My 13-year-old redtail hawk Dougal died this month. While standing quietly on my gloved fist, suddenly the vice-like grip of his talons disappeared and he was gone. I was always humbled by the tenacity and power of his flight; when he was fully fit few rabbits were safe. His weathering ground was located by our herb bushes and when he pumped his wings the scent would drift down the garden.

To capture the feeling he gave me when he was out hunting, in this recipe I?ve used the last rabbit he caught. The combination of fresh peppers ? reminiscent of his tail colouration ? and the powerful flavours of garden herbs enhances the flavour of rabbit.

Ingredients

? one rabbit, jointed but on the bone ? seasoned plain flour

? butter and olive oil ? one whole bulb of garlic ? finely chopped red onion ? rosemary sprigs ? thyme sprigs ? red

and orange peppers ? wine

Method:

1. Cut the rabbit into joints and cover well in the seasoned flour. Fry in a mixture of olive oil and butter until the meat is well browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and place to one side.

2. On a medium heat, cook the onions and all the cloves of peeled garlic in the oil and butter until they start to brown. Add the chopped peppers and allow to cook a while, preferably while covered.

3. In a separate roasting dish, lay your rabbit joints on the sprigs of herbs and add a good glass of wine. Spoon the peppers and onions over the joints and cover with tin foil. Roast in the oven at 180°C for 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Serve with a salad and a good chunk of crusty bread, and enjoy the rest of the wine.

Tips

Place the rabbit, flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag and shake it to cover the joints.

De-seed the peppers and cut into strips. Use plenty of garlic and lots of herbs as this will infuse the meat with flavour.

Garlic does lose its pungent zap when cooked. Use any wine you like ? I used white, but red would work equally well.

If you wish, rather than use the oven, you could also cook this in a large frying pan and cover it with a fitted lid.