Summer is like the hard boil and what’s left after all that heat and activity is the dark, sweet Autumn.

Knowing we’ve had our fill of zesty, bright flavours, October brings back the earthy richness and with it, the local Game season begins again. We revel in this season, paying homage to the wild meat that comes through the door of the Old Dairy Kitchen. With a Game Feast and two Game Butchery courses, you would be right to think that it’s a highlight. Although we don’t hibernate and have much to look forward to through the winter, we certainly appreciate the slowing down and changing gear before the darkest season sets in, and Autumn’s flavours help us to make the transition in the most delicious way.

VENISON & RABBIT TERRINE

Makes 1 small terrine.

200g venison mince
100g rabbit mince
100g pork mince
100g salt pork or bacon, minced
75ml white wine
10 juniper berries, chopped
salt and pepper
16 hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Test the seasoning by frying a small piece of the mixture and adjusting to taste. When you are satisfied, line a terrine or bread tin with a double layer of cling film and fill with the meat mixture. Cover tightly with a sheet of tin foil. Bake in a bain-marie in the oven at 140°C, until the core temperature reaches 72°C (when tested with a thermometer).
Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge overnight with a weight on top to compress the meat.
Slice and serve with some crunchy pickles or a Cumberland sauce.

 

PICKLED CHESTNUT MUSHROOMS

20 chestnut mushrooms, chopped into quarters
2 tbsp salt
3 tbsp cider vinegar
5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 tsp sugar
15 tbsp olive oil
10 sage leaves, finely sliced
10 peppercorns
1 dried chilli

Sprinkle the quartered mushrooms with salt and mix well. Leave them to marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a dry frying pan on the stove.
Squeeze a little of the water from the mushrooms and toast them in the dry pan for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them burning. Keep the pan on a high heat.
Add the dried chilli, garlic, peppercorns and sage to the pan, mix briefly. Add the vinegar and sugar and return to the boil. Lastly, pour in the olive oil and mix well.
Pour into sterilised jars and seal. This preserve will keep for 6 months if unopened and kept in a cool place.
 

BRAMBLE & ROSEMARY CURD

500g plump juicy brambles
3 sprigs rosemary
100ml lemon juice
125g unsalted butter
450g granulated sugar
200ml strained beaten egg

Put the fruit and rosemary in a pan with the lemon juice. Bring slowly to a simmer, stirring often, until the fruit starts to release its juice, then simmer gently for five to ten minutes until the fruit has collapsed. Remove the rosemary from the softened fruit and push the fruit through a sieve or purée in a food processor.
Put the purée, butter and sugar into a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir continuously until the butter is completely melted. Take off the heat and let it cool for a minute – you don’t want it to be too hot when you pour in the eggs, or they will scramble. It should be cool enough that you can comfortably put your finger into it.
Pour in the strained beaten egg, whisking all the while. Return the pan to the heat and stir the mixture over the simmering water until thick and creamy and registering at least 82°C on a thermometer. The length of time is very dependent on the quantity you are making but it will take around 20 minutes. It’s important to take your time here, the curd is much less likely to get too hot and scramble than if you cooked it directly in a pan. If the curd does start to scramble, take it off the heat and whisk vigorously until smooth.
As soon as it has thickened, pour the curd into hot jars and seal. Leave to cool before labelling. Use the curd within four weeks; once opened, keep in the fridge and use within a week.

Chris Onions runs the Old Dairy Kitchen. He caters for all our events, courses and farm lunches, produces delicious treats for sale and teaches his own courses. Chris also hosts his own monthly dinner series and runs other events.