DOES YOUR SHOOT LUNCH LOOK LIKE THIS?
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?
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?