I remember hearing Monsieur Raymond Blanc sharing his passion for a smoked sausage called Saucisse de Morteau from his region of Franche-Comté, seeing the sausages gently smoked in a cathedral of smoky deliciousness.
In my job I am fortunate to work with some lovely people from around the world, and I was reminiscing with a French colleague about regional French ingredients and I bought up my desire to try the morteau sausage. She offered to procure me a couple of artisanal morteaus to my delight.
I decided to share this treat with my colleagues at a social event as a little Hors d’oeuvre, pan fried triangles of morteau until slightly browned, and then paired with a cube of Comté cheese also from the same region, as a lovely little nibble, and a great combination of smoky, salty and cheesy.
Also pairings to try, a spanish twist with Chorizo and manchego and Bury black pudding and Lancashire cheese. Keep it simple this festive season and serve up some lovelysimple ingredients to your family and friends. Foil wrapped orange and pineapple optional.
If like me you have been enjoying Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls “3 Good Things” then you are probably feeling rightly inspired, 3 things together do often make a perfect triumvirate, but sometimes they just need 1 more thing….
One of my favourite flavour combinations is Port….Stilton….and Walnuts, they embody the rich tastes of this pre-festive season. I will quite happily devour these 3 together, but I really felt a need to let them live happily with a juicy flat iron steak.
The flat iron steak is a deeeply flavoured steak, though with little fat, it needs to be cooked quickly on a high heat and not past medium rare otherwise it toughens up. I cooked mine for a couple of minutes each side in a dry hot pan, with a little smoked sea salt and a grind of black pepper.
Leaving the steakto rest on a warm plate, deglaze the pan with a glug of tawny port, a slice of stilton crumbled in along with a good tablespoon of double cream, stir gently until combined. Spoon onto the rested steak, and serve with a green salad topped with walnuts and a drizzle of the stilton and port sauce.
A glass of port matches this perfectly.
I love going on little foodie adventures with my family, and they just about suffer my passion for good food. We just had a little trip up to Bristol, to visit GrillStocks new BBQ Joint, in St Nicholas’ Market.
Not often venturing into the Big Smoke, it has been quite a while since I’d been to St Nicholas’ Market, so was pleasantly surprised to see what a bustling foodie mecca it had become with lots of tempting options, but seeing as I had dragged my family up for this, we had to go for BBQ. We opted for a Pulled Pork Bap (£4) and a ‘Holy Moly’ Special (£12) to share between 4 of us.
The pulled pork bap with slaw was juicy and smoky, and my kids enjoyed it immensely having been raised on good BBQ. The ‘Holy Moly’ Special consisted of a pulled pork roll, a rack of baby back ribs, some burnt end beans, it was only later that I realised it should have come with extra slaw and some pickles, but was nonetheless very good, I probably would have liked the sauce for the beans a bit thicker and richer as it has soaked up into the bottom of the roll making it very soggy, the ribs were fantastic, smoky and spicy.
Seating is the only real issue here, and we visited at a busy time, it’s difficult hanging around for an empty table with a couple of hungry little foodies, but as we left the tables had all been freed up.
Soda bread is the easiest bread you can think of, you pull all the ingredients together and bake, I like to use a little rye flour in mine for a good depth of flavour.
Use a mixture of 400g plain white flour with 100g rye flour, in a large bowl, mix 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and a tsp of fine sea salt, then add 400ml plain live yoghurt and 50ml whole milk, bring together with your hands in the bowl and knead lightly to bring together into a loose ball, dust lightly with some rye flour.
Slash the top in a cross most of the way through and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degC for 45 minutes, cool on a wire rack and enjoy warm with lashings of butter.
Beef ribs, tender, smoky, braised in double chocolate stout and smothered in rich BBQ sauce. Oh yes, these ribs are a revelation.
Here’s my recipe for smoked chocolate stout beef ribs.
I am really very fortunate to live in a lovely little community in rural Devon, and am surrounded by wonderful produce, and talented craftspeople, my next door neighbour is a wonderfully energetic and creative lady called Barbara Clift, who works wonders with willow in all its forms, as well as being a passionate foodie.
She had mentioned to me an idea she had come up with for willow fish baskets, for smoking and BBQ, when I saw what she had created I knew they’d be perfect, and so was asked to trial them.
I’d decided to hot smoke a side of salmon, but these would be perfect to BBQ a whole fish such as a trout or similar too. Just soak the basket in water for a few hours so it chars slower.
I cured the side of salmon with a handful of coarse sea salt and a handful of dark brown sugar mixed together and rubbed into each side of the salmon, wrap the salmon in clingfilm and place on a tray in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Carefully remove the fish and rinse off under a trickle of water to remove excess cure. Pat dry with a paper towel and leave for at least 12 hours on a plate in the fridge to form a pellicle.
I then placed the salmon on one of the lovely willow fish baskets, and smoked using beech wood chips in a BBQ with a lid at 80-100degC for 1.5-2 hours until the fish is just cooked through and starting to flake but still moist. The basket proved to work perfectly so the fish didn’t stick to the grill of the BBQ and was an ideal way to serve the smoky fish.