//Views, Reviews and Previews

Views, Reviews and Previews

Art

 

Gauguin Portraits
National Gallery 

until 20th January, 2020 

 

This exhibition is much smaller than the comprehensive Gauguin-fest at Tate Modern in 2010–11. It has a number of the same paintings and far fewer great works. But it is a much better introduction to the painter. 

Perhaps too good, because Gauguin the man is very high up on the list of artist monstres sacrés. He abandoned his wife Mette Gad and their five children. He had a towering ego which made him equal in his own view—the one view which mattered—to the Son of God. He despised French colonialism while taking advantage of the opportunities it offered to have sexual relationships with a string of Polynesian girls. Inevitably the show discusses how that stands up in the post #metoo world, and argues that Gauguin’s relationship with a 13-year-old was not a matter of sexual abuse on grounds of age (island girls of that age were sexually active) but on grounds of the power relationship between coloniser and colonial. Not that we have much reliable evidence about what Gauguin got up to and none from the women involved. 

If Gauguin is a bad hat, is he a bad artist? Here the show brings out the tangled artistic and personal philosophy, which is no more convincing than many an artistic credo, and the artistic creativity which is worth real attention.

The artistic credo was heavily influenced by the Symbolistes. He etched Mallarmé and the poet presided at Gauguin’s send-off dinner before he left for Tahiti in 1891. The sunflowers in his symbolic portrait of Van Gogh—sunflowers on a chair—quote Odilon Redon, and so on. Gauguin looked to paint a spiritual reality which was more important than mere literal truth (Josef Goebbels justified Nazi teaching about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion on similar grounds).

The philosophy justified an artistic vision which was intensely personal in the sense it depended upon Gauguin’s own vision. The room of self-portraits with which the show begins is not simply narcissistic or dictated by the fact the artist doesn’t have to pay for a model when he makes a self-portrait. And it’s not just the fruit of his financial and artistic need to publicize himself in different and often heroic guises such as Christ and Buffalo Bill, nor even of the attempts to assert himself against the many people he had fallen out with (even Van Gogh, whom he admired and gained so much from, was the subject of intense competition). Gauguin’s vision was genuinely personal.

And like Lucian Freud, another portraitist with an intense personal vision, Gauguin was unflinchingly cruel and deeply part of the Tradition even as he developed his own style. Typical of the cruel vision is the 1886 Still Life with Profile of Laval. Technically it is innovative. The still life owes a lot to Cézanne, whom Gauguin revered. Laval is shown with his face side on/from the back. A clay pot mirrors Laval’s face, and is more alive than the face.

Gauguin owed to the Tradition his early Impressionist work (which he soon rejected), and his love of Courbet, Cézanne and Manet, all of whom he drew upon. He also took from the contemporary vogue for Japonisme. Japan and Cézanne explain the simplified planes, the rejection of impasto (and, of course, Van Gogh used impasto) for near invisible brushwork, the use of background symbolism, e.g. in wallpaper, to convey extra meaning, and the use of unnatural colour to create mood and subvert realist assumptions.

So, Paul Gauguin was a very sophisticated painter. Sophistication in late nineteenth-century Europe often came with the rejection of European society while, of course, living in it and benefitting from it. This set up a genuine tension in Gauguin, a man not short of tension at the best of times. He proclaimed himself a ‘savage.’ This meant that he was opposed to (French) European civilization and rejected by it. To find a true, untouched society he went to Brittany, previously the epitome of backward France. However, Brittany had already been discovered by artists, and the natives were no longer primitive, though quite happy to pretend to be so for artistic gentlemen. 

So Gauguin then went to Polynesia, to Tahiti and latterly Mo’orea, to find real primitive people, but the missionaries had got there first and the women were already covered up. Despite these disappointments, Gauguin made the best of what he found. He had the good sense to realize that he could not penetrate deeply into the local, but not primitive, Polynesian culture. And he enjoyed defending indigenous people against the local bishop. There is a mocking sculpture of the bishop on show, ironic since he and Gauguin had similar priapic tendencies. 

Much more important for Gauguin was that Tahitian culture provided him with symbols which he valued not for what they meant to the locals but as a way to perplex and mystify and entice his Parisian audience. Anthony Blanche described Charles Ryder’s Gauguinesque South American paintings as ‘charm playing tigers.’ The real Gauguin does more than that. He is not charming and his tigers are suspect, but his use of paint to construct an image is strong and personal. Gauguin the artist is the real thing.  

  Owen Higgs

 

Books

 

The Universal Christ

How a forgotten reality can change everything we see, hope for and believe

Richard Rohr

SPCK 2019 Kindle Edition £5.03 

ASIN B07NPGJ2NB 274pp

 

‘Your religion is not the church you belong to, but the cosmos you live inside’ wrote GK Chesterton, big picture Christian of the last century. Where are the big picture Christians of today with the ear not just of the church but the world? Franciscan monk Richard Rohr is one of them, though somewhat on the fringe because of his occasional sparring with church authority. Like Merton he writes with a depth that appeals beyond religion, to unhappy relativists and materialists as well as over-cerebral believers. ‘The Universal Christ’ is his magnum opus and it thrills with the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.

Like Teilhard de Chardin, Rohr builds from the first chapters of John, Ephesians, Colossians and Hebrews which point to the cosmic pre-existent Christ, to how the incarnation is anticipated at creation and how love holds everything together. ‘Christ is both the Divine Radiance at the Beginning Big Bang and the Divine Allure drawing us into a positive future. We are thus bookended in a Personal Love – coming from Love, and moving toward an ever more inclusive Love. This is the Christ Omega! (Rev. 1:6)’. The big picture for Rohr is everything and everything is Christ.

‘Without a universal story line that offers grace and caring for all of creation, Jesus is kept small, and seemingly inept. God’s care must be toward all creatures, or God ends up not being very caring at all, making things like water, trees, animals, and history itself accidental… What if we recovered this sense of God’s inherent grace as the primary generator of all life?… The evolutionists rightly want to say the universe is unfolding, while believers can rightly insist on the personal meaning of that unfolding… God has worked anonymously since the very beginning—it has always been an inside and secret sort of job. The Spirit seems to work best underground. When aboveground, humans start fighting about it.’

Such a paragraph gives inspirational taster of Fr Rohr’s new book even if betrays his his unsettling prophetic gift. It’s as if a modern day Thomas Merton spelled out his later universalism knocking religious heads together, an image Rohr actually goes beyond at one point. He speaks of Christians needing to take their heads off, let alone their glasses, and put them back on with new thinking! Such thinking owes much to Teilhard de Chardin in its appreciation of evolution as an unfolding that is both material and spiritual.

As a spiritual guide throughout his life, Richard Rohr is practised at pointing people forward from thought and prayer into action. He writes ‘Jesus was clearly more concerned with what Buddhists call ‘right action’ (‘orthopraxy’ in Christianity’) than with right saying, or even right thinking’. His book is timely in its Franciscan call to action over the spoiling of creation and, here respectful of church authority, builds from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment. A piece of art Rohr applauds is a statue of St Francis gazing down in awe at dirt on the ground. The Holy Spirit doesn’t only come from above but reaches up from the earth. 

‘I doubt if you can see the image of God (Imago Dei) in your fellow humans if you cannot first see it in rudimentary form in stones, in plants and flowers, in strange little animals, in bread and wine, and most especially cannot honour this objective divine image in yourself. It is a full-body tune-up, this spiritual journey. It really ends up being all or nothing, here and then everywhere’. When people get that ‘tune-up’, capacity to contemplate the world with love, whether they are believers or not Rohr would see them as in Christ, ‘for them, as Thomas Merton says, ‘the gate of heaven is everywhere’ because of their freedom to respect what is right in front of them – all the time.’

People are often more correct in what they affirm than what they deny. Richard Rohr has a lot that’s sound to affirm, most of all the universal love of God, even if he skirmishes with Evangelicalism and traditional Catholicism. I found ‘The Universal Christ’ a book I could commend to a thoughtful seeker friend on the grounds it both comforted and discomforted me. In provoking such dialogue between Christians it will spark important conversations with people outside church walls but, to return to Chesterton, inside the cosmos.

John Twisleton 

 

Dominion

Tom Holland

(Little, Brown; £25)

 

Tom Holland’s Dominion should be one of the books of the year. We’ve seen a number of these ‘history of Christianity’ jobs in recent years (David Bentley Hart and Diarmaid MacCulloch to name but two) and Dominion adds to that canon in some ways, but in a unique and original sense. The subtitle is ‘the making of the Western mind’ and Holland’s treatment is essentially an intellectual history of the West (predominantly European). But it’s not strictly that either as he doesn’t chart a plumb-line from Plato and Aristotle through Augustine and Aquinas to Heidegger and Schleiermacher. Far from it, as the latter two don’t get a mention. But Hitler, Himmler and Hollywood do (three cheers for the index).

It’s a fluent writer who can conclude one paragraph with a point about #MeToo and begin the next talking about Nietzsche. But this is a mind with both the common touch and a gift for arresting image. The book opens with an appetite-whetting foray into public torture. The introduction begins with crucifixion (which fittingly I began reading on Holy Cross Day) then into forms of agony inflicted by the Persian king Xerxes and his father Darius. They were keen on stakes through the flesh, and more inventive means besides. The ‘scaphe’ is not something we need go into detail here. But part of Holland’s brilliance is finding that detail, place or idea and using it to illustrate a moment (or movement) in the story. And that story is undoubtedly Christian. His point about Nietzsche is telling for us moderns. Dom Gregory Dix apparently lived with a bust of the philosopher on the basis you keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and the outrage of #MeToo is largely due to the legacy of Christian morality which roundly condemns Weinstein even if not exactly sure why.

Holland’s previous books on the ancient world and classical antiquity established his authority, and on this firm ground he is thrillingly articulate and dexterous. The first half of the book is therefore a breathtakingly immersive skirmish with a wise Virgil on the Dantean way. He diverges somewhat when we get into the post-medieval, modern periods. The debate must now surely be about what the Western mind looks like and how it is discerned, fractured and fragmented though it may be. Holland is good at joining dots and making certain connections, but is not so clear in which direction the shadow falls. His overview of how ideologies wrestle with one another is supple and broad, but almost at the expense of whether the old (Christian) West continues to enthrall modern thought, even if from the vantage of a distant past. Or if the modern hegemony of political correctness and its attendant orthodoxies (gender neutrality, thought crimes) will sweep all before it in a new victory parade — triumphal if hollow nonetheless in its vacuity and baselessness. 

There might have been something more on the Enlightenment, and a discussion of ‘modern thought’ — perhaps more on how Hobbes, Descartes, Voltaire, Montesquieu and others all remade the modern mind. How that was (or wasn’t) possible because of the Reformation, how unmentioned reactionaries such as de Maistre made a stand, and how in the 20th century the impact of two world wars, sexual liberation, technology, the Second Vatican Council have changed the landscape even further. That would have made a longer work than the 525 pages we have here, and there is much to enjoy. It’s a very, very stimulating work to blend history with theology, philosophy, geography and sociology. Most of all, he has a novelist’s eye. St Paul is described with a ‘trellis-work of scars across his back’; Nietzsche ‘despised those who clung to Christian morality, even as their knives were dripping with the blood of God’. There are further journalistic depictions of refugee camps, cocaine, joss sticks and countless other examples. Taken together it makes for an absorbing, engaging whole.

His final chapter tackles ‘woke’ culture in a manner of speaking, and his frustrations evidently show with double-speak, faddishness, and inauthenticity. (What intelligent person cannot deplore the rampant excess of superficiality and egotism we see nowadays?) It’s a fair round-up, but the final 50 pages or so dash through the 20th century with hardly a glance at how Christianity has continued to engage and in some places stem the tide on social issues. Arguments about war, capitalism, abortion and euthanasia all deserve some interplay here and instead we get a newsy survey of geopolitics. But with characteristic honesty and humility, impressively conveyed, Holland admits himself to be a believer who cannot really have faith, and yet is both formed and found in the project of the Christian West. He has done the Church a great favour in writing this. He has done himself much service too — intellectually, and perhaps spiritually. We live in an increasingly complicated world. Without minds like Holland to help us navigate back through the past, and back into the perils of the present moment, we would be infinitely poorer.

Simon Walsh 

 

Serotonin

Michel Houellebecq

Heinemann (2019), £20.00 

ISBN 978-1-78-515223-8, 309pp

 

and

 

The Madness of Crowds :

Gender, Race and Identity

Douglas Murray

Bloomsbury Continuum (2019), 

£20.00, ISBN 978-1-4729-5995-9

 

Sex and secularism, in these two titles penned, respectively, by the Associate Editor of the Spectator, and the author of Submission, Houellebecq’s provocative (2015) prophecy into the future of French politics. Note that the reader requires a relatively strong constitution to tackle Houellebecq’s most recent offering: the dust-jacket synopsis makes mention of the protagonist’s ‘return to the Normandy countryside where he used to work promoting regional cheeses, and where he had once been in love’, but omits reference to the work’s graphic scenes of bestiality and pædophilia.

Serotonin casts an uncompromising and provocative eye over much of the makeup and preoccupations of modern Western consciousness, embodied in the person of Florent-Claude Labrouste, who – we are told – ‘feels he is dying of sadness’. Labrouste lurches from ennui to melancholy, but with curiously little self-pity: the book is, as another reviewer has suggested, ‘[b]rilliant, funny and deliberately offensive’. Much has been made, as is always the case with such writing, of the light this novel casts on contemporary society – with the title itself a nod to the increasing medication of social and personal ills, to which Houellebecq pens a pæan in the final paragraphs; but my concern in this review is to point to the place which Christian religion somewhat surprisingly plays in these pages – for, facing his ode to antidepressants, the author closes Serotonin with an extraordinary, if brief, meditation on the Passion: ‘…today I understand Christ’s point of view and his repeated horror at the hardening of people’s hearts… Must I really, on top of everything, give my life for these wretches? Do I really have to be explicit on that point? / Apparently so.’ This, to me, is evidence not of Houellebecq reaching lazily for the tropes of alienation and misunderstanding, but a sign of serious engagement with the continuing relevance of the Christian narrative to human experience. The cast of characters includes passing reference to two clergymen, about one of whom the author is gently dismissive – ‘but, well, this funeral was an easy one: the mortal being who had just passed on had never neglected the sacraments and his faith had remained intact… the priest could assert with certainty, his place was now reserved by the side of the Father’; towards the other, who buries the protagonist’s parents following their suicide, Houellebecq sounds a note of exasperation on account of his pastoral accommodations – ‘I found it a bit indecent of the Catholic Church to try to recover them’ – a yearning, perhaps, for the Faith in its integrity, not in this instance to be embraced, but to observe standing undiminished in its aweful glory. Labrouste considers making a retreat to a monastery one Christmas, but ‘all the monasteries I contacted were fully booked’: again, faith seems not to have lost entirely its foothold in contemporary culture. Instead, having found room in the inn, but alone in his hotel mere streets from the family-home of a woman with whom he was once romantically involved, he reflects that he ‘had bought two whole andouilles and midnight mass would probably be shown on television, so I wasn’t too badly off.’ Funerals aside, the central character is not an habitual Mass-goer, which makes the ease with which he expresses himself in a Christian idiom all the more startling: Florent-Claude Labrouste cannot escape the thought of God.

Douglas Murray dissects the confusions and contradictions of identity politics, social justice and intersectionality with specific reference to the rights of gay people, women, people from minority ethnic backgrounds and transsexuals. The Madness of Crowds is conscientiously-researched and tightly-argued, even if at times Murray does rather indulge himself in reference to the wildest expressions of taken offence. He is keen to point out the damage done to the progress of minorities by the encouragement of victim mentalities, and speaks himself as a gay man. But, although his editors summarise this as a ‘call for free speech, shared common values and sanity in an age of mass hysteria’, the shadow of Christianity which falls over this title is the reader’s own discovery to make. Even if within it Murray writes of the Nietzschean ‘death of God… [and of a society] stuck in cycles of Christian theology with no way outguilt, sin and and shamewithout the means of redemption’, yet it is extraordinary that one of the doyens of neoconservatism should title a chapter in his book, “On Forgiveness”. Whereas The Madness of Crowds may plot the decline of (the Christian) religion as a social institution and Western tribal identity, yet the power of Christian theology has not lost its hold on Murray’s mind. He is sentimental and strident in a reference to the changing conception of motherhood (and so too to other traditional social roles and identities), quoting the American author Wendell Berry (b. 1934) who, says Murray, has ‘hit on the central truth [my emphasis]’ in describing how ‘[we] all have to be used up by somethingI gladly belong to my wife, my childrenWhat better way to be used up?’ Says Murray, ‘Is this not a better way to think about motherhood and life? In a spirit of love and forgiveness rather than the endless register of resentment and greed?’ His words resonate with those of Houellebecq at his least sensational and most sincere, and are words which speak for themselves.

Richard Norman

 

Christmas recipe books

 

The Consolation of Food

Valentine Warner

Pavilion £20 (978-1-911624-03-5)

 

Roasts

Laura Mason

National Trust £16.99 

(978-1-911358-75-6)

 

From the Oven to the Table

Diana Henry

Mitchell Beazley £25 

(978-1-78472-584-6)

 

Sardine

Simple season Provençal cooking

Alex Jackson

Pavilion £25 (978-1-911624-38-7)

 

Christmas is a time for children, they say. It’s undoubtedly a time for cooks too. Regardless of whether or not the Christmas cake and puddings have been made well in advance to mature in alcoholic comfort until the Big Day, the logistics of so much relentless feasting in such a short space of time can be daunting for even accomplished chefs. Some cookery books help to plan and take a little stress out of things; some are interesting for a different spin on old favourites; many make good gifts for someone who enjoys being in the kitchen, or looking at the lovely pictures. The following titles all offer something of that.

 

The chef Valentine Warner is something of a minor celebrity (even collaborating on gin and vodka with the Hepple Distillery) has produced a sort of memoir with recipes. Not every memory in The Consolation of Food comes with directions on how to cook a dish, and it’s a fun concept. I’m not sure I would be so moved to try out in the kitchen some of his recipes because of his own affection and description, although the whole approach underlines how food and experience, and most often in the company of other people, are very much about how we live and who we are. This curious confection will be of interest to those who enjoy ‘food adventures’ or a highly personal journey around one man’s life to date via his palate. He was only born in 1972; a gap year-generation food writer.

Diana Henry is the Sunday Telegraph’s cookery columnist and her From the Oven to the Table is a super book for anyone who enjoys, as she describes, ‘closing the oven door and swinging a tea towel over my shoulder…one of the most satisfying movements I make in the kitchen. I love the alchemy that takes place behind that door’. Certainly this book is a great testament to that activity and a Godsend to anyone who has an oven. (Even more if it’s an Aga.) Obviously roasted meats and tray bakes feature. But there are interesting suggestions too for baked potatoes, gratins, other types of vegetable treatment. Nothing is particularly complicated but the flavour combinations and ideas are brilliant. A clafoutis with tomatoes, goat’s cheese, olive and basil. Roast lamb with apples, cider and cream. Or baked beans with smoked bacon, pork belly and treacle. And no sign of the Pudding Police here with recipes for things like rhubarb with damson gin, orange and rosemary, or chocolate and red wine cake, then baked lime, passion fruit and coconut pudding. This is definitely a tome for cooks to enjoy, and a variety to delight throughout the year.

Considering it’s our national feast, and probably most ovens are engaged in this on a Sunday, how to do a roast dinner is rarely covered in cook books. The estimable Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall gave this thorough and excellent treatment in his Meat book some years ago, and the new Roasts by Laura Mason is a noble addition to the genre. Published by the National Trust, each chapter is divided by type of meat (plus one at the end on ‘Sauces, Sides & Vegetables’), and has a very thorough introduction with fascinating insight into history, types of meat, cuts, cooking methods and other useful tips. The recipes are varied with welcome proposals for what to do with leftovers (Shepherd’s Pie, rissoles, curry and so on). The chapter on game dishes is particularly straightforward, and the whole thing is attractively presented with good colour photography, clear recipes, and easy-to-follow style. Neither does it fail to get the basics right, and anyone who has experienced more than a few failures in the kitchen knows how that that can be.

As we plunge into the depths of winter, some summery flavours are welcome and Alex Jackson’s Sardine delivers that in spades. It’s a ‘book of the restaurant’ in a trendy part of London, yes, and the whole is divided into seasonal sections, all centred around the cuisine of Provence. So a Salade Niçoise recipe is very welcome, along with things like a fennel & radicchio gratin, or artichoke & bone marrow gratin. There’s also things like stuffed tomatoes or lamb ‘on a string’ and coq au vin. It’s a beautifully presented book and very interesting. In places it can get a bit cheffy, and many recipes are a little specialist in terms of ingredients and the local dishes. But this is a strong title to join classics such as those by Elizabeth David and Richard Olney on food in that corner of France.

Simon Walsh

 

(Following 3 recipes with previous text)

 

Roast Brussels Sprouts with Apple and Bacon from Oven to Table by Diana Henry

 

 serves 6 as a side dish

 

700g Brussels sprouts, any discoloured outer leaves removed, trimmed and halved

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

200g bacon lardons

1 large tart eating apple, such as Granny Smith

1 large onion, cut into fine crescent moons

1 tablespoon soft light brown sugar

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

125ml dry white wine

3 teaspoons Dijon mustard

10g unsalted butter

 

I’m cheating here, because this isn’t entirely cooked in the oven, but the brief roasting is what helps Brussels sprouts achieve their optimum potential, instead of waterlogging them in a saucepan. I ate a similar dish at Rotisserie Georgette in New York – a restaurant that specializes in roast chicken – then came straight home and made this. It’s been a regular in my house ever since, and not just at Christmas.

 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (375°F), Gas Mark 5.Lay the sprouts in a single layer in 1 or 2 roasting tins. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season and toss.
  • Roast for 20 minutes, or until the edges begin to look brown and frazzled (they can turn from frazzled to burned very quickly, so keep an eye on them). They won’t cook right through, but will finish cooking later.
  • Heat the remaining ¼ tablespoon more oil in a sauté pan and fr y the bacon lardons until golden and cooked through. Lift out with a slotted spoon.
  • Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan (fat will have rendered from the bacon). Core the apple and cut it into fine crescents, then add to the pan with the onion. Cook over a medium heat until golden and soft (though the apple shouldn’t be collapsing). It will take about 5 minutes.
  • Add the sugar, both vinegars, the wine and mustard. Return the bacon and season to taste. Toss well and cook until the wine has reduced by about half, then add the sprouts and cook until they are only just tender, but not floppy (all the juices around them should have reduced).
  • Toss in the butter, if you’re using it. Check the seasoning and serve.

 

Roast Celeriac and Sprouts with Bacon, Chestnuts and Prunes from Oven to Table by Diana Henry

 

Serves 4 as a side dish

 

600g celeriac

sea salt flakes and freshly  ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin  olive oil

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar  6 thyme sprigs

600g good-sized Brussels sprouts, any discoloured outer leaves removed, trimmed

and halved

1 large onion, cut into slim wedges

125g pancetta or bacon, cut into chunky lardons

125g cooked chestnuts

100g prunes, halved

75ml amontillado sherry

1 tablespoon maple syrup 

10g unsalted butter

 

It doesn’t have to be eaten just during the festive season, but this  dish does shout ‘CHRISTMAS’ rather loudly. You need really good-quality moist prunes, so, as you’re not shelling out for fillet  of beef or the like here, buy Agen prunes if you can.

 

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C fan, Gas Mark 6.
  • Peel the celeriac and cut it into chunks no bigger than the size of the halved  sprouts (larger chunks won’t cook through in time). Toss it in a large roasting tin with salt and pepper, half the oil and all the vinegar and thyme.
  • Roast for 20 minutes, then stir the celeriac around and add the sprouts,  onion, pancetta and the rest of the oil.
  • Roast for another 10 minutes, then add the chestnuts, prunes, sherry, maple  syrup and butter and toss the vegetables around.
  • Cook for a final 10 minutes, then serve.

 

The Italian Way of Roasting a Turkey from Roasts by Laura Mason

 

  serves 8

 

4.5kg (10lb) oven-ready turkey

30g (1oz) unsalted butter

2–3 rashers unsmoked bacon

1 large carrot, chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 small white turnip, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

2 large fresh rosemary sprigs

4–5 cloves

500ml (18fl oz) Giblet Stock  

salt

1–2 tablespoons arrowroot

 

FOR THE STUFFING

unsalted butter

about 100g (4oz) unsmoked bacon, rind removed, chopped in small pieces

about 100g (4oz) good-quality sausage meat

100g (4oz) chestnut puree

3 prunes, pitted and chopped

1 small hard pear, peeled and chopped

75ml (3fl oz) Marsala

salt and pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 180–190°C, 350–375°F, Gas mark 4–5. Move the turkey, still in the covered container, into the oven, and cook for another 45–60 minutes. Remove the foil, baste well, salt the skin and finish roasting, uncovered, for another 45 minutes. Add a little liquid if the juices look dry. When cooked, allow to rest.

Tip everything left in the tin through a sieve, catching the juices in a bowl. Press with the back of a wooden spoon to extract any liquid. Put the juices in a pan. Add about 250ml (9fl oz) stock. Finish by slaking the arrowroot with a little cold water; stir this into the gravy and reheat until just boiling and lightly thickened.

2020-02-10T13:44:53+00:00 December 2019 Articles|