Mutton Pie on a Sunny Sunday

6.43pm, Sunday 12th September, Covent Garden, London, England, UK
I was right this morning. London turned out a blinder of an end of summer Sunday. We’re in Covent Garden today – and just being around the old market buildings takes me back to all that “My Fair Lady” stuff between Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn. You know the story,  where the professor takes the rough diamond Covent Garden flower barrow girl and turns her into an up market lady via his special “The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly on the Plain” elocution lessons.

"Spooks" fans - recognise this?

Any rate, we’re in the thick of the theatre district and stopped in at the gastro pub Great Queen Street – which is on Great Queen Street, pretty much directly opposite The Freemasons Hall. For those of you – like me – who are big fans of the BBC TV show “Spooks”, you’ll recognise this landmark building as the home of ‘The Grid’ or the base camp for the mythical MI5 counter terrorist department, manned by unbelievably effective and attractive agents like Tom = Matthew MacFadyen and Adam = Rupert Penry Jones (that’s for you Kirsty G).

Mutton pie for two

Any rate, we’ve gone in for a meal at Great Queen Street because this not too glitzy glam gastro pub is one of the best places to head for homestyle English cooking. It was an easy choice – the Swaledale Mutton Pie and Mint Jelly  for two – that’s it in the photo with a plate of New Season’s Cannelini Beans  cooked off in viniagrette with rocket and pesto. Don’t miss the shot glass of cold set mint jelly on the side. It was a good sign when we were told that the pie would take half an hour to bake properly … and it was worth the wait. Mutton is the older lamb, and it’s a bit unfashionable, but always stronger flavours. In our pie – the lid was crisp and ungluggy, which again is a winner – the mutton pieces were falling apart, and we spotted four different veges that we could identify, all in a lovely not too thick gravy. The mint jelly melted into everything. Result: very nice  English sunny Sunday pie day.

(I know someone is going to ask “what’s the Swaledale thing mean with respect to the mutton?”,  and it turns out that the Swaledale Mutton Company is a small family owned business who supply the meat for the dish – from  the Cotswolds region  – with these black faced English mountain Swaledale breed sheep that are only field grazed. )

So we’ll be into the English leg of the adventure as of tomorrow – see ya when it’s the start of the working week.

PS Hey Sportsfans: Now that I’m following the Brentford Bees football (soccer) club  est 1889 over here in England, it looks like their fortunes have taken a lift. They won League 2 last year so got promoted to League 1 but have sat on the bottom till last week – when they knocked off top side Sheffield Wednesday. This weekend they’ve drawn with Bristol Rovers, only due to an outstanding effort from the Rovers goalkeeper. So keep your eye on the Bees! And remember, our home turf Griffin Park is the only home pitch in England with a pub at all four corners! Just for the record – The Griffin, The Princess Royal, The New Inn & The Royal Oak.

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