MORE WEIRD FARE
The picture represents, believe it or not, a salad we had for lunch yesterday. People are astonished: ‘Eaugh, surely you can’t eat flowers,’ they say.
Well you can, and although it’s a bit like munching through a pile of weeds, it’s far from disagreeable, and I’m sure there are innumerable subtle benefits to be had from the eating of flowers. It’s worth it anyway in my opinion simply for the beauty of it. It doesn’t matter what it tastes like so long as it looks good… and you can always sex a salad up with a skilled hand in the dressing department.
I suppose I take a perverse pleasure in eating things that are considered unorthodox. What I love best is kidneys and livers, hearts, balls and brains, all of which are as good as the sweetest and tenderest meat. Should you want to dip into this stuff, I can recommend a wonderful website that helps you get the most out of your offal. www.nosetotailathome.com
This website is based on a cookery book that came out of the rather dazzling St John’s Restaurant in London. I went there once, and took the liberty of nicking the menu, which I reproduce here for your delectation, with certain annotations that reflect the delicate state in which I found myself upon that day.
‘You need to be in pretty robust fettle to get some of this stuff down. The roast bone marrow – if you’re feeling a little delicate – reminds one of mucus, and mucus is the last thing you want when you’ve got a hangover. Next, for some unfathomable self-destructive reason, I went for the crispy pigs’ noses, by which I mean the crispy noses of pigs. This only took me further into the world of mucus, for when they arrived, that was just what they looked like: a couple of the noses of pigs looking up at you – insofar as pigs look with their noses – from the plate. By this time I was having trouble keeping the lid on the stuff, and it was with some relief that I drew into the terminus of this gastronomic journey with a refreshing calvados sorbet.’
Artichoke vinaigrette (V)
Cured beef and celeriac
Deep fried skate-cheeks and green sauce
Langoustines ansd mayonnaise
Native oysters (each) It didn’t say what ‘each’ meant; mine for some reason was the ladies’ menu… but you can imagine.
Parsnip soup and foie gras
Roast bone marrrow and parsley salad
Smoked eel and horseradish
Snail and oakleaf … for heaven’s sake!
That was just the starters… we continued with:–
Braised squirrel and wild garlic
Brill, chips and tartare sauce
Fennel and Berkswell (V) … and serves ‘em right. (It’s hard to get good Berkswell these dark days.)
Kid faggott and mash
Pigeon and red cabbage
Roast sirloin, beetroot and pickled walnut
Tripe, white beans and bacon
Veal chop, spinach and anchovy
It goes on and on, and you can finish with Eccles Cake and Lancashire cheese, which some of our party actually did. Not me though; I wasn’t up to it by then.
But all this stuff is making me hungry… time for lunch.