Saturday

Table For None




We should have taken the train. I knew from the very outset that the whole shebang was doomed to failure. It stands to reason that if a certain percentage of much sought after prime greenbelt land is offered up for development by bankers, they will throw concrete walls, monoliths of glass and great steel girders up willy-nilly until every square inch of plot is filled. And then they remember. People will flock to the newly erected 'East Meets West' restaurant, despite the fact that it is strangely located on the outskirts of civilisation, undoubtedly arriving in a motor vehicle. The fact that there is no car parking space because the Spanish architect with the brightly coloured tie and the still remaining trace of egg on his face has been a tad ambitious with the larger structure itself. Lo and behold, a stunning restaurant that will comfortably accommodate 200 people, but only has the ability to accept 7 parked cars and a moped. We really should have taken the train.

The owl shaped waiter, the one who eventually remembered he had paying customers still seated at a table. The very same waiter, the one with the strange elongated, rubedinous nose and preposterously large shoes, was sadly a ubiquitous bore. I've read vacuum cleaner instructions which have held my attention longer than his personal, somewhat nasal choice of menu wines. "Perhaps sir would like to try this?" He produced a bottle of something which sounded like an ageing dromedary with its throat cut had hawked phlegm onto a church window. I wiped his unrequited spittle from my dinner jacket and tried hard not to acknowledge the tap on the shin that my good lady had so kindly introduced into the equation. He waited, his anasarcas owl-like stance fixed with an ingratiating smile while I sampled a taste. Memories of Christmas 1986 flooded back to my mind, thoughts of the dusty bottles of homemade rhubarb and pish-thistle cider that the little singing fella, my long-suffering, gambrinous, agenhina pal, had brought to our table back in the day. It was the first year the whole family had spent the night of Christmas together under the same roof for many years. All of us, for hour after hour, huddled over the one solitary toilet we had, being violently ill.

At the table to our right appeared to be the remnants of a Welsh tyre fitters convention. Lots of sternutatory aftershaves moistened the ambience, along with chain store trousers and Miami Vice tee shirts bagged over at the waist. The Mullet hair-piece has definitely made a comeback in the more southerly quarters of  deepest, darkest Wales it would seem. The larger one, a tatterdemalion fellow with a constant cacoethes for drumming his one remaining tooth with a butter knife, approached our table and asked if he could retrieve his sesame seeded roll which had somehow managed to find its way beneath Siobhan's feet. With some nifty footwork which would have put the current English football team to shame, I manoeuvred the said item in his direction with my instep. With a deftness that would have defied even the most dedicated of stage magicians, he then proceeded to ingest his recovered property in the blink of an eye and with only one solitary, but yellowing denture. The remainder of his black finger-nailed compadres were to busy to notice his food-vanishing act, scratching their uniquely thatched heads at the hor d'oeuvres selection and discussing exactly what a 'horses doofer' could be.

As we stood to leave some 35 tedious minutes later, our owlesque friend with his veritable fissilingual manner, arrived at the table with the first course of our long awaited meal. A brief, dentiloquent moment between me and our ventripotent friend soon had our bill torn in two and disregarded. We left as we had arrived. Hungry, but much wiser. Unlike Senor Owl. Eventually, after much silent cursing, we managed to locate our vehicle amongst the larger than large ensemble of abandoned cars that were strewn haphazard from pillar to post. I made a mental note to my wish list to include some kind of orthopter for just this type of occasion. I decided against mentioning the newly acquired deep scratches in the recently repaired bodywork to my good lady. The evening was still in its infancy, I had high hopes of a more intimate and enjoyable vespertine act.
To lighten the mood we stopped off at the all night deli and perused the many kilometres of rafter strung dry-cured sausages on offer in this part of the world. Nothing brings a shine to the eye of a lady better than a well hung length of prime sausage and an expertly parked vehicle in her allocated space. Especially when it follows a hearty meal.


Venison & Herb Sausage, Mustard Mash with Red Onion Gravy

1 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp soft brown sugar
900g floury, waxy spuds cut into small chunks
4 good quality dry cured venison and herb sausages that are both thick and extremely well hung
1 tbsp plain flour
300 ml hot beef stock
1 tsp fresh bone marrow
100 ml red wine, French is best
1 tbsp Worcester sauce, if you are a resident of the UK, or Worcestershire sauce if you are from Amerikay. Please note, to set the record straight. The correct pronunciation is Wooster, not Worcestershire. It begins to grate after a while when I keep it hearing it mispronounced by even the ex-pats who have been living in Cally-forny-ar for less than six months. Stop it! It's just wrong.

100 ml full fat milk, warmed
50g unsalted Irish butter
3 tsp wholegrain mustard

Caramelise the onion. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and sprinkle with the sugar, then cook gently, stirring from time to time for 12 - 15 minutes or until the onion is lightly caramelised. Preheat the grill. While the onion is cooking, boil the spuds and grill the sausages, turning them regularly for about 10 minutes until they are evenly browned.

Make the gravy. Sprinkle the flour over the caramelised onion, stir and cook for 1 minute, then gradually stir in the stock, wine and Wooster sauce. Bring to the boil, reduce and simmer gently. Mash the spuds with warm milk, butter and spoon over the gravy. I prefer a good bottle of red wine to accompany this particular dish, but it goes well with just about everything. Apart from Owl wine of course, but that goes without saying, eh?

42 comments:

  1. Hahaha, Welsh tyre fitters, I like it mate. I also take my hat off to your bangers and mash. Great dish for cold dark nights. What herb do you use in the sausies?

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    1. Juniper berries, tarragon, rosemary, basil, bay leaf, thyme, star anise, cloves, garlic and ginger. Also adding a spoonful of minced shallots to moisten the mix is crucial.

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    2. Cloves are not something that I use apart from the odd roast gammon. Star anise though, might give that a go this week at work.

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    3. Will you add it to the large fries perhaps?

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  2. I see you know what is important to a lady, chef...it beats the item involved in the 1986 family solidarity event by several furlongs.

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    1. My dear lady, with me, the ladies always come first. It is simply expected.

      Sadly, 1986 was not a very good vintage for motor cars, British butterflies and an Irish variation on bathtub gin. These days we gather our gin supplies straight from a dear lady friend in Devon. I believe she makes enough money from her batches to keep her in fancy quilts and overseas cruises for some time to come..

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  3. Good to see your mob did their usual against a decent team in the week. Sausage and mash? Whatever happened to you eating haggis?

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    1. Another Celtic knocker, I like it!

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    2. As much as you like the lower leagues?

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  4. I often wondered why you tried to chuck me out after two nights! Ta.

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    1. It was in retaliation for Angus, my dog. The poor wee thing. He only licked up a few drops that you spilled through clumsiness (I see a pattern here) from the kitchen floor. Blinded he was, blinded in one eye for the rest of his natural. He lived to be 47, but spent every day of every month of every miserable year walking around in a circle looking out of his one good eye.

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    2. I'm off to make myself 'content and happy with a stomach full of beer', c'mon, my shout so.

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    3. Wee man, I'd love to, I'll get my coat so.

      Anthony, in a word... no. Go back to the Domino in Corby, tell Shanty to sit you outside on the step with a bottle of pop. I'll pay.

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  5. We stopped eating haggis after a man from the Borders had relations of a sexual nature with a pig, then threw it over Hadrians wall. Ask your grandpappy exactly what happened when he finally traced your family bloodline.

    Soooooeeeeeeeeeee......

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  6. An interesting twist would be Mulligatawny soup, hot chilli and the pot noodle ingredients from your previous post. Mixed together and simmered with sweet corn straight from the cob. Served with buttered bread and mango chutney is probably best.

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    1. With all due respect, to even contemplate putting the above together in the same dish would be a disaster. Cooking is all about infusing flavours, not just filling your belly. I am starting to think that Mrs Pewfodder has left you and you have been fending for yourself. Purgatory in the kitchen department... who knew?

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    2. Bad food by the look of things.

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    3. Mango chutney and sweet corn? Really?

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    4. I agree, the two just do not go together eh?

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  7. Thick and well-hung sausages...ahem.

    I've been known to escort my party out of a restaurant when the service is particularly poor. Usually with a choice word or seven for management.

    The US version or Worcester(shire) is a bit different than what you get over there. White vinegar instead of malt for some reason. Why can't we all get along?

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  8. How odd... I wasn't aware that there was a difference in blends. I have learned something new it would seem. And we do get along, it's merely banter my friend.

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    1. Ha...wasn't referring to the banter. Just meant our sauce (and our Guinness, for that matter) should be the same on both sides of the ocean. Banter on.

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    2. After all these years and you still managed to sucker punch me eh?

      For the love of Jaysus, what are you telling me now about different Guinness? Is there no sanity left in this small world?

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  9. We eat so much venison at home that beef tastes odd to me. :) Unlike our northern cousins, our deer feed on corn and soybeans, much like their neighbors, the cows. Less of a wild taste, plus a husband who knows how to properly clean one. Thanks for a new way to fix it.

    Hmmm, maybe the fact I don't drink might not be so bad after all...although to my recollection, I've never dropped a tray. ;)

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    1. Aye hen, we also had a cow for a neighbour, sadly she married by brother and I still have to put up with her face over Christmas dinner.

      Too be honest, I doubt that there is many people who have dropped a tray. Especially a tray laden with a dozen glasses of 50 year old single malt whisky. A certain type of whisky that can no longer be purchased. A certain type of whisky that is no longer in existence.

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    2. Aye. I swear you'll have that story carved on me feckin' headstone!

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  10. B.E. is correct. I know a good metaphor when I see one. That's an oldie but a goodie.

    You'd be better off eating at home. Anything else is sure to disappoint.

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    1. Mr Earl has a habit of being correct it would seem. It was himself who first switched me on to Bacon Tequila, a taste I have now become accustomed to.

      Dining out is one of lifes little pleasures. One must indulge in pleasure whenever one can. My only disappointment in life is a close friend and his penchant for borrowing, then breaking, lawnmowers.

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    2. Even more disappointing when one realises ones friend has no lawn.

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  11. I like a good banger, but sometimes make do with a mini sausage roll.
    I don't think mullets ever went out of fashion in Wales, sadly.
    Sx

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    1. I have trouble envisioning you with a banger in your hand dear Scarlet. I see you more as a delicate flower, wonderfully petite, slightly wonky, perhaps even erring just this side of demure, but always, always as gentle as the most beautiful butterfly wing.

      Nothing at all like you used to be, size 18 buttocks, large feet, greasy gingerish hair and flatulence that would cause a sailor to boak.

      You are however correct about Wales. Mullets never left the good people of Swansea it would seem.

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  12. Although i have been known to explore the realm of the meatless - and it can be sweet and delicious - it is my insatiable desire for fine sausage, expertly delivered, that keeps me from becoming a vegetarian...

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    1. I have absolutely no inkling as to what you are describing in the above comment my rather lascivious friend. I am afterall, rather innocent in the ways of women, but do give my regards to the also wonderfully delicious Nurse Myra and thank you both for the many mental images.

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  13. You describe yourself as a tradesman I notice. There is but one tradesman who continually uses the words of Satan as his tools.

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    1. I see what you did here, however rest assured, I only ever used tools from DeWalt and Makita, never the Satan brand as they always appeared to be rather devilish by way of construction.

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    2. Shouldn't you be in church or something vicar?

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    3. Anonymous2:13 pm GMT+5

      Perhaps you should be as well. Make peace with God while you still can.

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  14. I don't want to upset you but honestly your geography is rubbish.

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  15. On the contrary dear lady, my geography is excellent, it is my sense of humour that is slightly wide of centre. It gets you every time I fear.

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Thank you, the chef is currently preparing an answer for you in the kitchen. Do help yourself to more bread.