Pheasant Breasts with Wild Mushrooms and Parmesan Polenta


Pheasant Breasts with Wild Mushrooms and Parmesan Polenta

Serves 4

  • 20 thin pancetta slices
  • 4 pheasant breasts, butterflied
  • 4 large sprigs rosemary
  • 100ml red wine

For the stuffing

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 4 juniper berries, crushed
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp rhubarb ginger jam
  • 150g wild mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 3 tbsp port
  • 120ml cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Olive oil

For the parmesan polenta

  • 750ml of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150g polenta, quick cook variety
  • 75g butter
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sprigs of rosemary, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5.

To prepare the stuffing, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the spring onion and celery and sauté until softened – this will take about 5 to 6 minutes.  Add the crushed juniper berries, jam and breadcrumbs and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Leave to cool before stuffing.

To prepare the pheasant, stuff the butterflied breasts and wrap the pancetta around them. Tuck in a rosemary sprig. Heat an ovenproof frying pan with a little oil and brown the pheasant on both sides, this will take 5 minutes. Pour in the red wine and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.  

To make the mushroom sauce, heat a little oil and butter in a saucepan, add the garlic, thyme and mushrooms and sauté for 6 to 7 minutes before adding the port. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Deglaze the juices from the pheasant and add to the mushroom sauce.  Simmer for about 3 minutes before pouring in the cream and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Check the seasoning again. 

To prepare the polenta, pour the water and salt into a large heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil.  Gradually pour in the polenta, whisking continuously and quickly to ensure the mixture stays smooth and no lumps form.  Add in the butter and parmesan.  Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and creamy and coming away from the pan. (add more water if necessary) Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

To serve, spoon the parmesan polenta onto serving plates, ladle on some of the mushroom sauce. Slice through each pheasant breast at an angle and arrange it over the polenta and sauce. Garnish the top with a sprig of rosemary.


Rum Chocolate and Marzipan Truffles

Rum Chocolate and Marzipan Truffles

I love making gifts for friends and family at Christmas and this recipe is perfect for that, I prepared these little delightful truffles for singer and actor Martine McCutcheon on BBC's "Best Christmas Food Ever", I hope you enjoy them as much as she did!

The recipe below makes about 20 depending on the size

  • 250ml double cream
  • 30g butter
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 50g marzipan
  • 3 tbsp very finely chopped dried apricots
  • Cocoa powder, pistachio and toasted hazelnuts - both blitzed to fine consistency, for finishing
  • 20 mini cases

Place the cream and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil.  Remove from the heat, add in the rum.  Break the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl and pour over the hot cream mix.  Stir until the chocolate has melted and is thick.  Then leave the mixture to cool completely – this will take about 3 hours

Mix the marzipan and dried apricots together and shape into about 20 small balls.  Leave top set a little.

To make the truffles, place the pistachio, hazelnut nut and cocoa powder on separate plates.  Place the ball in the chocolate mixture and using a teaspoon scoop the chocolate around the marzipan ball. This is messy! Shape the chocolate around the apricot marzipan balls about the size of a walnut. Move to the plates of pistachio, hazelnuts or cocoa and roll. Roll and place on a clean plate. Leave to dry before transferring into cases, ready for boxes or to serve or enjoy simply with a delicious freshly brewed coffee.

#BestChristmasFoodEver       #EdibleGifts

Red Wine Poached Apples stuffed with Blue Cheese

Red Wine Poached Apples stuffed with Blue Cheese (Serves 4) this recipes comes straight from BBC's "Best Christmas Food Ever"

Another much requested recipe from the series is my Red Wine Poached Apples stuffed with Blue Cheese - it is great for a WOW factor and tastes utterly delicious.  Let me know how you get on.

For the apples

  • 300ml red wine
  • 200ml water
  • 100ml Marsala
  • 60g sugar
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 4 pink lady apples, peeled and halved
  • 100g blue cheese
  • 75ml crème fraiche
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • Frisee salad
  • Toasted chopped hazelnuts, to garnish
  • Chives, to garnish
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to finish

To poach the apples, combine the wine, water, Marsala, sugar, honey, lemon zest and juice with the rosemary in a saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and it becomes slightly syrupy. Add the apples and poach for about 15 minutes or until just softened, turning occasionally.  Remove the apples from the syrup and carefully remove the core.  Bring the poaching liquid to a simmer and reduce until it is slightly syrupy. Allow to cool.

To make the filling, mix together the blue cheese, crème fraiche, lemon zest, juice and chives. 

To assemble, place the frisee on a platter, place the apple halves on top. Pipe or spoon the blue cheese mixture onto each apple half. Drizzle the poaching syrup and extra virgin olive oil over the salad leaves.  Garnish with chives and the chopped hazelnuts.


Catherine's Mincemeat Cheesecake from BBC's Best Christmas Food Ever

During the new BBC food show "Best Christmas Food Ever" I up many sweet and savoury Christmas delights and this was by far one of the most requested recipes via social media and here I share it with you to try out for yourself over Christmas - this delicious mincemeat cheesecake is full of Christmas flavours with a mulled wine sauce.  I hope you enjoy it as mush as I enjoyed creating it. 

Best wishes,


Mincemeat Cheesecake with Mulled Wine & Cherry Sauce  Serves 10 to 12


For the mulled wine (or use leftover mulled wine)

  • 200ml red wine
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ tsp al spice
  • 1 orange, sliced

For the mulled wine sauce

  • 100ml juice from the cherries
  • The mulled wine (per above or leftover mulled wine)
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot with 2 tbsp cold mulled wine, to thicken

For the base

  • 15 digestive biscuits, crushed finely
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • 100g melted butter

For the filling

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 75g raisins
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and diced
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch of nutmeg
  • 60ml soft brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp rum
  • 400g cream cheese
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 orange, juice only
  • 100ml cream
  • 2 ½ gelatine leaves, soaked in 120ml cold water
  • 200ml cream, lightly whipped
  • 200g cherries in syrup, drained and roughly chopped
  • Orange zest, to decorate

To prepare the mulled wine, add the red wine, sugar, orange, allspice, cinnamon and star anise to a saucepan and simmer gently until flavours blend.  Then remove from heat

To prepare the mulled wine sauce, add the cherry juice to the mulled wine. Dissolve the arrowroot and 2 tbsp cold mulled wine (or water) and add to the saucepan.  Return to the heat and stir until the liquid begins to thicken.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. To make the base, line the base and sides of a 20cm springform baking tin with parchment.    

Place the crushed biscuits, ground ginger and orange zest into a bowl. Pour enough melted butter over the ingredients and mix well then spoon into the base of the springform tin, flattening with the back of a spoon.  Leave in the fridge to set for ½ hour.

To make the cheesecake filling, combine the apple, butter, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and rum and cook over a low heat until the apple is softened. Leave to cool completely.   Heat the 100ml of cream in a saucepan until hot.  Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine leaves and whisk it into the hot cream until smooth and dissolved.

Whisk together the cheese, caster sugar and orange juice together as well as the warm cream with the gelatine and fold in the whipped cream.  Stir in the raisin apple mix together with the cherries. Spoon the mixture into the biscuit base and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

To serve, carefully unlock the springform tin, place on a cake stand or pretty platter, drizzle with the mulled wine sauce and finish with the zest of an orange.

Pork Ribs with Orange & Pomegranate Salsa

SNUGGLE DOWN to these delicious Pork Ribs with a seasonal Orange & Pomegranate Salsa.

Pork Ribs with Orange & Pomegranate Salsa(Serves 4)

  • 8 large meaty pork ribs (about 1.8kg)
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp powdered mustard
  • 500ml pomegranate juice
  • Salt and pepper

For the glaze

  • 4 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 75ml pomegranate molasses
  • 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

For the salsa

  • 1 pomegranate, seeds only
  • 2 oranges, segmented
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Chopped coriander
  • Sea salt
  • Chopped coriander, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas 3. To prepare the ribs, place them in a roasting tin, sprinkle over the red chilli, coriander seeds and mustard powder. Season with a little salt and pepper, then pour in the pomegranate juice.  Cover with foil and cook for 2 hours, turning the ribs from time to time until tender.

Place all the ingredients for the glaze into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 4 minutes, until a thick syrup forms. When the ribs are done, pour off the pomegranate juice and brush the ribs with the glaze. Cover and marinate for at least 1 hour, (12 hours is preferable). Allow the ribs to cool completely before placing them in the fridge. To finish the ribs, bring them to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7. Cook for 30 minutes, turning from time to time and basting with the sauce, until the ribs are sticky on the outside.

To make the salsa, combine all the ingredients and set aside.

Serve the ribs garnished with chopped coriander, seasoned with sea salt and serve with the salsa.

Happy Christmas & enjoy!  #BestChristmastFoodEver

Fine foodCatherine FilvioGood living


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