Made in Herefordshire
Working at Brinsop Court Estate is always varied and first thing today I set about cooking a venison stroganoff ready for a photography session later on in the morning. Cooking in Bailey's kitchen I was struck again by how fantastic the views are from the kitchen windows and watched the swan and her brood crossing the moat in an almost dead straight line whilst I was slicing onions!
Dan appeared with a haunch of venison. The recipe called for it to be trimmed and sliced ready for the pot and it was quite a shock to be presented with a whole haunch but undaunted I set about preparing the 700g I needed.
An hour or so later the mushrooms went in and I was ready for the photographer. Simon from Photopia Photography appeared at the appointed hour and after a quick discussion on what we were cooking he set up the shoot!
The recipe I was following was given to us by John Thornley OBE. John is Brinsop Court Estate's deer stalker and ensures that our resident herds of deer are managed effectively including controlling any damage to our farm and woodlands. We had spoken on the phone earlier in the week and he'd told me the meat I was going to be cooking was fallow deer from the estate.
Of course photographing the food rather than eating it meant I didn't need to worry too much about the flavour of the dish, but out of habit more than anything else I did taste it as I cooked it, adjusted the seasoning and added plenty of freshly grated nutmeg and it was delicious.
We piled up the plate with rice and a very generous portion of stroganoff which meant there wasn't really enough to fill the serving dish which looked a bit mean when we put it next to the plate. Whilst there are plenty of serving dishes of a variety of sizes in Bailey's kitchen, Simon and I had set our hearts on a pretty turquoise one and wanted to use it. So tricks of the trade were employed and we bulked up the bottom of the dish with rubber ice trays, covered them with foil and were able to present a full serving dish with strategically placed mushrooms and parsley on it.
A glass of wine and some French bread made it into the photo too. The photo alongside John's recipe will appear in a new book "Made in Herefordshire" which will be launched at the Herefordshire Food Festival on 2nd and 3rd November this year. We are in good company with a whole host of local Herefordshire businesses taking part in the project and reading the list of the contributors will make your mouth water.
After the launch the book will be on sale at various tourist information shops, delis, bookshops and boutique shops across the county and will also be available to buy online. The retail price is likely to be £20.00. We will need to decide whether to have a stock here for our guests to enjoy and possibly buy to take home as a wonderful souvenir of their holiday.
I think it will make a great Christmas present too for friends and family but maybe it is too early in the year to mention the C word!