Thursday, November 26, 2009




  • 2 pheasants or 2 ducks
  • 20g butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 rashers streaky bacon
  • 500ml red wine
  • 300ml good chicken stock
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 1 clove
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Small piece orange peel or ½ papaya, de-seeded and chopped
  • 10g dark chocolate, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 175ÂșC/Gas 4.

2. Cut each pheasant or duck into 4 pieces. Melt the butter in a casserole dish and brown the pheasant or duck pieces lightly; you might have to do this in 2 batches. Remove the meat and add the chopped onions with a good pinch of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes until soft and brown, stirring occasionally.

3. Chop the carrots, celery, garlic and bacon, then add to the casserole and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add a good splash of wine to deglaze the casserole, scraping up any bits stuck on the base.

4. Return the meat to the casserole along with the remainder of the wine and the chicken stock. Heat through, then add the juniper berries, clove, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme and orange peel or papaya. Put the lid on and transfer to the oven for about 1¼ hours, or until the meat is cooked.

5. If you prefer an even richer, thicker sauce, pour off half the liquid into another pan and reduce briskly before returning to the casserole dish. Lastly add the grated chocolate, stirring in thoroughly, tasting as you go. You might want to add a little more! For a touch of South America, add a teaspoon of mild chilli sauce or a tablespoon of papaya jam with the stock.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Somerset pork chops

pork chops with cream and apples

  • 1/4lb butter
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 Cox apple, cored and cut into thick rings
  • 1 red apple, cored and cut into rings
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/8 cups dry cider
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large heavy skillet, over medium-high heat, melt half of the butter. Fry the pork chops on both sides until a nice golden colour. Transfer the chops to a 2 quart casserole dish with a lid, and sprinkle with thyme.
  3. Melt the remaining butter in the pan, and fry the onion and garlic until tender. Transfer them to the casserole dish. Fry the apple rings in the pan for a few seconds on each side to give them colour, then remove to the casserole dish. Sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Spoon any excess fat from the frying pan and pour in the apple cider. Stir to remove any flavourful bits from the bottom. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then pour over the pork chops and apples in the dish. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake the casserole, covered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pork chops are cooked through. Remove the pork chops and apples to a serving platter and stir the cream into the juices. Serve sauce over pork chops.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Asparagus and pumpkin risotto

  • 400g pumpkin
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 350g Arborio rice
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only
  • Approx 1 ½ litres hot chicken stock
  • 1 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 6-8 large asparagus spears
  • 8 baby asparagus
  • 100g sheep's cheese, grated
  • Truffle oil to drizzle
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1.Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C.

2.Peel and chop the pumpkin into small cubes. Place in a roasting dish and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven until soft - approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

3.Lightly fry the onion and garlic in hot olive oil until softened, then add the rosemary and cook for a further minute. Add the rice and stir for approximately 2 minutes until the grains begin to turn translucent. Add a ladleful of stock and stir until all the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding and cooking out ladles of stock until the rice is creamy and tender.

4.Meanwhile remove the woody ends from the larger asparagus and chop into inch long pieces. Steam the asparagus over a pan of boiling water until tender – roughly five minutes for the larger spears and three minutes for the baby ones. Once cooked, immediately plunge into ice cold water

5.When the risotto is almost done, mix through the grated cheese, pumpkin and chopped asparagus continue to heat through for a minute or two. Drizzle with a little truffle oil, finish with a grind of fresh pepper and serve.