Monday, October 20, 2008

A "proper" English dinner

Remember the old nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence? It’s the one where “four-and-twenty” blackbirds are essentially pissed-off for being baked in a pie and ultimately seek revenge on a maid by pecking off her nose. I never realized how macabre those old rhymes were. (Have you read Grimm’s fairy tales recently? Yikes, save it for the campfire.)

This reference has relevance, I promise, just hear me out.

Kenny and I got to enjoy an evening spent with Angela and James Saturday evening at their new home in Santa Ana. We worked up quite the appetite walking around the historic neighborhoods, admiring the unique architecture. (It’s so refreshing to see neighborhoods that haven’t been taken over by cookie-cutter tract homes. Ahem, Irvine? Are you listening?) Thanks to Kenny being Mr. Friendly, we even got a personal tour of a 1915 house in its final stages of an amazing renovation. (Side note: I think I need a Japanese soak-tub in my future home.) Well after two hours, my stomach was ready to divorce me. Luckily, Chef James (a native Brit) had prepared what he called “a proper English dinner” to prove to us that English cuisine was, in fact, a beautiful (and tasty!) thing. I'd have to agree; it was fantastic. Steak and mushroom pie, lots of veggies and roasted potatoes. All followed by a strawberry trifle. However, before he put the pie in the oven, I noticed a beak poking out of the puff pastry top. A beak?! Yes. A blackbird beak to be exact. I instinctively covered my nose as the old nursery rhyme began to play on repeat in my brain.

Turns out that the beak was attached to a whole bird. A ceramic bird traditionally used to hold up the center of the crust while providing an outlet for excess heat. A whole new meaning for blackbird pie.

Ang and Jamie, thanks again for a fun evening (even though I’m still full two days later)! It was so, so good.

(Jill, Angela, and the Blackbird. And a whole lot of flash/light refelecting off my forehead. Oh well.) Kenny wanted to contribute, so he added the candy corn to James' otherwise perfect English trifles.


Jamie & Angela said...

We had a great time and are thrilled to make our second blog appearance. Yeah us!

Allison Tiek said...

Jill, you aren't kidding! Those old nursery rhymes or stories are crazy! I don't know how they are read to children. Have you read Hansel and Gretel lately? I was reading it to my nephew and I'd forgotten why they were lost in the forest in the first place... their mean mother didn't want them anymore and tried to ditch them. Sad, huh? Why would we read this to a child?

scott said...

I love the idea of that contraption for a pie. And speaking of throwing things in desserts, I thought those were fingers sticking out of the strawberry trifle until I looked at the full photo and realized they were candy corns--right? We miss you guys, lets make blackbird pie!