I've just read an article in The London Times about a new edition of the classic board game, Cluedo (or Clue to my American readers). I trust that many of you will have spent many happy and instructive hours of your youth playing this slightly ridiculous game, invented in England by a certain Anthony E. Pratt in 1949. How can we forget the vampy Miss Scarlett, that sinister old codger, the Rev. Green; the Library, the Lead Piping, the Conservatory, the Revolver, the Billiard Room or the slightly scary Mrs Peacock?
Well, I've got some really depressing news for you: the thrusting young execs of the American games company, Hasbro, have taken over good old Waddington's and have revamped the game to what they consider to be modern taste: Colonel Mustard is now "Jack Mustard, the ex-professional footballer", Professor Plum is now "Victor Plum, a celebrity internet millionaire", the Ballroom is now the Spa, the Hall is now a Home Cinema, the lead piping is now a baseball bat. The evocative 1940's film-noir graphics have been given a naff computer game style makeover. Is nothing sacred any more? It's just not cricket.
From a commercial point of view, I'm not convinced that Hasbro have done a sensible thing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it; tamper with the classics at your peril. It's the same with food. Often, you'll find some young new turk who thinks that he can improve upon a classic dish by giving it a twist. Gary Rhodes tried this with his "New British Classics". Sometimes it worked, quite often it didn't.
Here's a recipe for Braised Red Cabbage. It's a classic British dish. It is is what it is. No extra squeezes of orange juice to give it "added lift". But it's more than just cabbage- there are other ingredients in there as well, and the dish has a tangy, piquant flavour which is addictive. It's also suitable for this time of the year.
Take a red cabbage, slice it in two and take out the core (that's the hard bit in the middle). Cut up the cabbage into thin slices.
Next, slice up some apples in the same way, removing the cores. Put them in a casserole dish with the cabbage, and some diced streaky bacon.
In a separate pan heat up a generous dash of port, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and two tablespoons of caster sugar. Bring to the boil, and then simmer gently for a few minutes.
Pour the liquid over the cabbage, bacon and apples, and season well with salt and pepper. Shove the dish (with the lid on) into a medium oven and cook for an hour or so.