We like the simple things in life (you may have guessed) and good food features kinda high up on the list!
Growing up in Devon, a trip to London was quite a big deal. My parents would save up and take me for my birthday most years: we would see a show and do all the very touristy things. One trip I asked if we could go to Fortnum & Mason, an odd request for a 12-year-old boy, however I had somehow heard of this place, probably though Blue Peter, and I wanted to see it for myself.
So obliging as my parents are, they took me. We spent around five minutes in there before my Dad saw the price of a pot of jam and we were out, but that was enough: it opened my eyes to a whole new world – far from cottage pies every Wednesday!
Now I visit London every four or so weeks, and although I can’t quite afford to do the weekly shop there, I do however treat myself now and then to one of their famous Scotch Eggs…
We checked in with Tom Parker Bowles, to talk about his Fortnum & Mason: The Cook Book
The great Fortnum’s dish. Quality is everything. Sausage meat is relatively cheap, so buy free-range from the butcher. Happy pigs make for wonderful-tasting meat, and you really want to wallow in that flavour. Make sure the egg is a little undercooked too. The art is all in the ooze. Serve with piccalilli and eat with your hands…
- 650 grams sausage meat
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 clove garlic (crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt)
- 1 small shallot (very finely chopped)
- 10 medium eggs
- 100 grams plain flour
- 100 grams breadcrumbs (preferably Japanese panko crumbs)
- vegetable oil (for deep-frying)
- 50 grams micro cress
FOR THE PICCALILLI
- 1-litre water
- 125 grams caster sugar
- 250 millilitres white wine vinegar
- 3 – 4 saffron strands
- ¼ teaspoon curry powder
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cauliflower (divided into small florets)
- 1 courgette (diced)
- 2 carrots (thinly sliced)
- 1 yellow carrot (thinly sliced)
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot
FOR THE MANGO CHUTNEY MAYO
- ¾ teaspoon turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon curry powder
- 200 grams mayonnaise
- 50 grams mango chutney
- freshly ground pepper
- To make the piccalilli, put the water, sugar, vinegar, saffron, curry powder, turmeric and bay leaf in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the vegetables and simmer until just tender, then remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon.
- Mix the arrowroot to a paste with a little water and stir it into the cooking liquid. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, until thickened, then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Return the vegetables to the mixture.
- To make the mango chutney mayo, put the turmeric and curry powder in a small pan with enough water to make a loose paste. Cook over a low heat for a few minutes; this gets rid of the raw taste of the spices. Leave to cool. Mix the mayonnaise with the mango chutney, then gradually add the spice mixture, tasting as you go. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Put the sausage meat in a bowl, add the spices, salt, dried herbs, garlic and shallot and mix well. To test the seasoning, take a teaspoonful of the mixture and fry it until cooked through. Taste it, then adjust the seasoning to the remaining mixture, if necessary.
- Add 8 of the eggs to a large pan of gently simmering water and cook for 6 minutes. Drain and leave under cold running water until they are completely cold. Peel off the shells.
- Divide the sausage meat into 8 portions, weighing them for accuracy, if you like – they should be about 80g each. Roll out each one between 2 sheets of cling film so that it is big enough to wrap around an egg. Lightly flour the eggs, then wrap each one in a piece of sausage meat, rolling it up in the cling film as you go and making sure that it is evenly covered, without any gaps. Twist the ends of the cling film tightly to help shape the eggs.
- Put the remaining eggs in a shallow bowl and beat together. Put the remaining flour in another bowl and the breadcrumbs in a third. Remove the cling film, then dip the Scotch eggs first in flour, then in beaten egg and finally in the breadcrumbs, patting them on well with your hands.
- Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or a large, deep saucepan to 170C (if you use a saucepan, don’t fill it more than a third full, or you risk it boiling over). Add the Scotch eggs to the hot oil, cooking them in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for 7-8 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown, then drain well on kitchen paper (the sausage meat should be cooked right through, but if you find that it isn’t, put the eggs in a moderate oven for 3-4 minutes to complete the cooking). Serve warm, garnished with the micro cress and accompanied by the mango mayo and piccalilli.