Deer & Wild Rice with Raspberries

Not your everyday dinner.   And yes the photo looks quite pink, and it certainly was, that was the theme.  Don't bother trying this with ordinary meats such as beef, chicken or pork, I don't think it would work.  It does however work well with wild meats so maybe wild swine, if you can get it, would be okay.

These are thin fillets of deer but a big chunk like deer sirloin would work too.

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Dear with Raspberry Wild Rice

Serves: 4
  • 400 gr deer fillets [1#] (or loin)
  • 1 liter water [1 quart]
  • 3 strips lemon peel (or use orange peel)
  • 1 t black pepper, cracked (very coarsely ground. I used a mortar)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • 80 gr wild rice [3 oz]
  • 120 gr white rice [4 oz/ ½ C]
  • 150 gr fresh raspberries (or 100 gr frozen & 50 gram fresh) [8 oz]
  • 2 T lemon juice (fresh) (or orange)
  • 4 T olive oil, virgin
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Water, cold,  into a pot (for the rice)
  2. Add lemon/orange rind, bay leaf, pepper and a good dash of salt
    • Bring to a boil
  3. Add wild rice
    • Simmer 30 minutes
    • Meanwhile, skip down to doing the dressing
  4. Add white rice
    • Simmer 20 minutes (or 15 minutes - until rice is tender)
    • Meanwhile, skip down to doing the meat
  5. Drain excess water through a sieve
  6. Mix gently with a fork into the raspberry dressing (see the following)
  7. Taste for salt and pepper.  It will probably need both

    Raspberry Dressing
  8. Zip 100 grams of raspberry with a little blender until very liquidy
  9. Strain through a sieve into a big bowl (for the rice, later)
  10. Add lemon/orange juice and olive oil and whisk to emulsify the dressing
  11. Grill your deer fillets over high heat (or under high heat if you're using the oven grill, as I did) or fry the deer loins
  12. Plate the meat and rice, decorate with whole raspberries (and, if you used orange zest/juice, with fine orange slices)


  1. Put salt into the rice water before the rice.  Adding it later does not have the same effect at all

Vietnamese Pork

Another quick lunch.  Uses a wok - which is usually fun.  Since it was lunch there was no fancy plating - served it right out of the wok


Derived from my favorite curry book - Ultimate Curry Bible; Madhur Jaffrey

Vietnamese Pork

Serves: 4
  • 550 gr pork loin [1,25#] cut in 2x1x5 cm strips/chunks [1 x 1/2 x 2 inch]
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 2 t Fish sauce
  • 1 t cornflour
  • 1 stick lemongrass, minced fine
  • 2 shallots, brunoise, fine [diced]
  • 2 green chilies, brunoise, fine [diced]
  • 1 habanero chilli, brunoise, fine [diced]
  • pepper, black, fresh ground (a bunch)
  • a dash sesame oil
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t curry powder
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced fine (rings)
  1. Mix marinade ingredients with a fork
  2. Place meat in marinade, coat well, for an hour or so (in my case 'twas 30 minutes)
  3. When you're ready to go...  Oil into a wok
  4. Fry up the onions over medium heat until just starting to brown
  5. Crank the heat and add the meat and its marinade
  6. Toss around from time to time (but leave it alone enough that the surfaces of the meat have a chance to brown a little)
  7. Keep cooking until the pork is only just barely done


  1. You could use 50% more meat without changing the marinade ingredient amounts
  2. Please don't overcook the pork - it ruins the whole thing.  Remember, pork does not have to be tough and dry.
  3. This uses fish sauce, it's an important component
    • Buy a small bottle - you'll never use very much
    • Keep the bottle well capped and double bagged with a zip type plastic bag - - this stuff sticks up a cupboard like nothing else
    • Despite the almost vile smell it adds a nice flavour to the dish
  4. I served it with brussels sprouts - it went with the currish flavour quite wel

Restaurant; El Rincón de Pepe: Murcia

While away for the weekend we stopped a top establishment down in the town of Murcia (province of Murcia, Spain).  Excellent modern food.  There are pictures.

For starters:   A mixed veggie thing topped with some Iberian ham.  Think ratatouille.

Rincón Veggies

Then there's the squid (layers with potatoes) with a half ball of a paprika sauce.  It's a variation on the classic Galacian squid dish.

Rincón Pulpo

I had ox (well, actually it was castrated bull but I think it translates as the same thing).  Just very slightly grilled, rare.  It's a very well marbled meat and they're using top top quality product.  Simple is good.

Rincón Buey  

This is cow cheeks with a rich brown sauce.  Oddly the accompaniment was something with banana.  Super.  Even better than my own version of this dish - which is usually pigs cheeks.

Rincón Tenera carilleras

And something resembling lemon meringue pie.  The bottom was not a jellied lemon pie filling but a lemon infused super fine cake.  And it had perfect meringue. I was so enthusiastic about this dish that we'd dug into it before I remembered to take a picture.  Ooops.

Rincón Lemon Merengue 

Summary.  Worth a side trip to visit.   Parking was tricky in the middle of Murcia. Pricey but not outrageous.

Paul McCartney making mashed potatoes

Paul McCartney making mashed potatoes

Occasionally I post things just so that I don't lose track of them. This is a good one. The title is self explanatory. I like this guy & it's fun to watch.

Solomillo Asado: Sirloin Roast

I'm not sure whether this is a sirloin or a filet mignon.  Either way it's a really tender cut of beef and damn expensive.  But tasty.


Simple simple simple

Roast Sirloin with Mustard Crust

Serves: 4 (or 6) (meant for 6 but doesn't go that far in this house)
  • 800 gr solomillo (whole sirloin/filet mignon) [1¾ #]
  • 2 T mustard, dijon, three herbs blend (or plain)
  • 1 C bread crumbs, fine
  1. Preheat oven to 175C [350F]
  2. Wrap meat with string or Food Loops (which are quite fun) so that it's more or less a consistent thickness along its length
  3. Paint mustard onto/over the entire chunk of meat with a pastry brush
  4. Roll in bread crumbs; covering the ends too
  5. Oil the roasting pan (to prevent sticking)
  6. Place meat in pan, place pan in oven, close door
  7. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn over. Cook another 20 minutes or so
    • To an internal temperature of 55 C  [125F]
  8. Remove to a plate to rest, remove string, lick fingers
    • It'll leak juices probably - so replate it afterwards


  1. This only works with really good cuts
  2. If your oven has both top and bottom heating turn them both on
  3. I get my pastry brushes at the hardware store - cheap
  4. Don't sear the meat before roasting.  That is done for color and is unnecessary for a crusted meat dish
  5. The crust is not solid but still soft
  6. Slice thinly.  It's sort of like a slow roasted prime rib - but smaller

Basque Chicken: Poulet Sauté Basquaise: Pollo Escuaro (Basque, Vascongado)

In the new PC I still lack an image editing application. these are As-Is from the phone.


So, I got back to finally cooking something this weekend. The last two weeks have been pretty slim pickings. This is another one-pot dish - use a big cooking pan or maybe a wok would work ( needs a lid).

Note: this is being written on my new portable which has a Spanish keyboard so there may be a typo or two (or three). Great little machine; has dual processors and seems lightning fast.

Basque Chicken

Serves: 4 (or 6) (designed for 6 but seems to only serve 3 or 4 around here)
  • 2 kg chicken [4½ #] chopped in 6 pieces (8 if you keep the little wings - I did)
  • salt
  • pepper, white, freshly ground
  • olive oil (and, if you're French, an equal amount of butter. I'm not. I didn't)
  • 2 onions, medium, julienne [fine slices]
  • 2 green peppers, large, julienne (½ kg [¼ #]) (a length similar to the onions please)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 C dry white wine (boxed), approx
  • ¼ kg tomatoes [1 C] peeled, seeded, brunoise [diced] (okay, I confess, I used a can)
  • 1 bouquet garnis [herb packet] (thyme, parsley, bayleaf, whole peppercorns)
  • 150 gr very good ham, dry cured, slices [5 oz]
  1. If you have a whole chicken… cut it up; salt & pepper the pieces
  2. Oil into a pan, medium high; fry pieces really well - more than you usually do. You want these good and brown
  3. Meanwhile
    • Crush the garlic
    • Devein, deseed and julienne the green peppers
    • Julienne, very finely, the onions (avoid cutting a chunk out of your pinky - advice I failed, myself, to take)
  4. Remove browned chicken from the pan; put in the veggies & garlic, stir
    • Maybe add some oil if there doesn't seem to be enough
  5. Cover, cook on medium-low until they're soft but not browned, stirring occasionally
  6. Add back the chicken pieces and their juices
  7. Add tomatoes, boquet garnis and wine (to just cover)
  8. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer until done/tender (about a half hour or 30 minutes)
  9. Remove chicken again and, separately, pretty much all the vegetables. Toss the bouquet garnis out
  10. Meanwhile, a little oil into a pan and fry the slices of ham slightly (this is not bacon we're talking about)
  11. Reduce the chicken cooking liquid until it's saucey; coating the back of a spoon
  12. Place the ham slices neatly on a plate (probably fan shaped), top with the chicken, arrange the vegetables next to it and pour sauce over the whole lot


  1. My chicken was ecological - they often taste quite a bit better than the regular ones. Grain fed, running around; get a chicken with a pedigree if you can.
  2. Save the none meat bearing pieces of chicken for making stock. Freeze it for later if you're not making it now. Or, make it now, while the chicken is frying and you're cutting vegetables. Use some instead of part of the wine maybe.
  3. A bouquet garnis usually also contains some celery leaves and some leeks but I didn't have any
  4. The ham is a critical component - do not omit. Me, I didn't used slices - mine was chopped (sort of diced)
  5. Serve with rice, especially rice pilaf - something to soak up some of the sauce
  6. Sourced from my old favorite - Le Cordon Bleu: At Home; with barely any changes. I wonder if I'm violating some copyright law.

Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus

Link: Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus - New York Times

Since I'm suffering from a lovely fever (hitting 39,8 [103.7 F]) I'm taking the easy way out an posting a link to someone else's' stuff on the internet - in this case, The New York Times. That, combined with the fact that I didn't actually eat anything to take a picture of and post a recipe about yesterday - except tea - if that qualifies.

You may have noticed that I repeatedly say "don't be afraid of fats" (especially olive oil - and, secondarily, butter). In my case it's not from any real science-based knowledge about the subject; it's just that I know that good olive oil tastes good and --- well.... vegetable oil is only greasy. Good butter has flavour and texture whereas margarine... doesn't.
Call it instinct - - or hedonism.

The article cited basically says that the "fat is bad for you" scare is based on self referential, non-analytical, mass-hysteria effects (within the science community). Basically, a bunch of scientists sitting around and agreeing with an incorrect conclusion because it's difficult to be a dissenter. What they called "mistaken consensus".

Duck with Thyme Infused Honey Balsamic Pan Sauce

duck 04102007655

Lunch.  Had a duck breast remaining from last week's visit to the supermarket.  Vacuum packed, which lasts quite a while in my (very cold) fridge, but it was time to use it or lose it.  I thought… hmm, thyme  [actually I thought tomillo which is Spanish for 'thyme'] - a quick search of the internet produced an interesting hit at a public radio website. A brief read through and I was off to the kitchen to do something similar although I didn't actually follow their recipe. That's the way to go; read a couple of recipes for inspiration and then go get creative.

The "modern" style of naming of dishes is too wordy and overly descriptive but "duck with sauce" is rather underdescriptive; it's a dilemma.

On to the recipe - which is, now that I look at it, quite similar to the coriander one I did the other day,

Duck with Thyme Infused Honey Balsamic Pan Sauce

Serves: 2
  • ½ C chicken stock (or duck, if you've got it)
  • 1 duck breast, 300 gr [10 oz]
  • salt, coarse
  • pepper, black, freshly ground
  • sugar, a pinch or two (this may well be superfluous)
  • duck trimmings
  • 1 garlic clove, slightly crushed
  • 3 T honey
  • 2 t thyme, dried
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  1. Boil the chicken stock rapidly until it's practically thick - it'll be less than a ¼ cup
    • meanwhile…
  2. Clean the duck up; removing any silverskin (thin membrane on the surface), excess (hanging over the edges) fat and score the fat side (prevents curling) 
    • Save all the trimmings (for later); especially the fat - it's delicious
  3. Sprinkle pepper, salt and sugar on both sides of the duck breast - set aside
  4. Put the duck trimmings and garlic into the pan you'll be cooking the duck breast in and crank the heat to melt/cook the fat.
    • preferably not a non-stick pan
  5. Put honey and thyme into a very small saucepan, bring (just barely) to a boil and set aside to "infuse"
    • Now we'll get to the "cooking" part
  6. Dump everything out of the cooking pan, pour off excess fat (don't wipe the pan clean though - we want the tasty bits that will be stuck to the bottom
  7. On medium-high heat; or high if you're semi-professional
  8. toss in the duck - fat side down
    • probably 3 minutes
  9. Pour the reduced chicken stock into the honey-thyme infusion - reduce until it coats the back of a spoon - set aside (again)
  10. Turn duck
    • probably 3 minutes more
  11. Paint some honey-thyme sauce on both sides of the duck and cook for 30 seconds each side to glaze the beast
  12. Remove duck to a plate
  13. Pour off fat from the pan through a strainer and put the strained bits back into the pan
  14. pour in balsamic vinegar and deglaze the pan (scraping up the good bits left behind from the cooking)
    • reducing until it's saucy (coats the back of a spoon)
  15. add the honey-thyme infusion to the pan and reduce
  16. add in the juices that seeped out of the duck while it was resting - reduce for the final time
  17. cut the duck into thin diagonal slices and fan out on a couple of plates
  18. strain the sauce and drizzle over the duck


  1. Duck should still be pink in the center when it's cooked - with a crispy skin

Did you notice that the pictures now have a little watermark in the lower left corner with the web site's name?  I'm using Windows Live Writer to post to the blog and it has a few interesting functions like that built right in.

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El Molino de Alcuneza: Alcuneza's Mill

Went to a very nice Hotel Rural [bed & breakfast] last weekend - El Molino de Alcuneza (warning - music).   Well, not just breakfast but dinner too since they have a fantastic kitchen/chef who presents quality cuisine.

The first thing is to show you part of the floor of the salon.


That's a stream that runs under the building and the glass floor that lets you watch trout swim by.

Had a great dinner - which consisted of:

menu1 28092007646

  • Octopus
  • Goat's cheese salad
  • Turbot or Rabbit as a main course
  • Chocolate mousse

The octopus was set on a couple of slices of cooked potato and swirled around with a pimiento flavoured olive oil and some balsamic.  Very Galacian style; although instead of being just cut up octopus is was somehow chopped and molded.  A good presentation and super tender.

pulpo 28092007636

Here's the goat cheese salad.  That's a dried fruit (apricot?) on top of the cheese and the rucula [rocket] had slices of lightly smoked duck breast on top and some walnuts (a classic addition to goat's cheese).  Sauced with some honey dressing.  Good combinations.cabra 28092007638

The rabbit - roasted.  With fried pineapple under it.  That was a surprise - and a pleasant one. conejo 28092007641

Oops - I seem to be missing a picture of the Rodaballo [Turbot].  It was very good, and good-looking, too.

The salt & pepper shakers were reminiscent of New York's twin towers.


Dessert: A sort of chocolate mousse, banana ice cream, another chocolate ice cream and a decorative chocolate cookie - all on a piece of sponge cake.

postre - choco -28092007645

A great success.  For the kitchen this is a dream of a set-up.  Fixed menu, only two choices for the main course.  They change it daily so the chef gets to be creative and the seating is limited to advance reservations only and between the hours of 9:15 and 10:15 [p.m.], thus the kitchen knows exactly how much work they have each night and the "rush" is only an hour long.  Mostly it's hotel guests and the occasional neighbour or visitor.  Maybe up to eight tables en evening. 

Worth the visit (about an hour and a half outside of Madrid).

Pork Fillets with Leeks and Mustard Sauce

This is from Friday. I'll try to remember what I actually did; it was pretty spontaneous - although based on a Pork Medallions with Leeks and Mustard Sauce from my ole favorite "Le Cordon Bleu: Quick & Light" . It's actually pretty simple, although appears to be lengthy, and has a couple of useful-to-know techniques in it.

Pork Fillets with Leeks and Mustard Sauce

Serves: 2 or 3
  • 400 gr pork fillets [13 oz)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smooshed
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T sherry
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 leek (more wouldn't hurt)
  • 150 gr mushrooms [5 oz] ('cause I didn't have enough leeks - and leeks can be boring)
  • 3 T white wine, dry (box is fine)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1T butter
  • sprig of parsley (decorative) (could be sage, but not thyme)
Mustard Sauce
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 T olive oil
  • pinch sugar
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • ¼ C sherry
  • 200 ml chicken stock (or beef) [6 oz]
  • 1 T dijon mustard (whole grain would be recommended but I ate it all last week)
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  1. Trim the fat off pork and neaten up the pieces (cut into natural shaped pieces along the fat interfaces)
    • Save all the trimmings (for sauce); even the little bits of fat
  2. garlic, soy sherry & a pinch of sugar into a bowl
  3. coat pieces of meat and fridge them (even the day before)
  4. Cut leeks into thick slices (1cm) [½"] , straight or on a nifty diagonal
  5. slice mushrooms into slices
  6. oil in a saucepan
  7. add shallots & pork trimmings and a dash of sugar
    • medium heat until slightly caramelized - that is, good and brown, nearly burnt
  8. Add vinegar, deglaze the pan (this will smell quite stinky)
    • reduce to syrup
  9. Add sherry
    • reduce to syrup
  10. Add stock
    • reduce for a quarter hour (at least) until it really coats the back of a spoon well (practically a syrup one might say)
    • strain into yet another saucepan
    • you can do this a day in advance too
    • you'll add the mustard later, at the last minute
  11. Meanwhile, that is, at the same time, oil & butter into a pan
  12. Add leeks & mushrooms, wine and salt, pepper
    • Steam them slowly, covered, and for a long time (until good and soft, French, overdone)
    • do this the day before if you like. Leave enough liquid to reheat tomorrow
  13. Now for the meat. Fry the pork fillets for about 90 seconds a side (3 minutes per if you hate good pork)
    • until done (as they used to say in culinary school)
  14. Almost finished - remove the lid from the leeks and rapidly reduce the liquids to nothing, tossing lightly
  15. add juices from the pork frying pan to the sauce
    • boil rapidly to reduce if it's thin; add hot water if it's too damn thick
    • strain yet again
  16. Add mustard to sauce and stir
  17. Plate the leeks/mushrooms
  18. Surround tightly with the pork
  19. Pour on the sauce
    • I also put a little other sauce I had in the fridge on the plate for contrasting color


  1. Pork's not all fat and calorific like it used to be years and years ago. Don't be afraid of it.
  2. The trick is too not eat a half pound of pork at a time. This things nets out to about 4 or 5 ounces of actual meat per person - not excessive.
Short version
  1. marinate pork
  2. make sauce using the meat trimmings and shallots and stuff; reducing step by step
  3. steam the leeks/mushrooms in wine and butter
  4. cook the meat
  5. assemble the whole lot together

It was fun, for me, having 3 or 4 pans going on the stove at a time. For you too - if you have a dishwasher.