Archive for May, 2010

The British Pie Awards…

…and the mysterious dissappearace of Elisabeth Luard.

British Pie Awards 2010

I (and my fellow judges) ate all the pies

It is to Mrs Luard that I owe the slight queazy feeling in my stomach this evening. I was invited to be a judge at the second British Pie Awards sponsored by Colmans held in St Mary’s Church, Melton Mowbray. Upon arriving I was duly assigned to judge class 12, Football pies. My fellow judges were George Mount, Proprietor, Roots Farm Shop and Sean Hope Chef & proprietor, The Olive Branch at Clipsham and The Red Lion at Stathern as well as the elusive Mrs Luard who sadly didn’t show up.  Consequently instead of splitting into two teams of two and tackling 18 odd pies between us, the three of us had to tackle all 37 pies. That’s right today I’ve sampled 37 pies from football grounds around Britain.

This class was open to any baker or butcher supplying any football ground. The pie could me made up of any ingredients as long as the finished weight was under 600g. They were to be judged hot – Game on.

The tasting was all done blind, but our winner turned out to be a steak and potato pie made by J.W Mettrick and Sons for Glossop North End. It was a cracking pie, although there was a great chicken curry entry, and a fantastic steak and ale one in which you could really taste the booze but sadly let down by poor pastry.

A great day though, well organised and held again in St Mary’s Church in the centre of the town. This year all entries were judged in the church itself, will the pews cleared out. Though there’s not a religious bone in my body is was nice to see a church being put to use like this, smelling of warm pastry and festooned in bunting.

Supreme pie of pies went – again – to Walkers Charnwood Bakery, and Elisabeth owes me a pack of Rennie.

British Pie Awards 2010

Ian with the winner

The Sportsman Birthday Lunch

The plaudits for The Sportsman in Seasalter near Whitstable, are legion. In a nutshell it’s a pub doing simply brilliant food. Many a diner has booked a day return to Whitstable, or trundled down the A2 to enjoy it’s hospitality. And so if you’re interested in good British food, you’d be remiss not to pay it a visit. Consequently it seemed the natural choice for a birthday lunch.

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

We got there early, and so with 20 mins to kill we introduced ourselves to the locals.

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

Once inside, seated and whistle whetted by a pint of Early Bird Spring Hop Ale the tasting menu began. First up, pork scratchings and herring on soda bread

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

Next came smoked turbot roe with homemade cheese and nettle puree. This went down well with my 10 month old daughter.

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

The ever wonderful breads and homemade butter put in an appearance

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

A Baked oyster with Jersey cream and rhubarb granita was brilliant, rhubarb taking the place of a squeeze of lemon in providing a citrus hit. And gentle baking oysters adds to their creaminess. Again, popular with the nipper.

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

This was a delight, in the little tart was a curry style sauce that offered a little warmth.

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

OMG a little Dover sole with smoked chilli butter – stunning

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

The Sportsman’s home cured ham, with explanatory note. (There was more when it arrived, but we set about it before I’d picked up the camera.

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

The booze.

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

Brill, with a smoked herring sauce. “It’s not often you see nice grey food” said Kate.

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

Lamb breast, breadcrumbed with mint sauce. Which was rather sweet, in a good way.

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

Lamb three ways with horseraddish greens.

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

Lemon posset, again popular with the little one

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

Lemon tart and ice-cream

Birthday Lunch at The Sportsman, Seasalter. Kent

Happy birthday to me!  A nice final touch, and in all, a truly excellent lunch.

A tasting menu is an opportunity for a chef to tell you their story, to showcase their wares and take you on a bit of an adventure. Stephen does this and more I believe. He uses it as a medium for the conveying of happiness, that’s what this meal was to me, four hours of indulgence, laughter and enjoyment.

Pot Heston

In tonight’s episode of Heston’s Feasts things go back to the 70s. However that doesn’t mean a three day week, eating by candle lights, and the rubbish piled up in the street outside. Instead he’s concentrating on things such as Angel Delight, Smash, and Pot Noodle. Curry Flavour Pot Noodle was known as ‘Cuzzah Pot Noog’ in our house when I was a teenager, and formed part of a Friday night ritual. Of course eating pot noodle always left me looking like an Ood from Doctor Who, noodles all down my chin. Needless to say I’ve not had one for years, like acne and awkwardness with girls, Pot Noodles in my mind are a phase you go through. Unlike the rest of the series so far I’ve not seen a preview of this episode so it’ll be interesting to see what he does. (you can catch previous episodes on 4oD)

And next week, we’re in the 1980s, which to me means either nouvelle cuisine or the sexual chemistry of Anthony Head and a cup of Nescafe… But until then below are some PR shots of Heston’s 1970s Pot Heston.

Pot Heston

Heston making Pot Heston


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DISCLAIMER

These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
May 2010
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