Real vegetarian food, served in an imaginary world...

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - JOHN COOPER CLARKE

I should now say Dr John Cooper Clarke, I suppose, because of his honorary doctorate, awarded in 2013. His work is now also found on English curricula.

His poem Pies provided Zelda with the inspiration for the meal we would have if he came to dinner.

Firstly, the poem:


N.B. I couldn’t find this poem on line at all so I hope it’s ok that I’ve transposed it from a live performance, as it’s not for profit , and especially as we paid to see him at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, when he was late and lots of people had gone home. We almost did, too but Dave, of course, needed to go to the toilet first and when he came out he bumped into The Man Himself and, unable to contain his excitement, shouted “It’s Johnny”, causing all the others who had migrated to the bar (or the toilets) to come back into the audience.

A homely girl named Anne
Just couldn’t get a man
Her mother told her
“Darlin’ don’t you cry.
You’ll knock ‘em down like skittles
With some farinaceous vitals
You’ll always get a guy with a pie.”

Butter, sugar, flour,
Keeps ‘em in your power
When physical attractions run awry;
Start rolling out the dough
And he’ll never let you go
Yes you’ll always get a guy with a pie.

When rules of engagement don’t apply,
And your best meals fail to catch his eye,
Bring on the custard
And he’ll be keen as mustard
Yes, you’ll always get a guy with a pie.

When a man finds a mate
He can gain a little weight
Yes, I’ve been there and I can testify;
I used to be a rake, then she began to bake
Yes, you’ll always get a guy with a pie

Guys ain’t complex
They soon get sick of sex
Yet still they all got needs to gratify
Savoury or sweet
A bloke’s got to eat
And you’ll always get a guy with a pie.

What else you gonna do
With that left-over stew
And those cuts of meat you can’t identify?
Ingredients of this sort
Just taste better under shortcrust
You’ll always get a guy with a…
I spy with my little eye
Something beginning with…oh aye
You’ll always get a guy with a pie.

And now, the recipe for a very simple pie….
1 sheet ready-made puff pastry, defrosted if frozen
160g pack marinated tofu
142g tin button mushrooms, drained and rinsed
1 onions, peeled and chopped 
2tbsp mixed herbs
300ml/ ½ pt vegetable stock
2tbspBisto gravy granules
1tbsp olive oil
4 slabs plain chocolate

Note : you can use veggie burgers which look like beef burgers, chopped into pieces. I find that the marinated tofu has a better size and texture. The gravy gives it the meaty taste and the tofu sucks it up.
Tinned mushrooms might also seem a surprising addition but - trust me - they work.

Heat oil in a pan and gently fry the onion until it begins to soften.
Add the tofu and cook until both are golden.
Pour in 100ml of stock and stir until it begins to be absorbed. 
Add 1tbsp of Bisto granules to thicken. Repeat with rest of stock, adding granules each time until you have a lovely thick gravy.
Add mushrooms and mixed herbs and chocolate. Simmer for about ten minutes, then allow to cool.
Place in a pie dish.
Cover with the pastry; slashing with a knife, making a hole in the middle and crimping the edges.
Coat with a little milk. Cook at about 220C/ 425F/ Gas 7-8 for about half an hour until the pastry is risen and golden.

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