Smoked rabbit and partridge with shallots and smoked garlic


Ingredient to serve four

1 medium sized rabbit

2 partridges

3 sticks celery

4 cloves of garlic crushed and finely chopped

One complete head of garlic, unpeeled

10 shallots – peeled

One small white onion – chopped

Plenty of fresh sage – torn into pieces

Half a litre of chicken stock

Two tbs olive or rapeseed oil

Salt and ground black pepper



Fry the onion and garlic in the oil in a large casserole dish until lightly brown and soft, add the whole partridges and the rabbit – cut into leg pieces and large chunks on the bone.  Brown in the oil.  Add the celery and sage and heat for another minute on medium heat.  Add the chicken stock and bring slowly to the boil. Transfer the casserole dish (with a lid on) to the oven preheated to 160 degrees and cook for two hours.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Using a couple of forks tease all the meat from the partridges and rabbit pieces.  Reserve the cooking liquid.

Cameron smoker

Now place a layer of hickory chips in the base of the Cameron smoker. Dampen slightly with water.  Place the tray over the chips and cover the tray in foil.  Place the shredded rabbit and partridge meat on the grill and season with salt and pepper and add the shallots and the unpeeled head of garlic.  Close the top over the smoker.  Cook on medium heat on a ring on top of the oven for 30 minutes.

Serve the rabbit, partridge, shallot and smoked garlic – broken into cloves – with minted and buttered new potatoes and buttered peas and broad beans.  You can use the reserved cooking liquid to make gravy –  add fresh sage, salt and pepper and perhaps a little cornflour to thicken.  An alternative to  peas and broad beans is smoked corn on the cob – just place the corn cobs in the smoker and cook with the meat.

Smoked venison biltong


I kg Venison (steak, saddle or leg meat) cut into strips5 inches by 2 inches and 1 inch thick.

Biltong spices – I use Freddy Hirsch (

Red chilli flakes

Plenty of ground back pepper

3 tbs red wine vinegar

4 tbs wood

chips (hickory, applewood or whisky-soaked oak chips are the best




Cameron smoker


Place the biltong strips in a deep container. Pour on 2-3 tbs of the biltong spice mixture, chilli flakes (according to taste) and plenty of ground black pepper shake to coat meat. Add red wine vinegar and shake again. Cover and leave in fridge for 3 hours.  Drain and pat dry with kitche paper. Cover and leave for another hour in fridge.  Place in biltong maker (these are good – Set to low hear (30 C or lower) and se to dry for 20 hours.  When dry on the outside but not totally dried out, arrange on tray in Cameron smoker (picture above) with the wood chips under th drip pan.  Cook on low to medium heat for 25 mins. If you want the meat crisp on the outside, cook on higher heat for 30 mins.

Smoked venison steaks with smoked sweetcorn

Venison in smoker


4 large venison steaks (150g each)

5 cloves garlic crushed and copped

1 large red onion, chopped finely

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs whisky

Salt and ground black pepper

4  sweetcorn cobs

1 can butter beans

Whisky soaked chips


Place venison in a large, deep bowl season generously with salt and black pepper,  rub in garlic and add chopped onions.  Our over whisky and oil and mix. Leave  covered in fridge for six hours.   Take your Cameron smoker (or whatever sort you use) and put a generous (large handful) amount of whisky smoked oak chips in the base of the smoker and pour over 4 tbs of water to moisten and create steam.  Put venison still covered with crushed garlic on rack inside smoker and close cover. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the corn cobs, placing on rack. Cook for another 15 minutes and then remove corn and boil in water for 5 minutes. Take the marinade and heat in a frying pan, adding a little more oil, then add the butter beans and heat thoroughly.    Serve the venison, sweetcorn and beans with plain or egg fried rice or yogurt and cheese mash


Le Bistrot Pierre, Stratford upon Avon – two stars

“Food OK but overall disappointing”
2 of 5 stars Inside Le Bistrot Pierre

We booked a pre-theatre table before going to the RSC. Service was a bit slow to begin with and we had to ask whether they’d forgotten the beers we ordered. Then it became very brisk with few niceties. The food was OK but not up to the standard of the Opposition Bistro we went to the night before. The goats’ cheese with honey-roast beetroot had none of the opposition of flavours, with the tang of the cheese offsetting the rich sweetness of the beetroot, that we expected – it was bland and sweet. The calamari was v hot and crisp but was more batter than calamari. The chicken with truffle had no truffle aroma and a flavour of mushroom but no intense truffle flavour – very disappointing. The steak was tender but lacked flavour. The high spot was the Languedoc Cabernet Sauvignon, which was excellent. Something annoying was that in the RSC programme for Wolf Hall for that day the ad for le Bistrot said present your tickets to the staff and get a reduction, They refused to give the reduction and said it didn’t apply.Time they changed their ad, then, Overall, disappointing. Would not go again.

The Oposition Bistro, Stratford upon Avon – five stars

“Great food, service and atmosphere”
5 of 5 starsThe Oppo

A very picturesque bistro in Sheep Street in the old part of Stratford. Very welcoming and fast, attentive service. Started with a bottle of Old Speckled Hen, a treat to find on a bistro menu. Then the apple-smoked salmon with delicious home-made cucumber relish. The pork loin with a chunky square of pork belly on a bed of tasty Savoy cabbage was great – tasty ingredients with some of the best pork I’ve tasted. The pork belly was perfectly cooked with crispy crackling on top of a layer of melting fat and then very succulent meat. The cod topped with Welsh rarebit was excellent and inventive. Service was great and the owner knew all about where the pork came from, always a good sign that the restaurant cares about the quality of the food. Wine list is good and v reasonably priced. Very popular and despite the arrival of a huge crowd of Scandinavian men, the bistro was not too noisy, but just the right level of convivial noise of people enjoying themselves.

Applewood-smoked plaice and prawns


plaice and prawns uncooked


4 plaice fillets

250g of raw prawns

4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

1 lemon, thinly sliced

3 tbs of lemon juice

Salt and ground black pepper


Chop and crush the garlic and mash with one tablespoon of lemon juice.  Pour over the uncooked prawns and hour before cooking and leave covered in the fridge. Place 2 tbs of applewood chips in the base of your over top smoker (I use a Camerons smoker and place drip tray on top. cover drip tray with foil (saves on washing-up later). Put the grill grid on top of the foil, brush it with oil to prevent the fish sticking and arrange the plaice fillets on top.  Sprinkle the fish with the remaining lemon juice, salt and pepper and place lemon slice on the fillets.  Put smoker on cooker ring at medium heat and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the plaice fillets and grill the skin side for 5 minutes under a hot grill skin side up, to crisp the skin. Return the fish to the smoker and put the prawns and garlic on top and smoke for ten more minutes.

plaice and prawns

Tom’s sweet carrot and okra




250 g of okra, topped and tailed

250 g of  chanteray carrots

1 aubergine – cubed

4 courgettes – split lengthways and then halved

One medium white onion finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic crushed

salt and ground black pepper

3 tbs of ground coriander

3 tbs paprika

1 tbs sugar

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs crunchy peanut butter


Boil the carrots in water with the sugar. After five minutes drain most of the water.  Add olive oil, onion, garlic, okra, courgettes and aubergine cubes. Fry for 5 minutes and add paprika and coriander and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add peanut butter, salt and pepper and cook for another five minute.