Sunday, 25 September 2011


It's that time of year now when our eating habits are changing by following the seasons and that season being Autumn is now supplying much game including venison.
In Suffolk recently I saw accepting Fallow and Roe deer along with rabbit and much more, given this company has several game larders at their disposal, I know they are in line for an exciting time.
But having left Suffolk, I found myself once more in the Highlands of Scotland, here the Gamekeepers and Stalkers are going about their business taking out the red deer which are either of poor condition or are the troublesome stags which maybe causing a nuisance within a local village community.
Here two gamekeepers prepare their quarry of the morning (two red deer stags) for the local game dealer. (Notice the white framed gurney in the background?, this is used to lay your carcass on whilst working on it at a reasonable height and without having to resort getting down to floor level. I use a folding metallic saw-horse as you would for logging, I open the saw-horse and place two small planks of wood in the V-shaped frame, this works really well and it's portable.)
Here these two Gamekeepers were lucky enough to guide some paying guests who stalked the deer before shooting them, bringing in much needed revenue to the estate.
The head keeper ensures he cut's off and saves the stags heads as trophies for the paying clients.
The head keeper then takes care and cuts out the stags penis and hangs it along with the deer carcass for collection by the local game dealer who will cure and air dry the penis before selling it on the Chinese market. The Chinese dealers grind the penis and then supply it as a medicinal ingredient including as an aphrodisiac.
The deer carcasses are then left to hang in a chiller with their fur skins on whilst awaiting the game dealer, as this will assist in the venison from drying out too quickly.
These Gamekeepers were pleased as the local game dealer was paying £2 per kilo dead weight for the venison, this was a good and much needed return for the estate. These particular stags weighed in at approximately 90kg dead weight each.

This Christmas I've told myself to have some venison for my main meal and having seen how make their Venison Wellington with a Duxelles pate, I know where I'm getting my Christmas meal from.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Livestock Auctions

As the summers country shows come to an end for this season, then consider visiting your local livestock auction in a town near you.
 Here you can see your local farmers going about their business buying and selling livestock.
 You get to see first hand the quality of the beef animals before they enter the food chain.
 Also you may see some judging of sheep or pigs, allowing you to get up close and personal.
 Meeting the producers is enlightning, listening to how they prepare their animals for the show and sales ring.
 If you have a few hours to spare the next time you go shopping, then pop into your local livestock mart and get familiar with all that is shared in how your food is produced.
These Marts are frequent, friendly and above all Free, so go on treat yourself or your children and visit your local livestock auction.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Field Mushrooms

Autumn is now upon us and it will be soon time to forage the fields for the bountiful larder that awaits us, if you are lucky enough, you may find some field mushrooms. Here are some ideas as you see what I did with mine.
Firstly size up a pastry cutter that fits comfortably over the mushroom stalk, this method helps to use all of the mushroom and helps keep the filling on the mushroom base.

With your pastry cutter, cut out the centre of some black pudding and then place over your mushroom stalk.
Now cut a cross in the centre of a slice of chorizo sausage and place over the mushroom stalk as you did with the black pudding.

Do the same with a burger and place onto the mushroom with some added onion rings as a garnish. Here I used a beef burger with added chorizo and sweet chargrilled peppers. The centre pieces can be placed to oneside and be used later as fillings for homemade ravioli.

On this mushroom I again cut a cross in a slice of pork salami, then placed that onto the mushroom before applying a smooth pork liver pate on top.

This last mushroom I used the following, firstly the chorizo, then the black pudding with a pork and herb forcemeat on top.

Any of these filling types can then be either oven baked as they are or better still wrap them in puff pastry and cook them encroute.

I am aware these fillings are a little basic and maybe clumsy, however they are fun to make and they taste amazing.

Come on guys, allow yourself some fun and go foraging, it's free and who knows you might find some field mushrooms just like these. Do remember if in doubt about anything you find, leave it!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Olde English Sausage Recipe circa 1800

When I was recently in Germany, I found myself wandering around a flea-market in Hannover. To my surprise I came across a German cook book dated 1800 and all written in old German, why was it surprising you may ask! Well this book titled "Neues Hannoverisches Kochbuch" loosely translated as a New Cook Book of Hannover. This book had in it some interesting recipes including recipes from foreign regions including an English sausage recipe, not what I expected from a book of that time era.

Soak old stale bread in milk
1lb Almonds toasted and ground fine
1lb Sugar
Lemon zest
Caneel (translation required)
1/2lb Belly pork (ground)
12 Eggs

Mix all the ingredients together and fill your skins before poaching in half milk and half water then brown in a skillet to finish.