Sun, Feb 1 2009
Our weekend has been full of lovely experience. My son invited 2 of his friends - they are all 6 - and we took the pictures off of the wall and projected Star Wars Clone Wars onto it. We shut the curtains and made them popcorn. They thought it was the best. Much more exciting than the pictures and you don't feel quite as irate when they all announce 1/2 way through they want to play upstairs and not watch the film! I acquired a popcorn maker that goes into the microwave. No oil involved and really easy. So I made copious amounts of popcorn, then in a pan, melted about 200g butter, 150g sugar and 2 big spoons of golden syrup. Melt that thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved, then bubble for 5-8 minutes until thick and golden. Pour over the popcorn, stir really thoroughly then spread on a baking sheet to cool. Break into pieces and get munching! The boys certainly did, with all of them feeling a bit sick after having eaten so much. Tom stayed the night with Harley which is a first for all of us. In fact 6 is quite a young age to have a sleepover but it was great.
This morning was spent in the rugby pitch with Harley. He is joining the team but had to pick the coldest day to stand on the touchline watching. We rushed home and had big bowls of steaming vegetable soup. Mmmmmmm..............!! My husband went on a shoot with a local farmer last week to take photographs of the hunt and promptly came home armed with a pheasant. It hung for a few days and today, we decided, was the day to deal with him -the pheasant, not my husband. In fact my husband was the one who said he would do the deed but it transpired that his delicate photographer hands got the best of him and he ducked out!
He did eventually do a bit of plucking which is a lovely job! The cats liked it too. So I simply chopped an onion, cut 3 carrots lengthways, 3 sticks celery into 3inch pieces and put those into a casserole. Along with this I added the liver, some chopped smoked bacon and then introduced the pheasant. I poured onto him about 200ml of noilly prat and about 100ml of water. A good knob of butter some seasoning and a few bay leaves finish off the flavours, then into the oven for 2 hours. Half way through cooking, turn the pheasant over so the breast is facing downwards. This will keep the breast moist. Remove the pheasant and leave to rest, then reduce the juices down by half. Serve with lots of creamy mash and some spring greens.
I was lucky to get that pheasant as the game season is now over. I shall wait with baited breath until the season begins again in the autumn.
And if you feel that you dont like game, a pheasant that has not been hung for days has flesh the colour of turkey and a flavour of guinea fowl, say. Not the unpleasant high flavour I have grown up with thats for sure. Try it next season, you may be pheasantly surprised.