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Well, it was my birthday this week. I’d gently hinted (forcefully suggested) to him indoors that in addition to a wholesome trip out with the children, a meal “just us” would be really nice thank you. To be honest, he could have taken me to the chippy up the road – the key performance indicator would be the successful offloading of the girls to their grandparents for a couple of hours.

He surpassed himself with a surprise booking at the River Cottage Canteen in Winchester. Big, big fan of both brand and location. “Right,” said I. “I’ve eaten so much crap this past fortnight, I’m having a clean lunch. One of Hugh’s salads with all the bitter leaves and maybe a stray crouton. No booze. Fruit-based pudding. No coffee.”

It’s safe to say I disgraced myself. Rhubarb and ginger cordial became a Royale cocktail. My salad became the biggest fucking hunk of venison I’d ever seen, in burger form, with fat chips and loads of salt. In my excited response to the chips, I managed to sideswipe my champagne glass and smash it on the pepper mill (no-one clapped). Despite there being a fruit-based pudding on the menu, I glossed over it in favour of an affogato that I complimented with a coffee. This caused the waitress to remark, “gosh, you’re going to be lively later!” which is posh Winchester speak for “you’re going to be absolutely off your sodding tits after this”.

So, I essentially flooded my innards with:

– Cossack Brut (nope, I’d never heard of it either)
– Approx 1kg of meat
– Salt
– Posh mayo with quadruple cream
– The merest whisper of nutrituous red cabbage, slathered with butter
– 1x shot of espresso
– 1x shot of amber-coloured liqueur
– Ice cream
– 1x cappuccino

Happy birthday me.

Venison burger and chips

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