Pot Roasted Partridge with Parsnips, Perry and Pearl Barley

If you follow my cooking regularly then you may recall just before christmas I was eating quite a bit of Game, as it is in Season, well, I still am! Although we don’t have much longer left of the game season, until early February if Im not mistaken?

So, one Sunday, there was a dish that I cooked that absolutely blew myself and my Fiancé away and the great thing about it is that there were hardly any ingredients or cooking to it;  Just great flavours. Also, there were no herbs in this which I always cook with, so that amazed me.

   Anyway, We had been given two Lovely Partridges and two Pheasants from my Father who lives up in Yorkshire. I decided to Pot roast the Partridges this particular Sunday as being a Chef I know that being a small bird it can easily dry out, so occasionally I prefer to pot roast Game and of course when one is cooking on a Sunday afternoon, there is more time to sip at a lovely Red wine and read the 17 supplements of the Sunday Paper.

  I had some Perry knocking about in the pantry so instead of Wine I thought this would make a lighter touch, maybe add some pears also but in the end I didn’t need to even add the fruit it was that flavoursome and so quick for a Sunday Lunch/Dinner. However the perry added a really nice Flavour.

  If you are a meat eater and you aren’t sure about Game, please try cooking Partridge first as its lighter than Pheasant. It is a great little, versatile Bird.
 This recipe is a keeper for myself and my family now and I hope this one will travel through our generations.  It was one of those dinners that you just sat back and smiled for about an hour after! Oh and I just had to call my Father to tell him how nice they were.
  It has also received a nickname that we find rather quirky, called “All the P’s” .
Which I can see my Partner shouting one Sunday morning, “What’s for dinner darling?” …”Oh All the P’s today”… “Brilliant!”

Pot Roast Partridge with Parsnips, Perry and Pearl Barley:

(“All the P’s”)


(Serves 2)

(We did one Partridge per person but there were some left for sandwiches the next day)

–  2 Oven ready Partridges 
–  1 Tbsp of plain Flour to dust the Birds
–  1 Tbsp Rapeseed oil
–  Couple of Knobs of Unsalted Butter
–  50g Pearl Barley
–  250ml of Perry (Pear Cider) You may not need it all as season to taste
–  1 Large leek sliced 
–  2 medium sized Carrots chopped fairly chunky
–  1 Onion diced 
–  Homemade chicken stock or 1 gel pot of chicken stock to roughly 800ml water ( depending how big your partridges are) 
–  1 large parsnip chopped the same size as your carrots
–  Cracked Black Pepper to taste

* I served my dish with Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Spring Cabbage.


*  Cook the Pearl Barley first in a separate pan with a bit of chicken stock to packet instructions. When Halfway through, add Carrots, then after 5 minutes the Parsnips. Less washing up all in one pan and guaranteed not to overcook the Partridge this way.

*  Preheat Oven to 180c-190c

*  Dust the Partridges in flour, add rapeseed oil and a knob of butter to a Casserole/heavy bottomed pan and place Partridges in, searing off (Browning) each side for a minute or two.

*  Take the Birds out and place onto a plate. Add onions to the hot pan, cook for a couple of minutes. Add 250 ml of Perry and stock so when the Partridges are placed back in, it just covers them.

*  Place into the oven with pre cooked veg from earlier, adding the leeks. Put a lid on and cook for 20-30 minutes. Any more than this will dry the bird out.

*  After 20 minutes, check that the partridges are cooked thoroughly, cover over juices.

*  Season to taste as you may not need salt, just the cracked black pepper.

*  And Serve…

This recipe was great served with creamy buttery mash and some Spring cabbage as the thick juices just tumble over. 

Saturday Night Food…Dinner Party anyone?

Following on from a great day I had with Ben Jackson for Food Friday, Saturday came and I was still so full of cooking energy and immediately wanted to come up with something new again! 
  Now, not always does this happen straight off when recipe developing and with a couple of glasses of Sauvignon Blanc being in my system (evening by this time),  I didn’t think I was going to be as pleased as I was with this recipe.  
   This may not be everyones “Cup of tea” I realise that, but I felt it was the nicest risotto I had made in a long time. I am yet to cook this for my fiancé as he was away at the time and I am intrigued to see what he thinks also, he’s always honest! 

  So, from the recipe that I had done the day before, I had bits and bobs left over in the fridge including some of the lovely Pearl Barley I had pre cooked. There were bacon opened as I fancied a BLT for breakfast, anyway you get the gist!
   This is what I came up with in the end.  It took me a long time to figure out a title name for the recipe as theres a lot going on in it, but it came to me that the title for this is right really. Its leftover ingredients but not with Potato in this instance. Even though it doesn’t have specific Springtime ingredients in this, It did make me think of Spring when I dived into it.

My 2 Grain Bubble and Squeak Risotto with Bacon,  Poached Egg and vegetable crisps.


(Serves 2 as a large portion or may stretch to 4 for starters)

–  1 Tbsp Olive or Rapeseed oil
–  2 Knobs of Butter
–  1-2 Garlic cloves chopped
–  1 small Onion diced
–  2 rashers of Bacon
–  2-3 leaves of Savoy Cabbage sliced thinly
–  3-4 Chestnut mushrooms chopped small
–  1/4 of a leek sliced thinly
–  100g of cooked Pearl Barley
– 150g of Arborio Rice
–  175ml of Dry White Wine ( 1 Glass for yourself also! )
–  500ml of Chicken stock keeping hot.
–  Sprig of fresh Thyme
–  Eggs for Poaching
– 1 Parsnip and a small amount of Butternut Squash for the Vegetable Crisps
– Vegetable Oil for the frying of the Crisps
–  Sprinkle of caster Sugar for the Crisps
–  Salt and Cracked Black Pepper for seasoning 
–  Grated Parmesan Cheese to finish

Fry off the Onion and Leek in some olive oil, then when starting to sweat down a little, add the butter.

 Add the Bacon, Mushrooms, 1/4 of the Cabbage first, Garlic and Thyme.

 Once cooked down a bit add in the risotto rice, stir gently and add your wine. Once the wine has almost evaporated you can add your Hot Chicken Stock a bit at a time.

 Whilst the Risotto is cooking away, Peel your Parsnip and Butternut Squash very thinly like so and fry off in oil. I have used a Wok but if you have a Deep Fat Fryer, great! 

 They only take about a minute. Once starting to brown, bring them out onto Kitchen Paper. Sprinkle with a tiny amount of Caster sugar.

 Add the rest of your Cabbage and Pearl Barley to the Risotto, Poach your egg and finish with another knob of Butter, parmesan Cheese and any seasoning required.

Top with your Poached Egg and add Your Vegetable Crisps for Sweetness and Crunch.

"Sunshine In a Bowl" For Food Friday on BBC Radio Leicester

So about a few months back now. Ben Jackson from BBC Radio Leicester asked me to join their team of Foodie-Maniac Food Friday Cooks.  Straight away I Jumped at the chance!   I immediately couldn’t wait to get on the show! 

  Now I’ve already been on the show which aired on the 7th of March. That was with Ed Stagg who was filling in for Ben that day. I did a “revamped” version of my Chicken and Veg pie, which I will put on here soon.  
  I first wanted to Share with you the dish which I did this Friday just gone, the 21st of March.  There’s a few reasons why I chose to do this recipe. Firstly, was that it was using up things in the fridge and store cupboard ingredients. Second was its great for people who have colds at the moment! It seemed to help Ben’s out a bit! And Finally its healthy and Cheap! Ok that was four… 
This is my Thick Spiced Moroccan Soup with Garlic Flatbreads.  It got a nickname of Sunshine Soup!  

   If you would like to have a listen to me doing this recipe with Ben, take a look here…

BBC Radio Leicester with Ben Jackson and Me on Food Friday 21st March 2014.

Thick Spiced Moroccan Soup (Sunshine soup) with Homemade Garlic Flatbreads:

Ingredients: (Serves 4)


– 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
– 1 Onion Diced
– 2 Small Celery sticks chopped including leaves
– 3 Medium sized carrots peeled and chopped roughly
– Sweet Potato, Peeled and Chopped into rough chunks. (I used a white variety from Asian stores which is purple on the outside but you can use the Orange variety.
– Half  a Butternut Squash chopped into rough chunks.
– 1 tsp of Ground Coriander and Cumin mix (I used a company called Spice Kitchen for most of the dry Spices)
– 1 tsp of turmeric, (Spice Kitchen)
– 1 tsp of Chilli Powder,  (Spice Kitchen)
– 1 tsp of Garam Masala,  (Spice Kitchen)
– A Thumb Size amount of fresh Ginger finely chopped or grated if you prefer.
– 1 large clove of Garlic finely chopped
– A 3 cm piece of Cinnamon bark,  (Spice Kitchen)
– Just over half a tin of chopped tomatoes (250g) 
– 1 tbsp of Tomato Puree
– 1 Chicken Stock cube/Gel pot or Veg if Vegetarian
– In total about 500ml of water added to the Soup a bit at a time.
– 150g of Pre cooked Pearl Barley
– 250g (just over half a tin) of Butter beans
– 2 Handfuls of Fresh Spinach
– Chopped Fresh Parsley.
– Salt and Ground Black Pepper 

Garlic Flatbreads:

– 200g of Plain Flour
– Warm Water just to bind
– Salt and Ground Black Pepper
– Sprinkle of Garlic Powder for each Flatbread.

Soup Method:

– Fry off  the Onion in the Olive oil.
– Add your Celery, Carrots and Sweet Potato and start to sweat down for about 5 mins.
– Then add your Butternut Squash to the Soup mix and stir through.
– Add your Dry spices, Ginger and Garlic and cook for a further 5-10 mins to allow the spices to coat all the Vegetables. 
– Next to go in are the Chopped Tomatoes, Tomato Puree, Butter Beans and stock with about 300ml of water to cook down for a further 10 mins. 
– Add your Pearl Barley and allow that to simmer away nicely whilst you get on with the FlatBreads. Always check in-between  if your soup needs a bit more water adding.

Flatbread Method:

-Take your 200g of Plain Flour, add salt and pepper and start to add a drop of warm water to it to bind to form a firm dough.
– Knead the dough only a couple of times.
– Stretch out into a thick sausage-like shape about 2 inches in width and divide into 5 parts.
– Roll the 5 parts of dough into a ball, add a sprinkle of your Garlic powder, roll again and then Roll out your dough as thinly as possible with a Rolling Pin on a lightly floured surface. 
– Heat up a dry frying pan and once the Pan is very hot add your flatbread dough. You will then start to see it puff up and brown.
– Repeat the process with all the other dough balls.

– By now your soup will be ready to add the Spinach and any other seasoning required.
– Blitz your soup only with a few pulses as it needs to be thick.
– Add your fresh chopped Parsley. 
– Voila! Ready to Dunk in with your FlatBread!