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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’

Game meat is awesome! I have been on the roll with Partridge, Pheasant, Duck, Goose, Guinea Fowl, Rabbit and recently Venison.

Come October, the UK supermarkets have variety of game on their shelves and this is probably the best point of exposure to the hidden splendours of game meat. For anyone who loves to eat and has a penchant for adventure, game can be a very fulfilling experience.

My first experience of game goes back a many years, when a neighbour in India shot a few cranes and the curried them for dinner. I must say even as a child I couldn’t appreciate the flavours and the texture of the flesh is still fresh on my taste buds. Since then meat for me has always been about texture and I have forever appreciated the flavours that run through with various degrees of treatment. Marinade, grill – oozing red, rare, medium rare…but never pressure cooked!!!

Recently visiting family in Lexington, Virginia, I was on the look out for local game, when a family friend came to our rescue. Two days before Christmas her son went for a hunt and we got our share of fresh venison.

But what next? A houseful of people including a future brother-in-law turned to the two cooks in the family. My wife’s brother is a serious culinary enthusiast, but didn’t look too keen on the project, so it had to be me, wasn’t I screaming for GAME?

I gathered my guts and got down to some serious thinking. The meat was lean and looked mean! Google revealed that wild venison has an intense, beefy flavour. I still had no ideas.

A cigarette and some wine and I started remembering tales from Indian history, royal hunting parties wher deer and wild boar would be the night’s treat. Indian royalty wasnt known for frugal tastes. So it had to be some extraordinary fusion of spices, butter, cream that would be used to prepare the meats. This always made their meals delicious but heavy and greasy. That’s where it all started. It had to be Indian spices, not greasy and not rough on the palate!

The next few minutes I rummaged through the spice cabinet and here’s what I came up with:

6 teaspoons Whole Coriander, 10 Whole Cardamom, 15 Whole Cloves, 3 Medium Sticks Cinnamon, 25 Black pepper corns, 3 teaspoons Whole Cumin, a few Bay leaves, 5 teaspoons Aniseed (use fennel seeds as an alternative), Crushed paprika, 7 Garlic cloves, a chunk of Ginger (25 grams)

All ingredients went into a jar, topped up with white wine vinegar, olive oil and copious amounts of dark rum. The jar was left shut and left aside. I didnt have to cook till after Christmas.

So two days after Christmas when leftovers got polished off, it was time for the venison feast.

The night before, I ran the mix out of the jar into a food processor and got an amazing paste for the marinade.The venison was marinated and left in the fridge. The next evening (20 hours or so later), it was put into the oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes and then another 35 minutes at 180 degrees. Mind you we had 2 loin cuts of roughly 750 gms each. I basted the meat regularly as there was literally no fat in the meat. 50 minutes later and with 10 minutes of sitting time, we had the most amazing game that night. The aniseed was spot on…the meat was succulent with subtle flavours running through.

To serve: Cut the meat into medallions and serve with boiled rice!!!! Serve some shredded cabbage stir fried with whole cumin, chopped tomato and chopped ginger. Its delicious …honest…. and it just came from nowhere!!!!

This is the first time I have tried to remember every ingredient used in a culinary experiment. My cooking escapades most often satisfy the glutton in me. But this time I sincerely hope you can enjoy a meal from the learnings.

As a tribute to ancient Indian royalty I call this Venison a la nawabi (nawabi translates to royalty)!

Is this the start of a new era – A Random Guy’s Recipes for the Common Foodie? If you ever try it, let me know your experience.

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“With more than half a century of camera work behind him, Ansel Adams stands as one of America’s greatest landscape photographers. His career is punctuated with countless elegant, handsomely composed, and technically flawless photographs of magnificent natural landscapes. No contemporary photographer equaled the lifetime contributions of Ansel Adams in bringing public recognition of the art of photography or taught so widely the techniques of black and white photography. His strength as an artist is largely attributed to his tireless investigation of the methods of photography, developing a careful darkroom technique of exposure and development he called the Zone System. Striking photographs of Yosemite and the surrounding the Sierra Nevada capturing the elusive visual myth and mood of these wild places became the wellspring of Ansel Adam’s consciousness and brought him widespread popular acclaim. His intimate understanding as well as passion for conservation of this pristine wilderness gave Ansel Adams the energy and tenacity needed to bring subjects to life for a wider public. His reputation has been firmly established by exhibitions in virtually every major American art museum, three Guggenheim Fellowships and a score of publications.”

I had my first taste of Ansel Adam’s work on a recent visit to the “Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities” exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum , Washington D.C., where the two artistes stood on common ground – O’Keeffe’s paintings versus Adams’ Photographs. It was an amazing experience and an inspiration. The above photograph is my tribute to Adams. I was visiting the Natural Bridge in Virginia on Christmas eve, and the creek was frozen in sections. These fallen leaves under the ice looked happy to be there, or were they crying to break free?!

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