Venison Casserole

A rich casserole – further enhanced by the addition of dumplings. Perfect for a slow cooker / Aga.

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Ingredients:

500 g venison – diced into bite sized chunks                           Olive oil for frying

1 large onion – coarsely chopped

2 carrots peeled and chopped

2/3 tbsp plain flour (I use gluten-free)

2/3 tbsp redcurrant sauce / jelly (cranberry tastes equally as good)

Red wine – 1 cup full

Water

Method:

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Fry the onions and venison for a couple of minutes to soften the onions and seal the meat

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Add chopped carrots

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Add flour and stir thoroughly

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Add wine, redcurrant jelly / sauce and sufficient water to cover the ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once all ingredients are in the pan pop the lid on and put in the oven and cook on a low heat for a couple of hours  – the longer the better (I leave it in the bottom oven of the Aga all day). One hour before serving increase the temperature of the oven to Gas Mark 5 / 180 C and then after half an hour remove the lid (and add the dumplings) to allow the gravy to thicken.

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Chilli with a hint of chocolate 

On a cold evening nothing warms me through like a steaming bowl of chilli. It can be made really quickly, freezes well, tastes even better on the second warm up and fills the house with wonderful aromas.  I always add chocolate to my chilli dishes….the Aztecs were on to something 🙂

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil                 1 large onion – chopped             500 g lean mince

400 g can chopped tomatoes    410 g can red kidney beans – washed and drained

1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder     1 tsp paprika    1 tsp ground cumin

5 squares of dark chocolate

Method:

Heat the oil in a large oven proof pan. Add the onions and cook until soft.  Add the mince and stir untill browned. Add the tomatoes, kidney beans and spices and stir thoroughly. If the mixture seems dry add half a tin of water. Before putting the chilli into the oven to finish cooking add the chocolate  and stir until melted.

Serve with rice and a bowl of melted cheese laden tortilla crisps.

Is 3 the magic number?

The other day I fancied a super speedy breakfast – in truth I couldn’t be bothered to put much effort in! So, 3 minutes later I was chomping on a piece of gluten-free toast slathered (such an onomatopoeic word) in crunchy peanut butter and topped with slices of banana.Delicious.IMG_20160812_100340My caption within my IG post stated, ‘Two’s company but in this case three is definitely not a crowd.’ This got me thinking… I often eat a combination of 3 flavours without thinking about it.

This morning I had a kefir, coconut and maca smoothie. Yesterday’s lunch for my hubby – quail eggs and bacon on gf toast. The day before…avocado, scrambled eggs and oatcakes.  Don’t worry I’m not going to list all my meals over the last month. But, when I look back over my IG account over 50% (always like a statistic) of my meals are a 3 flavour combination.

I started to think about old childhood favourites …fish, chips and mushy peas, beans on toast with grated cheese on top…ooh…choux pastry, cream (i.e. profiteroles) and chocolate sauce.

I have just looked up from typing at my cookbook selection and there on the shelves is Three Good Things by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Not sure whether I feel a challenge coming on…would I have to count spices and seasoning as one of my three?

Another winning combination – smoked salmon, lemon juice and bread. Must stop||

It does make me wonder though how much we complicate things – do we need to combine so many flavours in one dish or do we actually savour simple, more?

Love to know your thoughts and your favourite combinations of 3.

 

 

 

 

Pork and apricot casserole

This is a recipe I have made for years but more recently seem to have forgotten how wonderfully well the flavours go together. Having dug around in the freezer during an ‘eat from the freezer’ week (is it only our house or does everyone have a freezer purge / food amnesty once in a while?) I located four pork loin chops. I love making a casserole – very little preparation and the Aga does the rest. An ideal dish for a slow cooker.

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Sometimes I put an assortment of ingredients in to a casserole and then serve with simple vegetables. This casserole lends itself to simplicity – 3 flavours: onions, pork and apricots. It is then scrumptious with roast potatoes, honeyed carrots etc.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 large white onion  – finely diced

4 pork loin steaks – cut in to large pieces

1 large tin of apricots or 6-8 dried apricots cut in to chunks

Gluten free plain flour        Olive oil – 1 tbsp    Water

Salt and pepper to season

Method:

Heat the oil in a pan and soften the onions. Add the pork steaks and seal both sides. Add a couple of tbsp of flour and mix well. Slowly add water, stirring continuously until a thin gravy is created. Add the apricots and seasoning. Ensure the steaks are covered in liquid. Cover and place in the oven on a low heat for a couple of hours or until the pork is tender.

This dish also works well with prunes instead of apricots.

Beef burgers

Nothing beats out-door cooked food in my mind. We may have erratic and unpredictable weather in this country (UK) but we need very little persuading to fire up a barbecue at the merest hint of a blue sky.

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If my family want to eat a burger when we have a barbecue, I don’t have a problem with this as long as I make them from scratch so I know exactly what is in them.

Makes 9 / 10 burgers

Ingredients:

750 g prime beef mince ideally sourced locally

1 large white onion  – chopped finely       2 cloves of garlic – chopped finely

3 slices of green jalapeno pickled pepper – chopped finely

3 slices of red jalapeno pickled pepper – chopped finely

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a large mixing bowl and combine all the ingredients thoroughly.

Using damp hands form in to burger patties.

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Cover and place in the fridge for about 45 minutes. Prior to placing on the barbecue, pan fry to seal both sides.

Serve with a cranberry salsa (recipe on blog)