The tallest of the Albanians, clad in the usual uniform of hooded sweatshirt, cheap chain store denim and the inevitable obligatory designer label running shoes, seemed to be the only member of the group who understood and spoke the same language as me. As he gazed up I couldn't help but notice that his left eye was glazed over in a a yellowy-white opaque. An oddity that reminded me of a jar of pickled onions, the vinegar, milky in colour due to age, that had stood for most of my childhood in the plate glass window of the oul fish and chip shop in the heart of Drumchapel. A lot of hard men were to be found in Drumchapel, but I do not know the name of any man brave enough to eat fae that jar. More worrying was the fact that it was he who stood there with the gun in his hand. I thought it too rude to ask, with his somewhat hindered eyesight, if he was in fact, the best man for the job.
Eventually, after a one way pigeon-English explanation as to how exactly I wanted the job carried out, the way it was to be done and the way I wanted it to look before payment was made, a somewhat staccato conversation developed between them. 'Onion-eye' related the information of my requirements in the way most eastern Europeans do, much pointing and gesticulation in my direction, flintlock vowels continually spat out and unspeakable words penetrated the air. They wanted more money. I put on my best hard stare and said... no. I turned away to walk back to my car. Onion changed his tone. Money was discussed again. A small increase was agreed, the job was on. I wanted it doing there and then. I was aching to get this whole messy thing put to bed before Siobhan found out and there was hell to pay for not only the sons, but also for me.
The details of what happened next are not important. We are all too familiar with what happens when you put a high powered gun in the hands of an experienced man with the promise of payment on completion and is let loose on someone elses dirty work. The crux of this tale is thus: do not send your sons out to
Scottish Game Pie
1kg 20g free range pheasant (must be hung for at least one week)
680g fresh wild hare with a lean underbelly (usually found within the Duke of Argyle's private land behind the hidden carp lake out of sight of the castle, shhhh... between us, eh?)
4tbsp vegetable oil
Puff pastry, (Enough to cover the top of your dish!)
4 level tbsp plain flour
3/4 pint Chicken stock
4tbsp decent brandy
1 Bay leaf
1 egg beaten
Salt and white pepper
Preparation is the key with this dish. Using a sharp boning knife, separate the meat from the bones, this should be done with feeling and care. A wee bit of Debussy - Clair De Lune, always goes down well with me and a glass of something strong. We're not talking a nice little Chablis or 12-year-old single malt, perhaps just a small sniff of brandy to help things along. Put all of your meat into a large pan, sear it quickly and then set aside. Dice the carrots and celery into quarter pieces and chop the onion and scallions roughly.
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy based pan and add the vegetables, cook until lightly brown. Then, lift this out of the pan and set aside in a bowl. Stir the flour and seasoning through the usual home made game pie seasoning of your choice, then add a little at a time in the residual oil. Once all the meat is in the pan, replace the vegetables back into the pan. Add the stock, brandy, bay leaf and gravy browning to the pan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for a good hour.
Leave this to cool overnight. It will require a settling period of at least 16 hours before you can proceed further.
For those looking for a quick fix recipe may I ask you to stop reading, collect your things and never return here again. If you carry on for twenty miles or so you will come across a fast food outlet which will happily cater for your philistine needs.
The following day roll out your pastry and cover the top of the pie, Bake, never cook the pie at 200C for 30 mins. Then, lower to 180C for a further 20mins, if necessary then cover with foil. This way you won’t burn the pastry. Serve with thick gravy and new potatoes, garnished with minted garden peas.