Oh dear Reader, this week has had its ups and its downs to say the least. It started with the car breaking down on the school run (homeward bound thank goodness, otherwise Primrose would have been stranded at school). The three of us ended up being towed away in the end after the breakdown chap decided that our car was indeed dead. Arriving home from the school run 4 hours after Poppy and I set off was not as planned but Primrose was thrilled as it gave her something to talk about for her ‘show and tell’! Never let a 6 year old tell you a joke about a car breaking down at a petrol station on the way home from school……it just might come true. This incident was quickly followed by losing my watch – something which wasn’t hugely expensive but was irreplaceable sentimentally as Jerry gave me the watch for my 21st birthday. I’ve spent the last few days searching everywhere for it to no avail so shall mourn its loss. The last in the series of my Margot disasters happened on my way to talk about all things game on BBC Radio Solent with Blackmoor Game when I had a tonk in Jerry’s Lanny at a set of traffic lights. They say things come in threes….let’s hope that I am covered now for any further mishap. Not sure my nerves could take anything else this week, dear Reader.
Still, onwards, and there’s nothing like Great British Game Week to warm the cockles and wet one’s appetite for some gamey goodness. So I thought I might bring you my week in game, dear Reader:
Roast Wild Mallard, marinated in sloe gin (of course!) and Plum Chazwinkle’s
Raised game pie – pie but something very traditional. Think pork pie only more gamey. This is a labour of love to cook but so worth it – a perfect Boxing Day feast, cut into thick slices and served with a deliciously spiced pickle or preserve. Great with a little snifter of something….
Pheasant terrine – a quick and easy pâté that can be whizzed up in minutes (literally) and cooked in a bain marie in the oven for an hour and a quarter. Made the day before, all it needs is some warm bread or melba toast. Two lovely additions could come in the form of quince jelly or another delicious pot from Chazwinkle’s, this time Rhubarb.
Pigeon with red wine jus – something a little special for the weekend
Game pie – smoked garlic, chunky smoked bacon lardons, a teaspoon of anchovy essence and a good couple of dollops of Beetroot Chazwinkle’s added to the pot before slow cooking really make this recipe like a huge hug and a kiss. Just the right thing for bringing cheer to someone who has given the front end of their husband’s car a bashing…..
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 leek, finely chopped
2 cloves of smoked garlic, finely chopped
150g smoked bacon lardons
500g mixed game
250ml game stock
1 tbsp of plain flour
1 tsp anchovy essence
2 tbsp of passata
2 tbsp Beetroot Chazwinkle’s
ready made puff pastry
a handful of chopped winter savoury (you could use a mixture of thyme and rosemary instead)
Add a drizzle of oil to the pan and fry leek, carrots, celery, garlic and bacon until the vegetables have softened. In a bowl, season the game with salt and pepper and add the flour, coating the game in the flour. Add the game to the pan and fry for five minutes or so, stirring to avoid too much sticking to the bottom of the pot. Spoon in the Beetroot Chazwinkle’s – this adds an earthy note and touch of sweetness to the pie. Pour in the port and cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes before adding the stock, passata and anchovy essence. Stir in the winter savoury, before popping into the slow oven. Cook at 100 degrees Centigrade for at least six hours before either turning up the heat to 180 degrees for 30 minutes or placing in the top oven for the last part of the cooking. The sauce should look rich and unctuous and the meat should be falling apart as soon as a fork touches it.
Spoon the stewy mix into a large pie dish and cover with the puff pastry top, rolled to the size of the dish leaving a little overhang to allow for shrinkage. Paint the pastry with the beaten egg and bake the pie in a hot oven (200 degrees) until the puff pastry is golden and feels crisp to the touch.
Go on dear Reader – get your game on too! I’d love to hear about your game numbers and if you fancy tuning into my little game stint on BBC Radio Solent, then do go over and listen here from 01:32.