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Britain's most common is the wood-pigeon, which grows up to about 40cm/16 ins, and is good to eat if young. Traditional dishes include 'Pigeon Pie' and 'Devonshire Squab Pie' (squab being the name for a specially reared, so tender, pigeon). Squab's, mostly coming from France, are available from up-market butchers - but are expensive.

Like all birds, particularly those that are wild, the breasts need much less cooking than the more-heavily-exercised legs are thighs; and if birds are to be roasted whole, need the protection of strips of bacon if they're not to dry out. Smaller varieties are often called doves.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Classes take place in the beautiful Charente region of France & can be combined with a holiday, they are suitable for beginners upwards. Especially for those hoping to open their own restaurant. Small classes.

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