Sunday, 30 November 2008

Smoking under glass

This a cool method of wowing the guest and also for smoking to order. The cheese is a sticky blue goats cheese which is mild and ripe. I find it better to do this with a moist cheese to allow the smoke to stick to the rind.

The cheese is placed in the center of the plate. You need a bowl of wood chips soaked in some brandy and water. Take a perfectly polished red wine glass and with a blow torch start to burn the chips until a steady plume of smoke forms. Hold the glass over the bowl and fill up with smoke fumes. Trap the smoked inside the glass and moving swiftly with a waiter there ready, turn the glass over onto the cheese and send straight away.

The guest will get an aroma of hickory at the table and also a light smoky taste to the cheese itself. You can smoke with anything you want to, its your creativity, try adding sczechuan peppers or rosemary?

Beef fillet

This is on the weekly du jour menu. I was making a beef jus and when straining it found that the short riblets i was using to make the sauce had braised slowly the meat was falling off the bone it was so tender. Also the meat had shrunk back leaving a clean exposed bone. Nice!
So here is the dish containing my new best thing.
Grilled beef fillet, soy and honey glazed riblet, savoy cabbage, smoked potato puree. pickled red onion compote.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Roasted salsify

Here we have roasted salsify with a parmesan cheesecake, thyme crumble, port, balsamic and shallot reduction.

This plate is taken from a dish that was on the menu when i worked inBoston, US. My chef de Cuisine was a very accomplished guy named Jerome Legras. He did this same dish with asparagus. I loved it a took it with me. I havent changed alot only the thyme crumble on top of the cheesecake.

Fantastic dish!!!

Crunchy sauteed skate wing, leek fondue, porcini mushrooms, black truffle vinaigrette


This dish was on the du jour menu tonight. It is a New Forest pigeon which is roasted on the bone, then the breasts are removed and glazed with black treacle. The treacle works well with the pigeons earthyness and slight sweetness. There is seared foie gras, a spinach puree and carrot puree. Madeira jus was poured at the table.

Another classy salad

The salad greens are held by a cucumber ribbon, served with beetroot, sicilian pistachio puree, sherry vinegar and truffle vinaigrette

Cool salad

Putting a little extra thought into something so simple really makes a guests night in the restaurant. It is the WOW factor that is the first impression, next is the taste which is more important. In this salad, it is the vegetables and organic green leaves from Secretts farm in Surrey that do the talking here. Dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and served with some micro celery and a light potato spiral to add a crunch. I served a shot glass of pumpkin juice (slightly reduced to concentrate the flavour) on the side.

Duo of Grssingham duck

Here we have a pan seared duck breast sitting on spaghetti squash, with a confit leg and goats cheese springroll, micro basil and chestnut sauce. It sold well tonight.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Feeling hungry???

Firstly, sorry for the picture quality. Here we have a rich dish, not for the faint hearted. Beef fillet roasted and glazed with bone marrow. The marrow bone is cleaned out and used to serve braised beef brisket. Garnish is a parsnip and horseradish mousseline and heny glazed vegetables.

Black leg chicken

This is a breast of black leg chicken from Challans in France, roasted on the crown. Sitting on truffled potato puree. The potato ring is filled with peas, carrots, confit leg and tarragon. Garnished with truffle julienne and a light chicken jus.

Trio of pork

Here is a trio of Middlewhite pork. The trio is pork belly which is slowly confit and then caramelised with a cider reduction, the skin is crisped up flat and used for the garnish. It is sitting on spaghetti squash. Next is a pork tenderloin rolled in smoked Alsatian bacon and then pan seared pink. Sitting on an apple and prune compote. The ball is a pork cheek and black pudding croquette. The pork cheek is slowly cooked and the meat removed, then cooked down in fat like a rillette. We make our own black pudding flavoured with harissa and mix this into the prok cheek. Then we roll in breadcrumbs and deep fry until crisp. This sits on buttered swiss chard.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Some dishes from this weeks tasting menu........

Today i was feeling really good at work. A big mis en place list, some kitchen work and some admin tasks. Caned it all day and felt good about it. My former mentors always told me that you're first hour in the kitchen is the most important to set the pace for the day. I always remember that, as it is so true.

Here are some dishes from my menu this evening.
  • First up is a little crispy foie gras sandwich with muscat grapes
  • Next is a salmon and crayfish canneloni wrapped in swiss chard with a tomato butter sauce, lemongrass creme fraiche and thai basil.
  • Fish is Dover sole fillets pressed together and wrapped in potato. Pan roasted and served with a confit shallot custard, wild mushroom "pot au feu"
  • Lamb loin with red and golden beetroot, truffle and parmesan gnocchi, spiced chestnut veloute

Time for a change

Hey you guys and gals. Ive changed my template picture which leaves me to reveal the dish that took its place before. This is a braised beef short rib and foie gras terrine with pickled vegetables and a light pinot noir gelee.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Halibut navarin

Here is a dish where the halibut is lightly braised through a jus made with fish bones and a little red wine. It is served with basil mash and glazed vegetables

Autumn squash plate

This has just gone onto the a la carte menu in the last week. It is a vegetarian option and is quite cute. In the center there is a butternut squash mousse made with butternut puree, whipped cream and gelatin. On top is a pumpkin juice jelly seasoned with vanilla salt and on the bottom is a savory oatmeal crumble. On top of that is a butternut crisp and dried pear skin. The cream is sour cream flavoured with some pumpkin seed oil. There are little wedges from Jack B Little pumpkins which are roasted in maple butter. The vinaigrette has shallot, celery, chopped chive, diced pear and confit pumpkin dice.
So if you like squash then this is the dish for you!!

Boudin blanc

Here is a starter i had on my tasting menu this week. Simple and tasty! It is a chicken and truffle boudin with a pear,potato and watercress mousseline. The sausage filling is made with chicken meat, egg white, cream, chopped truffle, truffle oil, chopped thyme and rosemary.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Home smoked organic salmon

In the restaurant we smoke our own salmon. We buy whole organic salmon and do it from scratch. It takes from start to finish 6 days until it is ready to be used.
We wash the salmon in whiskey then cure in salt, sugar, smoked paprika, thyme, ginger for 16 hours. We then wash off the cure and dry the salmon out for 24 hours.
After the drying process we lightly rub the salmon with olive oil and set up a smoker on a rolling rack and cure in whiskey soaked wood chips for 6 hours. Once this is done we wrap the sides individually in cling film and leave for 3 days for the smoke to permeate the salmon. We then clean and pin bone the salmon and vacuum pac with olive oil until needed.

Here is a dish with this very salmon. It is with a red beetroot tartare, devilled quail eggs, crisp smoked salmon skin, Keta caviar and chive vinaigrette.


This is venison with braised baby Savoy cabbage, poached pear, carrot and bacon parsley gnocchi, juniper sauce

Soup of the day

Here is a funky soup i did back in the Spring (sorry its a bit late), its a green asparagus soup with kaitafe wrapped langoustine and shellfish oil.

Menu du jour

Here is my tasting menu from the week of the 2nd November. Above we have a silky celeriac soup with roasted apple, toasted almonds and apple blossom

This is an aubergine and cepe mushroom tart with a bittersweet merlot reduction.
This is aromatic steamed monkfish, herb gnocchi, saffron poached leeks, black truffle jam
Above we have sous vide black leg Challans chicken (taken to 63C), root vegetable rosti, seared foie gras, braised leg meat galette, a light jus was poured at the table.
Here we have a Stilton stuffed pear, calvados foam and mulled port.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Small fish, big flavour!

If you have not heard of Gurnard then here is a little blurb about the ugly fish.
Gurnard has risen in popularity recently as an alternative source than overfished species like cod and haddock. A couple of years ago this fish cost 25p a kg. At last look the fish was reaching nearly Seven GBP.
Whats most important though is that the fish has a fantastic flavour and texture. Rick Stein has given the Gurnard its due with a feature on one of his TV shows. He battered it as his alternative fish of choice and since then, chefs have tried it and been blown away by its full flavour.
I certainly have and didnt pass up the opportunity to place it on one of my weekend du jour menus. Above i have made a vegetable crust and placed it on top of the fish bonding it with a little Dijon mustard. Baking it through the oven. The garnish is Fregola which is a Sardinian pasta shaped like little pellets which is cooked like a risotto, pumpkin juice and beetroot juice.

Love this quote!
"If the seabed had mirrors, the gurnard would surely swim by without a glance".
The independant Oct 08

Breast of mallard

Here is a mallard breast cooked sous vide at 55C for about 2 hours. Served with a crisp liquid potato pave, Savoy cabbage and bacon. I'm loving November! All this great produce to play with. Weather over here is crap though and will be until March. Oh well, lets create!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Venison as a starter

With this dish i have smoked some black peppercorns with whiskey soaked hickory wood chips. Seared the loins very rare and rolled them then sliced very thinly. The venison is brushed with Bormano olive oil, then seasoned with smoked sea salt flakes, Spenwood cheese, blackcurrants, toasted walnut and crushed juniper. I really enjoyed the flavour in this dish and want to try some different flavour combinations.

New Forest game

At this time of year we get some great quality game birds. Here we have a pheasant, wild duck and foie gras terrine. It is served with some marinated mushrooms for acidity and a sweet fig puree.