Category: Food and Drink
Fear not – Mark Gilchrist of Game for Everything has come to our rescue with three simple recipes; so simple in fact that even Lucy (who is no Nigella) managed to pull them off!
On the menu we have:
- Roe Deer Carpaccio
- Pan Fried Wood Pigeon with Beetroot Gratin
- Chocolate Pots
Apart from pan frying the wood pigeon, everything can be done in advance, leaving you with plenty of time to relax with your date!
Roe deer carpaccio
This is very easy to do and extremely tasty. Our muddiest members may well have shot the roe deer themselves but, if that’s not your cup of tea, you could also ask your local butcher for some roe deer strip loin (sometimes called fillet).
- 150g roe deer strip loin (or fillet)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- rocket leaves
- 100g pecorino romano (or parmesan)
- lime juice
- olive oil
- Remove the meat’s outer membrane
- Cover your work surface with salt and pepper and roll the meat in it until it is thinly coated
- In a very hot pan, cook the meat for 30 seconds on each side
- Wash your hands (n.b. this is very important as you have been dealing with raw meat that is now cooked)
- Remove the meat from the pan, wrap in clingfilm and place in the freezer for 20 minutes
- Arrange some freshly washed rocket on a plate
- Very carefully slice the meat as thinly as possible
- Arrange the meat on top of the rocket
- Add some freshly cut cheese shavings
- Dress with the lime juice and the olive oil
Pan fried wood pigeon with beetroot gratin
- For the beetroot gratin
(Serves 2 very hungry people)
- 3 large potatoes (peeled)
- 4 large fresh beetroots (peeled)
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 pint single cream (or enough to cover the potaoes and beetroot)
- Thinly slice the potatoes and the beetroots
- Place a layer of potato slices on top of a layer of beetroot in a roasting tin
- Season (very important!) and add a layer of cream
- Continue layering the beetroot, potatoes, cream and salt & pepper. If the potatoes and beetroots are not thinly sliced and tightly packed, you may find you need more than half a pint of cream as there will be a lot of gaps. Make sure the cream does cover the potatoes and beetroots or the top might burn.
- Place the dish in a preheated oven for 2 hours at 150C
- For the wood pigeon
According to Mark, properly cooked wood pigeon is food for the gods.
- 2 wood pigeons – shoot your own or ask your local butcher
- Remove the breast and legs from a whole bird, leaving the skin on. If buying from the butcher, you might want to get them to do this for you. If not, at the bottom of this post we have given you instructions as to how to do it yourself**.
- Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook the breasts skin-side down for 2 minutes
- Turn the breasts over to cook on the other side, add the legs and cook for a further 2 minutes
- Place the pigeon in the oven with the gratin (at 150C) for 10 minutes
To assemble the dish: get a pastry cutter, cut out a circle of your gratin and place it slightly off centre on the plate. Then lean the 2 breasts against each other and cross the 2 legs. Job done.
- 75g cooking chocolate (min. 70% cocoa solids)
- 1/2 pint double cream
- splash of milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Break the chocolate up in a food processor
- Add the cream, milk and sugar to a saucepan and bring to the boil
- Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate in the food processor and blitz it until all the chocolate has melted and mixed in
- Pour the mixture into ramekins and chill in the fridge for 2 hours
You may remember that right at the beginning of our Marathon (Week 2 to be precise) we visited Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard in East Sussex. While we there we spoke to the owner, Roy Cook, about our trip and he mentioned an artist called Georgina Barney who had zigzagged her way around Great Britain working on farms and creating pieces of art.
Intrigued, we got in touch and arranged to meet up with her in the last week of our tour to hear about her project. A contemporary artist based in Leicestershire, Georgina spent a lot of time on her aunt and uncle’s farm in Powys, mid-Wales, and began to see a connection between art and farming. If you look at the stereotypes of both an artist and a farmer, they seem to be worlds apart, but the act of creating something links the two and both farming and art demand independence, entrepreneurship and self-motivation.
With this is mind, earlier this year she spent eight months travelling around British farms and land-based projects in a journey funded by the Arts Council England and supported by Farming and Countryside Education (FACE), trying to draw inspiration from working in different rural working environments and documenting it all in a blog. You can read all about her experiences on her website, Great British Farming.
Great British Farming
She spent up to two weeks on a variety of farms in Scotland, England and Wales, ranging from a croft on the remote island of Eigg to a city farm in Sheffield. At the end of each visit, she sought to conclude it by making some kind of object, which she photographed and made into a postcard. These postcards were then displayed in a series of exhibitions on her return in the autumn. One of our favourites was this one, based on her time with a Stilton cheese producer in Leicestershire:
Mid-Land Cheese: front
Mid-Land Cheese: back
Now she has finished her tour, she has is concentrating her efforts on communicating across the rural/urban divide and getting other artists on to farms across the East Midlands. The day we met, she took us to Woodlands Organic Farm in Lincolnshire, where she was interested in meeting the owner, Andrew Dennis. An Arts Council England grant enabled Andrew to invite a writer and poet called Clare Best, from Sussex, to stay on his farm and be a ‘Writer in Residence’. Every few weeks she would visit the farm and organise community projects (such as farm visits and poetry workshops for local schoolchildren) and write poems based on her experiences of the work being done at woodlands. What’s interesting is that every month at least one of her poems would be popped in to the 2000 fruit and veg boxes that the farm sends out, which we thought was an innovative way to link art, farming and the community. To read some of Clare and the schoolchildren’s poems, click here.
Following on with our entrepreneurial theme, Sophie Legard opened the doors to her new delicatessen and catering business on 12th December and we went to visit her a few days later to find out how she was getting on.
Previously, she worked as a cook at a local prep school but had always dreamt of opening her own deli. It turned out that a nasty broken arm and some time off work to recuperate was the impetus she needed to bite the bullet and follow her dream. Having lived and worked around Malton for a long time, and finding that she always had to drive to York to get any slightly unusual products, she decided that there was a definite need for a shop like hers in the area and that she had the knowledge and connections to do it. She had also found the perfect location in a beautiful old building in Malton’s Market Place.
Sophie’s new shop: Malton Relish
Things seem to be going really well. She sent out 350 invitations to her opening night thinking only about 100 would turn up, but found that over the course of the evening more that 200 people had squeezed through the doors to come and take a look. In the run up to Christmas, with its beautiful decorations and a giant gingerbread house, it was the perfect shop to get in the festive spirit (and buy a few stocking fillers).
Two Sophies: Sophie Legard on the right and her friend Sophie
As well as sourcing rare meats, cheeses, wines and other goodies from around the world, she specialises in making ready-made “spoil yourself” dinners and wholesome children’s meals using fresh, local produce. She’ll cater for large dinner parties and, if you want to make a romantic gesture, you can buy or hire a basket from her with all the essentials for a champagne breakfast.
At the moment, she is only using one floor of a three-story building and has great plans as to how she can develop her business, both on site and online. If you’re passing through Malton, it is well worth popping in.
58 Market Place
www.maltonrelish.co.uk (available in 2008)
Much like the haggis making, we didn’t feel we could leave Scotland without having a quick trip to a whisky distillery. As we were still in East Lothian, we decided to pop into the Glenkinchie Distillery before heading into Edinburgh (not very rural we know) for the Scottish Countryside Alliance Christmas Drinks Party.
Established in 1837, Glenkinchie is located in the pretty village of Pencaitland and is the producer of the so-called “Edinburgh Malt”. Relatively unknown for many years, it became famous when it was chosen to represent the Scotland Lowlands in Diageo’s Classic Malt collection in 1988 (alongside their other flagship brands, Lagavulin, Cragganmore, Talisker, Oban and Dalwhinnie). The malt is also used in blends such as Haig, Johnny Walker Red and Black Label.
When you arrive, you are invited to take a look round their museum dedicated to malt whisky production while you wait for your tour to begin. In our eyes, the best thing was the large scale model of the distillery that was made in 1924 and runs down an entire wall showing each different stage of production. You then get a tour of the production areas, where you get to see the following processes in action:
The malted barley is milled to make a ‘grist’ and mixed with hot water in a ‘mash tun’ so that the starch is converted into sugar to make a sugary liquid called ‘wort’
The cooled wort is pumped into ‘washbacks’, where yeast is added to feed on the sugars and produce a liquid called ‘wash’, which is contains between 8 and 10% alcohol
The wash is distilled twice in a ‘wash still’ and then a ‘spirit still’ to produce a spirit which is about 68% alcohol – this is then collected in a ‘spirit receiver’ to become whisky
(Both the malting and maturation processes take place off site.)
After the tour you automatically get given a glass of the Glenkinchie 10yr old and you are allowed to try lots of other whiskies (including the 12yr old malt that has just been launched this year) to compare the flavours – shame we were driving!
For more information about Glenkinchie, and other Scottish distilleries, take a look at the Scotland Whisky website.
• Glenkinchie Distillery Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian EH34 5ET (01875 342004)
• Admission: £6 per person (entitles you to a £3 discount against a 70cl bottle of single malt whiskey), £3 for under 18′s but children under 8 yrs are not allowed in the production area. For more details about prices and opening times, please visit the Glenkitchie webpage.
Deep in the heart of Somerset, Land’s End Farm, where Roger Wilkins makes his farmhouse cider, is a bit of a gem and, if you successfully manage to navigate the winding narrow roads that lead there (no mean feat in a motorhome) you will probably be in need of a drink!
When we arrived, Roger was busy pressing apples but stopped briefly to indicate where the half pint glasses were, and then pretty much left us to get on with it. This is a ‘no frills’ traditional ciderhouse with just dry and sweet farmhouse cider on offer. If you want medium, you can blend it yourself.
It might have been 11am, but we were by no means the first arrivals. Cider in hand, we tentatively sat down at the wooden table, where we got chatting to Frank and Gibby, two lovely old boys who regularly make the trip up to Land’s End Farm from Glastonbury to have a bit of a yarn and stock up on cider at £5/gallon. Roger also sells cheddar and stilton cheeses, as well as vegetables, eggs, chutneys and pickles, all of which are produced locally. Our new friends kindly shared a plate of his cheddar with us, which was the perfect accompaniment for the dry cider.
The cider itself was delicious. Slightly suspicious of the stuff after too much Diamond White in our teens, we were pleasantly surprised by this flat and fruity liquid. Don’t be fooled by how easy it is to drink though; at 6.5% you don’t want more than half a pint if you’re the one who’s got to navigate your way back to the main road!
The key to its flavour is in its purity. The apples are picked, left to mature for a bit and then crushed. The resulting pulp, or ‘pomace’, is then added to the press, layer-on-layer and wrapped in hessian. Once this has done its job, the freshly pressed juice is piped into large vats, where it is left to ferment naturally and then mature. The pressed pomace, which is solid by now, is then sold on for cattle feed. No water is used and the only thing that might be added is saccharin if Roger is making the sweet cider. And – give or take the odd detail and a few technical terms – that’s it!
We highly recommend this little adventure if you’re ever in the South West. Although, allow plenty of time to enjoy yourselves properly – we originally only planned to pop in, but soon realised that was impossible!
Wilkins Farmhouse Cider, Land’s End Farm, Mudgley, Wedmore, Somerset Tel: 01934 712385
Open: Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun: 10am-1pm