The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Steamed game suet pudding

I was rummaging around in my deep freeze and came across some of  last seasons game, a pheasant and some diced hare (it had been too badly broken to do much else with it).

I had been parceling up some beef suet to send off to someone and it hit me straight away, it was cold and damp out so PING, it hit me like a shot, a nice game pudding.

You will require some diced game, anything will do, hare, rabbit, venison, wild boar, pheasant, partridge, pigeon, as it doesn't have to be pretty or young and it is going to be steamed long and slow, this is a perfect dish for broken and game past its prime. In fact older game has a much deeper (stronger) taste.

For the filling:

1 pheasant deboned and diced
1 hare deboned and diced
(use the bones for the stock)
game spices
salt and pepper
1/2 glass of red wine
1/2 glass of port
Worcestershire sauce
1 large onion sliced
100g of sliced mushrooms
50g of speck

For the stock:

game carcass or bones (anything you can lay your hands on)
a bunch of root vegetables
10 black pepper corns
5 crushed juniper berries
5 pimento (all spice) berries
1/2 a lemon
a couple of bay leaves
a spoonful of herb de Provence

For the suet pastry:

100g Beef suet
225g Flour
(you would normally use SR flour, but here in Germany you cannot get it)
so add 1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tea spoon of salt
1 tea spoon of dried ground rosemary
150ml cold water

debone your pheasant and hare (or any other game that you are able to lay your hands on), remove any shot, feathers, bone or fur that has been carried into the carcass with the shot.
The carcass after removing the breast and leg meat, if it is an old bird you will have to pull the leg tendons, also remove any shot and feathers that have been taken into the meat (this is what is lying to the lower left of the carcass.
The carcass and root vegetables etc for the game stock
Top up with water  and simmer gently for a few hours.

Dice and mix with the game spices and a desert spoon of flour, add the red wine and port. Set to one side to marinate (overnight in a cool fridge if you have the time).

Fry the speck. onions and mushrooms until all the liquid has dissipated, set to one side to cool.

Next make your pastry.
Mix all the dry ingredients together add the water slowly, it should be firm and not sticky, flour your work surface and roll out into a circle, cut out 1/4 (this will roll out for the lid). push the other piece into the pudding basin and join the slit side together with a little water and pressing it it. Leave the sides higher than the basin sides. Starting with a layer of game, then a layer of onion mushroom mixture, then a layer of game etc, etc. salt, pepper and season after each game layer adding a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce. When the basin is packed full, top up with some of the game stock. Roll out the top, place it inside of the outer pastry and need the seam together (it doesn't have to be pretty) cut out a piece of grease proof paper, butter one side and lay that on the top.Take a piece of aluminium foil, fold a pleat in it and place it over the grease proof paper tying it in place around the pudding basin rim with kitchen string. place the whole lot into a muslin cloth and tie at the top.

Put this into a double boiler, steamer or a pan with a tivit on the bottom. Steam for at least 4 hours, mine was done for 5. keep topping up with boiling water. A tip that I learned from my mother, put a glass mable into the pan, if the water gets too low it starts to jump about making quite a din, you know it is time to top up with water.

 Remove the cloth, the foil and the grease proof paper and you should have something that resembles this

Cut it open and enjoy the rich aromas as they rise from the pud.

Serve with red cabbage, potato dumplings and Brussels sprouts, I made extra gravy using the game stock for serving with the pud and pouring over the dumplings (dumplings with game gravy are great all by themselves).

Cheers and not a bad Sunday lunch with the left overs from last years Christmas hunt

Red Deer shanks (Rot Hirsch steltzen)

I managed to crowbar the shanks from my mate who had shot a nice 2 year old stag a few days ago (he had no choice I had my carrier out of my pocket in a flash) and they where gone, disappeared, vanished, I managed to magic them back though when I got home! He needed my help to skin and butcher it, so fair dues. Thanks mate.

I put 2 of them in the freezer for a rainy day (I do hope it rains soon as MY freezer is full), the other two I dusted all over in my dry spice herbs and sealed into a plastic container. These I left for 3 days, then took them with me up to Kiel.

This was done in the Slow cooker but can also be done in the oven at a low heat.

You will need for the slow cooked deer shanks:

Game spices, rub well into the shanks (see my recipe or buy ready ground) and left in a cool place for a couple of days

1 glass of red wine added to the shanks 24 hours prior to cooking.

with a small handful of freeze dried root vegetables

A few small onions chopped
3 cloves of garlic crushed and diced
1 sprig of thyme
a few leaves of sage
some sprigs of rosemary
1 bunch of soup vegetables consisting of, a couple of carrots, a piece of celeriac, white of a leek, a bunch of parsley including stalks
Some good stock ( we had some nice lamb stock in the freezer)
10 crushed pepper corns.
teaspoon of course salt
100g  of speck or fatty smoked bacon

Dice the veg quite small, put in the bottom of the Slow cooker, fry the onions and speck add to SC, then  add the shanks,the garlic and the wine marinade, add the stock.

Add the fresh herbs, peppercorns and salt

Pop on the lid set on high for an hour turn down low and go and do the shopping at the market or watch Saturday kitchen. Leave the shanks for about 5 hours on low to do their thing.

I had some nice fresh Bavarian semmel knödeln, a finished product,  cooking at a slow rolling boil

we had bought some fresh red cabbage at the market, to this was added a glass of red wine a small schnapps glass of raspberry vinegar, a tea spoon of whole cumin seeds, salt and pepper to taste

Remove the shanks from the SC and strain the liquid through a funnel sieve, pushing the veg well down to remove all of the goodness and taste! boil this up in a small sauce pan, with some dried rosemary needles a desert spoonful of blackberry and sloe jelly (or any other jelly like black current of black cherry, I have even added orange marmalade), reduce until it coats the back of a spoon.

We had bought some chanterelles and brown mushrooms at the market, these fried together with a bit of speck and a chopped shallot in a little olive oil made a nice accompaniment. Just in case there was a chance that we would be hungry we done some buttery potato and turnip mash.

The shanks and sauce
Red cabbage, wild mushrooms, semmel knödeln, potato and turnip (swede) mash

The finished meal

Spaghetti Vongole

I was running a little late on my way up to Kiel on Friday (2 hour tail back), but on getting a text message from Linda telling me she wouldn't be home before 19:00, I decided to take a time out just before Kiel in the Citti mark complex and get something to cook for a surprise. In Citti is the famous Gosch (a fish restaurant and purveyor) of Sylt, I headed straight for the fish stand and saw that they had the nets of Vongole, I bought one, then saw that they had pre-cooked peeled tiger prawns, I bought a few of these, then purchased a small jar of fish fond and some bronze die produced spaghetti. I headed for home (Linda's that is) and upon arriving discovered that she was already home and was cooking steak, ahh well the vongole will keep until Saturday lunch (Evening meal was to be Red Deer shanks, but more of that later).

So my ingredients for Vongole a la Ostsee:

1 net of  Vongole
1 shallot
a small amount of diced smoked ham
1 clove of garlic
3 or 4 chestnut mushrooms (thinly sliced)
300ml of fish fond
good slug of Noilly Prat
2 portions of Best quality Spaghetti
2 table spoons of neutral oil
200ml creme double
200g shelled cooked tiger prawns
chopped parsley

Wash the vongole under running water and discard any broken ones.
Set a pot with plenty of salted water on to boil. When it starts boil add the spaghetti.

In another large pan heat the oil, add the diced smoked ham (or bacon) when it starts to sizzle add the finely diced garlic, shallot and the sliced mushrooms, fry until the shallot is translucent.

Add the fish fond and the noilly prat.

Now add the vongole, shake them about, put the top on the pan shake them again. 

Have a look and if they are open, it only takes a couple of minutes, add the creme double.

The spaghetti should now be done (still a la dent) drain in a colander, sprinkle with a bit of olive oil, give it a few turns of pepper and add to the vongole and prawns. Add the chopped parsley.

A quick and very tasty lunch or for a few less hungry a nice starter.

The Maghera inn

I don't know if any of you know about this little jewel in the crown of Ulster. It nestles at the foot of the Mourn Mountains and is in the town of Castlewellen.

I was invited along to help celebrate the 90th Birthday of Bob the father of Linda. We had a wonderful evening with as they say in those parts loads of "Gud Craic"

I found the atmosphere on arrival everything one would expect of a small Irish pub, warm, welcoming and cosy! (in German one calls this gemütlich) It is an old wayside inn with an annex that has been stylishly added and in keeping with the rest of the pub ambiance.

They had sited us in the annex alongside of the window, on a long table with plenty of space (no one was cramped and wing space was ample I do hate it when you are crammed into a space that was meant for a 6 stone soaking wetter (I am ample in size).

I enjoy my food and travel a lot, spending much of my well earned food allowance in restaurants and bistros, some very much up market 4 star , some, just nice friendly pubs with more or less bistro style food.

We got ourselves seated and almost at once a drink /wine list appeared. We are all wine drinkers, some white and some red, we ordered a very nice Australian Sherah and a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. Without asking 2 pitchers of iced water appeared on to the table, a very rare event in most restaurants that I visit in the UK.

The dinner menu was produced and also the daily blackboard “specials”. It is a very nice small none fiddly selection. With I believe had something for everyone (I think that a large menu in a small venue like this shows pre-cooking, freezing and re-heating).

I selected confit of duck leg on stir fried veg and parsnip puree for my starter

Linda had the seared scallops, black pudding, squash puree and pancetta crisp.

Across from us one of the other diners (Linda's Brother in Law, Roy) had chosen the soup of the day and the rest chose medley of other treats from the starter menu.

My duck was wonderfully soft, I believe that a sign of a good confit is if the bones are completely clean, no attached meat or skin left after the meal, the stir fry and parsnip puree went very well with the confit. All was perfectly seasoned and presented. I would question the bit of art decor parsnip trail, a portion set to one side would have looked better

My Partners scallop starter got her seal of approval, I know this by the quantity of oo’s and ah’s she was giving (a far better criteria than any Michelin star)

For the mains I chose seared sea bass with lemon herb butter on a bed of wilted Swiss chard with bacon and Dauphinois potatoes.

The bass was just perfect, still translucent, with a crispy skin, the two fillets made a perfect portion. The shredded sautéed Swiss chard and bacon was wonderful, the Dauphinois was creamy, soft and flavoursome. My only observation would be the quenelle of lemon/herb butter was far too large, instead of being the size of a turkeys egg, a pigeons would have sufficed. (If you look carefully you will see that I had nicked a few of Bob's chips that went with his steak).

Linda had local venison steak, with I believe a red damson sauce, scalloped potatoes and seasonal vegetable, the steak was cooked to her taste and she said it was perfect medium rare. (I am a still moving and just knock it’s antlers off, so it looked a little to medium for my taste)

Across from us had the free range duck breast, the waitress on taking the orders had pointed out that the chef cooked it pink unless otherwise instructed, the diner said he liked his well done (Well no accounting for taste). It came and I asked him how it was and he said perfect, this to me shows a chef that is interested in his diners not his ego.

I am diabetic so missed out the pud, but there was a large selection of them on offer and all that precipitated certainly licked their lips afterwards.

The pub had been asked if it would be ok to bring our own cake, they had no problem with this and even brought it out with great ceremony, to the strains of happy birthday from the three piece,

Bob had been a Matelot during the 2nd World War serving on North Atlantic convoys, a photograph had been superimposed onto the top of the cake and it was such a fitting end to a fine meal.

Bob cutting the cake (I'm sure he would have preferred splicing the main brace)

The evening was rounded off with a spot of live music, a 3 piece folk band playing all the good old sing-a-longs, they even got quite a few up dancing; ahem I don’t do dancing so I participated in the watching

Of our party of nine everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable evening with wonderful food, no one faulted the food and said we shall return. I think that when next I am across (Christmas) I would like to try the Sunday Lunch, this looks very interesting indeed.

The wonderful "Olde Worlde" bar

For me the food was at the top of the range for pub/restaurant food, it doesn’t pretend to be top end starred dining. It is what it is and makes no pretensions.

Thanks for a wonderful evening, I shall return.