, then remove to finish
when bird is ready to swerve.
About fifteen minutes before you think the bird ish ready,
remove once agin, rain juices into saucy pan,
leplace rivet and cover bird with money, oops honey!
Up turn oven and push bird inside until kin is script!


When you think bird ish cript,
take cover and out the other side,
cover what’s left with honey for final cripsing.
Don’t forget to open oven door before chucking Duck back inside.


By now, the bird shush be vell done, veg lust,
lust hic right and cook, he-he, cook agreeably drunk.
Turn everything off, open door, oven door that is, sit in
chair and blow whistle hard.
If all goes well your guests will come to the rescue and do the honours!

Chefs Tip.
Roasting times have not been given as this depends greatly on weight of bird or birds and equipment used.
As to Spanish Rain think of Eliza Doolittle!

The Noble Whitby Kipper

This dish came into being much in the same way as the Jasmine Rice,
by a slip of the hand or was it foot? It has now become part of
the rich Folk Lore on Yorkshire’s East Coast.

1lb of fish, well smoked.
About the same of potatoes, depending on size.
A large red pepper.
Some garlic.
One and a half pounds of spinach.
Five pints of GOOD ALE.
One and a half for the fish, the rest for the cook.
Where poss, fresh chives, oregano, mint and salad burnet.
If not, dried will do, but be careful.
Half a lemon and a comfortable chair.

Take one pound of this Noble Fish, smoked well at the shed top.
Split fillets carefully and wrap each in spinach leaves.
Have your oven turned upto about 250/300F or whatever
is nearest for your machine.
Take a large casserole or Dutch Oven and warm it well.
Then place within potatoes, red peppers and garlic, all scalloped,
sliced and diced in that order.
These should be alternated with layers of spinach until about half full.
Now lay in your fish with a layer of spinach leaves in between if there
is more than four across. Continue layering as before.
Now, the secret ingredient!
Obtain five pints of fresh GOOD STRONG ENGLISH ALE or the local brew.
Pour one and a half quietly into the cook pot.
Now top off with fresh chives, oregano (dried stuff will do), mint and salad burnet.
Again the dried is better than nowt, but be careful as these can be stronger than fresh.
Lastly to add a little nooo-voe quiz what ever, sliced lemon on top.
Cook slowly in a medium oven for upto two hours.
You may wish to par boil the potatoes before hand.
Serve straight from the pot to table.

In the words of a Whitby fisherman,
"It's like eating Ambrosia."