Friday, 16 November 2012

Gorgeous Pheasant with Creamy fennel bake and apple matchstick salad and Apple pepper pot cake


I am sorry it has been so long but I have a terrible cold at the moment and didn't feel at all like going on the computer for at least 4 days which is highly unusual for me.

Last Friday I gave another Jamie Oliver charity dinner to help Jubilee Romania. It wasn't such strenuous work this time and I had as guests Pam, Trisha, Barbara and my mother in law Heather.

I prepared 3 pheasants as the Jamie Oliver recipe, this was served with potato and fennel gratin and an apple and cress salad.

I started in the morning by preparing dessert, which was an apple pepper pot cake.

I cut the apples with an apple slicer from Ikea that really works very well, put them in a large shallow pan with molasses, sugar, butter, spices to cook for a few minutes in the delicious syrup. Then I mixed the batter in my new Kitchenaid artisan mixer. This batter is made with dry cider and what a treat it is.

It all came together in the over with apples in the bottom of the tray and batter on top and it came out divine. Some pictures for you:

Look at those beautiful apples cooking away in my Le Creuset pan


Batter: mixing the flour

Adding sunshine: grated orange peel

I learnt how to line a tray at the College!

Look how it came out of the oven: a treat!!!

Glorious orange colour 

Time to turn over

Et voila!!!

My orange Kitchen Aid. I just love this mixer!!!

After I finished baking the cake I gave a singing lesson and after that started the main course. I had 3 pheasants from the butcher's and had to separate the breast and legs. I think I did a pretty good job considering that the knife was not very sharp!

Chopping the bird. My cat was so excited, wouldn't quit trying to get it

Frying the legs in the frying pan 

Potatoes, fennel and onions went in the food processor and were ready to cook on the hob
with chicken stock 


Our guests Heather, Barbara, Pam and Trisha

Barbara and Pam

Heather and Barbara

A mock plate as I forgot to take pictures of the final result!!!

This is the incredible caramel sauce to go with the cake

Sticky and yummy

Another incredible evening, another £70 raised for Jubilee Romania.

Unfortunately, I came down with a cold just after dinner and I haven't yet recovered!!!

Please follow me for more recipes.

Some ideas at the end of this post.

Best wishes,


Recipe ideas

Pheasant with Creamy fennel bake

For the pheasant:
  • 2 chubby pheasants (about 800g each), quartered.  You can ask the butcher to do this or do it yourself in the same way you might quarter a chicken though be wary that the bones are softer and more delicate.
  • 1 whole grated nutmeg (I used a teaspoon of pre grated nutmeg)
  • 4 rashers or quality streaky bacon
  • butter
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (leaves picked)
  • 4 sprigs or lemon thyme (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • 200ml apple juice (not from concentrate!)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon runny honey.
For the fennel bake:
  • 600g scrubbed potatoes
  • 2 trimmed fennel bulbs
  • 1 peeled white onion
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 650ml chicken stock
  • 250g natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon english mustard
  • cheddar
  1. Finely slice the potatoes with the skins left on, the fennel and the onion and throw them into a high sided roasting tin (or stove and oven safe baking dish) and crush in the garlic, add the bay leaves and grate over the nutmeg.  Stir in the stock and season, cover with foil and bring to a rough simmer on the hob for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  3. Put a large casserole type pan or skillet on a medium high heat with a knob of butter in it.  Meanwhile rub the lemon thyme and the fennel seeds over the chicken thighs and drumsticks and season.  Add to the pan, and cook for up to 12 minutes, turning every so often until golden (keep an eye on it – mine only took about seven minutes).
  4. Pour away as much fat from the pan as possible and then throw in the bacon and the breasts, skin side down.  Stir as you fry for a further four or so minutes and then ass a little more butter, some crushed garlic and the rosemary leaves.  Pour in the apple juice and put to the side as you finish off this stage of the potatoes.
  5. When the potatoes have cooked for 20 or so minutes, mix together the yoghurt and mustard  and spread it all over the top, grating some cheese over it and season. Squeeze lemon over the top.
  6. Put both the potato tray and the pheasant dish in the oven for 25 minutes.
  7. When it is done, grate the lemon zest over the pheasant and drizzle on the honey and serve together.

Apple Pepper Pot Cake

serves: 14


For the caramelly sauce
• 200g unsalted butter,
cubed, at room temperature,
plus extra for greasing
• 200g golden caster sugar
• 2 tablespoons molasses
• 1 level teaspoon ground
• 1 level teaspoon ground ginger
• a pinch of ground cloves
• 3 tablespoons clotted cream
or single cream
For the sponge
• 6 or 7 small/medium
eating apples, such as
Cox or Braeburn
quartered and cored
• 125g unsalted butter,
at room temperature
• 125g golden caster sugar
• 2 large free-range eggs
• 225g self-raising flour, sifted
• ½ a level teaspoon
bicarbonate of soda
• 200ml good-quality dry cider
• 2 oranges


This sticky, spongy, gorgeous pudding is my homage to Bristol. I perfected it there by taking most of the spices that the lovely Guyanese family I met put into their incredible pepper pot meat stew, and using them to add mega flavour to this otherwise classic apple sponge. These spices would have been introduced during the colonial era via Bristol’s ports, and now they’re in so many of the foods we love. Feel free to use pears, quinces or peaches in this sponge. It’s a flexible recipe. And if you don’t have any molasses handy, a tablespoon of black treacle plus a tablespoon of golden syrup will do the same job.

Grease the bottom and sides of a 24cm circular cake tin and line with greaseproof paper. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Put the cubed butter for your sauce into a saucepan large enough to hold all your apple quarters in one layer. Add the caster sugar, molasses and ground spices then gently bring everything to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce starts to thicken. Be careful because caramel is very hot and can burn badly. At this point, add the quartered apples and cook for a few minutes while you make the sponge, but keep a close eye on them and stir occasionally so they don’t catch.

Cream together the butter and sugar for the sponge, then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing them in as you go. Fold in half the flour, the bicarbonate of soda and the cider. The mixture might look like it’s splitting, but don’t worry. Mix well, then fold in the remaining flour and the zest from the oranges, and stir again.

Put the prepared cake tin on to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper (just in case any hot caramel seeps out during cooking). Spoon the sticky apples into the bottom of the tin in a fairly even layer, along with any of the caramel that happens to come with them. Put the pan with the remaining caramel aside for later, then pour the sponge batter over the apples and give it a jiggle to spread the mixture out a bit. Put the cake tin and baking tray into the hot oven on the middle shelf to cook for around 35 to 40 minutes. Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake after 35 minutes – if it comes out clean the cake’s ready, if not, just bake for a further 5 minutes.

Once cooked, let the cake cool for 10 minutes (no longer or you won’t be able to turn it out). Warm the reserved caramel on a low heat and gently stir in the cream. Go back to your cake and spoon away any escaped caramel so it can’t burn you, then pop a serving plate on top of the cake and quickly and confidently flip it over. Ease the tin off the overturned cake, then cut into wedges and serve with the remaining sticky, creamy caramel sauce drizzled on top.

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