Broken Yolk

Broken Yolk
Play with your Food!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Gutter Pigeon

The Dead Pigeon - I called him Jerry

Me being my usual graceful self
I’ve managed to live off less than £1 a day in Nepal. But in London it’s difficult to live under  £10 without a trip to Tesco’s with a hoodie, sticky fingers, and an underdog attitude.  Think of it as Tesco’s paying you back for every piece of non-meat they managed to trick you into buying with a ‘half off ‘sign. But for those of you with a more dogmatic sense of morality, I suggest taking a page out of the hippie book and forage. I’d already dabbled in freeganism by picking up some tea and a couple of pans in my building’s basement’s bin. But foraging is another matter entirely. A whole day of dogged mushroom hunting for a couple of mouthfuls would hardly sustain me. I’d have to start nicking booze from work as solitude for being broke by the end of the month. But such a liquid diet would probably result in a misguided trip to the kebab van, crying in pleasure over some greasy chips. The other problem with foraging is people’s intolerance of hunger. No one seems to understand when you patiently explain that the vegetables in their allotment are keeping you alive. They’d rather you sold your soul and shopped at Tesco’s. Well may all my crimes be entombed in the Nation’s CCTV cameras forever; maybe I’ll be the next Emily Pankhurst. Getting trampled under a horse is looking more and more likely nowadays with the mounted Polices’ gung-ho attitude. At least I’ve seen some of the greener bits of London and had some fun times in the dark with flashlights and a twilight euphoria. And come home to whip up some nettle soup with homemade bread, satisfied is an almost D.H Lawrence-eqsue way. 

Then one day there was a pigeon. I found it lying in the gutter, stone dead and instantly repulsive. I wondered whether it had found its fate in the massive Trafalgar square pigeon coup. I could have just left it there for the foxes, it was East London after all, but I decided to give the foxes more of a treat. I wanted to use a little Masterchef magic to transform an unsightly remnant of progress, a dead carcass on the roadside of society, into something fit for a fox. It was a spur of the moment decision, I’m not sure I can justify it more than that.
Me jumping a fence into an allotment

So, a few fence hops and some train dodging later, I had found some nettles by the tracks and dug up a couple of muddy beetroots. I stumbled across a walnut tree on the edge of Hyde 
Park and snuck into Tesco’s to harvest some rice. I was ready to… well pluck the pigeon (I actually got a mate to do it) then it just takes 13 minutes in a 180 oven, liberal salt and pepper, and some nettle stewing before I’d managed to make this feast of pigeon, probably good enough for Henry VIII, but simply primitive in our modern world of processed sludge and thousands of fats.

Mmm Nettles yum!
Foraging Nettles has never been easier.

Roast Pigeon and Beetroot Sarnie with Nettle & Walnut Risotto

Better than Pigeon Pie

This is my priceless meal. It costs nothing, just some time and cojones.

Then, as piéce de résistance, I put the plate down in front of a Pub in Barbican, slunk back into the shadows and waited to see what would enjoy my pigeon-feast.

Some nibbled bits (probably by other Pigeons)
Something's definitely been tucking in now

All that remains

And then something slickly slid out of the shadows to finish off the meal...

The only photo I managed to get of the elusive creature. I hope it enjoyed the meal!


  1. I was intrigued yet fearful you might actually attempt to eat it! It sure looked good though.

  2. Would this actually be good? like if I bought a pigeon.
    What's the recipe?

  3. Brilliant story! I will never look at city pigeons in the same way :-)

  4. Hahaha, looks like your potential culinary travel program could be extremely low-budget :-)