I've eaten everything from the Fanny Cradock Cookery Programme I have made. So far. I've tucked into an array of sweet omelettes, despite my better judgement. I've wolfed down green mashed piped potatoes, although my eyes have said 'no'. I've willingly deep-throated bananas smeared with jam and nuts. I've gladly gobbled eggs transformed into a variety of disguises without complaint. I've swiftly swallowed all kinds of things Fanny has made to go further than my purse, or my mind, was able to stretch. Until today. I. Just. Can't.
Of course, as I've made Fanny's fascinations minus the meat, at least I've this far been safe in the knowledge that her creations may taste okay. I like vegetables. I've steered clear of using processed meat substitutes, mostly, simply because I rarely eat them myself. However, on a recent trip to the supermarket I was 'amazed' to see so many 'fake' meat products. Perhaps bemused. Perhaps perplexed. Perhaps baffled. Who was buying these things made to look, taste and feel like meat? Before I knew it I was hearing the self-service checkout beep in shame as I loaded up my bag. With. Sliced. Ham. Vegetarian Sliced Ham. What was I thinking?
I hadn't gone completely loopy. I was curious, and of course Fanny was guiding me to make a Cold Ham Soufflé with her, so part of me didn't want to miss out. Would this ham-hoax cut the mustard? Fanny starts by mincing up her ham. Mine minces fabulously, just like a seventies game show host. Fanny makes a velouté sauce, essentially a white sauce made with stock instead of milk, as the backbone of her dish. Mine whips up like the best bad-ass dominatrix. Or so I've heard anyway. Fanny sets her soufflé with Aspic. I need to adapt the recipe a little, adding Agar Agar to the stock, boiling and then making the velouté like a cutie. That's just how I rock. Nearly.
I can barely bring myself to touch the phoney-ham. Thankfully I am able to distract myself by whipping up egg whites and double cream. Separately of course. Fanny staples. All good here. I. Can. Cope. Except I can't. The pseudo-ham is mocking me. The whole sorry lot needs to be folded together and plopped into a wetted soufflé mould, so that it will come out smoothly. Fanny has taught me that. She hasn't trained me to cope with the horror of this. It's time to chill. The soufflé. And. Me. Too.
However, the shudders continue as Fanny suggests a stomach-churning staging. Apparently what this bogus Cold Ham Soufflé needs is to be topped with a further glaze of Aspic-y Agar Agar before being surrounded by more rolls of fabricated ham. It looks convincingly like the one Fanny made. I am sure it will feel faithfully like it too. Oh. The. Smell. I have absolutely no doubt that this sham-ham would also taste just like the one Fanny made. I. Am. Not. Trying. It. Sorry. Not. Sorry. Does anyone want it?