SEVILLE ORANGE AND SOY SAUCE MARINATED PHEASANT BREASTS
6 pheasant breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 banana shallots, or 12 smaller ones, skinned and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, skinned and finely chopped
1 teaspoon arrowroot, slaked with 2 tablespoons cold water
freshly ground black pepper
For the marinade:
1 pint/570ml fresh orange juice, to include the juice of 1 Seville orange
a good grating of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 pint/285ml red wine
3 tablespoons soy sauce - Kikkoman or Superior is best
zest of 1 Seville orange
Arrange the pheasant breasts in a dish large enough to hold them and the marinade. Make the marinade by heating half the orange juice with the spices and honey. When the honey has melted into the juice take the pan off the heat and pour in the rest of the orange juice, with the red wine and soy sauce. Stir in the orange zest and pour the marinade over the pheasant breasts. Leave them to marinate for at least 24 hours.
When you are ready to cook them, lift the breasts out of the marinade and pat them dry with absorbent kitchen paper.
Heat the oil and butter together in a sauté pan and cook the pheasant breasts over a moderate heat for about five minutes or until they are cooked through. Then lay them in a warm serving dish. Add the shallots and the garlic to the sauté pan and cook, stirring, for four to five minutes, until the shallots are very soft. Pour in the marinade and let it bubble furiously, to reduce by about a third. Stir some of the hot sauce into the slaked arrowroot, pour this back into the saucepan, and stir until the sauce bubbles. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the pheasant breasts in the warm serving dish, cover with a lid or a bit of foil and keep the dish warm until you are ready to serve. This will keep warm without spoiling for up to 30 minutes.
I like to serve this with creamily mashed potatoes, along with braised red cabbage.
BLOOD ORANGE SORBET
This looks so good scooped onto thin discs of sliced blood oranges.
1 pint /570ml water
1 lb/450g granulated sugar
juice and pared rind from 1 well-washed lemon
juice from 4 blood oranges, to make as close to 1/2 pint/285ml as you can
Measure the water and granulated sugar into a saucepan, add the strips of lemon rind and, over a moderate heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Bring the syrup to a rolling boil and boil fast for five minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the blood orange juice and the juice from the lemon, and leave the liquid to cool. Remove the strips of lemon rind and freeze the liquid in a solid polythene container. If you remember, when it is slushy, scrape the contents of the container into a food processor and whiz, then refreeze. If you forget, you will need to chip the frozen fruit syrup into the processor, but it isn't really too much effort. Repeat this process four times in total, and the sorbet will thicken each time and become almost spoonable in texture from frozen.
Of course, if you have an ice-cream machine just freeze and churn the orange syrup then store the sorbet in the freezer.
Dip your ice-cream scoop in hot water before each scooping, to make serving the sorbet easier.
ORANGE TART WITH GINGER PASTRY AND GINGER VANILLA CRèME PâTISSIèRE
The pastry base can be made several days in advance and kept in a thick polythene bag, and the crème pâtissière can be prepared a day ahead. Then all you need to do, several hours before serving, is slice the oranges, melt the jelly and assemble the tart. What could be easier?
For the pastry:
4oz/110g butter, hard from the fridge, diced
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
6oz/170g plain flour
1 tablespoon icing sugar
For the ginger crème pâtissière:
1 pint/570ml single cream
5 large egg yolks (keep the whites for making meringues)
4oz/110g caster sugar
1 teaspoon liquid vanilla extract,
or 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
6 pieces stem ginger, drained and finely chopped
2 leaves of Costa gelatin, soaked in cold water, or 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin, soaked in 1 tablespoon cold water
To finish the tart:
4-6 oranges, peeled and sliced - flick out any pips
1x15oz/400g pot shredless orange jellied marmalade
First, make the pastry. Put the pastry ingredients into a food processor and whiz to fine crumbs. Firmly press them around the sides and over the base of a 9in/22cm flan tin or dish and put into the fridge for at least one hour. Bake it in a preheated moderate oven, 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 (bottom right oven in a four-door Aga), for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is just beginning to shrink very slightly away from the sides. Should it slip down during cooking, take a metal spoon, push it back up and bake for another couple of minutes. Take it out and cool the pastry.
For the ginger crème pâtissière, put the cream into a saucepan and heat it gently. Meanwhile beat together the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and ginger. Pour on the hot cream, and mix thoroughly. The quickest way to cook the custard is in a microwave oven: put the bowl in the oven on high for one minute, take it out and whisk vigorously. Put it back and cook for a minute on medium, stir and continue to cook for 30 seconds at a time until it is as thick as you like it. (In the absence of a microwave oven, stand the bowl in a saucepan of boiling water and stir until it thickens. This is a fine method, but it takes 40 to 45 minutes.) When it is ready, take the bowl out of the microwave oven, drop in the gelatin, and stir until it has dissolved. Cool the crème pâtissière until it starts to set, then spoon it evenly over the baked pastry.
To finish the tart, melt the marmalade in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Arrange the sliced oranges over the crème pâtissière. Spoon the melted marmalade over the entire surface of the tart and leave it to set.