an introduction to game
Featured image credit: Kev Chapman
When we talk about game (with reference to food at least), we mean the meat from wild animals. From venison to pheasant to quail to rabbit. Game might make you think of medieval feasts or elizabethan mealtimes. After all, there are many references to it in Shakespeare’s plays – wild boar featured in Antony and Cleopatra, and there was talk of pigeons at the table in Henry IV. Almost every historical documentary features a banquet of quails and grouse and pheasant, so one can’t be blamed for associating game with times past.
It’s in modern kitchens in recent years though, that game is experiencing a revival. As a meat that’s often better value and has more depth of flavour, some chefs are setting great standards for what a good game dish looks like, and home cooks are beginning to follow suit.
It’s time to get your head in the game (excuse the terrible pun) and we’ve come up three ideas you can choose from to help you get started.
Grilled and Marinated Rabbit
This recipe from Jamie Oliver’s website makes us want to fire up the BBQ tonight. All who know game are in agreement that rabbit just loves woody herbs like rosemary. So this would be just perfect with our rosemary jelly.
Venison Meatball Sub
If you want to be even more adventurous, why not give a venison meatball sub a go? You can pick up venison meatballs from Waitrose (of course) and pair them with our lovely port jelly.
Venison is well known for complementing the flavours of blue cheese, so make sure you pack plenty of that into a sub with your meatballs and jelly.
When it comes to the bread itself for your megagame sandwich, pick a nice plain one to let all those filling flavours sing.
Wild Boar Sausage and Mash
We can’t think of a more sophisticated take on the classic British dinner than this. You can grab some wild boar sausages at Sainsbury’s these days, and make a lovely homemade gravy – just make sure you put a big dollop of beetroot jelly in there.
When it comes to the mash, make sure it’s nice and creamy – perhaps add a cheeky bit of goats cheese too, it’ll go great with the flavour of the boar. If you’ve got the time (and a teaspoon in your mouth to stop you from crying) then caramelising some onions would be a good shout too.
the perfect cheeseboard
As a nation, we love our cheese. According to the British Cheese Board, 98% of British households consume it and we get through around 700,000 tonnes of it every year. It goes without saying, therefore, that the post-dinner cheeseboard is a pretty important ritual on special occasions for most of us.
With that in mind, we want to give you a few top tips to make sure you’re getting the perfect cheese course every time.
It should be a given, but the actual cheese itself must always be the main event. It’s generally recommended that you include three types of cheese:
- firm cheese (like an extra mature cheddar or even a Parmigiano-Reggiano for shaving)
- soft cheese (brie comes to mind, or perhaps a nice soft goat cheese)
- blue cheese (stilton being the obvious choice, but cambozola is a nice mild alternative)
Your options aren’t limited there of course, be as adventurous as you would like, but you’re well on your way to perfection if you ensure that you have at least one from each of the above cheese categories.
Most supermarkets have a glorious range of cheeses nowadays, but it’s hard to beat the quality and variety of those found in delis and specialist cheese shops. If you’re in the Sussex area, check out Cheese Please, there’s a reason it’s so popular.
If you’ve got a favourite cheese shop, let us know on Twitter!
As important as cheese is, it would be pretty lonely out there without a few non-dairy friends to keep it company.
Everyone has a different opinion about the essentials, but we reckon that so long as you have a fruit element, a meat element (provided you’re not vegetarian) and a preserve or jelly or two then you’re sorted. Oh, and crackers of course.
Our beetroot jelly is perfect with a big hunk of cheese, but make sure you save some for dessert – it’s beautiful with chocolate cake too. If you’re not into beets, our much loved port jelly is ideal with a great big slab of creamy stilton.
A good salami is a very, very welcome addition to the board and some grapes or fresh figs wouldn’t go amiss. Your choice of biscuits is very important, check out Thomas J Fudge’s for their luxurious selection.
You can get as serious or as low maintenance as you want here, the choice is all yours. In theory, all you need is a large-ish chopping board, a few plates and some knives and you’re all set.
the perfect summer roast
As makers of delicious jellies, it should come as no surprise that we adore roast dinners. We love our yorkshires, can’t get enough gravy (especially when there’s a tablespoon of port jelly in the mix) and would do almost anything for a roast potato.
That’s why it breaks our heart to see roast dinners fade away during spring and summer. Roast potatoes aren’t just for the depths of winter, and today we’re on a mission to show you how to keep them on the table all year round.
Here are our three top tips on giving your roast a summer twist.
Keep it seasonal
First things first, how do you make sure the food feels summery even though it’s all piping hot? That’s easy, just use seasonal vegetables. These are our summer favourites:
We’re currently slap bang in the middle of asparagus season, and the possibilities with those little green spears are endless. Have you ever tried roasting them? This roasted garlic asparagus recipe would go down a treat at the Sunday table.
Another thing that’s booming throughout summer is broad beans. They may seem humble, but the simple broad bean can bring a lot to the table. Give them an extra bit of oomph by serving a little mint jelly on the side.
Cavalo Nero is our favourite in-season veg for one very simple reason. It’s the best at soaking up gravy. Need we say more?
Remember, you can find out what’s in season all year round with the BBC Good Food seasonality table.
Choose the right meat
That’s the veg taken care of, so it’s time to tackle the main event. The meat in the middle of the table is – for many people – the most important part of a roast dinner.
When summer rolls around, fatty pork and heavy slabs of beef just aren’t what people fancy, and we think that’s probably one of the biggest reasons for beloved roast dinners being so woefully neglected throughout the season.
Instead of opting for red meat, look towards leaner meats like chicken instead. Roast chicken – and the gravy you can make with those juices – is a gorgeous thing to eat alfresco. Don’t forget to stock up on plenty of rosemary jelly, to serve roast chicken without rosemary jelly should really be a criminal offence.
You could even consider ditching the meat altogether. Vegetarian options can be gloriously light and really tasty, like this butternut squash filo pie.
If you cook a roast this Sunday, we’d love to see a picture. Tweet it to @JustJellyUK and we’ll share it with the world!