PINHEAD OATMEAL AND LEMON STUFFED CHICKEN Serves 4
• 4 tablespoons olive oil • 1 onion, skinned and neatly and finely diced • 6oz/170g pinhead oatmeal • 1 level teaspoon flaky salt • a good grinding - about 20 grinds - of black pepper • finely grated rind of 2 lemons - both well washed and dried before grating • 1 chicken weighing about 31/2 lb/1.5kg • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
Heat the olive oil and fry the diced onion over a moderate heat until it is quite soft and transparent, about five minutes. Then add the pinhead oatmeal, salt and pepper. Stir and fry this for about seven to ten minutes - frying the oatmeal gives it a delicious flavour. Take the pan from the heat and stir in the grated lemon rind. Leave the mixture to cool completely before stuffing the chicken.
Put a sheet of baking parchment into a roasting tin (this makes washing up so much easier afterwards) and place the stuffed chicken on to this. Cover it with the rashers of streaky bacon, then roast it in a preheated moderate oven, 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4, for an hour. Check to see if it is cooked by sticking a skewer or knife into the deepest part, between breast and thigh - the juices should run clear. If they are pink-tinged, return the chicken to the oven for a further 10 minutes before checking again. When cooked, allow the bird to stand, loosely covered with foil, for 15 minutes before carving, to let the juices settle.
CRAB WITH TOMATO MAYONNAISE Crab is rich, so keep portion sizes moderate, especially if you are serving this as a first course.
• 12oz/340g each, white and brown crabmeat
For the mayonnaise:
• 1 whole egg plus 1 yolk (our eggs come from Drumfearn, two miles from Kinloch - be sure to buy your eggs locally too) • 1 teaspoon caster sugar • 1 level teaspoon salt • a good grinding of black pepper • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard • 3/4 pint/425ml olive oil • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar • 1 teaspoon Tabasco • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tomatoes, skinned and diced (to do this, stab each tomato with a fork, place them in a bowl and pour boiling water over, leaving for half a minute or so to allow the skins to split. Pour the water off and the skins will peel away easily. Dice the flesh, removing and discarding the seeds)
Put the whole egg, yolk, sugar, salt, pepper and mustard into a food processor. Whiz, adding the oil drip by drip initially, then in a thin stream. If it is too thick, whiz in a couple of tablespoons of near-boiling water to thin it down. Lastly, whiz in the wine vinegar, Tabasco and lemon juice and fold in the diced, skinned and de-seeded tomatoes. Mix together the crabmeats, breaking down the indentations of the shell from the brown meat with the side of a metal spoon.
Put a clump of assorted salad leaves at the side of each plate. Arrange the crabmeat, dividing it between the four plates. Put a spoonful of tomato mayonnaise at the side of the crab. Serve with warm brown bread or, if it is for a main course, with steamed new potatoes.
VENISON FILLET WITH PORT AND ORANGE SAUCE Serves 4
• 4 large shallots, each skinned and diced finely • 2 tablespoons olive oil • a thumb of fresh ginger, skin removed and the ginger diced finely • 1/2 pint/285ml stock (in absence of real stock, use a good substitute such as Marigold stock powder) • 1/2 pint/285ml orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed • 1/2 pint/285ml port • 1 fairly level teaspoon arrowroot (cornflour would do as a substitute) mixed to a paste with 1 tablespoon of the port • 2oz/55g butter, cut in small bits • 2 teaspoons green peppercorns, rinsed of their brine, using a sieve, under cold water
The venison takes very little time to cook so prepare the sauce first.
Heat the two tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and fry the diced shallots and diced ginger together for several minutes until the shallots are completely soft. Then add the stock and orange juice and simmer gently until the liquid has reduced right down, by about three quarters in amount.
To make a smooth sauce, mix up a paste with the arrowroot and a tablespoon of the port, and stir some of the hot stock into this. Stir well, add the rest of the port, then mix this into the stock in the pan, stirring until it boils.
Draw the pan off the heat, and whisk in the butter, bit by bit. Stir in the green peppercorns and taste, adding salt if needed - it may not be necessary as the peppercorns contribute a certain saltiness.
To cook the venison fillet, first trim off any bits of membrane. Then heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan and sear the meat all over. Roast the fillet for five minutes at 220C/450F/Gas Mark 7 for rare meat. (Leave it in a little longer if you prefer your meat well done.)
Let the meat rest for five to ten minutes, before slicing it diagonally. Serve with the sauce, reheated if necessary.