Richard McComb: Papal plum duff, father?
It’s the age-old dining conundrum: what do you give a lunch guest after a beatification?
Such a dilemma has arisen among the kitchen brigade at St Mary’s College, Oscott, who will be entertaining the Pope on Sunday.
Joe Ratzinger will have worked up a fair old appetite by the time he gets to the seminary in Sutton Coldfield in the early afternoon, having preached to several thousand at Cofton Park and sent local lad Cardinal Newman on the road to sainthood.
Then he’ll have had to put up with the sluggish Popemobile getting caught in the usual snarl-ups on Birmingham’s ring road, the local masses embarking on their traditional Sunday pilgrimage to TK Max and Wagamamas in the Bullring.
My advice to the Holy Father: stick a Ginsters in your vestments. No one will mind if you have a quick nibble.
What with all the liturgy, the blessings and the waving, God’s rottweiler will be ready to eat a horse by the time he gets to St Mary’s. Apparently, the college contacted the Holy See to check out the vagaries of the Papal palate and was told Joe would like lunch to be a traditional Brummie affair, without the fight. So they’re having roast lamb.
Roast lamb? I fear the chef is being far too conservative.
Roast lamb doesn’t come into the culinary equation for Brummie food.
A Pakistani-inspired lamb balti perhaps, or a ginger-garlic infused slow-stewed Punjabi-style dish, reflecting the city’s Asian heritage, would do the job.
But not roast lamb. That’s far too “golf club.” It’s not even the best season for lamb.
There has been some uncertainty over dessert but one of the options being considered is sticky toffee pudding.
I think that will sit far too heavily on the mortal colon and is evocative of the Lake District, not Birmingham. Despite the best efforts of the supermarket mafia to kill off orchards, there are still superb autumnal fruits to be harvested nearby in Worcestershire.
A plum duff might be too substantial but why not try a plum tarte tatin with lemongrass and star anise ice cream? (I’d like say the latter was divine inspiration but it was suggested to me by Gordon Ramsay’s former right-hand man at Maze, Jason Atherton. Bless him.)
To drink? Blue Nun, of course.