Tag Archives: Pheasant

The Pheasant Inn – Tattenhall, Cheshire

“A thoroughly pleasant afternoon overlooking the fine plains of Cheshire with great food and fine ale”

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Christmas is almost upon us. The Cooktwit is using up some leave and so what to do? Easy, it’s an hours scoot to some fine eatery somewhere. And so it came to pass, the steed was set to Tattenhall in Cheshire. Rumours abound that there’s a decent place called The Pheasant Inn. It took a blinking hour to get there, via some fairly tortuous ‘roadage’, but what a fine country pile it is. It’s a combination of ‘olde worlde’ charm that’s had a graft of new plumage to brighten it up and add significant yardage to its covers and accommodation credentials. It’s all rather smart.

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We entered to a roaring fire and positioned ourselves in a large bay window overlooking the plains. It was rather murky for us, but one can easily imagine how ‘breathtook’ one would be on a crisp, clear summers day. The place was even more homely than usual as it was festooned with all things Christmas. Pheasant and countrified baubles litter the main rooms. A homely bar lines up a plethora of fine local ales. A Cheshire Gold (what else?) is brought forth.

pheasant

 

The Flame and I selected from the large, high quality A3 card. Alania, our striking, well-spoken waitress took our order at the table. Two cracking starters get things going. The Flame, partial to smoked salmon went for the Loch Duart smoked salmon, traditional garnish, caviar and granary bloomer (£7.00). It arrives as a thin, square sheet with a deconstructed egg and a splash of caviar. It looked and tasted stunning.

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I went for the Butternut squash risotto, toasted pumpkin seeds, goat’s curd and curry oil (v) (£7.00). It came piping hot, full of flavour and crunch with a hint of spice. A truly scrumptious start.

For mains we went for the Fillet of hake, ox cheek ragu, green kale, horseradish mash and parmesan crisp (£13.95), though The Flame (rather foolishly in my opinion) ditched the mash and had chips instead. She found it a little strange with the ox cheek ragout and could have done with some greens. The fish though, superb.

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I went Pheasant breast, smoked streaky bacon, butternut squash gratin, with chestnut, blackberry jam and sage fritters (£14.50). Beautifully presented with a jug of meaty sauce. The pheasant maybe a ‘tadge’ dry for my liking but still very good. I topped it with a portion of truffle and parmesan chips (£3.95). These were ‘historic’. Getting pretty close to the best chip ever awards.

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Whenever trifle is on the menu that is what I have. No different here. A Poire William and tangerine trifle, chocolate ganache, vanilla mascarpone and violet ice cream (£5.95). Simply tremendous a fine end to thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

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By the time we left the winter darkness was homing in. It wasn’t long before we were wending our way through darkened country lanes. The Pheasant Inn is another to add to the repertoire. I imagine we will be back in the summer.

The Pheasant Inn
Higher Burwardsley,
Tattenhall,
Cheshire,
CH3 9PF.

T 01829 770434

http://www.thepheasantinn.co.uk

Raised Game Pies – Gordon Ramsay

“Add game to your repertoire and you will open up a whole new world of delicious recipes”

The ingredients (without the eggs, sage & a few other bits)
The ingredients (without the eggs, sage & a few other bits)

I copied this recipe from a Sunday Times magazine years ago. The recipe was by one time golden boy Gordon Ramsay. He’s seems to have had a bit of a rough time of it lately but I reckon he’s still got it. I’ve made these pies a few times and they never fail. As he says in the opening spiel above, mastering game really does open up the flavour stakes. As he also says water crust pastry is easy to make and work with and mastering these pies will ensure you never have a supermarket pork pie ever again!

Ingredients

makes 4

250g mixture of game, such as loin of venison, partridge, pheasant or guinea fowl breasts (I got a tray of mixed game from my local butcher Red Bank Farm)
60g smoked bacon, chopped
200g sausage meat
2 eggs, beaten
1-2 tsp each freshly chopped parsley and sage
Grated zest of half a lemon
5 juniper berries, finely ground
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the water crust pastry
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 egg
50g unsalted butter
50g lard
85ml water

Begin by making the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Crack the egg into the middle and sprinkle over some of the flour to cover. Put the butter, lard and water in a small pan over a gentle heat. Once the butter and lard have melted, increase the heat and bring to the boil.

Mixing everything up!
Mixing everything up!

Pour the boiling water and fat around the edge of the bowl and quickly stir in using a palette knife. Knead the dough lightly until smooth, then wrap in clingfilm. Rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Trim the game meat of any fat or sinew, then cut into 1cm cubes. Mix with the bacon, sausage meat, one of the beaten eggs, herbs, lemon zest and crushed juniper berries, and season with salt and pepper. Divide into 4 portions and roll into balls.

Reserve one third of the pastry for making the pie lids, wrapped in clingfilm in the fridge. Roll the remaining pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to a 2-3mm thickness. Cut out 4 circles, 14cm in diameter, using a saucer as a template., (I use a cereal bowl) Place a ball of stuffing in the middle of each pastry disc. Press the stuffing gently to flatten at the base slightly.

Making the pies. They might look a mess but they taste awesome!
Making the pies. They might look a mess but they taste awesome!

Roll the reserved pastry to the same thickness as before and cut out 4 lids, 7cm in diameter (I use a cup)  Place a lid over the top of the stuffing. Wet the rim of the larger pastry disc, then mould it up and around the filling to meet the lid. Curl the edge of the lid up to meet the top inside edge of the pie case and press together to seal. Repeat with the others, then chill for about 30 minutes until the pastry feels firm.

A final brush with egg wash.
A final brush with egg wash.

Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Make a neat steam hole in the centre of each pie lid with a skewer. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170C/Gas 3. Brush the pies evenly with the remaining beaten egg, then bake for a further 20-30 minutes until the pastry is cooked and the centre of the pie is piping hot. Allow the pies to cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with piccalilli.

 

Parkers Arms – Newton in Bowland – Part 2

I can’t believe it, the latest trip to the Parkers Arms was even better than last time shock! 
The Flame and myself enjoyed a wonderful Sunday lunch a few months back. When faced with where to meet a couple of Yorkshire foodies I made the call to get them into the heart of Lancashire with the promise of some top home cooking. So no pressure then! I needn’t have worried. Suffice to say Stosie, AJ and the team turned up trumps once again.
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We met in Clitheroe for a stroll round the old town. During the time there I was constantly pressed and niggled that lunch better be good. We wound up through the pretty village of Waddington and over the moors before the now familiar sight of The Parkers Arms hove into view. I had booked online for four. We were shown straight to our bay window table by a young, fresh faced slip of a lass. Our table groaned by a simmering log fire. Candles flickered. Two pints of ‘Hen Harrier’ ensured the male half of the scheme were bang in fettle. Wine and water put the other half at ease. Starting to feel at home it was left to AJ, the genial host, to put our slippers on and order our grub. 
Just to explain AJ is the front of house part of the trio that make the Parkers Arms what it is. Stosie and Katie head up the foodie bit. It is a winning team. AJ, spectacled, with a full shock of curly locks, ‘Wallace & gromit’ cardie/cordrouy trousers and broad Lancashire brogue is arguably the friendliest and most eccentric host you’ll ever meet. His explanations of the wares on offer are a delight and had our guests chuckling like new born babies. He convinced our guest Julie to have the pheasant as ‘you can have beef anytime’.
We had three menus to go at! The Sunday special, the seasonal specials and the normal menu. It all adds up to a wonderful Lancashire feast. We pretty much all went from the seasonal menu. 
The Flame had a wonderful slab of game terrine. I have never been allowed to taste a finer one. The Yorkshire cove wolfed into a three cheese soufflé with a cheese sauce. It was proper cheesy. The Yorkshire cove considered it highly beneficial to his overall wellbeing. Me and the Yorkshire lass had probably the smoothest, crabbiest, crab parfait you will ever imagine. It was sublime.
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Mains were a revelation. Between us we had either pheasant or venison and pork pie.
The pheasant came two ways. The breast had been rolled into a ballotine whilst the leg was encased in a pasty pastry. Set on seasonal veg with a creamy, buttery mash. I would argue this was the best dish I have had in years. It ticked all my boxes. My morsel of venison pie was gorgeous. The cove and the flame went away very happy with their pasty. It looked good as well with the hot, rail sleeper chips on a slim plate.
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Despite being satiated we decided (for research purposes) to have a go at a sweet! Going back to my childhood I ventured into a plate full of Victoria plum sponge pudding with custard and cream. Took some doing but golly it was good. The flame plumbed into Katie’s wet Nellie. Fruit, mince, nuts, treacle, it just has to be good.
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It really was a tremendous meal. Great company in a fabulous environment. Sat overlooking the countryside from our fireside table was a delight. What we really needed was a room so we could have stayed! A couple of cigars and a brandy might have worked as well but we had to drive away into the evening chill. I can imagine with snow on the hills and the Christmas tree lights on it would make the perfect Christmas card.
Our Yorkshire troop texted later that it was the best meal they had in years and thanked us for taking them there. They will definitely be back. And so will we. And so should you all.
 
Parkers Arms
Newton-in-Bowland
Nr Clitheroe
Lancashire
BB7 3DY
 
01200 446236