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!|
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?