Suckling Pigs for Christmas 2017<br>– What A Grand Idea !

Suckling Pigs for Christmas 2017
– What A Grand Idea !

Christmas Food Recipes Cooking Tips Recipes



We can’t begin to tell you how  we’ve watched this fabulous product increase in popularity each year, since we began to introduce them on our website.   Not only do they present beautifully as a centrepiece for any feast,  but they provide enough delicious sticky roast pork to feed at least 15 -18 very hungry adults, making them a perfect alternative to the traditional roast turkey.

The most common questions we receive are “Will it fit in a domestic oven?” and “How do I cook it?” so I hope to put your minds at rest here in this section.   We also sell Porchettas, which are a boneless, rolled version of the same thing, which is equally delightful to eat but has less of an impact visually.  These also come in smaller joints though, so may well suit smaller gatherings.

Our piggies are either intact (arriving with their head and feet left on), or are “butchered” where these are completely removed.    They always come oven ready.

The reason that we offer this option is that the original suckling pig was traditionally brought to the table on a large platter with its head on, usually carrying an apple or similar treat in its mouth, with its feet curled underneath.   If this is just a little too traditional for you,  then we would suggest that you have the head and trotters removed before you have the piggie sent to you.


As we order in whole litters at a time we usually end up with pigs all at the same size, which is approximately 10kg in weight and the average length of a whole pig is 26″ or 66cm.   We have found that it is possible to curl them around in a large Turkey Roasting Tin although they do fit better and more easily in a domestic oven with the head and feet off.   A little trick you can use is to remove the head/feet (either yourself or ask us) and to cook these alongside the piggie … then “re-attach” the head before presentation. (Hence the Franken-pig reference!)  Traditionally whole roasters were brought to the table with a garland of holly and bay leaves around their necks for decoration … you could always hide the join with a similar idea!

Here is a photo of a whole unbutchered suckling pig.   Obviously, once the head and trotters are removed the pig begins to look more like a large pork roasting joint, but it is still spectacular and absolutely delicious!

Suckling Pig Curled Up

Our best advice for cooking either the whole suckling pig or the porchetta (which is basically a suckling pig that has been boned out and stuffed) is to treat as you would a large roasting joint of pork.  We, (and lots of our customers), have had great success with the following method:

Rub the pig all over with vegetable oil (we use olive oil) and then some lovely sea salt.   Heat your oven to a nice strong heat, around 200 degrees C and bake the piggie for at least an hour until the crackling develops and begins to look golden and crispy.   Now you can reduce the heat down to something like 160 degrees C and roast for a further 2.5 hours or until you are sure the juices are running clear when you pierce the deepest part of the pig.   Resting is quite an important part too – remove from intense heat to a holding oven or place foil around the tray and pig and keep warm for about 30 minutes before carving, for great results.   Personally i like to literally pull the suckling pig apart, it lends itself to shredding – whereas it is very easy to get slices from the porchetta which has its stuffing centre and stringing to keep it nice and round.

One of our customers has recently pointed out that he was purchasing a half-suckling pig, and he was anxious to ensure he treated his half-pig with just as much respect as the whole pigs described above.  Between us we decided that a good measure of cooking time would be to reduce the above cooking times by about a third.   Although the skin is very thin and crisps quite easily, there is a nice layer of fat that protects the meat during the cooking process, so as long as you reduce the heat down and cook slowly after you have kick-started the crackling, it is really quite difficult to ruin this dish!


Cooked Suckling Pig Large


Don’t forget some delicious apple sauce – easy and quick to prepare from the raw cooking apples, as follows :

Take about three large cooking apples,  (peeled, cored and sliced) and put them in a pan, then cover with a lid. Place the pan on a low heat, and add 50g of butter and 50g of caster sugar.  Stir occasionally, for about 15 mins until the apples break down into a purée. Stir to knock out any lumps, then tip into a serving dish.



How To Roast Venison

Christmas Food Recipes Recipes


 Some general tips and advice on getting the best from your Venison Roasting Joints.
There are basically two methods – fast or slow!
You can roast venison on a high oven temperature, at speed, if you like it rare, medium rare or just no longer pink…. but it must be with speed so that the venison has no chance to dry out. Prolonged cooking at a great heat will cause any meat to harden, and because this is a low fat meat it would dry out very badly. If slow roasting, this is best done when the joint is still on the bone, as it stays more succulent. This method will also produce a marvellous gravy. Make sure you “lard” the joint to protect it – a good quick method is to stab the joint all over and press a knob of butter or lard or margarine into the holes as you go. You could also introduce herbs and garlic at this point, and remember the joint is not marbled with fat so this is necessary.
Best practice is to brown the joint, then roast it and then rest it … do not miss out a stage!!
Not necessary to lard this joint, unless the joint is large i.e. over 3.5kg.
Brown the joint by rolling around in hot oil in a frying pan until brown on all sides. Lift the joint into a roasting tin, pour juices and remaining oil over and season (freshly milled black pepper, crushed juniper berries, small sprinkling of salt). You can baste with perhaps a small amount of wine, beer or orange juice to compensate for the lack of juices. Don’t over do it though or the joint will stew. General guidelines for fast cooking times are a very hot oven, 230 degrees C, (450 F) and about 20 mins/kg for rare venison, 30 – 40 mins/ kg for medium rare. Always allow a little resting time for more cooking, so undercook !! If using a meat thermometer use the beef temperatures as a guide.
Allow about 85 mins / kg for slow roasting, and cover the tin with foil or a lid. The temperature should be about 170 degrees C (325 F). The times can be reduced for larger joints, to perhaps 65 mins / kg for 3kg and above. Use the same basting liquid as described above, but remember the joint will lose juices into the pan and will require basting.
The more often you baste, the better the gravy and more juicy the venison will be. You do not need to rest slow roasted venison.
(If in doubt, divide kg cooking times by two for weight in pounds)

Game Roulade – Cooking Instructions

Game Roulade – Cooking Instructions

Christmas Food Recipes Cooking Tips Recipes

Game Roulade These little parcels of delicious game are really quite versatile, in that you can serve them portioned according to which course you are intending – they do make a really interesting starter when sliced thinly and served hot on a bed of pureed parsnip with a little rich red wine jus.

Alternatively, large thick slices can be presented with a medley of roasted vegetables and game chips as a main course.

We recommend that you simply remove the packaging and then wrap the roulade in foil.  Place in a pre-heated oven, about 180 degrees C, Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes.  If you would like the bacon a little crispy you can open the foil for another 3 minutes or so, and then take from the oven and rest for at least 5 minutes before carving.  Serve with a little red wine jus, to which you can add any juices that were remaining in the foil.    Roasted vegetables are really nice with this winter dish, such as parsnips and carrots, and maybe some dauphinoise or broken new potatoes.


Wild Boar Steaks With Oregano

Christmas Food Recipes Recipes


 Ingredients  (Serves 4)
4 Wild Boar Loin Steaks
1tsp Grated Lemon Rind
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion
¼ pint chicken or vegetable stock

2 Cloves Garlic
400g Chopped Tomatoes
1 tbsp Chopped Oregano

Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large frying pan , arrange the chops in a single layer and cook for 2 minutes on each side until browned then transfer them onto a plate.
Peel and finely chop the onion. Add to the pan and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minute. Peel and crush the garlic and add to the pan along with the chopped oregano, and grated lemon rind.  Cook, stirring occasionally for about one minute.
Reduce the pan heat to low and return the chops to the pan. Add the stock and tomatoes. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the chops are no longer pink in the middle and the sauce is slightly thickened.

Remove from the heat, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.
Serving suggestion – Try serving the chops with hunks of fresh crusty bread in a rustic French way, accompanied by runner beans  …………

Spiced Goat Casserole

Christmas Food Recipes Recipes



2kg Diced British Kid Goat
2 tblsp ground coriander

2tblsp ground cumin

1 tblsp ground cardamom

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp hot paprika

1 cinnamon quill

1 tblsp minced garlic

1 bayleaf

100gm diced carrot

100gm diced celery

300gm diced onion

100gm diced leek

200gm diced pancetta

200ml white wine

1 tin chopped tomatoes, large

Veal stock

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil
Coat the goat meat with the spices and leave refrigerated for as long as possible.

In a frying pan heat some oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, carrots, celery and leek and sweat for a few minutes until softened. Remove your outdoor clothes and you will be cooler.  Add any left over spices and fry for a few more minutes. Transfer to your casserole dish. Turn up the heat under the (now empty) frying pan and brown the goat meat quickly in it, in small batches and add to the vegetables.

Pour the wine into the frying pan and bring to the boil, stirring to de-glaze, then add it to the meat, together with the chopped tomatoes and enough veal stock to just cover the meat. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a very slow simmer, place in a pre heated oven ( 160 degrees centigrade ) with a lid on and gently braise for one and a half hours or until tender. Check the seasoning and serve with creamy mash potato and/or date dumplings.

Hot Spicy Goulash With Kid Goat

Christmas Food Recipes Recipes


 This recipe was handed down through the generations to my partner, Ben, who comes from Belgium.   On many occasions we have sat down to enjoy this dish,  which held fond memories for him of his grandmother – although she used beef instead of goat.  We have tweaked it a little and found it works perfectly with kid goat, which lends itself slow braising.


 1kg Kid Goat Meat (diced into cubes)

Red Wine (About three quarters of a bottle)

3 slices Dark brown bread / granary or malted coated with English mustard

Good Stock 1pt

Green or Red Birds-eye Chillis. sliced thinly

Mixed coloured capsicum peppers – red, green, yellow

One Large Onion

Mixed Herbs (fresh or dried)

Freshly ground salt and black pepper


Olive Oil

Couple of bay leaves


 Take a glass of red wine and drink it.  This dish is ideal to set up in a slow cooker.   Alternatively, set aside a few hours to make it and then re-heat when ready to serve.  A warning … it is very morish and there will be no left overs!!

 Take the diced meat and brown it in a large heavy based pan, using a little olive oil.  In a separate pan, fry the sliced onion in a little oil and add the sliced chillies. 

 Pur this mix into the pan with the browned meat, and add a pint of stock and about half a bottle of red wine.  Turn down the heat and add the peppers, which you have previously de-seeded and sliced thickly.  Placed the slices of bread in the goulash, which will slowly thicken the mixture as it braises.

Add the bay leaves, salt and pepper and a couple of drops of Tabasco, to taste.


Goat Tagine With Honeyed Prunes

Christmas Food Recipes Recipes


Ingredients – Serves 6
1kg (2lb) shoulder of Goat, in 4cm (1½ inch) cubes
2 Spanish onions, coarsely grated
3 plump Garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons of Olive Oil
Large pinch of dried Chilli Flakes
½ teaspoon ground Ginger
½ teaspoon Ground Cumin
½ teaspoon Paprika
Pinch of crushed Saffron Threads
2 x 400gm (13oz) cans of tomatoes
1 strip Orange Rind
2 Cinnamon sticks
Bunch of Coriander, chopped
24 large ready-to-eat Prunes
3-4 tablespoons Clear Honey
75gm (3oz) toasted blanched Almonds
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Mint leaves to garnish
Put the goat into a bowl. Add the onions, garlic, oil, chilli flakes, ginger, cumin, paprika, saffron and plenty of black pepper. Stir to coat the meat well. Cover and leave to marinade in a cool place for at least 2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight.
Heat a large, heavy frying pan. Add the goat in batches and brown evenly. Transfer to a tagine or heavy casserole dish. Put the remaining marinade into the frying pan and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes then stir in the goat. Add the tomatoes, orange rind, cinnamon and half of the coriander. Mix well then cover and cook in a preheated oven, 160C (323F), gas mark 3, for 1¼ hours.
Meanwhile, put the prunes into a saucepan with the honey and just enough water to cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the prunes and the cooking juices to the tagine and cook for 15 minutes, adding the remaining coriander after about 7 minutes.
Scatter almonds over the tagine, garnish with mint leaves and serve with couscous.

Goat in Paper

Christmas Food Recipes Recipes


1 medium boneless leg of Goat (kleftiko)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garlic cloves (optional)
5 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Chopped fresh Parsley
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 tbsp. Chopped fresh Oregano or 1tsp dried
½lb Graviera Cheese (thickly sliced)
½ tsp Cumin
Parchment paper
2 tbsp. Chopped fresh Rosemary
Rinse and pat dry the leg of goat. If desired, make small slits in the thickest parts of the leg and insert the garlic cloves. Sprinkle the leg with the parsley, oregano, cumin, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix the oil and the lemon juice together and drizzle over. Cover and marinate the goat in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight if possible.
Preheat oven to 160oC. Spread out a sheet of parchment paper and rub it with oil. Place the marinated leg on the paper. Arrange the cheese slices over the lamb. Roll up the meat, enclosing the cheese and tie with a string. Wrap the leg tightly in the paper. Place in a shallow pan and bake for 2 hours.
Note – The meat is wrapped so that the juices steam the meat as it cooks. This is ideal for an entree when served warm with, traditionally, a crispy salad – the melt in the mouth goat contrasting wonderfully with crunchy fresh vegetables – we would recommend building up green salad leaves with fresh, tiny cauliflower florets, chunky cucumber and peppers and celery.

Gin or Brandy Flamed Wild Boar Steaks

Christmas Food Recipes Recipes


Ingredients – Serves 4
4 Wild Boar Steaks
75ml Gin or Brandy
Slices of Orange
Rowan or Redcurrant Jelly
Juniper Berries
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Take the steaks and beat until thin. Sprinkle with a few crushed juniper berries and salt and pepper. Fry quickly in hot oil and lay in a dish. Brush thinly with chosen jelly and garnish with paper thin slices of orange. Add a little water to the frying pan and mix in the pan juices. Gently warm the gin or brandy in a large ladle or small pan and ignite, pouring over pan juices and stirring gently. Tip the whole lot whilst still flaming, over the steaks. Try not to let the alcohol evaporate before it has had a chance to burn.
Serve with garlic mash and green vegetables

Fillet of Ostrich With Nutmeg Creamed Spinach

Christmas Food Recipes Recipes


Ingredients – (Serves two)
2 Ostrich Fillet Steaks
2 portions of Fresh Leaf Spinach, Grated Nutmeg,
2 tablespoons Double Cream,
Olive Oil and Seasoning
Prepare spinach for cooking and steam. Puree and add seasoning, grated nutmeg and cream. Reheat but do not boil.
One of the most delicious ways to cook Ostrich Fillet Steaks is to simply pan fry them.  Take a heavy based frying pan or cook on a hot griddle plate.  We recommend a good virgin olive oil,  liberal splash into the pan and heat the oil to smoking.

Season the steaks as they sit out, with rock salt and freshly ground black pepper.  For ourselves, we would always cook Ostrich fillet steaks rare or, at the most, medium rare, which will retain the tenderness and natural succulence of the fillet.   Being extremely low in fat content, the steak can be reduced to a dry, tough consistency if cooked for too long, which is criminal!!

Serve surrounded by creamed spinach, with sauté or lyonnaise potatoes to add some texture …..