Cooking Roe Deer in the ground – Part 2

Nettles were added until a thick layer covered the embers

cooking roe deer-8 (Medium)

Then the meat was placed on to the nettles

cooking roe deer-9 (Small)

Another thick layer of nettles was placed on the meat and then a fire built on top

cooking roe deer-10 (Small)

After four and a half hours the fire had burnt down to embers and ash

cooking roe deer-11 (Small)

and so I decided to scrape away the top layer of ash and remaining nettles to remove the meat

cooking roe deer-12 (Medium)

Now I like my meat pink and a little bloody but for some it was not cooked enough and to be honest I think I should have cooked it for another hour

cooking roe deer-13 (Small)

but for those who liked their meat cooked more we put a leg in the oven to finish it.

It’s such a simple cooking method with no need to find suitable rocks to heat and I will certainly be doing it again.  And everyone was happy with the end result!

cooking roe deer-14 (Medium)

Cooking Roe Deer in the ground – Part 1

Following the success of the pit cooking of Roe Deer and Wild Boar during the primitive skills course at the beginning of May, a friend asked me to cook a Roe deer in a pit for his party.

cooking roe deer-1 (Medium)

I jointed the meat

cooking roe deer-2 (Medium)

while friends gathered stinging nettles to protect the meat

cooking roe deer-3 (Small)

Chris had dug a hole in his garden in which to cook the deer and my next task was to make a fire

cooking roe deer-4 (Small)

I continued to add wood for a couple of hours

cooking roe deer-5 (Medium)

until I had achieved a good bed of embers

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Having achieved a good bed of embers I covered them with a thick layer of nettles

cooking roe deer-7

Primitive skills weekend – Part 2

After lunch there were more workshops including cordage making

Prim skills-18 (Medium)

and by mid afternoon we were preparing food for our evening meal.  On both days the main meal was cooked in a pit.  A pit had already been dug and into this we made a fire.

Prim skills-19 (Small)

Once there was a good bed of embers a layer of wet hay was put over the embers (on Sunday Nick cut a large amount of Stinging Nettles which were used instead) and the meat, having been wrapped in hay was then placed in the pit (we had Roe and Muntjac deer and some Wild Boar)

Prim skills-20 (Medium)

Another layer of wet hay/Stinging Nettles were then added and finally another fire was made on top

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The pit was then left for four hours.

A piece of lean meat from the Roe Deer was held back, sliced into thin strips and hung by the fire to make jerky.

Prim skills-22 (Small)

After 14 hours by the fire with the smoke keeping insects away, it had dried just right as venison jerky.

Prim skills-25 (Medium)

As dusk approached the meat was removed from the pit

Prim skills-23 (Medium)

Everyone enjoyed the evening meal and afterwards there was a primitive fancy dress competition

Prim skills-24 (Small)

and the rest of the evening was spent eating more and drinking some very strange concoctions.

On Sunday morning after breakfast there were more activities and I ran a bow-drill and wet tinder workshop for a small group.

Prim skills-26 (Medium)

Hannah from Natural Pathways was keen to try the wet tinder oven.

Prim skills-27 (Small)

I spent a lot of time chatting with Hannah and her assistant instructors Lief and Sal.  I would highly recommend there survival and nature awareness courses held in Kent.

By early afternoon people were starting to leave and after the final workshop I also headed home

Making a feather fishing float

I found this swans flight feather yesterday so decided to make a fishing float, using the feather, a piece of flint and a piece of Stinging Nettle stem.

First the feather needs to be trimmed to leave just the quill. There are two methods of doing this; One method is to cut them off with a piece of flint

and the other is to start at the top of the feather and pull removing a thin strip of membrane along the edge of the quill

When you are left with just the quill decide one the length of float you require and then this down the quill by scraping or cutting it with the piece of flint.

Then fold the quill at the point where you have thinned it

I used a piece of nettle stem as a lashing to hold the two pieces together (the nettle should be waterproofed with resin or something similar).

The float is now completed

and ready to use

One for Merete – Part 3

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are also starting to appear in reasonable quantities.

In spring when the leaves are young, if you grasp them confidently and roll between your fingers, you can remove the stings without getting stung and eat the leaves raw. They make a pleasant snack.

I like to gather lots of nettle leaves, place them in a small amount of water, add vegetable stock granules and pieces of spicy sausage and boil to make a simple soup.

People are always skeptical about the cooking process breaking down the stings, but it really does. I really enjoy nettle soup!

Nettles are a rich source of minerals (especially Iron) and vitamins (especially vitamin c). They have been used in the treatment of skin complaints and rheumatism and internally are good for the kidneys and circulation.

The outer stem of this plant can be utilised to make fine cloth and can be used to make a strong cordage. The word “net”, as in fishing net is derived from the word “nettle” as nettle cordage was used to make fishing nets.

I have found that the juice from inside the plant, counteracts the effect of the stings.