Game Meat: What it is and Why Should you Try it

At The Cook School, we encourage our customers to try new dishes, get out of their comfort zone and learn about the food that’s being prepared. This is why we are committed to maintaining strong relationships with our suppliers, including The British Game Alliance (BGA), to keep us and our customers, educated on the food we are eating. Our Game Night Cook @ Home classes are fast approaching, and we want to reassure our customers that it’s attainable, easy to cook and most importantly delicious. 

So what is Game? Many of us associate Game with high-end restaurants that are out of our reach, whilst some are not exactly sure what it is, and this is because it’s not commonly eaten. Game falls into two categories: the first is feathered game or game birds, including grouse, pheasant, partridge, quail, wild duck, wood pigeon, snipe and woodcock. The second category is furred game, which is hare, rabbit, venison and ‘wild’ boar.

We caught up with Louisa North, Head of Operations at the BGA, to explain what the BGA is, and what they do. 

Tell us about the BGA?

We are a not-for-profit organisation who were set up to promote, assure and develop Game to the public. When you see our logo, it signifies that the game has come from BGA members who are adhering to our high welfare and environmental standards. It’s similar to the Red Tractor, you know certain standards are followed from farm to plate. Our Marketing Board aims to reach out to new markets and consumers.

What Game do you assure? 

We assure only Feathered Game which includes pheasant, grouse and partridge. 

Pheasant is the most popular because it’s easily available and it tastes similar to chicken. There’s a misconception that it it has an overpowering gamey taste but that’s because in the past people hung it for days. As part of our standards, the birds have to go into the chiller within 2 hours of being shot. Grouse is slightly more expensive so is seen by  many as a treat. 

There are many health benefits in consuming Game, could you tell us what they are?

It’s one of the healthiest meats available, it’s high in protein and very lean so perfect for those who are training and trying to gain muscle. It’s also high in Iron and contains higher levels of many nutrients including vitamin E, Vitamin E and Selenium.

What measures are you taking to promote Game meat?

We do a range of things to raise awareness of Game meat. We have a Commercial Director who approaches restaurant chains, stadiums and other new markets for it to be sold into. We run a consumer-facing campaign called Eat Wild, which focuses on the understanding how to cook game with videos, blogs, and recipes; not the shooting. Collaborations with Chef’s such as Gizzi Erskine helps us to break down the barrier that Game is elitist, and expensive, whereas everyone can have it in their diet. 

Last year, we worked with Holme Farm Venison to  put game into Sainsbury’s. This is the first supermarket that has stocked assured game meat which we were excited about.

How has the Pandemic affected sales?

There has been a massive rise in Game sales in the last year, however, the supply has been unstable with restrictions affecting shoots. People have had the time to cook and become more experimental while stuck at home. The Cook School @ Home classes have been great for us, we have had people contact us to say that’s the first time they’ve tried Game and they loved it. Also, our collaboration with Mac n Wild was a huge success because it allowed people to cook Grouse in their homes following a simple recipe. 

What ethical actions are followed by your members?

I’m a flexitarian and want to know where my meat comes from. At the BGA, we ensure that the shooting has been done as ethically as possible. The birds don’t leave their natural habitat and live in the wild from 2 months to up to 3-4 years. We protect their environment so they have the best possible life, unlike chickens where there’s a strong possibility they’ve been caged most of their lives.

What would you recommend to someone who is going to try Game meat for the first time?

My personal favourite is partridge because it has a sweet and unique flavour. However, I would recommend pheasant because anything you can do with chicken, you can do with pheasant and it is readily available. It doesn’t take as long to cook as chicken, and you can serve it slightly pink. If you do over cook pheasant, it will become dry so be careful. 

Learning more about The British Game Alliance has been invaluable to us here at The Cook School and we are proud to feature Game meat in some of our Zoom classes. It’s  many health benefits and knowing that shooters follow ethical standards makes us feel excited and reassured. The game used in all our boxes is BGA assured.

If you want to expand your palate and try something new, visit our website to book into one of our British Game classes on the 2nd and 3rd of April. 

Happy International Women’s Day 2021

Today we celebrate women and their achievements. We are all aware of the challenge’s women have faced in both their personal and working life, which is why it’s essential to raise awareness obias, and take action against equality – especially in the workplace. This will help create an inclusive world for generations to come.   

There’s still a lot of work to be done. Figures from the Employment Data (2016) for Scotland show that the employment rate for women stands at 69.2%, whilst men are significantly higher at 76.9%. Of course, we have to consider the national changes in patterns of employment in the last couple of decades. Women want to work, and so the economy is adapting by creating more part-time opportunities, for example.   

Figures for women in senior roles are even more disappointing. A recent report from the Scottish Feminist Organization found that Scottish leadership positions across politics, business, the public sector, the media, culture and sport, only 27% are filled by women. This is why we feel it is important to bring some positivity to these figures by sharing a success story of our own from this company 

 Aileen Dick, our Operations Director set up the Cook School Scotland back in 2008. This was a great opportunity to get insight and advice on how to become a successful female entrepreneur:  

HOW WAS THE COOK SCHOOL SET UP AND WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE? 

It started off from our family run business, Braehead Foods, and there was nowhere for Chefs and Suppliers to come together for training apart from Colleges. We also allowed students to come in and use our facilities for hospitality training through the week with Chefs, and for the rest of the week, we opened up to the members of the public who wanted to learn how to cook.

WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THE COOK SCHOOL?  

I was at school. I worked part-time at a Dental Centre and was planning to go to college to study Dental NursingWhen I left school, I was working for Braehead Foods until my college course startedbut I got stuck into the business and never left since. I have worked in every part of the business from delivery in vans, warehouse, accounts and telesales.  

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR MOTIVATION & ENCOURAGMENT? 

I love food. I love going out for dinner, or staying inside with a nice mealI have always enjoyed cooking from scratch and I always make the meals at home. Having this passion for food motivates me to make my business a success. There are days when I’m feeling down or having a bad day, but always have people around me at home and in the workplace who will give me encouragement and support, and I think that’s important to have. 

WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN THE WORKPLACE? 

I have been told I’m emotional, and I’m sure a lot of women have been told this. I am emotional, but it is because I’m passionate about what I do, I want things to go right and I care. 

also feel women need to be confident and assertive to show that they mean business so they get their point across. When I used to work in deliveries, most of the Chefs were men and it was different for me. I think women sometimes feel intimidated by men, and so they need to become more confident in themselves. 

HOW DID YOU FIND THE SKILLS TO START UP A BUSINESS? 

I learnt a lot from my dad running Braehead Foods growing up. What also helped was getting to know all the roles within the business. I have an appreciation for every role within the company – especially the van drivers; they have one of the toughest jobs. Working whilst going to college allowed me to gather the experience that was later utilised setting up The Cook School.

IS IT DIFFICULT TO BALANCE WORK LIFE AND HOME LIFE? 

I don’t think I have met any mums who can say they have a perfectly balanced work and home life. I am lucky to have my mum and husband who are there to support me with the kids. I know when I am in the office, I don’t have to worry about the kids. 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO EVENTUALLY TAKE A STEP BACK FROM THE BUSINESS AND FOCUS ON FAMILY LIFE? 

No, I’m happy with the way things are. There’s only so much Blippy and Tractor Ted I can watch. When I come into work, I can get my mind into action and mentally challenge myself. I would love my children to see my businessand witness the hard work it takes to run it like I had with my dad 

HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED THE BUSINESS AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ADAPT? 

As lockdown happened, I gave birth to twins, and went on maternity leave. Thankfully the team have kept the business going by undertaking training, connecting through Zoom. We then came up with the Cook @ Home classes which have been a success, and it has completely opened up our customer base to UK wide. We also have Cook School in a Box, which allows our customers to enjoy a pre-prepared meal. Again, we ship across the whole UK.  

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS WHEN THINGS GO BACK TO NORMAL, POST COVID? 

We are planning to do a mixture. I cannot wait to see our kitchen in full swing again and to have customers cooking with Stuart, but we will also continue our Cook @ Home classes too. It’s excellent for corporate events where staff are scattered all across the UK and get to interact and have a night out together on our Zoom classes. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS PLANNING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS? 

Take as much advice as possible. Try not to take criticism negatively, instead, turn it into something positive. I would be lying if I said starting and maintaining a business is easy, but if you enjoy what you do, you are more likely to make it a success.  

Long  gone are the days when we were expected to stay at home and look after the children, society is adapting to our ambitions, and we can be whoever we want to be. Aileen’s story is one of many successes out there, and we hope that this will encourage women of all ages to go out and take the risk; whether that is starting up a business, following a dream, or to go for the sought-after senior role. Of course, there will be obstacles, but one thing we know for sure is that we are strong, adaptable and determined to overcome them. 

For TODAY ONLY, we are offering our customers 10% off our Cook School at Home classes. Just use the code WOMEN10 at the checkout. Enjoy!

Chef’s Corner – Raspberry & Vanilla Pavlova

The perfect festive dessert, Chef Stuart teaches us how to prepare the perfect Pavlova.

Pavlova

Ingredients 

  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Cornflour
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

1. Heat oven to 150c.

2. Whisk 4 egg whites with a hand mixer until they form stiff peaks, then whisk in the caster sugar, roughly 50g at a time, until the meringue looks glossy.

3. Whisk in 1 tsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp cornflour and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

4. Spread the meringue to your desired shapes and bake for 1 hr, then turn off the heat and let the Pavlova cool completely inside the oven.

Raspberry Topping

Ingredients

  • 300g Raspberries
  • 3 tsp Icing Sugar
  • 350ml Double Cream
  • 1 Vanilla Pod, split and scraped

Method

1. When the meringue is cool, put half the raspberries, 2 tsp of icing sugar and ½ vanilla into a food processer, blitz until smooth, then push the fruit mixture through a sieve.

2. Whip the double cream with the remaining icing sugar and vanilla then spread it over the meringue. Use the remaining raspberries as a garnish and serve with your coulis.

Christmas in a Box – Cooking Instructions

CHRISTMAS DINNER WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS

 

Download PDF Version View Video


Christmas in a Box Cooking Instructions

Christmas in a Box Video Instructions

 

Cooking Instructions

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Pre-Work

Remove the following items from the fridge before cooking:

Turkey Wellington – 40 minutes
Crackers – 20 minutes
Chipolatas – 20 minutes
Cheeseboard – 30 minutes

Remove all the packaging and Pre-heat the oven to 200°C

Stilton Crackers

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place the Stilton,Date & Walnut chutney Crackers on and allow to come to room temperature. This takes approx. 20 minutes.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry has darkened and is crisp.

Enjoy Canapés!

Turn the oven up to 220°C

Main Course -Step 1

Place the Turkey Wellington with greaseproof paper onto a baking tray.
Allow Turkey Wellington to come to room temperature. This takes approx. 40 minutes.
Place the Turkey Wellington into the oven and cook for 20 minutes at 220°C to ensure a glossy finish.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C, cover the Turkey Wellington with tin foil to prevent the pastry burning.
Transfer Roasting potatoes into a baking tray and place in the oven.
Mix oil and honey into the carrots & parsnips and place in the oven.
Cook the covered Turkey Wellington, Potatoes, Carrots and Parsnips for 40 minutes.

Starter

Prepare Chicken Liver Parfait (see Serving Suggestion).
Toast some brioche, transfer chutney into a serving dish.

Enjoy Starter!

Main Course -Step 2

Remove Turkey and check with a temperature probe, it should measure 72°C, alternatively place a skewer into the Wellington, if the juices are clear it is cooked.
Wrap the Turkey in the foil and rest for 10-15 minutes.
Remove the Potatoes, Carrots and Parsnips and wrap with foil to keep them warm.
Place Savoury bread in oven for 20-25 mins.
Transfer chipolatas onto a baking tray, brush with oil and place in the oven, shake the tray to ensure they do not stick for 15-20 mins.
Transfer the sprouts in to a pan of salted, boiling water and cook until tender -drain and add butter and pepper.
Place the red cabbage in microwave, pierce film, heat on full power for 3 ½ mins – allow to sit for a couple of mins.
Transfer turkey gravy into a pan and heat to a gentle simmer. Pour into sauce boat.

Enjoy Main Course!

Dessert

Place the Christmas pudding in the microwave for 2 ½ minutes on full power. Leave to sit for 1 minute, before removing the plastic film and popping out of the mould.
Serve with hot or cold Brandy sauce.

 

Serving Suggestions

Chicken Liver Parfait

Due to the parfait being a sticky product, for optimal presentation it should be placed in some boiling water to remove it from the container.

Boil some water and pour an inch into a shallow dish slightly bigger than the parfait container.

Place the parfait container into the water ensuring the parfait is not covered, the heat should loosen the edges of the parfait.

Tip the parfait out of the container, then place your knife into the hot water to heat. Use the hot knife to cut the parfait into neat portions.

Place the parfait onto the plate and serve with toasted brioche and red onion chutney. (Garnish with some fine leaves optional)

Turkey Wellington

Place the Turkey Wellington onto the carving board. Transfer the Bread Pudding, Carrots & Parsnips, Red Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Potatoes & Chipolatas into serving dishes and place on the dining table.·

Carve the Turkey Wellington, place in the centre of a warm plate, then serve with the Turkey gravy.

Dessert

Dust with icing sugar

Serve with hot or cold Brandy Sauce.

Cheese Board

Allow the cheese to come to room temperature. This will take approx. 20 minutes.

Place the cheese onto platter with the chutney
and some grapes (Optional).

 

Equipment List

Sauce pan x 3
Large Baking tray
Small Baking tray x2
Temperature probe (recommended) or metal skewer
Colander or sieve
Oven Gloves
Carving Board
Carving Knife
Pastry Brush
Whisk
Tongs
Dessert Spoons in Hot Water x 2
Sauce Jug x 2
Chopping Board
Serrated Knife 8-10in
Cling Film
Tin Foil
Cooling Rack
Microwave

 

Help us support Ayrshire Hospice

As we reflect upon this year, which has been a challenging and worrying time for all of us, and as we all start to find our new normal and adapt to the changes that the Coronavirus has enforced upon us, we know that challenging times are still ahead.

This is especially true for Ayrshire Hospice. As an experienced source of outstanding quality care and services which helps those with any life-limiting illness, it requires extensive, on-going fundraising support.

A cause very close to our hearts, The Cook School Scotland is delighted to fundraise to help the hospice provide vital support for patients and their families.

To do this, we are running a raffle, allowing one lucky winner to be in with the chance of winning two Cook School @ Home classes. So, not only will you win one of our online cookery sessions for yourself, but you can also gift a box to a friend. This is available anywhere in the UK.

To enter our raffle please visit our Just Giving page, make a donation of £5 and leave your contact email address in the comments.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cookschool

The lucky winner will be chosen on Christmas Eve.

Please see below more information about our Cook School @ Home classes or visit our classes page:

An online, interactive, and fun session where you can mingle with our other guests while preparing and enjoying the menu for the evening. Prior to the class, we will deliver a box to your home with all the ingredients you will need along with instructions on what equipment you will need and how to join us on the evening.

Celebrate World Food Day

Behind our food, there is always someone who produced, planted, harvested, fished or transported it. This World Food Day, we take the opportunity to thank these #FoodHeroes who, no matter the circumstances, continue to provide food to their communities and beyond – helping to grow, nourish and sustain our world.

World Food Day 2020 Activity Book: Food Heroes

Keep the little ones amused – download this fantastic Activity Book. They’ll discover food heroes, the important role they play, challenges they face and the digital innovations that are helping them and our food systems to perform better. They’ll also find out what each of us – governments, farmers, businesses and the general public – can do to improve how our food is produced and learn how we can all make a difference and become a food hero!

Activity Book_2020_ENG

Corporate Christmas Parties

The Christmas season is fast approaching and we want to let our customers know that Christmas is most definitely not cancelled here at The Cook School Scotland!

Our Head Chef, Stuart, was inspired by the nation’s passion for cooking during lockdown and decided to bring our kitchen to yours in the form of online cooking classes delivered via Zoom. And just like that, our new concept Cook School @ Home was born!

These online classes are perfect for ‘Christmas Nights In’ and team building as they’re fun, interactive sessions where you can relax and mingle with other guests, whilst preparing and enjoying a restaurant quality 3 course meal, from the comfort of your own home.

We deliver all the top-quality ingredients, expertly packed, to you the day before your chosen class, anywhere in the UK so it works well for colleagues or clients who live further afield.

With government restrictions in place around gatherings, this is a great way to boost morale and engage with staff who may have been working from home for long periods or clients that have been unable to visit your office safely.

We offer many different themed menus including Vietnamese, Thai, Italian, Chinese, Scottish Larder and more. We can customise corporate classes to your preferences to suit the menu, budget and number of guests you require. Our starting price is £50 per person for a box of food for 2 people.

To find out more, please visit our class booking page: Class Bookings

And, to see just how much fun we’ve been having in our classes here, watch our short promo video: Cook School @ Home Video

CELEBRATE THE BEST OF BRITISH GAME FOR NATIONAL CURRY WEEK

To celebrate National Curry Week (5th – 11th October 2020), the Cook School Scotland is delighted to announce a new game curry Cook School @ Home class in collaboration with BGA (British Game Alliance).

Launched during lockdown, our Cook School @ Home classes have gone from strength to strength. Online, fun and interactive events, they really are a night in with a difference! With over 15 themes now available, the BGA Game Curry Evening is our first game cooking event and has been planned to coincide with Great British Game Week at the end of November. 

The price for the class is £50.00, for which you will receive a box full of all ingredients required to create the mouth-watering menu for the evening:

    • Hot & sour mallard duck salad with toasted peanuts & crispy shallots
    • Thai red pheasant curry, jasmine rice & coconut
    • Chilled kaffir lime leaf rice pudding, poached pear & cardamom for two

Included in the price is a link to a live cooking evening on Zoom, which takes place on 26th November, to cook your curry led by our Head Chef Stuart. You will also receive an Eat Wild game recipe booklet as an added extra to this special event.

Tickets are limited to 20 households, go on sale during National Curry Week. Don’t miss out!

 

www.cookschool.org/cook-at-home