16 August 2011
Cooking With The Characters: Jude Marshall
When Jude steps into the kitchen to autograph Tommy's copy of his cookbook, he finds himself lending a hand, and discovers it's possible to tenderize a hardened heart.
This is PD Singer, taking the opportunity to visit in London. One of my stories is set here, and I thought I'd stop in to see how Tommy and Jude are doing. The pub smells good; wonder what they've cooked up tonight? Oh my goodness! Is that Tommy? I’m going to end up acting like a terrible fan girl. Control yourself, Pam!
"Hello, luv, welcome to the Good Man. I'm Tommy Bell."
"Hi!" Oh, he's cute! "Who's minding the kitchen?" Maybe Jude is cooking tonight?
"I didn't leave anything on the stove to burn, luv; the landlord does have to get about." His smile is so sweet.
"Sorry, he's filming in Spain."
"He's very photogenic." Mustn't drool over him, but every time I watch Jude Marshall Tastes I just want to run my fingers through his hair and pop tidbits in his mouth myself. Maybe Tommy thinks the same. Or does it. Stop imagining that, Pam!
Maybe Tommy's thinking about that too; he doesn't seem to be paying attention any more. I clear my throat a little, making him jump.
"Yes, he is. Sorry, luv, was drifting off there a bit. I do miss him when he's on location."
I bet he does. "Do you ever ask him to cook you some of the more bizarre dishes?"
"Oh dear no." I get the feeling Tommy would have said something much stronger if I wasn't a guest in his establishment. "He's brave or daft, I say. Lucky me, can't get scorpions to fry into the shrimp toasts from any purveyor here in London."
"This is a big city; I thought you could get just about anything?"
He cocks his head at me, letting me see the challenge in those blue eyes. "Perhaps so, I haven't inquired. Did you want one?"
"NO! I mean, no thank you." I mean, dear Lord in Heaven, I watch that show to see someone else eat strange and exotic things like that. "What does he like when he gets back?"
"Simple fare. Cleanses his palate, he says. No truffles, no fiery peppers or food that lives under stones. After a few days, he's eating anything that looks good. Or he's cooking something. He's brought home lots of ideas."
Whew, that was a safer question. Maybe I can ask Tommy something else that prompts that dreamy "thinking of Jude" look. "Do you have any of the dishes you do together on the menu tonight?"
"We do. Mmm..." Oh he's thinking of something they do together, all right. I should interrupt before he embarrasses himself in the dining area.
"Mmm?" My 'mmm' sounds a little different than his does; it's a rising note that asks him to finish the thought.
His eyes fly open again. "Ah, the Guinness-apple crumble. Special to me, that dish. It's the first Jude taught me new. Luscious. We'll have Imogen bring you some for pudding, shall we?"
"Please do." I know exactly why that dish is special, but mustn't tease him. Too much. "Isn't the show coming on soon?"
Tommy escorts me to a table with a view of the telly over the bar. "It's a repeat tonight." He glances up and the smile goes out of his voice. "Erm, one of the Thailand eppies. Are you sure?"
"Really, I want to watch." The theme song and credits are coming on. My food will be delicious and I can look at the other half of this couple, even if the episode was filmed a good year before Jude and Tommy met.
"Must run back to the kitchen now; ta, luv." Tommy leaves in a bit of a rush. Doesn't he want a glimpse of his absent lover? Then I understand. The camera is panning over Jude walking down a street crowded with vendors. One of them has a rack of spider-on-a-stick.
Jude and Tommy's Guinness-Apple Crumble
440ml (1 can) Guinness
180g (0.75c+2Tbsp) brown sugar
1Tbsp soft butter
9 tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
For the crumble topping
65g (0.33c) sugar
45g (0.33c) all purpose flour
3Tbsp rolled oats
100g (0.5c) grated Dubliner cheese or sharp cheddar (optional)
For the Caramel
Guinness cooking liquid (pour out of the baked crumble)
2 Tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 180C/350F; butter a baking dish.
Whisk together Guinness, sugar and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Put apple slices into the baking dish and pour the Guinness mixture over top. Dot the top of the apples with little pats of butter.
For the crumble:
Rub together the sugar, flour, oats, butter and a pinch of salt. Scatter over the apples and top with cheese. Bake for 60 minutes or until the cheese melts and the top is golden. Remove from the oven.
For the Caramel
Spoon off as much of the cooking liquid as possible into a saucepan. Over medium high heat reduce the liquid by half, stirring occasionally. Stir butter into the thickened liquid. Let cool slightly before serving. Note: if you skip the cheese, the cooking liquid reduces more and you may not have enough for this step. It's yummy anyway.
Jude and Tommy make this in individual oven-proof dishes dishes and reserve part of the Guinness at the beginning for the caramel. Reduce cooking time to 45 minutes for smaller dishes.
Author Info: PD Singer lives in Colorado with her slightly bemused husband, two rowdy teenage boys, and thirty pounds of cats, all of whom approach carefully when she's in a writing frenzy. She's a big believer in research, first-hand if possible, so the reader can be quite certain PD has skied down a mountain face-first, been stepped on by rodeo horses, acquired a potato burn or two, and will never, ever, write a novel that includes sky-diving.
When not writing, playing her fiddle, or skiing, she can be found with a book in hand. Her husband blesses the advent of ebooks -- they're staving off the day the house collapses from the weight of the printed page.
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