Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A Lesson in Taxidermy

Last year, after watching Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, my Husband announced that he wanted a multi-bird roast for his birthday meal. With help from Mayo Bros the butcher in Chesham Bois, who did not judge me, but did bone a chicken, duck and phesant for me I suceeded. The Husband had turkey fillets, inside phesant, inside chicken, inside duck, all layered with pork, onion and sage stuffing. To start, smoked mackarel pate and to finish, pavlova and lemon possett. All 12 at the dinner were suitably impressed, I was exhausted. I banned him from watching Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall ever again.

I didn't count on the Husband watching Heston Blumenthall with me the other week...
With just over 3 weeks until his birthday, the Husband has decided on meat trifle to start, followed by a Cockentrice. Dessert is my choice, so far.

Meat trifle (not the beef and custard effort by Rachel on Friends, apparently) is easier than I was expecting. Glynn Purnell made a Rabbit, Pea and Black Olive Trifle on The Great British Menu last year, the recipe is on the BBC food website. I plan to adapt that.

A Cockentrice is a mythical creature. Heston created one in his recent Tudor Feast on Channel 4. He comissioned a taxidermist to create the beast, with the head of a wild boar, body of a lamb, tail and wings of a goose and comb of a rooster. It looked amazing. Inside he placed a "joint" of chicken, pork, lamb and turkey cooked in a water bath. How exactly am I meant to create that at home??! The actual roast meats combination should be similar in theory to last year's multi-bird roast, I need to chat with my butcher about what cuts will be best. I doubt the water bath is an option for me, so I'll need to keep it moist somehow. The actual beast to serve it from, well, I'm not a taxidermist and have no access to random animal parts. I think the neighbours would notice if their cat went missing!

Next year, the Husband is banned from watching ALL cooking shows.

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