There was a time when bringing someone back to your humble abode it was hard to convince them of the explanation for the bucket of what appeared to be animal entrails soaking quietly in the corner of your room. Whatever I said though, they just didn’t believe me. Since those dark days, the popularity of the St John’s restaurant and it’s slogan ‘ A Kind Of British Cooking’ has spread beyond Jack The Ripper’s old stomping ground and this is Fergus Henderson’s East End restaurant’s second cookery book. These days I can reply, truthfully, that I’m preparing Ox Tongue and it needs to soak in brine for fourteen days before being used for the delicious chicken and ox tongue pie recipe. Unlike in years gone by, when people would hastily make scrambled excuses before leaving to never return, today, they’re more likely to reply, “Really? Can I stay for tea?” Even if tea won’t be ready for another ten days. It’s not just ox tongue, squirrel, a gratin of tripe and a whole pig’s head though, St Johns are equally revered for their regard of none-meat form and their lentils with goat’s cheese curd remain a personal favourite of mine. That said I have on more than one occasion spent my last ten pounds in this same restaurant on a bacon sandwich (the recipe for the mystery tomato sauce still not revealed, book 3?) and a coffee, and, by that evening I didn’t regret it. In fact I was richer for it.
Beyond Nose to Tail: A Kind of British Cooking: Part II: Fegus Henderson