Black Pudding Problem

13 April 2011

I obviously need help. Obsessions can be dangerous to your health. You will see in my Gallery the odd picture of a Black Pudding moment. I may take it myself or a similarly affected soul may send one to me in a true act of compassion. Whole tours to foreign parts – France, Spain, Mexico, Lancashire – have been blighted by the need to seek out and devour this singular culinary devil. Sleek, shiny black exterior. Soft, crumbling, spicy interior. Expeditions have been made to find the best establishment offering this delicacy.

I’m continually surprised by its appearance when least expected. Maybe I now find myself unwittingly in the very places created around it’s production! A sort of synchronicity with an inanimate pudding. I may need more help than I think.

Of course, my friends in the Michael Nyman Band look after me. They may just be being kind to hide their own afflictions. Who knows. However, with them I have found some good ones!

On top of the known Spanish world in Burgos – a beauty with plenty of spice and fair share of meal.

In Tenerife – served as a tapas starter. Became main course as well.

In good French restaurants in London – Boudin Noir. First skinned and then grilled or slowly poached. Served with fried egg and mushrooms or creamy mash and gravy.

On market stalls all over northern Europe. Bring one home as a present! Way to a partner’s heart etc!

Having acquired your pudding (Bury market or Waitrose have best ones!) try this:-

Skin and slice pudding into half inch thick pieces.
Slice an eating apple into thinnish pieces.
Melt some butter into heavy bottomed frying pan over medium high heat. Throw in the apples to caramelise on both sides. Remove from pan when done onto a warm plate. Turn up the heat and quickly fry the pudding until crispy on the outside and warm on the inside.
Toss on top of apples and pour over any remaining butter from pan.
Great supper dish – obviously a glass of Westons Organic Cider or two would be a great complement!


Black pudding with duck egg

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Wakefield Triangle!

13 April 2011

Shrouded in mystery, like the Bermuda Triangle, it’s a disappearance of an altogether different kind that haunts Yorkshire’s own mystery triangle. People have been known to be changed for life going through it. Tastes changed and bodily functions dramatically affected.

I refer of course to Rhubarb. Next to the White Rose it could easily become the leek of Yorkshire. When encompassed and embraced all previous culinary sense is lost and the kitchen becomes a roller – coaster of rhubarb opportunity. It’s tartness can turn your face into that of a bulldog licking a nettle. Laced with sugar and ginger it can warm the cockles on a chilly spring evening. Life will never be the same again!

Forget Delia! Norfolk doesn’t have a triangle. Get some early spring forced Yorkshire Rhubarb (even Waitrose are doing it!) and cut into 1 inch long pieces. Add to a pan with a little sugar, grate in fresh ginger and add a little water. Bring to simmer and remove from heat when rhubarb begins to fall. It’s best with a little bite left in it. Al dente’ish!

Depending on the quantity you have made – turn into a crumble for pud; turn into a fool; use less sugar and use as a tart accompaniment to oily fish etc; use on your breakfast cereal; if you have added too much water originally just drink it! Great with gin. Cheers!

Let me know if you get lost in the triangle this Spring. It’s good for you.


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11 April 2011

  • Geoff Eales – piano
  • Dave Lee – horn
  • Andy Findon – flute

Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a piece for his brother Julian entitled “Phantasia”. It also called for a solo violin and a large orchestra, exploring the wealth of melodic and dramatic music from his musical “Phantom of the Opera”. I played on the original recording and was struck by the thought that the cello writing could, in some way, be made to suit the horn. I was at the time trying to put together a horn trio and thought this piece might work. I asked Andrew for permission to try. Very generously he gave me a score and, being an ex-hornplayer himself, wished me luck!

The original arrangement was made by Geoff Alexander, an arranger and composer of note on many well-known films. The first thing to do was to have the piece reduced from an orchestral score to a convincing piano with solo instruments score. Who better to ask than Paul Bateman – another well-known arranger, composer, musical director and pianist. This was duly done.

A short while later, whilst having a chat on tour with my Michael Nyman Band friend and colleague of long standing Andy Findon, it became apparent that this piece might just work on flute instead of violin. We knew from working together with Michael Nyman that the sound of flute and horn together worked as a unison sound. So we tried.

I had known Geoff for as long as I had known Andy and we had all worked together on recording sessions, concerts and shows over the years. Geoff had branched out and developed his own style as a jazz performer making several albums on the way. He was the only choice for me – we gave it a go. The resultant “Phantasia” is on our new album “Reflections”.

What to do then? Do you know any pieces for flute, horn and piano? No, neither did we!

We had to create our own repertoire. Geoff came into his own, writing pieces, arranging pieces and generally being inspirational. Andy got his son to arrange some pieces from his solo album and things began to take shape and a programme came into being. The initial try out concert happened at Engelbert Schmid’s concert amphitheatre on a cold September night. Pictures can be found in the Gallery. We quickly learned what we could do and what we couldn’t do. What stamina was needed and what pieces worked together – and when I ought to take a break for chop recovery!!

So ELF was formed. Next, to make a recording, to get the pieces and our efforts into the public domain for both criticism and appreciation. We hope to get the pieces published asap. Keep looking – I’ll keep you posted.

ELF Trio

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