Fried aubergine ready for a Caponata salad as Lidl had aubergines for 49p each. Caponata originates from Sicily. Sicilians all have their own version of this slightly salt, piquant aubergine dish, with many variations depending on what vegetables are available. Fennel is very good in place of the celery. Serve hot or cold, but never straight from the fridge.
Whenever I see Paris Brest on a menu I'm reminded of Tony, my very eccentric head waiter who I worked with for many happy years at The Chalice Restaurant in Bury. I cooked, he was front of house. His first job when he arrived at work (usually late as he stopped to buy things on the side of the road, arriving in with eggs, flowers, vegetables and often a piece of furniture) was to check what was on the menu and then to hand write the copies. His handwriting was awful and his speciality was the deliberate misspelling of menu items hoping that I wouldn't find out before the end of service and allowing him to regale the customers with a verbal description of the desserts of the day. 30 years on I will never forget his squiggle, the r and i in Paris becoming an m. So dear followers, in honour of Tony I give you my recipe for Pams Brest.
Suffolk's newest watering hole, the Tap Room at Star Wing Brewery will open its doors for the first time on Saturday 4th May with a weekend of celebrations, including live music from Mick the Baker, who also has a bakery on site. The opening of the Tap Room coincides with Star Wing's hop farm expansion. The hop farm is now 15 times its original size with a further 5 acres ready for planting. The Tap Room will open every Wednesday and Thursday 9am to 5pm, Friday and Saturday 9am to 11pm and Sunday 12pm till 10pm. There'll be Star Wing's core range of six craft ales as well as locally sourced cider and gin and of course bread from Mick.
It's no secret that I'm a bit of a grape nut and enjoy exploring and attempting to keep up with the ever changing world of wine. So I liked this paperback/pocket sized reference guide to English and Welsh sparkling wine the minute I saw it. In this day and age of Googling and online reviews it's great to see a book covering one of the wine world's most promising developments in the last few years. The rise of English, terroir driven sparkling wines. Travelling around more than 50 vineyards in England and Wales, author Stewart Wilde celebrates the vineyards that produce the best of English sparkling wine, all using the 'traditonal method' (French 'methode champenoise') and all having won awards at regional or national level. In my opion the three most important elements of wine are land, grapes and weather and in this book you will find details of terroir for each vineyard, the grapes grown, tasting notes and an engaging insight into the winemakers and their craft. And that just leaves the urge to go and try a glass or two of some wonderful English fizz myself.
Three delicious ewe's milk cheeses arrived in the post last week, sent to me by Slate Cheese and Provisions. I've been asked to choose my favourite of the three and it's been a hard task. What I received was the April Cheese Club selection, celebrating the arrival of spring and containing the season's most special sheep cheeses, along with a box of Millers's Harvest artisan crackers. First up was Norfolk White Lady, a full fat Brie style cheese made by Jane Murray at Willow Farm Dairy in Deopham, Norfolk, and one of our own very good East Anglian cheeses. It is a soft, mould ripened cheese, with a delicate flavour. I left the cheese at room temperature for 6 hrs to allow it to ooze a little, which it did, although it was not as soft as I would have liked. It was very good with the yeasty three seed crackers and a little chestnut honey that I had in my cupboard at home. Next to try was the Pecorini Sardo, it was a treat to see this Sardinian cheese and although the tasting notes suggested it as a perfect cooking cheese in place of Parmesan, no way was I going to cook with it, but instead shaved it over a rocket and toasted hazelnut salad, where its almost sweet yet salty and piquant flavours really packed a punch. Finally the Cheese of the month for April, a Pave Cobble, made in Somerset by White Lake Cheese at Bagborough Farm, Somerset. A pyramid shaped cheese with a silky, sweet and creamy paste that has a salty citrus tang. The ash coating creating a wrinkled rind. I left this one in my cool pantry for 24 hrs until it started to ooze perfectly under the skin and it was just divine, definitely my Supreme Champion. Who says the French have the best cheeses? If you fancy joining the Cheese Club, you might like to know that boxes are delivered on the first Thursday of the month, either monthly or a bi-monthly delivery. Join in April 2019 and you will automatically get sent your first box free.
- beautiful packed and branded cheese parcel arrives
- tasting notes are included
- Pecorino Sardo Maturo shaved into a rocket and toasted hazelnut salad
- Norfolk White Lady
- Pave Cobble
It's a Sutton Hoo chicken, the slow grown one. They're big, or hooge as we say here in Suffolk and my challenge was to see how many meals I could get from one bird.
- first to portion up the chicken, the heart and liver kept for canapes. Neck and bone tips for gravy
- garlic butter sauteed heart and liver on toast served as canapes
- the crown stuffed with lemon wedges, rosemary and garlic
- roasted and served with a white wine gravy made with the deglazed juices from the pan, with the roasted garlic, lemon and rosemary added back in
- leftover breast meat in a delicious Club sandwich
- legs and wings served southern fried (see recipe book)
- stock made with the carcass
- finale of a chorizo and chicken risotto using the stock and with the last nuggets of cooked chicken from the carcass
Yes, I know, I ate three courses at The Unruly Pig pre-launch brunch last week and my daughter did too. But where else can you order Oysters Rockefeller followed by an Omelette Arnold Bennett and then a finale plate of waffles with maple syrup and bacon. The new brunch menu is available from this Saturday 6th April. You must try it!
- great drinks menu with a huge choice of teas too
- cocktails for breakfast ... hic!
- what a fabulous menu with interesting choices
- a brilliant vegetarian menu
- passion fruit spritz
- blackberry, plum and yoghurt smoothie .. the fruity
- oysters rockefeller
- omelette arnold bennett
- wild mushroom rarebit
- desserts included the waffles with different toppings and a pain perdu with pump street chocolate, glazed banana and pecans
Wild and Game's pheasant, pork and caramelised onion pie scooped a gold medal at the the 2019 British Pie Awards. They've sent me one to try for my lunch today and very delicious it was too. Available via mail order should you fancy one.
It's the perfect time of year to crystallise spring flowers. I love making these beautiful and natural decorations to add a splash of colour to a special Mother's Day cake. Primroses, wood violets and viola's are at their best right now but apple blossom, borage flowers, rose petals and nasturtiums all work well too. You'll see I've also crystallised a few sprigs of mint. Make sure the flowers haven't been sprayed with chemicals and pick leaving a long stem to hold on to. Don't wash them, they must be bone dry.
You will need. One egg white thinned and lightly fork whisked with a teaspoon of vodka. Caster sugar. A small paint brush.
- Take a clean, dry flower. Hold it by the stalk (use tweezers if there is no stalk) then carefully paint all surfaces of the petals with egg white.
- Now gently sprinkle the flower with caster sugar ensuring top and bottom surfaces of the petals all catch some sugar.
- Place on baking parchment and leave to air dry for 24/36hrs. Remove stalks once the flowers have dried.
- The flowers will dry in the shape and position that you place them on the baking parchment so consider this when you set them aside to dry.
View the embedded image gallery online at:
- whisk egg white with a teaspoon of vodka
- paint petals carefully with the egg white, not too much!
- and decorate ...
- sprinkle with sugar making sure all areas are covered
- lay on baking parchment to dry
Entering into its 10th year, the Framlingham Country Show takes place on 13th and 14th April at Framlingham College. I'm told there will be an amazing drinks festival, rural crafts, a dog show, cars and a cookery theatre with demos from 2017 Great British Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo. Yes! Cakes.
Apparently there's a Golden Ticket hidden in one of the Mother's Day cards handed out to all Mums this Sunday at Giggling Squid branches across the country. (The Golden Ticket will be a £50 voucher to be used on a future visit). Tables still available for late lunch and supper in our Bury St Edmunds branch.