PECKHAM RHUBARB JAM

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Rhubarb is a joy to make jam with, but it’s tartness and tendency to be watery when boiled means you need to do a 50/50 mix of fruit to sugar. This means you can end up with a very sweet jam. There are a few ways around this. Add a bit of ginger, whose heat distracts from the sugar, or add lemon juice at the end of making the jam. In this case add grapefruit whose bitter-sweetness balances the sugar beautifully. This recipe is a part jam, part marmalade.

This rhubarb comes from the back garden of my house in Peckham. The rhubarb crown is in it’s third year and really flourishes against the brick wall at the bottom of the garden.

Ingredients

2kg Rhubarb, picked, washed and chopped

2kg jam sugar

1 white grapefruit

4 lemons, juiced

Method

Mix the rhubarb with sugar and leave till all the sugar has dissolved into a lovely thick syrup around the rhubarb. Takes about 2 hours.

Put the whole grapefruit into a pan of boiling water and boil for around 1 hour, till the skin of the grapefruit just begins to split. Remove from the water, scoop the flesh and roughly chop discarding pips. Thinly slice the skin.

Boil the rhubarb and sugar mix with the cut grapefruit in a large pan as vigorously and rapidly as you can – but watch out for it boiling over the side. Make sure you stir from time to time, and after 20 minutes keep a very close eye – it has a tendency to stick to the pan. Test for the setting point by putting a small blob of jam on a cold plate – when the jam ripples when pushed with a finger, add the lemon juice.

Pour the hot jam into sterilised jars and seal straight away. Let settle for a couple of weeks and then tuck in.

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Gammon, baked Tunworth and bitter leaf salad

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This is the main course for the new seasons British Isle cheese menu. Lets not dress it up to something it’s not. Basically it is a ploughman’s but with knobs on. It is just an utterly joyful board of food.

The ham: a smoked gammon boiled and glazed with a rhubarb and grapefruit marmalade

The cheese: the soft blooming rind Tunworth cheese at the point of maturity that it begins to release its poignant notes that we have baked with a little white wine till it begins to ooze.

The salad: Bitter italian treviso leaves, wild garlic, shredded endive and cress with a light mustard dressing

The chutney: Actually it is the rhubarb and grapefruit marmalade served in a pot, but the bitter sweetness rides the poignancy of the tunworth

Crouton: simply there to scoop up the bits.

Fondue with La Fromagerie

We are really fortunate to be supplied French cheeses by the lovely people at La Fromagerie on Moxon St in Marylebone. They are the only north of the river supplier we use, but whist they are the furthest from us they are the nearest we have to some of the greatest regional cheeses of France and Switzerland. Pat and Sarah have also been huge influences on us in how and why the relentless search for good food is as important as breathing. Go to their cheese room and learn about food, culture, joy and pleasure.

In January and February, to warm our souls,  we have turned to the High Mountains of the Alps, with the heart warming melted cheese and wine warmed and served in a fondue pot. Below is the La Fromagerie recipe that we have used on our Fondue evenings at the bar

Ingredients

400g Emmental de Savoie

300g Comte d’Estive

300g La Cousin

Half a Reblouchon ( rind removed)

1 clove garlic

1 bottle dry white wine

freshly ground pepper

25ml kirsch

method

Grate the cheese and ensure is at room temperature before cooking. Rub the garlic over the inside of a heavy bottom pan. Pour 1 glass of wine into the pan and bring it up to bubbling point. Lower the heat and then slowly add the cheese bit by bit and keep stirring ( hold the reblouchon back). When all the cheese has been added and melted together . add the reblouchon, stir in the pepper and pour into your heated fondue set. To serve, pour kirsch over the cheese and serve with boiled potato, baguette and or broccoli.

Cornish Sardines and Gremolata

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Sourcing fish in February fish can be tricky and patchy. When the day boars  we buy from get through the storms and high seas, we get beautiful south coast fish out of Newlyn and Penzance. So when we do get it to the kitchen simple is the word.

Gremolata is that simple combination of raw garlic, parsley and lemon zest that bring out the mineral flavour of the fish. We grill the fish so its flesh is crispy and has a slight bitter flavour.

(photograph by Gareth Sambidge Photography)

Glorious Parmesan

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This is  the 2 year old unpasturized Parmesan that we get from the Ham and cheese Company in Bermondsey.They have found the cheese after various trips and relentless searching  in and around the Parma Apennines.

This is terroir at it’s keenness.Romantic i know, but the sweet, nutty flavour of the cheese with mild lactic sourness and hints of herb has a link to the herd of Swiss Brown Cows with their rich fatty milk, the 2 generations of farmer/ cheese maker who only makes 3 to 4 wheels a week. Their knowledge and know how of  growing the crops to feed the cows, to look at the milk every day, to  slightly tweak their method of making the cheese, to then allowing the 2 years to let the cheese do its thing is all there.

We serve this parmesan with an Italian mountain truffle honey and rye bread. It just makes you smile.

You will find The Ham and Cheese Company at Spa Terminus in Bermondsey.on Saturdays. http://thehamandcheeseco.com

( photography Gareth Sambidge Photography)

Roast Cauliflower & Stichleton Soup

Soup is the saviour of these winter months. With abit  of work, it is also a good way to get to serve vegetarian food with rounded gutsy flavours.

The trick i was shown to me by Martin Lam when i worked in his  at his Battersea restaurant Ransoms Dock, was to sweat/ roast all the vegetables before adding the liquor. And merely bring the liquor to a summer for a few minutes before blitzing or passing.

INGREDIENTS 

150g brown onions, peeled

200g celery , chopped

10g garlic, peeled and sliced

125g potato, washed and cubed

20g butter

1kg cauliflower, cut into florets

20g vegetable oil

1 lt milk

1 bay leaf

75ml double cream

seasoning and watering to thin down the soup

METHOD

1. Sweat the onion, celery, garlic and potato in butter.Do over a low flame, lid on and don’t allow to colour but are soften and becoming sticky

2. Roll the cauliflower in the oil, cover in foil and roast in an oven 160c for 30min. Again, do not allow to colour.

3. Add the milk  and bay leaf to the vegetables. Bring to the boil and then add the cauliflower and cream, and bring back to the boil.

4. Pull off the boil. remove the bay leaf and pass through a potato ricer. Season with salt and pepper and thin down with water to the consistency  your require,

We serve this with small dice of stichelton ( or another English blue cheese) and croutons for abit of crunch..