Monday, 29 October 2007

Bitsa Blog

This is going to be a bitsa blog, 'cos it's so long since I've had a chance to post anything, there are several unconnected topics I'd like to write about.

One such is that I ordered some interesting wine from the Wine Society the other week, and it was delivered last Thursday. There was some stuff on special offer, but it didn't add up to the minimum requirements to qualify for free delivery (either a case of 12 bottles or total value £75 or more), so I poked around in the catalogue to see if there was anything to justify lashing out.

To my surprise I found several unusual wines which persuaded me it was worth it, so my case included a Moroccan shiraz, a Lebanese red (not Ch. Musar) and a Greek red. I've tried the Moroccan, and it really is rather nice. I'd not expected anything other than paint stripper from Morocco, so it was a surprise to see it in the Society's lists. Not surprised, given it was there, that it was worth the effort. Haven't tried the others yet.

And an unexpected bonus was to find my case was a case of 15 bottles. Members ordering between early Oct. and some time in Nov. get three free bottles of rosé, for no obvious reason. There was a leaflet explaining it, but I didn't spend long reading it.

On Saturday we decided we really had to try the squirrels I got last week, and thought initially of doing a coq au vin but with squirrel. Mopsa had convinced me of the need to cook and debone them first (she ate one in January and described it as similar to eating a Pirelli!), and I thought we were all set. Then Jenny found a recipe for a mediæval 'grete pie'. Our book prints the original recipe and a modern equivalent, so we followed that.

The recipe uses minced beef along with whatever game you feel like putting in (we used pigeon breasts as well as the squirrel), plus chopped dates, currants and prunes. Assembled with some gravy in shortcrust pastry it was simply delicious, particularly with fried bubble and squeak potato cakes . And I'm delighted to say it was twice as big as we needed, so we'll have the rest for dinner tomorrow night.

Yesterday afternoon Jenny finally decided her ring finger had healed enough to try putting on her wedding ring. I had to finish all the tidying up I'd started because of course, once on, it was likely to stay on, so I sorted the rough edges out and gave it a good polish (bench grinder with polishing mop attached) so it looked pretty much like new. Of course, having had the thickness of a saw blade removed by the hospital, it was actually smaller than before, so I had to hammer it on a ring mandrell (long, tapered steel tool clamped in a vice) to stretch it a little. When we thought it was big enough I was getting ready to file off the hammer marks, sand it with fine grade wet and dry and then polish it again, but Jenny decided she rather liked the hammered finish, so slipped it on and that is how it is.

Then last night we had Lorna, Richard and Jane around for dinner and served the meat-eaters crown roast guard of honour of muntjac. (Aside: this was one of the reasons I was so cross when they butchered the muntjac I bought last weekend - they either just threw the whole ribcage away or stripped the meat out and added it to the 'diced venison' they gave me. So it'll be months and months before we can do this again. Grr!) Richard had a skate wing fried in butter. Served with roasted and new potatoes, carrots from the garden and steamed cauliflower. Preceded by garlic mushrooms and followed by Mopsa's clafoutis (this is in a Mopsa comment in Mutterings and Meanderings). Yum. Oh yes, we started with one of the free rosés, then the muntjac was accompanied by Klein Constantia (South Africa) Marlbrook and a really nice Argentinian red that Jane brought. I started to lose track by the time we hit Lorna and Richard's bottle! Fortunately, the clocks having gone back, we were all ready for bed pretty early, so it wasn't too hard to get up this morning!


ArcticFox said...
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ArcticFox said...

Sounds like you all had a right good slurp!! Reminds me of the old Beano, classic story endings, when someone gets a pound note as a reward for something:

"slurp, now for a slap up feed!!"

My only encounter with a muntjac, was checking out of a stately home in Aylesbury, after a particularly heavy night (where I gladly paid their extortionate price of sixteen quid for a bacardi and coke.... several times.... and a lot more besides.... and we stole some petit fours off a guy who looked alarmingly like Saddam Hussein) when I felt inclined to sign their guestbook........ I wrote:

What were those strange pig/deer things running about on the lawn?

The poor girl leaned quietly across the reception desk into a toxic cloud of hangover alcoholic fumes, and croaked: "they were muntjac deer sir"!!!!

You live and learn.....