One of the best things about my new voyage as a food blogger is having an excuse for my previously unashamed gluttony. Whereas before I would happily stuff my face and then just shrug my shoulders, now I can say “it’s because I’m a food blogger”. I can be sat in my jim jams until 3pm on a Sunday eating straight out of a tub of Winstones’ honey and stem ginger ice-cream and it will be OK, “because I’m a food blogger”. I can skip the Boots meal deal offer when shopping in London, and instead opt for a two-course lunch at an Indian café and wash it down with two lassis all on my own, “because I’m a food blogger”.
I’ll apologise in advance for the lack of posts recently, and for the forthcoming flurry. It’s been one of those weeks. But, this weekend I completely relaxed and indulged on a trip to see The Other Half (TOH) in London. We ate at some amazing restaurants (and one average one) and I’ll be blogging about the highlights in due course. But, for now I’ll blog about my meal tonight.
Yesterday, while in Bristol (I was working, honest) I walked past Reg the Veg in Clifton Village. I can never walk past this amazing greengrocer’s without buying something. And, I bought a lot… There was local curly kale, courgettes, cobnuts (yes, cobnuts!) a bunch of French artichokes, and golden and red tomatoes from the Isle of White. A lot, yes, and yet all this only came to £5.44. Tesco who?! Then I got chatting to someone about the new butcher’s shop on Whiteladies Road, Ruby & White. I had to take a look – and luckily during the week it is open until 8pm (and then at various times on Saturday and Sunday too). Convenient, no?
I was just browsing when the butcher behind the counter started chatting to me about the meat here. “It’s aged for up to 60 days,” he says. He shows me the dry, black beef on one side, and the ruby, freshly sliced, meat on the other. “Want to see out back?” he asks. “Sure, I say.” He takes me through and shows me all the meat, some recently shot birds waiting to be plucked, and explains the hanging process. There’s also a vegetable section, a deli counter, daily made meat marinades and sauces and a great selection of affordable wine. They even do daily cookery demonstrations in the in-house kitchen. Want to know how to cook something? Chef will show you. What other butcher’s do you know that has all this? Or offers this kind of service? I was smitten. I wanted meat and I ordered pigeon breasts (shot in Bath, and a mere £1.75 a breast), duck liver (£1.03 a portion) and a rolled haunch of venison (£9.22 for a good size joint for two). And so, tonight’s dinner was born. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Pomegranate-seared pigeon with curly kale and caramelised cobnuts
(Serves one, generously)
2 small pigeon breasts
4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp sugar
Handful cracked cobnuts (roughly chopped)
4 big leaves of curly kale
1 tbsp smoked rapeseed oil
Large shot of cassis
¼ chicken stock cube
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1. In a small pan heat up the sugar and half the pomegranate molasses until combined and bubbling. When you have a dark caramel, throw in the cobnuts, shake gently until coated and then pour onto an oiled plate. (The plate must be oiled otherwise you’ll never get them off). Allow to cool slightly and then put into the fridge and chill.
2. Take your pigeon breasts and season with salt and pepper. In the same pan, on a medium-heat, place the seasoned pigeon breasts, skin-side down and cook for one-and-a-half minutes. Turn the breasts over, add the cassis, remaining pomegranate molasses and butter. Cook the pigeon for another minute before removing from the pan, wrapping in foil and leaving to one side to rest. Stir the sauce, add enough water to loosen it, and the stock cube (to taste), and cook for a further minute until thick, glossy and tasting good.
3. Meanwhile, strip your kale leaves from the hard stems, chop roughly, wash and drain, and place in a wok and cook over a high heat. When wilted, drizzle over the rapeseed oil and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
4. To serve, place your kale on the plate. Slice your pigeon (it should be nice and ruddy still), and serve on top with the caramelised cobnuts and a drizzle of your glossy sauce. Enjoy!