People keep telling me autumn is underway, and according to the weather experts in Britain’s Met Office it started on September 1st, but they just carve the year into quarters to make their statistics easier to calculate. Clinging to summer, I prefer to stick with the old astronomical calendar and by that measure, the seasons change on the 22nd. That doesn’t stop me wanting autumnal food though. Continue reading
When I decided to make a rabbit and ham terrine for Easter it made perfect sense, I thought, to use the old bunny-shaped earthenware mould I had in the cupboard. It wasn’t one of my better ideas. Continue reading
I tend to associate game with the autumn and winter months but a haunch of venison, cooked pink, is delicious at any time of the year and cherries are in season now. Continue reading
I’m reminded of that hoary old joke: ‘ “I’m game!” she said. So he shot her.’ Or the equally venerable pub sign over a low doorway: duck or grouse. I’ll be keeping my head down this week because the shooting season is in full swing and it’s British Game Week to boot.
Some people are wary of game, expecting it to taste ‘high’. Back in my parents’ generation, pheasants weren’t considered to be ready for the kitchen until they’d been hung for so long you could pull out their tail feathers.
But times have changed and most people now choose to mature game for shorter periods, although like any meat, it still needs to hang to improve the flavour and texture. Think of dry-aged beef. Come on, even turkey started out as a game bird. Game is low in cholesterol and high in protein. And if you’re still not convinced, remember there are lots of different sorts to try. I think there’s something for everyone.
Partridge and pheasant are actually quite delicate meats. Wild rabbit has more flavour than farmed rabbit but it’s certainly not going to bite you back. Venison from, say, red deer will be much stronger in taste than the meat of a muntjac, which is my personal favourite. I’ll fight you for that fillet if I meet you at the game dealer’s.
Below are links to a dozen game dishes I’ve cooked over the last few years. Go on, give one a go this week. I’m game if you are.
Pearl barley is something I always have in the cupboard but rarely use. It’ll be making regular appearances from now on because I loved the taste and texture in this salad.
The recipe is based on one in the Moro cookbook but as I live so far from the shops I had to improvise based on what I had to hand. The original is made with sirloin steak and grapes. I used venison fillet and citrus fruit. Continue reading
Our friend Robin, somewhat to her horror, inspired this dish when she posted a picture of a fluffy, endearing Easter Bunny on Facebook. Continue reading
I’ve given up smoking cigarettes. I seem to have started smoking everything else in sight. No, Officer, nothing illegal here, that’s just a side of salmon/slab of bacon/hunk of cheese. Regular readers will know we’ve finally got the cold smoker up and running but this week I’ve been hot smoking game. Continue reading
If regular readers wonder why I make so many game recipes at this time of the year, the answer is that living as we do in the Suffolk countryside, we have a number of generous friends who keep us supplied with pheasants, partridges, rabbits, pigeons and even venison. I like game and I’ve never been one to turn down free food, so it finds its way onto our plates on a regular basis.
Recently our friend James turned up with a brace of wild ducks. Continue reading
A classic country recipe, it can be made from any mix of game – try venison, pheasant, partridge, pigeon or rabbit. If you’re short on game you can bulk it out with some stewing beef. Continue reading
This makes an impressive starter for a supper party, served with home-made quince jelly or spiced pears and a few elegantly-arranged salad leaves, but it’s equally good for lunch with hunks of country bread, cornichons and a big crunchy salad. Continue reading