Monday, March 07, 2005
Custard on Everything: Or, A Night for the Anglophiles
Beef Stew (Not Steak and Kidney Pie)
A friend helped me move this past fall, and I offered to repay him with a home cooked meal. He requested steak and kidney pie, as he is a Brit far away from home. Of course, I was excited at trying out making this new delicacy. Obligingly, I started digging up recipes and learned with growing dread that the kidney part of steak and kidney meant I had to use actual kidneys. At organs, I balked.
After some discussion, we compromised. I made beef stew. Well, it wasn't actually a compromise. I just said, "Forget it, I'm making beef stew." And he was OK with this ultimately. The Brits have learned after many years of working with us Americans that we will do whatever the heck we want anyhow, so they might as well go along for the ride. So I made the Cooks Illustrated Beef Stew with Cinnamon and Cloves, which I think came out pretty well. The non-Brit guests were fine with it, anyhow. I also made steak fries (almost as good as having steak, right?), green salad, and obliging Brit friend offered to bring pudding for dessert.
People in England like puddings, although here they would be called something more like soupey pudding cake. I have no objection to cake topped with pudding at all, and it was even more entertaining to be able to try several types of canned, I mean tinned, puddings that he bought at Cardullo's, a local gourmet shop. I also decided to throw together the "Sticky Toffee Pudding" from the Cooks Illustrated Quick Recipe so we could compare home-made to canned, I mean tinned.
Best of all, Obliging British Friend even brought along a can/tin of Bird's custard powder. You stir this magical elixir into hot milk and voila, you have a batch of warm, gooey pourable pudding/custard which you pour over anything vaguely resembling dessert. It not only disguises any cosmetic flaws in your pudding, it it delicious and soothing. I'm starting to think about the pleasures of custard for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Anyhow, all three puddings disappeared pretty quickly. The tinned ones were good but very sweet. The home-made was also good and of course less chemically tasting. To those of you into food trends, I'd keep an eye on this dessert -- it could be the next molten lava chocolate cake.
Custard Over Everything is Good
There it is, with photos. Night of the Anglophiles. To top it off, we were going to watch some Monty Python, but we were all too full and sleepy from all that food. As theme dinners go, I think this was pretty successful.