Tag Archives: Black pudding

Ben’s Canteen

Who claims precedence over a recipe? One who devised the creation or the establishment it homes? Well this is Dave Ahern’s third conception of the famed meaty morsel – at Ben’s Canteen in Clapham – and it’s his best. A triumph!

Yes, it’s over-complicated; interweaving as many ingredients as there are ideas in Ahern’s head, but the resulting orb is astonishing. Consider the list of ingredients: the sausage meat is prepped to the chef’s own unique spec, then cooked in a finished egg with cubed black pudding and baked bean flavourings. The breadcrumbs are made from dried mushrooms and bacon, which become powder-like, and is then added to fresh breadcrumbs (blitzed fresh white bread), rolled twice, and a final third time before cooking (deep-fried and then finished in the oven).

It’s an ideal size. A real feat when all the components of a full English breakfast are included, and rolled up inside. There’s a scorched bacon scent when cut and the meat reveals all those smells which make the full English such an staple. The breadcrumbs are strong and flavoursome, and there’s the faint taste of baked beans against black pudding. The centre egg is perfectly executed; warm and runny, soaking into the meat. Easily one of the best Scotch eggs in town, and perhaps the most moreish, so just as well it’s available throughout the day.

Price: £5.00
Overall: 5/5

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Wallace & Co.

Old Pudding Face’s Wallace & Co. in Putney supplies everything from homemade sausage rolls to gingerbread men and pastries. I was delighted to see the piled balls of Scotch eggs on the counter when I entered, and ordered immediately.

It arrived (as above), already cut into quarters. Panko breadcrumbs are replaced with flour and breadcrumbs, and I’m happy to report that the pleasing crunch remains. The sausage meat is warm and spectacled with black pudding and apple. They’re welcome flavours; the small black pudding spots give a deeper, rustic texture, while apple adds a little sweetness to the mix.

The egg is large with a bright yellow glow. It’s creamy, although rather average when compared with the efforts of the meat. In all, it’s an odd entry. The typical breadcrumb casing has been modified and the sausage seasoning has been adapted. It works, but there’s a little bit too much attention to detail for me, and it’s always a shame – when a golden orb is served to you warm and fresh – not to cut yourself and release that warm, sticky, sense-stealing aroma of hot meat… and miss out on a runny yolk.

Price: £3.00

Overall: 3.5/5

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The Alexandra

If there’s a chef in London with a better repuation for Scotch eggs than The Alexandra’s Dave Ahern, then show him to me.

After a successful period at fellow Young’s pub The Ship in Wandsworth, Dave took over the reigns in the kitchen at The Alexandra in Wimbledon. His Scotch eggs on the menu are titled: ‘Dave’s special recipe with HP sauce’, and are made using black pudding breadcrumbs from Clonakilty in Ireland.

They’re beefy morsals with a wide rim of warm sausage meat holding a creamy egg with sunshine yolk. The black breadcrumbs have a deep crunch and Dave admits that even if a little burnt it improves the bite.

There’s a real battle on for the first Scotch Egg Challenge later in the month and The Alexandra’s entry is going to be a geniune contender.

Price: £3.75
Overall: 5/5

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In conversation with… Tom Parker Bowles


Tom Parker Bowles is a real foodie enthusiast. He is the author of three books: E Is For Eating – An Alphabet of Greed (2004), The Year of Eating Dangerously (2006) and Full English: A Journey Through the British and their food (2009). He is currently working on a fourth book, entitled Let’s Eat.

From 2007 to 2010 he presented Market Kitchen with Matthew Fort and over the past ten-years has had a weekly column in The Mail on Sunday.

A chief supporter of the Scotch egg movement (yes, there is such a thing), Tom believes it is one of the world’s great combinations: “pig meat, fat and blood, fried up into something so decadently porcine that my arteries began to creak. In a good way.” Here are Tom’s thoughts on some questions I posed to him, including a rather gruesome sounding egg.

Q. In three words, how would you describe a Scotch egg?
A. Pork wrapped perfection.

Q. Best served hot or cold?
A. Cold.

Q. Served with or without condiments? If with, then which?
A. I’m usually a purist, although a dash of English mustard is often a welcome addition.

Q. Are there any variations on the Scotch egg that you enjoy? Some chefs choose venison over sausage meat, others may try to spice the meat etc., or maybe you make your own?
A. A few chunks of black pudding (à la Handmade Scotch Egg Company), makes for double pork bliss. And I like a whack of chilli too.

Q. Talking of eggs, can you tell us a little more about your recent experience with a Balut egg?
A. Gosh, balut. A fertilised duck egg complete with embryonic bird. Contrary to popular opinion, the best balut does not contain a fully formed duck with bones, feathers and beak. The finest are those of about 16 days old, where the embryo is soft and wobbly. You make a crack in the bottom, pierce the membrane and suck out the juice. This is rich, savoury and a touch pongy! You then open the other end, douse with salt or vinegar, and eat the little duck. It has no flavour and the texture of a warm oyster. You then dig into the egg, which is wonderfully rich. I was rather dreading eating it but it actually turned out to be pretty good. One’s enough though. Somehow, I don’t see the balut Scotch egg taking off over here.

Q. In your opinion, where serves the best Scotch egg?
A. The Handmade Scotch Egg Company are very good, and Hix one’s fine too.

Read more from Tom Parker Bowles at the Mail Online

Photograph © Les Wilson

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Black Watch

This chunky, fist-sized entry won the ‘Great Taste Gold Award’ in 2009 and is a favourite of Tom Parker-Bowles. As you can see from the picture, a thick and meaty rim cases the boiled egg, and contains, within the black pudding: blood, pearl barley, pork fat, oatmeal, onions and spices. A high proportion of oatmeal is often used in black pudding (as are onions) to absorb the pork blood.

The breadcrumb casing is thinner than some other Scotch eggs but Black Watch is all about the contents and a decision to replace standard sausage meat with black pudding. It’s a masculine globe with similarities to the Manchester Egg (pickled egg in a sausage and black-pudding coating). Yet, despite its acclaim and luminary following, I found the ingredients too dense and metallic, but then, I’m not a great black pudding supporter.

Price: £2.65

Overall: 2/5

Contents:

Black Pudding (blood, pearl barley, pork fat, rusk, oatmeal, onions, salt, spices, herbs, triphoshate colours (E51), (E123), 35%), hard boiled large free-range egg 33%, free-range pork sausagemeat (pork; min 75%), rusk (wheat, gluten), stabiliser (E451(i)), flavour enhancer (E621), preservative (E221), colour (E120), antioxidants (E304(i), acid (E330), fresh crumbed bread (wheat flour emulsifer (E471), (E472e), flour improver (E300), ground nut/vegetable oil (anti-foaming agent (E900)).

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