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By Well Seasoned, Oct 1 2018 04:20PM

If September was the curtain-raiser to autumn then October is definitely the main feature.


This month, our green and pleasant land puts on a show of brilliant oranges, browns, golds and reds in a visual and epicurean spectacular. The long, hot days of summer are definitely behind us now but they’ve left an embarrassment of edible riches. With winter just beyond the horizon, October is a month when preserving our bounty for the colder months is even more important. Chutneys, jams and pickles are all promoted to the top of our seasonal to-do list. On the vegetable patch, there’s more than enough to keep us busy, too: marrows, pumpkins and squashes all thrive at this time of year; while in the orchard, those delicate soft fruits have all now given way to hardier, but certainly no less delicious, apples and pears.


But perhaps the most exciting thing about October is that Mother Nature invariably flings opens the door of her wild larder and invites us to stuff ourselves silly. It’s one of the best months to be outdoors foraging, with hedgerows fit to burst with ripe berries and nuts, and the mild, damp conditions mean mushrooms abound on forest floors. We can literally take our pick from hundreds of wonderfully named fungi, including puffballs, penny buns and chicken of the woods. Scallops and mussels are plump and plentiful and there is game aplenty as pheasant joins duck, partridge and grouse on the autumnal menu.


October’s weather also helps make it a great month to be outdoors. Hopes of a seriously hot day have all but vanished, but it’s surprisingly common to have a sustained spell of sunshine towards the middle of the month (it’s known as ‘St Luke’s little summer’, named after the saint’s day which falls on the eighteenth). The days are getting noticeably shorter by now, but with all of this food around we can appreciate a little extra time in the kitchen.


So, with respectable weather and no shortage of produce to choose from, we can look forward to filling our boots in October.

By Well Seasoned, Nov 3 2017 03:00AM

This is a repeat of a piece from the old Well Seasoned site but since the beginning of October, I've been up to my ears in great value, great tasting pheasant, so I thought I'd re-post. It's also worth mentioning that Russell's recipe in the previous post (Buttermilk Partridge Burgers) works very well with pheasant so there's no excuse not to be eating game of one kind or another this weekend.


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Some five years ago it was rumoured that a disgruntled KFC employee, faced with redundancy, had revealed the “secret blend” of herbs and spices used by the (in)famous fried chicken joint. A social media frenzy catapulted the recipe round the world faster than you can say “Colonel Saunders” and although the company has never publically confirmed it, the consensus seems to be that it is, at the very least, a good approximation of their recipe.


The ethical difficulties with eating KFC chicken hardly need to be spelled out on this blog. The problem is, as most of us would have to admit, it tastes pretty darn good. So what to do? Well, thankfully the angry ex-chicken-fryer's revelation has given us the opportunity to put an ethical twist on the oh-so-naughty finger lickin’ dish. Since we’re in the middle of the pheasant season we wanted to see if the recipe translated from KFC to KFP. We’re pleased to say it most definitely does.


Here’s “our” recipe using two pheasants we brought home from a small Dorset shoot last weekend. The original spice mix apparently includes mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) a flavour enhancer which we decided to forgo. We’ve tweaked the list a little more and, since pheasant has a tendency to dry out, marinading in milk gives it the required extra succulence.


Homemade KFC/KFP


Ingredients


1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons salt


4 pheasant breasts, halved (you can also use a jointed whole pheasant or free range chicken)

250g plain white flour

1/2pt whole milk

1 egg


Method


Marinade the pheasant in milk for two hours. When you're ready to cook, heat your oven to 200C. Mix the herbs, spices and flour together in a mixing bowl. Remove the pheasant breasts from the milk and pat dry with kitchen towel. Lightly beat the egg in a second bowl. Now, dip each piece of breast meat first into the egg and then into the spiced flour. (You can work in batches dipping and coating three or four pieces at a time as long as there is space in the flour bowl to move the pieces around and ensure they all get a good coating). Heat 6 tbsp of oil in a frying pan - enough to cover the base. Shallow fry the meat pieces on a high heat for 2 minutes on each side until the coating is golden brown. (Fry in batches if the pan is too crowded). Now transfer the chicken pieces to a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the meat is cooked through. Allow to cool for a minute or two before serving with coleslaw and beans. (Plating up in a big bucket is optional).



By Well Seasoned, Oct 31 2017 12:40PM

Earlier in the month, I hinted at a fantactic recipe Russ has been working on for the game season. This month's edition of Just About Dorset has just been published so we can reveal the recipe - a truly mouthwatering Buttermilk Partridge Burger.


Check out pages 24 to 25 of this month's Just About Dorset.


With feathered game prices at an all time low, it's definitely time to get stuck in. Enjoy!

By Well Seasoned, Oct 30 2017 05:27PM

The annual pumpkin harvest must be one of the most logistically impressive and wasteful of our entire farming year. For one night only, the bulbous orange squash becomes the country’s favourite vegetable.


Granted, these days Halloween seems to stretching over the course of several days, to cover the weekends either side but it’s still one of the biggest boom and busts we witness on a vast and annual basis. In order to cram the shops full at exactly the right time – too soon or too late means disaster – pumpkin farming is a masterclass in both scientific endeavour and military organisation.


This year, as with every other, some 20,000 tonnes of pumpkin flesh will be scraped into bins before the nation gorges on mini Mars bars and Haribo. It’s a criminal waste particularly since pumpkins are so versatile and easy to cook with.


So, before you bin the seeds or the flesh from your spectacularly spooky creation, why not resolve to have a go at one (or both) of these. If nothing else, the dentist will thank you for it:


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


This one is so simple, it doesn’t’ really count as a recipe.


Clean any stringy flesh from your pumpkin seeds and pat dry.

Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking tray.

Pour over a good glug of vegetable oil, sprinkle with some coarse grain salt and a couple of teaspoons of smoked paprika.

Roast for 15 minutes at 180C until the seeds are golden brown and crisp.


A horribly handy Hallowe'en party nibble.


Spiced Pumpkin Cake


This one does count as a recipe but someone else’s. It’s delicious. My one added recommendation is to squeeze some of the moisture from your pumpkin if you have a particularly wet one. If you don’t the middle will take much longer to cook, leaving the edges too dry.




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