pigeons and poached eggs for breakfast, salmon and roast vegetables for lunch

we get up early to go to the farmers' market. it's still full of winter fruit and veg - ten varieties of squash and cabbage kind of thing, which is fine in itself and i like the squash and cabbage as much as the next man and probably more - but you do begin to wish for spring. there is, i suppose, some intimation of spring today - the sun is shining though it's a blustery day, and there are daffodils everywhere. people seem cheerful too and everyone comments on the weather.

we buy some pigeon breasts for breakfast (and venison sausages to go in the freezer), a jar on english honey and some eggs from an american from norfolk, and some cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli and spinach from the farm shop.

for some reason, i think i fancy the broccoli with a poached egg on top, and this is what we have. no recipe - i just boil the purple sprouting broccoli for five minutes, drain it and pile it on each plate. i top it with a poached egg and put some fried pigeon breasts on the side.

r is in charge of the meat. generally and today. i have a tendency to overcook everything - in some bizarre girly panic about poisoning myself with salmonella. overcooking is a disaster when it comes to pigeons, pheasants and other game birds (as well as chickens, which i also cremate). he fries about 2 breasts each in a pan of hot olive oil, for no more than a couple of minutes on each side (probably two on one and one on the other), till they are seared but bloody inside.
i forgot to take a picture until we were half-way through the meal.

r and w go to the football in the afternoon. i made celeriac soup yesterday so we will have that for starter, and we bought some gigantic salmon steaks from SH's to eat with the veg.

for four

2 butternut squash(es?)
salt and pepper
pinch chilli flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
pre-heat the oven to 180C. halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, then cut each half into four so you get thin wedges. you can leave them thicker if you like but they will take longer to cook. place in a roasting tray, drizzle with oil, season with salt, pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes and put in the oven for about an hour. you want them to be soft and caramelised at the edges.
for four

1 head cauliflower
olive oil
parboil the cauliflower for 6-7 minutes in boiling water. leave it to drain in the sieve and steam dry, then put in a roasting tray, drizzle with oil (or dot with butter), season and roast in the same oven as squash (so 180 or so C) for about 45-50 minutes. check it after half an hour or so - you want it to be cooked through (stick a knife in it to see if it's soft) but browned, with thin edges slightly cripsy.
r grills the salmon - i'm surprised the neighbours don't call in the fire brigade as the grill smokes so much.

for four

4 large salmon steaks, bone in
olive oil
season the steaks generously with salt and pepper and place in a large shallow dish. rub with olive oil (you only need a little as salmon is so oily) and then grill under the hottest grill setting for around 10 minutes on one side and a few more minutes on the other. our steaks are enormous though - i am sure 'normal'-sized ones would take a lot less than that. the good thing about salmon is that you can tell it's cooked as it changes colour from a more raw red to a pale, pastel pink, or opaque, as they call it in the cookery books.


  1. Can I say this food was exceptional, we could not have eaten in a restaurant better, Wayne and I were really inspired by this weekend. I will be definately having pigeon again, although not able to find any around here, unless I try shooting one myself!


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