Now that spring has finally sprung, I am reminded of one of life's little ironies. Whilst driving through the farmland and countryside which surrounds our area, I have spotted an abundance of wildlife, coming out to play.
The warm early spring sunshine has the same effect on the fauna, as it does us. Over the last two weeks, I have seen pheasants, hares, rabbits, a couple of muntjac deer, as well as herons, a barn owl and a sparrowhawk.
I even had a partridge, standing looking at me from a couple of yards away, obviously not realising that he was looking at a chef!
The irony is that the game season has just ended, and all of a sudden, the game starts to appear! I am sure they know.
Not that I am a hunter, my preference is that they are delivered to me in a more ready state. Before the letters flood in to correct me, I deliberately separated the non-game birds in the previous paragraph!
Now, this column has not evolved into a nature piece, nor am I insensitive enough to produce recipes for creatures that I have been admiring!
No, I think one of my newer, lighter vegetarian starters would be more appropriate, so here is what I think is a delightful little dish suitable for spring and summer:
Aubergine mousse with roasted peppers
Ingredients (Serves four)
1 medium sized aubergine, sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
150g cream cheese
50g Greek yoghurt
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
100ml whipping cream, lightly whipped
1 each, small red, yellow and green pepper, deseeded and cut into small even dice
50ml reduced balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1) Put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan, add the aubergine, with the garlic and a little salt and pepper, and roast in a hot oven for 30 minutes until soft.
2) Add the cream cheese and yoghurt, then blitz in a blender until smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then fold in the whipped cream.
3) Season to taste and place into individual moulds, then refrigerate for 24 hours.
4) Roast the diced peppers in the remaining olive oil for about 20 minutes until soft, and season lightly.
5) Turn out the mousses on to serving plates, arrange the peppers around, and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.
Voila, light and colourful - just right for spring.