Monday, 12 September 2011
A blood curdling scream rang out from the bedroom, and when I finally made it up there, Sophie was cowering under the duvet!
A mammoth bat had made its way into the house, and it was down to yours truly to sort it out.
So, by opening the window and after a bit of shouting it returned to the depths of hell, where it belonged!
Anyway it got me thinking. I'm all for using local food, and as a bat was flying around my house, it made it pretty local, and therefore fair game!
So after looking for some inspiration all I could manage to come up with was a bat curry!
Not very exciting and not something I could try to sneak onto the East Lodge dinner menu, well not this year anyway.
La Tour d'Argent restaurant, also in Paris.
Prepared using Rouen duckling, which have been killed but not bled, allowing the chef to use the blood to thicken the sauce.
I'll tell you how.
The ducks are trussed and roasted, and left to rest. At this stage the breasts and legs are very rare.
The bird is presented to the guests, and the legs are removed, to be finished in the kitchen. These are served as a second course with a curly endive salad.
The breast are removed, and kept warm. The duck carcass is placed into a very ornate silver duck press and then compacted to extract every last bit of juice and blood. This is then whisked into a duck consomme, along with foie gras and Madeira. Served with pommes souffles, it really is one of the great classical French haute cuisine dishes.
I had dinner there a few years ago with mum and dad, and you can see my duck was number 965730.
And it was superb!
So, now I've got bats, blood, ducks and finally Derbyshire grouse.
And how this seasons dish was inspired by a bat!
We remove the breasts, ready to be cooked in the water bath for 12 minutes at 58 oc.
The thighs are skinned and boned, marinated and braised in red wine and root vegetables, until tender and beautifully glazed. These will be served with some wild mushrooms, button onions, and streaky bacon lardons, as a sort of mini casserole.
We will also smoke some of the breasts, to serve with a little apple and frissee salad, as a palate cleanser.
Although we present the dish in a more modern manner.
So, there you are, a bat inspired Derbyshire grouse dish, with a bit of French history thrown in as well!
Oh, and by the way, its our most popular main course at the moment!
You know it really is one of the last seasonal foods and its something I always look forward to, and by using some lateral thinking we can somehow link this 2011 grouse dish to a very classic French duck dish.
Wait until you see my "coq au vin", Fanny and Elizabeth would be turning in their graves!
But, that's the thing you see, we have to keep looking forward, and as long as you know how to do the classics, which I do, we can bring them up to date!
Right, thats it.
I'll tell you about our damson cheese next time.