Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run

Our dear friend peter came to stay and we ate him! If you want a cheap delicious meal I suggest you do the same. It does involve some fairly full on butchery but i found it errrr fun,no not the right word, “interesting” .  Now I sound like a serial killer. If, like me, you enjoy doing the things most cookery books tell you to get your butcher to do then go for it.  If not , get your butcher to do it. Think they might tell you to stick it in Tescos though. I didn’t even ask in Carrefour, as it came sealed in a bag. Anyway where were we.

Here! What you must  do to the rabbit: cut it’s legs off and the head, cut out the liver and kidney, then remove the saddle from the backbone and rib cage, keeping it in one piece. What is the saddle? The bit where you would strap your saddle were you to attempt to ride your rabbit. The two loins that run down the backbone.

With the two loins in one piece but without bones, take the liver and kidney and lay them along the centre of the meat, season, roll up and tie with string at 3cm lengths, (I used the devilishly technical granny knot), you should end up with a weird sausage saddle thing, season it, wrap it in cling film and pop it in the fridge. Now you can eat that with some mash and something green.

To cook your sausage, take it out of the fridge 30mins before you are going to cook, brown it in a frying pan with some butter and oil, then pop it in the oven at 170 for 10-15mins.  Then rest it for at least 5mins in tin foil, before destringing.  Serve with mash, greens and any juices you managed to get from resting. That is phase one. Completed.

Phase two as seen in the photo is all the above, plus you make a cottage pie with the rabbit legs


Rabbit cottage pie

Rest of rabbit including head and backbones.

1 large carrot diced

1 celery stalk diced

1 onion diced

4 garlic cloves peeled and split in half

100ml white wine vinegar

300ml white wine

1.25 litres of chicken stock

1 large tin of whole tomatoes drained then squished by hand.(i prefer to chopped but you can use chopped)

1 bay leaf

sprig rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped tarragon (I used half quantity of dried)

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

  1. In a casserole pan colour the rabbit pieces in a knob of butter with a splash of oil until golden. Remove and set aside.
  2. Colour the veg adding more butter and oil if needed.
  3. Return the rabbit to pan add the vinegar and reduce to almost nothing.
  4. Add the wine and reduce by 2/3
  5. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, bay and rosemary.
  6. Bring to the boil skim and simmer gently for 2 hrs.
  7. Heat oven 170c
  8. Lift rabbit out and set aside, reduce stock to light sauce consistency.
  9. Strain the sauce reserving the veggies.
  10. Pick the meat from the bones and combine with the veggie,s  tarragon and parsley and a few tablespoons of the sauce in a lasagne dish.Taste and adjust the seasoning, drizzle with a little olive oil and cover with mash.
  11. Bake in the oven for 40 mins, enjoy.

This recipe is adapted from Antony Demetre’s excellent book “Today’s Special” recipes from Arbutus and Wild Honey.


Cheesecake Ice cream with Berry Tarts- a tropical christmas dessert!

As I was spending this Christmas in the tropical (if somewhat smoggy) city of Jakarta, traditional Christmas desserts where no really on the cards this year.  No one really fancies a hot steamed pudding with custard or even heavy fruit cake when it is thirty five degrees outside.

It was a  toss up between ice cream and cheesecake…and the result, cheesecake ice cream of course!  Berry coulis was to be the original accompaniment, but  was replaced with Berry Tarts at the request of my sister, who had had an amazing berry tart  in San Fransisco and wanted to repeat the experience.

I used a modified recipe from my favourite site for all things ice cream, Ice Cream Ireland, as I have 100% success rate with their recipes and they are easily modified to whatever ingredients you happen to have in the pantry.  The original recipe as for Goats cheese Ice Cream (which I will be trying at a later date), but I substituted the goats cheese for cream cheese and sour cream in this case.  I also added biscuit base pieces throughout the ice cream as I am a firm believer in the crunch factor in an ice cream. I used a simple churning home ice cream maker and the result was a smooth, rich, cheesy ice cream with crunchy biscuit pieces which balanced the tart berries nicely.

For the tarts I used Dan Lepards Sweet Shortcrust recipe, but found this disappointing.  The pastry turned out thick and difficult to handle, although whether the recipe of the cook was at fault for this remains to be seen!  The heat and humidity probably didn’t help either.  The pastry did have a nice level of sweetness though in comparison with other recipes which tended to have copious quantities of icing sugar. Further experimentation needed to find my go to sweet pastry recipe.

The tarts were filled with a berry coulis, made from a variety of fresh berries, sugar and water and then cooked to thicken.

Cheesecake Ice Cream (adapted from Ice Cream Irelands’ Goats Cheese Ice Cream)

  •  130g sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  •  120ml cream
  • 120ml sour cream
  • • 200 ml milk
  •  150 gm cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


1. Combine the egg yolks and sugar and beat until thick.
2. Bring the milk to a low simmer .
3. Beat the milk into the egg/sugar mixture in a slow stream.
4. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place over low heat.
5. Stir continuously until the custard thickens slightly (around 65-70C) and just coats the back of a spoon. Don’t over-heat, though, because at around 76C you will scramble the eggs!
6. Immediately remove from the heat.
7. Allow to cool, then mix in the vanilla and cheese and sour cream, using a blender or processor just until smooth.
8. Whip the cream until it has doubled in volume (soft peaks)
10. Fold in the custard.
11. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, or cover and place in the freezer.
12. If you’re using a domestic ice cream machine, transfer to a freezer-proof covered container when the ice cream has achieved a semi-solid consistency (around 15 minutes).

13.  Fold in Biscuit crumbs (see recipe below)

Place it in the freezer, and continue to freeze until it is solid.

makes 8 servings

For Biscuit Base crumbs

  • 10 digestive biscuits
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter (melted)

Crush Biscuits in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or in a food processor until fine.  Stir in melted butter and press into a cake tin (as if you were making a cheesecake base).  Cook in oven at 180 degrees for 10 mins, then chill until firm in fridge.  Break into pieces of desired size.


Berry Tarts Recipe

  • 250g mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • water to just over berries in pan.

Sweet Shortcrust pastry (Dan Lepards) (makes enough for about 8 individual tarts)


  • 250g plain flour
  • 50g icing sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • About 2 tbsp (30ml) ice-cold water

Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into a bowl. Break the butter into small pieces and rub this through the flour until it vanishes. Beat the yolks with the water and stir this into the flour. Mix to a very soft and smooth dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes before using as it needs time to firm up.