So is it mere co-incidence that the day The Times publish a reindeer recipe, which incidentally looks fabulous, a woman hiking in the Scottish hills is stalked and attacked by a very pissed off reindeer which kept her captive for 2 hours?
I don’t think so either. If that beast had had a mobile phone and a digit with which to dial it, I reckon a ransom would have been on the cards. It does sound like a joke to us, tucked up, cosy and reading this but the reality of the situation is all a bit more Stephen King.
There she was, an exeprienced walker alone, up in the remote Scottish hills when she spotted a light coloured deer shaped beast in the distance.
There is nothing unusual about this, at this time of year there are hundreds of deer striding the hills hunting for food and they get so much as a whiff of you from miles away they stay as far away as possible. They are not fans of the human race. Sensible beasts.
So unperturbed she continued on her way, and it disappeared until she got to the summit of the hill and there it was – gulp – waiting for her.
Then it charged. Ramming it’s antlers into her face, she managed to hold up one of her walking poles but this thing was a determined beast, and kept banging into her until black and blue and terrified she lay still. 2 hours later she got her packed lunch out and threw bits of it all over the hill to distract the animal as she scrambled to her feet and got away.
So two things that struck me, were I to have been in a similar situation.
1.There is no way I would have still had my packed lunch. It is a tradition that I eat it about half an hour into whatever journey I am taking. The knowledge of a thick cut, roast ham, mustard and lettuce sandwich with a thick slick of butter, a couple of scotch eggs, a long cool drink of juice and a bar of chocolate nestling in my backpack are too good to resist.
2.Had I survived the attack I would most certainly have died running down the hill to get away from the glassy eyed warrior. Being pathetic and having an overactive imagination not backed up with strong thighs and a speedy travelling technique.
So clearly this was one pissed off reindeer.
I reckon it’d got wind of The Battersea Pie Station in Covent Garden, London, which is selling “Rudolph” reindeer pies The free-range meat is sourced from Sweden where the reindeer live on farms and are allowed to roam free and eat naturally.
And you can understand why. The rest of the year we don’t give them a second thought. Then come Christmas, their moment in the sun, or more accurately in the sky attached to a sleigh, we expect them to work relentlessly in below zero conditions and what thanks do they get? Well the western world decides that the overworked reindeers haunch looks like it would be lovely slow
cooked with some red cabbage and roasters.
So now we are to take the goodies off the sleigh, get Rudolph in a head lock and fire up that stove. The reindeer are revolting. Unlike their meat which is frankly delicious.
Low in fat and cholestorol the meat is not disimilar to venison but with a gamey stronger flavour. Mmmnnn. So what do you think? I think it sounds great.
Here is a traditional Finnish recipe for roast reindeer.
300 g frozen reindeer meat
100 g greasy pork or american bacon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pinches black pepper
200 ml beer (homemade, if possible) or water
1. Melt reindeer meat just so that the meat slices get loose of each other.
Cut the bacon up slices. (yes the melting of the meat bit douns hellish but when n Finland…)
2. Roll the bacon slices in hot pan so long, that the fat melts. Add the
reindeer meat and brown it lightly with the bacon.
3. Add spices and beer/water. Keep it under a lid for about a half an hour.
4. Prepare mashed potatoes, put it in a bowl and make a groove in the middle
of the mashed potatoes. Pour the roast reindeer in it.
5. Serve with cowberry jam.
Cowberry Jam? I’m on the case.