Tuesday, 15 May 2012

So then, do you know what I love most about the internet?

No, thought not.

It allows me to put pictures like this one up!

See, the great thing about living in the digital age is that anyone can write about anything they want.

And because food is such an ace subject, and loads of people think they really know about it, they try to write about it.

Which is fine, but because I really really know what I'm talking about I'm going to tell you how to turn a sows ear into a silk purse.

Well, sort of.                                                                                                                                                          

Now that Mr H has acquired Callow Hall, I've had to start thinking.

Which takes some doing for me!

So, starting at the beginning I thought of our smoked salmon, and how I can kill two birds with one stone, and use all of the fillets and trimmings, for two different starters, on two different menus, at two different hotels.

So, here is some of our Rowsley cure Scottish smoked salmon, served very simply, with some pickled cucumbers, lemon and cracked peppercorn butter, caviar and some micro cress.

I think sometimes the classic, simple flavour combinations work best, indeed, sometimes its exactly what I'm looking for!

However, we also need to show off our creative side, and also find ways to use up any off cuts and trimmings.

As we are now getting through ten sides a week, that's quite a lot of off cuts!

So, how about this then!

Inspired by a classical mille feuille ( which means a thousand sheets ) it normally uses just puff pastry, baked between two flat trays, and then layered with a rich vanilla cream. Fruit can also be added, raspberries are especially good.
If making a sweet one, try to use the off cuts of rolled puff pastry as these will rise less. And, thinking about it, it's another way off using up leftovers!

Anyway, at East Lodge we do use puff pastry as the base layer, as I wanted something more robust.

Egg washed and baked in a hot oven, you can see the compressed pastry, which remains light and crunchy. The other layers are thin North African bric pastry.

Now, I love this pastry, it's so versatile.

Some fancy London chef's even try using as an a little olympic torch holder, which is a little bit silly, in my opinion.

One of the best ways to use it is just as they do in Tunisia, where all you need is an egg, some chopped up meat, vegetables or cheese, or a mixture!

In fact, it's another great way of using up some leftovers!

So, lay out a sheet of pastry and, in a semi circle, spread out some chopped up leftovers, I've used some asparagus, ham and cheese. Crack an egg into the middle, fold over and fry, in hot olive oil, until golden on both sides.

The oil needs to be hot, but be careful not to burn the pastry, but the egg yolk must remain runny!

The idea is to enjoy it piping hot!

I reckon I can eat about five.

Or, maybe six.

Anyway, back to the salmon.

We mince the salmon and press it into a square, the same size as the puff pastry.

The other off cuts are infused in cream and milk, freshly grated horseradish is added, along with salt, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. After cooling down and strained the smoked salmon flavoured cream is set with agar, blended and cooled over ice.

So, it's turned into a light, light light smoked salmon mousse.

Balls of cucumber are compressed in the sous vide machine to alter their texture, and dill is picked.

The bric pastry is baked until crisp, with the top layer coated with fennel seeds, grated lemon zest and chives.

So then we just need to put it all together!

Simple when you know how.

It's the first course on the tasting menu at East Lodge at the moment, and just in case there are any more tail end bits of salmon around you could try this dish.

I was doing a cookery demo, along with Max Fisher, to showcase Derbyshire's amazing produce, and this is one of the dishes.

We got hold of some flowers from the Herb Table, and I was hoping to get my hands on a river trout, but couldn't so got one from the Farm Shop instead.

As we smoke our own salmon I though I could include that as well, a light sabayon was made using our own eggs yolks and home made butter.

Some of our rye bread was dried with bronze fennel picked from the garden, and finally some shaved asparagus was used as a garnish.

I know it's not from Derbyshire but as it's so seasonal, it seemed wrong not to use it.

So, these pictures are for all of you who didn't enjoy today's first picture!

And finally, how the little piggy's ear got turned into a silk purse.

We break down the suckling pig, brine it for twenty four hours and then cook it in the water bath.

Deboned while still warm, it is then pressed over night, ready to be portioned for service.

Warmed in the water bath and served with a tomato and tamarind chutney, to cut the richness, a smooth aubergine puree, some fried onions rings, for some sweetness, some bright green mineral rich spinach, and a pork juice, sharpened with cider vinegar and diced lardo.

It's a dish actually inspired by a pork vindaloo!

Right, that's it.

I've enjoyed talking about the new dishes at East Lodge, and some of the simpler ones as well.

You see, that's what I love about my job, is that we try to please all of our guests, weather they want some plain smoked salmon, or a more luxurious preparation, or something that l really crave sometimes, just a nice simple cheese and pickle sandwich, washed down with a mug of Bovril!

Some people just don't get how perfectly some of these flavour combinations work, and that's why we do them.

Sometimes, the simple things are the best!

Ok, next time I'm going to tell you how even an idiot like me can keep meat moist all of the time, if Big Green Eggs are any good, and if the sun is ever going to come out.

Oh, and this is the Yellow Room at Callow Hall, where I've been spending lots of time lately, nice isn't it!

Not in the dining room you understand, just the kitchen there, as I thought, that just for a while things were going to be normal.

But then S.W.D.

TB is back rolling with the ELBMC, I thought that I might have a settled crew, but then Jake got rumbled, and his lung fell out, or something like that.

Just think what a scouser will do to get out of work!

So there you are, I'm pushing on all over Derbyshire, it's my "Spread Love" project.

Not too sure its working though!

Todays music recommendation - Ming's Incredible Disco Machine (Geeeetaaar & Peeeeeeanno Mix)


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