Ever since I was a little girl, my mother's Marks and Spencer cookbook has been an object of fascination for me. Not at all the sort of food we ate in Australia regularly, but the pictures of boning and stuffing a turkey, and filleting a sole kept me mesmerised.
One of the recipes was for Partridge in a Pear Tree - partridges casseroled with red wine and pears. As soon as I moved to England I asked my mum to send me that recipe, in the hope that partridge would come my way. And today they did.
We are very lucky that we have a proper butcher just up the road. He stocks lovely beef, really proper pork pies and award winning pickles and jellies. And he sells game. Apparently he uses a dealer just up in Chorleywood, so really close to us, and it is all locally shot. So I seized my opportunity to finally try the mystical Partridge in a Pear Tree.
And it was very nice really. Sweeter than I would have liked, I think if I do it again I will dispense with the spoon of jelly (was supposed to be redcurrant, I had apple & chilli in the fridge) although it did make for a delicious, glossy sauce. I also ditched the thickening with a beurre manie and just reduced the sauce while the meat rested. I also think serving it with carrot and swede mash was a mistake, too much sweetness. Celeriac would have been better. Still, for a first go at cooking and eating partridge, it was pretty darn good.