Thursday, 28 May 2009

Good luck

I would like to say good luck to my freind Stefan over at the food lab. He is leaving our place of work and venturing on in Stuttgart to pastures new. I wish you all the best and good luck at the new venue. check his blog out also, its contempary and cool,

Hereford beef fillet, green asparagus, truffled potato canneloni

This dish is on the du jour menu this week. The potato tube is string potato wrapped around a copper tube which is lined with parchement paper and deep fried on a low heat until golden. A cool crispy casing.

Childhood memories

This week, i took the family, on recommondation to The Little Chef to experience first hand what Heston Blumenthal has done to a trademark British eatery. I vividly remember the show and the frustrations he faced trying to get food onto the menus there. Well let me tell you all something. He has suceeded in making the Popham branch of Little Chef a success. My wife had a vegetable stew cooked in beer with mustard dumplings. My first thought on this dish was that beer and vegetables are not the ideal combination. After trying my wifes meal, i was pleasently suprised. I myself went for the braised ox cheeks in red wine which were coooked to perfection,served with mash potatoes and a crystal clear red wine sauce which for me was divine and only £9. A great stop if your'e on the road or a great stop if you want to take the kids for a meal. Either way, a nostalgic destination.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Gressingham duck breast with crisp confit leg and pickled blackberries

Hi all,
This is a reworking of a dish that i did a few weeks ago. Inside the cabbage ball is a chicken liver and foie gras mousse, wrapped in confit duck leg and then wrapped in savoy cabbage. The drumstick is confit, then the bone is removed. It is wrapped in cling film and chilled. Wound with potato string and fried until crisp. The blackberries are soaked in rice wine vinegar and sugar.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

These are a couple of dishes from my weekly du jour menu which starts today.

Underneath which was my cheese course is Cerney goats cheese wrapped in wild garlic leaf with a walnut and date chutney. The cheese is an unpastuerised cheese from the village of north Cerney in Cirencester, Cotswolds. It has a texture similar to that of fromage frais and has a pleasant citric taste. It is pyramid shaped and is covered in oak ash. This kind of cheese does need a sweet garnish, which pairs well with the sweet garlic aroma of the leaves.

To the left is my main which is a Saddleback pork loin, which is cleaned and cooked sous vide for 4 hours at 50C. It is then chilled, portioned and vacuum packed individually with garlic, butter and thyme, reheated and caramelised in foamy butter. The sausage is shallot, garlic, pancetta, black pudding and red wine cooked down in a pan to a paste. Rolled into log shape and chilled. Once it has been chilled it is cut to size and reheated through the oven. Garnishes are, crisp onion rings, spinach, pork fat pin wheels and an apple balsamic reduction

Variations of foie gras

Having some foie gras trimmings that needed using up, i set to work on my latest project of an amuse bouche folder with pick up charts for my team. This is a great way to use up any trimmings from making terrines.

Foie gras mousse, rhubarb jam, pink pepper

Foie dusted with blackberry, apple and brandy chutney, brioche crumbs

Foie gras and gingerbread lollipop

Foie gras and gingerbread, crisp yoghurt, honey, matcha green tea, chocolate, sour apricot

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Frozen air

In a previous post i have used a whipped cucumber juice for a small canape. With these whipped foams you tend to have alot left over. With the left over foam i froze it and have used it here in an amuse bouche for the restaurant.
The flavour of the frozen air is quite mild on the palate so ive marinated some cucumber in a little rice wine and sugar to strengthen the cucumber flavour. Next is creme fraiche flavoured with grapefruit zest, orange zest, lemon and lime zest, then a reduced orange juice. Next is some orange jelly pearls, then chunks of the frozen cucumber. On top of that is smoked salmon roe which has been brined in an un-oaked Chardonnay and smoked with hickory. A little candied orange zest is finished on top with a couple micro celery shoots.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Beetroot carpaccio, smoked feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, candy soaked raspberrys

This was the first course on my tasting menu this week. Very light and refreshing. Simple with Spring in mind, and perhaps a nice glass of Pinot Gris to accompany.

Roasted Herefordshire beef fillet, bone marrow dumplings, morels and shiitake mushrooms, horseradish broth

This dish was on my tasting menu this week. The dumplings are made by high temperature roasting some bone marrow until it has a nice brown colour. It is then chilled , then chopped and mixed through a very light chicken mousse and poached in the broth.
It was a nice light dish to eat and packed with flavour. Keeping the horseradish as a broth style sauce also lightened the flavour in the mouth without overpowering. Also poaching the mushrooms in the broth bring an earthiness which pairs well.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Wild turbot, preserved lemon and crab gnocchi, brown crab butter, wild garlic oil

Love this dish. Using only the freshest Turbot here with an interesting gnocchi which is stuffed. This is done by rolling out the dough and punching out rounds. Filling your disc with your filling, folding over and crimping the ends. Much more texture and flavour can be acquired here, and its fun to eat for the guest too.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Mushrooms and madeira

One of my weak spots is beef tartare. We get a superb quality Herefordshire beef from Laverstoke Park once every two weeks, so it is always a pleasure to use it on the weekly tasting menu. Morels this year have been terrific. This has been due to the frost we had in Febuary/March.

I decided that i wanted to do a tartare but change the ingredients up to include the morels. I also wanted to incorperate madeira as a classic pairing with the mushrooms and the beef respectively.
The dish is Laverstoke Park beef tartare, pickled morels, mushroom gel, glazed vegetables.
I seasoned the beef with:
pickled morels
egg yolk

The vegetables are slowly cooked under vacuum with butter and thyme.
The mushroom gel is a very concentrated mushroom stock. 800ml to 12g gellan F.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Addleston cider

This is a cheese course which was served during one of our first Tuesday wine dinners. We mixed iot up a bit this month and used local beers, ciders, sparkling wines and honeymead (which i will get my hands on soon as i have a pork dish marinated in honeymead on my mind). the cheese featured here is called Waterloo which is an unpasteurised cows milk cheese and is made by Anne Wigmore at her farm in Risely, near Reading.
The cheese is sitting on freshly baked gingerbread which is cooked to more of a sticky cake texture. The jelly is made with Addlestone cider. the cider is from Somerset and has a cloudy appearence due to is not being filtered. The cider is quite sweetwith sour notes.
This was nice to eat, and made me think about when i was young, as i have not really had gingerbread for years.

Here is the recipe:

1 kg honey

560g milk

1 lemon, zested

1 orange, zested

40g baking powder

480g plain flour

480g rye flour

60g ginger

15g nutmeg, freshly grated

30g star anise

200g caster sugar

12 eggs


Gently warm the milk, honey and zests, just enough to melt the honey.

Sieve all the dry ingredients except the sugar into a large bowl.

Whisk the sugar and eggs in a food mixer until they reach a light and fluffy sabayon; this will take about 20 minutes.

Mix the milk and flour together to form a smooth paste, then fold in the sabayon. Don't be too gentle with the sabayon, as the end product doesn't want to be too light.

Split the mixture between 6 lined square tins about 20cm x 20cm and bake at 120C for 4 hours until a deep golden brown. The longer you leave them in the oven at this stage, the easier they will be to slice.

Remove from the tins and allow to go almost cold, then peel off the baking parchment.


I made this little shot for a pimms canape party recently. It was served with a short straw. It is a strawberry and black pepper soup with a light cucumber foam.
Recipe for the foam:
1 kg cucumber juice
12.5g versawhip
5g xantham gum

Take 400g of the cucumber juice and using a hand blender blend in the two powders. Leave to sit and hydrate for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the juice and blend once again. Place into a small hobart mixer and whisk on high speed for approximately 20 minutes until light and fluffy.
Thanks to Dale at the components for guidance with this. Check out his blog by clicking here

Monday, 4 May 2009

Assiette of corn fed chicken, asparagus oatmeal, stuffed morels

This dishcontains 4 different chicken preperations. There is roasted breast, poached thigh, confit and honey glazed wing, and braised drumstick. The asparagus oatmeal is made by sweating shallots and garlic in butter, then adding the oatmeal and chicken stock. Once the oatmeal is cooked, asparagus puree is added, with a little butter and salt and pepper. The morels are stuffed with asparagus puree and chicken mousse.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Scallop ceviche with ginger, lime, spearmint and black sesame

Roaming around the herb garden at work the other day i came across spearmint and immediately thought Wrigleys chewing gum. Now thats what i associate spearmint with, sad i know. I pondered where i could use the mint to showcase its unique flavour.
This is a ceviche which i have been working on. The scallops are sliced raw and put onto the plate. The ceviche marinade went as follows.
Lime juice
Lime leaf
Thai fish sauce
Soy sauce
Spearmint stalks
Infused over heat for 30mins, then chilled.

The marinade is brushed genorously over the scallops and drizzled onto the plate. Spearmint is strong so i added just one jullienne of spearmint per scallop.
The plate is garnished with confit baby tomatoes and scallop meat tuilles which are made with...
Scallop meat
Egg white
Soft butter
Black sesame

sprinkled around the plate is sesame and scallop roe crumbles, which in another crack at this great tasting ceviche i would like to put a finer scallop roe powder onto the scallops.