Town mouse on Heston Blumenthal

Did you ask him about the Scotch eggs?’ I should have been prepared for son William’s question. The essence of a good Scotch egg if I may be permitted what some might consider an oxymoron is to keep the yolk runny. Before being encased in sausage meat and deep fried, the eggs must be shown the boiling water for no longer than is necessary to set the albumen.

But then, the things have to be peeled. William followed a recipe by Heston Blumethal. He got a result; we weren’t sure, however, that it would have been served at The Fat Duck. Although Scotch eggs bulked large during the summer, I’d forgotten about them when meeting Mr Blumenthal at Dinner (the name of his new London restaurant; in fact, I was there for lunch).

The inspiration for Dinner is, splendidly, the British culinary tradition, each dish being derived from an historic recipe. My starter, shreds of oxtail in a saffron risotto, dated from around 1390, the time of The Canterbury Tales. I’m not sure that Mr Blumenthal, in his chef’s whites, has much in common with Chaucer’s Cook, troubled by a ‘mormal’, or oozing sore, on his shin.

The Cook could boil chickens with marrowbones, roast, boil, broil and fry, as well as make ‘blancmanger… with the beste’, but he might have struggled with a Scotch egg.