Flavour Combinations, Seasonality and Terroir
I have already played with spiking a blood sauce recipe with the gin to great success, replacing the the brandy of classical French cooking. Blood and game work well together because of the iron-y flavour.
Juniper and wild game are a classical pairing and a great flavour match, but why? If you look at it from the point of view of the terroir that they live in, deer have been known to graze plants with high pinene content, and whatever an animal eats comes through in its meat – if you look at Iberian ham, it tastes nutty, because it feeds off acorns. Venison works well with mushrooms for the same reason; visualise the forest. You can almost taste the berries off red deer in bramble season, and when brambles are in season, cep mushrooms are in season – instantly you have a pairing. If you follow this formula, and get creative, most of the time you can get seasonal, tasty, well-matched dishes.
Another thing I love about Scott’s approach is that he uses everything without a scrap of waste; this is how I was taught to cook. All his trimmings are being turned into sausages and burgers, the antler and skulls are treated with artisanal love, bleached till stunning white and mounted on shields for the gentlemen that have been responsible for the animals’ rapid exit from Terra Madre. Elevating the food we eat into a trophy or a symbol is something that I support – in some ways honouring the ingredients is the business I’m in. I’ve got a pair of Scott’s antlers adorning the signage for my new venture, Fallachan nights at Studio 93.
Scott is a great guy always open to getting me anything within his capabilities, and having one direct line of communication enables my cooking to be more spontaneous. So far, that’s led to my having the pleasure of working with a fine array of the wildlife that can be shot in season on Islay – young rook, wild hare, Roe deer, Red deer, Greylag geese. The perks of personally knowing the hunter…