Now, I must make it totally clear from the start that everything you're about to read about in this blog post is ABOLUTELY deserving of its own, individual write-up. The reason they are all sharing is as a kind of service to you, the reader, who has a busy life to negotiate and will surely appreciate the time efficiency of one, glorious foodie package; think of it as a kind of Greatest Hits tape, or an episode of Match of the Day. It is NOT - and again, I must make this totally clear - because I only have the time to write one blog post this weeked; no, definitely not that. At all. You're welcome.
Anyway, last Wednesday was Gourmet Night at The Mark Addy, most usually notable for the all-day discussion it prompts among my colleagues: what part of which animal will Robert Owen Brown be fricasseeing tonight for Liz's delectation? This time, though, Mr Liz and I had a hot date with Royton sausage royalty in the form of Mr and Mrs Bobby's Bangers (otherwise known as James and Heather), and the highbrow conversation du jour naturally revolved around exactly what kind of sausage I was likely to be slipped under the table (Italian and Mushroom & Garlic, if you're interested). Truth be told, we had feared for our lives a little - ROB had promised us an adventurous menu, and it did indeed seem a serious possibility at one point that a whole head of Shergar might appear and we would be forced to chow down on a raw banger or two instead. Of course, the menu was amazing - six splendid courses for thirty of your English pounds, with the standout dish being the Kentucky Fried Squirrel that ROB had put on especially for me after my epic sulk at missing out on the KF Rabbit last month.
1. Hand Dived Scallops with Sea Urchin:
2. "KFC" Style Cheshire Grey Squirrel with Dandelion and Burdock Dipping Sauce:
3. Glazed Red Mullet "Gazpacho" Style:
4. Truffle Roast Squab Pigeon:
5. Warm Ramshackle Curd Cheese (baked inside aniseedy bread to resemble a sea urchin, albeit the biggest sea urchin the world has ever seen):
6. Vanilla Bean Custard Shortbread:
After this feast, I didn't eat out for two whole days; luckily my friend celebrated her birthday last night by having dinner at Damson in Heaton Moor, thereby preventing a dangerous hat trick of nights in. I don't have any pictures here I'm afraid as the evening was far too classy to be let down by a woman snapping away on her frankly very unprofessional iPhone camera; instead, you will have to use your imaginations to decide exactly how nice a starter of grilled scallops, slow cooked middle white pork belly, Bury black pudding croquettes, spiced apple puree and golden raisins might look. I've yet to have a less-than-perfect meal at Damson - the food is really quite special, and the well-chosen flavour combinations mean that I quite literally want to try EVERYTHING off the menu. I eventually settled on the slow cooked lamb with herb crust, served with creamed flageolet beans, roasted garlic and dauphinoise potato, and it was a joy.
I am going to move away from Damson now and hopefully leave you with the impression that my meal ended with that lovely lamb dish, for if it transpired that I actually managed a further two courses then the visit I have just paid to Royton Real Food is going to look more than a little gluttonous, and inaccurately convey the mistaken image that I am a big fat lardy greed face. Royton is my very favourite of all the food markets - it takes place on the first Sunday of every month, and as none of the stalls sell the same items you can do your food shop confident in the knowledge that you won't pay eight quid for a thimbleful of humous at the first stall you come across and then find something much better a few rows down. For my lunch I have just eaten this splendid pulled pork roll with home-made coleslaw and bourbon source from Castro (modelled here by Mr Liz, before being swiftly ripped from his eager hand); indeed, I still have a considerable amount of it on the sleeve of the pale grey Angora cardigan I so prudently selected for such an activity.
We also bought eggs, bread, cakes, and a selection of meaty goodness from the wonderful Coddy's Farm - they alone are worth the drive up to Royton. And this is where this post comes full circle, and I leave you with the image of a man trying to slip me a sausage - only this time, he slipped me a burger as well, but that's a whole other story...