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Harry Weir and Brian Clarke

Weeping Oysters

This oyster recipe is inspired by Lewis Carroll's poem 'The Walrus and The Carpenter'



  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 350ml full fat milk
  • 100g strong cheddar, grated
  • 12 oysters, shucked

For the salad

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon mild grain mustard
  • 25g dried seaweed mix
  • ½ cucumber, sliced into ribbons

For the squid ink soda bread

  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 375g plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 4 squid ink sachets



  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. For the soda bread, sift the flour,
    bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk, followed by the squid ink.
    Knead the dough for one minute until the ink is incorporated. Do not overwork
    the dough.
  3. Form into a round shape. Dip a knife in water and score the surface of the
    bread into a cross. Dust a baking tray with plain flour and place the dough on top.
    Bake fro 35-40 minutes or until the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped on
    the bottom.
  4. For the oysters, preheat the grill to high. Melt the butter over a medium heat.
    Whisk in the flour and cayenne pepper until a smooth paste forms.
  5. Whisk in the milk, a little at a time until it is fully incorporated into the mixture.
    You should have a smooth, thick white sauce. Stir in the grated cheese and
    season to taste.
  6. Arrange the shucked oysters on a layer of scrunched up foil (this will hold them
    in place) and spoon over the sauce. Grill for four to five minutes until the sauce
    starts to bubble and crisp.
  7. For the salad, whisk together the oil, cider vinegar, honey and mustard.
    Rehydrate the seaweed salad mix in water, then drain. Combine with the
    dressing and the ribbons of cucumber.
  8. To serve, tear off chunks off the soda bread and serve with the hot oysters and
    the salad.

TIP: Look for seaweed salad and squid ink in Asian supermarkets.