I believe that cooking is one of the most important life skills that you can pass on to your children, I also believe that kids are much more receptive to trying new foods when they have been involved in it's preparation. The purpose of this bake was to show the kids how you can adapt a recipe and add to it, as well, of course, to try and get something new into them, in a manner that would seem familiar. Game is in season here in the UK, and consequently is inexpensive compared to other meats. The DIY pheasants above that I photographed outside our local farm shop last week, were priced at £1 per brace, which should dispel any myths that game is only accessible to the wealthy. Anyone who has had a good look around our blog will know that I am a great believer in including wild food in our diet. Game is natural, free range and since it’s wild, the animal is not being exposed to medications or antibiotics. Likewise, it's diet is not forced or prescribed – the animals just eat what is available in nature. Research has suggested that there are real health benefits to eating game. Venison is high in protein, low in saturated fatty acids and contains higher levels of iron than any other red meat. Pheasant and partridge also contain a high level of iron, protein, vitamin B(6) and selenium, which has been linked scientifically to improvements in mood and the alleviation of feelings of depression, and also helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
For our Hunter's rolls we used a mix of game (venison, pheasant and rabbit) and the same quantity of sausage meat, we also used ready made puff pastry. We diced all the game into small pieces and split it between 2 bowls. We mixed half of the sausage meat into one batch of the game and used to make a simple game sausage roll.
To our second bowl of diced game we wanted to add a little extra flavour. First we marinaded our meat for an hour in a couple of teaspoons of our Christmas Extract. We also added a handful of dried cranberries to the mix. We then added the remaining sausage meat and mixed it well.
The kids then simply rolled out the puff pastry into a long rectangle. Using prepared puff pastry is lazy, but convenient. If you were to make these using home-made shortcrust or puff pastry, the results would be even more delicious!
Each child was able to make their own batch, since we had two versions of our filling. We used beaten egg to brush on the edges of the pastry to stick them together, and also to glaze the finished rolls before baking.
Finally the kids used a fork to crimp the edges together to ensure they were well sealed, we then we cut our hunter's sausage rolls up and baked in a medium oven for about 40 mins until they were cooked through.
Pairing the game with the sausage meat works really well as game is naturally very lean, so the fat from the pork ensures it remains moist. Cooking the two versions also worked a treat, as our more fussy eater announced that they hated the more elaborate recipe, but agreed to try the simpler one, which in itself was a result. The other child liked both versions, and has been taking them to school for lunch!