Friday, 15 August 2014

The Gamekeeper

This Tuesday marked the arrival of The Glorious 12th, the start of the game season in the UK, which will, for some, mark the start of the country sports season and for many others, the arrival of fresh, organic game in their local butchers shops and restaurants. But behind the scenes, working tirelessly year round to allow all of this to happen, are the dedicated efforts of the Gamekeeper.

The Gamekeeper is the guardian of his land and statistics show that gamekeepers are responsible for approximately 7.3 million hectares of land in the UK (that's roughly the size of Scotland!). Their work ensures a plentiful supply of game but also the conservation of numerous indigenous species through their efforts and they manage the land in such a way that it creates a hospital environment in which flora and fauna can thrive. They also often pass on their knowledge to schoolchildren, teaching them the importance of land management, conservation and ecology. Many estates and their gamekeepers actively contribute to conservation projects such as the reintroduction of red kites and the protection of native species like stone curlew and red squirrels.

Red squirrels and Lapwings benefit from land management

The Environmental Stewardship scheme, in which many gamekeepers participate, is a scheme which offers funding to land managers to deliver effective land management with the aim of supporting the ecosystem of an area and encouraging a healthy diversity of species.

If you are concerned with the origin of your meat or prefer to eat organic produce, game is a fantastic option for you. Through late summer, autumn and winter a range of game will be available in your local butchers and it should be easy to trace its origin. If you're feeling inspired, here's a seasonal grouse recipe to try...

Brandy Roast Grouse

Brandy Roast Grouse

1 dressed young grouse
135 ml double cream
1 tablespoon Brandy
4 strips streaky bacon
Roast the grouse covered in bacon in a hot oven for 15 minutes.  Remove bacon and roast for a further 5 minutes.

Cut them in half and trim out the bony back.

Set aside

Pour 135ml double cream per grouse into the roasting dish, mix with contents and bring to the boil.

Add the tablespoon of brandy and heat up again.

Pour contents over the set aside grouse.

This recipe is for one grouse, which will feed one or two people, depending on how hungry they are so multiply up for larger numbers.

Recipe courtesy of Game to Eat > 

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