Well it’s been a busy time over the last week or so, my pals Ed, Eamon, Lloyd, Paul and Rich were all going grouse shooting in north Yorkshire, Bingley Moore to be precise. Well it was a double gun day and Ed asked me to load for him which I did. We stayed at the Devonshire Arms near Ilkely, it was very nice, the restaurant has a Michelin one star and is suppose to be the bollocks, if the bistro is anything to go by then I reckon Michelin must have lowered their standards quite considerably. I had sirloin steak on the first night, I could have soled my shoe with it, boy it was tough and absolutely tasteless.
The shooting was good, the birds kept very low and were extremely skittish which made them very testing. The bag for the day was 101 brace.
It’s been confirmed that I have a half gun on the Priory shoot, I still can’t believe it, I keep thinking I’ll wake up and it was all a dream.
The garden is not looking good, the veg just don’t seem to be developing, the tomatoes are half the size they should be and not ripening.
The only thing that’s doing well is the Fennel and as some are ready I decided to have some for lunch today.
Fennel with bacon is a traditional French dish and is absolutely fabulous with either roast or grilled meat or with a lump of bread (we do not cut bread in this household, we break bread, grab a handful yourself).
You need four Fennel trimmed, cut into quarters and blanched for 5 mins in boiling salted water.
Chop up two onions finely and three rashers of thick cut dry cured bacon (Garry strikes again, thank you) into thick strips crosswise. Fry the onions gently in 50 grams of unsalted butter until transparent, add the bacon and brown gently (be careful not to over brown the onions and bacon as you will be adding the Fennel to slightly brown as well, if you over do the onions and bacon they will be burnt by the time the Fennel has become golden).
Cut the blanched Fennel into bite size pieces and add to the pan, you want the Fennel to be slightly golden so keep stirring to ensure nothing burns on the bottom of the pan.
Add lots of freshly ground black pepper, a small amount of salt (don’t forget that the bacon will add salt as well), a bouquet garni and half a litre of brown stock (see previous posts), bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 45 mins checking occasionally and stirring gently.
We had this with a crusty loaf and it was fantastic, enjoy.