Game pasta bake with moose and smoked reindeer - Lessons for wives


Last night I made a big batch of pasta bake for husband to heat for dinner because I was going to leave him alone while visiting my parents in Finland. There is also a magic drawer in the freezer always stocked with something easy for him to defrost for dinner when I’m away. But I always make sure there is also something in the fridge to tide him over at least the first couple of difficult nights when he might be feeling at his most vulnerable and missing me unbearably. 

I'm going to be away for Valentine's day. I left him a Valentine’s card (this time it even says "To my husband - once I got him one with "For my darling wife" on it, we weren't married then so maybe that's ok) and a box of heart shaped chocolates in a drawer that I will point him to on the morning of the 14th.

For a moment last night I thought I wouldn’t have the energy to cook after a very long and full day in the office, 4 hours of driving, still having to pack etc. But I decided to make him some gamey comfort food and I’m glad I did. There was an article in the Daily Mail that I read on the plane today that experts universally agree that a marriage can’t possibly survive a man having an empty stomach, so a wife should not let her selfish pursuits be an excuse for not having dinner ready for husband when he gets home from a hard day's work. The article also pointed out that an ideal wife (as opposed to a sloppy wife!) always makes sure that the table linen is clean and will use the finest cutlery and some colourful decorations to dress the table. So far I’m doing quite well, my table linen (mostly Marimekko which I think is acceptable, it’s kind of tasteful and homely at the same time) is pretty spotless, I use my nice Finnish Hackmann cutlery and there’s always flowers and candles on the table.

But the next piece of advice was an eye-opener: “If the husband is intellectually inclined and from time to time seeks to explain little things to his wife so that she may have at least a bare knowledge of what it is that interests him and without the slightest comment, she takes up again the fashion magazine she laid down when he commenced to speak, we may be pretty sure there is going to be a “rift in the lute” sooner or later in that house.” I don’t know exactly what a rift in the lute is, but it sounds quite nasty and potentially difficult to mend, so I don’t want to risk it. Although I don’t think we have a lute, but maybe is a metaphor. So next time husband commences to speak about the January transfer window or Iranian Visa requirements I will lift my gaze from my iPad and the silly and unimportant female things I’m reading, and I will admire my husband’s knowledge of such interesting matters and ask a few questions so he may explain things to me.

For further advice on how to keep your husband happy so he doesn’t leave you, get Rev A.H Tyrer’s excellent book  Sex, Satisfaction and Happy Marriage (1951).

Processed cheese with smoked reindeer - it's a Finnish thing 

Chanterelle fond - not sure where to find in UK, I bring mine from Finland

Game pasta bake with moose and smoked reindeer (serves 4)

You can replace ground moose with ground beef and the smoked reindeer cheese with Philadelphia. 

1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
150g mushrooms
1 red pepper
1 courgette
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tomatoes
1 cup of pasta cooking water
1 tbsp beef / game or chanterelle fond (or a stock cube)
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
125g Philadelphia (or smoked reindeer cheese)
250g ground beef (or moose)
2 cups of whole wheat pasta (I had short fusilli)
½ cup of gruyere (or more)

Cook the pasta according to pack instructions leaving it al dente. Reserve a cup of the cooking water.

Heat oil in a pan. Fry the minced meat in the pan seasoning it with salt and pepper. Once browned remove to a plate and leave to one side.

Chop you vegetables and mince the garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry for a few minutes, add red pepper and mushroom and keep sautéing until the vegetables are almost done, add the courgette, tomatoes, tomato paste and parsley. Add the fried meat back to the pan. Add pasta water and fond, salt and pepper and the fresh cheese. Mix well. Once all is incorporated and the soft cheese has melted into the sauce check seasoning and pour the mix to a baking dish. Top with grated gruyere and bake in 190C oven for 20-30 min.

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