Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Riverside Café, Hillsborough, Sheffield

I hadn't eaten a dirty great fry-up in ages, so was really hoping the Riverside might be a successful source of breakfast joy.

It's a popular café, and an attractive one too, with a clean, bright feel you don't often get in a £3.50 breakfast establishment. I wasn't expecting the finest quality ingredients but I was anticipating a well executed full English.

It didn't really stack up in the end which was a shame. They cocked up the order, his and hers customised breakfasts should have been one with hash browns and scrambled eggs, the other with black pudding and a fried egg. The extras arrived arse about tit, and they forgot to put the beans on one of them. No beans!

Bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms were all ok but rubbery eggs and damp toast really let the side down. The black pudding tasted of soggy regret. Sausages were of the scrapings tube variety, but that's not a criticism as that's what I expected. Being a tad hungover I quite enjoyed them.

On a more positive note passable freshly brewed coffee at £1.20 was a bargain and they had some good looking cakes and pies. I'll give them another try at some point for these.


80 Catchbar Lane
S6 1TA

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Caribbean Food Stall, Kirkgate Market, Leeds

I'm not sure what the name of this place is, or whether it even has a name, but it's a relative newcomer on Butchers Row selling hot Caribbean food. I think they might have started out with a weekly slot at the Source, so it's good to see them progress to being a fully fledged business trading on the market.

You can takeaway or eat in at the handful of tables they have inside and out on the row. Chicken meals are all four quid and curry goat is a fiver. The goat was good stuff, stewed slowly on the bone to melting tenderness. The sauce holding it was deceptive, seeming a bit boring at first but building with fruity scotch bonnet heat.

Rice and peas were the coconutty real deal and soaked things up nicely. Side salad was limp and undressed, but salad isn't really the point of this meal.

A wider range of cooked and ready to eat food stalls is one of the things I think the market really needs, so I hope they manage to make a success of this. Sadly if it didn't last I'd hardly be surprised. For the moment, along with Maxi's Rotisserie there are two good places for lunch filling the gaps on Butchers Row. Use them or lose them.


Butchers Row
Leeds Kirkgate Market

Friday, 23 November 2012

Asia Style, Glasgow

Another day another dark, rainy mid-week journey to Scotland. I love Glasgow but it can be a bit dismal in November. For some reason I was craving noodles, only they would brighten my day.

Search for 'noodles Glasgow M8' and chances are you'll end up at Asia Style (actually that's lies, you'll probably end up at somewhere called Ichiban, but Asia Style must have entered my conciousness somehow 'cos it only took me two minutes to recall its existence and locate it), a casual Chinese Malaysian place close to Charing Cross station just off the motorway.

I was hoping they might serve me a decent laksa, my last such experience being a bit underwhelming. At least they had roti canai, sneakily hidden on the menu under the description 'Malaysian pancake'. Roti canai, done well, are marvellous. Crisp, flakey layered eggy breads of utter deliciousness; like the buttery bastard child of the finest paratha and a wayward croissant, dipped in curry sauce. Oh yes.

Sadly this one was a bit rubbish, cooked too quickly too hot, rendering the edges charred but the interior lumpen and unflaked, grease permeating the whole. I still loved it in a sordid, sweaty fried bread kind of way though, that is if you ate curry with your fried bread. Which you probably should.

Curry laksa this time, I would have had assam but they didn't do one. I'm no expert on Malaysian food, but I think curry laksa should include seafood and tofu, but I'm not really sure in what sort of ratio. This one was ten parts tofu to one part seafood. One big prawn, three fish balls and several kilos of spongey tofu and the weird vegetarian tripe that is beancurd skin.

I'm yet to learn to love tofu. I'm really trying, but it's just not working. The texture is always wrong, be it spongey or squishy or slippery or chewy. Consequently eating this was a bit of a chore. The curry broth was ok, nothing special though, as were the noodles (which were the thick yellow mee variety).

I can't quite decide whether this was rubbish, or just not to my tastes. I'd just driven for four hours in a torrential downpour so my brain was frazzled when I ate it so it's hard to say for sure. On the plus side it's cheap and cheerful, and copious quantities of Chinese tea are proffered free of charge. It's open late so maybe go when you're pissed.


185-189 St George's Road
G3 6JD

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Good things to eat [Volume 13]

Here's another round-up of a few good things I've been eating recently.

Wensleydale Creamery Cheeses

I've had a long and enduring relationship with Wensleydale cheese. As a teenager trips to stay at a mate's parents caravan near Aysgarth often entailed a trip further up the dale to gorge on freebies at the creamery shop.

These were some of my earliest full-on food orientated weekends really (though I'm not sure that's quite how we saw it at the time), with fish and chips in Leyburn followed by a visit to the butcher's for ham and egg pies and slabs of belly pork to tide us over until a sturdy pub dinner and a skinful of Riggwelter. Oof. And that's before we even got to the cheese.

The last time I was there I was worried that they'd sold out to the mass-production gimmick-cheese gods (maybe they'd got Alex James in as a consultant?), there being little of interest beyond the basic Wensleydale and far too many fruity, sugary, stupid versions with bits in. Wensleydale with pineapple anyone?

This time around they seem to have had a rethink. The gimmick cheese is still there in spades, but attentions have been re-focussed on cheese for people who like the taste of cheese. I was particularly impressed by these three cheeses.

Photo credit: Wikipedia commons

Kit Calvert Wensleydale - an extra mature version that somehow manages to retain the fresh crumbly character of the young cheese while also being softer in texture and less acidic in taste. It's quite buttery and rich, and probably best eaten on its own. Or maybe with an Eccles cake or an apple.

Bishopdale - a good quality cheddar-alike, with a very smooth almost processed texture rescued by the presence of loads of little crystalline bits and a fantastic flavour. Rich and meaty, sort of like the surface of a properly cooked steak. Great in anything you'd put cheddar in I would have thought.

Coverdale - Wensleydale taken in the opposite direction to the Kit Calvert version, wonderfully bright and tart, a fresher alternative to the original. Would work well in salads in place of feta, but worth eating on it's own.

The cheese shop at the Hawes creamery has lots of free samples. You can really fill your boots and no-one seems to mind. Probably polite to actually buy some as well, which I always do these days.

Forge Bakehouse

A new bakery that's just opened on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield. I came across it completely by accident on what was actually their opening weekend. I bought a very good baguette, but need to investigate their bread further before writing about it.

What doesn't warrant further investigation, but does warrant many repeat purchases, is their pastry. A lemon meringue pie and a Valrhona chocolate brownie were an absolute delight, the pie especially so. In really skilled hands it's possible to make calorific fat and sugar laden pastries and puddings with such a deft touch it's as if you were eating delicious air.

Whoever is baking at the Forge has that level of skill. I could eat one of these pies in two mouthfuls. Two mouthfuls of burnished sticky sweet meringue, smooth tangy lemon and the shortest, most delicate pastry.

232 Abbeydale Road
S7 1FL

Raspberry Curd

Until I saw this in the gift shop at Rievaulx Abbey I'd never even considered the possibility of a curd being made from anything other than citrus fruit, but why the hell not. Any suitably acidic fruit ought to work right?

Raspberries, being the best fruit there is, make an excellent curd. The flavour is purest essence of raspberries and butter, sweetened a little. You want this on your toast, trust me.

Available at National Trust shops, but home-made would be even better. Come to think of it, how about a raspberry meringue pie?

Monday, 19 November 2012

Ginseng, Sheffield

Ginseng, recently opened in the West One complex, is Yorkshire's first Korean restaurant (I'd love to be corrected if I'm wrong on this, but I haven't managed to find one up until now). This is a long overdue and rather exciting development, as Korean food is frankly ace.

It's got lots of spice, lots of marinaded meat, the best one-pot rice dish in the world (dolsot bibimbap, which is on the menu here), fantastic sturdy comfort food and lots of pickled vegetables. Kimchi, the ubiquitous Korean fermented cabbagey chilli stuff, is one of my all-time favourite foods. Used as a condiment or a side dish or an appetiser or a beer snack or in whatever way you fancy, it is truly wonderful stuff. Kimchi spam fried rice is a particularly guilty pleasure. I didn't make it up by the way, this is a recognised dish. Google it.

Things got off to a good start at Ginseng with a steady supply of kimchi arriving at the table, along with other banchan (that's the collective word for the little side dishes that form part of any Korean meal) of marinaded beansprouts and pickled daikon. These were free of charge and replaced readily throughout the meal, which is as it should be in a good Korean restaurant.

We chose to eat barbecue as it seemed like a fun option to share between five, but the menu extends to a range of stews, noodle and rice dishes so you could order individually. Before the barbie meats arrived we kicked things off with a kimchi pancake and some pan-fried pork dumplings.

The pancake was a perfect example of the satisfying sturdiness of Korean food. Spicy, salty, beautifully crisp and just a bit greasy. An excellent beer snack. The dumplings were the best I've had in ages, also beautifully crisp with a succulent filling and chewy but pliant casings that reminded me a bit of really good pasta.

Onto the meat. Every table in a Korean barbecue restaurant houses an electric griddle plate for cooking whatever you choose from an extensive list of meat and veg. Not really being experts in this sort of thing we opted for the beef selection and mixed veg selection. Our choice of six varieties of beef included marinaded sirloin and I think topside (bulgogi?), ribeye, boneless rib strips (galbi?), oxtail and some really thinly sliced bits that cooked in seconds.

It was all good stuff, the best for me being the slightly thicker cut rib meat. The marinades were all quite sweet (sugar, soy, sesame oil predominantly at a guess) and gave up just enough juice to flavour the rice alongside a condiment platter of hot chilli bean paste (gochujang, or maybe ssamjang), sesame oil and some red powdery stuff that tasted like tomato cup-a-soup with sesame seeds in it.

I forgot to take a photo of the vegetable platter, so you'll just have to take my word for it that it looked very pretty. It wasn't all so good in the eating though, the obvious candidates for barbecuing with meat soaking up the juices and proving a success (mushrooms, aubergine, courgette) and other things being a bit pointless (sweet and normal potatoes).

We ate rice with our barbecue, but I've since discovered that the way to do it is to order a plate of lettuce and use the leaves to form little wraps (known as ssam) around the meat and sauces. I'll know better next time.

The barbecue could seem a bit gimmicky, but with better menu knowledge than we had you could make it into a very good meal. My tips are go for the beef, add some other meats, remember the lettuce and choose vegetables individually. I'll also definitely be returning to sample some of the non-barbecue dishes.

Service was good throughout our meal, we weren't rushed even though the place was deserted when we left. We did get told off a bit for repeatedly turning our barbecue up too high and causing a smoky nuisance, but we probably deserved that. Sorry guys, it was Friday night and beers were involved.

Including a generous tip we paid £24 each, not bad at all given that we had plenty to drink (a bottle of wine and about seven beers in total). A very welcome addition to the Sheffield restaurant scene.


West One Plaza
Fitzwilliam Street
S1 4JB

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Café Mozaic, Ashton-under-Lyne

Alongside Lily's vegetarian Indian restaurant which I've yet to visit, Café Mozaic has been one of two places in Ashton-under-Lyne on my 'to do' list for absolutely ages. I'm so glad I finally got round to visiting, because this place is a real gem.

The café, run by a husband and wife team who hail from Morocco and Stockport respectively, serves Moroccan and Lebanese food. Kebabs, tagines and salads are all pre-cooked on the premises then displayed in a large glass fronted chiller cabinet for you to choose from.

It all looked pretty good so I couldn't resist the offer of 'a bit of everything' for the daily special price of just £4.80.

What arrived was an enormous plate weighed down with exceptionally good food. Lamb and chicken keftas were moist and delicately spiced, two different tagines were subtly different, one tomatoey and the other darker and fragrant with cinnamon.

The salads were no afterthought, proper zesty tabbouleh (proper in that it was a parsley salad flecked with bulgur wheat, not the other way round) and pickled chillies were an excellent counterpoint to all the meat. Cumin spiked carrots and a creamy potato salad were also spot on.

Even the carbs were a cut above, two types of rice were hidden beneath the meat dishes, one of which was a lovely plump, nutty short grain variety I don't think I've had before.

None of the food suffered from its microwave reheating, so I really couldn't fault anything about it. It would compare favourably with what's served in some restaurants for well over twice the price. Excellent.


19 Warrington Street

Mozaic Cafe & Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

All Siam, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield

All Siam is one of the more upmarket breed of Thai restaurants, the kind with expensive looking decor and good service. There are orchids and statues of buddha, the menu is solid and cloth-bound and the waitresses are beautifully dressed and attentive.

In keeping with the surrounds the food is good but errs on the side of caution. A couple of freebie appetisers were a nice touch, little sweet potato stuffed samosa-like things with sweet chilli sauce.

There wasn't really much point to our starter, crispy baskets holding a mix of chicken and vegetables with no evidence of spicing or herbs, and no accompanying sauce. The salads and soups are probably far more interesting, but a tricky option when there's a seafood allergy to worry about and you're trying to stick to a budget.

Mains were much better, a lamb massaman curry brought generous quantities of beautifully cooked, tender meat and a penang chicken curry was fragrant with good depth of flavour. I enjoyed them both but the spicing was a bit off-kilter, overly sweet at the expense of the more assertive Thai tastes.

Service was lovely as expected, and tap water was readily topped up throughout. Our bill came to just short of £38 for one starter, two mains and rice, and an alcoholic drink apiece. Not cheap but a good option for a date or special occasion. Go elsewhere for Thai face-sweats.


639 Ecclesall Road
S11 8PT

All- Siam on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Bragazzi's, Abbeydale Road, Sheffield

I discovered Bragazzi's completely by accident while checking out what Abbeydale Road had to offer. The original plan was a dosa lunch at either Dhanistha's or East and West, but both were deserted and I wasn't in the mood for completely solitary dining. The south Indian fix will have to wait for another day.

It turned out to be a very happy accident, Bragazzi's is an Italian deli and café of unusually high quality. A small cappuccino was easily the equal of anything I've had in the recent influx of independent coffee shops, beautifully made with a complex, roasted flavour.

A mortadella, mozzarella, pesto, olive and tomato sandwich was also marvellous. I did wonder whether having it toasted was going to be a mistake, I always instinctively say yes when offered but toasting a good sandwich can be a bad idea when it ends up overdone; - the bread dessicated and the filling too hot to taste. 

I needn't have worried, this was just gently pressed so the cheese had melted. Layers of paper thin sliced meat with mild, milky, stringy cheese, salty olives and bright, herbal pesto. The best sandwich I've had in ages.

The café would be a great place to while away a few hours with the papers, or you can takeaway. Prices are more than reasonable for the quality, the coffee was £1.80 and the sandwich £3.60. Highly recommended.


220-226 Abbeydale Road
S7 1FL

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Sandpiper Inn, Leyburn, North Yorkshire

Last weekend I had a thoroughly enjoyable time showing off some of the finest parts of Yorkshire to AS. Having lived in Yorkshire for over twelve years she probably didn't consider that necessary, but I can't help coming over all proprietorial when it comes to exhibiting God's own county, particularly where southerners are concerned.

I'm a rubbish Yorkshireman at times anyway (favourite northern city: Manchester) so any opportunity to remind myself of its amazingness is a good thing. Take a trip, as we did, to Bedale, then up through Wensleydale via Aysgarth Falls, West Burton and Hawes, then head over the Buttertubs Pass and back down Swaledale, then onwards to Sutton Bank, Helmsley, Rievaulx Abbey, Dalby Forest and finally the coast. Amazing.

Waterfalls in full spate, broad snow-capped fells, lush valleys, handsome market towns, autumn-bronzed woodlands, idyllic mist-clad ruins, the works. Truly wonderful. {Welcome to Yorkshire - please send the job offer to the e-mail address opposite}.

We couldn't cover that lot in a single day so a bed for the night was required. The Sandpiper in Leyburn provided the bed, and dinner and breakfast as well. It's a solid 17th century inn, all wooden beams and cosy fires, perfect for a chilly November night.

Home made breads got things off to a fantastic start. All three were very good, especially a wholemeal roll with an open, chewy crumb and wonderful depth of flavour. The butter and a little dish of hummous served alongside were also top notch.

My cauliflower and cumin soup with queenie scallops was presented rather more artfully than the photo would suggest, as it was taken after the soup had been poured over the scallops at the table. It was pleasant enough but the scallops weren't the best, being on the bland side and a bit gritty.

AS had the tempura vegetables, a good bit of deep-frying skill with some decent home-made sweet chilli sauce.

Duck leg with sauteed potatoes, red cabbage and green beans was a reliable plate of food, solid and satisfying if a little uninteresting. I'm not sure quite what I was expecting, the duck skin was properly crisped and the fat rendered, the veggies all as they should have been, it just seemed a bit underwhelming for £16.50.

AS had the rib steak with mushrooms and chips, which turned out to be the opposite of my dish I suppose. Not so competently cooked (it had to be sent back for extra grill time after arriving very rare rather than the requested medium) but bloody lovely. It was a beautiful piece of meat with rich creamy fat and a dark, savoury crust. Well aged beef and a very hot grill making a happy marriage, luckily for me a fair amount of it found its way onto my plate.

Raspberry and vanilla vacherin with orange and blackberries was almost a really lovely pudding, but the orange slices were too assertive and overwhelmed the other fruits. The frozen raspberry and vanilla stuff (like a semifreddo) on top of a meringue was great though. A vacherin is a sort of fruit and meringue dessert by the way, and not just a sweaty cheese.

The skill with the ices was further demonstrated with a bowl of ice-creams and sorbets. The lemon sorbet was like a slap in the chops, an icy wake-up call at the end of a rich meal, full of acidic, bittersweet flavour.

With a bottle of unremarkable Australian red the bill came to around eighty pounds before service, which was excellent throughout. Professional and efficient but not in the least bit stuffy, with a good bit of dry northern humour thrown in for good measure.

Given that we stayed the night I should also give breakfast a quick mention so here's the lowdown on the full English: Excellent bacon and black pudding. Good sausage, tomatoes and mushrooms. Let down slightly by a watery poached egg, and I'd have liked some beans but maybe that's just me.

We enjoyed our night at The Sandpiper, our experience was of a good restaurant (and I do mean restaurant, this isn't a drinkers pub. The front door was locked by half past ten) with cooking that's very accomplished in parts if a bit inconsistent, and uses some wonderful ingredients. The baking, ice cream making and quality of red meat served were the highlights.


Market Place
North Yorkshire

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Bacon Sandwich Quest: October

The end is nigh. We've reached the final quarter of our journey together. We've experienced highs and lows, mostly the latter... I'll shut up before I go any further with this or I'll have nothing left to write come BSQ eulogy time in a couple of months.

Guess what? October wasn't particularly thrilling. 'Twas a two sandwich (actually three, but I got carried away and wrote about one of them last month) month, one steady but slightly disappointing and one offering up an unsettling bread related curveball.

Slightly disappointing was this effort from the Whirlow Hall Farm stall at the Sharrow Vale market. Whirlow Hall Farm are a charitable trust doing great work so I'd rather not be too harsh about their sarnie, but it was a bit pants. Very small, unevenly cooked bacon, not much of it, no brown sauce available. £2.50. The bacon itself was good quality though, so I'll just recommend that you go and buy some and leave it at that.

BROWN BREAD BACON SANDWICH KLAXON. This is wrong surely? Not just any old brown bread but full on thick sliced granary. This comes courtesy of the nice chaps at Mrs Atha's in Leeds, who will serve you excellent coffee. I think you need to rein in some of your wilder ideas a bit though lads. Granary/bacon is not the way to attract a regular buttie clientele. There's a time and a place for experimentation and the working person's breakfast is not it.

Having said all that I quite liked it, but the quantity of bacon therein was rather meagre relative to the bread. Brown sauce and good service were in plentiful supply. £3.

Due to unforeseen circumstances I can't bring you the leaderboard (I mean unforeseen in a kind of 'problems on the railways' sort of a way, as in 'entirely foreseeable') this month. It's safely stored on my personal laptop which is at home in Sheffield, whereas I'm in a hotel room in Scotland. Oops. I'll update the post on my return, in the meantime you can rest assured that neither of these two is going to trouble the frontrunners.

Not long to go. Keep the faith.

Edit: here's that leaderboard you've all been waiting for.

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Crispin Inn, Ashover, Derbyshire

Pubs serving food usually fall into one of two categories these days, loosely speaking I'd call these 'crappy chain' and 'gastrofied'. There's some overlap, the crappy gastrofied chain being a particularly prominent mix of the two, but as a general rule I think it holds up.

Crappy chains, as the name implies, are usually chain pubs run by massive pubcos or similar groups. The menus will be laminated, the steaks overcooked and the chips that special variety of bulk buy chips that only exist in such establishments. Prices will vary depending on the branding applied and the aspirations of the neighbourhood, but will probably have sod all to do with the quality of the food. Whitbread are particularly adept at this, I'm convinced you can eat the same old shite in differently branded outlets of their's for wildly varying prices.

Carveries are also a speciality of the genre. Don't even get me started on your average carvery. Overcooked meat with overcooked vegetables with stale Yorkshire puddings doused in rubbish gravy all in grotesquely oversized fart-inducing portions. Great.

The gastrofied pub may also be a chain, just one with delusions of grandeur. If it is a chain it won't be obvious because the chains like to pretend their higher end offerings aren't chains at all. Irrespective of whether it's a chain or wholly independent here there will be common themes too.

Prices will be higher, main courses must never be less than a tenner. There will be much talk of seasonal ingredients on the daily printed menus, chips will always be cooked more than once and steaks will be aged for 21, 28 or if they're really showing off, 35 days (this brings no guarantee that they will actually be any good). Don't get me wrong, I normally gravitate towards this category over the crappy chain, but sometimes a more basic approach is called for.

There is a third, but increasingly rare category of food pub. Which brings me to the Crispin in Ashover, a local pub serving food cooked on the premises, that's neither aspirational and pretentious nor straight off the back of the nearest cook-chill truck.

I had black pudding sausages and mash which arrived strewn across a two foot wide plate in endearingly cack-handed fashion. Good quality sausages, decent gravy and great clods of mash like you'd cooked it yourself in a hurry made for a thoroughly satisfying plate of food.

Other dishes demonstrated a deft hand with the stodge, dumplings were declared very light and the chips were ace. Lovely and brown and crying out for stuffing in a buttery butty.

There was no need for pudding but I couldn't resist the school dinnery delights of jam and coconut sponge with custard. The same kitchen skills were on display as with the dumplings, it's not easy making a sponge pudding seem light and airy but this really was. Half a day's calories devoured in moments I would think. A sticky toffee pudding with pear and walnuts was also really very good.

Service was no nonsense. Order at the bar, someone fetches your food. We paid just over fifty quid for four main meals, two puddings and a round of drinks. Why can't there be more pubs in the third category?


The Crispin Inn
S45 0AB

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Venison Casserole and Chilli

I was hunting for game on Sunday, not with a gun on a fell or anything, just with my car and some money and a couple of farm shops. I really wanted birds, but they didn't have any so venison was the next best thing.

I bought a pack of diced venison for about six quid, which seemed fair given that it was labelled as wild and organic. Having thought about it that seems a little strange though. How can meat from a wild animal be labelled organic? The wily old deer could have been slurping from a pesticide infested stream and feasting on Goblin meat puddings for all the butcher knows.

However worthy its origins it wasn't the finest bit of Bambi I've ever eaten, but it did provide a very solid base for a stew, perfect with a big pile of creamy mash. Even better were the leftovers jazzed up into a chilli con carne, something livelier to clear my aching head.

Serves 4 (2 for stew and 2 for chilli, or just stew if you like)

What you'll need for the casserole

1lb (450-500g) venison
1 large onion
1 leek
1 large carrot
2 handfuls of mushrooms
small bunch of thyme
1 scant teaspoon juniper berries
2 bay leaves
2 dessertspoons plain flour
1 stock cube
1 pint water
1 glass red wine
1 dessertspoon mushroom ketchup (optional)
2 cloves garlic
butter and oil

What to do

1. Coat the venison pieces with the flour and season generously with salt and pepper. Brown them in a good splash of oil in a heavy bottomed pan for a few minutes.

2. While the venison is browning slice the onion, crush the juniper berries (in a pestle and mortar or just with the back of a knife) and finely chop or crush the garlic.

3. When the venison is nicely browned remove it from the pan and set aside. Keep the pan on a low heat and throw in the onions. Add a small knob of butter to stop them sticking to the floury bits from the meat.

4. While the onions are sweating chop the carrot, leek and mushrooms into large-ish chunks. Let the onions soften for around 10 minutes then stir in the garlic and juniper berries. Fry for another minute or two then put the venison back in the pan.

5. Crumble in the stock cube (I used beef but Marigold vegetable bouillon would be just as good) then pour in the glass of wine and the water (and the mushroom ketchup if you have any). Throw in the carrot, leek and mushrooms then bring to the boil.

6. Tuck in the thyme (about 7 or 8 sprigs should do it) and the bay leaves then simmer for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol and thicken it slightly.

7. Either turn the heat down and simmer very gently for a couple of hours, or transfer the whole lot to a slow cooker. I cooked mine in the slow cooker on the high setting for about four hours.

8. When it's ready remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves, then chuck in a knob of butter to add a bit of gloss to the sauce. Serve with a big mound of fluffy mash.

What you'll need to turn the leftovers into a chilli

1 large tomato
a few mushrooms
a small tin of kidney beans
2 tsp chipotle chilli paste
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsps cumin powder
tomato puree (or ketchup)

How to turn the leftovers into a chilli

1. Chop the tomato and mushrooms into small pieces and fry them in oil for a couple of minutes.

2. Throw in all of the spices and fry for another minute, stirring constantly.

3. Throw in the casserole, the kidney beans and a good squirt of tomato puree (or ketchup) and simmer the lot for ten to twenty minutes.

4. Serve with a buttery baked potato.

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