Monday, 21 November 2011


Wild game is a rich and flavoursome meat that includes pheasant, partridge, duck, quail,
 wood pigeon and grouse.
It's packed with vitamins and minerals.....and now is the season to eat it.

If you've not tried game before, Partridge is a good first choice. It has a subtle taste and can be used to make some beautiful dishes. There are two main types of Partridge available (depending on season), the French Partridge (also referred to as Red Legged) is the most common while the English (or grey partridge) is less common but can have a better texture.

Partridge à la Crème


Young partridge
1 small chopped onion
1 cupful cream
3 drops lemon juice


Season the bird inside and out and truss.
Fry with the onion in the butter until brown.
Cook in a covered casserole in a hot oven for 10 – 15 minutes.
Mix the cream and lemon juice and pour over the bird.
Cook for a further 10 minutes, basting frequently.

For those of you who feel a little more confident cooking wild game, the following
recipe is a firm favourite of mine.

Spanish red pepper stew

Chilindron is one of my favorite dishes, and it is so versatile that it stands outside the normal categories of venison, upland birds, etc. Chilindron (chill-in-DRONE) is a Spanish stew dominated by roasted red peppers, paprika and onions. Most recipes also call for rosemary, olive oil, garlic, some tomatoes, good stock and wine. The stew originates in Aragon, a part of central Spain.

As for what meat to use, the Spanish will typically make this with lamb or chicken. Even this hints at the range this stew possesses. I have made chilindron with good results from chicken, pheasant, rabbit, beef, venison and pork. When switching from light to dark meat, switch from white to red wine, too.
Serves 8.


3 pounds chicken, pheasant, lamb, venison or rabbit, in serving pieces
2 large onions, sliced in half-moons
10 cloves chopped garlic
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon hot paprika
1 jar (15 ounces or so) or 5 roasted red sweet peppers, chopped
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 cups red or white wine
Stock if needed (chicken or beef or whatever goes with your choice of meat)
1/2 cup diced cured meat: Bacon, pancetta, ham, etc.
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Large handful of dried mushrooms (optional)


If using, put the mushrooms in a container just large enough to hold them and pour hot water over them. Cover and set aside.

Salt the meat and set aside for 10-20 minutes at room temperature. Use this time to chop the veggies.

Pat the meat dry and pour the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot that has a lid. Heat the pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides in batches. Do not overcrowd the pot. Set the meat aside in a bowl when browned. Take your time and do this right. Add more oil if needed.

When the meat is browned, add the onions and stir to bring up some of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the onions with a little salt. Cook until they begin to brown, then add the garlic, the cured meat and the mushrooms, if using. Cook until fragrant, then add the meat back to the pot and mix well.

Pour in the wine and turn the heat up to high. Stir and boil furiously until the wine is half gone. Turn the heat back down to medium and add the tomatoes, the roasted red peppers and all the spices and herbs (except the parsley). Stir well. The level of liquid should be about 2/3 the way up the sides of the meat. If it is low, add the stock. I typically need about 2 cups.

Cover and cook at a bare simmer — just barely bubbling — until done. How long is that? Depends on the meat. Rarely is any meat done within an hour, but I’d check a store-bought chicken then. I find pheasants and rabbits take about 90 minutes, boar, pork and hares about 2 hours, and venison and beef up to 3 hours or more.
Right before serving, test for salt and add some if needed. Add black pepper and the parsley and stir well. Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, polenta or bread. Simple sauteed greens are a good accompaniment. A big red wine is also a must, ideally something Spanish, like a Rioja.

Now where did I put my painting of that Bird?????

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Oyster, Brie and Champagne Soup

This is a  little gem of a restaurant, hidden amongst the back streets of Amsterdam that I came across this week. It's a barbecue restaurant that has won international recognition for its excellent atmosphere. It is this atmosphere with (famous) guests enjoying a glass of good wine or a carefully prepared cocktail which gives you the feeling of being "out" but "at home" too. The scent of charcoal and spices will perhaps persuade you to select a fine steak, award winning oysters or an appetizing lobster tale from te menu. The wonderful but delicate flavour of their famous oysters, inspired me to create this soup

A favorite among exotic foods, oysters are large shellfish loaded with many health benefits. They have rough, fluted shells that are soft and fleshy in texture, influenced by the water they come from. Sweet and sometimes salty, oysters have a unique dusky flavor. Oysters can be consumed in variety of ways such as half shelled, raw, smoked, boiled, baked, fried, roasted, stewed, canned, pickled, steamed and grilled. They are rich in various vitamins and minerals and hence, benefit the young and old.

On my childhood visits to Ireland, I lived off oysters, freshly caught by my Irish, fishing family. As I grew up I was introduced to the black stuff - Guinness- which accompanied the oysters a treat. Now it's that time of year when we all like a winter warmer - soup -  this recipe is an unusual blend and fusion of flavours that bring back all those magical, memories of the Emerald Isle

Serves 6-8

1/2 lb. unsalted butter
1/2 Cup flour
1 pint of  fish stock 
i tub of whipping cream
1 1/2 Teaspoon sweet paprika
1 1/2 lbs. Brie cheese (remove rind and cut into cubes)
2 Cups dry champagne
3 Dozen fresh oysters
1 bunch spring onions (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter over low heat, add flour and cook 3 minutes constantly whisking. Add stock and cook and whisk until flour is absorbed, about 3 to 4 minutes. Bring to boil, return to simmer for 10 minutes. Add cream, simmer 5 minutes, again whisking constantly. Add paprika and cheese. Cook and stir until melted. Add Champagne, oysters, green onions. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, stir and serve.