Pie-eyed and all that!!!

Every March, St Mary’s church in the Leicestershire (England) town of Melton Mowbray becomes a cathedral of pies: it fills with tables bearing more than 800 pastries.

Melton Mowbray Pie Festival

Melton Mowbray Pie Festival

Pies have been adding rich flavour to the English language for centuries. Take, for example, the Bedfordshire Clanger Pie: a British classic which cleverly combines main course and dessert, with savoury ingredients like pork at one end and sweet ingredients like pear at the other. The name comes from a local slang word, ‘clang’, which means to eat voraciously. However, cramming two courses into a pie makes a clanger rather unwieldy – and all too easy to drop, inspiring the English phrase ‘dropping a clanger’ for a careless mistake.

Ready for another one?  The description of a drunken state as ‘pie-eyed’ likely takes its cue from someone who, thanks to having over-imbibed, has eyes as wide and blank as the top of a pie.

One more? ‘Eating humble pie’, meanwhile, comes from medieval deer hunting, when meat from a successful hunt was shared out on the basis of social status. While the finest cuts of venison went to the rich and powerful, the lower orders made do with the ‘nombles’: a Norman French word for deer offal. Anglicisation saw ‘nombles’ pie become ‘humble’ pie.

Last one:

Sardine pie

Britain’s most eye-catching pie, this sardine-packed pastry dates back to the 17th Century

Cornwall’s eye-catching Stargazy Pie might be the most distinctive pie of all. Cooked with sardines gazing up from the crust, this distinctive pie has roots in a 17th-Century tale from the fishing village of Mousehole. The story goes that a fisherman named Tom Bawcock braved December storms to land a huge haul of fish that saved the village from starvation. To celebrate, his catch was baked into a giant celebratory pie – with fish heads left poking out as proof that the fish famine was over. Today, Stargazy Pie is traditionally baked with seven kinds of fish, boiled potatoes, boiled eggs and white sauce. The fish serve a practical purpose, not just a symbolic one: oil from the heads enriches the pastry and moistens the pie.

So, now you know!

Easter Eggs – Then and Now

When I was young my Grandma Bates used to buy me a Rowntrees Easter Egg. My parents would buy me a Cadbury’s Egg. And my other grandma, Grannie Phillips would buy me a Black Magic Egg. These eggs were nothing like what is sold over here. The egg weighed 4 to 6 ounces. It was in two halves and the centre was packed with chocolates. The Black Magic egg was dark chocolate and ‘cos I liked it the best I would save it to last. For reasons I can’t quite figure out these type of eggs have never been sold, or sold widely here in the States.

This is my 47th Easter in North America and my 47th lot of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. Now, I admit, they are not bad – looking at this pic certainly makes my mouth water ……

Cadbury's Creme Egg being broken

Cadbury’s Creme Egg being broken

but rather than buy me 2 doz of them how about being a little inventive and make me some of these:

Cheesecake filled Chocolate Egg

Cheesecake filled Chocolate Egg

This creme egg does not use Cadbury Creme Eggs as an ingredient; it only served as the inspiration behind this chocolate-covered cheesecake. I’ll take three of these. The recipe is here.

Cadbury Creme Egg Pull Apart Sweet Rolls

Cadbury Creme Egg Pull Apart Sweet Rolls

The Cadbury Creme Egg Pull Apart Sweet Rolls recipe is by Chocolate Moosey. I’ll take 3 of those. Oh, please add one extra for Club Pres Chuck Whitlock – he loves sweet rolls.

My address is 33701 Simpson Road, Fort Bragg, CA, 95437. Please make sure they arrive before Easter Sunday.

Ultimate Portion Control

I love food. In case you haven’t noticed I added a new Category, “Food”. Wife Sarah says that the key to dieting is portion control. Which means you get THE glare when one helps oneself to seconds. So, suppose the portion was really, really tiny ………. Check out these pics:

I’ve ordered 712 pizzas just to make sure I don’t hungry!!!!

Tel Aviv-based artist Shay Aaron constructs these incredible miniaturized food sculptures at 1:12 scale   They look almost completely edible.

Black (Blood) Pudding is a Superfood

Blood pudden per Wiki is, “a type of blood sausage …….. generally made from porkfat or beef suet, porkblood and a relatively high proportion of oatmeal.Black pudding pre-sliced may still have a plastic wrap around the circumference that must be removed before cooking.”

Look at those lovelies

Look at those lovelies

Most Americans avoid ’em like the plague. I love ’em. I had two last year. The first at Coventry market and the second just before Christmas from the butcher in the Oxbow in Napa. I confess I had never seen them as a health food but, MuscleFood claims “black pudding – low in carbohydrates, high in protein – has become a ‘buzzword in clean eating.” Bloody ‘ell.

Bruvva Sean in UCK gave me a heads up on the material for this blog by referring me to a piece in the Guardian.

The Black Pudding Mecca of the world is Chadwicks in Bury Market (Bury is close to Manchester):

The Mecca of Black Pudding

The Mecca of Black Pudding

“Some smart-arse scientist has just realised what we’ve known for god knows how many years,” Tony Chadwick told a customer. “Lancastrian Viagra, I call it.” “I always knew black pudding was healthy,” said one customer, as she asked Chadwick to pick her a “good one” – a request which draw the response: “We don’t do good. Only very good or flippin’ excellent.”

Fifty coach-loads descend on Bury’s  market each day during the summer months to stock up on the £1.05 puddings, with other devotees travelling far and wide to sink their teeth into a Chadwick original. Trevor Hodgkinson, 64, had brought his wife Elaine up from Norfolk to taste the pudding he loved growing up in Hulme, Manchester. “You can get black pudding in Norwich, of course,” said Elaine, dousing her hot pud with vinegar and mustard, “but Trevor always says it’s not the same, and he’s right. The texture is very different – processed ones are often very dry. This breaks up nicely. It’s delicious.”

She washed it down with a smoothie she’d bought from another stall. “Cucumber, celery apple and lime – I was trying to be healthy,” she said, saying that she was pleased to hear that the black pudding wasn’t perhaps the health disaster she had feared.

“It’s funny, isn’t it? You think of superfoods and you think of berries. You wouldn’t think of black pudding.”

Chadwick believes he is already one step ahead of the diet gurus. “I tell you what’s going to be the next superfood,” he said, pointing to a counter containing white blankets of animal stomach. “Zero calories there. Mark my words, the next big superfood will be tripe.”

Tripe is alright if served with fried onions.

Grinners breakfast

Grinners breakfast

Or you can have it for high tea:

Baked beans with black pudding

Baked beans with black pudding

Cor them pics make me drool!!!

Holiday Season Grub or Why I put on 5 kilos in a week

Some of you may have noticed I have added a new category to the blog – FOOD! At age 73 it’s wise to have a passion besides model trains – mine is FOOD.

When daughter Annalise arrives in town my hands stay glued to the washing up bowl whilst she works her extraordinary magic at the stove. Below are pics of the pig out I “suffered” the week of Christmas.

Caramels being made

Caramels being made

I can’t tell you how good these are – we have a few left which I am rationing:

Caramels covered in dark choc with a dash of sea salt on top

Caramels covered in dark choc with a dash of sea salt on top

The above were for nibblies – heres’s where we get into the heavy duty stuff:

The above was a light meal!!!!

brekkers muffins with almond and lemon strip topping

brekkers muffins with almond and lemon strip topping

I can’t remember what was in the muffins only that it was totally delish.

The table - the flower vase in the centre was made by Annalise for Sarah for her holiday present

The table – the flower vase in the centre was made by Annalise for Sarah for her holiday present

Boeuf Wellington just out of the oven

Boeuf Wellington just out of the oven

The aroma made me drool.

Beef Wellington ready for downing

Beef Wellington ready for downing

If that wasn’t good enough have a butchers at the dessert:

Profiteroles stuffed with caramel laced cream - all made from scratch by Annalise

Profiteroles stuffed with caramel laced cream – all made from scratch by Annalise

Not one dessert but TWO:

Real christmas pud from M & S in UCK with Roger Thornburns Rum sauce

Real christmas pud from M & S in UCK with Roger Thornburns Rum sauce

A brief pause then cheese and bikkies, chocs and coff.

 

Train World at Mevagissey (on the South Cornwall Coast)

Earlier this year we were on holiday in England. We were lucky enough to be able to stay at a cottage at Polzeath on the north coast of Cornwall – which is the county at the far south west corner of England. Sister Karen and her daughter Yasmin came to visit so a day trip was mooted. But to where? Mevagissey? Never been there. Fine by me.

The first order of the day was brekkers. We toddled round the corner to the local bakery which, we knew, served latte. That settled the beverage but what to eat?

Date slices and look at them there cakiepoos down below

Date slices and look at them there cakiepoos down below

I was rudely told that that section was for elevenses and we would have elevenses in Mevagissey. So how about ……

Mouth watering Croissants with Baked beans, banger and bacon

Mouth watering Croissants with Baked beans, banger and bacon

It was a tough choice but I finally settled for …….

Brekkers - a bacon butty

Brekkers – a bacon butty

Thirst and hunger satiated we set off across Cornwall. Cornish roads are, to say the least nerve wracking ……

This is a two way road - note the absence of a centre line or any line on the road

This is a two way road – note the absence of a centre line or any line on the road

Thanks to wife Sarah’s driving we arrived at Mevagissey in one piece. The first thing to do was find something to eat to calm my nerves. Saw a Grumpies van but couldn’t figure out where he/she had delivered the goodies.

Grumpies make delish baked goods

Grumpies make delish baked goods

As you can see Mevagissey streets are narrow so you park where you can which may not be adjacent to where you are delivering.

Mevagissay main street

Mevagissay main street

My foraging finally bore fruit in the form of an ice cream/chocolate shop …….. just look at what was on offer

The REAL reason for visiting Mevagissay

The REAL reason for visiting Mevagissay

Only one prob ……

Sign outside Ice Cream Store

Sign outside Ice Cream Store

Undeterred I emerged with choc AND cornish cream ice cream ….. oh man, heaven on earth. So as we are wandering around I see this:

Home of the Mevagissay World of Trains

Home of the Mevagissay World of Trains

A train museum in Mevagissey? You must be joking. Mevagissey has a population of 2,000 odd and it has a train museum.

What's inside

What’s inside

I swore to les girls that I absolutely had NO idea that there were trains in Mevagissey. They didn’t believe me even though it was the truth. So after a bit or argy bargy we went in. The world of trains was a very interesting collection of HO scale trains from countries all over the world. There some from countries which I made Sarah look up on her phone to see if they really did exist. The layouts were small but full of interesting detail …..

Looking down on a local market on an HO layout

Looking down on a local market on an HO layout

Town Recreation Centre including a maze

Town Recreation Centre including a maze

WWII celebration alongside Train Station

WWII celebration alongside Train Station

HOe layout

HOe layout

There were also some interesting odds and sods like this locomotive made of Meccano (the English version of an Erector set):

Train made from Meccono

Train made from Meccono

There were a couple of exquisite models like this one:

Town Hall and Marching Band

Town Hall and Marching Band

How about this diorama in a file case:

Interesting example of what a lot of Europeans do due to lack of space

Interesting example of what a lot of Europeans do due to lack of space

And then there were this dioramas built inside a chocolate box:

Diorama built in a Chocolate Box

Diorama built in a Chocolate Box

Second Diorama in a Chocolate Box

Second Diorama in a Chocolate Box

Third diorama built in a Chocolate Box

Third diorama built in a Chocolate Box

The girls finally dragged me out with the promise of a cream tea in the caff down by the quay …….

 

Tactical Laser-guided Pizza Cutter

Laser Guided Pizza Cutter

Laser Guided Pizza Cutter

You thought I was joking. Right?

Read the hype …….

“Solving yet another major first-world problem, ThinkGeek ensures you’ll get perfectly straight slices thanks to its military grade laser-guided pizza wheel. Also works as a flashlight for those times when you must cut pizza in the dark.”

I’m buying three. I’m going to give one to the three of my wife’s friends I like the least.

If you REALLY MUST have one go here.

Vertical Egg Cookers

Wife Sarah handed me a piece that she had found which first appeared in the Bloomberg News. The piece, entitled, “Five kitchen gadgets you don’t need,” is VERY funny. The author, Megan Mcardle, has a wicked sense of humour. The write-up on the first four were very good but the write up on the fifth, “Vertical egg cookers,” takes the biscuit……..

“Have you ever thought, “Gee, I wish my scrambled eggs looked more like a long eyeless worm?” No? Until a few years ago I wouldn’t have imagined that anyone might have. Yet the vertical egg cooker exists.

For a summation of its charms, I cannot improve upon this view from The Guardian, ‘this week’s gadget describes itself as a new way to prepare eggs.’ which is accurate in the way that chopping off your legs could be described as a new way to lose weight.”

I sampled the output from one of these devices a few years back, and in case you are wondering, the flavour and texture are every bit as appalling as its appearance. There are certainly things I would less rather eat, but most of them are not legal in the continental United States.

While this machine does not make anything that you would voluntarily eat it does rather make you think. It’s healthy to dwell on life’s questions sometimes, and this one raises a big one, “Why?”

Target Market: People with elaborate and troubling fantasy lives, people who need a relatively inexpensive way to mock up alien parasites for their small budget film.

Actual method for making scrambled eggs: Use a pan. Or, if you really can’t wait five minutes, cook them in a microwave.”

Now in the very dim and distant past I was an auditor – a verifier of truth. My interest was piqued. Did the vertical egg cooker really exist? Was this piece an elaborate hoax? Was it a late April Fool’s joke? For three days I have been conjuring up the courage to find THE TRUTH.

So I punched up google and …….. guess what? IT DOES. And you can buy it on Amazon. I’ve ordered twelve to give away as birthday presents to people I like the least. If you get one from me you’ll know you are in exalted company.

And, and, just to show that I jest not here is a pic of THE VERTICAL EGG COOKER.

Vertical Egg Cooker

Vertical Egg Cooker