Venison is naturally lean with a low fat content, so it has quite rightly come to be regarded as a fashionably healthy meat. In this country, it is reared in natural herds that roam free in parklands, so it has the added bonus of being free of the emotive question of intensive or inhumane animal rearing.
Because the herds are controlled and the venison are culled at the right time, we can forget all about the tough old hunter's trophy that had to be marinated for weeks to be edible. The venison available now is tender and fine flavoured, and can be used in most recipes that would call for beef.
This has a real special occasion feel to it, which is why it would be ideal for Valentine's Day: the sauce is made with cranberries instead of the more usual redcurrants, which gives an appealing texture and tartness.
This is just about the easiest terrine in the world to make because you can buy the venison and the pork ready minced. The result is a lovely, rough country pâté and the sharpness of the cranberries is the perfect accompaniment.
Venison lends itself to slow cooking with other wintry ingredients such as mushrooms, bacon and chestnuts. The Madeira sauce gives it plenty of richness too, resulting in a dish that's truly sensational and perfect for Christmas.
Venison is a lovely meat and, because it's low in fat, it's ideal for those on a diet. The red onion and grape confit is a superb accompaniment and would also work well with pork, gammon or sausages.
Pot-roasting venison is a lovely way of preparing this wonderful low-fat meat. This makes a great supper dish for a winter day, served with plenty of mashed potato and green veg.