The Novice Cook: Venison With Capers And Lemon

by thomandaimee

Since N’s away swaying to some indie music at a Gathering of Hipsters (also known as Laneway Festival), I decided to take over the kitchen. Yes, me attempting to make a dish that doesn’t include a hot pot of water and a packet of noodles. Well, the good news is that I did not set the kitchen on fire. The only embarrassing moment was when I had to ask my Mom how to cut a lemon.

Let me tell you the True-True: it’s a secret desire of mine to become a Domestic Goddess. Someday. We all need to start somewhere. That’s where Hugh’s Three Good Things came in. The beauty of Hugh’s philosophy in this book was about easily accessible ingredients, unfussy techniques, flexible recipes and basically, anyone should not be daunted by cooking. What really got me started were the clear instructions; there were no complicated or intimidating methods. Just pure simple cooking at its very core. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks Hugh is strangely attractive.)

In fact, I’m going to start a little project. I’ll try to cook every single recipe from this book to improve my skills and increase my repertoire, which explains “The Novice Cook” title. Nigella, watch your back.

We had some venison leftover from our last post. The zingy flavours of the lemon and sharp saltiness of the capers melded perfectly with the meat. I was surprised how fast it was to prepare this dish. The moment the flesh hits the hot pan was like rainbow shooting out from a unicorn’s mouth. The smoke, the sounds and the colours! I’m very good at undercooking food, so this dish benefitted from my bad habits as venison does not require much cooking. The recipe is so straightforward that extra tips would be unnecessary.

Serve it with some salad, and of course, some red wine. And bon appétit!

(I just received news that my cousin has given birth to a girl. Now I’m giddy with joy and the wine is not helping.)

Venison With Lemon and Capers
By Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Serves 8

About 500g venison loin fillet, in one piece, well trimmed
A little olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Dressing

2 tablespoons baby capers, rinsed and drained
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon and 2 tablespoon juice
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Seasonal salad leaves


Heat a frying pan over a high heat until searing hot. Massage the venison fillet lightly with olive oil, then season well with salt and pepper, and the chopped thyme, if using. Place in the hot pan, leave for about 30 seconds, then turn over. You want to cook only the outer surface of the eat, so keep the heat really high and have the loin in the pan for no more than a couple of minutes, turning it regularly so all sides are browned.

Remove the venison from the pan and set aside to rest on a board for 15-30 minutes, before you slice it.

For the dressing, just stir all the ingredients together in a bowl, then taste for seasoning. It will need pepper, but not necessarily salt because the capers are already salty.

Slice the venison into silvers, about 3mm thick, and arrange on serving plates. Pile the salad leaves into side bowls. Whisk the dressing again and trickle it over the meat and leaves.