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Cookbook review: Game – A Cookbook
Yes, dear reader, I know that your natural inclination is
to scroll on by this review because you will assume this book isn’t for
you. No you are not a vegetarian, but anything called Game is the
reserve of the upper classes, the rich and those who love the taste of
overpoweringly strong meats.
OK, you have read the first paragraph so just stick
with me and be introduced to the true story of Game. There are tales of
horror aplenty but these are mostly myth and prejudice rather than fact.
Broadly, game can be considered animals and fish that are not farmed.
They include animals which are hunted for their meat, and fish which
are caught to eat. They are, by their very nature, free-range and
should therefore have a high culinary profile.
A number of game animals or birds have a bit of a bad press. The
prospect of eating a pigeon will have much of the British population
reeling in repulsion. We are not encouraging you to eat those scraggy
misfits with nasty habits who loiter around inner-city bins. No, rather
the chubby and delightfully flavoured inhabitants of leafy countryside.
Rabbit has long been a ticklish subject. It was more popular decades
ago but the combination of myxomatosis and Watership Down rather put
paid to that. It’s still a meat found in chill counters all over
Europe, where people prefer flavour rather than cartoons.
At last a book with some recipes for squirrels! Yes, they also live in
town but they have a healthy diet of nuts and berries and my bulbs.
They might look cute but consider them as vermin with good PR. Shave
that fluffy tail and what have you got? A rat! Whilst I wouldn’t eat a
rat, a squirrel with a nice life-style would definitely have an
invitation to dinner.
Trish Hilferty and Tom Norrington-Davies have written an amazing book
on all elements of game and the cooking thereof. It’s written with
humour and passion and also common sense. It encourages the reader to
appreciate the finest meat on offer. Game of all kinds can be found at
reasonable prices or free if you know the right people. The recipes
don’t contain lengthy lists of ingredients and the cooking techniques
will hold no terrors.
Every sort of game has its recipes. Wild boar, venison, small game
birds like quail, various fish, and hare are all represented, and Wild
Duck Ham is one of the many must-trys from this tome. This couldn’t be
easier to prepare but it is stunning, festive and unique. This will be
gracing the Christmas evening supper table chez nous, and will probably
make another appearance at New Year.
Pigeon b’stilla is a traditional Moroccan pie. It’s either a savoury
dish that contains sugar and almonds or a sweet dish garnished with
meat, depending on your viewpoint. It sounds bizarre but it works and
is well worth making. It’s rich and exotic and will be a change from
your usual lamb tagine.
Game – A Cookbook should become a classic. It contains not only recipes
for all manner of game but also recipes for the trimmings and
condiments. The book has more than 150 recipes so there’s not much the
authors have overlooked. You’ll be able to cook and present game with
confidence. The flavours are not overpowering but you will, perhaps for
the first time, taste real meat. Flavours that have almost been
forgotten. I am enjoying this book immensely. It would make a fine
Christmas gift for any enthusiastic cook. A good-value stunner.
Cookbook review: Game – A Cookbook
Authors: Trish Hilferty and Tom Norrington-Davies
Published by: Absolute Press