Throwback Tuesday

So despite it once again being a freezing cold, damp and gloomy day my thoughts are turning towards springtime. This morning I have been reading through some of my oldest pieces and I thought it would be nice to share one or two with you. This is a piece I originally wrote back when I was a chef at The Old Bell Hotel in Malmesbury. I think this would have been written around March 2015.

It is exactly as I wrote it back then.

Little bit of spring time!

Spring is Here

The weatherman seems to finally agree. Spring has well and truly sprung. As a chef the first signs of spring come from the fruit and veg man the most important in my eyes being Jersey Royal potatoes. “Don’t scrub them too hard comes the warning from chef and sous chef alike” No indeed, do not, a quick gentle wash is all these beauties require. They are simply cooked in water, sliced and ready to adorn the Hake dish that is one of the stars of our fabulous spring menu. The hake is simply pan fried and garnished with leeks and samphire. Samphire seems rather on trend at the moment and it’s salty grassy wonderful goodness makes me hope it will be for a long time to come. A pop of red pepper puree through hollandaise adds that extra dimension.

           Asparagus we’ve been getting in for a while, succulent tender, vibrant green shoots. Is there any finer way to eat asparagus than with poached egg? Not in this writers opinion. Even the local hens know it is spring. The eggs are fantastic with their pure snow white shells and the most beautiful vibrant orange yolks. The old faithful hollandaise and some crispy garlic breadcrumbs complete this old favourite.

           Being a good Welsh lady I cannot neglect to mention our wonderful lamb rumps. Cooked to medium rare perfection. The theme of the garnish is garlic. Wild garlic to be exact. Don’t be fooled by the gentle mild looks of these leaves. Boy do they pack a punch. Just breathe in the scent on your hands after picking and chiffonading a whole crate and you’ll see what I mean. Wild garlic is growing everywhere from roadside to golf course so feel free to forage. But I cannot stress this enough! Do not eat anything that you are not 100% sure of! Take a good field guide or an expert with you! Or take the danger away and join us at The Old bell, for lamb rump with wild garlic infused potato gnocchi, artichokes and wild garlic pesto! A poem of a dish!

          Next up is Beetroot , Beetroot from ‘Nam no not Vietnam! Cheltenham. Sorry, couldn’t resist! The king of all the beetroot with its unique shape and fantastic flavour. The Beetroot is a vital component of the Barbary Duck dish. A Barbary Duck breast served with Puy lentils and the wonderful roast beetroot. I’m hard pressed to pick a favourite between this and the lamb

Even fish and chips is getting in on the act. We’ve sent beer battered whiting on a little spring break and in its place, light, crispy and tasty tempura battered monkfish. Pea puree is having a bit of a rest too, in its place a red onion and red pepper compote which dances across the palette and provides the perfect hit of vibrance to the fantastic monkfish and our crispy golden twice cooked fries!

          Spring is very much the theme on the dessert menu too with a rhubarb and custard tart served with rhubarb ice cream and poached rhubarb the star of the show! Or would that be the lemon parfait… or the black forest Sundae. So many wonderful spring flavours so little time.

          At this time of year we chefs are absolutely privileged to be doing what we do! Long live the sunshine and long live spring produce!

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