A sunny day and game stock

The sun has been shining now for three whole days and that means it ain’t rained, this must be the first dry spell in this part of the county for the best part of twenty years (well it feels like twenty years), its still cold but it’s great to see the sunshine again. It’s funny how the world seems different when the sun is shining, you tend to notice thing which you obviously miss when it’s raining. I think spring is just around the corner.

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My mate Steve at the Peli has just had a delivery of tea and my order of Assam came as well, yippee! I’ve been out of this lushes tasting tea for a while now and really missed it. Good old Steve.

I had my pals, Ed and Eamon over for an end of season dinner last weekend (son of Angry Cook was there as well), we had copious amounts of cocktails as you’d expect and started with my duck pâté followed by peasant Grenoble with some very nice French wines, Eamon brought the cheese board, which was delicious, and a very nice (too nice) bottle of sloe brandy he’d made (we all paid for that the following day I can tell you) anyway we all had a great night.
I decided to make some game stock from the carcasses of the pheasants (waste not etc), this is a bit like the beef stock I did in an earlier post but it has slightly different ingredients and has to be reduced a bit further, anyway here it is:-

Roughly chop up an onion, a carrot and a stick of celery and put it into a large pot (5 litre or so) put in, in my case 2 pheasant carcasses into the pot with plenty of herbs (bouquet garni), 12 black pepper corns, 3 bay leaves, a good squeeze of tomato puree and some salt (not to much as you are going to reduce this greatly).

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I should mention at this juncture that, shock horror, I found I didn’t have any parsley so a quick phone call to my mate Huw (he’s a great cook and I know he’d have some) down the road who was on the door step within minutes baring gifts of parsley and some freshly picked Bay from his own tree, we had a quick espresso and a chinwag at which point he had his recall orders. Cheers mate I owe you one.

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Right then back to the plot (pot), fill the pot with about 4 litres of water and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently until reduced by half, at this point strain off all the solids and continue simmering. I added half a ground nutmeg at this stage, you can add other spices if you want ie allspice, cloves, cinnamon etc. but be careful of the quantity as you are going to reduce further.

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Continue to simmer until you are left with about a litre (a quarter of what you started with), strain this into another bowl, skim off all the fat from the surface, this is very important, adjust the seasoning and pour into containers for freezing. It looks and smells gorgeous.

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You can use this for making Demi glacé, gravy, soup or as a stock for casseroles.

By the way I’m still using the bay leaves I dried from last summer and I use loads.

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A funny old day

As I approached a roundabout in the middle lane and indicating to go right (third exit), a young girl in a jelly mould car was on my inside. As I entered the roundabout the girl inside cut me up and moved to my outside (whist indicating left) as I was turning left (indicating left) off the roundabout the girl cut me up again and turned left, I honked my horn and she gave me the finger. Unfortunately for her, she hadn’t noticed the police car she also cut up on my inside, he pulled her over about 100m further on, I can only hope he threw the book at the bitch.

I was just about to go in to Waitrose when who should pull up alongside me but my mate Nick. This was fortuitous as my next port of call was going to be him anyway, I gave him his empty egg carton (perfect recycling eh) and asked if there were any eggs at the house, he said yes so off I went. Well take a look at the photos, the chickens that laid these were either massive or walking around with tears running down the side of their beaks.

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You can’t even close the box

I’ve made a Duck pâté for the weekend, unfortunately I didn’t take any photos so I’m not posting it up. Oh well I’ll just have to make it again sometime so you’ll be able to see what I did.
Cheers for now.

Season’s end

It’s that time of the year yet again, the end of the shooting season and what a season it’s been. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a wetter one, I’ve been soaked more times this season than in the passed ten altogether, the things you endure for your sport.
The last few shooting days have been good for ducks and woodcock but poor for pheasants, they don’t like the rain.
I drove down to Devon last Friday, the very last day of the season, I counted at least twenty dead pheasants on the side of the road, all road kill. I think it’s ironic that they managed to escape the guns all year only to get run down by a car on the last day.
The Saturday before the season’s end was Beaters Day, this is always entertaining as it gives the Guns a chance to be a bit smug but also gave the Beaters a good day as without them we wouldn’t have the sport we have and it’s really important to show our gratitude for their efforts, they had a really good day and shot well. I was complimented by many of the Guns and Beaters about how well Millie worked, she was magnificent and really deserved the praise.

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As I said earlier I went down to one of the most magical places in the world, The Duke of York in Iddesleigh. If you’ve never been here you don’t know what you’re missing, this must be the closest place to heaven on earth, try it, you know you want too.

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I cooked a Chicken Chasseur with a difference the other day, I used Vermouth instead of wine, this was suggested to me by an Italian lady.
Melt 25g of unsalted butter in a heavy casserole and fry 1kg of chicken pieces until well browned (I used thighs) remove and keep warm. Chop up 4 or 5 shallots and peel but leave whole about 10 small onions (pickling type) and fry it all in the same butter/chicken juice for 5 mins, when they are just beginning to brown at the edges add a glass of dry vermouth (about 150ml) and flame off. When the flames have died put the chicken back in with a bouquet garni, bay leaf, a pinch of ground nutmeg, a tin of chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper and gently simmer covered for about 1 1/2 hours.

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When the dish is cooked add 200g of small button mushrooms for the last 10 mins or so, sprinkle some chopped parsley over and serve. I had fine beans as an accompaniment together with a petit Parisienne, enjoy.

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Guess what, on our last shooting day, the transitional walk up, we went down to the Peli for our last shoot lunch and the Hunt turned up.

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I really must compliment Steve for organising a fantastic lunch at short notice.