Ten recipes to go!

I have reached a milestone in my unexpectedly long-running quest of attempting to cook every recipe in Jane Grigson’s magnificent book English Food; the last recipe was my 440th, and that means there are only ten recipes left! I hope that I can work through them fairly regularly, but they are getting fairly tricky to do now: the ingredients are either impossibly hard to get hold of, or are extremely expensive, though there are a couple of recipes that I think I can get done without a huge amount of trouble.

BUT the other issue is that a lot of the remaining recipes are quite large, too large for just myself and we are still social distancing – but hopefully someday soon I can cook the roast saddle of lamb that serves 12! Anyone who reads my food history blog will have noticed that I am cooking fairly simple and easy things on there at the moment. I don’t have that luxury on here, so the posts may dry up a little bit.

In the meantime, you guys might be able to help me out. Here’s a list of things that are causing me real bother. If you know of anyone who might be able to help me let me know:

  • Freshwater fish. Anyone know any fishermen who actually catch and taken their catch home to eat? I need to get my hands on some freshwater roach. They are a very common fish, but my goodness, they are hard to track down. I also need to find a responsible and sustainable elver fishermen who wouldn’t mind selling my some of his catch.
  • Cold smokers. I had always planned to build on in my back yard, but then I moved to an apartment. I need one so I can cold-smoke some chickens. No where sells them as far as I can see (there are lots of hot smoked chicken sold cold, but they are a different thing altogether!). Does anyone have one at home or know of a commercial one who might let me hang up a couple of them?
  • Ptarmigans.There’s a single bothersome recipe in the Game chapter I can’t tick off and it is roast ptarmigan. Though still technically legal game, but they are quite rare in the UK now, so I wouldn’t want to kill one. HOWEVER they do get shot by accident in grouse shoots, so they do turn up now and again. ALSO Canada is positively teeming with them, so if anyone fancies paying to send me over there, that would be simply marvellous.

So if you think you might be able to help me with any of these issues, please contact me on the blog, or email me at neil@britishfoodhistory.com

I’ll be back with a real post soon, I hope!

9 thoughts on “Ten recipes to go!

  1. Slow down – we’ll all be disappointed when it’s finished!
    The River Severn is probably the best place for Elvers here. They are not cheap and I think most of them go to Japan. I don’t think catching wild eels is sustainable now, but there are people farming them and some of the wild elvers get sold to farms.
    You might be able to cold smoke in a drum barbecue (if you know someone who has one), with a ProQ Cold Smoke Generator at the far end of the BBQ. There is a guy called Marcus with a BBQ blog, Country Wood Smoke who could probably help you. Daniel, who I buy game from, is incredibly helpful and will look out for things if you ask her – I want a ptarmigan too! Her family owns Layer Marney Lamb – they keep sheep, run a butcher’s shop, sell meat in London farmer’s markets and sell game in season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Ineed to try and make sme connections with some elverers down near the Severne – I always forget and then it’s too late, plus i have to have the funds! There is such a thing as sustainable elvers because the elverers have to move at leat 20% of their catch upstream to help them out. If we don’t eat eels and elvers they’ll go the way of the Dodo!
      Thamks for the suggestion re: smokers and ptarmigans…I’ll follow it up.
      Thanks again!


      1. Just a heads-up: The Fish Society are discontinuing all their eel products; they currently still have 10+ tins of angulas (elvers), at a discount even (about a third off, I think), but they won’t restock once those are sold out!

        Liked by 1 person

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