The Hole In The Wall, Little Castle Street by Chris Gower

Little Castle St, Exeter EX4 3PX – 01392 437470 – www.hitwexeter.co.uk/

I am in my mid-thirties, despite the beard and the wrinkles which make me look well in to my forties (I’ve stopped playing Guess My Age as it is just depressing) I am thirty-five.  I am old enough to remember Boxes & Boogies Nightclub, The Hothouse, The Thirsty Camel, The Turk’s Head, Mambo… the list goes on.

The Hole In The Wall (THITW) is one of the names that I remember from my youth.  Unlike all of those that I mentioned, this pub is still going strong and is diversifying in the ever changable and turbulent economic environment that we live in.

A couple of years ago THITW suffered a devastating fire that caused extensive damage to the interior.  The owners rebuilt and refurbished, and now the interior feels fresh and lighter than it ever did before.  The pool tables are still there, and punters still come here to drink before heading over to Timepiece or downstairs to the not-so-private Private Cocktail lounge on the ground floor.

In the memories of many Exonians THITW is still a drinking pub, a place to get blotted rather than to grab some food.  But this is going to change after the recent appointment of Ben Corcutt to Head Chef.  Ben has worked for years with Adam Little (Exeter Golf & Country Club) and has now ventured out on his own with a fantastic menu that is going to make THITW a strong contender on the dining scene here in Exeter.

Ben invited us over to play some pool and sample some of the delights of his new offering, a menu inspired by slow-cooking and smokehouses.

The drink offerings are largely the big names.  Estrella, Carlsberg etc.I don’t think the demographic who come here are not overly interested in the Craft’s? although there is a bit more variety through the bottled options, THITW caters for sports fans with matches being shown during tournaments.  But don’t let the fact this pub shows sports put you off.

During our visit the rugby was playing and it was fascinating to see the men, the ball, the running and the throwing and the large periods of inactivity and walking around that happens whilst they decide who had the ball last and where they should throw it from. That’s how it works? Right?… Football is much easier to follow, and there is much more melodrama too

The menu is split in to sections – Lighter Bites, Something Larger, Burgers and of course Pizzas! I went for the Beef Brisket French Dip (£12) and Tori went for The Hole In The Wall Burger (£10).  Both come with a generous portion of skin-on chips.

The first thing that struck us was the generous portion size, the burger was big and thick with lashings of topping.

wp-1488017500809.jpg

The cheese dribbled nicely out of the sides and the bacon was crispy bacon with fresh greens encapsulated in a fresh bun.  The whole combination had a fantastic taste, the meat was well seasoned and juicy.

wp-1488017489134.jpg

With both of our meals there were beautifully cooked chips with no skimping on the amounts.

wp-1488017479184.jpg

The Beef Brisket French Dip came with a lovely large pot of gravy for dipping.  The beef was beautifully tender and well seasoned, combined with the cheese and the freshly baked sub; dipping bread and beef in to gravy has always been a naughty thing I would do after a roast dinner, mopping up the gravy with a bit of left over meat in a sandwich.

The strong taste of the gravy worked wonders with the beautifully tender beef as it soaked in to the fresh bread.

wp-1488017301157.jpg

Now here was an entire meal based on that delightful combination.  And with some lush chips to boot and a pint of Estrella.  Bliss.

wp-1488017336532.jpg

We finished off our meal with a game of pool.  I haven’t played pool in, literally, years and for my first game which I ACTUALLY WON was brilliant.  Then the second game, well, it took us 20 minutes to pot the balls and I expect we did that in the wrong order.  It took me back to my days as a student, strangely I played pool much better if I was drunk.

wp-1488017311709.jpg

wp-1488017306600.jpg

The Hole In The Wall has changed dramatically from my days of youth.  It has an air of sophistication to its look, the interior is light and refreshed and the menu is something to behold.  On food alone I would recommend this place to anyone, on booze then maybe to a certain type of person who didn’t mind the lack of funny craft ales that many pubs seem to have these days.  But this is made up for by the cocktail lounge on the ground floor that we got a sneak peek at before we left (available for private hire and parties by the way…).

Ben’s new menu is a fantastic example of how slow-cooked SHOULD be done.  The fad of slow-cooked meats is frequently replicated but rarely given justice, so to find a place that is doing it properly in Exeter makes me very happy.

ee-recommends_zpsgsj7cdqh.png

Advertisements

URBAN DELIVERY GOES LIVE

urbanburger is launching a new URBAN DELIVERY service in Exeter on Friday, 24th February 2017. Their mission is to deliver high quality food straight to their customers’ homes, by delivery drivers on motor bikes.

byo-monster-of-the-week

Simply download the app at https://urbanburger.app4food.co.uk and place your order for delivery. You can even pre-order a delivery for a specific time. And you can also book a table at urbanburger via the app.

URBAN DELIVERY is available on Fridays and Saturdays, from 5pm to 10pm and on Sundays from 5pm to 9pm.

Areas covered include Exeter City Centre, Exwick, St Thomas, Alphington, St David’s, Duryard & St James, Newtown, Pennsylvania, St Leonards, Mincing Lake & Whipton, Pinhoe, Heavitree, Priory and St Loyes.

Owner, Garth Pearse, says, “We’re very excited about our new URBAN DELIVERY service. As well as our delicious burgers, customers can order a large selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to be delivered straight to their front door.”

All URBAN DELIVERY orders will receive a 10% discount until 31st March 2017.

Seahorse Guest Chefs Big Line-Up For 2017

Every year Mitch Tonks and Mat Prowse, who run the award-winning Seahorse in Dartmouth, invite a few great friends in the restaurant world to cook and host the restaurant with them. This year’s stella line up kicks off with Richard Turner from Hawksmoor followed by Spanish Legend Jose Pizarro, Angela Hartnett & Neil Borthwick, seafood superstar Nathan Outlaw and legendary Tuscan butcher Dario Cecchini.  Dates for further great names including Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver, Mark Hix, Nieves Barragan-Mohaco & TV presenter Matt Tebbut will be announced shortly.

2016-08-06-angela-hartnett-night-030
Mitch Tonks, Angela Hartnett, Mat Prowse

Events this year will start in the newly opened Joe’s Bar at the Seahorse before a fantastic night of food, wine and great spirit. Sommelier Tim McLaughlin-Green will run the room on these evenings matching special wines to every menu. The full line up will be added to our website and bookings can be made direct with the restaurant as they are released.

Mitch Said “The Seahorse has a wonderful spirit and we love having our friends join us and bring their own special magic to the restaurant.  I’m convinced they leave a little of their magic behind which is one of the reasons the room is so special to us and to many of our guests. We all do these events for the enjoyment of it, every one of them is like a dinner party with everyone just chatting away and enjoying great food, wine and great company, what could be better!”

exterior-apex_seahorse_16
The Seahorse, Dartmouth

In addition to these events the Seahorse head chef, Jake Bridgwood, has opened the doors on the last Sunday of each month for lunch with a menu specially created for each one. Aperitivos will be served at 1230 in Joe’s bar followed by lunch at 1 – wonderful family occasions and guests are invited to bring their own wines to enjoy with just £10 corkage.

Full event listings can be found at www.seahorserestaurant.co.uk

Salcombe Brew: Union Street and Sunny Cove by Chris Gower

One of the great things about writing a food blog is trying out artisan local produce and shouting about the amazing things that we produce here in Devon and it appears that Salcombe is becoming a hub of foodie producers with a growing reputation amongst the chattering foodie classes.

A few weeks ago, we were sent a couple of samples from Salcombe Brew after I connected with them on Twitter.  Product reviews are few and far between on Eating Exeter, so I was over the moon when they agreed to send us some samples to try out for ourselves.  I was so taken with the coffee itself that it has taken me a while to finish off the review! So sorry to Salcombe Brew for the time it took, but you guys have really hit the mark.

If you’re already a fan, or want to know more about their blends visit their website http://www.salcombebrew.co.uk 

salcome-brew

I’m not a massive coffee drinker, so I enlisted the help of the Eating Exeter Graphics/Illustration department – aka my better half Tori – to try out some of excellent coffee bags.  We were also sent some Nespresso cups as well which EE Assistant Ed. Lauren who used with them with her machine.

Processed with VSCO with 4 preset

Union Street – We had the chance to try coffee bags of their two varieties and this was my favourite.  A light blend with a nutty nose and a milder taste to the usual blends that we’ve had before. I found it quaffable – it’d be a coffee I could have multiple cups of throughout a morning without that bitterness that you get with some of the more intense blends.

“High grown, high quality coffee beans from Central and South America combine to produce a wonderfully balanced blend that is both satisfying and full of flavour.  Sweetness and maltiness come through well and adding milk develops more caramel and toffee notes.  A perfect brew to be enjoyed anytime of the day to suit your mood.”
http://www.salcombebrew.co.uk/blends

It has a complex taste, especially as it is a blend rather than a single bean, and one that I am quite fond of.  I would agree with the description above that there are definite caramel and toffee notes and for me this was a big attraction.

Tori is a hardcore coffee drinker and although she enjoyed it, she would have left the bag in for longer to increase the strength.  Like me, she loved the nuttiness of the blend which gave it a more-ish-ness (for lack of better words). I like lighter strength coffee so for me this was perfect.

The Union Street felt like more of a morning coffee, something you could sip throughout the day without feeling that you were drinking rocket fuel.

Sunny Cove – Ultimately with coffee bags you can choose how strong you want to have it by how long you steep the bag.  Both brands give you a time on the packet, which is great if you’re not completely au fais with the concept of coffee being in a bag!

coffee-bag

“Sweet, syrupy and nutty with a flora, perfumed aroma.  Notes of peanut butter and butterscotch can develop through espresso as well as sour gooseberry and grape tannins”.
http://www.salcombebrew.co.uk/blends

The Sunny Cove was for me a nice cup of coffee but not my preferred from out of the two.  Although I didn’t get peanut butter or butterscotch notes, it was defintely more floral than the Union Street.  This felt like more of a special coffee you might keep for special occasions, maybe it was a bit stronger?

This blend says to me that it might be enjoyed outside, I could imagine have a french press outside on the balcony reading the Sunday papers.

Salcombe Brew is one of many micro-roasteries across Devon who are producing a vast range of different artisan roasted coffees.  Each product appeals to different coffee drinkers as would wine drinkers prefer different vineyards.

We like Salcombe Brew’s coffee and the fact that they come in Nespresso pods too is a big bonus, Lauren felt that having a local brand as a Nespresso pod was particularly convenient.  They are on the lighter end of the scale for coffee lovers, a quaffable brew perfect for any time of day. 

If you like the sound of Salcombe Brew then you can head over to their online store, using our exclusive discount code RNLI10.  Remember that a percentage of sales of Salcome Brew is donated to the RNLI Salcombe.

Follow Salcombe Brew on Twitter and Facebook

Source Food and Drink Show – by Lauren Heath

Where does time go? I recall fully, last year when my husband Steve attended a nearby trade show, that he said he’d had the best time trying lots of local produce and meeting lots of great people. It was called Source Food and Drink Show, held at Westpoint Showground. “Better than lots of food festivals” he said. So to see what all the fuss was about, I booked a day off work to attend and hoped it would be worthit. And here we were, tickets printed, ready for 2017.

As I write this, a week has flown by already before I’ve even managed to put fingertips to keyboard and we’re in the latter end of February.

I could really write a full walkthrough but you dont want that – you want to hear of some great things we found, don’t you?

Well, the usual suspects, and what lovely suspects they are; Good Game were there in all their glory, a fantastic display with all their charcuterie goods on show. They also own The Pig and Pallet in Topsham, and if  you haven’t been yet – I urge you to go! My first ever review for EE was their breakfast offering, which you can read here. They of course also serve lunch and dinner. I digress…

20170209_110029

Also our foodie mate Eat the Smoke was opposite them – we honestly go through a bottle or two of his BBQ sauce a month, it’s astounding – get some if you havent already! His smokin’ 10 Q&A & product review can be found here.

Ebb Tides, who harvest seaweed and were also a ‘victim’ of our 10 Q&A were in the newbie bit, enjoying some great exposure. Tony has another new product on the market, and his seaweed in bags and in grinders are so very easy to use for dips, marinades and extra oomph to flavour and your diet..

We enjoyed cider from both Somerset based Sheppy’s and Honiton based Norcotts, ales from Dartmoor Brewery, whose Jail Ale we love, and family owned Black Tor Brewery (who occassionally do a lovely porter) – ‘mummy’ Black Tor must be commended, she was helping out on the day and was really delightful to talk to, very proud of the business and such a welcoming smile.

Koppert Cress were very interesting – we tasted lots of their herbs and plants; local business contact but items grown in Norway I believe. He gave us a layered handful of selected items which we rolled up and ate as a whole – dubbed Vegetarian Oyster, and boy was it seashore flavoured!

We saw 2016 South West Chef, Jamie Coleman, cook up some delights in the kitchen.

img_-70y69o

We stumbled across Chococo owner Claire and manageress Michelle having a wander round, and Michelle indulged in some insect eating with my husband Steve (who now has his own product blog Chilli Head Chef). On the count of 5 this ‘up for it’ duo downed a handful of Cornish Edible Insects with gusto.

20170209_150931

We enjoyed some further charcuterie delights from Ottery St Mary’s The Rusty Pig and ended our day with a fantastic coffee from Steve of Exe Coffee Roasters who produces his own coffee for sale for trade and home use as well as enjoying in his coffee shop.

Of course this show is a trade show after all and is intended for buyers to come along and find new products to stock or use in their outlets.  So many fantastic stands haven’t been mentioned who fed us something or other including fudge, chilli sauces, ethical pony meat, seafood, ice creams, pasties and so on.

We’re very lucky here in the South West to have such amazing variety of produce as well as the people behind these businesses.  Well done to the Hale Events and main sponsor Taste of the West for a fantastic show, it really is one of the best we have attended.

I can’t wait to attend next year!

 

An evening of fire and meat with Dean Forge at Pipers Farm

The perfect duo, Dean Forge and Pipers Farm recently hosted an evening full of meat and fire in the rustic event space at Pipers Farm, in the heart if the Devon countryside. Local bloggers and journalists came together to experience the full capabilities of some of stove manufacturers, Dean Forge’s most popular products, the Dartmoor Baker and their large fire pit.

Guests gathered around the fire pit to warm up as Pipers Farm owner, Peter Grieg cooked chicken wings, pancetta, beef and a tray of root vegetables over the hot coals. Inside, seated on hay bales, the group marvelled at the quirky Dartmoor Baker, which slowly cooked a full chicken and a tray of sausages in its integrated oven.

Simon Chew, director of Dean Forge, followed dinner with the lowdown on Dean Forge, fielding questions from guests, in awe of the Dartmoor Baker – a woodburner with an oven!

For more information, visit deanforge.co.uk or call the showroom on 01364 643 57

 

The First Bierkellar Exeter Party

The moment everyone in Exeter has been waiting for, the highly anticipated BierKeller is now open and the pre-launch party well and truly set the pace! The invite-only event saw hundreds of Exeter locals come together for an exclusive first look at Exeter’s first Bavarian bar.

The drinks were flowing and the resident Oompah band, the Bavarian Strollers helped to create a fun-filled atmosphere.

The band entertained the crowd, encouraging revellers to take their dancing up on to the thick wooden tables and dishing out free drinks to those willing to get involved! As well as traditional Bavarian music, the band played plenty of modern tunes with a little twist.

The BierKeller team were dressed for the occasion, clad in traditional Lederhosen but it wasn’t just them; a few enthusiastic party people donned the Apres ski wear and lederhosen in pursuit of the promised half priced steins.

BierKeller is all about having fun and if the pre-launch party is anything to go by, that’s exactly what it will be.

 

Eating Exeter visits the Crediton Coffee Company by Chris Gower

Our part of the world is full of fantastic artisan producers who are all doing fabulous things with food and drink.  I live on the north-west side of Exeter, in fact it is easier to go shopping in Crediton than trudge across the city in search of a supermarket.

But when we’re not food shopping or visiting for another reason, it is easy to ignore the fact that the centre of this Mid-Devon town is home to awesome independent foodie businesses like Vagabonds Milkshakes, Bamboa Restaurant, Treloar’s Deli and The Crediton Coffee Company.

The Crediton Coffee Company is located on Market Street just off the main High St.  I’ve been dying to visit and had some time off, so decided to pop over and have a squidge at what they do best.

They’ve been going since 2011, being one of the first in-store roasters to open in the UK, they had to overcome a whole heap of obstacles to comply with the various air regulations, but the pioneering use of air filters and a small-scale roaster serves as a testament to their journey so far.



Crediton Coffee Company produce six varieties of coffee using single origin beans which is sold to farm shops, cafes and online customers as well as through their funky cafe.

When we visited, they were having a roasting and grinding day.  The smell was intoxicating, even to a natural tea drinker like myself.  Tori said she had to resist the temptation to walk back outside and come back in again as she was so taken with the gorgeous smell of coffee.

I have to admit that I am not a big coffee drinker, but my resident coffee-head said that the coffee was lovely and we shall definitely be visiting again.

It was great to talk to owner/roaster Dan who gave us a really good viewpoint on the business.  I hope that this exquisite business doesn’t suffer too much from the Costa that is due to open on Crediton High Street, because after all that is exactly what every small town needs…another bland big-chain coffee shop.

The hunt is on for MasterChef Giftcard ‘Artisans’ to be part of their Artisan Network

Search for UK’s independent and passionate food and drink retailers

The hunt is on to find the UK’s very best independent food and drink retailers.

Are you a micro-brewer that serves belting beers? Or a buzzing bakery with flour-power? Does your deli delight?

Maybe your farm-shop is ace at organic and ethically produced meat? Or your passion is producing vibrant veg?

A new MasterChef Gift Card is launching in spring 2017. It will enable people to purchase the very best food and drink from an “Artisan Network” of outstanding independent retailers.

Jenny Goddard from MasterChef Gift Card, said: “We are thrilled to launch what will be the ultimate foodie gift card of 2017. A present that can be given to loved ones who love irresistible independent food and drink.

“This will be the only major gift card in the UK dedicated to independent food and drink retailers. The MasterChef Gift Card is all about homegrown and independent quality.

“We want interested independent producers to get in touch via our website. The MasterChef Gift Card will drive business to the very best craft producers across the UK while also encouraging people to choose the finest food and drink.”

Retailers have until 10 March 2017 to register their interest at www.masterchefgiftcard.co.uk

To be part of the Artisan Network, retailers must:

*Be independent
*Strive to be the very best in their chosen field
*Produce or Retail the finest food and drink
*Source homegrown ingredients and materials
*Have a good online presence in the marketplace or a physical shop

If a retailer is successful, their goods will have a presence on the MasterChef Gift Card Artisan Network online shop, or they will accept gift cards in their physical shops, opening them up to a whole new national audience.

Jenny Goddard added: “We also want to raise the profile of quality independent producers and introduce them to a wider customer audience. All retailers which become part of the Artisan Network will receive MasterChef Gift Card marketing materials to display as well as be showcased on our web and social media channels.”

Portraits of British Beef

Lauren and myself absolutely love Nick’s photography. His latest shoot is eye wateringly mouth-watering!

nick hook photography

The cow goes moo, it’s a fundamental truth.

At an early age we are taught to copy their call, draw them grazing in scribbled crayon fields and made very aware that Old McDonald had them on his farm. For the long time, I had a serious intolerance to milk as a child. Who knew I was such an intolerant kid? What had they ever done to me? But, I suppose that’s the thing about tolerance, it is forged by taking the time to understand something. By digesting it and allowing something new to become welcome. So, I figure I have a lot of making up to do, for the milk & cheese snubbing boy I once was.  Moo cows are very important to me. That’s the technical name for them, Moo Cows (ask David Attenborough, he’ll confirm it). They deserve our respect through all hoof steps of the bovine journeys.

View original post 148 more words

Tonks crafts new beer to celebrate England’s Seafood Coast

Mitch Tonks and his Rockfish restaurants are at the heart of bringing to a life the vision of England’s Seafood Coast. The vision was simple, that in Devon, we have the best fish in the world caught off this coastline and that Torbay is the firm capital of this Seafood coast with best fishing port in the country central to it, at Brixham. The vision has been supported by English Riviera tourism and Visit England who have pledged funding and launched a project to help establish and kick off this major project.

As part of the vision Mitch has created a craft beer called the “Seafood Coast Ale” to celebrate all that is great about the coast. It has been developed by Mitch with local brewer Tom Maderious at his new brewery, Salcombe Brewery, which overlooks the sea. The beer contains citra, chinook, Amarillo and challenger hops along with Devon spring water. Mitch describes it as the perfect thirst quencher and just hoppy enough to really bring out the best in plate of the amazing seafood available here.

Mitch Tonks commented “I’ve always wanted a beer of our own and I really believe in the vision for establishing England’s Seafood Coast as a destination. When you get to Devon the first thing you need is an ice-cold beer before a plate of the finest local seafood in the world overlooking some of the most wonderful views in the world, you put all that together and you can’t help feeling good about life! It is great to be working with local breweries, local fishermen and the local tourism industry to make the Seafood Coast vision take shape.”

https://www.therockfish.co.uk/

 

 

Food & Drink Devon Awards 2017 Launched

Entries are now open for the prestigious Food & Drink Devon Awards 2017, following 2016’s record-breaking year. These awards celebrate the very best Devon has to offer by recognising the county’s most respected, influential and passionate artisan food and drink producers and establishments.

The awards, currently in their seventh year, continue to grow with 2016 recording the highest number of entries to date as well as boasting a glittering sell out awards evening. Last year the judges tasted 200 of the finest products and visited dozens of establishments across Devon to select the pick of the crop for a shortlist of just 60.

Barbara King, a proud champion of Devon’s producers and chair of the board of directors for Food & Drink Devon, comments: “Devon continues to create a name for itself as a must visit food and drink destination. We are privileged to have so many dynamic and innovative local producers and purveyors and these awards give us the chance to recognise their success and contributions to this vibrant industry. Last year saw the number and standard of entries go through the roof and we’re expecting even greater things this year.”

barbara-king
Barbara King

The awards cover a broad spectrum of categories across the Devon food and drink scene. The Retail awards on offer include ‘Best Producer’, ‘Best Packaging’, ‘Best Retailer’ and ‘Best Online Retailer’. Whilst the Hospitality sector is also acknowledged with a number of highly sought after awards including ‘Best Fine Dining Restaurant’, ‘Best Hotel Restaurant’, ‘Best Restaurant’, ‘Best Bistro’ and ‘Best Takeaway’. This year, to reflect the growth of some key areas within the industry, we have added three new categories, ‘Best Street Food’, ‘Best Farmers’ Market’ and ‘Best Cookery School’.

Luscombe Drinks is sponsoring the restaurant categories and has done so since the awards first launched. Founder and owner of this leading Devon organic soft drinks company, Gabriel David, says:  “Since the inception of the Awards, Luscombe Drinks have been key sponsors.  Food & Drink Devon’s profile has grown enormously since and these Awards are seen as a champion of great taste and service in Devon, attracting a national audience. We are very pleased to sponsor again in 2017.”

mostly-devon-apple

Closing date for entries is Friday 21st April. Judging will be carried out by a panel of experts, including a number of celebrated names from the industry, and will take place over the following three months. All entrants will be able to benefit from invaluable product feedback provided by the panel. The winners will be invited to collect their awards at a dazzling black tie ceremony in October.

Kind sponsors of this year’s Awards include Luscombe Drinks, Stephens Scown Solicitors, Peplows Accountants, RAW PR & Marketing, Thornes Farm Shop, InkREADible Labels, Hedgerow Print, Black & White Asset Finance and Taste Buds magazine.

nigel-barden-bbc-radio-2
Nigel Barden, BBC Radio 2

Food & Drink Devon works tirelessly to increase the county’s profile, both nationally and internationally.  Food & Drink Devon – ‘Love the Flavour’ represents a membership of like-minded businesses, dedicated to providing good quality local food and drink.  The Food & Drink Devon association is committed to continuously achieving its mission – to make ‘Love the Flavour’ a nationally recognised brand for outstanding sustainable food and drink.

For more information on Food & Drink Devon please visit www.foodanddrinkdevon.co.uk  and follow @lovetheflavour on Twitter.  For further information about the Awards or to enter please contact Ali Neagle on 07789 666064 or email awards@foodanddrinkdevon.co.uk.

Main Award Categories

  • Devon Producer Taste Awards– for individual items produced by primary and secondary producers.
  • Overall best Devon Producer Award– for primary and secondary producers.
  • Devon Producer Packaging Award– for primary and secondary producers.
  • Taste of Devon Hospitality– for restaurants, cafés, bistros, pubs and street food.
  • Devon Retailer– for farm shops, delis, food halls, other food shops and online retailers.
  • Best Farmers Market– open to all Farmers Markets across Devon.
  • Best Cookery School – open to all Cookery School across Devon.

British Leeks are in Season: Beef Wellington with Leek Mousseline Recipe Review – by Lauren Heath

Once again, thanks to the power of the internet, I randomly came across British Leeks’ mission of trying to get more people cooking and eating leeks.

At their best from November to April, these winter veggies are in season right now and can be used in a whole host of ways, kept fairly crunchy or cooked right down. A good choice during the ‘vegetable shortage’ the shops are claiming is upon. If you can, remember to buy local and seasonal, and you’ll find plenty of veg in abundance.

They have quite a host of inspiring recipes on their website including Leek and Butterbean Soup, Pan Roasted Chicken with Leeks, Cider and Chorizo and even Hot Smoked Salmon and Leek Chowder to name just a few.

I eventually settled on one of my favouritre meals –  Beef Wellington. Yes it’s not strictly a fully fledged leek-based recipe, but instead of the usual mushroom duxelle or pâté coating, it contains leeks and horseradish which sounded great. So the lovely people at British Leeks kindly sent me some goodies to knock up a fabulous meal for myself and some guests! I am generally more of a freestyle cook, so it was good to have some inspiration, and I usually have wellington made for me so for once I was going to make it; to add to my pressure, I was cooking this straight after work on a Friday evening and for some foodie guests.

Here’s the recipe, with my some of my own tips below it:

Individual Beef Wellington with Leek Mousseline

Prime fillet of beef topped with a leek and horseradish mousseline, wrapped in Parma ham and puff pastry. This is a special occasion dish and an ideal choice for the festive table.

Serves 4 – Prep 30 minutes – Cook 15 – 20 mins – Oven Temp 220ºC / Gas Mark 7

Ingredients

500g Leeks, finely chopped
1 Bay leaf
25g Butter
4x 15ml tbsp Water
2 x 15ml tbsp Creamed horseradish
Generous pinch Ground black pepper

4 Slices Parma ham
500g Tail end fillet of beef
500g Puff pastry
1 Egg for glazing

Method:

Gently sweat the shredded leek and bay leaf in the butter for about 5 minutes to soften. Add the water, cover and cook gently for a further 2 — 3 minutes. Stir in the horseradish and pepper and whiz in a processor until smooth. Set aside until cold.

c360_2017-02-04-14-48-52-912

Divide beef fillet into 4 even pieces. Spread the cooled leek mixture onto the Parma ham slices and wrap one around each beef fillet.

Divide pastry into four. Roll each out into an oblong about 2 times the size of the beef fillet. Brush with egg glaze and bring pastry up over the beef and seal neatly into a parcel. Place sealed side downwards onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Chill for 30 minutes. Cook 15 – 20 mins – Oven Temp 220ºC / Gas Mark 7

It is a fairly simple yet indulgent meal to make actually, and whilst the leeks are sweating down you can cut your beef, sear it, and roll your pastry out (searing seals in the juices). To speed up the cooling of the leek mixture, I popped it into the freezer for 10 minutes or so. Make sure your pastry isn’t too warm as when you are sealing up the wellington, it can ‘melt’ and slide off a bit. If this happens to you, cut a slither of the pastry from the edges and use as a glue/join on top. I also laid the parma ham and leek mixture onto the pastry then folded over the meat.

c360_2017-02-04-14-51-04-270

It was absolutely delicious and I was so pleased! Definitely give it a go for a Valentine’s meal this February, or for a treat with friends. You could prepare this the day before, and keep it in the fridge ready to cook; just bring it out to room temperature before cooking in the oven.  I managed to make it within an hour of getting home and guests arriving.

The leeks and the horsereadish gave a lovely sweet and tangy flvour together. I loved it and I don’t eat horseradish (apparently I do now)!

British Leeks – Healthy Facts

The Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptions valued leeks for their therapeutic properties and Roman Emperor Nero ate large quantities to improve his voice. From soothing sore throats to helping keep gout and kidney stones at bay, leeks are packed full of health benefits and are commonly used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Easier to digest than onions, leeks have laxative, antiseptic, diuretic and anti-arthritic properties.  And, if eaten regularly, here are some of the ways leeks can help you to stay healthy:

Efficient functioning of the kidneys

Containing the equivalent of one eighth of an adult’s daily potassium requirement, leeks encourage the efficient functioning of kidneys and are effective as a diuretic.

Leeks for a healthy heart

Eating lots of leeks has been shown to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol – and at the same time increase levels of ‘good’ cholesterol.  This is important for preventing the build up of blood vessel plaques that are found in some types of heart disease.  If the plaques grow too large or rupture, they can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Allium vegetables including leeks can also help to lower high blood pressure – another factor that can contribute to heart attacks and strokes.

Leeks for combating cancer

Research has shown that eating leeks regularly can help protect against cancer, particularly, prostate, colon and stomach cancer.  Quercetin, an antioxidant present in the Allium family, is recognised as a cancer-blocking compound.

Leeks for stabilising blood sugar

Leeks are a very good source of manganese and vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate and iron.  These nutrients all work together in the body to stabilise blood sugar by slowing down the absorption of sugars from the intestinal tract.

 Leeks for expectant mothers

Leeks are a good source of the B vitamin folate, containing between 15% and 49% of the RNI for an adult.  Folate is important for pregnant women as it can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida.   One portion of cooked leeks contains almost a third of an adult’s recommended daily intake.

Leeks for a healthy diet

Leeks are a great choice for those following a healthy diet as they are very low in calories and packed full of vitamins and minerals.

An average serving of leeks (80g or 1 leek) contains:

  • 17 calories
  • 1g protein
  • 0.6g fat
  • 2.1g carbohydrate
  • 1.4g fibre

Leeks are also a good source of Iron, Vitamin C and Folate.

Get cooking, in season and it’s good for you!

You can follow British Leeks on Twitter and Facebook

Guest Chef Days Announced at Manna From Devon Cooking School

Manna from Devon Cooking School is delighted to announce the dates for the 2017 Guest Chef Classes: a series of celebrity chefs and foodie experts will be running classes at the school from March until September.

These guest days only pop up once a month and usually book up pretty quickly, a true reflection on the talent and reputation of each chef. This year’s Guest Chef classes are being hosted by Peter Greig of Pipers Farm, Mitch Tonks of Rockfish and The Seahorse, Romy Gill MBE from Romy’s Kitchen and food writer Charlotte Pike with another two hosts in the pipeline.

David, co-owner of Manna from Devon comments on the Guest Chef programme: “Holly and I are really excited to confirm we’ve got some of our best foodie friends joining us in 2017- we hope you can join us too! It’s important for us to involve other chefs and experts here at Manna from Devon, as we’re all about the community aspect of cooking; connecting lots of people through food and drawing on the array of amazing chefs and talent in the area.”

Peter masterminds Pipers Farm in Cullompton and he and his team produce the most amazing meats, raising their animals from birth and selling them through their own butchery and online shop. Peter will be bringing one of his lamb carcasses to butcher on Saturday 11th March and will be cooking up some of his fabulous meats in the wood fired ovens as well as discussing the Pipers Farm way of farming and how important it is to him; a true expert in his field.

peter-greig
Peter Grieg

Mitch Tonks is an old friend of David and Holly’s. His knowledge and passion for fish and the fishing industry is inspiring and his fish dishes are truly delicious. As well as his chain of Rockfish restaurants in South Devon he runs The Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth so Manna from Devon are delighted to have him hosting what will be a fabulously convivial day of some outstanding fish and seafood recipes on Friday 7th April.

mitch-tonks
Mitch Tonks

Romy Gill MBE will be hosting her class on Sunday 7th May and will be cooking some of her amazing Indian food from her restaurant, Romy’s Kitchen – traditional flavours with a light and contemporary twist. David and Holly have been friends with Romy for a long time and love hearing her tell our guests stories of growing up in India and her determination to open her restaurant in Thornbury, just outside of Bristol. If you like Indian cooking, this is a day not to be missed.

romy-gill
Romy Gill

Food writer Charlotte Pike will be joining David and Holly at the school on Sunday 4th June – passionate about smoking food, she will be creating some amazing dishes, passing on lots of tips and discussing how the enthusiasm for this kind of cooking is growing. David and Holly discovered “low & slow” smoking on their road trip in America so are keen to compare notes with Charlotte.

charlotte-pike
Charlotte Pike

Classes will take place at Manna from Devon Cooking School in Kingswear and run from 10am – 4pm. All are limited to just 12 students and cost £175 per person.

To book one of the Guest Chef Classes visit http://www.mannafromdevon.com/cookery-courses/guest-chefs/ or call 01803 752943.

Follow Manna from Devon on:

Twitter (@mannafromdevon)

Facebook (facebook.com/mannafromdevon)

Instagram (mannafdevon)

Experience Valentine’s Day at South Sands Hotel

Salcombe’s South Sands Hotel is offering guests an exclusive dinner experience this Valentine’s Day as Head Chef Allister Bishop has prepared a romantic six course feast for lovers on this special night. Wherever possible, Allister uses local ingredients and integrates foraged food as demonstrated in this mouthwatering menu:

Beetroot soup

Liquorice & peppermint cured salmon, liquorice gel, soft herbs
or
Heritage tomato textures, Devon goat’s cheese mousse

Steamed local lemon sole fillet, hazelnut crust, wilted baby spinach
or
Sautéed gurnard, salsify purée, sprouting broccoli

8 hour slow cooked Dartmoor reared beef cheeks, heritage carrots & purée, soft mash
or
Pan fried guinea fowl, red quinoa, roasted shallot purée, grilled baby leeks

Sharing chocolate assiette plate
or
Oven roasted compressed rum scented pineapple tart tatin, lemon grass ice cream

or
Selection of West Country cheeses

gurnard

Encouraged by the knowing lure of fresh beach side produce and divine country living, Allister brings with him decades of experience having been based in London, working at some of the most reputable establishments the city has to offer – Harrods, Le Meridien and Hilton to name but a few.

Head chef Allister Bishop comments on the Valentines menu: “We look forward to welcoming our Valentine’s diners who are looking for something extra special – not just with the tasting menu but also with the wine, cocktails and surroundings. Wherever possible at South Sands we use local ingredients and integrate foraged food into both the food and the drinks menu. We’ve tried to create a sensational and ultimately romantic dining experience combined with the unparalleled views overlooking the Salcombe Estuary.”

The Valetine’s Dinner menu is complimented by a wine flight curated by sommelier Richard Coulson who recently joined the hotel from Gidleigh Park bringing with him 24 years of knowledge of the wine business.

Bar Manager Will Neal has created two Valentines cocktails, both are based on a warming and seasonal blend of white rum and honey with a sparkling splash of Lyme Bay Brut. The ‘Stupid Cupid’ includes beetroot powder and a touch of lemon juice and ‘Cold Black Heart’ incorporates activated charcoal.

The team are also hosting a South Sands Lunch Club from Monday to Saturday, 12-14.30, offering two courses for £14.95 or three courses for £19.95. This ends March 31st so don’t miss out on this sumptuous Winter treat!

The Valentine’s Day Dinner costs £65 pp or £95 pp with wine pairing and is bookable here or by calling 01548 845 900.

Whether it’s a first-rate dining experience, a romantic escape, a wedding or a corporate event space required, South Sands Hotel is the destination to treat your loved ones in 2017. Doubles cost from £170.