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Falling for Food

October is the month when meat is abundant, when hearty casseroles and stews, as well as pies and savoury puddings appear in Restaurants menus. In my days as a chef I was often given pheasants, or venison and sometime wild boar to cook for parties of hunters. In the 60s and 70s there were some dishes that “must be served” like Prawn cocktail and Dutch apple pie. If I was
asked, I felt I could not refuse but I always insisted to make them “my way” Have a look below and see if “my way” works for you.




Serves 4 People



100 g peeled prawns
16 cooked and shelled King prawns
2 Belgian endive
1 small head of fennel
Seasoning and parsley for decoration
100 g marie rose sauce or “burger sauce” (Made from a blend of tomato, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and pepper). (Or if you’re feeling lazy, try a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup to a ratio of 4 to 1.)


  1.  Select 16 endives leaves, washed and dried
  2.  Cut the washed and dried fennel in half and finely slice it, making sure you use only the white part, then season it
  3.  Place the fennel in 4 small glass bowls or large goblets
  4. Place the endives leaves around the fennel making sure that they do not protrude over the glass more than about 2-3 cm.
  5.  Divide the peeled prawns over the fennel in each glass and cover them with the marie rose sauce
  6. Place the king prawns hanging on the outside of the glasses alternating with the endive leaves
  7.  Decorate with parsley




Serves 4 People



2 Breasts of pheasant, cut into 4 pieces
200 g Venison meat, diced the size of the pheasant
200 g Boar meat, cut as above
1 bottle of cooking red wine
I onion, roughly sliced
2 sticks of celery, coarsely chopped
4 slices of streaky smoked bacon, cut as above
1 medium sized carrot, diced small
6 bay leaves (fresh if possible)
300 ml strong chicken stock
Sufficient oil for sealing the meat and vegetables
Some Bisto thickening granules
Seasoning and chopped parsley



  1. Place all meats into a large glass or stainless steel bowl
  2. Pour the wine over the meat and bay leaves,  making sure all the meat is covered. Leave it overnight or at least 8 hours in a cool place to marinade
  3.  When the time has elapsed, drain the meat well and fry it in a large frying pan to seal it. This can be done in stages
  4. When sealed, place the meat into a suitable casserole dish
  5. In the same frying pan, seal the vegetables and the bacon by moistening with the wine from the marinade and the stock, season well with sea salt and black pepper and pour it over the meat.
    Bring this to a boil, cover with lid, and place into a hot oven at 160ºC for 1 hour
  6.  Retrieve the casserole from the oven,(mind it is very hot: use a cloth) and boil on the stove so it can be thickened with the Bisto granules
  7. Place the stew into a suitable serving container, sprinkle the parsley on top, and serve with large thick croutons





Serves 4 People


350 g short crust pastry
600 g Bramley apples, peeled and sliced
100 g mixed dried fruit
70 ml sweet sherry
75 g soft brown sugar
25 g granulated sugar
Pinch of salt and some powdered cinnamon
100 ml water


  1. Soak the dried fruit in sherry overnight, or for at least 6 hours
  2.  When ready, bring the apples to the boil, add the drained dried fruit, and the brown sugar
  3. Place the lot into a suitable pie dish
  4. Roll out the pastry, cover the pie dish, and cut it leaving a surplus of 2cm of pastry around it
  5. Fold in the surplus pastry pressing it between your thumb and forefinger, making an impression all around the pie
  6. Brush the pastry with milk and sprinkle the granulated sugar all over it
  7.  Rest it for 15 minutes and then bake in a pre heated oven at 170ºC for 25 minutes, or until a light brown glaze has appeared


Recommended wines:

a Muscadet for the prawn cocktail, a Rioja for the stew, and a Monbazillac to pair with the dessert.




Buon Appetito Giovanni Fontebasso

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