Veronica, Danny’s sourdough starter, had not had a good week and at one point her likely demise was lamented across the Twitterverse. However, she rallied at the last minute, rallied in a superb fashion, and there on the counter as result of her labours, was the final result.
The smell was fabulous, the eating of it even better. The darker loaf was made with a smoked malt flour and that brought with it a deep, nutty flavour and a tight crumb. The sourdough loaf was….well, just gorgeous. A dense, chewy crust and a most wonderful springy insides. Soft to eat, but with a bouncy texture. I now want the recipe, of course. And some of that smoked flour.
The darker one would be just the thing for a ham and chutney sandwich, the sourdough perfect just on its own with butter. I don’t quite know how we didn’t just fall into the bread basket and eat it all there and then.
Next came the starters. A beautiful, warm seasonal salad of Pheasant, Poached Pear, Pomegranates and Hazelnuts. I adored the dressing, which I think was an elderflower or elderberry one? Help me out, Danny mate.
Juicy pheasant, soft leaves, flavourful pear and crunchy hazelnuts. A triumph of tastes and textures. I ate all of mine and some of Tex’s too.
We ate more bread. We had a rest and talked to our lovely table companions. Then came….The Main Course. Cue dramatic music if you please.
Pork Chop Roast with Cox's Apples, Crispy Sage and Cider Gravy, with Mashed Allotment Spuds and Steamed Greens.
It was So. Damned. Good. Perfect gravy, meltingly tender meat, extra crackling on the side – I could have eaten this twice and still asked for more. I loved the fried sage leaves, especially when mixed with the creamy mash. I think we all piled into it with great gusto.
I admit that I adore pork fat so I will have you know that I fought every temptation going not to nick the stuff off other peoples’ plates. I behaved. I really did.
We had a bit of a rest at this point, and talk turned to, well, it turned to all sorts of things to be honest. We did have very engaging dinner companions for the evening.
I wanted to get a proper close up but I’m sorry, I was actually too busy eating this mound of amazingness. Soft, light sponge, with almost crystallised edges around the base – I’m assuming some golden syrup action there – with a gorgeously fruity, jammy hit of blackberry. Yes, I had cream and YES I had two helpings because it was that damned good.