A change for Christmas
Mrs Simkins offers something a bit different in the way of festive culinary treats
A tantalising cross between lamb and beef, a roasting joint of roe deer is perfect for 4- 6 people. Naturally lean, it can be dry, but with care the result is succulent and juicy: lubricate well with butter, keep covered and avoid overcooking.
Choose haunch, saddle or shoulder and massage all over with butter. Sprinkle with coarsely ground black pepper.
Roast in an oiled roasting tin, covered with foil, in a preheated oven for 20 minutes per 450g/1lb.
Cook at 200C (fan oven) or equivalent for initial 20 minutes: reduce heat to 180C for remaining time. Once juices run clear light pink, remove from oven and rest, covered with foil, in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Serve with the accompaniments below, steamed Brussels sprouts and baby carrots.
Sherry and Mushroom Gravy
1 medium-large onion, sliced 75g mushrooms, finely chopped 2 sticks celery, de- strung & finely chopped 2 tablespoons oil, plus extra 4 tablespoons cream sherry 1 litre hot water: vegetable cooking water is ideal 1 level teaspoon each Marmite & back treacle 2 heaped tablespoons flour
Fry onions, celery and mushrooms gently in oil until soft. Add sherry, turn up heat and bubble for 3 minutes. Add water, Marmite and treacle. Tip flour into a large cup and gradually stir in 3- 4 tablespoons of cold water and a dash of oil to make a smooth paste. Add 3- 4 tablespoons of hot liquid from pan gradually to flour mixture and stir back into pan. Bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1½ hours or until rich and thick. Drain away any surplus grease from roasting tin and add cooking juices, including the sticky residue from the bottom, to the gravy.
Tart Berry Sauce
Utilise frozen oddments of your summer berry crop in this tangy sauce. Combine any of the following: red/white/ blackcurrants, blueberries, blackberries, tay/loganberries, cranberries and stoned cherries.
Terrific with venison, it also complements the chocolate pudding beautifully.
300g mixed tart berries (see above) 100g golden caster sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Combine ingredients in a heavy-
ABOVE: Roast shoulder of vension. LEFT: Vension sides: