Sunday, 20 November 2011

What's for pudding?

This post is not about sweet puddings (aka "desserts"), but about meat-based puddings - "blood puddings", "boudin noir" etc...

The other day at Masterchef Live we bought a "Show Special" pack of meat products from the Clonakilty Food Co. For a mere £5 you got 6 rashers of dry-cured bacon (your choice of smoked or unsmoked), 16 pork chipolatas, and either a black pudding, a white pudding or a mixed pack with a smaller version of both black and white puddings. We chose the mixed pack.

Photo taken after the demise of the black pudding!
At the weekend, Jane concocted a beautiful meal featuring the black pudding from this set, and a few other items we bought at the show.

The starter was "Bread and Oil", but this was nothing mundane - quite the opposite! The oil was a mixture of the really special Extra Virgin olive oil we had got in Turkey a few weeks ago, and some lemon-flavoured Rapeseed oil from Cotswold Gold (purchased at Masterchef Live). This mixture was further enhanced by the addition of a generous sprinkling of dried Oregano (also from the show). The result was fabulously zingy. Into the oil we dipped some freshly-baked Juniper and Thyme bread that Jane had made.

The Main was a salad of Cos (Romaine) lettuce, Radicchio, sliced boiled Beetroot, crumbled Wensleydale cheese (sharp and tangy - you could substitute Feta or a mature Goat's cheese), and some lightly fried slices of the Clonakilty black pudding, all topped off with a whole-grain mustard vinaigrette dressing, and served with more of the Juniper and Thyme bread.

After this we certainly didn't need any dessert-style pudding!

Those of you who don't live in the UK may not know that black pudding is one of the components of the traditional Full English Breakfast, and is especially popular in the North of our country. The thing that makes the pudding black is dried blood, which doesn't sound very appealing, but I assure you that when properly made and competently cooked, this is a real delicacy. It is often flavoured with fennel, but the Clonakilty ones seemed to us to taste of cloves, which is unusual but very pleasant. The ingredients on the pack state only that the puddings contain "natural spices", since the recipe (dating back to 1880) is secret! The other main ingredients are oatmeal, onions, beef fat and dried blood (in the black one), or pork meat and pork fat (in the white one).

When cooking black pudding I think it is vital not to over-cook it, because it can turn dry and tough. Best to cook it quickly over a high heat, and serve it immediately.

We've eaten the chipolatas, which were very good indeed, so now we are planning what to do with 6 extra-special rashers of bacon. Any suggestions?


  1. Being a Lancastrian black pudding is one of my top 10 all time favourite foods. An English breakfast isn't complete without it!

  2. How extraordinary. Earlier today, I was wondering if anyone outside Scotland knows of white pudding. I haven't heard anyone mention it for years and years and . . . here you are!

    Black pudding - maybe when I tasted it it wasn't cooked properly but it had the texture of ashes. I have never been tempted to try again.

  3. The first time I ever ate White Pudding was in Dublin and it tasted sublime. There was Black Pudding too, different from the one I usually eat but delicious still. I'd love to get my hands on one of those packs that you had.

    Regarding rapeseed oil, I use Farrington's as it is made just a little way up the road from me in Northamptonshire. It, too, is cold pressed and has a delicious flavour.

    I think I should have enjoyed your starter and main course today.

  4. I have never tried either one but Phil has tried a blood pudding and did not like it. I wouldn't mind trying it though.

  5. I've never eaten black pudding but to be honest I've never liked the thought of it!

  6. We used to have black pudding as part of a full English breakfast - it doesn't taste the same now as when I remember it. Neither does Dandelion and Burdock a favourite childhood drink.

  7. Ah no! There you were with your tantalizing heading getting the vegetarian all excited.

  8. Your right; dried blood doesn't sound appealing at all to me. But the pictures you've put up tell a different tale. The salad looks very tantalizing.

  9. I'd give it a go, blood sausage is almost non existant here.


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