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#Suffolkdiet – Road kill rolls and Heston vs Delia Desert – Earth Day

We have a little tradition round here, a group of friends take it in turns to host a supper when it is one of the group’s big ‘O’ birthday.  This was my chance; ever one to set myself a challenge, I decided to try to source all the ingredients from Suffolk.  This is how the meal went, there is a Spotify playlist to go with the post; it was Earth Day too, so celebrating all good things around us seemed particularly appropriate.

The opening gambit from two of the friends when they arrived was, ‘so are we going to have road kill?’ – Little did they know.

Being fabulous people the first thing they asked was, “is there anything we can do?” – I explained that the one product I couldn’t buy locally was Suffolk butter. I poured some cream into a jam jar and asked them to shake it whilst they talked.  Passing the jar from one to another; we could eat once when we had produced butter.

Starters: Platters –  Salami and Ham from Lane Farm Brundish, Smoked Trout, Mackerel, and Salmon from Pinney’s of Orford, Green Peppercorn Dressing from Suffolk Mud, Mayonnaise from Stokes; mixed leaves from my greenhouse and Road Kill rolls made with white strong flour from Maple Farm, Kelsale.

The Lane Farm meats are dry and not overly fatty so really tasty to eat, especially with something a little spicy like a mustard or the peppercorn dressing.  The Pinney’s smoked fish is delicious.  The fish is soft and delicately smoked, not overly flavoured.  The Road Kill rolls were bread rolls shaped like flattened hedgehogs.  Kelsale flour is not bleached, so even their white flour comes up as a brownish roll, perfect for hedgehogs.  The flour has a gloriously silky feel when you work with it.  I was caught out though by using too much water in the initial mix, so much kneading on a well and frequently floured board was required to bring it back to a good consistency.  I proved the dough over night and did a secondary shaping and proving in the morning.

Another time I would make the rolls smaller, they did look rather intimidating.

Amuse-bouche:  Weed shot.  I made a soup using, Jack-by-the-hedge, cleavers (aka sticky willy), nettles, chick weed, sorrel and land cress from the garden and the lane.  I served the soup by giving everyone a shot glass and pouring the soup chilled from a White’s pear juice bottle.  Variously described as disgusting, smelling like drains and quite nice; I think it is possibly an acquired taste.  I’ll drink the rest for lunch, I guess it will have cleaned the palate if nothing else.

Venus and the Hunter’s return: The main course was a variation on coq-au-vin.  Made with chicken breast, Shawsgate Venus, onions, carrots, potatoes, a good bundle of fresh herbs as a bouquet garni and some chopped pickled walnuts (walnuts from one of the friend’s garden) stirred into the sauce.  I was trying to keep this course low fat, so didn’t thicken it with a roux and used skinless breasts, the little oil I used to soften the onions was local rape seed oil from Hillfarm.  With hindsight this may have been a mistake, the chicken came up rather dry and I wish the potatoes had a bit of a crispy edge to them.  Another time I think I would use a deep casserole, slice the potatoes and do as a layered topping.  The chicken, potatoes and carrots are all from local suppliers and bought at auction at Abbots at Campsea Ashe.  As there were already some veg in the casserole I just served it with a huge deep dish of Birds Eye peas.  Now I can’t guarantee these were from Suffolk but there is a fair to middling chance they were; but equally that they may be the last ones we see.  I have previously written about the pea harvest in this area; what I didn’t know at the time was that just before this year’s crop should have been planted, Birdseye would pull the plug and not renew the contract. Some of the farmers will have planted beans or other replacement crops, but various contractors have been laid off and had to find new work, all at very short notice.

Cheese: I served, Suffolk Gold, Suffolk Blue from Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, Creeting St Mary, and Shipcord, Hawkston from Rodwell Farm in Baylham near Ipswich.  Trying to avoid biscuits, I served them with spiced pickled pears that I made last year and some spiced peaches from Laxfield that I won in a WI draw.

At this point a friend that I knew was going to be late arrived.  It was agreed that she should try the weed shot before being allowed to proceed, she correctly identified nettles as an ingredient.

Heston vs Delia Desert: I am not a great lover of puddings and often pass on them preferring to tuck into cheese instead; so deserts with me are always a bit of a risk.  I gave each person a small plastic tub and a pipette.  The idea was to build your own desert taking as many (Heston) or few risks (Delia) as you like from the following list.

  • Baby meringues, eggs from garden, Aspall Balsamic Vinegar and Billington’s Sugar, at the time couldn’t find British Sugar.
  • Marybelle Creme Fraiche, Yoghurt
  • Coffee Granita made with Paddy and Scotts, Great with Friends Coffee
  • Tea Granita made with Sencha Wild Grey tea from Butterworth and Son
  • Beetroot Jelly made with ‘Beet it’ from Whites
  • Coulis – Wild Blackberry and Raspberry from Whites
  • Chocolate from Hadleigh Maid
  • Walnut Liquor made with green walnuts from friend’s garden (which is what the pipette was for)

Throughout the meal the drinks on offer were Shawsgate Baccus 2004 and a selection of juices from Whites.

The meal was finished off with a gorgeous cake that one of the friends had made, fizz from another friend and there should have been tea and coffee but I think by then I had forgotten that bit – oops.

I am hugely grateful to Eat Anglia, who when I was having problems getting the Kelsale flour called and asked them to deliver some for me especially, that’s service.

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The Pietalian Job ~ The Secret of the Golden Crust

If you are not sure what this is about a quick update.  The Perfect Pie Company make pork pies.  They also have a Pie Aggio (see previous post).  In a moment of madness a scheme is developing to ‘make a film’; well in our heads at least. So here is my proposed screenplay.  Most of these names exist, so please accept this is a bit of a laugh and if you want to be swapped out let me know.  Sadly both @PorkPieHat and @TheProfessor seem to be dead twitter accounts.

The Screenplay for The Pietalian Job ~The Secret of the Golden Crust

Opening shot:  [Music -Manolo Garcia – A San Fernando Un Ratito A Pie Y Otro Caminando]

Long shot of the Pieaggio driving through the Norfolk Lanes, each side full of yellow blossom; as the camera pans following the Pieaggio it disappears from view; the camera zooms in gradually the whole screen is nothing but yellow.

Fade to:  Yellow but as the camera zooms back out it is clear this is no longer the yellow of the fields but the yellow of a silk dress.  As it zooms further back the dress is topped by a smart hat and it is evident that we are in the ‘posh’ part of the racecourse [Fakenham]. [Music fades out]

Voice:  [Throughout the Movie we have a ‘disembodied voice like in the Early Jamie Oliver series, as if it is coming from the camera] “Can you tell me where I’ll find the PieAggio”

Lady Banana:  You’re in the wrong place madam you need to go over there.  (pointing)

The camera zooms to another part of the racecourse and as if by magic we are sucked to that spot with it…clearly seeing a man in a distinctive Pork Pie Hat and yellow suit as we go past.

At this point we have a split screen view, at key points in the film this technique is used.  Anything that starts with @ is actually the twitter feed and appears on the right pane of the split screen, with the visual action still taking place on the left.

Lady Banana:  @PorkPieHat what’s happening?  There are cameras here

The camera is now focused on Sarah Pettegrew, selling her pie, hair swirling and looking slightly flustered.

Voice:  Ah, you must be Sarah.

Sarah:  Yes

Voice: Tell me what is the secret of your golden crust?

The Professor: @PorkPieHat I think we’ve been rumbled

Sarah:  (to the Voice) Excuse me, who are you?

Voice:  You said drop in anytime, to do some impromptu filming.

Sarah:  Yes, oh, of course I did, sorry; I’m just a bit distracted at the moment.

At this point a noise that had been barely perceptible but getting louder becomes very audible.  It is a snore but through a punch and Judy swazzle.

Voice:  Gosh, what the blazes is that?

The Professor: @LadyBanana I may have overdone it….

Sarah:  He keeps doing that.  It’s the Punch and Judy Professor, he will drink too much and then fall asleep in front of the PieAggio.  He’s not on again for half an hour.  He’s best left; he gets nasty if he’s disturbed.

The Professor: @Pork PieHat , she’s g8, covered for me nicely.

PorkPieHat: @moggypie go steady, when will you be in with the next supplies?

Voice:  So these are the famous pies?

Sarah:  Yes, they are the ones.  Sorry do you mind if I keep serving we are really busy today.

Voice:  No you carry on.  How do you manage to keep up?

Camera pans to show amazingly long queue

Sarah:  I’ve sent MoggyPie to fetch more supplies

Voice:  OK, I think we’ll go and take a few context shots; back in a minute or two.

Sarah bops down behind her trestle and is seen to be tweeting

Sarah: @moggypie as soon as you get here we load and go

The Professor:  @ladybanana @porkpiehat stand by, distraction techniques required any minute

At that moment MoggyPie turns up with her own PieAggio clearly heavily laden.

Sarah:  How did I let you talk me into this?  Golden Crust indeed, it’s taken years to perfect this but I hadn’t reckoned on how heavy it would be once we made the bullion version.

MoggyPie:  Too late you’re involved now, heck we better skedaddle

With that they hop into the PieAggio; the newly arrived pork pies glistening in the Norfolk sunshine.  The rest of the time is filled with japes as The Professor, Pork Pie Hat Man and Lady Banana create diversions to allow the PieAggio escape.  Plenty of scope for a lap round the racecourse, knocking glass carrying waiters, hay bales, horses, jockeys etc going flying.  Then a road trip/car chase phase through every sight in Norfolk, down any steps you can think of in Norwich [We could get EEDA funding if we try hard enough].  I just insist it goes through Gedney Drove End [because I like the name and it is the back of, the back of beyond] and then ends with the PieAggio either dangling off the cliffs at Hunstanton in the classic style or slowly sinking into the sand somewhere like Snettisham.

MoggyPie:  I have an idea…..

Sarah:  It’s OK It’ll come out in the Wash

Music:  We are the Brays Pie Consumption Society…….

Fade and close

We are the Bray’s Pie Consumption Society – auditions now open!

Thanks to Sarah Pettegree for the photo

Here is my Pie Spotify Playlist – any more to add?

This started with a a twitter conversation about the lovely pies made by the Bray’s Cottage, perfect pie people in Norfolk…. more information here.  They have obtained a little Italian truck that they have called the Pie Aggio.  Now I have a soft spot for an Ape Piaggio as they are everywhere in Puglia, the little bit of Southern Italy where I feel very much at home.  Since seeing pictures of the Pie Aggio a conversation has brewed about a version of the Italian job film; with the Pie Aggio as one of the stars.  I seem to remember somewhere a conversation about a dream Sarah had as well…oh gosh now I have a script developing in my head…

In the meantime the challenge was raised to rewrite the words for the ‘Italian Job song’.  So I had a bash and this is what I came up with (now modified after comments from @goodshoeday and @HuwSayer.

Auditions are now open; please add a comment below and upload your rendition to audio boo, you tube etc….

Not sure how he tune goes?  Go here [Ohh and the word ruddy is used in its Victorian sense, reddened by the Norfolk sun]

We are the Bray’s Pie Consumption Society,
We are the Bray’s Pie Consumption Society,

Go fetch your German brand, your Coleman’s too,
Tie your curly hair; we’ve got a lot to do,
Put on your best smile and your prep ’em pies,
‘Cos time is hungrying by…

Get your apron, mate,
Get your apron, mate,
No bib around your ruddy neck today.
Hey!
Stack these plates of meat
Right up on the seat,

We are the Bray’s Pie Consumption Society,
We are the Bray’s Pie Consumption Societyy,

Put on your Jules shirt and Hunter boots,
Fetch your Fakenham pass; check the horn still toots,
Lots of la-di-dahs and Nor-Folk here,
Look alive and get out of here.

Get your apron, mate,
Get your apron, mate,
No bib around your ruddy neck today.
Hey!
Stack these plates of meat
Right up on the seat

We are the Bray’s Pie Consumption Society,
We are the Bray’s Pie Consumption Society.

Gotta get a bloomin’ move on
(Gotta get a bloomin’ move on)
Pie-a-gi-o. Gotta get straight.
Hurry up mate, gonna be late!
And ‘how’s your pastry?’
Tickety-boo, tickety-boo.
Gotta get a bloomin’ move on.

We are the Bray’s Pie Consumption Society,
We are the Bray’s Pie Consumption Society.

Smoke gets in your eyes – Food Safari – Pinney’s Smokehouse

On Saturday I was with a friend in a party enjoying a Food Safari to Pinney’s of Orford and the Butley Oysterage.  The Food Safari concept is to experience food from production to consumption within a day. This was a great day out, so if you have the time to, read on; if you have Spotify here is a playlist to go with this post.

We started with Paddy and Scott’s coffee, accompanied by some of Polly Robinson’s (the founder of Food Safari) flapjacks at Pinney’s shop near the quay in Orford.  This was an opportunity to meet the others who would be taking part in the day.  We then set out by car and taxi to Butley Creek.  Harvey from Pinney’s has enthusiasm and knowledge that can only be gained by working hands on with a product for several years.  His insight into the highs and lows of the Pinney’s history as the founder’s entrepreneurship blossomed, failed and blossomed again with the changing economic climate in the second half of the 20th century was absorbing.  From dispatching the rabbits that were once abundant near the creek to the current oyster growing and harvesting old Pinney tried his hands at many things.

A day like this really comes into its own in the opportunity to actually be in the place where the food is grown, experience the freshness of the air, the emptiness of the landscape, the sight of the boats in the water and the scattering of empty shells on the side of the creek.

We then went into the shed where the dredged oysters are cleaned and made ready for sale.  The oysters are huge and surprisingly heavy; learning about the relative merits of the oysters here at Butley over their native cousins harvested over the border in Essex was fascinating.

For me the next stage was the most intriguing of all; the smoking.  The time taken to cold smoke the brined sides of Wester Ross salmon varies according the wind direction, moisture in the air, the amount the doors are opened or closed.  All judged by experience and adjustments made by regular visits.  This is not a highly industrialised process.  Before long we were passing around a cold yet smoking piece of green oak to smell the vapours rising.

Back at the oysterage restaurant we had a delicious plate of oysters, trout, mackerel, prawns, sprats and salmon with their lovely sweet mustard sauce all served with local Staverton wine, followed by warm cake deserts.

The between course entertainment was a demonstration and then a chance to carve smoked salmon and to shuck oysters.  If you have the chance do take part, there is nothing like giving it a go for yourself.

Huge thanks to Harvey and his team for their enthusiasm and knowledge and to Polly for putting the day together.

And if you need a little poem to finish the post….. go here

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