Saturday 23 February 2013

Gammon knuckle with sweet sauce and pease pudding

We talk about food a lot here In fact it's definitely in the top 5 topics of conversation, along with technology, the arts, frivolities and the Limehouse Cut coots. Oh the footballers in the park get some attention too but that isn't important right now. We also like to think that we are frugal, economical and sensible in our spending habits which is why we were in Canary Wharf looking at handbags, frocks and sparkly blue shoes. On our way back from Capitalism Waters we stopped off at historic Chrisp Street market for some food bits and some pithy social observation.

The area is extremely diverse and the local butchers demonstrate our community beautifully; five halal to the single traditional English butchers. As befits the Contrary Kitchen, we required either oxtail, pork knuckle or offal, depending on availability, so we opted for the most appropriate vendor. We joined the queue and tried not to giggle as the large gent in front asked for 8 saveloy and 4 faggots...and the tall one was immediately transported to northern dreams of dirty food circa 1970. After spending the princely sum of £5.48 on 6 eggs, a cooked turkey leg and a pork knuckle, we stopped by the co-op for more bits and hungrily staggered home.

I had a vision for my pork and this is the recipe I came up with

1 huge gammon knuckle
2 small onions
scrag end of a droopy celery
5 hairy carrots
1 small bottle of good cider
a handful of chopped prunes, apricots and apple rings
bay leaves, teaspoon of allspice
a good grinding of pepper
a drop of water

Pop everything in the slow cooker for 5 hours and go have a nap and do some reading. Also make some curried open turkey sarnies. Drink ginger beer. Soak the split yellow peas in cold water.

Once the meat is done, cook the drained peas in half the stock and veggies. Add a little more water, pepper, ground cloves to the pan. Simmer till the peas are a pastey consistency which took about an hour, then beat in an egg and turn the mix into a warmed oven proof dish. The one I used was too shallow so it went a little dry - next time I'd use a deeper one so you would have a loaflike texture and the lovely crunchy top. Mine was more like baked polenta.

Remove the meat from the pot, discard skin and bone leaving the pink flesh. Thicken the remaining sauce with a little cornflour and then serve with the pease pudding. Wash down with lashings of sherry or more ginger beer. Or cider.

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