Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Bury Black Pudding

Going back two or three generations, East Anglia is my ancestral home. My grandfather maintained that we could (loosely) trace our lineage back to that most famous nuisance Wat Tyler, leader of the Peasants' Revolt.

In that sense, since moving back to Cambridge, I've returned 'home'.

But I was born and bred in the North West. My accent may be softening (or non-existent) but I still feel an affinity for this part of the country.

There are a few culinary traditions that seem to be unique to the region: Eccles cakes (a flaky pastry cake housing a lightly spiced and tightly packed collection of raisins), Lancashire oven bottoms (a soft bread roll), chip barmcakes (said bread roll stuffed with chips and possibly a splash of thick gravy. Carb-tastic) and black pudding.

There are many variations of 'blood sausage': Spanish Morcilla, French Boudin Noir, or the Boudin Rouge from Louisiana. But the best come from the large Lancashire market town of Bury ('Buh-reh') just north of Manchester.

Made with pigs' blood, thickened with oats and pork fat, it is then spiced, stuffed into natural casings and steamed, transforming the colour from a vibrant red to the familiar black.

They are then left to cool before being sold in large slices or the famous horseshoe shape.

Before consuming, they must be cooked again either gently boiled or fried in a little butter.

Which is what I did this morning. Along with a couple of rashers of bacon and a fresh egg. Not the healthiest way to start the day but a hell of a lot tastier than a bowl of muesli.

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Su-Lin said...

Gorgeous shot of your breakfast! Like you said, loads more interesting that muesli and if I could have that for breakfast everyday, I would!

Anonymous said...

My own effort at this dish (Henderson's Blood Cake) was stellar. I've cooked it up for myself for myself several breakfasts of late and it was been delicious (Henderson's suggestion of frying it up in duck fat is spot on). As with all of his recipes, he lets the ingredient keep its integrity, and so it is a very bloody cake, meaning that it is not so heavily spiced. I am used to the Galtee Irish Black Pudding from my Irish-American upbringing and the flavor was reminiscent of that, but more forward, fresher, fuller and richer, yet, lighter. He only adds mace and allspice, and I think the more typical sausage is more heavily spiced. But it has been a success – even my girlfriend, who is somewhat squeamish, but will usually eat anything I urge her to, loved it. Also, loved the lamb's heart post ... been looking to get a hand on some of those.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I do love an eccles cake... I've eaten my way around the black puddings of the British Isles, and although I don't think I have had a Bury one, I generally prefer the Irish and Scottish versions.

Angry Brit said...

Being a butcher, my grandfather used to make his own black pudding which was always part of his full English. I think my mother (his daughter) is the only one in the family who likes it.

Oh, dear god! How I miss a chip butty!

matt wright said...

I am just loving your blog at the moment. Great recipe - been years since I have had black pudding (er, 15 I think..) and miss it.

Just Cook It said...

Su-Lin - Thank you very much. Was hard to capture successfully at that pre-coffee time of the day!

Columbanus - I remember reading about you own sterling efforts on the blood cake front, delighted it turned out well. If you get hold of any hearts, let me know, I'd be intrigued to hear how you get on. Thanks for stopping by.

Foodycat - You have to try one of the Bury ones. Likewise I should get hold of some of the Celtic varieties.

Angry Brit - The things you miss when you're away are so interesting but I can well imagine that a chip butty would be up there. Something so comforting about it.

Matt - Thanks so much. Likewise. Good luck trying to get hold of some black pudding. You could always make some, I suppose...