On Saturday my friends and I braved the storm and floods to wander around Ludlow’s Christmas Medieval Fayre set in the grounds of Ludlow Castle. With the medieval-dressed stall holders, hogs roasting on spits, mugs of steaming mulled wine, and the early darkness of the afternoon, the atmosphere in the castle was certainly not dampened by the horrid weather.
That was, I should say, until a woman decided to unleash the gigantic puddle of water that had collected on the roof of her tent straight into my babe’s pram. I was mightily unimpressed and stared aghast as she looked at us, turned on her heel, and stalked off. Quite extraordinary. Fortunately, minutes before, my little boy had hopped out of his seat so all was well. We drank another mulled wine to cheer ourselves up and my boy was given a gingerbread man.
We then had the most delightful afternoon tea at my husbands bakery and tearooms, DeGrey’s, and then headed home to light the fire and roast the partridges that the local gamekeeper had kindly left on my doorstep.
Deciding that I couldn’t decide between recipes, I used an idea from Nigel Slater and an idea of my own. Firstly, taking inspiration from Nigel, I roasted the birds which I had smothered in butter and crushed juniper berries.
After this I took the birds out to rest, put the pot with the roasting juices and juniper berries back on the stove, whisked in some flour to thicken the sauce, and then liberally poured in some syrupy homemade damson gin. We then served the little birds with the sauce, roasted pears, and root mash (swede, carrots and parsnips, expertly chopped by my friend) – Yummy. Poor Tigga the dog looked on longingly…he didn’t have to wait too long before someone took pity…
After the over-indulgence of the weekend, today I have been buying the delicious ingredients for my Christmas cake, and have found a local source of pheasant feathers from my butchers. Apparently they have bags of feathers that they simply burn, so tomorrow I’m hoping to get on my bike and pick up some beautiful tail feathers for my wreaths.
Lastly, I have made another wreath which I am hoping to sell in my husband’s bakery shop. I hope you like it – orders are being taken…