Sunday 5 September 2010


Down to West Wales to see my new niece whom we find very bonny as is the proud mother. I slip away to inspect my brother's goose (pictured) which commands respect since I learnt that our local butcher wants £11.80 per kilo for a Pembrokeshire goose this Christmas. That is over £5.35 per lb "in old money" (well literally in the old money it is £5 7s 1/2d). This means £60 or so for a modest bird. Now I like goose but, let's face it, by the time you have cooked a 10 or 12lb specimen half of it has run off as fat (admittedly very nice to keep for artery-furring roast spuds, confits, and so on) and what remains is a thin strand of meat from the breast and a scant mouthful off the legs. Turkey does go further but if you want goose (and you haven't got one in your back yard like my sage and far-sighted sibling) then I suggest buying a £20 one from Lidl (a little smaller but over 4kg) which on past experience is very acceptable.

The small quantity of meat will not seem so bad because the price is within the realms of reason but there will still be a need to eek it out and what better than a stuffing which will absorb some of the fat and fill your plate? Prune stuffing is traditional but (I am firmly advised) don't mess around with the usual recipes relying on breadcrumbs to bulk the prunes - make sure it has sausagemeat.

You need: 8oz prunes presoaked in a glass of red wine, 1 1/2 lb Bramley apples, an onion, grated peel of an orange, 2 or 3 sticks of celery, the goose's liver, 1 lb sausagemeat, handful of walnuts, 2 eggs, herbs to taste, plenty of seasoning. Chop up all the ingredients well, mix (using as much of the wine necessary to keep it moist), and stuff in the neck and the main cavity. Check the extra cooking time required because of the stuffing. Try roasting a whole Bramley or two next to your goose for easy-peasy apple-sauce au naturel.

It helps to face the end of summer if you think of the seasonal delights ahead, though I haven't given up yet and mean to swim comfortably in the sea at least to the end of September.