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27th February 2012

Jurassic roast

Sunday dinner needn’t be your standard farmyard bovine.

When I was scabby-kneed, snot-nosed 8-year old, I would wile away the hours in the garden playing the part of the queen raptor from Jurassic park, meticulously acting out her part in the infamous “clever girl” scene. However, despite my enthusiastic performance, I had one flaw as a carnivorous predator – I was vegetarian. This wasn’t by choice, my parents had forced their animal friendly diet upon me. Little did they know of the trauma it would cause me as I watched the Bernard Matthews turkey dinosaur adverts with a tear in my eye, knowing that I could never taste those mechanically-shaped forbidden fruits.

But now I am free to choose my own gastronomic destiny and am no longer bound the chains of a meat-free lifestyle, allowing me to eat turkey dinosaurs until I gorge myself to death. But, I am also no longer 8-years old and far more serious about my food. One cannot be satisfied by mere reptilian shaped poultry, instead my appetite demands a far more sophisticated combination of gourmet sauropod.

After taking a peek round Sainsbury’s and enquiring with the shop assistants, I concluded that I was probably not going to acquire any lizard meat. So instead I would have to create my own, taking the traditional Sunday roast and transforming it into a ferocious prehistoric beast using my state of the art genetics lab (see kitchen).

Practically, the limitations of cocktail sticks meant that, structurally, creating family-favourite therapods, such as Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor, was out of the question. Instead I chose to recreate, in edible form, a member of the ceratopsia group (to which the well known Triceratops belongs), Mojoceratops, interestingly named by its discoverer as a joke after he had drunk a few too many beers.

So, with a body of beef, legs of chicken, a chipolata tail and a bacon frill the my work was complete and the behemoth was ready to thunder through a foliage of broccoli and dwarf beans. Roaring from its greasy, pork-product mouth and gazing out at the now very, very late Cretaceous with its grape eyes.

Then, before it even had a chance to realize what was happening, it was attacked by a lurking predator. Its torso sliced to pieces, its limbs torn apart, its head decapitated; all served up with some crisp roast potatoes and velvety gravy. At long last, my childhood culinary fantasy had finally been lived out, at the completely appropriate age of 23.

Soon to be extinct


1.5 – 2.5 kg joint of beef
12 chipolata sausages
4 chicken drumsticks
8 rashers of bacon
2 grapes
2 black peppercorns
lots of cocktail sticks


Crank the oven to 180ºC. Lay the beef in a roasting tray and season with a good bit of salt and black pepper. Shove it in the oven on the top shelf, it’ll take 25 minutes per 500 grams and then another 25 minutes on top of that.

In the last hour of the beef cooking, place the bovine on a lower oven shelf and cover in foil. Turn up the oven to 220ºC. Place the drumsticks in a casserole dish, sprinkle with some chili powder and drizzle with oil. Put them on the top shelf and let the skin crisp up. Once its crisp enough turn it down to 180ºC and let it cook for the rest of the hour.

Following advice from Mr. Nigel Slater, sausages are best fried, slowly, this allows them to have a wonderfully sticky skin. Whilst cooking the sausages, throw some diced onions into the pan and fry until they become sweet crystals. You can then pour in the juices from the cooked beef and add boiling water and gravy powder, leaving the sausages to finish cooking in the meaty broth.

Bacon is best grilled, giving you the delightful marriage of crisp and tender – and it should always be smoked.

Putting it together
Skewer the bacon onto the cocktail sticks (of course watching your fingers), apply the cocktail sticks in a similar fashion with the legs. The head is the trickiest part and should really be left to cocktail stick experts Finally, stick on the grapes for eyes with a peppercorn pushed into each one for the pupil.

Lloyd Henning

Lloyd Henning

Lloyd Henning is columnist and web editor for The Mancunion. He was once an olive connoisseur, he now works towards one day creating the real Jurassic Park. You can follow him on twitter @lloydhenning

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