For those intimately acquainted with the Great British Bake-Off, the term ‘soggy bottom’ will be familiar. For those who aren’t, let me explain. It doesn’t refer to an unpleasant incident following a night of drunken debauchery. It, in fact, refers to the status of the crust of your pastry-related creation.
A ‘good bake’ has a nicely cooked golden crust on the bottom, no translucency or greyness; it should be tap-able and a bit flakey (just like me). At this point I must digress.
On TV the ‘Great British Bake-Off’ is, apparently, going State-side. Soon you Americans will too enjoy the delights of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry critiquing Mississippi Mud Pie, Apple Pie and who knows what. And from recent comments made by Mr Hollywood (a Liverpudlian, and they don’t pull their punches) it isn’t going well.
Because, he says, when he provides some honest feedback (e.g. this tastes like something my dog threw up) the contestants start blubbing! They can’t take the negative feedback. But it’s something we are well used to in this Sceptred Isle – we’ve spent the last 100 years being told we’re crap.
I was watching ‘Masterchef, The Professionals, The Best Bits’ (they really do love dragging the maximum televisual delight out of food programmes don’t they) and there was a discussion about ‘food smears’.
Chef Michel Roux Jr (the skeletal Michelin star chef who obviously has eating issues and mad staring eyes) made an unsavoury (sic) comparison between one poor cook’s chocolate-smeared plate and something else which I won’t mention because I’m British.
However he was making a serious point about presentation. And all this about 10 mins before I was going to hit the pots and pans and make a fish pie. Fish pies are nice enough to eat but from a visual perspective can be a bit bland I think – the contents often end up looking like the insides of the android ‘Ash’ played by Ian Holm in Alien.
With that pleasant analogy in mind I decided to create a fish pie which didn’t deteriorate into a homgeneous gloop once cooked.
Bowie is everywhere these days…
And that required the construction of a Deconstructed Fish Pie! The ingredients are the same as for a a standard fish pie – the difference is in the…well there isn’t any really but anyway…
Over here, on this funny wind-swept island (which incidentally is close to half the size of California yet contains almost twice as many people) we know a thing or two about breakfast.
Now of course the British used to ‘Go to Work on an Egg’! but nowadays it’s more likely to be a bowl of muesli with maybe a bit of organic yoghurt. Perhaps one of those green smoothies (what’s in those?)
However there is still a hardcore of Englishmen and women who yearn for the good old days, when life was less complex, cholesterol hadn’t been invented yet and bacon still had an inch of fat and the rind on.
Yes this group still enjoys a good old-fashioned fry up. But its unpopular. Its full of fat. It’s bad.
So how do you get round this conundrum; on the one hand you want the salty greasiness to fuel your day, on the other you want the approval of your peers (or nutritionist).
I think poaching is the most impressive way to cook an egg . There are many ways to do it – use a poacher, cooking rings, or just put them in water ‘free-form’.
But the problem with these methods is that either the eggs end up looking flat and a bit boring or they try to disintegrate in the water, looking like they’ve blown up. What you want with a poached egg is something that looks like a little white cloud!
Of course I didn’t make a poached egg and then just eat it. I serve it with steak!