Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Long Egg-speriment

This post is about Gala Pies and Long Eggs. If you don't know what either of these, I will now elucidate. A Gala Pie is a long version of a pork pie, typically baked in a bread tin and about the size, shape and weight as a brick. But far more tasty, unless of course, you're a troll. Gala Pies have a boiled egg running through the centre and are designed to be served in slices. Magically*, no matter where you cut the pie, you always get the full amount of egg yolk and egg white.

This is where the Long Egg comes in. Long hens became extinct aeons ago (possibly from exhaustion during the never-ending egg-laying), so these days we have to resort to magic technology to replicate their efforts. It seems that every commercial Gala Pie-maker considers the provenance of the Long Egg to be a trade secret, but my trawling of the Interwebz came up with solutions involving tubes of different diameters and the separate poaching of the yolks and the whites.

I rummaged around the kitchen and came up with a squeezy sauce bottle that seemed to be about the right diameter for the outer tube, so I cut the top off. The inner tube was more problematic, but I found some phallic pet feeder things that were only a little too big for the inner tube (I figured that was okay - more yolk, less white - only doctors like egg white anyway) in the local Chino.

I poured my yolks into one of the blue tubes, but was unable to seal the top so I had to rig up something with toothpicks and wire to keep the tube vertical while the yolks set. When it was done, I placed the long yolk into the wider tube, poured albumen around it and popped it back into the pan until it set. Getting the complete long egg out of the tube was a bit of a disaster, however. I hadn't thought to use any lubricant, and the egg white had become quite firmly attached to the polythene. So I had to cut it out with a knife and ended up with a somewhat mis-shapen long egg.

I had my pastry, jelly and pork filling all ready, and no time (or eggs) to make another long egg, so I chucked it in and baked it.

So the egg didn't look great, but the whole pie tasted fantastic.

That was a couple of weeks ago. I made another long egg this morning, using food-grade polythene tubes that I made myself using my heat-sealer. This one seems to have turned out pretty well, so I'll make another gala pie tomorrow. Wish me luck.

*Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke, 1961

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Disingenuous Smirking - Again

Last night I went out to watch the second leg of the Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Barcelona. The pub we went to was nearly empty - I guess none of the regulars expected to have anything to celebrate, so they stayed at home with a cup of cocoa.

Personally, I was expecting a goal-fest for Barca, but it was not to be. In the absence of the loudmouthed José Mourinho (currently RM's manager, banished from the stadium for this game because of disgraceful behaviour in the previous one), Real Madrid seemed to be off the leash and able to play as much attacking footie as Barcelona let them. Indeed, they scored the first goal of the game, but the ref disallowed it for reasons that are still somewhat unclear.

Both teams plodded on in the pouring rain, and the sight of RM's sub Adeboyar literally leaping onto the backs of Barcelona players rather than attempting to play the ball in the normal manner was not a gratifying one, especially as it went unpunished (and therefore we must conclude this type of behaviour is approved of by those corrupt old bastards at FIFA).

The more I watch modern football, the less I like it. There can be moments of brilliance, sequences of passing and sometimes scoring that almost bring tears to the eyes. But more often than not, it's brutality, shameless diving and writhing, and an over-abundance of hair-gel. The fans pay huge amounts of money to watch this drivel (I could have watched last week's instalment at the Bernabéu, had I been prepared to pay €100 for a ticket with a face value of €230). The fans deserve better.

I'm rambling. The game finished at 1-1, meaning Barcelona go through to the final at Wembley against Man U on 28th May. That is not a match to miss.