A Bun in the Oven – Rabbit with Plums and Port

Michaelmas Daisies, Michaelmas Goose.  Michaelmas Fairs.   Today, 29th September is St Michaels Day or Michaelmas!  Traditionally in the rural calendar this was an important “Quarter Day”.  The day which signified the beginning of Autumn,  when the harvests were supposed to have been all brought in, rents paid and land bought and sold.   Things are a bit different nowadays of course.  Autumn is starting to make its presence felt with fiery reds beginning to light up the countryside and the nights drawing in.   In my garden the michaelmas daisies are in full bloom and pears, apples, quinces, blackberries and plums are all at their best.


As a result of all this bounty, the rabbits and pigeons have  grown plump eating the windfalls and hedgerow berries as well as anything left unprotected in the vegetable garden – with cabbages and lettuces being particular favourites! It’s a perfect time to take advantage of this plumpness and get your own back by eating them.  Sorry if I sound a bit like Mr McGregor here always chasing after Peter Rabbit to put in a pie and obsessed with protecting my plants! Continue reading

Venison Sausage Casserole with Lentils

This is a dish that fits a number of different occasions.  I’d happily serve this up on a weeknight or at a kitchen supper for friends.  It’s special because it uses venison with its deep earthy flavours sweetened with port and red currant jelly yet it is undemanding as it does to its own thing as a one pot wonder when you are rushed for time.

Venison is a wonderful meat and, in sausage form, not expensive. You want to allow at least two sausages per person depending on how fat the sausages are. The ones I used were really plump ones from a butcher but you can get them in slightly skinnier form from most supermarkets –   either way they are delicious

The lentils,  carrots and shallots add to the autumnal flavours as do the aromatic herbs and the spicy gin notes of the juniper berries.  The port and stock that form the sauce round of the dish and make it feel very indulgent and special    This is a dish that packs in maximum flavour for minimum effort! Continue reading

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