This is a blog about cooking with game for people like me. I am a beater, married to a fellow-beater and wildfowler and with a freezer full of game. We live in the Retro Palace, a little house that managed to hang on to its 1963 interiors and escape beige, open-plan modernisation to become ‘The Only Affordable Home in the Village’.
Dogs and cookery have always been my passions. Aged 15, I discovered a treasure trove of cullinary literature in my mother’s bedside locker: a full set of 1960s Cordon Bleu Cooker Course booklets. Other girls at school found copies of Riders and Lace, so although I had nothing especially racy to pass round on the school bus, I was able to come home andrustle up Soufle Monte Cristo, Chestnut Mont Blanc and even Boar’s Head with all the trimmings.
There are a lot of blogs, articles and books about game cookery that perpetuate the myth that it is something reserved for people who have an appropriately grand kitchen and apparently 24-hour access to the sort of Farmers’ Market that peddles organic everything to ladies in perpetual need of designer shades to keep their hair on. There are, if you read most books on game, only 2 ways to serve it: Old School, which involves roasting, game chips, gravy, a grand dining table and a side-helping of tweed, or New School, which offers mouthfuls of meat, accompanied by some wilted green things and a drizzle of translucent liquid (if you’re lucky) served on a huge plate where it sits folornly surrounded be a sea of glacial whiteness.
Here at the Retro Palace, we are just as likely to enjoy diced pheasant in butter chicken sauce from a jar if it’s been a long day at work. Mr. Beater is partial to my pigeon faljitas which take minutes to throw together from scratch and taste amazing. My slow cooker is used regularly, especially when we are given venison and the Retro Palace Herb Patch supplies me with enough bay leaves and rosemary to make some lovely, aromatic gravy.
My aim here, each month, is to share a Traditional and Tricky recipie; a Quick and Easy meal that can be thrown together from scratch in under half an hour and a Lazy Girl’s Special which features minimal preparation, minimal washing up and the best of the bargain buys from my local cut price supermarkets. From time to time, I will also share ideas for the less appreciated cuts of meat, like offal, pig’s trotters and braising steak with help from some of my favourite old cookery books.