Grill seeking - venison burgers with juniper poached pears


Last week was a busy one for us. We had lots of visitors, a run of runny noses and Tim was pulling 12-hour days on the farm. So it was perhaps inevitable that come Friday night we would turn to the drink. Our lovely neighbours came over for an early dinner and we cooked a few little venison steaks and shoved them into brioche style bread rolls with poached pears. The grown-ups drank lots of bubbles by Orange winemaker Philip Shaw, left at our place this week by his son Damian (above) who brought a bunch of customers over to do a little farm tour and tasting of their brand new sparkling wine Edinburgh on our deck. We gave them venison carpaccio with pickled cherries (recipe here) on little rounds of bread and I think it was a pretty good match.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Juniper and brown sugar poached pears
1 tbsp juniper berries
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 litre water
4 pears, cored and thinly sliced

Place everything but the pears in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring to ensure the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears and simmer for 10 minutes. These keep for a couple of months in the fridge and are great with all sorts of grilled meats and cheeses.

Brioche-style bread rolls
This is a great recipe for kids to help with, it comes, only slightly adapted, from Nigella Lawson’s book Feast and makes the loveliest, fluffiest little rolls that everyone always seems to like. 

500g 00 flour
3 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
350ml milk
30g butter
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Place the yeast, flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix together. Warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the butter is just beginning to melt. Pour this into the dry ingredients and stir together until just incorporated. Here you can either use your mixer with a dough hook to knead for about 5 minutes or do it by hand. Let the dough rest in a slightly oiled bowl covered with a tea towel for about one hour, or until doubled in size. Now here’s where it’s quite fun to get the kids to help - pull off small amounts of dough and roll into smooth balls. Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the little rolls on a baking tray with about 1cm between each and leave to rise again for about half an hour. Brush with an egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and cook for about 15 minutes or until lovely and golden on top.

Venison steaks
6 x venison leg steaks, for a full list of where to buy our venison have a look here (or of course, any other protein you have on hand, actual hamburger patties of mince would be great too)
Olive oil
Mixed salad leaves

Rub the steaks with olive oil, heat a frying pan or grill to high and cook for a minute and a half on each side. Serve with a few green leaves and the pears, above.


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