Game – A Cookbook by Trish Hilferty – review

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.

cookbook review Game – A Cookbook 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.

Game – A Cookbook: 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.

Game – A Cookbook
Authors: Trish Hilferty and Tom Norrington-Davies
Published by: Absolute Press
Price: £25.00
ISBN 9781906650100


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018