Friday, 24 January 2014

Walnut and Stilton Salad.

Walnuts from a friends garden in France and a gift of Stilton for xmas resulted in this tasty salad.
Shell the walnuts and soak in rapeseed or walnut oil for half an hour or so.
Drain the nuts and place on a bed of salad leaves with crumbled Stilton.
Add some Stilton to the oil,season and add a dash of good vinegar.
Mix all the ingredients together dress the salad and serve.
You could also add apple cut into matchsticks and rolled in lemon juice to stop it discolouring.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

All the birds seen at Ladysmock.

As I am no longer at Ladysmock and back in London one of the first things I have noticed is the lack of birds.
It got me thinking about all the species I saw in the four and a half years spent there.
I will add to this list as I recall them!

Seen in the garden -

Great Tit
Blue Tit
Coal Tit
Long Tailed Tit

Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Field Fair

House Sparrow
Dunnock (Hedge Sparrow)
Garden Warbler


Great Spotted Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker
Tree Creeper

Little Owl
Sparrow Hawk


Wood Pigeon
Collard Dove
Stock Dove


Seen (over) and heard from the garden
Tawny Owl
House Marten

Other animals seen in the garden

Badger (while watching little owls at dusk one appeared three feet away from me).
Grey Squirrel
Deer (not sure what type - two walked up the drive one evening!)
Toad (a regular in the greenhouse during winter)
Snake - moved too quickly to see but most likely a Grass Snake.
Wood Mice

Friday, 10 January 2014

Game Pie.

A boxing day supper with the game marrinaded in Port, but you could use red wine instead.
Place the pieces of mixed game (I bought a mixed pack from the butcher) in a ceramic bowl with a few sprigs of thyme, a couple of bay leaves, three or four crushed juniper berries and a clove of crushed garlic and cover with port.
Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for a couple of days.
Drain the pieces of meat and reserve the liquid.
Dry the game thoroughly, season and dust with flour.
Colour the game pieces in a frying pan transfering to a sauce pan as you cook them. Deglaze the frying pan with the marinade and add to the sauce pan. Cook on a low heat until the game is cook through and transfer to a pie dish and allow to cool.
Top the pie with slices of potato, season and add a few dabs of butter and cook in an oven until the slices are cooked through - around 35 - 40 mins.
You could top the pie with pastry or even mash like a cottage pie.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Pigeon Breast with Sloe Gin Vinaigrette.

A nice starter - I like to cook them rare, but if you like medium just extend the cooking times slightly.
Season and pan fry your pigeon breasts in an oven proof pan for two - three minutes on each side and then place in a pre heated oven on 180 degrees for ten minutes.
Prepare a plate of mixed salad leaves.
remove the breasts from the oven and transfer to a warm plate cover with foil and leave to rest.
While they are resting deglaze the pan over a medium heat with sloe gin.
Reduce to a syrup and remove from the heat.
Add rape seed oil to form a dressing.
Slice the pigeon and place on top of the salad leaves.
Add any juices to the dressing.
Dress and serve.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Braised Pigeon Breasts in White Wine.

A very simple post Christmas supper.
In an oven proof casserole sweat some carrot, onion and celery until they are slightly softened.
In a pan colour your pigeon breasts on a med high heat for a few mins on each side and add to the casserole.
Deglaze the pan with white wine and add to the pigeon and veg - add a little stock if needed and some chopped mushrooms with the lid on.
Place in low oven (120 - 140 degrees) for about three quarters of an hour.
Serve with creamy mash to soak up all the juices.