You are sitting by a small table when you hear the city bells start to sound. The constant, eerie gonging interrupts your reading of “Stack and Drizzle – Food presenting made simple”.
The bells seldom ring out and rarely to announce good news. As you contemplate their purpose the main doors to the kitchen are kicked open violently. The full volume of the bells and cacophony of crowded streets pour in along with Chef and a few of the main crew carrying enormous sides of pork over their shoulders. Haunches, hind legs, racks of ribs and even the head of a formerly large and powerful boar are frog marched into the prep area and laid on work tops.
“The King…” Announces Chef “Is dead”
“Dead? How?” You spring to your feet in shock and approach Chef realising in an instant the solemnity of this news. You didn’t know the King but you always considered yourself a good and loyal subject. Surely this will lead to a country in mourning for their leader, a dip in national morale.
The door is closed and you notice that chef is grinning widely.
“Hunting accident, boar got him. But that’s not the best bit”
“Best bit?” You can’t quite believe what you’re hearing
“We’re cooking the boar for the funeral feast” Chef announces.
A cheer goes up across the kitchen. You look around dumbfounded.
“B…but the King, surely…”
“Pah! Kings come and go, getting a whole boar to yourself is a rare treat. See, for the feast they’ll only want the choice cuts, which means the best bits of the animal go to us”
Another cheer goes up.
You are surprised by the pleasing effect this news has on you. Having a whole hog to work with does sound good. After all, they did name a phrase after it.
“I’ll make sausages” Offers a voice from the crew
“Excellent suggestion” replies chef “Esculerie? You’re in charge of the mash, go! And make it smooth”.
Mashed potatoes, yet another cross roads of gastronomic opinion.
Here I’m going to show you how to make restaurant quality mash and give you the building blocks to vary it to your taste.
Monstrous Mash: Ingredients
3x large jacket potatoes
Salt & pepper
Monstrous Mash: Cook The Monster
Peel the potatoes and discard the peel. Using larger potatoes makes this easier and has less waste. Chop the potatoes into equally sized chunks. Better yet, chop them into little cubes (Parmentier) this will make them easier to mash and avoid lumps.
+1 XP Knife Sharpen
+1 XP Knife Chopping
LORE – Chopping anything into evenly sized pieces means it will all cook at the same time. Make a habit of doing this with everything.
Put the cubes into a large pan of cold salted water and bring to the boil. And I mean salted, salty like the ocean. This will help season the potato and make the boiling point of the water a little higher.
+1 XP Hydromancy
LORE – If it grows below ground, put it in cold water and bring to the boil. If it grows above, blanch it in already boiling water.
You’ll have to keep an eye on the pan now. The cooking time will depend on how small you chopped the cubes. Once they are soft and yielding (take one out and put your knife through it) take them off the heat and strain through a colander.
Give your pan a rinse and a dry and, once drained, put the potatoes back in the pan. Season with salt and pepper and then give it a good mashing to start before adding the butter a little at a time.
You can of course use myriad things here; good olive oil, cream, milk, crème fraiche, a little chicken stock but for restaurant grade, you’ll want to use butter. For the love of all things good and pure don’t be tempted by the increasingly loud call to use mayonnaise (mostly from mayonnaise companies). I don’t like working in absolutes and saying something is wrong but this… it’s just… wrong.
This is a time to add mustard, horseradish or herbs if you desire (Just not mayo). For now. We’ll keep things simple.
At some point, your masher will become surplus to the process. Swap this out for a silicone spatula and start mixing the mash whilst adding butter. If you encounter any small lumps that got through the net, take a fork to them. You want to end up with a product that is malleable, you can shape it roughly into a ball without it collapsing or leaving residue. It should be smooth and of course, very tasty.
+ 1 XP Transmutation
Sausages: What Are They, Really?
There are thousands of types of sausage in the world (Germany alone has over 1200 varieties) dating back as far as 500 years BC. For simplicity, we’re going to focus on the humble British breakfast sausage.
Any small amount of internet digging can reveal a raft of horror stories about what goes into sausages these days. In the 19th century they were referred to as ‘bags of mystery’. Now, while these stories do warrant some merit and we should all be concerned about what we’re putting in our bodies, it’s important to remember that sausages were designed as a way to make the less appealing parts of the animal edible and nutritious.
I am all for this. If we are to eat animals for food then there should be as little waste as possible. My personal philosophy on meat consumption is very ‘Marilyn Monroe’; If can’t accept me at my worst, then you don’t deserve my best.
Put simply; you shouldn’t be eating steak if you’re not prepared to try the shin or the cheek (which you should, they’re both incredible! Recipes to follow).
The general rule on sausages is, you get what you pay for. If the packaging doesn’t even have the word sausage on it, avoid.
The legal standards of meat content for sausages is fairly low (32% some of which can be fat and connective tissue). Don’t get me wrong, you should avoid snobbery too. You want some fat and connective tissue in there. Even a bit of cellulose is fine. Cellulose is basically sawdust but not in the sense that you might be thinking. It’s essentially a plant extract that can be used for textural purposes in sausage making.
As a guide, 70% meat is ideal.
If all of this has put you off or you want to avoid the issue altogether, there are some damned fine vegetarian sausages out there these days. Same goes for gluten free.
Sausages: Cook The Monster
Cook for 20 mins at 200° gas mark 6, turning half way through and browning on both sides. If you’re unsure, use a meat thermometer to make sure they’re over 80° in the middle
Red Onion Relish: Cook The Monster
Exactly what it sounds like
1 x red onion per 2 portions
2x tbsp. soft brown sugar per onion
Chop the onion into slices. So once in half vertically. Keep the root part intact to avoid tears and keeping the whole thing together. Then, lay the onion on its flat side and cut into slices, thin as you can.
Sweat this in some oil (maybe a knob of butter too). Once the onion is completely soft, add the sugar and allow it to dissolve. Once it has, reduce the mixture to desired stickiness and set aside. If you’d like the relish darker you can add a splash of balsamic vinegar to proceedings.
+1 XP Chopping
+1 XP Pyromancy
+1 XP Transmutation
As you put the finishing touches to your mash, Chef approaches from behind you.
“Looks good Esculerie, now, make each portion into a quenelle and let’s see if you’ve learned anything from that book you were reading”
Hail to the King
Paul Flannery – Pirate Moustache and Brains behind The MMORPG Show
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