Spiced venison loin cooked over charcoal, fennel yoghurt; pumpkin & pistachio pilaff

Ollie Dabbous

Ollie Dabbous

23rd October 2019
Ollie Dabbous

Spiced venison loin cooked over charcoal, fennel yoghurt; pumpkin & pistachio pilaff

This dish is on the menu at Vivek Singh's restaurant, The Cinnamon Club. I created it to celebrate game season, as did chefs Marcus Wareing and Brett Redman, whose dishes are also on the menu there this autumn.


  • For the Venison
  • 2kg Venison fillet, diced 3-4cm
  • 40g Garlic
  • 20g Ginger
  • 1 Lime, juice of
  • 4g Salt
  • 300g Strained greek yoghurt
  • 400g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 4g Salt
  • 4g Fenugreek leaves, dried & ground
  • 4g Bay leaves, dried & ground
  • 4g Toasted cumin seeds
  • 4g Toasted caraway seeds
  • Pinch Chilli powder
  • Spelt wheat
  • 1kg Spelt
  • 4l Water
  • 40g Salt
  • Virgin rapeseed oil
  • Garlic ghee
  • 500g Ghee
  • 20g Garlic, minced
  • 5g Salt
  • Golden raisins soaked in jasmine tea
  • 300g Golden raisins
  • 500g Water
  • 2 Jasmine teabags
  • Toasted pistachios
  • 1kg Shelled pistachios, skin on
  • 50g Vegetable oil
  • 4g Salt
  • Pumpkin
  • 1kg Pumpkin, cut into random shaped pieces 2-3cm
  • 60g Virgin rapeseed oil
  • 8g Salt
  • 8g Sugar
  • Finished spelt
  • 600g Spelt
  • 100g Garlic ghee
  • 200g Cooked pumpkin
  • 100g Soaked raisins
  • 100g Toasted pistachios
  • 1 large handful Curry leaves
  • Pinch Salt
  • Pinch Nutmeg / mace / cinnamon
  • Fennel slaw
  • 900g Fennel pickle, thinly sliced
  • 300g Spring onion, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 Lemons, juice of
  • 4 tbsp Chardonnay vinegar
  • 150g Mayonnaise
  • 300g Greek yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp Chopped coriander, leaves and stalk
  • 1 tsp Toasted fennel seeds
  • Pinch Salt
  • Pate a bric tart cases:
  • Pate a bric pastry
  • 200g Duck fat, melted with….
  • 2g Fine salt
  • 3 parts honey to 1 part water, warmed
  • Fennel seed
  • Coriander seed, lightly crushed
  • Lavender flowers
  • Assemble
  • Pomegranate seeds


For the Venison
- Blend the garlic and ginger to a paste.
- Mix together the salt, lime juice, garlic ginger paste, then mix well with the venison pieces, making sure they are well rubbed and coated. Do this for a full minute.
- Leave to marinade in the fridge overnight or for at least 8 hrs.
- The next day mix together the remaining ingredients and add to the venison. Rub in for a full minute, then leave to marinade one more night in the fridge.
- Remove from the fridge and thread the pieces of meat onto the tandoor skewers, keeping much of the yoghurt mix on as possible. It should weigh approx. 160g.
- Cook in the tandoor until medium rare, then remove the meat and leave to rest for 5 mins under the lights, saving any resting juices
Spelt wheat
- Place the spelt, water and salt in a pan, then bring to a simmer and cook gently for approx. 40mins-1hr until softened but still al-dente
- Check cooking with senior chef then strain through a colander and leave to cool on large gastro.
Garlic ghee
- Mix together. Check with senior chef, then store in the fridge.
Golden raisins soaked in jasmine tea
- Bring the water to the boil then add the jasmine tea and pour over the raisins. Film over, then once room temp, keep in the fridge.
Toasted pistachios
- Mix the nuts in the oil and salt and roast at 170C full fan dry heat for 10 mins until lightly toasted. Check with senior chef.
- Mix everything together then svide and steam at 90C until tender but holding its shape: approx. 20 mins.
- Vacpac, place in a pan of simmering water, and cook until tender. Check with senior chef. Blast chill.
Finished spelt
- Fry the curry leaves in the garlic ghee then add the remaining ingredients to heat through.
Senior chef to check. Place a portion (approx. 150g) in a copper pot for waiters to serve tableside.
Fennel slaw
- Mix all together and check with senior chef.
- (Can add sliced apple if you like?)
Pate a bric tart cases
- Cut pastry out around a saucer or side plate 15-18cm diameter, brush both sides with the seasoned melted duck fat
- Place these circles onto a sheet of baking paper on a heavy black tray, then top with another sheet of baking paper and repeat.
- Keep layering about 4 deep, then top with another heavy black baking tray.
- Bake at 180C, full fan dry heat (ie 0% humidity) for 7 minutes.
- Remove the top tray, then brush the golden pastry lightly with the honey mix then sprinkle with the spices and lavender.
- Return to the lined baking trays, but this time, in single layers with nothing on top.
- Bake for another 4 mins at the same setting, but no fan so they aren’t swept away, just to toast the spices lightly.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then store layered in a gastro, with the parchment in between so they don’t stick together.
- Place 2 tbsp of the fennel slaw in the centre of the plate and spread out to approx. 12 cm.
- Top with the venison pieces and any resting juices, then scatter over 1 tbsp of the pomegranate seeds. Make sure it is all level and central.
- Top with the pate a bric. Serve the pilaff on the side.

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