Monday, 28 May 2012

13 - Cooking for Men

“Alan, put that bloody pen down and listen; you’re here to learn, not write your memoirs.

“No you don’t need to note quantities, but you do need to absorb what I tell you about texture and consistency, right?

“So, while the sausages are cooking nicely, put a handful of flour in a bowl. Any flour, Peter – white, wholemeal, or buckwheat; we ran through ingredients at the end of the last session. Either, Alan: self-raising or plain, it doesn’t matter. Look the sausages are going to burn if we don’t get a move on, so concentrate guys.

“Now remember what I said about making batter last week, which is that any liquid will do? Well I brought some Old Peculiar for mine, since I chose beef sausages, but I’m also going to add a pinch of mustard powder to the flour before adding the beer. Alan asked if we needed self-raising flour, but if you want your Yorkshires to rise then it’s more important to avoid putting too much salt in in the batter. As I’ve added mustard, then I’m not going to use any salt, but you can add a pinch.

“Next crack an egg into the bowl. It doesn’t matter, Johnny, so long as it came out of a chicken’s arse. I did go through all this, didn’t I? Not the eggs? Okay, but you’ve all got eggs haven’t you? Peter, can Alan have one of yours? Thank you. Now … where … oh yes, put your organic free-range egg if you must in the flour and mix it in with your whisk. In the bowl, Alan. The cloth’s under the worktop; clean as you go. So then you pour your liquid slowly in, a glug at a time, mixing all the while. You’re looking for the consistency of single cream or runny custard, like Alan’s last week only without the lumps. This is the second way of ensuring your Yorkshires rise: whisk well and incorporate air into the mix. Good going, Peter: is that cider? Nice combination with pork and apple sausage, only if you’ve put some of that chili powder in too then it may be a bit overpowered with so many tastes going on.

“Alan, leave my beer alone; you can buy your own in The Nag’s after class.

“Well use milk, then.

“Nearly there? Okay, so the third bit of magic for making sure your Yorkshires aren’t limp and soggy is to have a very hot oven. ‘Very hot’ is a temperature, Jim: we covered it in week 1, remember?

“Now speed here is of the essence; clear your worktops to give yourself some room. Ready? Now watch me: open the oven – tray out – turn the sausages – pour the batter – and … Alan, get out of the bloody way you muppet! – back in, and close the door. Safety first, people; safety first: bloody hell, don’t creep up on me like that!

“What? Rest! Oh, interesting point, Peter, but even Saint Delia doesn’t go for that crap about resting batter for half-an-hour: life’s too short. Mix it, use it. Off you go, now, everyone: your turn.

“Well done; so now there’s just time to get them spuds up to boiling point and to julienne some carrots. It’s a fag break for me while I calm my nerves, but no-one – I mean NO-ONE open their ovens to sneak a look!”

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