March 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized, Mediterranean, Slow cooked — ros @ 11:09 pm

My food blog has had an unintended side effect since I started work as a teacher. It wasn’t all that suprising that my year 12s found their way to my blog from the maths pages I wrote for them but, how the year 9s discovered this place so quickly, I’ll never know.

I guess that’s the power of Google for you!

My newly acquired year 13 class have also become aware of the site and on occasion will use it as an excuse for avoiding practising statistics questions. The following conversation happened three quarters of the way into a practice lesson at the end of last term.

“So this food site of yours, what’s that about?”

This comment came from a student I’ll refer to as J. He is a confident lad who, on occasion, has succesfully confused me by switching places with his identical twin brother and who isn’t easily persuaded to get down to work. However, the Highgate maths department handbook had taught me the exact  phrase to use in this situation. Pity it never works.

“I don’t think my blog has anything to do with Binomial Hypothesis Testing.” 

As expected, J ignored my attempt to redirect him back to his work. “Are we ever going to try your cooking?”

“No, the school hasn’t got a kitchen. Otherwise I’d be running ‘Cooking at Univeristy’ courses for you lot.”
“You could bring us a cake?”
” I don’t do cake!”
“Or a casserole?”
“Get on with the worksheet, J!”
“But I can do all these questions, Miss.”
“J, you’re in Set 6*. The only reason you aren’t in Set 7 is beause we don’t have enough staff free to teach seven year 13 groups now. You need all the practice you can get.” At this, J started writing again. Around 30 seconds later, he’d given up.
“What’s your favourite restaurant?”

As I considered reaching for my book of detention slips, another student piped up.

“Is it Claridges?”
“Pah, Claridges!” said J.  ”It’s OK, but I’ve been to better places.”
I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow to this. With my political ideologies quite firmly rooted in the right, I’d never believed in the term ‘overpriveledged’ before. However, as someone whose most distinguished treat as a child was a trip to the local Harvester, some of the boys at school were making me wonder.

“What’s your cooking speciality, Miss?”

This question came from the hard working member of this small group. At this point I conceded that no more work was going to get done that lesson and gave in. But what to answer?

“Well…. I suppose…. game …probably. ”

” Game, what’s that?”

Poor boy. What a thing to ask. When I was 18 in my own maths class, this would have been a perfectly reasonable question. However it seems that at Highgate, if you haven’t eaten game, you haven’t lived. The young lad was subject to a short torrent of abuse and a projectile pen.

Oddy enough though, the other five in the class couldn’t quite define game themselves other than to say “It’s like pheasant and stuff.” I would have said game is any wild animal that is eaten as food, but the definition is slightly wider.

“Game is any animal hunted for food or not normally domesticated (such as venison). Game animals are also hunted for sport.” (Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge)

So, for the young man in question, this is some game.


Here is some game that I’m going to cook.

Here it is after preparation for cooking.

skinned rabbit

here is what you can make with it….

rabbit braised with red wine and olives

and here is how you do it. 

Rabbit Braised with Red Wine, Tomatoes and Olives 


  • 1 wild rabbit, cleaned and jointed
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • half a bottle good quality red wine
  • 20 black pitted olives, chopped in half
  • 1 large onon, ffinely diced
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 level tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Rough Method

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 2-3. 
  2. Brown the rabbit pieces on all sides. Place in a casserole dish that fits them snugly.
  3. Sweat the onions and garlic with the oregano in the olive oil until soft.
  4. Add the tomatoes, red wine, puree and olives. Stir well and bring to a gentle boil.
  5. One the mixture has reduced to a thick sauce, stir in  half the basil.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Pour the sauce over the rabbit pieces and place in the oven.
  8. After three hours the rabbit should be tender. Pour the sauce off into a wide saucepan and bring it to a bubble to reduce it. At this stage you can adjust the ingredients to taste as much a you like.
  9. Stir in the remaining basil.
  10. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve the rabbit with the sauce poured over it with some soft polenta with parmesan or, if you’d run out like me, with some penne tossed in parmesan and parsley.


* We set by ability with 1 being the highest.


  1. It seems to me that you ARE teaching cooking, as so many of your pupils are reading the blog - great to have the two pictures of rabbit.

    Lovely casserole, too


    Comment by Joanna — March 31, 2008 @ 10:21 am

  2. Count yourself lucky to be up the hill. Down here in Hackney it would be nothing unusual for a 13-year-old to say “I’m game if you are, Miss”.

    Comment by Mike — April 1, 2008 @ 9:07 am

  3. As a previous sous chef at Claridges I’m sure I couldn’t agree…..

    Nice rabbit dish by the way.

    Comment by James — April 1, 2008 @ 11:02 am

  4. Hey Ros,

    I’ve never cooked with rabbit. Having kept rabbits as a child it always scared me somewhat to have to chop one up - maybe I’ll get a ready-jointed one from the butchers as your dish looks delicious.

    I’ve started a blog. It’s less than a week old, but here it is anyway I’ve linked yours on it, hope you don’t mind.

    Comment by Schmoof — April 2, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

  5. Binomial Hypothesis Testing? That sounds scary but then I had to resit my Maths GCSE having failed it the first time :(

    This looks good, we’ve only cooked rabbit once but I’d like to cook it more often because I really enjoyed it.

    Comment by Ginger — April 2, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  6. Hi Joanna,. If only they were learning something from the posts! I get the feeling that a lot of them don’t even look at what I’m writing and just try and post silly comments.

    Hi Mike. Atually one of the 13 year olds did attempt to post something along those lines a while back. Fortunately there aren’t many like him around on the hill.

    Welcome to the site, James. Now, who are you disagreeing with? My student for dissing Clridges or me for calling him overpriveledged for dissing Claridges? ;)

    Hi Schmoof, I thoroughly recommend rabbit but I’ve found that some butchers will really rip you off. I know you aren’t a great Borough fan but, if you happen to near there on a Friday, Wyndham House Poultry sell jointed rabbits for £4. My butcher sells them for £6! I can’t fault them in any other way but £6 for wild rabbit! Eeek!

    Hi Ginger, I think wild rabbit is a great. It’s tasty, cheap and ethically sound. If you do decide to give rabbit another go, one thing to be wary of is whether you’re buying wild or farmed bunnies. In my opinion, wild is far superior but farmed cook much more quickly.

    Comment by ros — April 3, 2008 @ 9:34 pm

  7. There was a time (probably when I was at school!!) when I was all “oooh, I would NEVER eat Thumper!!”. But I’m all better now. Bring on the bunny! ;-)

    And isn’t it amazing the lengths students will go to NOT to talk about work?? In my 8 years as a lecturer I experienced every diversionary tactic in the book!

    Comment by Jeanne — May 24, 2008 @ 11:38 pm

  8. Hi. Your cuisines are quite extraordinary for a girl like me who likes cooking in general but don’t cook well as professionals. It was somehow hilarious reading this particular blog after reading a blog before this, talking about people’s reactions/critics by posting a lovely bunny pic. haha Sure all those bunnies are cute! I never had a bunny by the way, and have a bitter memory experience eating farmed ostrich in Japan (Yes in Japan) so I’m not sure about the whole gamey meat thing… I’ve learned many people can be a fond of that once they have them in mouths. Maybe I should try rabbit dishes whereever available. Wonder if I can eat it in the US? Please keep up with the good work!

    Comment by Constance — October 5, 2009 @ 3:48 am

  9. Hi, this is “J” from your maths class. Just wanted to let you know that claridges is still average!

    P.S my statistics is amazing now (Warwick Econ masters, I guess set 6 wasn’t too bad for me!!)


    Comment by J — July 27, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

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