This is a recipe which perfectly chimes with the Easter theme for me – a chocolate rabbit – although I actually cooked this in November last year. I found the recipe online when I was trying to pair up rabbit and morcilla (Spanish black pudding) after I found I was in possession of both elements. I believe it originally featured in “The Art of South American Cooking,” by Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, and was republished by Jayne Benet writing in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1992. It’s absolutely fantastic! Read more
Happy happy joy joy… it’s been far too long since I had a big portion of champ. This is my nod to St Patrick’s Day and Irish cuisine, and a firm family favourite when we were kids.
Champ, or brúitín in the Irish, is mashed potato with scallions and butter. Over the last decade or so I’ve seen increasing references to ‘champed mashed potato’ on menus (alongside colcannon mash, also delicious) and it’s nice to see such a homely favourite crop up in eating places. Back home it was just ‘champ’, but it was often a meal in itself, not just a side order. Indeed it became more a participatory sport than a meal in our household. Not bad for a humble plate of green-flecked mash…
Every time I drive to the northern Lakes or Scotland I make it my business to stop off at the wonderful Westmorland services Farm Shop on the M6 at Tebay. This is foodie nirvana, and a shining beacon of inspiration in a landscape of motorway mediocrity. My understanding is that this is the only independent family-owned services on the motorways in the UK: the landowners allowed the M6 to be extended north through their land, but only on the condition of being granted the right to operate services there. Well, good for them… travellers like us get to reap the rewards. I’m constantly reminded of how good this farm shop is: depending on the season you can pick up great veg, superb cheeses, meats, charcuterie, pickles, sauces, pies… I could go on and on.
Something which I grab every time, a true meaty necessity, is a Waberthwaite Cumberland sausage from Richard Goodall. This is the real deal, a proper Lake District classic long sausage; rich and seasoned, and flavoured with a drop or two of the local Jennings Cumberland Ale (which is a reet good accompaniment to this sausage).
Last night I had the pleasure of hosting a Burns’ Supper for a couple of friends. It was a very last-minute affair, and was never intended as a faithful rendition of the rituals associated with celebrating the bard. More an excuse to get together with some mates and enjoy some good malts with a side order of offal and tubers… Read more