Crofting Life, Food

Ian Sparkles and the flambé.

Although we have plenty of home sourced meat, we do get venison from time to time. As neither of us have the ticket needed to sell it, we get to enjoy all the benefits or pass some on to family and friends as gifts. It also ties us over if we are between stock available in the freezer. And over time, we have developed a few recipes we enjoy with venison.

So one recent evening was no exception. With many thanks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Meat cookbook, there is a particular flambé recipe we enjoy. That’s all fine until the flambé’s flames are more then expected and end up melting the cooker hood and setting fire to the smoke extractor.

Yes, the house was evacuated while the Crofter used the fire extinguisher. All sorted. Apart from the hood now having exposed wire and still connected to the mains. But how to turn it off? The fuse was switched off for the kitchen while the local electrician, Ian, was called. Ian, the Sparkie (not Ian the Steer who recently went off to his forever home, nor Ian McQueen the Farmer who has also helped in emergencies in the past, but he does more, how do I deal with a boliatic, hormonal cow, then how to deal with a potential electrical issue). One phone call and Ian the Sparkie directed us to the exact spot, any further risk eliminated and we could now sit down and enjoy venison steaks (with no flambé sauce).

The Mini Crofter was intrigued. Not in flambé or how many minutes the steak was cooked for to make it rare, but the electrical points, and not just that, wanted to know more about Ian Sparkles. And with that, Ian the Sparkie may still exist to the wider community; but not in this house. We pass Ian Sparkles’ house on the way to nursery. Ian Sparkles has a van which can be identified from quite a distance. Ian Sparkles even came out to sort the byre so it now has proper lighting and electrics (rather then just a couple of fairy lights hooked to an extension cable). And just in time. Not in terms of an emergency but that darkness is no longer procrastinating in the afternoons, it lingers in the mornings too. But, although the cows may be disappointed in the lack of fairy lights this year, it’s replaced with the concept of Ian Sparkles.

So if anyone else in the community needs an electrician, our son can easily direct you to the one and only Ian Sparkles.

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