Monday, 16 July 2018

What's The Name of The Game?

The thought of Fanny Cradock with a shotgun in her hand terrifies me beyond belief. I think we should all be terrified. She's out and about looking for the 'crowning glory' of English cookery. Game birds. On top of t all, she's not happy. She has become 'astigmatised' looking for a poulterer to cater to her needs, but alas her beloved birds have dwindled from her failing sight. Any remaining ptarmigan, capercailzie (as she calls them), woodcock or snipe should be especially terrified. Those are her favourites. You can almost hear the blood dripping and smell the smoke from the cartridge shot as she proclaims that they 'make wonderful eating'. Terrifying.

Fanny Cradock Cooking with Game

The thought of Fanny Cradock with a dead carcass in her kitchen terrifies me beyond belief. As Fanny licks her lips, she wonders if Scottish folks might still be able to get their hands round a neck of a capercailzie, but she doubts it. Fanny reminisces about the 'snipe of her childhood' which she has scarcely seen since. They are the hardest birds of all to shoot on the wing as they have a curious zig-zag flight. You believe she is talking from experience. You believe that the barrel of the shotgun is still warm. Well before the Spice Girls, you believe she did her own zig-a-zig-ah and blew the blighters out of mid-air anyway. They eat terrifyingly beautifully.

Fanny Cradock Cooking with Game

The thought of Fanny Cradock inventing the 'overhead' instagram-ready flat-lay shot terrifies me beyond belief. Fanny has her perfect meal-based social media snaps all planned out. It may be a Moroccan Couscous eaten in a tent in the Sahara Desert at 110°F, of course sitting in the shade. It may be a Proven├žal Octopus Stew. Fanny has fished the baby octopus herself from the 'wavelets on the sands' on a moonlight night. Her terrifying hands gripped tightly on the poor little babies. It may be a roast partridge, with trimmings, followed by English Stilton, brandy and a cigar. Yes, Fanny smokes cigars. Johnnie approves very much. He is no doubt too terrified to say otherwise.

Fanny Cradock Cooking with Game

The thought of Fanny Cradock with the garden secateurs in her hands terrifies me beyond belief. They are well sterilised, of course, and always close to hand. But still. Terrifying. Fanny does not like the shape of modern game scissors. She also does not like the modern service of woodcock. Her preference is to travel to Denmark, perhaps with her secateurs still close to hand, for service in the classic manner. The Danes have the decency to leave the heads on, you see. The Danes then split the skull open to expose the brain. The Danes then pick the brains out. The Danes think the brains are a delicacy. The Danes are just as terrifying as Fanny.

Fanny Cradock Cooking with Game

The thought of Fanny Cradock with a pigeon in her hand terrifies me beyond belief. They can be eaten all year round, and require no hanging. Strangely, they are rarely seen flying anywhere near Fanny's house. Served best with their breasts ripped from the body and covered in puff pastry. We all love a puffed up breast. Fanny suggests, with one final terrifyingly loud cackle, that if you really want to show off, serve them resplendent with feathered wings. If you weren't terrified before, you will be now.

Fanny Cradock Cooking with Game

Friday, 6 July 2018

Yon Olden Pond

We don't know all that much about Fanny Cradock's Mum. We know she was an actress. We know her name. Bijou. It may be that she chose that name however. Fanny told us she believed in Fairies. She played a good game of golf, and once almost qualified for Wimbledon. She danced like thistledown, whatever that was like. She drove a car wildly, but brilliantly. She would only play cards with men, as 'women cheat'. She seemed to know, as Fanny told us she kept 'all her lovers' until the day of her death.

Fanny Cradock Fruit Salad

Thanks to the part-work, however, we know that she was a 'gorgeous cook', although at times Fanny describes her cooking as 'erratic', with things never tasting the same twice. As ever with Fanny, the truth is often hidden behind a good story. We know what Bijou didn't like. Fanny tells us. She passionately disliked anything in the shape of a pond. We don't know how she felt about actual ponds. Just things that appeared like ponds. Shaped like ponds. Based on ponds. Ponds were out as far as Fanny's Mum was concerned.

Fanny Cradock Fruit Salad

So, Fanny tells us, Bijou invented a method (Fanny refuses to call it a recipe) for Fruit Salad which ensured that it could in no way be mistaken for a pond. For they often do, don't they? When I think 'Fruit Salad' I immediately think 'pond'. Don't you? I actually immediately think of a tin of soft pieces of fruit, with one bright pink cherry half and one slightly wrinkly grape. Bijou detested little bits of fruit floating in a vast pond or even a puddle of weak fruit juice, water and sugar which is barely fit for human consumption. No ponds. No puddles. We can only assume lakes were out too.

Fanny Cradock Fruit Salad

Bijou's famous invention involved slicing up the fruits - seasonal is best, whatever is to hand - and layering them in a tall, glass vase with little sprinklings of icing sugar between each section. Perhaps even a drop or two of liqueur, if it is liked. Bijou liked. Lemon juice is also required for apples and pears (and bananas if used) to prevent discolouring. The vase is then left in ordinary domestic refrigeration overnight where the fruit will 'make it's own juice' which will in no way resemble pond water. Never.

Fanny Cradock Fruit Salad

To make absolutely sure that your Fruit Salad looks nothing like a pond, it must be served in a pumpkin. Hollowed out of course. The discarded flesh can be cooked separately, but Fanny warns that pumpkin is an acquired taste - like custard-apples, mangoes, sweet potatoes, lychees, sweetcorn and heaven forbid, avocados - so proceed with caution. Unless you're a millennial. Fanny does give a recipe for Pumpkin Soup in a bid to 'turn' all the 'haters'. She is confident, however, that her mothers Fruit Salad will not be hated by anyone, especially those with an aversion to ponds. Or cheating women.

Fanny Cradock Fruit Salad