Dylan Jones: How to peel testicles

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The Independent Online

Last week, I ate Tony Blair's balls. It's not a dish I have ever eaten before, and I'm not sure I'm in a hurry to eat them again - but eat Blair's balls is what I did. And you know what? I liked it. Over the past six years or so, the journalist, keen shot and countryside campaigner Johnny Scott and the chef Clarissa Dickson Wright have collaborated on both television shows and books. Their projects have resulted in them appearing at many game fairs, hunt supporters' suppers, wildfowling dinners and book signings up and down the country. And, as Scott is often predisposed to scribbling "bollocks to Blair" below his name, his TV partner eventually decided that he needed his own recipe to celebrate this particularly personal expression of rebellion.

Which is where Blair's balls come in. I was round at a friend's house last Sunday, and as he was preparing to cook roe deer testicles as a starter (he'd been out shooting and had been given them as he left), I offered to assist, and then to properly prepare and cook them.

Of course, you won't find deer balls at your local Somerfield - or even at your nearest Tesco, come to that - although ordering them from a compliant butcher shouldn't be the most difficult thing in the world.

And so, having successfully tracked down your testicles, you peel off the outer skin and strip away the excess fat until you're left with the heart of the matter; two fleshy ovals the size of duck eggs.

You then heat game stock in a pan with double cream and green peppercorns. Cook this, while cooking your balls in a separate pan. This you do by slicing them in half lengthways, and then placing them in a separate sauté or frying pan with butter. Now you tip the balls into the stock and simmer until well and truly done.

You then season them with salt and cayenne, and eat your balls on rough country bread after toasting the Countryside Alliance with a large glass of claret. Clarissa has turned down several invitations to cook at Downing Street for Mr Blair, though this can hardly be surprising. "I hope one day I may cook this [recipe] in their kitchens to celebrate his departure," she says.

And, while I enjoyed my balls (they taste rather like a cross between scallops and kidneys), I believe this is likely to be a tendresse rather than a fully fledged affair. However, I think I could be tempted to try the delicacy once again, perhaps from a different source of ingredients. Without wishing to be coarse in any way, I think the authors might like to start considering a sequel, perhaps a main dish this time.

Prescott's balls, anyone?

Dylan Jones is the editor of GQ