Lunch is one of the high­lights of a day in the field. But what’s the se­cret to cre­at­ing a truly de­li­cious feast and how can you breathe new life into the same old recipes?

Shooting Gazette - - October 2017 - How to breathe new life into time-served recipes. By Amy Bates.

Af­ter a glo­ri­ous morn­ing of brac­ing weather, de­li­cious elevenses and fan­tas­ti­cally ac­cu­rate shoot­ing, noth­ing beats coming into the shoot lodge for lunch with your guests and gun­dogs – more akin to the sofa than field, warm­ing their bot­toms by the fire in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the ar­rival of the guns.

The shoot lunch con­jures up scenes of steam­ing plates, cot­tage pies and trea­cle pud­dings but in fact a shoot lunch on the grouse moor in Au­gust should be very dif­fer­ent from the shoot lunch in mid De­cem­ber. This gives the cook and host a great deal of scope to go wild with the sea­sons.

Early in the shoot­ing sea­son beau­ti­fully laid out plat­ters of cold cured meats, game, pork pies and bowls of home­made coleslaw, slow-roasted to­mato and moz­zarella salad and de­li­cious rice sal­ads are just what is needed af­ter a hot, dry morn­ing. Chilled beers, wine, Pimm’s and jugs of my own favourite – Crab­bie’s gin­ger beer with an equal mea­sure of gin­ger ale and a dash of an­gos­tura bit­ters – as well as cold soft drinks will be ex­tremely wel­come.

In the height of the sea­son when it is bone-chill­ingly cold, the food should be whole­some and rib stick­ing so that whether you are re­turn­ing to the field or sneak­ing off for a snooze, you will feel suf­fi­ciently con­tent. This is where English food comes into its own. Bloody Marys with a splash of sherry never go amiss, and you can’t go wrong with shep­herd’s pie, curry, chopped ba­nana, toma­toes, des­ic­cated co­conut, peanuts, cu­cum­ber in yo­ghurt, mango chut­ney, may­on­naise and pop­padoms. How­ever, noth­ing beats an enor­mous roast – a rib of beef with moun­tain­ous York­shire pud­dings, eye-wa­ter­ing horse­rad­ish sauce, a leg of pork with fresh ap­ple sauce and huge chunks of crack­ling are all guar­an­teed to have the shoot­ing party swoon­ing.

Tra­di­tion­ally, cheese is served with a fruit­cake or a bowl of ap­ples but ask any gun and I think they would feel cheated if spot­ted dick,

“Wine seems to be the de­fault drink these days, but serve proper jugs of beer and watch ev­ery­one’s eyes light up.”

Why wouldn't you try to make lunch as good as the sport in the field?

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