So following on from the glorious post of all the wonderful things testers have made for the Vincent Price cookbook, here’s a post about when things don’t quite work out so well.  Three Keith Michell recipes, and each one of them a bit of a fail.

His lentil pâté recipe makes a huge amount of pâté.

It made a really good THWONKING sound when it came out of the tin.  But how could I ever eat it all?  There’s just me here you know!  It’s definitely not a photogenic dish.

I approached this recipe with great trepidation.  Keith is in 9 episodes of Murder, She Wrote so I need lots of recipes from him for the Murder, She Cooked cookbook.

For some co-stars this would be tricky, but Keith wrote a cookbook so it should be easy right?

Well no, because two previous recipes of his were complete fails.  First, my chum Dee attempted to make his Aduki, Rice and Sweet Corn Croquettes for my hen night and this happened…

then, my chum Pamela of the fabulous Silent London website volunteered to test his Buckwheat Burgers and her verdict is in full below because I loved it so much.  Again, the mixture was hard to form into workable units.

So what of the lentil pate?  Well yes, the recipe works.  Although on what planet this huge slab of lentils would serve four people I don’t know.  But it was TASTY.  And it’s vegan.  It was nice on crackers with a little pickle on top.

Is it good enough for the Murder, She Cooked book?  Maybe, but I’m not sure it has the requisite amount of PIZAZZZZZZZ.  If I do use it, I’ll probably suggest making half this amount and recommend pimping it up with some sage leaves in the bottom of the tin to decorate the top when it is turned out.

Meanwhile, here’s Pamela’s verdict on Keith’s Buckwheat Burgers which did make me laugh.

Keith Michell’s Buckwheat Burgers

I am so sorry but this did not go well! More Captain Beaky than Henry VIII

The words burger and macrobiotic don’t really go together do they? Even for us vegans. But Keith Michell is a keen advocate of the macrobiotic diet and it doesn’t sound too far removed from my usual lentil-and-tofu-heavy diet.

Happily, Michell doesn’t say how many people this recipe will feed, only that it should make “4 to 6 croquettes”, which means five, right? I made six. Felt pretty good about that.

I had some textural issues, partly of my own making. I did add an extra splash of water when it looked like it was going to simmer dry so when I came to make the croquettes the mixture was too loose and sloppy. I added in a little extra tahini and some breadcrumbs to compensate. I think perhaps the instruction to cover the bowl when you leave the mixture to cool is a little misguided though. To be on the safe side, I chilled the patties in the fridge before crumbing and frying them.

Crumbing and frying? Oh yes, this recipe specifies 175g of crumbs (way too much) and a little sesame oil for frying (way too little, and I mostly used sunflower because using that much sesame oil seemed madness).

I also made this recipe during lockdown and I didn’t have enough fresh parsley, so I substituted dried parsley and some fresh chives from the garden. Michell specified wholemeal breadcrumbs (he would) but I opened a packet of panko. I used the metric measures that were so kindly supplied in the recipe and was delighted to get my hands on some umeboshi “vinegar”.

Because I am vegan, and because of the aforementioned lockdown parsley situation, I served the burgers with a tahini dipping sauce with lime, ginger and garlic. No salt, no chilli as I don’t think they’re allowed in the macrobiotic world?

The recipe starts really well as frying onions in sesame oil creates a delicious smell, that made me confident I wouldn’t miss the utter absence of salt and pepper in this recipe. Hmmm … let’s just skip to the end briefly and say that whatever else is right and wrong in this recipe, it definitely needed some seasoning.

My burgers fell apart at pretty much every stage up to and including serving them. They were friable but not really fry-able. Dipping them in sauce? You’re having a laugh. I ended up with greasy, bland patties that easily fell to rubble.

Was it the recipe’s fault or mine? I am an enthusiastic but unsophisticated cook, so maybe the latter. But seasoning – can’t we at least have a little seasoning?

PAMELA!  It was definitely the recipe’s fault and not yours.  Who knows HOW Keith got his coquettes to hold together (both the ones you tested and the ones Dee tried to make) and who knows why he thought an enormous brick of lentil pate would serve four. 

Keith was definitely a better artist than a recipe developer, the illustrations he did for the cookbook are just delightful.

Here are the recipes but please do heed the warning signs above before proceeding!

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