Sunday, 26 October 2014

october offerings' PICKLED LAMBS TONGUE .'

Pickled Organic grass-fed Lambs tongue with Sous vide Baby beetroot in raspberry sauce, Sheep's milk Curd snow, Apple & German chamomile oil and chamomile leaves. 

                 The third instalment of the 'october offerings', this dish is a variation of one that was getting around the tables of L'Enclume a few years back. The sheep's milk curd snow is very light and delicate but refreshing against the earthy sweetness of the raspberry sous vide beets and the apple infused oil. All giving way to the acidity of the pickled tongue and its strong lamb flavours. The pickled tongue underwent a 3 week brining and pickling process listed below, before it was sliced thinly to be served.        
                 After the tongue was detached and removed from the sheep head, I rinsed the tongue under cold running water before placing the tongue into a glass container. I then prepared a brine of salted water, covering the tongue with the brine and refrigerating overnight covered. The next day I rinsed the tongue under cold running water again before this time simmering the tongue on a medium heat in a  brine of water, apple cider vinegar and salt for about 2 hours until the tongue was tender. The tongue was then rinsed again and the outer membrane was removed. In a saucepan I brought to the boil some water, vinegar, salt, sugar, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns. I then placed the tongue into a sterilised jar and covered the tongue with the cooled pickling liquid, securing the jar with a lid, the the tongue was placed into the fridge and allowed to mature for 3 weeks. To make the curd snow, I first made the curd as per earlier posted this month. Only once the curd was drained of all its whey, I formed a ball with the curd and placed it into the freezer to freeze solid. Once the curd was solid, using a grater I shaved the frozen curd to form a powdery snow. In a small saucepan I gently heated some olive oil with a few strips of apple peel and some german chamomile leaves. The oil was then removed from the heat and allowed to stand and infuse until cool. The oil was then strained through cheese cloth and ready to be used. The last application was the beets of which I simply peeled, quartered and placed into a food grade plastic pouch with some frozen raspberry sauce. The pouch was vacuum sealed and placed into a 84C water bath for an hour. The beets and sauce were then removed from the pouch and chilled before being served.


Cornmeal crusted Organic grass-fed Lambs brains with a Golden peach & Sweet corn salsa, Lemon Balm and a Sherry Vin gastrique.

                    This dish is a continuation of the 'october offerings', with the brains used here coming from the sheep head given to me buy a good mate. As butchering is not something I do all he time, I wasn't quite sure on the approach to removing the brains from the skull without a band saw. So with some unsuccessful googling, I picked up the head and went downstairs. With the head laid out upright, wrapped in plastic and wedged between to big rocks and now my 3 year old son Levi as audience. I took to the head with a tomahawk, seven blows later I split the skull directly down the middle and managed to keep the brains intact, as my son watched on with an excited curiosity. With this dish the peach and corn salsa gives a sweetness as the acidity of the sherry vin gastrique cuts the richness of the crumbed lambs fry.                                                                                                                                        
                   After removing the brains from the sheep skull, I rinsed them thoroughly before trimming any fatty tissue. The brains were then soaked in fresh ewes milk for about an hour, before being coated with cornmeal and shallow fried in pork fat. The crumbed brains were then removed, drained on paper towel and seasoned with salt. To make the salsa, I lightly sauteed some diced peach and corn kernels in some olive oil and seasoned with a little cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. As the peaches just started to leak their juices, I removed the salsa from the stove and allowed it to cool before serving. The vin gastrique was made by gently reducing sherry vinegar and a little sugar until thick and syrupy.

october offerings - ' SHEEPS MILK CURD .'

Fresh Organic Ewes milk Curd served with a spring salad of Garden peas & greens, Asparagus, Green Courgette, Sprigs of Mint and Sage flowers.

                      Its been a while between posts and I do apologise to any followers, there has been quite a bit on my plate recently, so to speak. Not so long ago a local good mate of ours just got his lambs done and came over with some spring offerings. Amongst some quality cuts of grass reared lamb, there was also a whole, skinned sheep head and about 3 quarts of fresh ewes milk. I was a bit taken back by the sheep head at first, but I've always wanted to have a go at pickled lambs tongue. The only thing is I wasn't quite sure what to use to remove the tongue. Immediately when I saw the milk my mind ticked over with thoughts of food pairings for ewes milk yoghurt and milk curd. Sheeps milk, despite not widely drunk in modern culture, has a far more superior protein value and has almost twice the fat content of cows and goats milk. These qualities make sheeps milk perfect for cheese making with some fine examples such as Manchego, Pecorino and Roquefort.                                                                            
                     This milk curd has been made using lemon juice to curdle the milk which imparts a nice faint hint of citrus freshness through the curd. I started by heating some of the ewes milk in a saucepan until just before boiling point, about 87-91 C. The milk was then returned to a gentle low heat before I added some freshly squeezed lemon juice. Stirring to separate the curds and the whey, I then strained the curd through some cheese cloth and forming a ball, I squeezed out any excess whey. To serve a gave the curd a dressing of some macadamia nut oil and seasoning of cracked back pepper. All the vegetables were tossed in olive oil and lemon juice and the plate was garnished with sprigs of mint, olive oil herb and purple sage blossom.

Thursday, 2 October 2014


Antipasto plate of House Brined Kalamata olives, Prosciutto di San Daniele, Marinated artichoke hearts and Persian Feta.

              This little project started a few months ago, back in the middle of june. I was at my favourite grocers ' Fruit Fantasy & Delicatessen' in Stafford when the owner showed me a basket of green olives. They were from her own tree at home and she offered them to me at a price too good to resist $2/kg even though I wasn't quite sure really how to cure them. So I asked and I had received more than enough information to get me on my way. By the time I got round to brining the batch of olives, they had begun to turn colour. So I went back to the shop and consulted with the little old lady and she assured me they were fine, so I bought what she had left which were still green and brined both batches. The prosciutto I used in this antipasto is of the finest quality and is a protected designation of origin. Made in Italy under the strictest of regulation during the growth of the animal and the process of the final product. Only 31 companies have the license and rights to call their prosciutto San Daniele. The feta is a persian style feta packaged in a salted brine from the cheese makers at South Cape.            
             To brine the olives was very easy but you must have patience and a lot of salt. First of all I washed the olives under running water and discarded any bruised or badly blemished olives. I then made holes in each olive by stabbing into the flesh of the olive with a fork, leaving four holes for the oils to seep out and for the brine to penetrate. I then made a brine of half a cup sea salt to 10 cups of water. I placed the olives into a plastic bucket and poured the brine over the olives to cover them completely, using a heavy plate to keep them submerged but at the same time being careful not to create air pockets. I then secured the bucket with a lid and placed the olives into a dark, cool area of the house and covered the bucket with a towel. For the first 2-3 weeks I drained the olives from the brine and prepared a fresh brine daily. After about 3 weeks most of the oil had seeped out and the brine wasn't tainting as frequent. But I never left the same brine in the bucket for more than 3 days at a time. After about 3 months the olives had become plump from taking on the brine and there was no bitter taste any more, they were ready to be marinated. To marinate these olives I used an assortment of green and black olives in a container with olive oil, chilli, orange peel and oregano. This was left to infuse the flavours, covered in the fridge for a week before being served with the accompaniments.