Monday, 6 February 2012

The Good Table by Valentine Warner Giveaway


I lost another 2lbs this week on my quest for a slimmer me. That makes 15lbs so far this year, and I am starting to feel the benefits already. It was sooo cold last week but I picked the pretties bunch of snowdrops from the garden that kept me company on my dest as I worked.  Sadly it's the end of the game season and so just before the snow came down I made Valentine Warner’s Venison stew from his new book The Good Table. .  It was utterly delicious. (as recommended too by London Unattached )  … and such a struggle to keep to just one serving !

I met Valentine Warner a few weeks ago at Mark Hix’s restaurant on a lunch to promote British game.  Certainly the meal was delicious and I found Val a much more charming person than on TV.  He was fun, knowledgeable and far wittier than I had expected. 




To be honest I haven’t always been that keen on Valentine’s TV shows or the accompanying books.  He’s been one of those writers I could take or leave. Not that they weren’t good books but  I think that in the beginning I thought he was almost too young for his own style,  his humour seemed to be almost too large for life. It rankled me.  Even now as I write this I am flicking through his What to Eat Now and What to Eat Now More Please books they still don’t do it for me.

That said,  I have been taken totally by surprise with his latest book The Good Table that Val kindly gave to me after lunch.  I was expecting to flick through, smile politely and assign it to the keep this for reference shelf; however, to my surprise it is one of the best recipe books I’ve come across in a long time. Perhaps it is because it not accompanying a TV show or maybe he has grown into himself  .. whichever  .. it really is a great read.  The Good Table is honest, with real humour and personality, written in a more informal, delicious and more relaxed style that made me what to take the book to bed…  and then get up to cook.  The photos are sharp.  You can see what you are making.  The layout is easy on the eye, its been designed to cook from, and thankfully there is space to breath as the designers haven’t felt the need to cram every inch.

Recipes include as Toad in the Hole or Paella, classic dishes such as Beef Suet Pudding or a Brandy Snap with Berries, or recipes from far-flung shores such as Lapland Fish Soup and a Spanish dish of Chorizo in Cider. Inspired I popped off to my local game merchant Anthony Garret in Flore and then made the Venison curry from page 79.  So if you have previously loved Valentines work  .. this is his best book yet by far.. and if you are not so keen .. take another look ..  he’s more of vintage wine kind of a chap  .. and he’s really on top form in this fabulous book that has made it onto the kitchen bookshelf .. to join the books I cook from every day.

Extract from The Good Table and Venison Curry Recipe




Serves 4

a large handful of shaved dried coconut or 3 tablespoons unsweetened desiccated coconut

40g ghee or butter

2 small red onions, finely chopped

1 cinnamon stick (about 4cm long)

6 black peppercorns

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 large thumb-sized piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

4 cloves 
1 teaspoon fennel seeds 

2½ teaspoons hot chile powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ star anise 
½ teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon garam masala

3 tablespoons tomato purée

500g venison fillet (be it red, fallow, sika, roe or muntjac), cut into medium cubes

300ml coconut water or water
juice of
½ lime 

shredded coriander leaves, to garnish
rice,
paratha or naan bread, to serve




On a trip to Sri Lanka, I stopped for lunch at a lean-to with a couple of grubby plastic chairs and tables set before it. Behind a small gas stove were a scrawny man and his wife. I asked what I could have and the vendor immediately did a bizarre impression of some creature, which I took time to realise was a deer. 
I gave him a nod and a thumbs up. A little dish arrived with small pieces of the tenderest meat bathed in a sharp, rich red gravy covered with toasted shavings of coconut. It was delicious and unbelievably hot, by which I mean it tore off the lid of my head.

As I chased the last smear across the plate with a kind of sour pancake, the police arrived on the scene and immediately started poking around the couple's field kitchen. One of the officers came up to me and, in English, asked: 'What it is are you having?' 'Lunch', I replied. 'No' he said pointing at the plate, and so I told him, as I had been, that it was 'of the forest', very good too, and he was welcome to join me for lunch.
It turned out that cheffy was also a poacher and I had just unwittingly enjoyed a very small and unfortunately endangered miniature deer. Cook and wife were taken away with a coolbox full of, no doubt, evidence and the policeman demanded I settle the bill with him. I felt a certain sympathy for the cook, as obviously hand-to-mouth applied to not just his job but his whole life, yet as a poacher, surely, it was a bit silly to reveal the true nature of his incriminating ingredients. 

The meat was tender because it was cooked very briefly rather than the tenderness that results from a long, slow cook. Therefore, it is essential that you do not overcook the meat. Venison has next to no fat and fillet will seize up suddenly and go past the point of no return. Ghee is Indian clarified butter and is widely available from shops and supermarkets. Coconut water is not the same as the coconut milk found in a can but the water that is in the centre of a fresh coconut. 

In a dry frying pan, gently toast the coconut until you notice the first signs of it colouring. Allow to cool.
Melt the ghee or butter in a wok or pan (the lighter and thinner the metal, the better, as it is closer to using Indian cookware such as a balti). Throw in the onions and cook fairly briskly with the cinnamon and peppercorns until softened and deep golden, taking care not to burn them.
Using a pestle and mortar, or blender, crush the garlic, ginger, salt and all the remaining spices into a fine paste and combine with the tomato purée. 
Add the curry paste to the onions and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Do not let it burn. Add the meat and briskly sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the coconut water or water and lime juice and bring to a rapid simmer for 4 minutes, or until you have a thickish gravy. Remove from the heat and scatter with the coconut and coriander. Serve with rice, paratha or naan bread.

I am delighted to be able to offer one of Valentines Books as a giveaway  All you need to do is tell me who you would cook for. 

RULES
Please see competition Rules before entering. This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 with a UK mainland address.  The winner will be chosen using an online randomiser and announced on this page on 2nd March 2012 You need to have a profile the allow mw to get back in touch however please do not include your email in the actual comment as well.

This competition on behalf of  Octopus Publishing and they will be responsible for organizing the prize with the winner. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

There is one main way to enter and there are  5 more chances to win .. . and you must leave a separate comment for each bonus entry otherwise they will not be counted

For a chance to win please comment below and tell me who you would cook for if you won this book  

For a second chance to win please tweet this post using the button below and you MUST comment with your twitter ID telling me you have done so.

For a third chance to win please follow me @VanessaKimbell on Twitter and comment below to tell me you have done so.

For a fourth chance to win tweet me @VanessaKimbell and tell me if you who you would cook for 

For a 5th Chance to win Follow @ValentineWarner  on Twitter

For a 6th Chance to win follow @Octopus_Books 



99 comments:

  1. I've got to say my husband haven't I, especially as Valentine's Day is coming up - the difficulty would be in deciding exactly what to cook!

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  2. already following @VanessaKimbell @ maxineflossy

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  3. now following @ValentineWarner @maxineflossy

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  4. now following @Octopus_Books @maxineflossy

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  5. I would cook for my boyfriend because he cooks for me. He's really good at it, but I'd like to show him some love!

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  6. Alright, I also have followed @VanessaKimbell, @Octopus_Books & @ValentineWarner via my twitter @kimannjosouth--- i also tweeted the post =)

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  7. I would cook for my boyfriend and fellow-foodie

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  8. I would cook for my hub and I love the sound of the book and this recipe. We've recently been for a Sri Lankan food fest here, and were amazed by the flavours and food! I have a UK mainland address {in case I get lucky with the book!}
    {You might not be able to log into my blog coz it was hacked yesterday! Sigh!}

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  9. so many chances!!! well...I'd love this book. I'd cook for my hubby...but if I did win it would be just in time for my parents' visit for Easter so would defo put on a HUGE spread for them!!!!

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  10. Alright, I also have followed @Octopus_Books

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  11. I also followed @ValentineWarner via my twitter @kimannjosouth---

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  12. also tweeted the post via @kimannjosouth

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  13. It's been suggested that I should cook for my OH's friends & partners!! I would love to book for inspiration of something 'impressive' to cook as I think they expect good things as all most of them think I talk about is food! (they're not that wrong!) So it would be dinner for 10, & a night off from the children!!

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  14. tweeted using @chouxchouxbedoo and the button on this post (already following the lovely @vanessakimbell)

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  15. Vanessa, well you have really sold me on this book with that great post and with a name like Valentine Warner and Valentine's Day about to arrive I would have to cook something for "him in doors". I can let you have a UK address if I am lucky enough to win.

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  16. Hi Vanessa

    Thank you very much for sharing this recipe and for introducing me to the work of Valentine Warner.

    I am currently ten months into a year of cooking and eating only Indian food. Valentine's Sri Lankan venison curry looks fantastic. I'm going to make it this week.

    Who would I cook for? Well I'm going to have to agree with Magnolia Verandah. If I am lucky enough to win the book, I would like to cook that venison curry for Valentine. :)

    I rarely cook straight from a recipe. In India (and Sri Lanka) exact measures are rarely used. I think Valentine would like my interpretation. :)

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  17. Hi Vanessa

    Thank you very much for sharing this recipe and for introducing me to the work of Valentine Warner.

    I am currently ten months into a year of cooking and eating only Indian food. Valentine's Sri Lankan venison curry looks fantastic. I'm going to make it this week.

    Who would I cook for? Well I'm going to have to agree with Magnolia Verandah. If I am lucky enough to win the book, I would like to cook that venison curry for Valentine. :)

    I rarely cook straight from a recipe. In India (and Sri Lanka) exact measures are rarely used. I think Valentine would like my interpretation. :)

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  18. I'd love to cook for Robbie Williams!!
    My OH & I celebrated my 40th in Sri Lanka & were taught how to cook the most amazing prawn curry & chocolate mouse by the head chef.
    He gave me the recipes, I still use them now just with a few variations on the ingredients as I've ran out of the 1's I brought back.

    @baggiesbabe69

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  19. Already follow you @baggiesbabe69

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  20. tweeted you a message @baggiesbabe69

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  21. Following @ValentineWarner
    @baggiesbabe69

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  22. following @Octopus_Books
    @baggiesbabe69

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  23. I already follow you on twitter @walpolegirl

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  24. I would cook for my husband cause he adores me and thinks whatever I cook is delicious!

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  25. I have tweeted the post @walpolegirl

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  26. I have tweeted you. @walpolegirl

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  27. I have followed @Valentinewarner - @walpolegirl

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  28. I have followed @Octopusbooks -@walpolegirl

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  29. I'd cook for my mum, she is a great foodie but unfortunately most of the time she eats with my dad who insists that most things are meat and two veg based and does not appreciate going out to eat!

    Vikki x

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  30. following you on twitter



    ianmaciver@onetel.com

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  31. would cook for the whole family

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  32. done all entries as requested


    twitterid @maci234

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  33. I'd cook for my husband, he's always wanted to eat more game.
    @maisietoo

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  34. I have tweeted. https://twitter.com/#!/maisietoo/status/169439807234256896
    @maisietoo

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  35. Following you @VanessaKimbell on Twitter.
    @maisietoo

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  36. I have tweeted you, @VanessaKimbell, and and told you who I'd cook for.
    @maisietoo

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  37. Follow @ValentineWarner on Twitter.
    @maisietoo

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  38. Follow @Octopus_Books on Twitter.
    @maisietoo

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  39. i would cook for my husband

    @ashlallan

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  40. I woulkd probably cook for THE BANKER on DEAL OR NO DEAL.. If he liked what I cooked I could be in with a chance to open a red box!

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  41. I'd cook for my husband - we're both Valentime Warner fans although he probably doesn't look at him in *quite* the same way i do.....

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  42. I'm already following you on Twitter @janesgrapevine

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  43. I've tweeted my answer to you @janesgrapevine

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  44. I'm already following Valentine Warner @janesgrapevine

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  45. I'm already following Octopus books @janesgrapevine

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  46. I would cook for my parents. My Mum always whips up something delicious for me when I pop round to see them and it's been ages since I returned the favour!

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  47. I'm following you on Twitter as @LoveWinning :-)

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  48. I've tweeted about the competition as @LoveWinning

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  49. I'm following Valentine Warner on Twitter as 'LoveWinning

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  50. I'm following Vanessa Kimbell on Twitter as @LoveWinning

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  51. I would cook for my husband cos he does most of the cooking at the moment and it would be nice to reciprocate

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  52. following @VanessaKimbell
    @hoops120

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  53. following @ValentineWarner
    @hoops120

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  54. now following @Octopus_Books
    @hoops120

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  55. I think I would give the book to my other half for inspiration. He has been watching every known food programme (he has the time because I wait on him hand and foot!) and recently advanced to purchasing a box full of spices which I assume is in readiness for his entrance into the kitchen. He makes a fabulous bolognaise but it is never too late to expand his repertoire!

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  56. I have tweeted the post.... @UtterlyBumpty

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  57. I already follow you on Twitter @UtterlyBumpty, kind regards.

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  58. I have sent you a tweet on twitter @UtterlyBumpty.

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  59. I have followed Valentine Warner on Twitter, @UtterlyBumpty, and doesn't his suckling pig look fabulous!

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  60. And I have followed Octopus Books on Twitter, many thanks and kind regards. @UtterlyBumpty.

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  61. I'd cook for my lovely boyfriend :)

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  62. I'd cook for my whole fmaily - parents, cousins, grandparents - the lot!

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  63. I'm following @ValentineWarner @Jenni000

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  64. I'm following @Octopus_books @Jenni000

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  65. If I won this book, I'd LOVE to cook for my husband as the other day, he ACTUALLY told someone he does all the cooking! *gasp* .. not true but I have to turn the heat up in the kitchen so to speak ... game on!

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  66. I've tweeted using the tweet button :)

    @KookyKaty

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  67. I'm already following you on Twitter :)

    @KookyKaty

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  68. I've tweeted you who I'd like to cook for :)

    @KookyKaty

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  69. I'm following @ValentineWarner on Twitter :)

    @KookyKaty

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  70. I'm already following @Octopus_Books on Twitter :)

    @KookyKaty

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  71. I'd cook something lovely for my Mum who is due to have an op soon.

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  72. I'd cook a meal for my mum for Mother's Day!

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  73. If I could cook for anyone in the world it would be John Barrowman - I love him and we'd have a great gossip over dinner! But realistically I would cook for my lovely husband who always appreciates my dinners, even when they go wrong!

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  74. I have tweeted this post @Laura_Cookies

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  75. I already follow you on twitter :-) @Laura_Cookies

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  76. I've tweeted you @Laura_Cookies

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  77. I've followed Valentine Warner @Laura_Cookies

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  78. I've followed Octopus Books @Laura_Cookies x

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  79. Probably my mum.

    @00annabellee00

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  80. I have tweeted as @00annabellee00

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  81. I’m following you on Twitter as @00annabellee00

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  82. I’m following @ValentineWarner on Twitter on Twitter as @00annabellee00

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  83. I’m following @Octopus_Books on Twitter as @00annabellee00

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  84. The extended family @ericahughes

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  85. following you on twitter @ericahughes

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  86. Following Valentine Warner @ericahughes

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  87. Following Octopus Books @ericahughes

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If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.