Last weekend, a couple of friends and I decided that it would be a good idea to go for a long cycle on Sunday morning. It had been snowing and the forecast was for things to clear. So, with a degree of abandon, we met soon after sunrise and headed south. Temperatures were holding above zero and after about 30 minutes cycling the pain (along with the feeling) went out of my extremities.
What do you do? The Wicklow Hunter’s youngest brother calls to the office and leaves a sack. He tells me that it’s a gift from the brother. “All legal ‘an all” he assures me. I thank him profusely and check the contents. YES! It’s another venison leg, from a pretty young deer by the looks of it. This gets me thinking.
I used to think it was pretty straightforward. “Build it and they will come” was my approach. A pork stew was a pork stew. If I announced it and cooked it, they would be there, happy to be fed in the family kitchen. In more recent times, I have noticed a worrying trend. The casual conversation is no longer “Whatyacooking Pops?”. No, it has shifted slightly towards “Oh, Pork Casserole. How are you cooking it? What are you adding? What will make it really special this time?”.
Be very afraid of the Wicklow Hunter’s Gun, gun, gun…
An image, supposedly of the Wicklow Hunter supplied to me recently.
Sorry Bunnies, when the Wicklow Hunter is out and about with his trusty .22, you can be sure that there’s going to be a date with destiny. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Dates! Their lovely sweetness could go nicely with the slightly dry, gamey flavour of rabbit. Let’s prepare a Date with Destiny and Wild Wicklow Rabbit Casserole.
Not the sort of thing one expects to have delivered. Particularly as I’m not a butcher.
Question 1 “This early in the season, is this a piece of legally shot doe?”
Answer 1 “I’m told it is. The now infamous Wicklow Hunter tells me that they were out on a night shoot on the 31st October and ‘…just after midnight’ he downed a young doe. That brings it into the November season where that sort of thing is OK in Wicklow.” In short: Doe.
Question 2 “What recipe are you going to use?”
Answer 2(Here’s where the Homer like d’oh! could come into its own.) “I am going to try something totally original. I am going to cook Venison and Plum Stew.” Given that I had no real idea what to do with the venison, this was a brave outburst on my part. An outburst, fuelled by a glass or three of Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. In short: D’oh!
I want you to imagine my youngest daughter. She is an innocent thing who likes small animals and fluffy things. She loves Disney cartoons. One of her favourites is Bambi. She finds the various scenes of innocence touching. When she watches it, she will be heard to say things like “Ahhh, so pretty.” and “Ohhhh, aren’t the chipmunks so cute.”
I am telling you all this because I recently suggested that I cook a rabbit stew for the family. This led to the following unfortunate conversation: