Tuesday, 28 January 2014



Rabbit is one of those things I consider to be a “gateway meat” to the wonderful world of game meats. Why is this? Well it tastes like chicken, well sort of, otherwise why not just eat chicken?  But it’s more than chicken, rabbit has a very delicate flavour with a touch of gaminess that simply makes it special.

But how do you do this wonderful game meat justice? My partner claims he’d only eaten properly cooked rabbit when prepared by farmers, never in a restaurant. ‘Why do you think that is?’ I once asked ‘Well farmers need to know how to do it right, they eat rabbit all the time -- controlling rabbit populations in the country is absolutely necessary which means you have lots of free meat -- so they might as well do it well’.

Clearly, rabbit is the kind of meat you need to understand in order to prepare it well so here are a few tips and a rustic recipe that demonstrates these principles and will help you prepare the bashful rabbit with the care it deserves.

  • Jointing your rabbit properly – here is a link to help guide you through this fun process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYancLuBrmE
  • Different cuts cook at very different speeds. This is why jointing your rabbit properly is a must.
  • Delicate meat means pairing it with delicate non-overbearing flavours
  • Don't overcook the meat, rabbit needs to be plump and moist not dry
  • Save the offal, it’s a treat!


Serves 4


1 rabbit, jointed
olive oil
½ L stock, chicken, rabbit, or vegetable
2 shallots, finely chopped
bacon, cut into meaty cubes
mushrooms (i.e. cremini and oyster), sliced into large meaty portions
A bunch of fresh thyme
1 cup of white wine
½ cup of cream (you may add more if needed)
1 tbsp, grainy Dijon mustard
parsley, chopped
500g tagliatelle pasta
salt and pepper


  1. Joint rabbit as shown in the link I posted above. The only thing I would do differently is to keep the middle of the torso in one larger piece so that I can remove the two strips of loin in one clean piece.
  2. Poach the back legs in a pot filled with water and a bouquet garni of parsley, thyme, and a bay leaf. Bring the water to a boil then turn down to a simmer for about 40-45 minutes.
  3. Bring a large pot of water up to a boil for the tagliatelle pasta to be cooked later.
  4. Make sure your remaining cuts are clean and trimmed of fat, paying particular attention to the liver.
  5. Once your legs are poached, cut away the meat from the bones so that you have plump pieces of meat then set aside.
  6. To make the mushroom sauce, fry the bacon and shallots in olive oil over a medium hot pan. Add the mushrooms and thyme leaves and let simmer until the mushrooms have let out some water, and once the liquid begins to reduce add in the white wine and let reduce again.
  7. Once the wine has reduced to about 1/3, add the stock and let reduce again to 1/3.
  8. While your sauce is reducing, begin to cook the different cuts of rabbit, adding in each cut in succession. In a pan, heat up some olive oil on medium heat. You first fry the fore legs on both sides for about 5 minutes.  Then add in your loins to cook on both sides for another 3 minutes, followed by the leg cuts, and finally the fast-cooking belly flaps. 
  9. Throw in the pasta into salted boiling water to cook for however long the box indicates, usually 6-8 minutes depending on the pasta.
  10. While the meat is cooking, you can add the cream to your mushroom sauce and let simmer for another few minutes. Add in the grainy dijon mustard and the parsley. Stir and simmer for a minute or two.
  11. Once your cuts of rabbit are cooked add them to your mushroom sauce making sure the sauce and the meat are well incorporated.
  12. Flash fry the liver in the pan that you used to cook the rabbit meat.
  13. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the mushroom rabbit sauce, ensuring the pasta is covered in the sauce.
  14. Pour onto a beautiful serving platter topped off with the sliced liver and enjoy this rustic and flavourful dish.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014




It’s winter and depending on how you look at it winter-time epitomizes either a soul-destroying white desert for fresh seasonal produce or a winter wonderland of unique seasonal goodies.  I choose the latter of course because there are some things that I simply must take advantage of while they are still around. Today I am showcasing chestnuts because they are so evocative of cosy winter nights, not to mention that the markets are brimming with barrels of these shiny plump nuts that I liken to teddy bear noses -- I get uncharacteristically kitschy around this season, my apologies.

I first discovered this flavourful and warming chestnut soup recipe in my bible for authentic German cooking entitled Die echte deutsche Küche by Susi and Pete Eising, and I love it so much I cannot resist sharing it. Chestnuts, they are not just for roasting on an open fire!

                                     Check out my video on how it's done!

GERMAN CHESTNUT SOUP                               

500 g chestnuts
1.5 L beef stock, best if home-made
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. butter
1.5 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
50-75 ml cream (or to taste)
salt and pepper
a dash of freshly grated nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven at 225C or 450 F
  2. Using a sharp pairing knife, slit an X on the flat side of each chestnut (this is to prevent them from bursting and to ensure they cook through)
  3. Place the chestnuts on a baking tray, slit side up, and bake for about 15 min. or until the shells burst open
  4. Let the chestnuts cool before you peel them
  5. Place your peeled chestnuts in a pot and cover with about ½ L of beef stock
  6. Bring the pot to a simmer and let the chestnuts cook until softened, around 15 -20 min.
  7. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sweat the onions in the butter until translucent, then add to your pot
  8. Once the chestnuts are softened in their stock, purée everything until smooth and silky, then set aside
  9. In another pot, bring the remaining 1 L of stock to a boil, add your very finely chopped carrot and celery, then simmer on medium heat for about 10 min.
  10. Add the cream to the stock, followed by the puréed chestnuts, season well with salt, pepper and a dash of grated nutmeg
  11. Top with some more cream and finely sliced roasted chestnuts

TIP: for a wonderful homemade beef stock, roast a few beef bones in the oven, then transfer to a large pot of water with a carrot, an onion or leek, and a celery stick. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 1-2 hours.