Friday, 25 November 2011





It all started with 70's disco.

I was listening to a Ministry of Sound disco mix when the song "September" came on.

And it got me thinking. Again!

Could I do a dessert named after a month?

Yes, as it turned out. And as its not long to go, I came up with this. Its everything one would expect to find in a kitchen around December, and now I'm going to tell you what's on it.

I had to have some sort of mince pie on it, but as I'm not a great lover of mince pies, I tried to come up with something a bit less cloying.

So, fitting for Christmas, mincemeat sorbet was born!

I blended mincemeat with a sherry and orange syrup, tipped it into the thermomix and let rip.

Strained, cooled and churned ( sounds a bit like my disco dancing!) it really is delicious.

Grated sweet pastry is the "pie" element.

So, what else then?

We all love a glass of mulled wine, right Lisa! So some pears are poached in mulled wine, made the correct way with cloves, orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar and brandy. Chilled and compressed, they are like little bursts of December on the plate.
A very light brandy sabayon is made using eggs yolks, sugar and, yes more, brandy. Whisked over a pan of simmering water, until thick, a small amount of melted unsalted butter is whisked in. This will help keep the sauce stable, and of course, make it rich and lovely!
We made a snowball ice cream, using Warnick's advocaat, which really is rather good!
Rolled in crushed meringue, dried orange zest and ground pistachios, it looks a bit like a snowball too!
Our East Lodge apple curd and some marinated apples add a clean note, as do some segments of satsuma.

So, it's December on a plate.

However, I still think it needs some more work doing on it, perhaps more textures, thats why it won't be on the menu just yet.

This one is though.

Another divine December dish!

Using pheasant, we made a mousse with some breast meat. Blended with cream and then passed through a fine sieve, rolled and poached, it's a classic way of making a mousse.

Sometimes served as it is, we cooled it down, sliced it and fried it on the plancha. It gets a nice crust, and its just lovely warm, soft and crisp at the same time.

Right, so what other goodies does December bring?

Port and Stilton are two that spring to my mind. And as the French do a version of this mousse using chicken and the slightly inferior Roquefort, I thought this would work just as well, using produce from Derbyshire!

So, a slice of warm pheasant mousse is served with a piece of cured and smoked pheasant breast, a dice of Colton Bassett Stilton, grated chestnuts, a celeriac condiment, wrapped in a fine pastry cylinder, some Port soaked ripe pears, celery leaves and finally, some parsley cress, oh yes, and some festive slices of red radish!

So, there you are, December on two plates.

And, still on the subject of music, which I am, I'm having some piano paper for my dinner tonight.

Matt would be very pleased!  Its actually Sardinian flat bread, rolled very thinly, that I will serve with some ham, as a little starter.

But, just one last thing.

They have arrived. And they look amazing. Unbelievable. Out of this world. I just cannot wait.

All the way from Argentina.

My new tight, black tango trousers!

No, only joking, two sixteen ounce rib eye steaks. THE DON PEDRO.

Right, thats it, Christmas, it seems has come early in Shottle, so I'll tell you all about it next time!

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