Tag Archives: seafood

Fit for a King…

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Stunning smoked trout..

A new entry into the best kept secrets archive this week from Evershot, half way between Dorchester, Dorset and Yeovil, Somerset, conveniently located just off the A37.

The George Albert Hotel offers in their words ‘definitely more than just a great night’s sleep’ and I would have to wholeheartedly agree given the gem that is the Kings Restaurant hidden within.

Presenting the pictured fillet of smoked trout, smoked salmon mousse, potato salad, horseradish cream, finished with all the panache you would come to expect from the standard of the AA rosette holding Kings Restaurant.

Definitely worth a pit stop if you are travelling via the A37.

George Albert Hotel (Kings Restaurant)

Wardon Hill

Evershot

Nr Dorchester

Dorset DT2 9PW

http://gahotel.co.uk/

Kitchen Heroes: Fresh Mussels

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Ready to steam..

An absolute shoe-in to the kitchen heroes archive this week – fresh mussels.  Cooking them is simple and look after them with a damp cloth in the fridge to keep them alive as long as you possibly can.

These sustainable creatures are one of the most environmentally sound types of seafood, super cheap and healthy yet with the slightest amount of care and attention can taste like an absolute delicacy.  Ready in minutes, here are my top 3 ways to serve fresh mussels:-

3. Pan fried with garlic butter

Create some steam in a pan with a touch of water on a high heat before adding your fresh mussels and closing the lid.  Shake the pan after 90 seconds, steaming for a further 90 seconds before draining the pan.  Pick the mussels and let them steam dry ready for frying.  Pan fry shallots and garlic in a pan with a knob of butter until soft, before throwing in your mussel meat and seasoning lightly with sea salt but plenty of black pepper.  Finish with chopped parsley and spoon over your favourite toasted ciabatta or roll.

2. Paella

Add your fresh mussels to the paella pan for the final few minutes of cooking until they are all open.

1. Steamed with smoky bacon, cider and chilli

Fry smoked bacon lardons, celery, garlic, spring onions, fresh thyme and chilli in a heavy based pan until glossy, seasoning well.  Stir in your mussels before covering and steam for a few minutes.  As the mussels open, pour in 200ml cider. Reduce down before finishing with creme fraiche and fresh tarragon.  Great with straw fries or crusty bread.

 

Funky Fusion To Share…

Soft, sweet and sticky octopus

A new entry into the best kept secrets archive this week from Spitalfields twix Whitechapel.  The nearest tube station to this London hidden gem is Aldgate East.

Yuu Kitchen is the ultimate relaxed, trendy dining experience for South East Asian fusion cuisine, sharing style.  Picking 3-4 dishes per person to share opens up incredible combinations from soft shell crab bao buns to wok fried crispy kale with shitake mushrooms.  The stunning BBQ octopus is one not to miss.  Powerful ginger and soy umami flavours working wonderfully with the soft and sweet octopus.

Funky cocktails, crisp Asian lagers and an excellent selection of world wines pair very nicely with the relaxed but sophisticated food offer.

A unique dining experience for me, and one I could get very used to.

Yuu Kitchen

29 Commercial Street

London E1 6NE

http://www.yuukitchen.com/

Catch of the day…

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The ultimate seafood platter..

A new addition to the best kept secrets archive this week, with a recommendation for a fresh seafood selection to die for.  The Seafood Platter, Beer is a quaint pub with access to the finest, freshly caught seafood.  A really relaxed ‘pub grub’ atmosphere is blown totally out of the water by the special sea food menu.

Beer is a superb little seaside fishing village, well worth visiting for the wonderful coastal walks and beautiful cove.

The pictured ultimate platter needs to be ordered when booking a table to ensure you do not miss out all of the elements, including tiger prawns, crab, mussels, scallops, oysters and cockles.  Stunning and served simply with lemon, bread, butter and aioli.

Sometimes you have to look into the unexpected to find incredible food.

The Seafood Platter

Fore Street

Beer

Devon

‘A little magic paired with confidence’ – The Jetty

The Jetty in Christchurch offers a tasting menu that will leave you wanting to sample more

The Jetty in Christchurch offers a classy tasting menu that will leave you wanting to sample more

Firstly, a welcome back to my readers. With a recent trip to Barcelona under my belt, there is plenty more in store for the coming weeks, but first…

In search of the freshest and very finest seafood in the South of England, my next stop earlier this month was Christchurch, Dorset. ‘The Jetty’ offers an impressive À la carte menu, but the ‘Jetty Tasting Menu’ was far too tempting to resist for a first visit. A collection of light dishes designed to tempt you to return, and overall, they did not disappoint given my high expectations.

The Jetty is set beautifully overlooking Mudeford Quay in Christchurch, Dorset. Within the grounds of Christchurch Harbour Hotel, the restaurant prides itself on sourcing local, fresh ingredients. Naturally, the stars of the menu are the locally caught seafood. The Jetty is very lucky to have a fantastic outdoor decking and one can only imagine the beauty of dining outside with a Summer sunset.

In addition to the £55 per head tasting menu, we opted for wine pairings for the evening. At an additional £35 per head, it is not to be taken lightly on the wallet. Despite that, the quality and selection of wines on offer throughout the evening most certainly impressed. With the set tasting menu, the restaurant offered an opportunity to swap any of the courses for a light version of a dish from the À la carte menu. We opted for a swap on the dessert, more on that later.

The evening of food kicked off with an extremely impressive amuse bouche of a mini crab tartlet, topped with a quail egg, boasting a delicious runny yolk. Dressed with asparagus, the plate was worthy of a course on the tasting menu in its own right. Incredible bursts of flavours and exceptionally beautiful on the plate. Left with some confusion at this stage as to whether we should expect a wine pairing for this ‘course’, a sparkling wine aperitif arrived with an explanation that they ‘didn’t normally do a wine pairing with the amuse bouche’. A fair comment, but perhaps it was not that we were expectant of a wine pairing at this stage, but more that once we had opted for the wine pairings, we were not presented with a further opportunity to order any drinks other than the water on the table. A common theme throughout the evening was a slightly disjointed approach to the serving of the paired wines as the food left the kitchen. The head waiter who dealt with the wine pairings did his very best to serve the wine shortly before the arrival of each dish, but this was not always achieved because he was simply occupied with other tables in the restaurant. A little refinement of this process is needed to avoid dishes sitting on the table waiting for their accompanying wine. A small tweak at most needed in this department. Communication is so important between the kitchen at the front of house.

Our first ‘proper’ dish arrived, a wonderfully rich pork belly and succulent prawn with lime and ginger flavours. Classic Oriental notes executed excellently for a beautiful start. To follow, perfectly seared scallop, squid and chorizo was accompanied by a warm salad of chick peas, spring vegetables and a punchy pesto, packed with powerful basil and garlic. A very pleasant combination of flavours, a touch more seasoning on the salad needed to capture the imagination.

The next dish left me frustrated, more because some elements were simply outstanding, whilst others went missing. Monkfish tail and oxtail. ‘Tails’. It certainly was two tales, with the monkfish perfectly soft yet meaty and full of richness, whilst the oxtail was a little chewy and under seasoned. A beautiful herb intensive vegetable broth finished the dish leaving it a notch down from brilliance. The oxtail really let an otherwise indulgent dish down. Moving on to quail three ways, this plate of food really was inventive and exciting, displaying the chef’s true culinary capabilities. Rich and soft poached breast meat, golden and crispy cromesquis leg, and soft quail egg ravioli with a strikingly delicious runny yolk centre. Finished with asparagus and a lip-smacking albafura style sauce, the trend, at this stage, was very much upwards.

Next, the simplicity of a palate cleansing ‘goats cheese waldorf salad’ was blown completely out of Mudeford Quay’s water with the most surprising, mourish and well balanced salad I had ever experienced. The sweet grapes and apple jelly cubes, smoky and soft goats cheese, crunchy toasted walnuts and delicate mixed leaves were breathtaking when finished with the superbly paired sweet pineau des charentes cognac wine.

The final course was dessert heaven, textbook execution of a chocolate fondant, accompanied by shards of a deconstructed black forest meringue. The sweet and sharp fresh fruit, coulis and crunchy meringue cut through the indulgent, rich chocolate superbly.

In summary, The Jetty’s tasting dishes do a superb job of enticing diners into returning to sample the À la carte menu. The very few shortcomings of the evening were certainly not deal breakers for the price bracket, however, a little refinement of the logistics of the wine pairing offer is needed. The pairings themselves, faultless. The Jetty wins an impressive 8 out of 10 for a really enjoyable dining experience. I will return for the À la carte menu later this year, confident that it may squeeze an even higher score.

Stilton, mango and honey ciabatta with a king prawn salad

This perfect, posh cheese on toast goes hand in hand with a fresh prawn salad

This perfect, posh cheese on toast goes hand in hand with a fresh prawn salad

This recipe is inspired by one of my father’s many kitchen creations, adapted into a light, fuss-free Summer supper. A posh cheese on toast!

Cheese and fruit are a well known combination, but there are so many mis-guided concoctions on our supermarket shelves. For me, the sight of overly sweet dried cranberries, hammered into the side of a lovely mature piece of cheese is a crime against good food! Despite that, the sweet but tangy mango and lemon in this recipe works perfectly with the power of any blue cheese, finished beautifully with a drizzle of runny honey.

To make the dish fit for a simple homemade main course, I’ve chosen to add a really quick dressed salad with cooked king prawns.

Stilton and mango, the Wisdom family hereby patents the combination!

Stilton, mango and honey ciabatta with a king prawn salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 2 long white ciabatta rolls
  • 1 lump mature stilton
  • 1 ripe mango
  • 2 handfuls pine nuts
  • 24 cooked king prawns
  • runny honey for drizzling
  • mixed leaf salad of choice
  • 1 lemon
  • balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • salt and cracked black pepper for seasoning

Method:

  1. Slice the ciabatta rolls in half lengthwise and arrange evenly on tin foil ready for the grill.
  2. Season the ciabatta rolls with coarse rock salt, cracked black pepper, drizzled olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a little grated lemon rind.
  3. Slice the stilton and arrange on top of the ciabatta rolls before placing under a pre-heated grill until the stilton is melted and nicely browned, the ciabatta toasted. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in small dry frying pan over a moderate heat until gently browned.
  4. Peel and slice the mango into chunky strips, laying them over the top of the stilton.
  5. Scatter the toasted pine nuts over the top of the stilton and mango ciabatta.
  6. Drizzle the honey lightly over the dish.
  7. Dress a mixed leaf salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and cracked black pepper.
  8. Place a small salad portion each side of the ciabatta and top with three king prawns each side.
  9. Finish the dish with a little drizzle of lemon juice and a good helping of cracked black pepper.

Beetroot cured Salmon Gravlax

Beetroot cured salmon gravlax is an impressive homemade alternative to smoked salmon and combines beautifully with scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast

Beetroot cured salmon gravlax is an impressive homemade alternative to smoked salmon and combines beautifully with scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast

My first blog recipe is a new favourite of mine, inspired by my recent visit to ‘Charlotte’s Place,’ Ealing, and adapted from an 80s Swedish classic.

Gravlax, Scandinavian for ‘grave’ is a dill, salt and sugar cured salmon that historically found itself wrapped in bark, weighed down with bricks and buried six feet under. The beetroot, horseradish, lemon and peach schnapps are my modern twists to bring this classic to life with a colourful, spicy and fruity tang.

The quantities in this dish really are rough and it’s very much down to your personal taste. A trial and error exercise that you can keep your own secret version of locked away!

I choose to use this colourful cured salmon as an alternative to smoked salmon and the flavours combine nicely with creamy scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast.

Beetroot cured Salmon Gravlax

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 48hrs
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized salmon side fillet, skin on, pin-bones removed
  • 3-4 tbsps coarse rock salt
  • 1-2 tbsps demerara sugar
  • 1 fresh beetroot, peeled, finely grated
  • 2-3 tsps fresh horseradish, peeled, finely grated
  • 25 ml peach schnapps
  • 1 lemon
  • large bunch of dill, coarsely chopped

Method:

  1. Place the salmon fillet skin side down on a deep enough tray to hold the moisture extracted from the fish during the curing process.
  2. Evenly spoon over the coarse rock salt and demerara sugar until the salmon fillet is covered.
  3. Spread the beetroot and horseradish across the salmon fillet, ensuring the beetroot is covering all of the flesh to allow for maximum colour penetration.
  4. Drizzle over the peach schnapps and evenly scatter over the dill.
  5. Grate over the lemon, before pouring over the squeezed juice.
  6. Pat down all of the ingredients on top of the salmon to allow for an even distribution of flavour.
  7. Cover the salmon tightly with cling film, weigh down with bottled water or large fruit juice cartons and refrigerate for 48 hours.
  8. After 48 hours, remove the tray from the fridge and gently scrape away the remaining topping from the salmon.
  9. Separate the skin from the fillet by carefully running a sharp knife underneath the salmon, angled towards the skin.
  10. Slice thinly across the top of the salmon into long strips, ready to arrange on your dish of choice.
  11. The remaining salmon can be covered with cling film and kept in the fridge for 4-5 days.
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