Pigeon, blackberries, chicory, roast beetroot…and black pudding

The Potted Pig, Cardiff, Wales


Blood sausage is often presented simply – on a plate with some frites, on a slice of bread, or with your full English breakfast. But in the process of writing this blog, it has really struck that blood sausage can be a surprisingly versatile ingredient. And, once in a while I run across someone doing something really unexpected with the ingredient.

In this case, the clever folks at The Potted Pig have used blood sausage as an edible ‘dirt’ foundation for the dish.  I’ve had ‘dirt’ in a few dishes, mostly the chocolate sort in desserts, and by most accounts the concept can be traced back to French chef Michel Bras in the late 70s or early 80s (see this New York Times article for a quick history). But I’ve never seen it done with anything like blood pudding.

Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t think to ask more about how they made it, but the end result is a sort of crunchy crumble. The richness of traditional blood sausage disappears, but that’s actually fine, as it played nicely against the other textures in the dish.  I can imagine that a slice of blood pudding would have just been too much.  So instead of overpowering, it plays nicely with the other ingredients.

While I’m focusing on the blood pudding here, the pigeon component also deserves a mention. If you’ve never had pigeon, the flavor and texture are close to beef, but it’s far more sustainable. I also find it similar to duck. Many people envision city pigeons, and find that off-putting, but pigeons raised for food were once much more popular and widespread. Popular Science has a great history of pigeons as food in the USA, and BBC Food has a nice collection of recipes. (Last visit: May 2018)

Black Pudding Scotch Eggs

Finest Fayre, London, United Kingdom


Had you told me 20 years ago that I would be so excited about Scotch Eggs + Black Pudding, fused together into a deep-fried ball of delight, I’m sure I would have given you quite the look.  But, older, wiser, and far less hung up about food, I was very excited to stumble across these beautiful things on a Sunday morning in Hackney.

The options on offer at Broadway Market make me want to have three or four lunches, because there is so much good stuff on offer.  Luckily, scotch eggs travel well,  so I was able to whisk a couple home on the Eurostar for Sunday dinner instead.

And they were perfect: flavor, texture, the whole package.  Probably for the best I can’t eat them every Sunday, but if you have the chance, please pick some up and enjoy them on my behalf.  Finest Fayre visits a number of the markets in London, check their Twitter feed to where they will be next. (March 2018)

Blood Cake + Fried Egg

St. John’s Bread & Wine, London, United Kingdom

cakeThis is a terrible photo of a beautiful thing.  Chef Fergus Henderson is famous for making delicious things out of the icky bits, and the blood cake is one of my favorites.  I try to go to St. John’s whenever I get to London, and I always order the blood cake if I can.  It is one of those deceptively simple things that is just so rich and perfect.  The recipe is in his ‘Nose to Tail Eating’ cookbook, and while I’ve never tried it at home, it does spec which breed of pig he prefers.  Maybe that’s the secret.  In any case, it’s worth a trip from wherever you are in London to one of the St. John’s outposts to try it, and anything else on the menu.  (Last visit: March 2018)