Monday, 11 October 2010

Still Life with Pheasant

Orion the hunter still glimmered in the early morning light, an auspicious sign given that today would be our introduction to game. I felt good, probably more to do with not going back to the pub last night than the traumas of a new kitchen and a new partner.

Into the kitchen and into our stride we tackled our dishes, my soup involved finely chopping 1lb of mushrooms (45 minutes in case you are interested) and sweating onions whilst boiling stock and milk. Dressing for the tomato salad took a while as did painstakingly stuffing dates with marzipan- no not the horrible bright yellow shop bought stuff but real almond paste. In between these activities we made millions of omelettes, classic french, fines herbes, cheese souffle etc until our teacher - possibly egg bound - said that we had done enough for the day.

After a lunch of Mushroom Soup, Omelette and Stuffed Dates or Marzipan Apples it was back to Demo but not the clean tidy pristine Demo that we had left after our culinary adventure no this one was a positive avian charnel house.

Presiding over this unconstructed duvet was Tom the local gamekeeper. He did not look like the cartoon image of a gamekeeper no Barbour, boots and flat cap but a tall smiling gent in a pullover and tie. He had a charming manner even when eviscerating some recently deceased member of the duck family with his bare hands or demonstrating that with the right twist the sinews come out along with the severed bit of the leg he was twisting. Clearly a man not to upset, but a man who knew his stuff and advised on the types of duck we would probably see (if not shoot) in Ireland demonstrating Teal and Mallard as well as Snipe and advising us of the legal hunting dates. The Pheasant, he apologised, was frozen as it was not in season but he had frozen it unplucked as it was for our demo!

After he departed Darina returned to more domestic fowl and two recipes with Roast Chicken 9equally applicable to pheasant and guinea fowl - adjust the timings) Turkey -recipe only due to cooking time, witty ways with crab, tomato granite, a creamed sponge cake and Turnips (Swedes to you who think that turnips are the little white things). Of course the full range of sauces and salads were demonstrated as accompaniments and home made potato crisps.

So tomorrow Lunch will have its first official meat other than lamb for over a week, we cook what we last saw demonstrated for the uninitiated.

Tomorrow as they say is another day and at the risk of sounding dangerously right wing Tomorrow belongs to me.


  1. OMG did you have to put those photos on will never be able to eat any type of bird again! poor things

  2. Fab stuff – thank you.

    I was pointed here, via Facebook, by Bob Oram, after he'd read my post today at my blog at

  3. Oh – and I've added a link to this: it's a great blog. Thank you again.

  4. I can well recomend Sybarite's blog.Thanks for the link