We would like to share a recipe with you every month using our seasonal produce.

Autumn has arrived and the idea of inviting friends to enjoy a cozy supper is very appealing…..

This dish combines ‘of-the-moment’ warm Middle Eastern spices with earthy autumnal flavours. Best of all, it can all be prepared well in advance allowing the cook to enjoy the evening with guests instead of being chained to a cooker. I have taken to serving a salad instead of vegetables as it saves last minute stove-top stress and I really like the textural crunch of the hazelnuts. For those needing ‘carbs’ this works well with fondant potatoes or more indulgently potato and celeriac dauphinoise, the latter can be made the day before and reheated in the hot oven for 10 mins.

Fillet of venison with beetroot puree and hazelnut and edamame bean salad

Beetroot puree

500g raw beetroot (do NOT be tempted to use the ready cooked from supermarkets)
Vegetable oil
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper

Spice mix

4 tsp coriander seeds
4 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp whole allspice

The beginnings of the Salad

100g whole blanched hazelnuts

The day before

Start by making the beetroot puree. Set the oven to 200º(fan oven). In a baking tin, put the uncooked beetroot on a sheet of foil, drizzle with a little vegetable oil and then make a sealed package with the foil. Bake the beetroot for 45 minutes - 1 hour.

  1. Meanwhile, on another baking tray put the allspice and cumin and coriander seeds and roast these in the same oven as the beetroot for 5 minutes. Let them cool and then grind them in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Put to one side.
  2. Roast the hazel nuts for 7 minutes. Let them cool and then roughly chop. Keep them in an airtight container.
  3. Test to see if the beetroot are done with a sharp knife. If they are still hard in the centre, then put them back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Unwrap the beetroot and when they are cool enough to handle, peel them. (You might want to wear gloves for this bit.)
  4. Put the beetroot, ground spices, balsamic, oil and yoghurt into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Check the seasoning. Keep covered in the fridge.


Six 180g venison fillets
Vegetable oil


400g podded frozen edamame beans
30g fresh mint
4 medium tomatoes, de-seeded and finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely sliced

Salad dressing

Juice of 2 lemons Half tsp ground allspice Half tsp ground cinnamon Half tsp salt Half tsp ground pepper 6 Tbsp light olive oil 1 Tbsp hazelnut oil

In the morning/afternoon as suits you
  1. Heat a frying pan with a little oil until it is very hot. Sear the steaks in the pan for 2 minutes on each side. You may need to do this in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Put the steaks to one side in the fridge.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the beans. Let them sit for 5 minutes and then drain them; they should have a little bite. Mix the beans with the spring onions and tomatoes and chill the salad.
  3. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing, but do not dress the beans until you are ready to serve. Pick the mint leaves, but do not chop them as they go black.

In the evening
  1. When the guests arrive, get the venison and beetroot puree out of the fridge to room temperature.
  2. When you are ready to eat, heat the oven to 220º (fan oven). Warm the beetroot puree either in the microwave or on top of the stove over a gentle heat. Mix the beans dressing and hazelnuts together. Put the venison steaks on an oven tray and cook in the hot oven for 7 minutes. Then let them rest, covered with foil for 5 – 10 minutes. Serve with horseradish sauce.

Added thought

As a canapé…..croutes topped with beetroot puree, a thin slice of venison and a little horseradish sauce and a micro leaf or two would be a definite crowd pleaser.

Jo Buckingham is the owner of TRUFFLEhound private catering, serving Chiswick and beyond.

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