Toasted Oatmeal Ice Cream

The basis for this ice cream is a classic vanilla ice cream, with a crumbled oatmeal praline added at the end.
Lovely served with a raspberry coulis or for luxury some red berry fruits preserved in an alcoholic liquor, the kind that’s often common in the shops around Christmas time.
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 60ml water
  • 50g pinhead oatmeal
  • One amount of the classic vanilla ice cream
In summary, you make a crushed oatmeal praline, then make a simple vanilla ice cream, adding the crushed praline just before you put in the freezer.
  1. Read the vanilla ice cream recipe. There are preparatory stages that you may find useful to do first and then use the waiting time to make the praline.
  2. Make the oatmeal pralines: Toast the oatmeal in a dry pan until it has a nice toasted smell and colour. Critical that you avoid burning as this will have a dark bitter flavour. Once toasted tip the oatmeal onto a cool plate to stop it getting darker.
  3. Lightly oil a baking sheet to receive the praline.
  4. Make a caramel. Dissolve the sugar in the water. Turn the heat up and let it bubble until it becomes a dark golden colour like rich clear honey.
  5. Immediately stir in the oatmeal and quickly pour the mix onto the baking sheet. Spread it to be a layer about 5-6mm thick. (It’s very hot watch the surface below the sheet does not get burned.)
  6. Let it cool thoroughly. This should only take 30-40 minutes max.
  7. Break up pieces of praline and put a few at a time in a mortar and pestle. Grind and crush them till they are like biggish salt crystal size, bits of oatmeal are no bad thing as they give the finished ice cream some texture, you don’t want a fine dust. Do in batches and tip the ground praline into a bowl as you go. Once all is ground cover the bowl with cling film or a lid to prevent steam/moisture making it go sticky while you make the ice cream. Putting it in the freezer till the ice cream is ready for it might help.
  8. Make the vanilla ice cream. You may care to reduce or omit the vanilla according to taste.
  9. As the ice cream becomes ready, tip in the praline and let it mix through.
  10. Dispense it to the pre-chilled bowl.

Venison Casserole

Venison casserole is a great autumn classic. As with all these things, you can put in whatever root vegetables you have to hand. Just be careful with longer cooking times.
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed or sunflower oil, or dripping/lard (I use lard)
  • 250g home-cured bacon belly, or bought pancetta, cut into 1cm lardons
  • 1.5kg venison neck and shoulder meat, stewing cuts, cut into large chunks
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • A few whole small shallots are nice if you have them
  • 2–3 large carrots, cut into 3cm chunks
  • 2 Celery stalks, sliced finely
  • 1 Swede (Turnip or Neeps to us Scots) diced into 2.5cm chunks
  • 200g Chestnut mushrooms sliced or cut into chunks
  • 6–10 juniper berries, bashed slightly
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A large sprig of thyme, some rosemary would also be OK
  • About 500ml beef, venison, chicken or game stock
  • 350ml red wine
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C fan
  2. In a large casserole soften the onion, celery, shallots and pancetta
  3. After a few minutes add the carrots, mushrooms and saute on a lowish heat till the liquid from the mushrooms is gone
  4. If you like a thicker sauce then you can add a dessert spoon or table spoon of flour to the pan while is just has the fat, to make a thickening roux. If you do this watch it doesn’t catch and burn while you brown the meat.
  5. Meanwhile brown the venison in a hot pan in small batches and add to the casserole as they are browned
  6. Deglaze the browning pan with some of the red wine
  7. Add the red wine to the casserole and turn the heat up to reduce the liquid by half
  8. Add the juniper berries, bay leaves, and herbs as a bouquet garni
  9. Add enough stock to just cover the ingredients, add a little water if you need it.
  10. Add some salt and a decent twist of pepper, you can finalise the seasoning after cooking
  11. Put in the oven for about 3 hours, longer if it needs it.
  12. After the first hour put in the swede. (If you put it in at the start it can almost dissolve.)
Fabulous with red cabbage and mash.