This week we've been sampling game sausages, sausage rolls and pies sent to us from new food producer Wild and Game. They are a new not-for profit food business aiming to turn us into a nation of game eaters. I'm not sure if there's much converting to do here in East Anglia, where we eat a lot of wild meat, but the game goodies will be available online to pubs, restaurants, small shops and the general public, so great for those that find it hard to visit a decent butcher. "We're keen to make game more prominent in the UK diet", says Steven Frampton, who runs the business with Michael Cannon. Products are supplied frozen and available all year round. Our box arrived on the hottest day of the year, tightly packed in ice, still frozen solid after an overnight delivery. Best of the products we tasted were the sausages, including the pheasant and pear, pheasant and venison and pheasant and white wine. All were a big hit with Mr SuffolkFoodie and notably very good eaten cold the next day. Keep an eye out for their new products. Pheasant Lasagne anyone?
- beautifully packed in ice, arriving frozen
- enormous pasties
- pheasant meat sausage rolls
- 70% meat content sausages
- pheasant and venison sausages
If you go to your local park and pick elderflowers it isn't foraging. If you go to your back garden and pick up some windfall apples, it isn't foraging. If you have a basil plant on your balcony, that isn't foraging either. Foraging for edible wild plants and all the new names for what we used to call weeds is OVER - time to stop.
Near suffolkfoodie hq we have an old airbase where lots of trees planted in the war are still producing fruit, including these lovely plums that we are about to turn into jam. You don't need an airbase to forage to get wild fruit - just look at the side of the road where people have chucked out their apple cores. The cores are now fully grown trees. But professional foraging can cause problems as people strip the contents of everywhere wild. Leave some behind for the future!
...at a secret location near suffolkfoodie hq, but you can only pick the ones that hang over the road or you will get into trouble!
There is an abundance of huge dusky purple sloes in the hedge at my sisters house - bigger than these - they are so big I am not sure if they are sloes or damsons? They have the sloe mouth-puckering taste but am I supposed to wait until there has been a frost to pick them? I dug up some of the artichokes last week because the leaves were yellow and dying - although I know its a bit early - I couldn't wait to look at them as it's the first time I've grown them, they were big and bright white, but had no flavour at all. Apparently they need frost too, I could put them in the freezer...? I have a nearly empty bottle of gin so gather enough sloes to fill it, prick them all over, add sugar and a cheap bottle of gin from Elmswell Co-op and we'll wait and see.
Growing on the grass outside my house - there seem to be lots of fungi around at the moment, is it a good year with this mild damp weather? PS I didn't eat them - I'll be back.
Tasted my sloe gin over Christmas - very nice.
Some people have asked why I don't put bad reviews on here? Because there are too many restaurants serving ordinary or worse food - that's why. I could write something about mediocre food every day - the tiny overcooked overpriced portion of sea bass I had at a Bury hotel, or disgusting local Chinese takeaway or cheese on toast made with sliced white bread topped with a plastic wrapped cheese slice and melted in the microwave - I've had all of these. But I want to celebrate good food and hope that sooner or later you will tell me where it is. If you're not on here it's because I haven't been there or I have, and it isn't any good.
Back to this great restaurant - more expensive now - but where else can you get hare in Suffolk? We should be happy to pay more for good local seasonal food, and this is a new taste for me. The week before I got my son to skin and clean two rabbits after school (We went to see The Road - it's good to know how to fend for yourself...) I cooked them with red wine, bacon, leeks... it's satisfying to eat virtually for free and teach your children how to do it.
GCSE's over for this week, so time to show Danielle how to make elderflower cordial. The flowers are fantastic at the moment and have picked them while the sun is out - as recommended by others. No citric acid though so will add lemon juice and hope for the best, whatever happens this is going to be a lot cheaper then buying it in the shops.
Been out for blackberries after reading that there are about 140 different types out there. The writer lived in London, recommended only picking above waist height (!) and suggested you buy sweeter varieties from a supermarket as the wild ones have to be cooked to be sweet - lol...