Tuesday, 5 January 2021

There Are Not Many Foods,

that look at you when you start to eat them,

I mentioned one on the 30th December last yearAriake dumplings, above, but I totally forgot about an English dish that does just that, star gazer pie, the story goes that one winter, sometime in the 16th century, the weather was so bad that the people of Mousehole, in Cornwall, couldn’t go out to sea to fish, and were facing starvation. Luckily, a local hero stepped up to save everyone, Tom Bawcock, a local fisherman got into his boat and out into the stormy sea when no one else dared to, and he came back with a legendary catch encompassing seven types of fish (sand eels, horse mackerel, pilchards, herring, dogfish, ling, and a seventh, unknown fish). Legend has it that the entire catch was baked into a giant pie, with the fish heads poking through the crust to prove that there were fish inside, 

photograph Krista/FlickrBawcock’s feat has allegedly been celebrated every 23rd of December, at the The Ship Inn, in Mousehole, Penzance, Cornwall, for hundreds of years. The yearly celebration, known as Tom Bawcock’s Eve, draws crowds to the local inn, where a giant star gazer pie is served to patrons for free, 

the main ingredient of star gazer pie is the pilchard (sardine), but mackerel or herring is sometimes used as a substitute. Some cooks believe that any white fish will work for the filling, but the sardine heads sticking out are essential for the presentation, star gazer pie consists of a filling made from various types of fish baked with an herb mix and lemon zest. The whole thing is mixed with grated eggs, mashed potatoes and cream, and covered with a layer of Cornish pastry. The heads and tails are then stuck mouth-upwards into the pie, and the whole thing is cooked into the oven, while some people simply add the pilchard heads merely as a decoration, some cooks claim that adding the whole fish makes the stargazer pie even better, apparently, the horizontal position of the fish allows the oil it releases during cooking to drain into the pie, making it moist and more flavourful, so grab a knife and fork, and what is it you say as you tuck in? here's looking at you!

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