Saturday, 10 October 2009

Bubble & Squeak Part 6

Just had six weeks salt-curing and we're starting the maturing process. This little critter will be wrapped in muslin and popped on the bottom shelf in the North pantry at Diplo Hall. Couldn't resist a rasher or two this morning. Delicious, albeit a bit salty just yet, the next three or four months should mellow that. MORE BREAKFAST !

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Whoops - All Gone !

Chef's Perks. August's five pounder from the expedition North has been eaten. Cooked on a fire of Ulmus procera Salis, this little critter was gone in minutes. Less is more - plain boiled new potatoes and a simple salad with a dash of Hollandaise and a slug of white Burgundy for accompaniment. My memory's clogging up a little but I reckon it'd be around '84/'85 that I excused myself from a quiet pre-dinner drink and stepped into the kitchen to prepare a beef stroganoff for a few friends around for dinner at Diplo Hall. Finding myself alone with two pounds of the most beautiful Hereford fillet, resting at room temperature, a pint of cream, half a dozen plump field mushrooms picked that morning, some delicate spanish onions, a basket of fresh spinach and a fine bottle of Cote de Rhone I got a bit carried away. It was perhaps half an hour later that an anxious, hungry and concerned guest came to join me and check on progress. Alas he was too late. Without so much as firing up the stove or touching a kitchen utensil, the lot was gone - I did my best impression of a puppy that'd been caught eating the furniture but to no avail. All's well that reaches the finish line etc and much Weetabix was enjoyed by all. As you can see there's enough fish left here to go around. MORE APPETISERS !

Friday, 2 October 2009

Tool Dependence

It was in 1983 that Tim Leatherman's several prototypes were eventually honed down to a first production model, the "Pocket Survival Tool" or MkI. I bought mine in 1989 over the 'phone having seen one deftly employed by Mark Walker securing a loose rose joint on the Caesar Special. My very rash impulse purchase arrived about two weeks later and within a day or so was in regular use. I reckon it's been pressed into service at least three times a day, every day, for twenty years. I love the fact that it's made in Portland OR and that its US REG TM of 1325473 is proudly stamped into the handle. On first sight it did occur to me that I might have spotted a short-lived gimmick - as soon as I had it in my hands I realised things were different, I think it was the pliers that impressed me most. They include a very tough wire cutter, a jaw that really bites and perfectly engineered pointy nose pincers. All of this before I even owned one. This particular model has a very useful double sided file which has been used for everything from tidying up ignition points, rasping a chipped tooth to save on dentist's bills and even fettling a bit of valve seat damage in an emergency roadside repair on the G3L. All the screw drivers are great - the PH hasn't lost its shape yet - and the can opener was whizzing round a tin of bully only a few weeks ago. The knife's good too and only Wednesday was employed in squirrel skinning duties. I know the "multitool" is all over the place these days for few quid but I've yet to see one come anywhere near this bit of kit. I actually paid a (then) massive £49.00 for this one twenty years ago but it has paid for itself many times over. I'm celebrating its twentieth birthday because I like tools that stay with you. MORE LONGEVITY !