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Thursday, 24 February 2011

Half Term Gluttony at The Didsbury and The Mark Addy Gourmet Evening

Yesterday, I learnt several valuable lessons; well, at least I would have done, were I the sort of person who actually heeds valuable lessons rather than forgetting them instantly and making very similar mistakes all over again. These are the important life lessons I have gleaned from just one day of foolish and inappropriate behaviour:

1. It is never a good look to be hanging around outside a pub, in the rain, waiting for it to open. This may be acceptable when you are a student, but less so when you are two sophisticated ladies of the highest order, one of whom even has children named after literary heroines rather than something really classy like the place they were conceived. So do be warned that if you plan to meet a friend at The Didsbury for an early lunch, don't arrive even microscopically early, as you will be forced to beat hopefully on the door like a raging alkie.

2. If you know that it's the last Wednesday of the month, and that you will therefore be attending Gourmet Evening at The Mark Addy later on that evening, you should not be going out for lunch in the first place. Nor should you eat those two slices of bread at about six o'clock: it DOESN'T MATTER that the bread came free with your Abel and Cole box that morning, and that it is the nicest bread known to mankind, milled by tiny pixies in their fairy workshop. Appparently - apparently - organic bread is actually just as fattening as normal bread, although I am still reluctant to believe this.

3. Yes, the Chloe jeans look good NOW. But will you still be quite such a slink-pot after eating six courses of Robert Owen Brown's finest? No, you will not - you will be complaining lavishly, and trying to surreptitiously undo your top button in the car on the way home.

4. Just because you run into Ben Cahoona in The Mark Addy doesn't mean that he will have pockets full of spare Manchester Eggs - the hunt for these elusive creatures goes on, much to Mr Liz's chagrin.

5. And finally, the most important lesson of all - and one that I shall definitely continue to heed, Gourmet Evening at The Addy remains the single most exciting thing that ever happened on a Wednesday. This is what I ate last night:

- Warm Goose Liver Cream Shooter: this first dish really tells you all you need to know about last night's menu. As it was chef Robert Owen Brown's birthday, he had made things he himself would like to eat; in other words, the kind of food that causes your arteries to fur over before you've even finished reading the menu.

- Wild Mushroom Bun: a pastry case filled with mushrooms (healthy) and - yep - cream (less healthy). There certainly wasn't "mushroom" in the pastry case for anything else! *smirks at own wit whilst ignoring piece of tumbleweed blowing across room*

- Lancashire Coast Rag Pudding: I had never heard of rag pudding, despite it apparently hailing from Oldham. As the third course is always the fish course, ROB had replaced the traditional meat filling in this suet pastry with fish and served it with *checks heartbeat for any suspicious irregularities* a cream sauce.

- Lavender and Hay Baked Mutton: a ROB special, wheeled out and carved in front of our eager eyes, and then served with roasted artichokes. I am only exaggerating very slightly when I say that I had FIFTY EIGHT helpings of this, and am not exaggerating at all (sadly) when I say that Mr Liz had three (small) pieces of artichoke and I had all the rest. Jeans too tight by this point.

- Vanilla Cream with Poached Forced Rhubarb: you will notice the presence of cream once more, and for anyone who is worried about the lack of pastry in this course, I can reassure you that ROB is thankfully the sort of man who serves his vanilla cream in a pastry case in the interests of providing a full range of nutrients and food groups. I did have to explain to Mr Liz that "forced" rhubarb is simply rhubarb that has been grown indoors, rather than a cruel practice involving the exploitation of helpless, weeping rhubarb sticks crying "no! I don't want to! Please don't make me!" *quickly eats noisy whiny rhubarb*

- A Selection of Regional Cheeses: I have a confession to make. A combination of the 6pm bread error and the frankly out-of-control greed prompted by the mutton course left me unable to eat the cheese. This has never happened to me before, and I know that I've let you down. Fear not, however - said cheese is currently reposing comfortably in a foil doggy bag in the kitchen, and will be consumed for lunch in a bid to make all right again.

The next Gourmet Evening is on Wednesday 30th March; if you've learned any kind of lesson at all from my wise words, clearly you should ensure you are there.

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