At long last I have found the time to get to my computer and type out another post. With Chateau Ghastanbury being as busy as Grand Central Station it has been hard to make time without offending or ignoring guests. The Traveller is staying with me for six weeks until he swans back over to the Southern Hemisphere once more. I think the cold weather has taken him by surprise, indeed it took many Brits by surprise. It is hard to believe that a few inches of snow can make the UK grind to a halt. You have to wonder what the Swedes, Fins and Norwegians make of us. They must be bemused that most of our schools were closed and the transport system shut down completely and all for a sprinkling of snow. Did out forefathers really make an empire upon which the sun never set?
The occasion of my 53rd birthday came and it seemed like the whole world descended upon my front door. The Prince of Darkness (formerly the taxman) arrived bearing greetings and gifts. The Tiler rang up and was on the phone for over 2 hours. It was great to speak to him and he described how the temperature in Oz was a blistering 46 centigrade but his fridge was working and his beer was ice cold. I promise I will get to go and see him one day. Sophia Loren arrived with greetings and bearing packages and the Animal (formerly the beast) arrived. Naturally Beancounter was with me and spoiled me rotten with gifts and Roger Moor came in for a birthday drink. The day was looking up.
In the evening we went along to the animals’ house and I cooked what was supposed to be a Chinese banquet. The first thing to go wrong was the soup, I overcooked it and the eggs separated horribly. It tasted wonderful but it looked as though it had curdled. Naturally I thought things would pick up on the second course but the pancakes for the crispy duck were unlike any pancakes I have ever seen in my life. They were translucent and sticky. The animal threw one against the tiles in his kitchen and it stuck. We gave up on the pancakes and the duck I had cooked was served in slices of wholemeal Hovis, basically crispy duck sandwiches. I figured I could still turn it around with my famous ribs but disaster struck when I realised I had used the wrong sauce. I had cooked them in my homemade Chicago rib sauce in stead of the home made sweet Kentucky sauce I should have used. To say they were hot is a bit of an understatement. There is an awful lot of chilli and cayenne in Chicago sauce and they are really for extreme heat aficionados, in fact they are second to the Texas sauce which has hospitalised some people!
It was at this point we gave up, being really full from the duck sandwiches and quite merry on Tequila slammers, and conversation turned to culinary items and the way they are made. I got around to describing to the animals long suffering wife the difference in the way white pudding was made as opposed to black pudding. His wife loves white pudding but did not know what was in it. I told her that it was the same ingredients as black pudding and made from pigs blood. She asked why it was white and I explained the blood was put in a centrifuge and the smaller red blood cells were spun out leaving only the larger white blood cells to make white pudding. The black puddings were made from the red blood cells. At the end of this elaborate and totally believable description she vowed never to eat white pudding again. The youngest son who was enjoying the hot ribs asked about chilli sauce when I told him that was what made the ribs so hot. I told him about the dragon fields in China and Nepal.
Everyone knows that dragons breathe fire but what he did not know was the Chinese and Nepalese have herds of dragons and every day the dragon keepers would round up the dragons from the famous dragon fields and lead them to the chilli sauce factories. It was here that the dragons would donate some blood every day to go into bottles just the same way that us humans go and give blood at the transfusion services. The really big and older dragons had the hottest blood and that was why some of the sauce was very hot, the bigger and older the dragon the hotter the sauce. The sweet sauce came from the baby dragons and it was very precious as the baby dragons did not stay small for very long. After a lot of bottles had been filled up the dragons were led back out into the dragon fields. I also explained that this was why the Chinese loved dragons and they featured a lot in Chinese festivals.
I was going to explain that St George had killed the last Welsh dragon and that was why we could not make chilli sauce in this country, but the look from his parents rather suggested that perhaps I should end this line of conversation! After more than a few Tequila slammers, plenty of port and several large glasses of gin and tonic me and BC headed home. It had been a fantastic day and who would have thought you could have so much fun with white pudding and dragons’ blood.