Camilla: I’ve no idea what to get Charles for his 70th
... made with PHEASANT and almost a whole pack of butter – as he reveals in favourite recipe
WHAT do you buy the man who has everything for his 70th birthday?
Even the Duchess of Cornwall is scratching her head when it comes to choosing a gift for her husband Prince Charles.
With just days to go until his birthday on Wednesday, Camilla admitted: ‘People keep asking me if I have brought him a present and I haven’t. He is the worst person. He has a list [containing porcelain and items for the garden] and I’ve learnt through 13 years of being married that it is better to stick to the list. He has a lot of things, but he knows what he likes and if you give him a present, he says, “Oh that’s lovely,” when he doesn’t think it’s lovely at all.’
The Duchess, 71, spoke exclusively to the Daily Mail earlier this week after a gruelling morning on the couple’s West African tour, where she undertook several engagements in Ghana, including a meeting as patron of WOW, the Women of the World Festival. She praised a group of young Ghanaian campaigners looking to bring the concept to their country as they spoke about the issues affecting them most, from social justice to sport, women’s rights and enterprise.
Reminded of how she told the Mail on his 65th birthday that her one wish for her workaholic husband was for him to slow down, she said: ‘As the French say, plus ca change! It doesn’t get any better. In fact, the older he gets, the more driven he gets.
‘I remember my father, who was a very wise man, always saying to me, “As you get older, the one thing you have to do is pace yourself.” So I’ve tried to get that over to my husband, but I’m afraid to say it’s fallen on deaf ears. He thinks, “I’ve got so much to do. I’ve got to cram it into these years!”
‘Suddenly you get to 70 and a sense of mortality hits you. I just think he wants to get everything done and dusted.’
IT HAS long been known that architecture, organic farming and complementary medicine are high on the menu of meaty issues which Prince Charles likes to get his teeth into.
Less well documented, however, is what he most likes to tuck into for his supper — let alone just what a keen eye he has for a cutting edge and imaginative new recipe. Until now.
For the Prince of Wales has given a mouthwatering insight into what sets his taste buds tingling by revealing that his ‘favourite recipe’ is . . . pheasant crumble pie.
And the heir to the throne likes eating game birds so much he has ‘invented’ a possible successor to that dish’s place in his affections — a moussaka made with grouse, instead of the usual lamb, which he calls ‘groussaka’.
His craving for such culinary creations will be revealed in next Wednesday’s edition of Country Life magazine that he is guest editing to mark his 70th birthday, which falls on that very same day. In it, Charles tells how he owes his fondness for pheasant crumble pie to a friend, saying: ‘I got this recipe from someone I know. It is delicious.’
He goes on to say: ‘I invented a grouse one recently, coq au vin with grouse, as well as moussaka with grouse (it doesn’t always have to be lamb), in other words groussaka!’
The feature, titled My Favourite Recipe, includes an interview with John Williams, the executive chef at The Ritz in London, and the recipe for pheasant crumble pie, along with photographs of Mr Williams preparing it.
Mr Williams tells the magazine he thinks cooking with game ‘went out of favour for a while because chefs weren’t handling it correctly’.
He adds: ‘People used to tell me, “I like my game green, man — it’s got to be very well hung”, but hanging should only be taking place from four to six days, really; just enough to make it tender and ready for the table.’ Mr Williams also advises readers: ‘The important thing is not to overcook game birds — make sure there’s juice inside . . .
‘Seasonality, of the kind you get with game, brings something new to the table. We work on the principle that the ingredients the animals live among tend to go really well with them, so, at the moment, we’re serving [at The Ritz] a lovely dish of roast grouse with blackberries and ceps. It’s very simple.’
Earlier this year, the Duchess of Cornwall gave a peek into her husband’s food habits when she appeared on a special episode of MasterChef Australia and talked about how much he likes cheese. She said: ‘Anything to do with cheese, he’ll love . . . anything with eggs, with a bit of local vegetables of some kind, he’d love that. You’d definitely see a smile.’
In the documentary, Prince, Son And Heir — Charles At 70, which aired on BBC One on Thursday, Charles appeared to suggest during a conversation about a smelly sporran that there is, however, one cheese that he is not keen on — goats’ cheese.
Laughing, he said: ‘ It [ the sporran] goes round smelling like goats’ cheese, I never quite know because it always smells like my sporran and tastes like it.’
As for foods which the Royal Family would generally rather avoid, garlic is known to be high on the list. On MasterChef Australia, Camilla was asked if that is because they spend so much time chatting to people and replied: ‘Exactly — you just have to lay off the garlic.’
Perhaps not surprisingly, then, the pungent bulb is absent from the ingredients listed in the recipe for the Prince’s favourite pheasant crumble pie, the sauce for which is flavoured with juniper berries, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and a splash of sherry.
HRH The Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday commemorative issue of Country Life is on sale Wednesday, November 14.
Hold the garlic: Pheasant crumble pie tickles Charles’s tastebuds, he tells Country Life magazine