Monday, March 17, 2008


You may recall that in late December, Houston Steve and I set forth to recapture the glory days of the British Royal Navy with a blowout reminiscent of the sort celebrated in Patrick O’Brian’s novels: a dinner such as might have been enjoyed by Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin.

That was a majestic dinner indeed, one that whetted our appetites for Yet Another British Royal Navy Extravaganza. But this time, we set our aim on recreating the more down-to-earth Gunroom Fare, rather than the conspicuous consumption of the Captain’s Table.

Once again, the festivities took place at Houston Steve’s, where we were joined by Barry and his wife Malka. With the happy strains of “Heart of Oak,” “Spanish Ladies,” “The Roast Beef of Olde England,” and various pieces by Locatelli and Bach playing in the background, we sat down to enjoy our Gunroom Dinner.

We started off with a platter of Brie and mozzarella cheese encased in phyllo dough and deep fried, courtesy of Malka. I chose to wash this down with several glasses of Gonzáles Byass Tio Pepe fino sherry, while SWMBO stuck to a Sonoma red zinfandel.

Fried cheese in phyllo
Fried cheese in phyllo. Yum!

The main dish, courtesy of Houston Steve, was a Pickwick Pudding, named for the Dickens novel in which it appears. It’s basically a steak and kidney pudding, jacked up by the addition of oysters. Steve covered all the bases, however, providing a huge platter of Herbed Chicken as an alternative for those timid souls that might balk at eating Organ Meats.

Pickwick Pudding
Savory Pickwick Pudding.

Herbed Chicken
Herbed Chicken.

Alongside the pudding, Houston Steve served mash (mashed potatoes, a traditional accompaniment) and collard greens (the favorite of Collard People everywhere). And because this was the relatively humble fare of the Gunroom, we drank Guinness as we tucked in to our heaped advance nod to Saint Patrick, perhaps.

It was massive.

But it got even more massive, for I had prepared a notoriously Rich Dessert: the same Rum Chocolate Dessert - appropriately pudding-like in texture - that I had brought to our dinner with the Grouchy One a few weeks ago. With a pile of whipped cream alongside each slice, it was practically indecent.

A Slice of Heaven
A little slice of Heaven.

Coffee and a fine 1982 tawny Port (with which we drank the health of the King) completed the picture. Another memorable meal, one of which Captain Jack would have been proud. Burp!

Houston Steve, Barry, and Elisson
(L. to R.) Houston Steve, Barry, and Elisson.

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