January 19, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 4:01 pm

 One thing you may have picked up from reading this blog is that, in spite of the fact I like to design things in pink, I am NOT what you’d describe as a girly-girl.

As you know, I’ll eat pretty much anything. Liver, kidneys, hearts and cute fluffy animals all appear on my table on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes said  animals haven’t been properly jointed or gutted, and I’ll happily reach in and pull out whatever needs removing. This has caused a small problem when I’ve been cooking for Goon at his flat.

Goon has a flatmate who is the girliest girly-girl you’d ever hope to avoid. I can’t count the number of times I’ve popped out of the kitchen for a second there and have come running back as a particularly high pitched voice squeals, “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Oh my days! What is THAT?!”

(Oh my days? Where the hell did that expression come from anyway?)

I try to be straightforward about these things, so I say. “It’s a woodpigeon,” and the response will be “EEEEEEEE! Oh my days! That’s HORRIBLE!”

Goon tries a bit harder to keep her happy. A recent scenario went as follows. The girl walks in as Goon had finished jointing a rabbit and was putting it in the freezer.

GIRL: EEEEEEEEEEEEE! Oh my days! Tell me that’s not BLOOD!”
GOON It’s not blood.
GIRL You’re  lying aren’t you?
GOON: Yes
GIRL Oh my days! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I’m afraid that, when this young lady is around,  I have to fight very hard to keep the opinionated sod inside of me quiet. I mean, come on. Animals have blood! She eats animals! I don’t really appreciate someone who eats intensively reared pork and poultry on an almost daily basis telling me that it’s disgusting to eat game (I don’t have a problem with people eating intensively reared meat - just this girl’s inconsistency). Then again, she’s the kind of person who probably thinks the breadcrumbed chicken breaststeaks she eats were grown in a petri dish somewhere free of any skin, bones or bodily fluids.

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to go off on one. The whole point of that little rant was so that I could tell you how the special name for this lovely stew came into being.

Stew!

I was looking for something to make for the new blogging event, ‘Waiter, waiter, there’s something in my……. .  This was dreamt up by Jeane at Cook Sister!, Johanna at The Passionate Cook and Andrew at Spitoon and Spitton Extra. The first event is all about stew and Andrew is hosting it.

I decided I wanted to make a venison, or similar rich game stew since its nearly the end of the season and I had a couple of  ‘affordable’ bottles of port lying around after Christmas. I found a pack of mixed game from Manor Farm Game, which seemed to be mostly venison with some rabbit and pigeon. I thought it would be great stewed up with a rich port sauce and lots of wintery spice.

So, my stew was simmering away in Goon’s kitchen when  Miss Squeamish arrived back. She commented on the smell in kitchen (it did smell fantastic :) )  and asked me what I was  making. I wasn’t particularly in the mood to deal with a squealing idiot so I half mumble something about game stew, hoping to God she’d bugger off. She didn’t quite hear me and enquired again.

By now, a vague memory had crept into my mind of something James and Kirsten’s dad said to wind up his daughter many years ago. I knew I  shouldn’t say it. But I couldn’t help myself.

“Well, you see that dark bit there? That’s Bambi. And this light bit? That’s Thumper!” 

I had just enough time to exit the kitchen before she procesed what I’d just said and a 150 decibel scream EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! filled the entire building.

So that’s how my dinner for that night was christened Bambi and Thumper stew. Waiter, waiter there’s something in my stew! It appears to be a couple of cute and loveable Disney characters. :D

bambi and thumper

Now for the important bit: the recipe for Bambi and Thumper Stew. It’s a dish I have made a few times but the recipe is always part improvised. Here’s how I did it this time. This feeds one Goon and one of me, or three people with normal appetites.

The day before you want to eat the stew, take 450g of diced Bambi, Thumper and/or other assorted game and marinate it in a mixture of ruby port, red wine, half a small, finely diced onion and 1 sprig of rosemary. I used about a 50-50 mixure of port and wine.

About two and a half hours before you want to eat, slice the other half of the onion into thin half-rings and sautee it gently in butter with 3 tsp allspice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, seven or eight crushed juniper berries, the leaves of one sprig of rosemary and  a couple of sprigs of thyme leaves. When the onion is nearly soft add a couple fo handfuls of sliced chestnut mushrooms.  When the veg is cooked, turn up the heat and brown the meat in the pan, then strain in the liquid from the marinade. Stir in a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly, a few squares of 80% cocoa chocolate, add a stick of cinnamon and a couple of bay leaves and top up with beef or lamb stock.

Bring this to a very gentle simmer (as gentle as you can get it) , cover it and let it stew for about one and a half hours, until the meat is juicy and tender.

Take off the lid, add a tablespoon of cornflour paste and let the stew reduce and thicken for 20 minutes or so.

See, easy! And very very tasty in a  port-soaked kind of way! The meat was beautifully tender with extra richness from the port and warmth from the cinnamon and allspice.I served it with lots of creamy mashed potato and a full bodied fruity red wine.

stew2

The girly-girl better watch out this week. I’ve been to Borough and I have a whole octopus! :twisted:

10 Comments »

  1. ros…..EEEEEEEEEW! how delightfully wonderful! (the stew of course, not the wretched girly girl)i just love some good thumper and bambi, served pretty much any way. this stew looks great ros!

    Comment by amanda — January 19, 2007 @ 8:36 pm

  2. Hi Ros! What a delightfully bad taste post! I love the bambi and thumper picture and moniker! The finished product looks really delicious though!
    Look forward to hearing about the octopus…
    Freya

    Comment by Freya Erickson — January 20, 2007 @ 9:57 am

  3. mmmhh! i wish i could have been there… love venison and can just smell your stew now. AND i am in love with mashed potatoes… wish i could come over right now to have some left-overs ;-)

    Comment by johanna — January 20, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

  4. Thanks Amanda! Bambi and Thumper are really tasty, aren’t they? Soaking them in port makes them even better! 

    Freya, I wish the Bambi and Thumper name idea had been entirely mine, but Kirsten’s Dad beat me to it many years ago. It really did the trick on the girly-girl - I think she’s avoiding me now. I’m resisting the temptation to sit the octopus in the top of their fridge, so when you open the door its right there staring back at you.

    Johanna, if there had been any leftovers we’d have happily had you round to share them. This stew was all gone, which is quite impressive since there was nearly 500g of meat there!

    Comment by ros — January 21, 2007 @ 6:34 pm

  5. Hilarious! Thanks for the entry to Waiter There’s Something…

    Comment by Andrew — January 22, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

  6. ahahahahaha!!! excellent! I think we all feel the same about those idiots who sneer at our food while they wolf down their chicken mcnuggets. Happens to me on almost a daily basis at work! O_O They all think I am an absolute freak the way I eat… and always stare in horror at my leftovers.

    Comment by Lea — January 22, 2007 @ 6:27 pm

  7. Andrew, thanks for hosting the event. It was fun participating.

    Lea - Yeah - they’re all dumb! Actually, I wish they could see what goes into most of the junk food they eat. What, eating liver is disgusting? What the hell do you think went into that hot-dog of yours, idiot? :D

    Comment by ros — January 23, 2007 @ 5:41 pm

  8. BLACKBUSH STEW ask james
    bad childhood memories

    Comment by kirsten — January 23, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

  9. Oh how I love this post. What a funny read. Thanks

    Comment by Sue — January 24, 2007 @ 12:53 am

  10. Congratulations on a wonderful recipe. In my case, this would be better called Bullwinkle stew, since I made it using sirloin and roundsteak moosemeat, hunted, killed quickly and properly hung near Sudbury Ontario, and presented to me as a gift (thank God I didn’t actually have to go and kill it myself). I served it at a dinner party, and it was a huge hit. I couldn’t get the chestnut mushrooms, so used shitaakes. I had never served a meat as dark as moose before, and must admit that I got cold feet the day of the party, and made a backup dish using chicken in a port sauce in case the moose was inedible. I may not have topped up with enough stock, but I found that I did not need to reduce the sauce at the end. The regular cooking process was quite enough to make a thick sauce, to which I added a bit more redcurrant jelly to produce the shine.

    Comment by Naomi (in Canada) — February 25, 2007 @ 5:42 pm

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