Friday, 26 October 2012

Well, I saw it, and I thought it was AMAZING!

So I asked Ben if he saw it, and yes, he had, and he thought it was AMAZING too.

So he asked Tom if he had seen it, and yes, Tom replied, he had seen it, and he also thought it was AMAZING.

So he asked Matt if he had seen it, and yes, Matt replied, he had seen it, and so another one who thought it was AMAZING.

So far we all thought it was AMAZING.

So then I asked Ching , and he just made a silly noise.


Apart from the closing ceremony, which was, in fact, a little bit rubbish.

So, there we are,  all amazed at a pretty mental summer.

And, why, because of it also being the busiest August ever at East Lodge, why this ones going to AMAZING!

Although it wasn't all work.

I've been plastered in Park Lane.
Smashed in Somercotes.
Sloshed in Shottle.
Wobbly in Wokingham.
Rowdy in Rowsley.

And I'm about to get mashed up in Mexico!

But, enough of this gay banter, I'm going to talk about togetherness, and love, and how its important to keep things together, well sometimes anyway!

See, that's all that dish up there is, just some summer vegetables, prepared in various ways, and served at different temperatures, a couple of herbs and flowers thrown in, and away we go.

We prepared some baby globe artichokes, but cooked them in two different ways, one cooked in light stock, with thyme, garlic and olive oil. The rest were sauteed from raw, so the same vegetable, but with quite different end results, one rich and caramelised, the other light and delicate.

Courgettes were also used, some being cut into balls, blanched, and marinated with tomato water and basil leaves, others were thinly sliced and deep fried in a light, light, light tempura style batter.

An aubergine found it's way onto this simple summer salad. 
We baked some into crisp rounds and cut thick slices and grilled them on the plancha, giving them a nice smoky, charred flavour, bit like a barbecue I suppose.

The tomato petals that were left after making the tomato water were rubbed with olive oil, sugar and salt and left to dry in the warm kitchen, to semi dry and maximise the tomato taste.

A couple of small pearl onions were cooked along with the artichokes, so they were added as well, all it needs is some nice soft Italian style bread (more of that next time) and it's a great light summer lunch.

But this one was actually a course on our tasting menu a couple of months ago, and although it's a long time ago now, it's a good way to show how by just using a few different cooking methods, well about ten actually, we can make a nice little simple salad!

Which brings me nicely onto August.

The glorious 12th to be precise.

Hasn't been a great year for Grouse, all that rain buggered things up a bit, but still I managed to get my hands on some. 

I also wanted to get some cured and smoked ready for our Christmas menus, you see.

So, as part of my "spread love project 2012" I thought I would demonstrate this dish at the Chatsworth Country Fair this year. 

Derbyshire sushi!

Simple really.

So, as a wrapper, I made some grouse ham.

Using a wet cure, we salted some breasts for a couple of hours, left them to dry overnight, and then cold smoked them.

As I always burn things when I'm doing a live show, I try not to actually cook too much!

Just lots of chopping and talking going on instead, trust me, I can't do much more then two things at once!

So we got some celeriac, and made a classic remoulade.

Easy really, just julienne some celeriac, put it in a bowl, sprinkle on some lemon juice, not too much though, just to keep it white and some salt.

It will start to soften the celeriac, and then we just mix it with some mayonnaise. Normally grain mustard is added, but I just put a good grinding of white pepper in mine, as I wanted to grouse to be the main flavour.

It's a great dish to have in your repertoire, and we also do a version with parsnips as well, to go with a warm game salad.

So all I was going to do was make a tartare with a couple of grouse breasts, which I'm sure you all know what it is by now, raw diced grouse, mixed with salt and pepper, a little olive oil, some aged red wine vinegar and reduced Port.

This, along with the celeriac is the filling of the "sushi", although I also added some whole chives.

The smoked grouse was thinly sliced, and in place of sushi rice the remoulade, chives and grouse tartare were rolled up inside it.

Using a sharp carving knife all I had to do was slice it.

So I did.

A smooth liver was made with the livers, a couple of slices of Cox's apple were added, and that 's it.

One grouse, a bit a celery, a bit of chopping, easy.

And all I was trying to do was use as much of the grouse, in as many ways as possible, a bit like the carrots in the next one.

See I'm in autumn now, and a few weeks ago Partridge starting arriving at the back door at East Lodge.

Well, they had been shot, and hand delivered, they didn't just wander over.

No matter I still had big plans for them!

One of our weddings this year asked for some carrot ribbons to be served on the main course, to make it nice and colourful!

So we did it.

And it got me thinking, could I do a nice colourful carrot salad this autumn?

Well, yes, obviously.

But I wanted to make it a little more interesting, and by using it in three different ways, a humble carrot can be turned into a sexy little starter.

So, as the "Bath Chap's" are a richer starter I wanted this partridge dish to be a little lighter.

Last year, on our Christmas menus I did a pear and ginger garnish to go with the partridge, partridge and pears - you know like "in a pear tree", and it was alright actually, and the ginger could also go well with some sort of carrot, add a bit of coriander, and we're almost there.

Inspired by the Punjab, who are great game hunters, and who love eating small game birds, this would make sense putting these different flavours on the same plate.

And they are quite delicate spices, no garlic  or chillies are used, the heat comes from ginger juice, mixed with lemon juice, white wine vinegar, turmeric infused oil and roasted onion seeds.

So, with the carrots, we julienne some, blanched quickly and mixed with some chopped coriander and a little of the Indian dressing, the trimmings are sealed and steamed, and then pureed until smooth, and we shave very thin slices , to be rolled into rounds.

The julienne carrot is placed into baked bric pastry rounds, because I wanted it to all look nice and neat on the plate. It's the middle ring, at the bottom of the plate.

So, we've used the carrots up, all I'm going to do is add some compressed cucumber balls, finely chopped shallots and chives to the dressing.

Yoghurt that has been left in a fine sieve overnight, this will thicken the yoghurt, has been mixed with mint sauce and a pinch of garam masala, this will add that unique Indian taste, but keep it nice and mild.

Spring onions are blanched, to take away their rawness, and these will be blackened on the plancha, along with the partridge breasts, they have been cooked in the bath at 56 oc for 12 minutes, so they stay nice and rosy.

Ok, nearly there.

See that square cake in the middle?

Well, thats a dhokla.

An Indian street snack, it's made with chick pea flour, yoghurt, water and seasoning.

But it's steamed so it's a nice moist sponge.

We keep it mild, as I want it to absorb the other flavours but at home I like with a bit of a kick, so when it comes out of the oven I heat up ghee, toss in some curry leaves, chillies, coriander and mustard seeds.

Poured over the warm sponge, with a mint yoghurt dip, it's a great pre dinner snack, and assists in the consumption of chilled white wine!

So, a lovely, light, healthy, colourful, seasonal carrot and partridge salad.

With a cake!

So we've done carrots and courgettes, how about celery.

If she doesn't come, I'll tickle her bum with a lump of celery.

As sung by Chelsea fans every Saturday, down at Stamford Bridge, I have no idea why they sing it, but they do.

Perhaps they enjoy eating wild sea bass with pickled celery at home.

The celery is peeled, cut into thin batons and cooked in water seasoned with salt and lemon juice.

This will keep the celery white.

In another pan a pickling liquor is made with sugar, white wine vinegar, water and creamed horseradish.

The hot cooked celery will be placed in the hot pickling liquid, covered, and left to cool down.

The reason it's cooked is because I don't like celery that is too crisp, not with some superb fillets of sea bass anyway.

As you can see it's a beautiful piece, cooked on it's skin, so it's nice and crunchy.

The left over celery leaves are deep fried and left to drain on some kitchen paper, adding another celery taste, celery hearts are also braised in a light chicken stock with some rosemary, until very soft, and they are blended with some butter for a final celery flavoured delight.

Some baby, peeled, brown shrimps are mixed with the now cool pickled celery.

That's why I put horseradish in the mix, as it will give a nice gentle kick to the celery and shrimps.

Little gem lettuce leafs are quickly wilted in a bit of olive oil and butter and seasoned correctly with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, and a few finely sliced radishes are tossed in.

The celery braising juices are reduced and water vinaigrette is stirred in, just to lighten the stock.

So, a swoosh of creamed celery, some little gem leaves, the pickled celery and brown shrimp salad, salad, salad, I make the salad, fried celery leaves and a the chicken juice.

All topped of with a spanking piece of sea bass.

And, again, its just using two main ingredients.

And, now, finally, two of my favourite things in the whole world.

Steak and chips.

But not on the same plate!

I'll get shot.

I'm getting some beef hung, by David, up at Highfield House Farm, for six weeks.


We'll take off the fillet before this though as it will just dry up, but the sirloin will be amazing.

So intense and full flavoured, I wanted to serve the beef on it's own, with nothing to mask the beef itself.

There is a restaurant in Japan that just serves Kobe beef, in lots of different ways, over many courses and although I'm working on a beef tasting menu at East Lodge, in the meantime I thought I could try this one out.

So, steak and chips.

Bradley style.

It's just everything you would expect to be served with a nice, big, fat, juicy, charred steak.

But without the steak!

Sauce bearnaise.

Onion rings.


Creamed spinach.

Bone marrow.

In America fried eggs are also popular, with a New York strip, so I'd thought I would add a deep fried, soft boiled quails egg as well.

And a slice of beef fillet "ham" we made earlier this year.

Oh, a nice nugget of roasted veal sweetbread, just so there is a little bit of protein on the plate.

A fried parsley leaf and a spoonful and reduced beef juices complete the dish.

Tom and myself tried the dish, and if you close your eyes you can really think you're eating a fantastic steak!

Crisp onion rings with meaty portobello mushrooms, the tarragon from the bearnaise, rich, fatty bone marrow, crunchy egg, beef juices and creamy sweetbreads.

It was spot on!

But what about this then?

It's the fillet, water bathed at 54 oc, seared in a red hot pan, sliced and served.

We steamed some potato balls, and then deep fried them in beef dripping, another slice of bone marrow is warmed and placed on top of the beef, a reduction of beef juice is spooned over and finally a fried parsley leaf is added.

Just steak and chips.


So the full Monty, only served over two courses, necessitating at least two bottles of very good claret!

Right, that's it.

What a great summer.

Next time I'll tell you how getting lost in space can ruin Sunday lunch.

And how another Baslow boy realised he wasn't good enough to roll with the DE4 crew.

Tonights music choice.

The incredible "Let's have a kiki",  explicit mix, by the Scissor Sisters.

The chef's just can't stop dancing to it!

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