Wednesday, January 13, 2010


New Year's Resolution Time.

I usually work my way around this one very well. My annual motto is TAKE UP, don't give up. It's much easier this way and has a rather virtuous ring to it I think.
My favourite one this year is verging on experimental, and may force me to give up more than I take up... I want to step outside the box, I want to explore the new, I want to make my tastebuds tingle. For 52 weeks, I aim to buy something new to fill the kitchen store cupboard, so that when it's just a few grains of rice and some shriveled peas left, there will always be something to make it interesting.

This week, I have bought something for my Last Supper's second course.

Again, taking inspiration from the comment board, I drove three treacherous miles through melted snow and cold rain to buy two small, dark, succulent pigeon breasts from the local farm shop. These delicate morsels had never found their way into my stomach so it was about time that they did.
Mrs Beeton, who has a wonderful selection of pigeon sketches and recipes in her book 'Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management', says good things about these wee feathered creatures, and after last night's supper, I have to agree with her:

'Their flesh is accounted savoury, delicate, and stimulating, and the dark-coloured birds are considered to have the highest flavour'.

So I'd like to introduce, without further ado,

pigeon breast wrapped in bacon served with dauphinoise potatoes and 2 1/2 hour red cabbage.

Taking example from Islamack's suggestion, I think this one is a corker. Lots of rich colours and deep flavours. The sweetness of the cabbage complements the gamey pigeon, and the creamy potatoes are mouthwateringly good.

I love this ensemble: You can prepare the veg, stick them in the oven, leave them for a couple of hours and then come back last minute, perhaps at the end of the starter, to finish the pigeon.


1kg red cabbage
2 red onions,finely chopped
2 apples, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
heaped teaspoon of Quatre Espice
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
3 tablespoons white wine/red wine vinegar 15g butter
salt and pepper.

This is so hassle free - just prepare all the ingredients and throw them in a casserole and leave to sweat for 2 to 2 1/2 hours at 150˚C so that the cabbage is soft and the flavours have all infused. It becomes the most beautiful bright purple colour and the aroma is fantastic.



3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
30g butter
1.5kg potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
300ml creme fraiche
600ml double cream
salt and pepper

Gently melt the butter and garlic in a saucepan on a very low heat. You don't want the garlic to brown but just release its flavour into the butter. Grease a large oven proof dish. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes and layer them into the dish. Mix the cream and creme fraiche together and stir in the cream mixture, adding salt and pepper, and perhaps nutmeg if desired. Pour over the layered potatoes and put into the overn at 200˚C for 1 1/2 hours. When done the potatoes should be soft and the top crispy and brown.


8 fresh pigeon breasts (or 16 if you want to serve two each)
8-16 rashers of bacon
tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper
tin foil

Twenty minutes before the potatoes and cabbage are due to come out, put a frying pan with olive oil on to a high heat. When the oil is very hot, place the breasts in around the edge of the pan so they all cook equally, making a note of the one you put in first. Flash fry for a minute on each side, then remove from the pan. Now, wrap each breast in bacon, before putting it onto tin foil. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap the breast in tin foil. Place in the oven with the potatoes and cook for 10-15 minutes. Check them to see how fast they are cooking. The end result should be pink and tender, so that it almost melts in the mouth, and the bacon cooked through.


We put a little of The Garlic Farm's Rhubarb and Pear Chutney which went very well with everything on the plate.

A delicious meal - and an ingredient I will definitely take up again in the future.

Bon appetit!

...I'm heading to Somerset for the weekend, where I shall be mulling over my Pudding choice so, while you digest, prepare yourselves for a fabulous third course!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I have found your blog via cabbage competition. :) I hope my recipe will be on soon. Meanwhile I will have a look here, because it looks like a nice, cosy place. :) All the best!