28 October 2013

Game....? Boys

"On the first day of Christmas 
my true love gave to me 
a partridge in a pear tree"
English Carol thought to be of French origin first published in England in 1780 

As the song would seem to gleefully and repetitiously suggest one of the tastiest game birds is undoubtedly partridge but thankfully we don't have to wait until the twelve days of Christmas to cook and enjoy it. We are currently right in the middle of the game season and a few days ago we featured pheasant where we also detailed this type of "pot roasting".

Having attempted to oven roast game on numerous occasions in the past and failing miserably to achieve the optimum goal of a tender, moist and succulent meat we think this cooking method successfully ensures the best balance of the finished product.
Here the accompanying jus we suggest is slightly sweet, rich and fruity and is the perfect partner for the gamy taste of the fowl.


2 Oven ready partridges
1 Carrot chopped
2 Sticks celery chopped
1 Small onion chopped
3 Cloves Garlic chopped
2 Tsps Chilli paste
2 Bay leaves
1 Sprig rosemary
Olive oil
300 mls White wine


2 Tbsps black current jam
Dash Worcester Sauce
Dash Tobasco
Juice of one orange
Tsp sugar


Check the fowl for shot and remove. Pour a little olive oil and a melt a knob of butter in a small casserole dish (one which will accommodate the birds snugly). Brown off the birds all round (this will be the only chance to give them a pleasing golden colour). Remove and set aside. Place the onion and garlic in the dish and gently cook for a few minutes before adding the remainder of the vegetables and the chilli paste. Cook for a further few minutes then sit the birds on top of the vegetables and pour the wine into the dish. It should come to well up the sides of the birds ( the snug fit should make this easier). Cover and kick start the wet roasting by warming the wine on the hop before placing in a pre-heated oven at 200 C. Cook for about 45 to 50 minutes then remove from the oven and allow the partridges to rest for 10 - 15 minutes. Drain the juices into a pan and reduce to about about a third. Add the orange juice, butter, jam, Worcestershire sauce and Tobasco and season to taste.

To serve place a spoonful of the vegetables in the centre of a large dinner plate, half each bird and arrange on top. Pour a generous amount of jus over.

Posted by incredibly fed

26 October 2013

Game Over... Fruity Pot Roasted Pheasant

So the autumn equinox has come and gone and tonight we put the clocks back - an annual ritual which well and truly heralds the advent of the winter months. One of the compensations of this time of the year however, as we witness the disappearing sun and lengthening hours of darkness is the abundance and variety of game available in our local butchers. At the moment he is offering succulent pheasant at a very reasonable price of less than £3.50 per bird. The one we cooked was ample for two people making it a very economical dish and tasty to boot!

Pot roasting the game helps to keep the breast meet from drying out whilst at the same time allowing the leg joints to become tender.


1 medium sized pheasant
1 large apple (sliced)
3 - 4 Plums
250 mls Apple or dark fruit cider
1 small red onion (chopped)
4 - 5 cms Chorizo
Sprig Rosemary
2 Bay leaves
Juice and rind of one lime
Butter / Olive oil
2 Tbsps Blackcurrant or Blackberry jam


Melt butter and olive oil in a casserole dish  season and brown the pheasant on all sides. Remove and set aside. Sautee the onion and chorizo until translucent and then add the apple and plums. Then add in the cider, rosemary, bay leaves and lime juice and rind. and put the pheasant back in. The liquid should come well up the sides of the bird. Cover and place in the oven at 180 C for about an hour. Baste occasionally. About 15 minutes before you are ready to eat remove the bird from the dish and allow to rest. Spoon in the jam and dissolve then add the cream. Strain into a sauce boat. Halve the pheasant, pour the jus over and serve with Game chips or sauteed potatoes.

Posted by incredibly fed

18 October 2013

What Baloo didn't tell Mowgli..!

"Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear 
Try to use the claw..."

Baloo 1967 

Although Rudyard Kipling's story is set in the lush Indian jungle Baloo's survival tips to Mowgli may indeed prove useful should you ever find yourself stranded and alone in inhospitable terrain.  Prickly pears are the fruits of the paddle cactus and grow in very arid locations mainly in the Americas and particularly in Mexico where they are known as 'Nopales'.
Beware though if you are tempted to try to harvest them. As Baloo cautions they are covered in nasty spines but even more treacherous are the tiny almost invisible hairs which cover the fruit and the pads which need to be burned or rubbed off. Thankfully when buying them in the market these hazards have already been removed.
We saw them recently in our local market and decided to try them out. Having eaten some raw we came to the conclusion that the best use was to make a compote similar to that made with passion fruit. It works well with vanilla ice cream or cheese cake or as a smoothie with bananas. Here we suggest an entirely diferent option though and team them up with chicken livers.


300g Chicken livers
50g Bacon lardons
2 Med sized pears peeled and sliced
1 Red onion thickly sliced
1 Clove garlic sliced
2 Tbsps Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsps Sherry Vinegar
1 Tsp Cayenne pepper
Tbsp Oil
Knob butter
Salt and pepper
1 Tsp sugar
3 Tbsps Prickly pear compote*


Melt the butter and oil in a non-stick pan and add the onion, lardons and garlic . Gently cook until the onion becomes translucent then add the pear slices, vinegar, cayenne, sugar and Worcestershire allow the liquid to reduce and add the livers. Cook gently until the livers change colour - no more than a minute. Finally add the fruit compote. Turn off the heat and season to taste. Serve with mixed leaves or pasta shells.

* You can substitute with 1 tbsp blackcurrant jam.

Posted by incredibly fed

11 October 2013

Tomato and Tamarind Chutney

The word chutney derives from Sanskrit and means "to lick" the first Indian chutneys being sweetened with honey and thus being more runny they were served as a dip rather than a condiment. Chutneys can be dated as far back as 500 BC and their ingredients are now almost limitless. Early globalisation ensued as their popularity spread along the trade routes driven first by the Romans and then much later spread through out the English speaking world via the British Empire. As new foods poured in from around the planet, the Americas in particular and sugar was substituted for honey the recipe format was adapted and expanded to include exotic ingredients such as chillies and tomatoes. In Europe the preservative qualities of sugar, vinegar and salt were quickly realised and pickling and making chutney became an invaluable and tasty means of keeping fruit and vegetables edible over the cold winter months.


1 Kg Ripe Tomatoes
500g Red onions (finely sliced)
8 Garlic cloves
1 Red Chilli chopped (inc seeds)
2 Thumbs of ginger
250g Brown sugar
150ml Red wine vinegar
5 Cardamon pods
1 Cinnamon stick
3 Bay leaves
1 Tbsp Chilli powder or flakes
5 Tbsps Tamarind Paste
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 Jam jars (sterilised)


Blend garlic and ginger to paste and chop the tomatoes into cubes and tip all ingredients into a large heavy bottomed pan and bring to a gentle simmer stirring frequently for one hour until mixture turns dark and jammy. Allow to cool and bottle and seal after a day or two. The chutney will keep well but once opened store in the fridge and use within a month.

Posted by incredibly fed

5 October 2013

Open Fruit Tart

Continuing on our dessert theme from last time, this one is easy and so versatile. Recently we served it up making use of the delicious Saturn peaches (also known as doughnut peaches)  which are so plentiful at the moment. We stoned and halved the peaches before griddling them. Equally try pineapple nectarines, plums, strawberries raspberries almost anything in fact.

1 Sheet ready made puff pastry
Fruit of choice

Creme Anglaise*
6 Egg yolks
65g Sugar
Vanilla pod
500 ml Milk

1 Passion fruit
200 ml Fresh Orange juice
4 Tbsp Sugar


Cut a piece of baking paper and place on a baking tray and then roll out the pastry. Cut around the edge about 1 cm in (not  the whole way through the pastry) and prick the centre to prevent the pastry from rising excessively. Brush the edge with milk or beaten egg to ensure a pleasing golden colouring. Place in a pre-heated oven at 180 C for about 20 minutes.

Creme anglaise - Whip the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Heat the milk and vanilla in a pan and simmer for 4 - 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and pour the milk over the egg yolks whisking continuously, Allow to cool.

* Don't tell anyone but you can cheat by using a ready made custard!  In which case whisk 300g of mascarpone with 250ml of ready made custard and a teaspoon of vanilla extract and further sweeten to taste with icing sugar.

Glaze - Half and de-seed the passion fruit add the orange juice, lemongrass and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer until mixture has reduced and is syrupy. Allow to cool.

When ready to serve spread the creme mixture over the pastry and arrange the fruit over. Brush on the passion fruit glaze.

Posted by incredibly fed