February 20, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 3:19 pm

I’m afraid that, when it comes to cookery books, I can be a bit of a cheap student. Most of my (now rather large) collection was found in the ‘reduced’ section at Borders. The exceptions are Ramsay’s secrets and a couple of Nigel Slater books.

The most inspirational of my bargain finds is a book called ‘On the Grill’ by Matthew Drennan. Whilst this book is dominated by barbeque recipes,  and hence not appropriate for my measly selection of kitchen equipment, some of the ideas for flavours are great. One recipe particularly caught my eye for rabbit that is marinated in red wine,  then barbequed and served with a dried fig and prune chutney.

I couldn’t (and possibly wouldn’t) follow the recipe exactly, but I wanted to try an adapted version. Drennan’s recipe involved a farmed rabbit, as a wild one would be very tough when barbequed. Since wild rabbits are much easier to come across around here, I got one of those. I thought I’d marinate my bunny in red wine as he suggested but then braise it gently in the marinade instead of grilling.

A thought struck me as I constructed my marinade. The chutney Drennan involved prunes. Now what did I have lying around that tasted more than a little bit prune-like…..?

Gordon's Sloe Gin

So a very generous splash was added to the red wine along with rosemary and thyme and, after roughly 12 hours of marinating, the rabbit was cooked at 140C for three hours. 

Although Drennan’s recipe called for dried figs, I much prefer fresh ones and I could easily get my hands on some from the small Iranian grocery store near High Street Kensington. The chutney style thing I turned them into was somewhat improvised. It involved lightly caramelised  diced onion, chopped figs, honey, cinnamon and another splash of the ‘prune gin.’


The rabbit, which had turned an rich burgundy colour was served up with creamy mash and green beans. The deep red wine and ‘prune’ flavours had permeated the meat really well and went nicely with the fig accompaniment.  Admittedly something like saffron rice  probably would have suited this better than mash but, hey, we had potatoes to use up and Goon fancied mash.

There are plenty of other great ideas to try in the book. The next one to appear here will probably be saffron and orange chicken.


  1. Yay for me for guessing the beans! Actually, it wasn’t such a stretch…my husband puts together the oddest things in the kitchen too!
    Love the idea of the Sloe Gin (you do know that sloes aren’t prunes though??)and the fig chutney sounds yummy! I would have gone for mash too. I would always choose mash. I’ve never eaten rabbit, is it much like chicken?

    Comment by Freya — February 20, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

  2. Yes, I know sloes aren’t prunes.I’m convinced that sloe gin is really made with prunes though! It tastes so prune-like!

    I guess that farmed rabbits taste a bit like chicken in the sense that neither they, nor non-free range chicken, taste of much at all. Wild rabbits taste quite different to chicken. They’ve got a kind of grassy, gamey flavour and can be pretty tough unless you either cut them up into little bits to eat, or braise them slowly.

    Comment by ros — February 20, 2007 @ 4:46 pm

  3. Well done Freya..

    Ros - is Matthew Drennan the guy who is/was (acting?) editor of Delicious? Interesting. The recipe from him you cooked (with the sloe gin substitution!!) looked divine. I should say that a neighbour years ago gave me some homemade sloe gin; it was v sweet (don’t know if it’s meant to be!!!) but I said I liked it to be polite. She then presented me with a bottle full, which my friends and I proceeded to drink (we were students, in our defence…).

    I like rabbit - my grandmother is my rabbit supplier. She gets them from her little brother, who’s a gamekeeper…

    Oh, and I’ve found your meme. I’m going to tackle it tomorrow! I’ve never been tagged before, which is making me rather unnecessarily excited!


    Comment by Kathryn — February 20, 2007 @ 11:03 pm

  4. Wow, the bunny looks delicious, and the mash and veg too. Now I’m hungry.

    Comment by Vanessa — February 20, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

  5. Kathryn, I had no idea Matthew Drennan was the editor of Delicious but I’m now sure it is the same person. I hadn’t heard of him at all when I picked up the book. It looks like both comments you posted came through in the end.

    Vanessa, it’s about time I got my own back. Your blog always makes me hungry.

    Comment by ros — February 23, 2007 @ 2:46 pm

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