A fter a few months of lockdown, I’m very excited to announce that our restaurant will be back in action very soon. We are coming out of hibernation into a “new normality” with renewed hope and we are busy getting ready to welcome our guests once again. Although things may look a little different than they did before, we’ve taken several steps to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience when you come back and dine with us.
Our enforced break has also given us an opportunity to start again, and dream up some new and exciting dishes, which can only be a good thing and we cannot wait to open our doors on Thursday 6th august.
I’ve also been wandering around the local markets and drooling over some of my favourite summer ingredients like deliciously plump, shiny skinned cherries. They are definitely one the superstars of the markets right now and make great eating.
Fresh cherries are high in energy-giving carbohydrates and are an excellent source of vitamin C. Since ancient times the trees with the sweetest fruit have been selected for cultivation. The Romans are thought to have taken their preferred varieties to Britain when occupying the country in the 1st century AD. In Japan, the cherry-flowering season has been celebrated for centuries, being an important time for religious and secular festivals at which people celebrate the coming of spring.
Sweet cherries have floral and spicy notes and are perfect partners for sour cream, vanilla and lemons. Pureed cherries with lemon verbena, a splash of kirsch and a little balsamic vinegar make a refreshing, chilled soup that can be served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. They also work well with almonds, brandy, coffee and mint.
Chocolate and cherries are a winning combination that found fame and fortune in the sixties and seventies with the much-maligned Black Forest Gateau…pure, sinful bliss.
A big bowl of fresh cherries are also the perfect accompaniment for cheese and help to cut the richness of wild game, duck and Foie Gras. Preserved cherries are normally, horribly sweet and glaceed cherries are possibly one of the most awful ingredients ever invented, so buy them fresh now and enjoy the fantastic flavour on offer in the all too short cherry season.
WHITE CHOCOLATE AND LEMON MOUSSE WITH FRESH CHERRIES
225g white chocolate
3 large eggs
50g icing sugar
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
300g fresh cherries, stoned
Melt the chocolate in a bowl covered with cling film set over a pan of warm water.
Whisk the egg yokes, lemon juice, lemon juice and sugar in another bowl set over simmering water until light and fluffy.
Carefully fold in the melted chocolate and leave to cool.
Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Then fold into the chocolate mixture.
Divide the cherries between 4 glasses and top with the white chocolate mousse.
Leave to set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
GLAZED DUCK BREAST WITH FRESH CHERRIES AND GINGER
4 duck breasts
250g fresh cherries (stoned)
2tspn. Fresh ginger (finely chopped)
For the glaze:
1tspn. Cardamom pods
150ml maple syrup
To make the glaze:
Mix all the spices and toast them lightly in a frying pan. Add the maple syrup and water and bring the boil. Reduce to a thickish syrup and remove from the heat.
Heat a small frying pan and season the duck breasts. Place them skin side down and fry gently until crisp and golden. Turn over the duck breasts and place them on a baking tray.
Using a pastry brush, coat the duck skin with the glaze and roast them in a hot oven (200ºc/gas6) for about 4-5 minutes until just cooked and pink in the middle. Remove from the oven and rest in a warm place for 2-3 minutes.
Place the duck breasts on 4 warm plates.
Heat the cherries in the same frying pan and add the chopped ginger. Pour in the brandy (stand back while the alcohol burns off) season with salt and pepper and spoon over the duck breasts.