James Marston: If only the MasterChef team could teach us to make Yorkshire pudding


MasterChef - Credit: PA

Isn’t time off exhausting? And how does anyone make Yorkshire pudding? I have to admit, dear readers, that Easter was quite hard work.

Not only did I play the organ at the Church of Icklingham St James, in the west of the county, where I spent my boyhood, I also chose the hymns. In the excitement of having this new-found power, I forgot to tell our vicar, Rosemary, who graciously said it didn’t matter and what a lovely choice I made anyway.

After the strife was o’er, I set about cooking a roast lunch for my family.

What an horrendous experience.

Not the actual lunch but the cooking.

How do people do it?

Timing all those things was nigh on impossible and, despite being on my feet for ages, I fear a couple of things went wrong. Indeed, I was soon wishing I was on a green hill far away. My Yorkshire puddings failed to rise – in fact, if anything, they seemed to sink. Even though I followed Mrs Beeton’s recipe – usually a failsafe when it comes to British cuisine ? we were left trying to eat what can best be described as mini pancake-style Frisbees. In the end we gave up.

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The thing is, I don’t understand it.

I’d bought free-range eggs, so I can’t blame them, and my family business made the flour, so I’m not going to blame that either.

I think there must have been a voltage drop oven-wise.

Perhaps you can drop me a line and give me some tips?

Added to which, the bread sauce (I’d done a capon) was so congealed I was tempted to use it to re-point the chimney.

At least everyone agreed that, whatever else happened, the bird was moist.

After lunch, as we filled the bird table, my mother Sue, who said she was glad to have a meal put in front of her for a change, expressed concern that the birds might get indigestion and/or fall out of the sky.

My sister Claire ? she’s the one who wants to marry a farmer ? suggested that if she’d known I was going to make so much fuss, and inedible food, she’d have booked a restaurant and perhaps I should stick to what I know ? cheese scones.

I was glad to get back to work and pay a visit to the Sue Ryder charity shop in Sudbury, where I met a friendly bunch of ladies who soon got me steaming garments with my plain–speaking-photographer-friend Lucy, who had her own Easter dramas after receiving 37 Cadbury’s Buttons Easter eggs from her partner – no word of a lie – despite being on a diet.

I’ve decided that I’m going to spend this weekend lying down in a darkened room in my Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant).

I might order a take-away.

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