November – seasonal ingredients, tastings & more
3rd November 2016
Isn’t this autumn just glorious – we’re so spoilt too with our view from the Cafe that goes across the meadows to the spectacular colours of the trees beyond.
With the frosts we’ll begin to see some of our seasonal veg really come into their own – sprouts and kale for example react to frost by producing sugars, whilst root veg, such as parsnips, carrots and celeriac convert their existing starch to sugars – all makes for tasty sweeter flavours.
Celeriac – often ignored as it looks so ugly but it is a winter wonder and incredibly versatile. Similar to celery but more mellow with a complex, nutty, earthy flavour and highly aromatic. The fine texture works well in a variety of dishes – raw in a crunchy salad – cut in julienne strips or grate and mix with apples, pears or fennel or try Dan’s recipe for remoulade below; boil to make a beautiful smooth purée or mash with carrots; bake for a warming gratin; make with milk into a velvety soup or there’s even an ice-cream recipe! To prepare use a sharp knife to cut away all the roots and skin, you’ll make a mess but it’s the easiest way – splash lemon juice on the flesh or put straight into water or dressing as it colours quickly.
Potatoes – with today’s desire for instant, the humble spud is sadly getting overlooked which is a great shame as they are a wonderful veg – incredibly versatile, delicious and cheap as chips. Nothing beats a plate of buttery mash and perfect roasties, but consider other dishes too – soups; curries; dauphinoise; gratin; with chilli; spiralise and boil for 4 minutes for a salad with ham and pine nuts or a baked spud for a quick mid-week nourishing meal.
Healthy too as naturally fat-free, rich in vitamin C, a source of fibre, potassium, salt free, low in sugar and gluten free. The big maincrop sellers include king Edwards and maris pipers – good all-rounders as well as red-skinned desiree, which are less floury so hold their shape better when cooked. Do look out for heritage varieties too such as the pink fir apple, a long knobbly spud with a superb flavour and waxy smooth texture – just boil, slice and serve with olive oil or butter.
Busy with Tastings for you
5 November – Goupie Chocolates
Have you tried these yummy chocolate confections from Goupie yet – devilishly moreish and chewy – handmade to the Simpson’s family recipe from high quality natural ingredients topped with fine dark Belgian chocolate and cut into distinctive triangular pieces. There are a number of different flavours – hazelnut, ginger, orange, chilli, date & walnut, cherry & almond, white or dark chocolate with lavender – join us for a taste and let us know your favourite.
Called Goupie because that’s what the Simpsons have always called it!
12 November – Panettone
Nick from Tenuta Marmorelle, one of our favourite suppliers of finest Italian products will be giving you the opportunity to taste the luxurious Bosari panettone. Traditionally made with artisan methods, know-how and top quality fresh ingredients – flour, butter, eggs, yeast and candied peel. Beautifully packaged too – the duck-shaped one is particularly eye catching!
18 November – Lilly’s Christmas Puds
New from a small family producer in Essex are these light and fruity award-winning Christmas puds – made with a minimum of 55% juicy fruits, ginger and spices laced in brandy and reduced sugar, they also contain no artificial sweetners, preservatives, mixed peel or chopped nuts and make a tasty and healthier end to the Christmas meal.
The gluten-free version is also deliciously light and fruity too.
20 November – Yaus Sauces
Bonnie’s tasting was so popular that she’s coming back to cook her chow mein noodles for you again and give you an opportunity to taste her authentic Chinese sauces that are not only delicious but full of flavour, made with fresh natural ingredients, no artificial colourings, no MSG and gluten free.
The sauces include Kung Po, Black Bean, Sweet & Sour, Szechuan and Zum – the dipping sauce.
26 November – Turkey
The Lindsell family from Salix Farm, near Saffron Walden has been producing farm fresh turkeys for more than 50 years using traditional methods and high standards of animal welfare. The turkeys, white and bronze, are free range and hand reared producing a succulent and full flavoured bird. A freshly cooked one will be available for you to have a taste.
In the Cafe
Dan and his team in the kitchen are making the most of the seasonal ingredients cooking dishes such as local partridge stuffed with lemon and rosemary, our own beetroot purée, duchess potatoes, greens and carrots, stuffed rabbit wrapped in bacon or rabbit loin en croute served with bubble and squeak . Pheasant and venison dishes will be available soon.
The festive menu which will include a variety of starters – a fish dish, beef and turkey for the mains as well as seasonal desserts – will be available from December; if you’d like to book a table we are now taking reservations.
With the ‘season’ almost upon us once again, we are now:
– taking orders for turkeys, goose, meat, cheeses and hampers – you can find an order form on our website, in the shop or please talk to one of our staff.
-taking reservations in the Cafe for December
-starting to stock an inspiring range of gourmet products, seasonal treats and perfect gift ideas –
Please see our Christmas page which we will regularly update online as more products arrive.
Cheeses of the Month
We have four cheeses of the month for you that carry a 20% discount – look out for the red star:
Rollright –a rich buttery cheese with the nuttiness of a Reblochon, it has a soft paste, tender pinky apricot washed rind and gentle gamey aroma. It is a new cheese made at King Stone Farm, Oxfordshire where the ‘King Stone’ is located – one of the ancient Rollright Stones and a religious and spiritual place for pagans. The farm has a mixed selection of cattle that graze on clover and herb pasture – a large proportion are Swiss Brown, the ancient breed from the Swiss Alps whose milk is ideal for cheese making. Even though it is a new cheese first produced last year, it has already won supreme champion at the Artisan Cheese Awards.
Rob, our Corney & Barrow wine man recommends pairing their Cotes-du-Rhone from Vignobles Gonnet as this style of cheese goes well with slightly peppery wines, such as the Rhone; the violet notes and plummy spice will match the rich buttery notes of the Rollright with good, even lasting concentration on the finish. Heavenly connotations abound!
Vacherin – has an exquisitely soft creamy centre – unlike any other. Best enjoyed when it has been baked for 15 minutes and is gorgeously runny. It’s only made from the winter milk of cows brought down from their pastures in the Jura mountains for the season. The cheese is delicate with an orangey pink washed rind and lingering rich flavour and bound by a band of spruce which permeates the cheese giving it a distinct and pleasant aroma.
Glera is probably one of the most popular grapes in the world, though many people have never heard of it! It is the constituent varietal in Prosecco and offers lovely tempting notes of honeydew melon, green pear & apple. With Vacherin Rob always recommend a sparkler, and preferably an ‘all white’ one so it must be the Corney & Barrow Sylvoz Prosecco from Le Colture; a classic expression, with all the lovely notes present. It goes well with the weight and softness of the cheese, and keeps everything light as well as marrying gentle fruits with an awash richness. One for the brunching parties!
Sparkenhoe Red Leicester is creamy and mellow with a slightly flaky texture and beautifully nutty taste. Made by David and Jo Clarke of the Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Company to an old traditional recipe, it is England’s only unpasteurised Red Leicester. The addition of natural annatto gives the cheese its deep orange-red colour.
Rob suggests the 50/50 Rioja from Belezos Bodegas Zugober to match this cheese – a tremendous example of young Rioja full of luscious red berry fruit and with a handsome amount of acidity, providing lift to the wine. This provides a naturally agreeable pairing with the creamy, mellowness of the Red Leicester and allows for some of the subtleties in the wine to really come to the fore. Rather a straightforward one really!
Kirkhams Lancashire – this is the last farmhouse raw-milk Lancashire in the world and is creamy yellow with a rich creamy ‘buttery crumble’ flavour. The Kirkhams make this traditional cheese using the exceptionally high quality milk from their own Holstein Friesian herd, a two day curd recipe and only a tiny amount of starter culture so the cheese has a rich, yet light and fluffy texture. It is clothbound and matured for 3-6 months and develops an extraordinary complex, yoghurty, fresh acidic flavour.
The Panul Sauvingon Blanc is Rob’s recommendation, though he could equally suggest a Port as well- such is the versatility this cheese lends to pairing options! The zip & panache of the cooler climate Sauvignon’s just add a touch of focus to these creamier cheeses without overbearing them. As a rule its important to strike a balance between assets on either side of the match up, and this Sauvignon is purely straightforward (though exceedingly delicious) which would allow the complexities of the cheese to flourish- a winner!
500 g celeriac
3 tbsp mayonnaise
½ bunch parsley, chopped
½ bunch tarragon, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients except the celeriac.
Peel and quarter the celeriac, then working quickly, coarsely grate it or cut into julienne strips and stir into the sauce until evenly coated.
Serve on toast or as a side dish to smoked fish or charcuterie