Wednesday 16 September 2009

Keith Floyd

RIP Keith Floyd
“A full mug is better than a half empty crystal glass”

It was announced on Tuesday morning, firstly on Twitter of all places, that Keith Floyd, one of the great characters of television cooking had died. By 1000 am Keith Floyd had become the number one trending topic on Twitter, no doubt confusing many Americans as to why a TV chef should be so well-liked and Tweeted about by the UK.

Keith Floyd had an unique style to cooking and presenting his TV shows – from barking off orders to the cameraman on how to film the shots, to drinking copious amounts of wine whilst filming the shows, Keith always raised a laugh with the audience. When you sat down to watch a Keith Floyd cookery show you knew it was going to be informative and entertaining and Keith would share his enthusiasm for the food that he cooked on that show. Sometimes not everything would work out, well cooking is like that, instead of re-shooting as some of the TV chefs would do nowadays, Keith would just bin the dish and apologise by saying that cooking does not always work out. A favourite incident occurred when he was trying to cook salt-baked fish in a Mediterranean restaurant – he overcooked the dish and then attempted to hack his way through the solid halite to the fish before giving up and consigning it to the bin. Any other chef would have made sure that bit of film ended up on the cutting room floor, with Floyd it was included in and goes to show that even with great chefs such as himself, things do not always go to plan.

Another time there was a cookery scene in the galley of a boat, off the coast of South Africa I think, the weather was a bit stormy to say the least, most of the film crew had been seasick and Keith had found a remedy for seasickness in the bottom of a bottle. What followed was one of the most hilarious pieces of television I have ever seen. It should never have worked and broke all the rules of broadcasting but turned out as a very funny piece, despite the fact that I can't even remember what he was attempting to cook! In the same series Floyd cooked ostrich in a field full of ostriches at a farm. The ostriches won when they pushed him out of the way and then ate the food!

Keith Floyd was not a great businessman, his restaurants and pub, the Maltsters Arms, all went bust, but that did not matter, his achievement was bringing himself and his love of food to the television audience. Also he actually used to eat the food he cooked on television, something that the more 'professional' TV chefs hardly ever do. When was the last time you saw Delia eat something she cooked?

The Brew Wales kitchen library contains many books by Keith Floyd, his Texas Barbecue Sauce is one of my favourite sauces for meat – I've tried making it in larger quantities but always end up using it all in a short space of time and one book even contains a recipe for “Jailhouse Chilli” using 50lbs of meat and a pan the size of a dustbin! Not tried that one yet and doubt I ever will. In fact Keith Floyd makes up most of the books in the kitchen, with the occasional book by Clement Freud (also sadly passed away this year) and Antonio Carluccio.
Thought I'd include one of his recipes here, have altered the ingredients to make them Welsh but they are the only changes.

Welsh Rarebit
8oz mature cheese such as Hafod Organic cheddar
1oz Butter
4 tablespoons beer such as Breconshire Golden Valley, drink the rest!
Salt, Anglesey Sea Salt of course
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp dry mustard
4 slices of hot buttered toast

Put the cheese, butter and beer in a small pan and melt gently over alow heat, stirring in one direction only. Add salt and pepper to taste and the mustard and mix well. Spoon over the toast and brown under a preheated hot grill, Serve Immediately.

Brew Wales will be raising a glass or two in tribute to Keith Floyd later today and no doubt will listening to the Stranglers as well.

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