Cooking for a shooting party - shepherds pie with colcannon mash

Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Around 3 years ago I cooked and served a brunch menu at Upper Court for the english rugby team and guest Zara Phillips before they went out on a shoot. Three times recently (I'm now writing this in January 2010) I have been cooking just down the road in the next village at the Overbury Estate for their shoot lunches. Although Mr and Mrs. Bossom of the estate have a personal chef, he is given every other Christmas off, which is how, 2 years after the last time, I again was cooking there again on these 3 occasions.

The last one on 2nd January was slightly delayed due to freezing fog which had delayed their start in the morning (it had hardly improved), another due to vehicles getting stuck in boggy ground. Save it to say - if you're going shooting you have to be hardy. And dressed for the weather. So I always make the lunches rather hearty - something to warm everyone up before they go out again.

At Overbury they prefer the self-service option which is fine. As there is often a quick turn around between them coming in and going back out, the heat is on.

Ros, the PA I was leasing with suggested something like shepherds pie for the first one. I had been wanting to try this version for a while. Instead of minced lamb I used diced lamb from a little further round Bredon hill - Home Farm at Bredons Norton. And instead of plain creamed potato I made it into colcannon - adding kale, leeks and a little grain mustard as well as the usual cream and butter.

Cooked the same way as the lamb and apricot (apart from the apricots of course) and then topped with the colcannon.

On this occasion it was accompanied with our home made toffee apple pie and cheese - Oxford Blue and Oxford Isis (a new favourite - as close a British version to Calvados Camembert as I have found).

A few days before Christmas (I really like to pack in as much as possible) I cooked for another shoot lunch at Overbury - the same group so a different menu and went for coq au vin (another hearty warming lunch (that was when the vehicles had got stuck in the mud) and an old favourite - lemon curd bread and butter pudding which really went down well, with the guns as much as the Overbury office staff. I also brought out the Blue Heaven cheese - how good does it get?

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