It goes without saying that cooking isn't always pretty. The blistered fingers, the sauce stains, the unidentifiable animal offcuts … however artful those edible nasturtiums and elegant pork shavings appear on the finished plate, you can be sure their start in life was a little less aesthetically pleasing.
Jellied eels are no exception—although, to be honest, they don't look that great on the plate, either.
But eels in spiced jelly stock is an iconic dish and one that has been eaten in London's East End for centuries. With this in mind, we asked Hoxton pie and mash shop owner Joseph Cooke to show us how he prepares the slippery little devils.
What we didn't realise, however, is quite how much blood the eel-gutting process would result in. Think Red Wedding but with sea snakes.
Of course, being the tough-as-nails East Ender that he is, Joseph pulls it (the eel head, that is) off without so much as a flinch.