Friday, 21 October 2011

End of Summer, Here Comes The Cold Bit

So after my last 8 or so post being about meals I have had out people has been giving me grief about not talking about “my life at the stove” so this post is a catch up from the last few months at work. Summer has come to an end and we are starting to get the cold weather, so time to get the braises, Confit and roast dishes out but as we have not started our winter menu yet a few dishes from the summer/autumn menu. 

The food we serve is very simple but cooked fresh and made with care, I am very proud of the boys I work with and the food we produce in our little kitchen all things considered when you take restaurant, bar, breakfast & functions our small team do good things.

First dish is a simple tomato & mozzarella salad made slightly different by using heritage tomatoes, I know you chefs reading this won’t be impressed by that but there are lots of folks out there that have never tasted a decent tomato, we had some beautiful  flavoured tomatoes this summer and this is what we chose to do with them.

Another starter we used this summer was a little play on the classic prawn cocktail; we kept the Marie rose but used crayfish instead of prawns and got rid of ice berg for more tasty salad selection. Again not a very taxing dish but one that went down well with our guests.

One for the colder weather was a crisp pigs head & fried duck egg, made by cooking the whole pigs head slowly in ham stock till it was just falling off the bone and meltingly tender, then shredding it, forming into a roulade, chilling overnight so it sets hard, slicing 2cm thick and bread crumbing. To serve we just gentle fried it on the stove till golden and gave it 4 minutes in the oven, topped with a rich duck egg and a few watercress shoots
It’s a perfect starter of light lunch on a cold day.

A lot of our guest have been choosing fish as of late and we have in braced that by trying to come up with more interesting dishes for them to chose from and use fish that is not on every other menu the local area, having been sent some beautiful coley I really didn’t want to do too much with it and keep the flavours clear so we served it on spinach, wild mushrooms & chorizo just to give that little heat that you need on a cold night.

Another fish dish was cod, streak bacon & sweetcorn ragout. Good hearty flavours but balanced with the sweetness from the corn and the Smokey/saltiness from the bacon, I really enjoyed cooking this and would smile every time it was ordered as it made up for the mountains of fish and chips we serve each week in our bar.

Fish again I know but on the current menu we have a red mullet, roasted red pepper, roasted tomato and tapenade plate. It’s a taste of the summer and we are trying to prolong it just a little longer as this dish is going really well especially with the ladies who seem to enjoy a lighter meal but still with plenty of flavour.

We did cook some meat too and pork belly, butternut squash, pickled red onion & black vinegar caramel sold the best. We braised the belly for 18 hours chilled-pressed it the roast portions to order. The 18 hour belly technique was given to me by Mr Steve Bennett aka @chefbennett01 on twitter well worth a follow if you into that social media shenanigans.

Remember live to eat don’t eat to live

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