Thursday, 16 January 2014

Cullen Skink

We’ll be serving this delicious Scottish fish soup as part of our Burns’ Night menu on 25 January, but it’s a delicious warming soup at any time! Here's chef Tony Carr's recipe:

1 tablespoon butter
1 onion diced
2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
300ml fish stock
250g smoked haddock, skinned
250ml whole milk
Salt and pepper
Chopped chives

Melt the butter and cook the onion for 4 - 5 minutes, don’t allow it to brown.
Add the fish stock and diced potatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes until soft.
Cook the haddock in the milk in a suitable pan until tender. Remove the fish from the milk, retaining the liquid.
Flake the fish, removing any bones.
Add the milk and flaked fish to the potato mixture
Bring back to the boil, season with salt and pepper.

Spoon into bowls and top with the chopped chives and serve!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Tony’s rich game pie

By Chef, Tony Carr
This pie is a huge success whenever it appears on the menu. It’s not too complicated, but it does need time to prepare and marinade, so tackle this recipe at a weekend, or whenever you have plenty of time on your hands!
To make 4 individual pies
For the pies you will need:

  • 1 oven-ready pheasant
  • 1 oven-ready partridge
  • 500gm of best sausage meat
  • 200gm chicken livers
  • 100g of bead crumbs
  • 1 onion finely diced and sweated in oil
  • 750gm of all butter puff pastry
  • 1 beaten egg and a little milk

For the marinade:
  • 200mls of red wine
  • 200mls of port
  • 200mls brandy
  • sprig of thyme
  • 1 x onion sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
The day before you want to cook it…
  1. Marinade for the chicken livers. Bring the red wine, port and brandy to the boil and let boil for 1 minute to burn off the alcohol. Remove from the heat.
  2. Added the sliced onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Cover with a lid and allow to cool. Once cold add the chicken livers and marinade over night in the fridge

On the day: 
  1. Take the breasts off the partridge and pheasant. Heat a large frying pan till very hot and seal the breasts very quickly. Once coloured on both sides allow to cool on a wire rack.
  2. De-bone and mince the legs of the partridge and pheasant and mix in the sausage meat, onion and marinade from the livers.
  3. Mince the chicken livers and add to sausage meat mixture.
  4. Dice in to small 1cm pieces the breasts and add to the sausage mix.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and mix in 100g of bead crumbs.
  6. Roll out the puff pastry and cut out 4 round discs approximately 8cm in diameter. Then cut out a further 4 discs, 15cm in diameter. 
  7. Place a ball of game mixture on top of the 8cm disc and egg white around the outside then place a 15 cm disc over the top and seal firmly to the bottom disc. Cut away any excess pastry.
  8. For decoration, you can leave a 1cm edge all the way around the bottom disc when cutting and then pinch the pastry together around the sides to create a pretty edge.
  9. Place your pies on a tray lined with grease proof paper, egg wash and allow to rest for at least 2 hours before cooking.
  10. Make 3 to 5 scores in the top of the pastry.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven gas mark 5, 190ºC electric or 170ºC fan for about 25 minutes until the pastry in golden brown all over.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Rafal's rich Chocolate Marquise

Our menu regularly features a delicious Chocolate Marquise dessert. Here, our sous chef, Rafal Musialski, shares his recipe.

This rich dessert consists of a chocolate mousse on a sponge base. Makes 6 portions.

To make the sponge
  • 3 eggs
  • 55g cocoa powder
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 145g self-raising flour 

  1. Beat the butter with the sugar and add the eggs one at a time.
  2. Then mix in the flour and the cocoa powder.
  3. Line a 1cm deep tray with greaseproof paper and pour in the mix
  4. Bake for about 20 mins at 170ºC.
  5. When the sponge has cooled, cut out circles using 3” rings.

To make the mousse
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 250ml double cream
  • 4 tsp caster sugar
  • 25ml orange liqueur
  • 2 eggs

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie (or a bowl suspended above simmering water).
  2. Separate the eggs and then mix the yolks with the cream.
  3. Whisk the whites until they are soft, then add the sugar and whisk until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Cool down the chocolate, mix with the cream and eggs but be careful not to let the mixture set.
  5. Add the orange liqueur to the chocolate mixture, and then fold in the egg whites.
  6. Take the sponge cut outs and place inside the bottom of the rings.
  7. Finally, pour the chocolate mousse mixture into the rings on top of the sponge and refrigerate. Remove the rings, and serve.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Venison Mulligatawny Soup

By chef, Tony Carr

We are often lucky to be offered an entire deer, or venison. When presented with a whole animal, a good chef’s mind instantly starts dreaming up all the different dishes you can create from all the various bits of the animal so that almost nothing is wasted.

This hot and spicy soup always goes down well and, now that Autumn seems to be here, it will be popping up on the menu whenever we have some venison as it’s a lovely rich and warming dish for this flavoursome mince.

Serves four people
  • 300g venison mince
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • 4 cardamom pods - crushed
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 small white onions - finely diced
  • 2 sticks of celery finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • ½ cup of basmati rice
  1. Sweat the onions, celery and garlic until softened, but not coloured.
  2. Add all the spices and sweat for a further 2 minutes, stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn. Add the tomato pure and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Cook for a further 10 minutes then reduce the heat to a simmer and scatter in the minced venison. Be sure to break up the mince as you don’t want any large lumps stuck together.
  4. Add the rice and stir to disperse. Cook until the rice is tender, then remove from the heat, check the seasoning and serve.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Kedgeree: not just for breakfast!

By chef Tony Carr

This dish began life as a British breakfast in colonial India. It's a tasty little dish, with a nice balance of spicy and smoky flavours. Whenever we put it on the menu it is hugely popular!

For the rice:
400g basmati rice
1tsp cumin seeds
400g smoked haddock, skinned and pin boned
400g salmon fillet poached in warm water with onion, leeks, carrot and thyme
4 hard boiled eggs

Cook rice in boiling water with cumin seeds until soft. Drain off in a colander and let dry.

For the sauce:
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp of curry powder
500ml double cream
2 white onions peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves peeled and chopped or grated
1 ltr of fish stock
1 tbsp of tomato puree
2 inch piece of ginger finely chopped or grated
1/2 a block of butter

Sauté onions, garlic, ginger in half a block of butter. After 5 minutes when softened, but not coloured, add spices and tomato purée. After 3-4 mins while stirring, add the fish stock. Bring to the boil and reduce by half. Then add the double cream, season with salt and pepper, liquidize and pass through a sieve.

To bring the dish together:
Warm the sauce in a saucepan with the chopped smoked haddock and bring to the boil. Add the boiled eggs cut into quarters, then the rice.

Finally, add the poached flaked salmon bring back to the boil and check for seasoning. Spoon into suitable bowls. We serve our dish with one of Kirsty's lovely fresh free­–range eggs poached on the top.

Monday, 12 August 2013

In defence of Chardonnay

Here, Charles Steevenson of Charles Steevenson Wines Ltd, who supplies the Ring of Bells with wines, pulls no punches in the defence of the much-maligned Chardonnay grape.
ABC – have you heard these letters used when perusing a wine list and discussing a Chardonnay? ABC – it’s shorthand for ‘Anything But Chardonnay’!

Well, I say what a load of tosh! Chardonnay is the backbone of some of the most sublime
wines. One of the trio of classic grapes used in Champagne production; ‘The’ grape in White Burgundy. Yet how many times have I heard people claiming not to like Chardonnay and yet they love Chablis. And what is the grape of Chablis? It’s Chardonnay.

Chardonnay’s unfair reputation only developed when wines from the New World invaded our shelves, wines such as those of Australia, Chile, California and the like. Alas, these wines were often created from indifferent fruit that was, in turn, enhanced by oak integration. It is the often clumsy over-use of oak that became so dominant and unwelcome. The assumption to many is that Chardonnay is always naturally oaky and toasty – wrong!

This most classic and noble of all grapes is cultivated in all the wine growing regions around the globe. These regions, like the wines they yield, can be diverse and varied. While Chardonnay is one grape variety there are many different clones that have developed to suit the all important and very individual growing conditions. This, in turn, determines the size of yields, quality and, subsequently, the price. How very different are the styles of green-tight and highly acidic wines of say Chablis to an equivalent unwooded wine from Chile or South Africa.

While all white wines need to be punctuated by uplifting, balanced acidity, the real tangible difference will show itself in the texture, weight, structure and finishing persistence the wine can offer. Texture is often enhanced by the vigorous use of wood but this may well mask the real identity and subtlety of the wine. Also, the age of the vines will play an important part in not only the size of yields produced and concentration of the finished wines but, more importantly to the customer, affect the cost.

At the Ring of Bells there are three new key Chardonnay contenders to tempt you. Firstly, the Macon–Chardonnay, Talmard 2011, from the Maconnaise region of Southern Burgundy. Made in the village of Chardonnay, from the Chardonnay grape, rich honey/lemon, no wood, so rewarding and typical of the region.

Then there is the Rustenberg Chardonnay 2011 from one of the top estates in South Africa; both the bouquet and palate display intense vanilla/toasty wood notes with a hint of lime and crème brûlée on the finish.

Our third option, Domaine Grauzan Chardonnay 2012, Vin de Pays d’Oc. Made with fruit sourced from the very south of France, this wine is more reminiscent of a Maconnaise wine, slightly honeyed fruit with a pleasing citrus finish, bold in weight yet, again, with no intrusive oak influence.

Charles Steevenson Wines Ltd. The Wine Warehouse, 11 Plymouth Road Industrial Estate, Tavistock, Devon PL19 9QN Our warehouse shop in Tavistock is open: Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.30pm and Saturday, 9.00am – 1.00pm

Thursday, 11 July 2013

A delicious crab starter

By Head Chef Tony Carr

Tian of Crab
We are blessed with an abundant supply of fish and shellfish here in Devon and crab has to be one of
the most tasty shellfish you can find – the flavour of fresh crab is unique and quite wonderful.

While it is delicious served simply in its shell with a salad and brown bread and butter, it also works well with some added zing! This tian of crab makes an impressive dinner party starter, and this recipe is enough for six portions.

700gm fresh quality white crab meat
150gm brown crab meat
1 tsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp English mustard
3 gelatine leaves
Juice of one lemon
1 slice brown bread, crusts removed
50 ml vegetable oil
50ml olive pil
Salt and pepper

Put the brown crab meat with the tomato ketchup, Worcesterhsire Sauce and mustard into a blender and liquidise until smooth.

Soak the leaf gelatine in cold water until softened, then squeeze out excess water and dissolve in half the lemon juice in a saucepan over a low heat. Once dissolved, remove from the heat, pass through a sieve and add to the blender, along with the brown bread, broken into pieces. Process the mixture again and season with salt and pepper. Continue blending, slowly, and gradually pour in the two types of oil. When the mixture is smooth, scoop it out into a suitable container and refrigerate for at least four hours.

When you are ready to serve, simply mix the white crab meat with the remaining lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Allow just over 100gm of crab meat per person and press it into a 2.5” ring. Then spread the brown crab mixture on top. Gently remove the ring, pressing down on the crab to prevent it lifting with the ring.

Serve with brown bread and butter.