Yesterday the weather wasn’t really great for walking, dark clouds in the sky, so we opted for a day hanging out in Nottingham . Off course we stopped off at Victoria Market carefully secreted at the top of a shopping mall , ignoring the fluorescent light and suspended ceilings, the market has several good butchers , fish and vegetable stalls where we stocked up on rabbit, gammon hock ,mutton.
In Victoria Market, is a Nottingham institution , the “Hot Pea” man which serves bowls of well… um … hot peas . These are mushy peas , dried marrowfat peas which are first soaked overnight in water and bicarbonate of soda, and then simmered with a little sugar and salt until they form a thick green lumpy mass.
As a confirmed Southerner, these are not something I have ever experienced , occasionally you get mushy peas with fish and chips but apparently in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and parts of Lincolnshire, they are often served as a snack on their own . In Nottinghamshire at least the traditional accompaniment seems to be lashings of thin mint sauce ( dried mint mixed with malt vinegar).
Worryingly these simple mushy peas could be at the heart of a political storm. Last year the British Food Standards Agency has asked for a voluntary ban on artificial food colourings. At present there is no alternative to tartrazine (E102), that gives a bright green colour without which the dried peas would be murky grey. For me adding artificial colours or flavourings is not really the way to go but the peas were very tasty and will be thinking of some recipes
For the full Midlands experience we also went to see ” The Damned United”, a new film about Brian Clough . Clough is a probably as massive as hot peas in Nottingham . As manager of football team Nottingham Forest he took them them
from small provincial side to First Division Champion and two consecutive European championships. They even have a statue of him in the city centre . The film however focuses on Cloughs prior experiences with football teams Derby and Leeds so Nottingham supporters might be hoping for a sequel. I really enjoyed it .
Before the film Nick even persuaded me to try some proper beer starting me off easy with some Flowers Indian Pale ale it was a revelation creamy and delicious is felt like a was drinking soe kind of citruses cream .. is this the beginning of a real ale obsession