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Blood cake baked to perfection

We recently featured the efforts of Bryan McCarthy, head chef at the prestigious Springfort Hall in Mallow, County Cork, to make blood cake. From five pigs worth of blood, through best back fat, barley, onions, oats and a good dollop of whisky until they were settled in loaf tins. The result looked fantastic.

However as Cervantes said, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Bryan kindly sent a sample of his labours to blackpudding.org and we couldn’t wait to put it to the test.

The pudding arrived air mail on Friday and I somehow managed to resist the temptation to eat it until the Saturday when a group of friend were due to gather. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his black pudding for his friends.

It emerged soft and moist, nicely studded with jewels of fat, and it smelled wonderful. Maybe it was my imagination but it seemed to my nose that there was even more than the dollop of Powers whiskey that Bryan had promised. And none the worse for that!

The loaf shape may not be to the taste of the traditionalists but it has been made that way in some parts of Cork for a hundred years. Anyway, I’m much more concerned with how it tastes on the tongue. I nibbled a bit before I set about grilling it and promised much.

A couple of minutes each side under the grill and it turned deliciously black. The taste was spicy but subtle, earthy and with hints of sweetness. It reminded me of French-style black pudding in that it wasn’t overladen with barley or oats, so allowing the tang of the principal ingredient to come through.

I’d settled on a bottle of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout as an accompaniment and it did the trick perfectly. It was a fine beer to go with a fine pudding. By this time, I’d began to regret sharing the Springfort blood cake but at least I was rewarded by the fact that everyone else was as appreciative of it as I was.

Nice work, Bryan. Cervantes was right!

Bryan McCarthy’s latest ventures into great gastronomy can be found on his blog  http://www.newfoodie2012.blogspot.com/

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