Sunday, 27 February 2011

Bird-brained and Wood Pigeon.

After almost a year of living in Kent, I finally got a referral to a Gastroenterology consultant at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.  Until now I had been driving the 2 hour journey to Buckinghamshire because I was worried about the consequences of leaving my brilliant consultant there.  It turns out that I shouldn't have been so concerned, there is more the one fantastic doctor working in the NHS.  (Please, don't blame me for being pessimistic - I've had some real clunkers in the past.)  My new consultant (and gastro nurse practitioner) are incredibly thorough and effective - in the 4 weeks that I have been under their care they have treated my iron deficiency anemia with a blood transfusion and a series of iron injections, discovered folate-deficiency anemia and started a folic acid regimen, diagnosed a protein deficiency, and have scheduled a gastroscopy to investigate the reason I don't seem to be absorbing these essential minerals. Oh, and are changing my treatment from Infliximab to Adulimubab.  Phew!

Being anaemic has caused a variety of symptoms, the obvious tiredness, shortness of breath, dizziness, and palpitations are one thing; but nothing has prepared me for the constant loss of concentration!  So far today I have started to saute onions and completely forgotten about them - until the smell of burning reminded me, and left my lunch to go cold.  Cupboards are left open, jobs are half-done, television shows end and I have no idea what happened...  I'm not even sure what day of the week it is most of the time, and this is with treatment!  I do hope that normal brain function returns soon - I've been reading the same page of Bram Stoker's Dracula for three weeks now and I'd like to finish it soon.

Despite all of this, I have managed to keep up with my try-new-things-in-the-kitchen resolution.  This week, pigeon.  Wood Pigeon to be exact.  Not much unnerves me in the kitchen; I can gut fish, joint rabbits, prepare offal, but the frailty of these tiny birds threw me.  I wasn't sure how best to cook them, concerned about overcooking them, unsure if I should joint them, or keep whole, wondered if I should roast, braise, grill or fry.  In the end, I roasted them whole, then removed the breasts and served with boiled potatoes and watercress, with a white wine and roasting-pan-juices reduction.  I found pigeon meat to be a little too strong for my liking, but Husband loved it.  And, it turns out that he has been taking photos of my food with his camera-phone, so I can actually post some evidence of this meal!  I used the leg meat to make a pasta sauce with slow roasted tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, capers, parsley, garlic and olives.  The sweetness of the tomato and saltiness of capers cut through the game-y richness and I enjoyed this far more than the first meal. Of course, the carcasses made a wonderful, dark stock.

"That's too special to just serve with pasta!" (according to Husband).


  1. Wow. your bird brained story is kinda scary and deja vu. My husband keeps telling me I have the onset of Alzhiemers!
    You are brave in the kitchen. Pigeon! Well done.

  2. Sorry, that comment was from me, not from Anonymous

  3. I'm glad it's not just me who is forgetful! One of the many joys of malabsorption...

  4. Your blog entry has made me think very hard about the medical support here in New Zealand for Coeliacs and so I am currently writing about your blog entry on my blog.
    I hope you don't mind. It might not appear for a few days as I am taking my time to write it so it will stay in draft for a few days till I get it right.