Two whole Grouse, cleaned out, plucked and drawn
450g Damsons
100g Sugar
100ml White wine vinegar
50g Shelled and peeled cobnuts (or hazelnuts)
100g Crozier blue cheese
Lemon juice
Olive oil

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees C/gas mark 7.
  2. If getting your Grouse from a shop, ask your butcher to halve the birds. If your grouse comes from a friend, then you’re going to have to pluck, draw and halve them yourself.
  3. Put the sugar and white wine vinegar into a non-reactive pan, cook until the sugar has dissolved and it becomes a bit syrupy.
  4. Stone the damsons and add them to the vinegar and sugar mixture. Cook the damsons gently until they become soft. Let the juices and the vinegar mixture reduce so that the texture ends up being quite thick. Set it aside and let it cool down.
  5. Take a heavy pan and put it on a high heat. Add a skim of olive oil. Place the grouse halves onto the pan – skin side down – so that the breast and the leg can roast and take on some colour. You’re going to be serving it very rare, so be careful not to overdo it. There is no need to turn; just pan-roast the grouse on the skin side.
  6. Transfer the whole lot, pan and all, to your hot oven and roast for three minutes. As I say, you want your grouse rare – properly rare.
  7. You have around three minutes to prepare the rest of the dish. Quickly toast the cobnuts – or hazelnuts – on a dry pan, just to bring out their lovely nutty character. Don’t let them colour too much and be careful: because nuts contain a lot of oil, they can burn before you know it.
  8. Toss the watercress with a little lemon juice and some really good olive oil and divide between four plates. Crumble the Crozier blue cheese over with your fingers and then scatter on the nuts. Spoon some of the damson mixture on to each plate.
  9. Take the grouse from the oven and let them rest for two minutes in a warm place, just to let the meat relax a bit. Then divide them between the plates and serve right away.