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The arrival of autumn brings us new colours and a new season of local flavours to enjoy. My home cured “Borders Roe Deer Carpaccio” with beetroot relish, pickled walnuts and glazed figs is a treat! Follow this with my Roast Grouse dish from last month and it’s a fine way to celebrate this time of year. You could finish it all off with a delicious Apple and Bramble Crumble with Vanilla Anglaise… if you are lucky there is still time to find those brambles before the birds do. We use Jonny Rutherford at Burnside Farm foods for our roe deer and grouse. They are superb and you can check out their wares at Kelso Farmers Market every month.

For the starter think a few days ahead, as the deer takes 24hrs to cure, you could also prepare the relish and figs in advance and store them in the fridge.

Roe Deer Carpaccio

1 loin of roe deer (trimmed) ask your butcher if you aren’t too sure

75g caster sugar
75g brown sugar
75g rock salt
1 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 sprig thyme
50 ml olive oil
1 orange zest plus juice
Dash of brandy or whisky (optional)

•    Combine all ingredients together in a bowl
•    Lay the venison on a layer of cling film
•    Cover the meat completely with the mix and roll very tightly sealing all the ends and sides.
•    Leave in fridge for 24 hours

After 24 hours – unwrap the cling film, wash well and lay on a towel to dry
Paint with coarse grain mustard and place in fridge

Beetroot relish

5 raw beetroots
Zest and juice of 2 limes
100ml soy sauce
30ml sesame oil
70ml olive oil

•    Grate beetroots, add to bowl, add all other ingredients and mix well
•    Rest the mix in an air tight container and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before using

Pickled walnuts

100g walnuts
250g white wine vinegar
500g water
250g sugar
1 clove
1 sprig thyme

•    Half walnuts and place in bowl.
•    Place the rest of the ingredients in a pan, bring to boil, then reduce a little
•    Take off the heat add liquid to walnuts, place in tub and allow to go cold
•    Rest the nuts in an air tight container and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before using

Glazed figs

5 figs
250ml red wine
2 cloves
1 star anise
50ml honey
1 sprig thyme
100ml fresh orange juice
100g sugar

•    Half the figs place in bowl – set aside
•    Add rest of ingredients to a pan, bring to boil
•    Add the figs, reduce liquid till the figs start to glaze
•    Take off heat, allow to cool


•    Slice carpaccio as thin as you can get it, arrange it nicely on the plate,
•    Next quenelle the relish in the middle (spoonful’s)
•    Add 3 half figs and scatter the walnuts round
•    Drizzle your dish with olive oil and use watercress to garnish for the peppery flavour. Toast some thick bread of your liking to go with it as well.

Apple and bramble crumble with vanilla Anglaise

Try forage for your fruit as autumn comes in to full swing there are lots of apples and brambles all around to be used, make this simple but warming dessert for the cold evenings ahead. I grow Bramleys in my own garden and they get better each year. If you can’t get hold of any foraged just pop to the green grocers.

Apple crumble

Crumble mix
200g plain flour
150g brown sugar
125g butter

Mix the flour and sugar a mixer, slowly add the butter, until it forms bread

Apple filling
500g of your favourite apples, (try mixing cooking with eating and red with green, the green apples tend to stay hard and the red stew, so you get the different textures)
75g brambles
2 table spoons of caster sugar
50ml apple juice
Squeeze of lemon

•    Peel and chop your apples to the same size
•    Add sugar to large pan melt slightly add more if you like the crumble more sweet than tart
•    Add in the apples, then the juice and lemon cook until the apples are just breaking down
•    Take of heat then add brambles
•    Put the apple filling in the bottom of an ovenproof dish
•    Add the crumble mix on top
•    Cook at 170 degrees for 30 to 35 mins till golden and crunchy on top

Homemade custard (vanilla Anglaise)
250g double cream
1 vanilla pod scrapped
4 egg yolks
80g sugar

In a pan add cream and vanilla, bring to just before the boil and set aside
In bowl add the yolks and the sugar, whisk them up
Pour liquid onto the yolks, mix well
Place back on heat and keep the sauce moving till it coats the back of a spoon. (Make sure you cook to above 80 degrees)
Place in sauce boat, serve straight away

Place crumble and custard in the middle of the table, and all get tucked in


By Craig Gibb