Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.
It’s been a pretty terrible week for me. On Tuesday evening I lay down to sleep and suddenly had a sore throat, very strange. Seriously, there wasn’t a hint of a problem until I lied down and then within minutes it felt like I’d swallowed a caltrop. I’ve had the throat all week, progressively getting better while my head got worse. I tried to describe how I felt to Kat and came up with “it feels like I have a nest of insane, woolly ferrets running around in circles in my head.” All great fun, I assure you! sigh I never used to get colds and their ilk, must have stronger bugs here in the UK (admittedly this is just the second cold I’ve had in two years, so it could be worse.) Anyway, enough whinging, pathetic, weak human!
I’ve been looking forward to the weekend. In the preamble to my latest lamb shank casserole recipe I mentioned that I’d ordered a hare. Well, this morning we picked up our hare from Hamblings, it was only 10 quid! An animal fit for roasting that’d had at least a good 5 days hanging. Unfortunately we don’t know exactly how long it was hung for, the butcher said 5 days was the worst-case. Ideally a hare should hang for at least 7 to 10 days, and it’s pretty cool at the moment so longer would be better. The butcher got it in on Tuesday (it’d been hung prior to this), hung it for another couple of days and it was skinned and paunched on Thursday. I picked up some unsmoked streaky bacon from him too. I tried to get caul fat but he told me it’s “like gold-dust”, and said that’s the way it’s been since abattoir work became piece-work. Things that take too much time to do (and don’t yield much money) just aren’t done any more.
The butcher separated the hare’s legs from its saddle for me, then we wandered back home, via the veggie shop, to admire the goods. The first thing to hit me was the smell, this is one pretty pungent beast! Not a bad smell, not to my nose, but I think some might find it a bit nauseas. Anyway, you can admire the goods without the smell, as usual I’m taking plenty of photos!
The meaty back legs I’m reserving for a casserole tomorrow. The saddle I’ve trimmed up and will roast tonight. The front legs and trimmings have gone into a pot with vegetables and herbs to make a game stock that’ll be used for both the roast and the casserole.
In other news, I put an order in with a catering company called Nisbets on Thursday. It was time for a new frypan, my old one I brought over from Sydney has reached the end of its non-stick life. Based on a recommendation from the much worshipped “Hugh book” I went for the Bourgeat brand (Nisbets was also recommended by the book.) Hugh described Bourgeat as the “current chef’s favourite” (in 2004), that seems a pretty good rating. I went all-out and ordered three different sizes! (20cm, 28cm, 3-eff’n-huge-6cm) I also got a nice big and heavy cleaver for butchering, well, anything really. Plus a length of muslin (something I’ve had trouble finding anywhere else), and a good solid muffin tray since we didn’t have one (it’s not generally going to be used for muffins though!) I can report that Nisbets’s “next day delivery” (their cheapest delivery option) really is next day! Here’s the loot:
I’ll be writing entries about the making of the stock, the roasting of the saddle, and the casseroling of the legs. Though, as usual, it will probably take a week or two for me to get the entries done, spare time is a rare commodity.