F. E. Smith by Sir Leslie Ward “Spy”, for Vanity Fair, 1906
It’s probably never occurred to you that you can make your very own Gentlemans’ Relish (aka Patum Peperium), but indeed you can- or at least something that tastes pretty similar. Gentleman’s Relish was invented in 1828 by John Osborn. Not that you need reminding, but it’s a savoury anchovy paste with a strong, salty, slightly fishy taste. Bags of umami. Elsenham Foods still make the original version, which contains a secret ingredient, apparently known to only one employee.
The Daily Telegraph gave a recipe last week: 400g butter, 200g anchovies, a heaped teaspoon of cayenne and thyme leaves are whizzed up in your magimix, and then spooned out into little kilner jars. Brilliant idea if you’re looking for a charming, inexpensive Christmas present.
And here’s a recipe from Hawksmoor Restaurant: Whizz up: 125g tinned anchovies, 250g unsalted butter, pinch of cayenne, pinch ground nutmeg, pinch black pepper, pinch ground cinammon, 25ml fresh lemon juice, 25ml Worcestershire Sauce, 25ml water (optional).
Excellent spread on hot toast, mixed into scrambled eggs or topping off a steak. It will keep for a few days in your ‘fridge and freezes well. If you roll it up, sausage-like, before freezing, you’ll be able to slice off a round to have with your steak.