Game pie/ terrine/ Game pate en croute

Sunday, October 31, 2010
An excellent example of how far behind on blog posts I am - this is from 49 weeks ago. Where does the thyme go eh? [answer - in the game pie]

Another recipe from the Readers Digest bible. It uses sour cream (can substitute creme fraiche) instead of water - really changes the texture.

200g plain flour
50g butter
50g lard
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp/ 45ml sour cream/ creme fraiche

The first couple of times you tend to stick to the recipe for the filling. After you've got a feel for it you can just make it without measuring or add anything else you want - pistachios, mushrooms, apricots soaked in brandy, sauteed apples, cranberries etc.

250g cooked ham
750g boneless game
30ml white wine/ vermouth
45ml brandy

1kg minced pork - equal quantities fat & lean (belly or shoulder is ideal)
125g chicken liver (save from the giblets when you buy whole chickens) finely chopped
2 eggs
2tsp ground allspice
1tsp ground nutmeg (1 tend to use mace instead)
Approx 1tsp salt
Approx 1tsp ground pepper
Half the ham & game from filling 1 above is but into 1/2 in strips, the rest cut smaller then marinade in the wine & 1/2 the brandy for 30 mins.
The other half of the ingredients is a bit all-in-one. I find it easier to put the chicken livers through the mincer with the pork. After mincing mix together with the egg, other 1/2 of brandy, spices & fresh thyme/ sage (or both) & seasoning. You can make a small piece of the mix as a mini burger to test seasoning - should be quite spicy - flavour lessens when cold.
Roll out your pastry & line the greased terrine mould (springform ones are great for this - solves problem of turning out). Spoon in 1/3 of the pork mince mix and smooth off. Place in 1/2 the strips of game & ham, add another 1/3 of the pork mix, another layer of the game and ham and finish with a layer of the pork mix. Place the pastry lid on top and seal the edges. Make a small hole in the top for steam to escape or the pastry bursts open. Refrigerate for 1/2 - 1 hour for the pastry to set (this also helps seal it). Then cook in pre-heated oven at 200 oC for 15 minutes then turn down to 175 oC for c. 1 hour. Easiest to use a temperature probe (see more on previous blog post) and test the middle. Food safety guidelines suggest 70 oC for 2 minutes or 74 oC for 30 seconds.

Cool down after cooking & keeps in fridge up to 5 days. Slice & allow to come to room temperature before eating. Nice with celariac/ parsnip remoulade and lemon and lavender chutney.

Related posts

1001 kitchen tips #32 - using a temperature probe
Lemon and lavender chutney
Some other terrines

Morroccan style lamb buffet catering for a 60th birthday near Evesham, Worcestershire

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
2010 - the year of the lamb and hog roasts. But of course there are another ways of cooking it.
How could we cook it without the need of a roasting machine? The lady we were cooking for at Littleton Manor liked the idea of a moroccan theme, and this is what we came up with.....

I picked up the lamb from Home Farm on the way back from a delivery meal for BP (some of the same team members I had cooked for 4 years before).

Then butchered the lamb down into individual cuts - saddle, rump, legs, shoulder, neck, flank.

The bones I kept for later in the day (was 2am by then) to roast and make stock for the tagine.
It was finished the next night after another delivery (3 day event). The boned & rolled legs rubbed with ras el hanout and the saddle and rump marinated with harissa and yogurt. The shoulders (also boned and rolled), neck & (diced) flank were slow cooked for 6 hours as tagine similar to this but with the addition of orange, cinnamon, ground coriander seed and ground cumin.

Canapes (Moroccan stylie)

Za’atar bread with baba ganoush
Za'atar recipe I used.

As luck would have it just a few days before I caught this baba ganoush recipe from Helen which improved on the old one - leave the aubergines on for longer - more smoky.
The first time I saw aubergines being cooked like this it was being done by Madonna's personal cook and I couldn't believe the difference in taste to normal roasting. It's addictive.

Saffron chicken, almonds and sultanans wrapped in filo pastry
I really wanted to try this chicken dish too so turned it into a canape. The filo was left open at the ends unlike a spring roll. Should really try this as a main dish without the filo.....

Vegetarian tagine with cous cous in Japanese spoon
No photo of this one sadly. As we were doing tabbouleh with the lamb I thought we could do cous cous as one tof the canapés. We used Iranian cous cous – which surprised a few people. “The best thing I ever tasted” said one guest. The customer is always right.

Main Course

Homemade morrocan style fennel and honey semolina bread rolls


Whole lamb roast
Lamb butchered and broken down into joints:
• Shoulder, neck, breast and flank slow roasted lamb tagine with toasted almonds – shoulder to be whole to slice
• Saddle marinaded in harrissa and yogurt roasted pink sliced to order
• Roasted legs marinaded with ras el hanout, lemon & garlic cooked pink

Baked butternut squash filled with chickpea tagine
Garlic field mushrooms
Cucumber, yogurt and mint salad
Tabbouleh (incorporating chickpeas)
Spicy potato salad
Grilled and roast vegetables

Half flour and half semolina for the bread rolls with roasted diced fennel and fennel seeds and honey.

The legs, saddle and rump of lamb were roasted once we got to the house on the Saturday afternoon while we set about preparing the accompanying salads.
Sadly the night before the camera had had another camera-meets-water accident so was out of action while it dried out, so all we have are a few photos Ethan managed to get - shame because the whole day was quite epic (Gill was doing another event near Bath).

The shoulder, neck and flank tagine we served in the chafing dish (right) and then I sliced the legs and saddle while guests came up to the buffet while Joe and Ethan started prepping the dessert and Holly started operation clear-up.


Gazelle horns
Crescent shaped almond cookies flavoured with orange flower water (try finding that in Tewkesbury - last minute dash to Cheltenham the night before - was the last one let in the supermarket) from this recipe. I was making these as soon as I had served all the lamb - fresh is best.

Orangeflower and cinnamon rice pudding with spiced strawberries in shotglasses
Rather like the shotglass of Eton Mess that was so popular. Should do this one again - everyone loves rice pudding.

Fruit salad served in a watermelon
Pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, passionfruit and mango in rosewater syrup
After all the indulgence they also wanted something lighter too.


Coffee, tea and homemade coconut and
almond truffles


1001 Kitchen tips #59 - How to grill onions / Aaaah! The onions have fallen apart there has to be a better way of doing this.....

Sunday, October 24, 2010
Good for when you're doing a barbecue or special meal, not so important when you're making onions for burgers or hotdogs.
1. When cutting the onion make sure the root is kept in tact. Each wedge should be attached to the root - this keeps it together while you grill.
2. Put a cocktail stick exactly through the middle (after the first 100 you get faster) so it holds each segment of the onion together. Then roll in a bit of olive oil and salt.
3. Grill. Best turned over with a pallette knife underneath. Tongs are too inprecise and the onions have this habit of falling apart - not fun.
4. When browned on both sides it is quite probable they still need to be cooked through (if they're grilled onions you expect them to be soft - not crisp). Best way to do this is on a baking tray with baking mat and cover them with foil to stop them burning. Cook till soft.
5. Off they go.

P.S. This was taken back in June in asparagus season, but as business took off there is a nice backlog of blogposts.

Related posts

1001 Kitchen tips #13 - cooked onions pronto (don't use a tin make your own)

Lamb shank 'stargazy' pie

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Autumn, and your mind turns to just one thing. Pie.
Mk 1 - 15/10/10

I'm sure I read of this idea somewhere. Anyway it was after making the more traditional stargazy pie with Ms M that I wanted to try this one - finally got round to it.

Turn the clock back 13 years and lamb shanks were a nice economical dish - godsend to the kitchen (really kept the accountants happy) not any more - as soon as it becomes popular up goes the price - they're now 3 times + the price and they are a luxury item. The good thing about this pie though is because it is so filling one lamb shank will do 2 portions easily (edit - next time I gave one each).
Another thing I found is the local farm has shoulder ends. Lamb shanks are the leg knuckle - the shoulder knuckles are almost the same, just where the shoulder has been cut away to be boned and rolled. Just as tasty but 2/3 of the price. So I keep the lamb shanks for this pie, but the shoulder ends are great in another dish - but you could just as well use them for this. If you didn't want to use lamb shanks - this pie would also be great with slow cooked neck. Or you could do a similar thing with rack of pork with the bones poking out of the top and maybe chorizo - now there's a different variation of pork pie.....

Link to pastry recipe here. You could add suet too if you wanted to go the whole hog. Because the bowl was so deep I doubled the pastry recipe - and it's just as well I did.
Mk 2 - 27/11/10 - for 21 people

Link to lamb shank recipe here. As well as onion and carrot I also added parsnips - a proper hearty pie.

Just as the lamb shanks were nearing finishing cooking they were being posted over here (must be casserole time of year).

"He must be making Christmas pudding" said a customer walking past the till in the Tewkesbury Cookshop "what else would he be using them for?". Well this - you need a deep basin for the height of the lamb shanks.

When the lamb is cooked you drain the liquid and thicken it with cornflour - needs to be very thick or it bubbles up and breaks the pastry. Then you let everything cool down.

Grease the bowl, roll pastry out to 5mm and line with a good overlap. I put in the cooled lamb shanks first & rearranged them till they stood up. Then packed in the veg around and finally the cooled/ jellified sauce over. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg and put the pastry lid over. Then cut holes around the bones and poke the bones through the pastry. Then seal the edges of the pie. I tried a fancy pattern but it was too top heavy and sank - next time will try crimping instead. Because the height of the lamb shanks the pie was a bit higher than the dish so it didn't quite support it. But you live & learn and get it right the next time.

Wrap the bones in foil to stop them burning.

03:55 (c. 1 hour 45.... I think) the pie came out of the oven (180 oC) (timecheck here) - then it just needed a little time to cool down. All in a days work!

Don't forget this tip to stop the edges of the pie burning.

Another autumn warmer: Butternut squash and pearl barley risotto


A few salads for an all vegetarian buffet lunch delivery

Thursday, October 14, 2010
So I got back from holiday and had just 2 days to prepare for 14 events over a long weekend. 5 of them were the all vegetarian lunch buffet 3rd year in a row.

Water melon, feta and olive salad

May sound odd at first but it tastes amazing. This is a Nigella classic which I found looking for new salads at the start of the barbecue season.

Lebanese salad (fatoush)
Simple ingredients are often the best. Peppers, cucumber, tomato, red onion, feta, olives, mint, plenty of lemon juice and olive oil with baby gem leaves.

Green curry rice noodle and vegetable salad
Shredded vegetables on the madolin sweated. Mixed with thai green curry/ coconut dressing plus the other neccessaries - garlic, chilli, ginger, coriander. As it is a buffet salad it helps if you crunch up the noodles a bit before cooking so you don't end up with huge long strands - easier to eat - go on be kind.

Tex-mex salad in crisp taco bowls
Red gem lettuce, black beans (plenty of), red onion, tomato, sweetcorn, mozzarella (becuase I had it - lots of other cheeses you could use), olives, capers, spicy salsa. Idea is you squeeze the lime over before you eat - saves the bowl going soft.
Make the bowls like this.
I missed photographing the oriental style stir-fry cous cous salad - so much else going on that Sunday morning - a large breakfast delivery and another lunch delivery - and that was only hours after finishing Saturday's events. No point in doing things by half.

These were in addition to the sandwiches, talking of which, the pickled wild mushroom (and bean puree) open I tried with pickled walnut on top. Another dimension.
As I delivered the last one they booked again for next years. So bit of research for some new dishes next year.

Related posts (with lots of recipe links)

All vegetarian lunch buffet 2009

All vegetarian lunch buffet 2008

Christmas/ Xmas Day Lunch & Dinner in the Cotswolds, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Evesham, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Christmas lunch using locally sourced produce delivered chilled to your home on Christmas Eve or cooked and served in your home on Christmas Day by chef and waiting staff.

See more info at

Delivery Christmas/ Xmas day lunch 2008 on the blog - see more click here.

Catered Christmas lunch on Christmas Day 2009 - see more click here.

Christmas/ Xmas day lunch or dinner cooked and served in your home on the blog 2007 - see more click here.

Christmas/ Xmas Day lunch & dinner Bristol, Cirencester, Cheltenham, Chipping Norton, Evesham, Fairford, Gloucester, Lechlade, Ledbury, Malvern, Moreton in Marsh, Pershore, Ross on Wye, Stretton on Fosse, Stonehouse, Stow on the Wold, roud, Tetbury, Tewkesbury, Winchcombe, Wotton-under-Edge, Worcester

1001 Kitchen tips #58 - Help! My loaf of bread is burning on the top but not cooked underneath what do i do?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Call it schwarzbrot?
You could, but this however, is a much better solution. Sometimes when you've had the oven turned up high for ages before turning it down to 210 oC to cook the bread, or if you're using an aga (can be unpredictable what oven temperatures are) the bread will be cooked on top while the base is still pale & middle not cooked. Answer like the burning edges of a pastry case is to wrap it in foil. That way the loaf keeps cooking from below but stops colouring on the top.

Cheesecake recipe alert!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010
What? Finally giving away the cheesecake recipe? Yes! Just posted it over here.