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I’ll be using this page to share my favourite things and my favourite places.
From recipes that will change your eating to the culture of drinks, how they are made, where and when they are drunk.
To describe my travels and suggest the best hotels, the best restaurants and the best bars in the world.
I’ll share what I’m reading, what I’m listening to and what films I believe you shouldn’t miss.
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Perfect Serve: Sakura Flower
Perfect Serve: ‘Marty McDry’
GAME – Wild Rabbit
I love cooking game, especially if it’s local to where I am.
When in Yorkshire I’m lucky to have butchers that always have whatever game is in season; Pheasant, Duck, Partridge, Grouse, Venison, even Boar and Rabbit all year round.
I’m also more than happy to take road kill if it’s not smashed, but only Pheasant and Rabbit. Not yet tried Badger or Fox !
The recipe below is for wild rabbit casserole, the picture shows a locally shot rabbit given to me by a neighbour. The jars contain homemade crab apple jelly which is a great accompaniment for all game dishes. The second picture shows the same rabbit after skinning and jointing.
1 x wild rabbit – skinned and jointed.
2 x table spoons of plain flour.
4 x rashers of smoked streaky bacon cut into five or six pieces.
2 x medium onions chopped
2 x medium carrots chopped
2 x sticks of celery chopped
250ml chicken stock
500ml dry cider
A few sprigs of fresh tarragon, or 2 teaspoons of dried tarragon.
Salt and Pepper
If you’re confident about skinning the rabbit then there are plenty of YouTube clips to help but basically, after gutting, it’s pretty much like taking off a tight fur glove.
First lay the rabbit on it’s back, take a knife or scissors and open the belly from tail to rib. Have some newspaper ready and pull out all the innards. Wrap and discard.
Chop off the back feet and begin to pull the skin away from the belly slit drawing it down the back legs. Once the back legs are out continue to pull the skin away and up to the head. Chop off the front feet and slip the front legs out. when you get to the head pull the skin away from the neck and chop off the head. Easy !!
To joint; take a small sharp knife and carefully cut and detach the back legs at the ball socket. You will find that the front legs are only attached by muscle.
Lay the rabbit backbone down on a chopping board, put a large knife across the body below the rib cage and bash it with a rolling pin (wrapped in a tea towel) this should cut the rabbit in two. Discard the ribs and you’ll find you have 5 good pieces of rabbit (see picture)
Of course ….. if you don’t fancy this then simply ask your butcher or buy prepared rabbit.
I won’t judge !
Put the pieces into a dish and cover with milk and water, leave in the fridge for at least an hour. This will reduce the ‘gaminess’ of the meat.
1. Set your oven to 190* or 170* fan.
2. Put the flour in a plastic bag, add the rabbit pieces and shake so that each
piece is evenly dusted.
3. In a heavy casserole dish melt the butter, add the bacon and fry until nearly crisp.
Add the dusted rabbit pieces, turn frequently until the flour has begun to brown.
4. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook gently until softened.
5. Pour the chicken stock, cider into the dish and add the tarragon.
Bring back to a simmer, place the lid on and put into the oven.
Season with salt and pepper and cook for 45mins.
6.Remove from the oven, check the seasoning.
Serve with buttered cabbage and mashed potato.
ps… I never eat Hare !!!
Old Fashioned Notcher
Gin & Tonic Supersonic at Quo Vadis
Why do some drinks work and some not? The starting point must be the combination of flavours ? What is flavour and why do some flavours work together and others not? Part of the way we determine flavour is to do with the combination of taste sensations sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness and umami, (described to me as originally seaweed but now MSG).
Kevin Liu in his fascinating book Craft Cocktails at Home writes, “ Perfume is nothing more than flavours dissolved in alcohol. Cocktails apply the same principal but we experience them through taste. Or does taste work like this? “
As he points out, of course there are other factors to flavour mapping. Smell is key as is the way something looks, the texture of it and temperature.
Have a look at our graphic, what do you like and where does it fit on your flavour map ?
Recipe: 1 sugar cube, 2 dashes Angostura Bitters, 35ml Calvados, 35ml Bourbon, 2 slices sharp Apple.
In the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass muddle the sugar cube, bitters and a few drops of water. Add Ice, the Apple brandy and stir. Squeeze one slice of Apple over the drink and garnish with the other.
The disputed centrality of Guy Fawkes to the gunpowder plot and the attempted assassination of King James 1 was based on the confession of the Thomas Wintour. Wintour fought in France and tried to convince the Spanish to support a Catholic rebellion, he was hung, drawn and quartered along with the seven other conspirators.
Halloween Carousel Punch
If you are celebrating with friends this Halloween here’s a Apple based punch to serve in your pumpkin punch bowl.
Recipe: 8 servings, one 750-mL Bottle of Calvados, one 750-mL Bottle Pimm’s No. 1, one -3/4 cups Lemon Juice, one -1/4 cups Pomegranate Juice, one -3/4 cups Unfiltered Apple Juice, spiced honey syrup, 2 Angostura Bitters, 2 tablespoons Peychaud’s Bitters.
Recipe: In a mixing glass stir 35 Calvados, 15 Benedictine, 15 yellow Chartreuse, strain and serve into a cocktail glass.
The first recorded mention of Calvados comes from the 1553 diary entry of one Gilles de Gouberville who describes making a clear based spirit by heating cider, collecting the steam, bottling it and ageing it in Oak barrels. As with the whole Appellation Controlee system, the region the apples are grown in, and the combination of ingredients, ( apples that are tart, sweet and bitter) are key to the Clavados classification.
In the United States they produce their own version of Apple Brandy called Applejack. First distilled in 1780 by The Laird & Company Distillery in New Jersey it was supplied to the armies of George Washington. Some of the early colonists simply left barrels of cider outside to freeze and siphoned off the unfrozen alcohol. The results could often be highly poisonous causing liver contamination and blindness. Definitely less ordinary !