Meatloaf is a lovely comforting meal, that can be very economical, venison by itself would be a bit on the dry side, so have added an equal amount of minced pork, and used BBQ sauce to give a little sweetness to the loaf.
Sweat off a finely chopped small onion and clove of garlic, a diced small green pepper in a little light olive oil until soft. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix together 500g minced venison, 500g minced pork, 2 eggs, 150g panko breadcrumbs, 1 tsp salt and coarse ground black pepper, 2 tbsp Worcester sauce, 4 tbsps BBQ sauce, 2 tsp BBQ seasoning, and add the cooked onion, garlic and pepper. Mix together thoroughly.
In a 2lb loaf tin line with strips of smoked streaky bacon widthways, and spoon in the meatloaf mixture, applying a little pressure on top to firm the loaf.
Cook in a preaheted oven to 200 deg C for 50 to 60 minutes until cooked through, upend the loaf onto a baking tray and remove the loaf tin, and brush with a few tbsps BBQ sauce. Pop back into the oven for 10 minutes to crisp up the bacon.
I served the loaf in thick slices with some buttered new potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli, with a dollop of BBQ sauce on the side, yum.
I love the first early glimpses of spring, so much promise in the air, of warmth, and days outdoors, flowers, fruit and vegetables.
I wanted to share one of the earliest signs that it’s all just around the corner, the stunning blossom on my mirabelle plum tree, the first flowers have just opened. Hopefully the nights will be mild and the tree laden with golden fruit at the end of the season.
I was very fortunate to be invited along with some other lovely South West bloggers to a visit and a meal at Riverford Field Kitchen near Buckfastleigh in Devon. I last visited a couple of years ago, and was blown away with the food cooked there then, so was keen to see whether things were any different with new Head Chef Rob Andrew. I was able to have a good chat with him before the meal, about the wonderful ingredients he gets to cook with, he told me the duck was from a couple of miles down the road, in these days, it is good to know the provenance of the food we are eating.
The duck was simply stunning, and cooked to perfection, as were all the veg from the farm. It’s such a lovely casual way to dine, long benches, large platters of good simply cooked produce.
The veg really are the stars of the show, and even this ex vegetarian would have been more than happy with the selection on offer. The curly kale with wild garlic, and celeriac, potato and mushroom gratin were my personal favourites.
The selection of puddings on offer were outstanding, but my eyes were drawn to the sticky toffee pudding with the best custard I’ve ever tasted.
It was a very convivial lunch, with Guy Watson the owner joining us and answering all our questions, and a nice chance to get to know some of the other food bloggers.
Chocolate Log Blog
I can heartily recommend visiting their blogs, and a visit to the Field Kitchen was a real treat, so thank you to Guy and his team for making us all feel welcome.
Sticky toffee pudding and the best custard ever
A beautiful plate of food
What a cracking menu
Such an amazing selection of puddings
A meal shared
As much as a love a good pancake oozing with Jif lemon and sugar, that was my childhood pancake memory after all, I wanted to give you lovely people something a bit more in keeping this pancake day, so here is an outrageous Chestnut pancake with bourbon laced chocolate chipotle sauce, raspberries and cream. The chestnut flour adds a lovely sweet nuttiness to the pancakes, and the chocolate chipotle sauce is out of this world.
Make up a pancake batter, I used 30g chestnut flour, 100g plain flour in a jug, add an egg, and 300ml of whole milk, along with a pinch of fine sea salt. Whisk up until it forms a batter somewhere around double cream consistency. If there’s a few lumps strain the batter through a sieve, pushing the lumps through with a wooden spoon. Leave to sit for 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
In a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt 100g dark chocolate, add a teaspoon of finely chopped dried chipotle chilli (minus seeds), and a good shot of your favourite bourbon whiskey, once just melted pour in 150ml double cream and sprinkle over 1 tbsp icing sugar, warm until combined and glossy and turn the heat off but keep the bowl over the water.
Warm a frying pan over a medium heat to make the pancakes, smear with a little rapeseed oil on a kitchen towel and pour in a ladle of pancake mix swirl around the pan, and cook until lightly brown, flip or toss and cook the other side.
Serve drizzled with the chocolate chipotle sauce, double cream and a few raspberries.
There are so many other wonderful steak cuts out there than your usual, rump, sirloin and fillet, if you feel that to get a good quality steak can be expensive, why not try a different and a great deal cheaper cut like this 28 day aged Aberdeen Angus feather steak, you really need to have a good butcher to get the best out of cuts like this, but they will advise you on how best to cook them. Feather steak really shouldn’t be cooked past medium rare, but rare is best, so you’ll need a red hot griddle pan for this version of steak ‘n’ cheese.
There is often a seam of tough gristle in the middle, so cut your strips of steak either side of this. Then pop into the griddle and cook quickly a minute or so on each side. Leave to rest for a few minutes.
In the time the steak is resting, whip up a chipotle rarebit to top the steak, melt 25g unsalted butter in a small pan, add 300g grated extra mature cheddar, 50ml beer, 1/2 teaspoon mild mustard, a teaspoon finely chopped chipotle chilli, a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and warm through until melted and combined.
Spread a little BBQ sauce on a bread roll, layer up some steak strips, top with lashings of the rarebit sauce, and pop under a hot grill until the rarebit starts to brown and bubble.
I try to give you lovely people a range of recipes, some new with unusual flavour combinations or ingredients, but sometimes I love to fall back on my old classics, and for me one of the most comforting and sustaining meals has always been this one. I first encountered it as a pennyless newly vegetarian student, and was smitten, it has seen me through those years, and has always been my “go to” dish.
With so few ingredients you can really make sure they are the best, and the real key is wonderful olive oil, so when I was recently gifted some Tuscan extra virgin olive oil and some salami from Garfagnana by an Italian colleague. I wanted to enjoy the emerald green oil in my favourite dish to do it justice. In the UK after a night out the usual dishes we go for are kebabs, pizza and burger van offerings, well this is what they have in Italy.
In a large flat bottomed frying pan start to warm over the lowest heat a thin layer of the best quality extra virgin olive oil, adding 3/4 plump garlic cloves finely sliced and a teaspoon of dried red chilli flakes, with seeds if you like a little heat. Cook some long pasta for a couple of people such as spaghetti or linguine as per the instructions to al dente, turn up the heat on the oil, and add a ladle full of the pasta water, as it bubbles it should start to emulsify. Add the pasta and toss in the rich and flavourful oils.
Season with a pinch of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, and if you can afford it some lovely parmesan or pecorino. I had mine with some thick slices of the salami and a glass of Primitivo.
I was given this wonderful roe venison shank, (shin on the bone), to come up with a recipe by Andrew Gordon Butchery in Aberdeen as you are probably aware I enjoy using tougher but tastier cuts and cooking them for a long time to create a little magic. The Pinot Noir is the best wine to use as it’s a very subtle red and won’t overpower the venison. ! shank will serve 1 hungry person.
I browned off the venison shank in a little rapeseed oil, and then placed on a sheet of double thickness foil and placed on a couple of cloves of garlic, a couple of banana shallots, a sprig of thyme, 4 juniper berries, a pinch of sea salt and balck pepper and a bay leaf. Bring the edges of the foil up around the shank to form a bowl, and pour in a glass of Pinot Noir followed by the same amount of light beef stock. Seal the foil package, sit on a baking tray and place in a preheated oven at 150deg C for 3-4 hours until the meat is falling apart and moist.
Serve with mustard mash and steamed kale. Pour the gravy from the bottom of the foil over the top.
A glass of the Pinot Noir would be perfect with this winter warmer.