Fed up with turkey? Overdosed on Christmas pud? Do you run for the exit when you hear the dreaded words “all the trimmings”? Silas Silage has a festive antidote for you.
Mrs Silage and I lead simple lives, and try to live off the land as much as possible, and this applies as much at Christmas as at any other time of the year. So I thought I would share some traditional family recipes, to save your pocket and your digestive system. In these times of austerity it is worth noting that our Christmas generally costs us NOTHING!
First catch your badger, as we say in the trade. If you can’t run one over, it’s fairly easy to trap one with a few old honeycombs as bait.
First, skin it – you can sell the fur to that fancy hairdresser in Curzon Street for posh gentleman’s shaving brushes.
Remove the entrails and hang by the hind legs for a week. Collect the blood and mix with red wine and store separately.
Cut the badger into small pieces and mix with a few bits of bacon. Soak in a mixture of blood, elderberry wine, garlic, paprika, juniper berries Italian herbs and a good dose of Worcester sauce for a few days.
Put the whole thing into a jug, and then place the jug in boiling water for 3 hours.
Serve with parsnips and carrots, garnish with grated beetroot. Wash down with some Purple Death
Stoat, weasel and mushroom pie
Get half a dozen stoats and weasels (trapping is best), skin and throw away the gubbins. Cut them up and braise them in a flat dish with some field mushrooms, some carrots and some kale. Top with a nice pastry crust, bake and serve. Very nice with artichoke sherry.
Slow Crow liver pâté – a nice tasty treat for boxing day supper.
You’ll need a good treeful of crows (about 2 doz) for this. Remove the livers and soak in sloe gin. Mush them up with some butter and cook for about 30 mins. Mush them up again and serve with fresh toast, adding some more sloe gin.
Sweet wood pigeon pastie
Make the filling a day ahead by browning pieces of shredded pigeon (you’ll need 2 or 3) in oil. Then slow cook with more oil with, onions, water, parsley, and spices from your cupboard.
Thicken to form a custard-like sauce with beaten eggs, and leave outside overnight to chill.
In a round pizza pan, add a layer of filo pastry and brush with butter. Pour the sauce over the dough and place two more buttered sheets of filo pastry on top. Add a crunchy layer of toasted and ground almonds, cinnamon, and sugar, and two more pastry layers.
Cook for 30 mins in a hot oven. Sprinkle with icing sugar and perhaps more cinnamon, and serve with a delicious sweet elderflower vodka cordial.
If you’ve been diligent over the autumn you should have ample supplies of the following:
Artichoke Sherry, Beetroot Burgundy, Blackberry Brandy, Blackberry Vodka, Bullace Gin, Cider, Damson Vodka, Ethylated nettle and dandylion, home brew Potato whisky, Parsnip vermouth and good old Sloe Gin.
Isn’t nature bountiful! Spare a though for those less fortunate than you this Christmas.
Good eating and Happy Christmas to you all.
Silas will be back in the New Year, presumably when he gets out of hospital. In the meantime, a very happy Christmas to all our readers.