One day, I asked Spousal Unit if he had any special wishes for Father's Day. Well, I got more than I bargained for ... "Pork pies, sausage rolls, Branston Pickle, scotch eggs, pasties." In other words, he was hankering for a taste of home. He had already looked on line and rejected the option - shipping was prohibitively expensive. I was determined to see what I could do!
I took my turn investigating the Web, and rapidly confirmed that shipping meat products, even within the US, is costly. The Branston Pickle, on the other hand, was in stock and reasonably priced. I ordered three (one for another Brit who lives nearby) and was pleased to see that it would arrive in plenty of time for the special day. **Branston Pickle is a jarred pickled chutney.
As most of you know, I am not the chef in this house, but I can cook when I have a recipe! So I turned to my good friend Pinterest. A sausage roll recipe was easy to locate. Check. I studied several Scotch egg renditions, and had to dismiss the idea since the most authentic versions require a deep fryer. For good reason, we don't have one. Next I researched pork pies, and chose a recipe that seemed easy enough and appealed to me based on appearance.
Pork pies are traditionally served cold, so I made them the afternoon before Father's Day. (Since Spousal Unit also does all the shopping, I am sure he had a fair idea of what I was preparing. But he has told me time and again of the deep satisfaction he experiences when he eats a meal he has not had to plan or to cook!!!) The best I could do to preserve some of the surprise? Cook the pork pies while he was working out downstairs. They were just coming out of the oven when he emerged, and so I abandoned all pretense and showed him the results. He was so excited that I couldn't resist letting him try one right then. He loved it! He noted that it tasted more like a meat pie than a pork pie, but given that a pastie is a meat pie, I was not disappointed with that.
The next morning, I gave him a gift bag, together with his Father's Day cards, and he was ecstatic to see not one but two jars of Branston Pickle. "This will go perfectly with the pork pies!" he exclaimed.
Later that afternoon, I baked the sausage rolls. To round out the meal, Spousal Unit opted for Boddington's beer. As he tucked into his plate, I knew I had a home run, based on the celebratory smacking of lips and the low mmmmmm that emanated from somewhere in his chest. And apparently, now that the pork pies were cold, they tasted much like a traditional one. "Best Father's Day ever," he declared. "Can I have the recipes?" he asked. That's when I knew I had it in the bag.
**Please note that my comments will be slightly delayed this week due to an overnight camping trip.