Today heralds the fifteenth annual Pantomime Evening in Pinner, second only to Pinner Fair in the local calendar, but much preferred by many.
I was looking back at photographs of previous evenings, with some of the absurd costumes that we have worn, including Captain Hook, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and the Ugly Sisters.
My favourite memory, I think, is that of Bob Holness, helping us with the synchronised switching on of the Christmas lights, at the very first event in 1993.
I have to say though, that the Pantomime Evening is much better organised now than in those early years, so a big thank you to all those on the committee.
We at Friends will be taking part as usual, with the lamb roast on the spit, mulled wine in plenty, and myself and team dressed as... you will have to wait and see!
So now the link. Well, I see little point in giving you a recipe for roasting a whole lamb, nor for the mulled wine (anybody wanting these can always email me).
So, as we are in the throes of a very chilly winter, I've pulled this little dish out of the hat.
It's very popular on our menu, can be made in advance, and provides a very tasty, heart warming experience.
Wild rabbit with white beans & black pudding
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
* 2 wild rabbits, jointed
* 50g chopped onions
* 50g celery
* 50g carrot
* 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 cans of canellini beans (we use dried beans, soaked overnight, but tinned are a good substitute and much quicker!)
* 300ml dry cider
* 300ml chicken stock
* olive oil
* 12 slices of good black pudding
Method 1) Season the rabbit joints lightly and fry them in the olive oil. Remove and place them in an oven proof dish.
2) Fry the vegetables in the same pan, until lightly golden, then add them, together with herbs, to the rabbit.
3) Tip off the excess oil, and add the cider and stock to the pan.
4) Reduce by half, stirring to incorporate the sediment.
5) Strain over the rabbit, cover with a lid and cook for one hour in a moderate oven, 180ºC/gas mark 4.
6) When the rabbit is just cooked, remove and place into a clean pan and keep warm.
7) Add the drained beans, and strain the cooking liquid over the rabbit.
8) Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the rabbit is almost falling off the bone.
9) Fry the black pudding in the remaining oil, and add to the pot, shaking it gently into the mix.
10) Season to taste and serve when ready, with mash or boiled potatoes. (Can also be reheated and served later).