Dodgems, rabbits, balls and pheasants…


It has been a manic week at work – out most evenings and all day yesterday – then a ball last night until the wee small hours. Having danced myself silly, had a ride on a carousel and then a go on the dodgems – it was some ball – I collapsed into a welcoming bed at I don’t know what time. But here I am now bright eyed and bushy tailed – sort of. Whilst I am on the subject of dodgems – it seems odd to want to go on this ride in order to miss other cars! So, we all just merrily crashed into each other – far more satisfying! Earlier in the day I went to a magnificent jamboree with a wide range of food vendors. I was particularly fascinated by one local company who were offering pheasant biryani – in fact they did lots of odd game combinations. No rabbit burgers though….I do like rabbit I must say…I do a dish that a neighbour of mine in France used to cook, rabbit in champagne – though she used a simple and inexpensive sparkling Saumur. Here is my version.

Rabbit in a Champagne Dijon Mustard Sauce

1 rabbit jointed – call me a chicken, fine, but I’m a coward when it comes to rabbit, I get my butcher to do this! / 1 whole onion / 1 clove of garlic / 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard / 2 oz of butter  / 1 pint of vegetable stock  / 1 bay leaf  / Squeeze of lemon juice / 1 pint of extra thick double cream / 1 pint of champagne or cava or any decent fizz /  Chopped parsley  / Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5. Chop the onion and garlic finely and sauté with the jointed rabbit in butter until the meat is golden brown. Add the Dijon mustard and the champagne and reduce to half over a high heat. Add the vegetable stock, bay leaf and lemon juice. Transfer the contents into a casserole dish and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until juices are reduced to half. Remove the dish from the oven and set over a hob on a low heat. Add the cream and the chopped parsley, and continue to stir well until the sauce comes to the boil. Needs little accompaniment other than crusty bread and a green salad really.

Finally for the moment, I was chuffed to see that the last recipe I offered you – cordero al chilondron – has just appeared in a super cook book our work has just produced for charity. A top wine company, Berry Bros. & Rudd, even matched a wine with it – they wrote as follows – ‘This is a real slice of Spain – all the Spanish flavours are in this warming lamb braise. Strong rustic flavours need strong wine. Rioja would be an easy match but I would prefer something from Spain’s agricultural interior. 2009 Piedra Azul from Toro. High up on the central mesa, almost on the Portuguese border. Tinto de toro is the local synonym for Rioja’s famous tempranillo grape.‘ Anyway, you get the picture  – the wine expert rattles melliflously on for another paragraph in the way only these folk can. I loved it. Poetry in a glass, a sonnet on the plate.


Now there’s a surprise from Nigel….


Now there's a surprise from Nigel....

I am very fortunate to have the mighty and magnificent Nigel Slater following me on Twitter – I was chatting with him this morning re my breakfast – see previous piece – when he replied as above – and he does not like eggs! How about that! But he did like my photo which made me feel ten foot tall…but clearly can’t tempt him with an oeuf of any kind. But he is a black pud guy which is ok with me – and he did remind me later of his excellent recipe in Kitchen Diaries Volume 2 P 146 (if you have not got this for goodness sake why not – go and buy it now! ) for black pudding in pastry with a mustard sauce. It looks and sounds fab. Right – that’s enough twittering from me for a while. Off to enjoy bank holiday Monday. Out for lunch – then back home to experiment with home grown rhubarb and strawberry vodka for dessert this evening!