This week in SBS Food’s Blog Appétit – our round up of food blogs worth bookmarking – we bring you Hunter Angler Gardener Cook.
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1 Oct 2014 - 2:53 PM  UPDATED 3 Oct 2014 - 3:48 PM

American former newspaper journalist Hank Shaw has only bought meat or seafood a couple of times since 2005. He hunts and catches his protein (from geese and squirrels to bears and squid), forages for wild produce (hazelnuts, huckleberries, nettles and more), and grows the rest on the large swath of land he calls home. Whatever else he can’t procure from nature himself, he sources from folk like him at farmers’ markets. He wants Honest Food. As Hank boils it down: I am the omnivore who has solved his dilemma. This is my story.”

This authoritative blog documents his discoveries with journalistic scrutiny, exposition and wit, while Hank’s previous calling as a line cook further serves the reader with methodically tested, detailed recipes that are both aspirational and inspirational. No wonder he won James Beard Foundation 2013 Best Food Blog and has parlayed the blog into two books. Whether you’re looking to cook Italian braised rabbit, make your own rye flour for spaetzle with duck, or forage for wild onions and morels for homemade pasta – or not – you’ll find tremendous value in this informative blog.

“Spring is the most exciting season for me in the kitchen. I love my slow-cooked winter dishes, and I eat more tomatoes in summer than any man has a right to, but it’s the avalanche of green in spring that always floods my mind with new ideas.

When you think about it, spring is really two seasons. Early spring is the long goodbye to winter, where braises and stews are still the rule, but they become lighter than they might have been a few months before. In late spring, the weather warms and summer’s produce begins to appear, and there is that magic moment when fava [broad] beans and cherry tomatoes are in season at the same time.

For me, spring is also a rush of foraging, fishing and hunting. Morels and spring porcini are in the mountains, trout are in the streams, and wild onions and spring greens are everywhere. I hunt wild pigs in spring, too, when they grow fat from all this greenery. Something’s clicking every week of the season and I’m out there to enjoy it!”

 

I started my blog as a way to...

Put down in writing all the crazy ideas and experiments I do with wild foods, from fish and seafood to foraged produce to wild game and unusual garden vegetables.

 

The must-cook recipe on my website is...

Spanish chilindron. It’s my go-to wild game stew, loaded with roasted red peppers [capsicums], pimenton, wild mushrooms and pretty much whatever kind of game you want to toss in there. It’s a recipe that never fails to please.”

 

My current food obsession is...

Nordic and Germanic food. There is real genius in these cuisines that has largely gone unnoticed by the rest of the world. Nordic is finally getting its time in the sun, but I predict that German-Austrian-Eastern European will be next.

 

Eating...

Hard-shell clams take me back to my boyhood vacationing on Block Island, a tiny island off the coast of Rhode Island. Clamming was some of the first foraging I ever did.

 

Nugget of cooking wisdom...

Mix fresh with preserved and use lots of vegetables to highlight the meat or fish you are featuring. Remember that what lives together in life will go well together on the plate.

 

I learnt to cook from...

My mum, the chefs I worked for while I was a restaurant cook, cookbooks and lots and lots of home experiments.

 

When I go back to my hometown...

Westfield, New Jersey, the first thing I eat is Taylor Ham, a tangy sort of breakfast sausage. There’s nothing else like it in the world and, to me, it is New Jersey in one bite.

 

Friends always ask me to cook...

Duck breasts. I do that as well as anyone in the world. But there is nothing better than a wild duck breast cooked medium-rare, with crispy skin and just the right amount of salt. It’s like a steak, wearing a hat made of bacon.

 

The one thing I can’t cook is...

Indian food. So far this cuisine has flummoxed me. But not forever!

 

Food means...

Culture, life, love.

 

If I ever met...

Mario Batali, I would say to him: 'Dude! Let’s go hunting or fishing, then cook our asses off!'.

 

I always have...

Wild herbs in my pantry, weird pickles in my fridge and wild game in my freezer.

 

My most sauce-splattered cookbook is...

Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli.

 

Top picks from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

1. Italian braised rabbit

2. Duck breast with rye spaetzle and turnips

3. German fish balls with green sauce

4. Wild onion pasta with morel ragout

 

Blog Appétit editor Yasmin Newman

 

Blog Appétit is our curated list of go-to food blogs we love, with a focus on high-quality photography, trusted recipes, strong editorial themes and a unique voice and personality. View previous Blog Appétit entries.