Monday, 31 August 2009

Beet em up

I did this this as a vegetarian option recently and it went down very well. It is a tartare of red and golden beetroot with quail egg, sheeps milk curd, Pantelleria capers, and a poached egg mayonnaise flavoured with walnut. The red beetroot is cooked and then chopped finely with a knife and flavoured with cassis puree, banyuls vinegar, chopped shallot, chopped caper, chopped gherkin, olive oil and salt and pepper. The golden beetroot is chopped and flavoured with shallot, moscatel vinegar, capers, chopped chive, olive oil and pickled mouli.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Wild blackberries

Now is the perfect time to start picking wild blackberries. My family and I love this time of year. Blackberries grow just about everywhere in England. Any where you see a hedgerow, there ususally are wild blackberries amongst the brambles. We have loads growing behind our house and in the woods nearby. Foraging for wild ingredients is the ultimate method of cutting down those food miles and lightening your carbon footprint. Sourcing high quality local ingredients adds to the appeal of a dish and usually tastes better than using similar ingredients that have been brought in from elsewhere.

The most delicious blackberries are found growing in direct sunlight. Choose berries that have fully ripened, with no red or purple on them. The best berries come off the plant easily with very little resistance.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Recent dishes

Here are a few dishes from last week and this week.

Parsley and garlic stuffed saddle of lamb with parsley fregola, glazed summer vegetables and duo of red wine sauces

Confit of guinea fowl and foie gras with a sherry vinegar jelly and a black cherry jam
this is a poached torchon of foie gras with textures of apple and black cherry. The textures are a mini toffee apple, pickled, vinaigrette with honey and yuzu and fluid gel. Cherries are served as they are with a cherry syrup.
this is a musterd crusted brill fillet with creme fraiche potatoes, cured cherry tomato and a lemon coulis

Roasted pork belly with anise scented butternut, and a pea pesto

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Foie gras, smoked eel and green apple pave lightly flavoured with cinnamon, eel teriyaki and a brioche espuma

Here is a starter which featured on my du jour menu this Saturday night. The terrine is built up with smoked eel being set with apple wine infused with cinnamon stick, confit foie gras and a green apple puree. The teriyaki is brulee just before serving.The espuma is made by toasting and drying out brioche. Pouring on some boiling milk and cream and letting it infuse. The mix is then puree very smooth, seasoned with a little nutmeg and ginger and thinned out with milk. It is then poured into the gun and charged with one cartridge.
I loved the smokyness of the eel against the foiegras, but felt that another element was needed. The teriyaki gives a tangy sweetness that cuts the richness of the foie gras and adds the which acidity balances nicely.

Friday, 7 August 2009


This week was our Italian wine dinner. Here is the starter from the evening. We got our hands on some Alpine plum tomatoes which were marinated with EVOO, garlic, thyme and shallot. The cherry tomatoes were also marinated in EVOO. The mozzarella is a fantastic product from Laverstoke Park. I would say the best fresh mozz in the South of England. Garnish is balsamic which has been misted onto the plate, black olive dust, and a smoke filled mozzarella baloon. Terre Bormano olive oil is drizzled around.
Fresh, tasty and Italian which matched our wine.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

TGRWT #18 Plum and blue cheese

Roulade of Mirabelle plum and Barkham Blue cheese with plum wine, plum chips and Acacia honey

Hi all,
Here is an entry to this months They Go Really Well Together. Hosted by Trig over at Aidan Brooks: Trainee chef. Plum and blue cheese is the order of the day. The plums used are French and the cheese is an unpasturised blue cheese from Too Hoots farm in Wokingham made by a woman named Sandy Rose.
For this I wanted to make the cheese and plum the stars of the show. The plums are sliced thinly and the blue cheese blended with a little sour cream and rolled into a roulade. Underneath is a salad of plum and almond marinaded in plum wine. There are slices of plum carpaccio and dried plum crisps. The dish is finished with a touch of long pepper and Acacia honey.
For me, plums and red skin fruit in general go well with blue cheese. Although I felt after the first tasting that the two components needed a push in gelling together. A floral note is welcome from the long pepper and the honey tones down the strength of the blue cheese and glazes the plums to highlight their sweetness. A little micro celery adds a slight bitter note also which compliments the blue cheese.
Here's my version, it was fun. Thanks to Martin at and of course Trig for hosting.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Working with suppliers

Hyden Farms guinea fowl and foie gras terrine set in its consomme,
Muscat grapes, bourban spiced almonds and butterscotch

At the hotel, we have just started working with a new farm named Hyden Organics( They have fantastic produce such as Longhorn beef, Hampshire Down lamb, saddleback pigs, Indian game chickens, Aylesbury ducks and guinea fowl, plus guinea fowl eggs when we're lucky. After visting the farm and meeting Richard Jones and his team we were very impressed. They farm in traditional methods which means slower breeding. We have tried their chickens, guinea fowl, lamb and pork so far and the quality is fantastic. So good in fact was the guinea fowl that i wasted no time in getting a terrine ready to go onto the a la carte menu. Here's the dish explanation;

The guinea fowl legs are confit in duck fat, along with the breasts which are kept on the crown. The foie gras is cleaned, wrapped in cheese cloth and confit in the duck fat also for about 15 minutes at 60C. The trimmings from the fowl are used to make the consomme. The almonds are boiled with bourban, bitters and sugar and left to marinade. They are then roasted through the oven and then tossed in a spice mix of salt, cumin, cayenne. The Muscat grapes have just arrived at our doorstep(first of the season), so i peeled them and kept the skin. I dried both the grapes and the skin for two days. I removed the pips from the dried grapes, then roughly chopped the skin and rolled the grapes through the skin. A kind of deconstructed - reconstructed (god i hate those words) grape. The butterscotch is just sugar, dry caramelised, then monte with butter and cream, then i add lemon juice to unsweeten slightly.