Saturday, 14 January 2012

An amazing Scotch Egg

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Heston’s new telly series already has the BSG and me hooked. Each episode, devoted to a different dietary mainstay, is revelation-packed, turning age-old techniques on their heads. However, this week’s egg-centric (sorry) half hour brought out the usually-silent curmudgeon in me.

Mr Blumenthal offered up a new way to cook a boiled egg, without actually boiling it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am sure that the result was P.E.R.F.E.C.T.I.O.N, but its not actually a boiled egg and soldiers; rather a brought-up-to-a-simmer-then-taken-off-the-heat-and-left-for-6-minutes egg. Or just egg and soldiers. I am very content with my four and a half minute boil – it never fails me – so I’ll stick to that. I’m a bit impatient I suppose and those extra 90 seconds make the difference. And don’t get me started on what he tried with the scrambled egg…!

Luckily, the BSG and I are willing to overlook these minor deviations from brilliance, especially as we sampled his superior food first-hand at the Hind’s Head and fully believed that the Scotch eggs we had at the bar there would be the best we’d eat – and they were. Until yesterday, that is.

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A friend and I found ourselves in the rolling Berkshire countryside and, feeling a little peckish, we thought we’d stop into the Pot Kiln and grab something to eat. It was a perfect brisk January day, the skies high and clear above dark pencil-scratch copses of trees, golden sunlight lining the mossy garden wall and dispersing the morning’s frost. It was too chilly to eat outside. No matter, we found a table in the cosy dining room which, on this first sunny Friday of 2012, was packed.

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The Pot Kiln is a little white inn nestled in a pretty valley, run by the same team who run the Harwood Arms in Fulham, and I had heard great things about the food there. There is a real emphasis on locally sourced and seasonal produce and this was evident on the menu – luckily I knew in advance what I wanted as I’d probably still be sitting there deliberating.

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We shared a tasty ploughman’s of wild boar ham, mixed leaves, cheese and pickles, and had a warm Scotch egg each, made with minced local venison, oozy-yolked in the middle and satisfyingly crisp on their outside. They were heaven, accompanied by a tiny pile of coarse salt and just a few of my favourite things; gherkins, pickled onions and celeriac remoulade. Their homemade soda bread was deep and cakey, and delicious too. The meal was the perfect formula for a peckish pair, and washed down with a couple of Gunners - angostura bitters, lime cordial, ginger ale and lemonade (though I prefer ginger beer instead of the lemonade) – welcome and refreshing, despite the chill.

This pub is perhaps a bit out of the way for a normal weekday lunch, but I will certainly be finding excuses to return – there’s so much more to try! Or perhaps I’ll just have another one of those perfect scotch eggs… Sorry Heston.

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