Ah, Mr Hedgehog, the short-legged, spiny-coated, insectivorous mammal that’s cute as a button, capable of rolling himself into a ball and the most welcome of garden visitors. Affectionately known as hedgies, quills, the suburban sea urchin (I just made that one up) and, in Yorkshire, the prickly backed urchin, this nocturnal forager is a firm favourite in back yards and rural areas across the world, hence Hedgehog Day.
Now, I do love hedgehogs because they’re bloomin’ adorable, snuffling about for beetles and the occasional dropped chunk of Mars Bar, but I’d like to quickly talk about a Yorkshire beer that takes its name from the hog of the hedge, and that is Great Newsome Brewery’s ‘Pricky Back Otchan’.
As the brewery’s website explains, Pricky Back Otchan is ‘a hoppy amber bitter… [with] a subtle aroma, of which citrus is noticeable’. Oof, makes you thirsty, doesn’t it? I’d love a drop of the stuff right now, and as luck would have it I have a few bottles in the house, how appropriate! But such a delicious ale isn’t just for supping, it can be used for cooking too, so what better way to celebrate today’s occasion than by stir frying one of the little blighters in the very tipple that shares its nickname? Oh yes, succulent hedgehog meat in a bap with a splash of brown sauce, just what this carnivorous admirer of woodland creatures needs after a hard day at work.
Alright, alright, before you go calling the RSPCA or PETA let me assure you that I’m joking – I’m cooking up a little beef and potatoes. Had you going though, right? I’ll make sure to hug a hedgehog to make up for my cruelty; I just need to find the antiseptic and Elastoplast first.