1. Five Great British Chefs recommend their favourite pork suppliers

    Britain is a nation of pork lovers; from a gourmet ham hock terrine to a humble pork pie - we love to cook and eat the meat. Yet, as Isaac wrote on this very blog just a few weeks ago, the British pork industry is under threat: farms are closing in their dozens, forcing sows to slaughter and farmers out of work. This is the time to stand up for our pig farmers.

    Paul Foster recommends using Dingley Dell pork for this sumptuous pork pie recipe

    With the help of some Great British Chefs, I have scoured the country to find some of their Great British Pork suppliers and discovered what makes each of them so great.

    Paul Foster’s choice: Dingley Dell Farm (Suffolk)

    The name of Dingley Dell will be familiar to many pork connoisseurs. The original farm is located in Suffolk and is owned and managed by two farmers, Mark and Paul Hayward. The success of Dingley Dell pork products - whether it be their ham, bacon, sausages or several of cuts pork - has allowed the two brothers to oversee the production of Dingley Dell pork on two more farms across Suffolk.

    The pigs are reared outdoors and are free to roam, with the farmers adopting a ‘happy pig, happy customer’ approach to pork production - the farm has been a member of the RSPCA’s Freedom Food Scheme for over 10 years. The farm now supplies to butchers, caterers and high-end chefs like Paul Foster.

    What Paul Foster says:

    Dingley Dell is my favourite local pork; the meat has a fantastic flavour and is welfare friendly. My preferred cut is the neck, which I cure and cook very slowly like pork belly.’

    Take a look at Dingley Dell’s website for more information on their award-winning pork, where you can buy the pork and the ‘Dingley Dell song’…

    Shaun Rankin’s choice: Brooklands Farm (Jersey)

    Ham hock, split yellow pea and barley soup - Shaun Rankin

    When it comes to farming, sometimes the smaller operations are the best. Rearing rare and sadly declining British breeds like Black Pig, Saddleback and Oxford Sandy, Brooklands Farm has won many admirers in Jersey. Husband and wife team, Jon and Jenny Hackett oversee production but are relaxed about the pig’s being free to wander and as they say on their website, ‘do all things piggy’.

    The farm’s products include pork pies, Green back bacon and all the pork cuts possible. It is easy to see why local chef Shaun Rankin is such a fan.

    What Shaun Rankin says:

    ‘I use a great local pork farmer, Jon Hackett. I always try to choose Jersey food producers as much as possible and Jon offers a wide range of quality products. I know that their animals have led a natural, happy and healthy life on their farm in Jersey.’

    Read more about Brooklands Farm on their website, where you’ll find out how you can adopt a piglet for Christmas!

    William Drabble’s choice: Cornvale Fine Foods (Lune Valley)

    Cornvale Fine Foods sources from a handpicked selection of farms across the Lune Valley region of Lancashire rather than being a farm itself. Nonetheless, its credentials are undoubted among restaurateurs and customer base. Cornvale is renowned for the exacting standards all of its farmers keep to and has supplied good quality pork and meat for over 30 years.

    What William Drabble says:

    I have built a very strong relationship with Cornvale over the years; what I like about them is obviously the outstanding quality of their products, the consistency and their personal approach. They know exactly what I want and how I like the pork butchered. I have created my own unique sausage recipe for them and they produce it specifically for my kitchen, along with the black pudding. They even slice the bacon according to my instructions, just for our guests, at St. James’s Hotel and Club.’

    Read more about Cornvale on its website, where it offers intriguing sausages of black pudding and haggis!

    Mark Dodson’s choice: Heal Farm (Devon)

    Roulade of pork belly, braised red cabbage and apple compote - Mark Dodson

    Heal Farm used to be Devon’s best kept secret. After being championed on BBC’s Great British Food Revival by Tom Kerridge, however, it is hard to see that this will remain the case.

    The farm was set up in the 70’s by farmer, Anne Petch. As Anne says herself, this was a time before provenance and sustainable farming were even of consideration and therefore Heal Farm, with its avowal not to farm intensively and to keep livestock in good conditions, is a real trailblazer of UK farming.

    Heal Farm has won many accolades and supplies to many restaurants (and people) in Devon and beyond.

    What Mark Dodson says:

    We buy our pork from Heal Farm and they buy from 3 farms around Taunton, these are traditional farms and are non-intensive, in the summer the pork can also come from Winkleigh. The pigs will be typically 18-20 weeks old when locally slaughtered. We look for high quality, high animal welfare and a local product.’

    Peruse Heal Farm’s online shop (which offers Sunday roasts for a tenner and cider cooked ham) or follow the farm on Twitter - @healfarm.

    Galton Blackiston’s choice: The Fruit Pig Company (East Anglia)

    Ham Hock Terrine by Galton Blackiston

    The Fruit Pig Company concentrate only on supplying pork and source from a number sustainably run farms in East Anglia to do so. The quirky outfit, run by acclaimed butcher, Matt Cockin, champion rare breeds to create artisanal products like pancetta, sausages of apricot, red onion and ginger and Mazzafegati.

    Another thing that sets these pork suppliers apart is their wonderful range of free-from products, perfect for the gluten-free pork lover. They have also embraced social media and perhaps therein set the blueprint for how pork farmers and suppliers can move with the times.

    What Galton Blackiston says:

    ‘The better quality meat is reared organically and I’ll pay more knowing that I will receive a better result on a plate. We use the fruity pig company and my favourite cut is the cheek or the rack.’

    Take a look at The Fruit Pig Company’s website or follow them on Twitter @fruitpigcompany

    And Finally…Some of the Great British Chefs’ team favourites

    The Ginger Pig – Safe to say one of the biggest hits of the porcine world in the last few years – follow @gingerpigltd

    Eckington Manor - A working farm, B & B and cookery school combined. They breed the award winning Gloucester Old Spot Pigs - follow @EckingtonManor

    Hugh Grierson Organic - A traditional family run farm in Perthshire who rear delicious organic pork - follow @GriersonOrganic

    Swillington Organic Farm - Small Yorkshire producer who farm the hardy Rare Breed Saddleback Pigs - follow @swillingtonfarm

    Inspired? Visit Great British Chefs an amazing selection of pork recipes using the best meat from Britain’s pig farmers.  Let us know some of your favourite pork suppliers too.

  2. Celebrate The Big Curry Lunch with Curried scallops by Shaun Rankin

    Curry is one of the nation’s  favourite dishes thanks to the British Army, who brought ingredients back to Britain between 18th and 19th centuries from the Indian sub continent.  The Lord Mayor’s Diamond Jubilee Big Curry Lunch, will be on Thursday 26th April 2012 at London’s Guildhall. It’s part of a day of events where people can host a one off Curry themed event to raise funds for ABF The Soldiers Charity. Great British Chefs blogger Rosana McPhee decided to make a Shaun Rankin’s curried scallops with coconut & coriander dahl for the occasion.

    Blog post  & Photography by Rosana McPhee 

    To celebrate the Big Curry Lunch I cooked a special main by Shaun Rankin featured on Great British Chefs site. Many curry recipes have been reinterpreted and developed for the Anglo palate. This dish has delicious, delicate flavours and textures to make a wonderful celebration lunch. 

    Curried scallops

    • 12 scallops, cleaned and coral removed
    • 4 tsp of curry powder
    • 2 tsp of salt
    • 2 tbsp of olive oil

    Dahl

    • 150g of red lentils, soaked overnight and drained
    • 240ml of chicken stock
    • 2 tsp of ground turmeric
    • 50g of unsalted butter
    • 1 onion, peeled and diced
    • 2 tsp of cumin seeds
    • 100ml of coconut milk
    • 50g of baby spinach
    • 1 bunch of coriander, chopped
    • salt

    To plate

    • 1 apple, peeled and cored
    • 1 tomato, skin removed and diced

    . In a large saucepan, heat the chicken stock over a medium heat. Add the turmeric, season with salt and add the lentils

    . Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Strain the lentils and discard the cooking juices

    . Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the onion with the cumin seeds until browned. Add the lentils, coconut milk, baby spinach and three quarters of the coriander and cook on a medium heat until heated through. Keep warm

    . To cook the scallops, mix the curry powder and salt in a bowl. Dip the scallops one by one into the curry salt (one side only)

    Curried Scallops with coconut & coriander dahl and apple salad by Shaun Rankin

    Cooking scallops tip:

    The best way to tell if a scallop is cooked is to poke it. There should be a bit of bounce and resistance to it. If the scallop is mushy, it isn’t fully cooked

    . Knock off the excess powder by holding the scallop in one hand while tapping your wrist with the other. Place the scallops on a plate with the curry-salt-side facing up

    . Add the olive oil to a hot frying pan. Place the scallops in the pan, curry-salt-side down. Cook for 1 minute each side, until golden brown

    . Cut the apples into 5mm batons. Spoon the warm dahl onto four plates and arrange the scallops on top. Place the apple on top of the scallops and garnish with the remaining chopped coriander and the diced tomato. 

    For other delicious curry recipes for your own Big Curry Lunch visit Great British Chefs site for recipes by two of the UK’s finest Indian chefs Alfred Prasad and Vineet Bhatia.

    Blog post for Great British Chefs by  Rosana McPhee from Hot & Chilli

    Have you ever made dahl?  What are your secrets for success? What do you like to serve it with?  Share your tips over on Great British Chefs Facebook Page.

  3. No Rest for Mummy or Kids Cook on Mother’s Day!

    Great British Chefs guest blogger Food Urchin aka Danny Kingston decided to treat his wife by getting his twins to make some Apple Muffins for Mother’s Day. A practice run was in order, just to make sure there were no burnt offerings.  Let’s see how the 4 year olds (and Danny) got on.

    Photography & Blog post by Food Urchin aka Danny Kingston

    Ask anyone where they got their passion for cooking from and more often than not they will immediately drop their heads to the floor, begin to fumble with a button at the bottom of their shirt and raise an awkward left foot onto tippy toes before answering, “In my Mummy’s kitchen”. Shortly after this brief retreat back to childhood, it is then quite normal for the person in question to expand, quite vividly, upon a detailed history of peeling, baking, chopping, stirring, and tasting, all by their Mother’s side. Knee high to a grass hopper is demonstrated by level palm and the battered stool to reach the counter top is reminisced with tearful joy. Before long, they start boasting that they we’re doing the Sunday dinner at the age of 6 and had cracked champagne sabayon way before the first hairy shoots of pubescence appeared.  Such is the wunderkind who owes it all to Mother. 

    Well I have to say from personal experience, that this is a load of rubbish. And before I go any further, I should tell you that I was reliving just then, in part, a tale I heard from a chef. As I sat there, listening to him regale an over-romanticized upbringing of culinary enlightenment starting at the age of 3 (all of which of course was all down to his dear, dear Mummy) I found myself desperately wanting to shake him and slap him and scream “THIS IS NOT TRUE!”

    Why? Because I’ve got kids myself and despite all my best efforts to coach them, the pair of them are absolutely crap in the kitchen. Look I know they are only 4 but have you seen their pastry? By the time it goes in the oven, it’s grey, malformed and usually has a brick of Lego stuck in it. And we can never ever get frigging cupcakes baked, you know why? Because the bloody mixture always gets eaten before it can be spooned into the paper cases and the hundreds and thousands usually gets scattered into hundreds and thousands on the kitchen floor. And as for chopping vegetables, how difficult is it to mirepoix some onion, carrots and celery? Quite difficult with a plastic knife by all accounts but the fact that the twins still haven’t got to grasps with rudimentary chopping techniques drives me up the bloody wall. 

    But why am I sounding so tense and terse here? Well yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to run through a recipe with the twins, as featured on Great British Chefs, a Mother’s Day recipe no less. After all, with my two, it pays to rehearse. If the kids and I can execute a simple batch of Shaun Rankin’s Apple Muffins for Mummy whilst she gets a well deserved lie-in, then it will be smiles all round.

    And to be honest, at first, it all went rather swimmingly. Isla, a very pretty but very clumsy soul managed to crack and dispatch an egg into the bowl this time, rather than onto her dress. Curly Fin was very good at sifting the flour and spices together, getting away with only the faintest dusting on his nose. And they were very patient with other to take turns when it came to spooning the wet mix, complete with chunks of apple and sultana, into paper cases. Battle lines are normally drawn by this stage, arguments arise, a wooden spoon often gets supplanted into an eye and tears follow. However, like I said, this time they were very good. In fact, walking to the oven together felt like a triumph and after sliding the muffin tray in and reaching for an all-round high five, I began to wonder if maybe I had been just a little too impatient, a little too brusk in the past. After sitting down to enjoy an episode of Ooglies with them, I even began to feel guilty.

    Of course, the proof is in the pudding and after twenty minutes, the timer pinged and collectively, we returned to see the fruits of our labour. The aroma of nutmeg and cinnamon certainly got our saliva glands going but to choruses of disapproval, the muffins had to be left alone on a wire rack to cool for ten minutes or so. But then came the tasting.

    The first bite was fairly amazing, with the slightly crisp outer crust yielding to a soft, light airy sponge, spiced and packed with soft, warm fruit. The second bite however, was odd. The third and subsequent forth and final bites were more definitive, chalky, gritty and oh so fizzy. Something was amiss. The kids who had finished their first muffins and were beginning to start on their second ones didn’t seem to think so but something was definitely amiss. And then I spot it, an empty tube of baking powder on the floor. Which had been just opened and therefore, should have been quite full.

    Er, you know Daddy put some of this stuff into the cake mix earlier, did any of you guys touch this tube?

    Fin pipes up, in his normal repetitive manner.

     “Yeah that’s the sugar, so I put more in, cos it’s a special sugar to go in the mix, so I put more in, all of it, yeah.”

    Now I do try to keep my bouts of apoplexy in check, especially in front of the children but nevertheless, I don’t think I did very well this time around. Collecting the rest of the muffins and crushing them with shaking, bare hands raised over my head whilst roaring was not a good call. The fact that the overdose of bicarbonate of soda was causing my mouth to foam and froth probably didn’t help either as the twins ran screaming into the arms of their mother.

    Actions such as these speak volumes. As a father, I still have a lot to learn about the gentle art of stoicism, especially if I want them to grow up saying they learnt how to cook by their Daddy’s side. In the meantime, if Mummy wants these apple muffins for breakfast on Sunday, she might have to show the twins how to do it herself. With proper care and attention, in the way that only Mum can.

    Don’t worry though; I am taking us all out for lunch!

    Blog post for Great British Chefs by Food Urchin

    Are getting your children or grandchildren to make some Mother’s Day treats?  What sort of thngs do they like to bake?   We’ll be discussing this over on Great British Chefs Facebook Page.

  4. Third Time’s a Charm with Shaun Rankin’s Triple-Cooked Chips

    It’s Chip Week. The chance to chat about the nation’s favourite potato dish.  So how do you cook the perfect chip?  A number of chefs & potato experts believe the only way is to triple cook them.  It may sound excessive and a lot of effort, but are the results worth it? Great British Chefs‘ blogger Chris Osburn  put Shaun Rankin's recipe to the test .

    Shaun Rankin's Lobster & Triple Cooked Chips on Great British Chefs

    All photography below & blog post by Chris Osburn

    If at first you don’t succeed, fry fry again? Shaun Rankin’s recipe for triple cooked chips is testament to the notion that when making chips, the third time’s a charm.

    This super simple recipe also yields a tasty opportunity to learn about one of the many varieties of spuds, the mighty Marfona … or at least it did for me.

    DSC_4508

    I’d never heard of Marfona potatoes before … and they don’t seem to be a usual choice for chipping either. But as Rankin’s recipe calls for a triple yum-ifying fry-bake-fry approach, the waxy textured and buttery flavoured Marfona proves a most valiant choice. 

    DSC_4532

    They’re easy enough to find at a big name supermarket too. There bags upon bags of them when I visited an Islington grocery. And from what I could ascertain while browsing for the Marfonas, they appear to be the only potatoes for sale at the moment that are actually grown the UK (Norfolk to be exact).

    DSC_4559

    As pared down as cooking can get, ‘500ml of vegetable oil and four Marfona potatoes, peeled and cut into chunky chips’ plus a little bit of your time adds up to a perfect at-home treat.

    DSC_4603

     As a freelancer who works out of my flat, I found these chips a brilliantly low maintenance snack that required not much attention and had my kitchen smelling as if I were a top chef.

    DSC_4624

    The temperatures listed on the recipe are low enough that if you don’t get to every instruction with precision, you don’t have to worry too much about the chips overcooking.

    DSC_4638

    Rankin’s triple-cooked chips are part of his greater lobster,triple-cooked chips and Béarnaise sauce recipe. The recipe looks gorgeous and very doable … and the ingredients list for the Béarnaise sauce are an especially delectable read.

    DSC_4658

    However, I think the chips are worthy of standing on their own and incorporating into other dishes. Strapped for attention, time and money but still hankering for something nice and home made. These delicious chips are as simple to make as one two three.

    Blog post  by Chris Osburn  for Great British Chefs.  

    Have you ever triple cooked chipsWhat are your tips for making perfect chips?  We’re discussing these questions over on Great British Chefs Facebook Page

  5. Are you having a three minute breakfast or deskfast?

    We love a good breakfast at Great British Chefs, but know that most people are hurried & rushed (specially on a Monday morning) with little time to spend on what is supposed to be the most important meal of the day.  Research carried out by Weetabix has revealed that over a third of people say they have less time to eat breakfast than they did five years ago, with most people blaming the fact that they now feel under pressure to get into the office earlier.

    Porridge with Maple Bananas & Greek Yoghurt by Marcus Wareing on Great British Chefs site

    If you’re reading this on Facebook or Twitter you could be one of those people, as the report says people spend just three minutes eating breakfast because they are too busy checking emails, Facebook or Twitter or feel pressured to get to work.

    In the survey of 2000 adults, 51% said they spent just three minutes 15 seconds eating in the morning while eight out of 10 people have ‘deskfasts’ three times a week.

    Sian Porter, Weetabix’s consultant nutritionist and dietician, said: “It’s a fact that people who miss breakfast don’t make up nutritionally later in the day. We’re all getting busier which means making the time to sit down and eat a healthy breakfast which will help to get us through the day is more important than ever.”

    Amazingly one in 20 people admit to eating breakfast in the bathroom (really) because they are so squeezed for time and a fifth of parents say their children eat breakfast in the car on the way to school.

    And depending on where you live, you may not have breakfast at all. 

    In Birmingham, 59% said they were too busy on the internet or watching TV in the morning to eat breakfast. 57% of Londoners, 52% of people from Bristol and 51% of Mancunians said the same.” said the Press Associaton

    In spite of all this, three quarters of Britons believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

    Grilled Black Pudding with Eggs from Shaun Rankin's Seasoned Islands Book

    What do you think?  How often do you skip breakfast or have a rushed breakfast?  Have you ever eaten breakfast in the bathroom?  Is the internet to blame for us skipping breakfast?  How often do you “breakfast like a king”?  We’ll be discussing this over on Great British Chefs Facebook Page.

  6. Food Festivals this weekend November 26th -27th 2011

    This week has been quite a busy one for us again, some of us were celebrating Thanksgiving this week so the food preparations have been in full swing. If you’re an American living in the UK & are having your Thanksgiving meal this weekend and are stuck for some inspiration, why not try something different?  Pheasant could make a great main dish instead of turkey. Shaun Rankin’s Roast pheasant with orange and onion marmalade looks delicious!

    Food allergies are on the increase & many people are being diagnosed with various allergies as they get older. The “Free from” food festival is on November 25th - 27th at the Southbank Centre London and aims to promote an allergy free lifestyle without the negative connotations. Exhibitors will be available to provide advice on dietary needs & selling an array of “free from” artisan food.  As we are now in the Festive season, you will be able to purchase “free from” festive inspired foods. This should hopefully make Christmas that less bit stressful.

    The BBC Good Food Show Winter Festival at the NEC in Birmingham started on November 25th and runs until the 27th with a focus on foods for the Festive season. 

    Last year the first ever Saturday Kitchen Live took place there. This year some Great British Chefs’ chefs will be there including Theo Randall, who’ll be on the NEC Stage with James Martin on  27th November. You’ll be spoilt for choice at this festival, with a Saturday Kitchen Live Theatre, a Christmas theatre, Producers Village and many other exciting food activities for you to get involved with. 

    The Great British Bake Off will be live during the weekend (including a demo from one of Great British Chefs’ new bloggers Urvashi Roe aka @The Botanical Baker - who was a previous finalist in the show), so make sure you go down to see her and all the other chefs in action!

    Pictured above is the beautiful Baby Beetroot Smoked with Lapsang Souchong Tea by Marcus Wareing which she made, photographed & blogged for us last week.

    For the true Christmas experience head over to St Nicholas Fayre on November 25th - 27th in York. The city centre will be transformed into a Victorian style market with traders dressed in Victorian costumes and the smell of roasting chestnuts on every corner. The food market will have all the usual Christmasy foods and even some unusual things such as Ostrich and wild boar for you to try. You can also try some traditional wine and ale. Or why not try the herbal punch?

    Finally as advance notice, some of the team at Great British Chefs will be sharing a stand with our friends from Action Against Hunger UK  at the spectacular Taste of Christmas Food Festival from 2nd - 4th December at Excel in London.  We’ll be fundraising by selling some of Bruno Loubet’s gorgeous Chocolate & Drambuie Truffles from our Feastive App made by Cookery School. We’re also running a raffle and showing other easy ways how visiting our stand will help raise money for Action Against Hunger by simply liking us on Facebook or registering for a Great British Chefs Account where you could also win an iPad2. Look out for more about our activities later next week.

    But right now, Action Against Hunger are running a prize draw for you to WIN one of 50 pairs of tickets to Taste of Christmas - visit this link to find out more and we hope to see some of you at the event.  We’ll be on stand 112 near the Peugeot Baking Car so please drop by and say hello.

    Please let us know if you visit any of these festivals & events, we would love to see some pictures (which are best uploaded onto our Great British Chefs Flickr Group). Also if you’re doing any special baking this weekend, we’re collecting our favourite photos, ideas & recipes over on our Great British Chefs Facebook page & will be featuring the best on this blog. Have a great weekend!

    Blog post by Monique from Great British Chefs

  7. In Celebration of National Guacamole Day

    Avocado is a versatile vegetable at the best of times, but is transformed into something completely different when turned into Guacamole.   In a blog post for Great British Chefs,  Monica Shaw celebrates National Guacamole Day.

    Photo by Monica Shaw

    Avocado alone is a beautiful thing, but add to it a bit of lime, onion, cilantro, tomato and chilli and it becomes so much more. Yes, I’m talking about guacamole, and if there’s any green blob of edible mush that deserves more recognition, it’s this.

    Today is National Guacamole Day, a fine excuse to rediscover this divine avocado dip that is so much more than a delivery device for corn chips and tacos. I’ve seen people put guacamole on burgers, eat it with fish, and a German chef I know even blitzes his with boiled egg and uses it as a dip for artichokes (though you could argue that the guacamole ceased to be guacamole when he added the egg to it).

    Which brings me to my next point: what is the ultimate guacamole recipe? Most people agree that lime, cilantro, salt and pepper are essential, as is onion, but what type of onion? And do you add tomato and chilli? Well that depends on who you ask.

    World-renowned Mexican chef Rick Bayless adds Serrano chillies and white onion, and recommends crumbled Mexican cheese and radish for garnish (is this necessary?). Lisa Fain of The Homesick Texan also includes Serrano chillies but omits the onion completely. Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes uses red onion, while food journalist Felicity Cloake reckons spring onions are the way to go.

    In my world, the best guacamole is made with perfectly ripe avocados, not pureed but left chunky, full of chopped white onion, cilantro, tomato, a bit of salt and lots of lime juice and pepper. Were Serrano chillies and jalapeno peppers more available in the UK, I’d probably add those too.

    But that’s just me. How would you make the perfect guacamole?  We’re discussing this over on Great British Chefs’ Facebook page.  Plus Shaun Rankin has a great recipe for spicy chunky guacamole here, which is simple & delicious.

    Blog post for Great British Chefs by Monica Shaw


  8. What Austerity or “Wartime” Foods have you eaten?

    Photo of Bryan Webb’s  Pigs’ Trotters with beetroot chutney & salad leaves from Great British Chefs

    As Remembrance Day and Veterans’ Day events take place this weekend, we wanted to look back to times when food wasn’t in such great supply.

    Ration for one week

    This case shows the weekly food ration for one person in 1940 - Imperial War Museum.

    In wartime in the UK, food was being rationed & people ate cheap cuts of food. There’s now a move back to “austerity” cooking, as we discover inventive ways to make offal or little used cuts of meat really tasty. We love Bryan Webb’s version of Pigs’ Trotters 

    Slow cooking helps to turn cheaper cuts of meat into things of beauty.  Pork Belly is on the menu at most gourmet restaurants now, but there was a time when pork belly was considered a “rough meat” and it was featured in The Imperial War Museum’s “Ministry of Food” exhibition.

    Robert Thompson’s slow cooked Island pork belly is cheap enough for you to blow out on the lobster it’s served with.

    Our, CEO, Ollie is a big fan of cooking odd cuts of meat. At Great British Chefs our stomachs collectively churned when he excitedly put a message on Facebook saying that he’d bought a load of pigs’ ears and was going to cook them the next day. They were enormous but only 50p an ear! Following Pascal Aussignac's recipe he boiled them in salted water & then cut them into strips.

    Cut up Pig's Ears waiting to be fried

    On Facebook our fans were incredulous and said “you’re not seriously going to eat these”.  But once they were deep fried in batches, they were absolutely delicious and tasted like crackling!  Opinions from fans on Facebook were divided but the general opinion was “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”.

    Fried Pigs' Ears

    Spam was popular in wartime and even today, spam fritters make a tasty supper.

    Spam ... it's what's for dinner!

    From a 1940’s Woman’s Day magazine by Wandering Magpie

    Spam!

    Best bit about this photo isn’t the banana/spam combination (anyone tried it?) but the fact that the Spam in the picture on the tin is blue! Nice. Imperial War Museum

    Moving on from savoury dishes, don’t forget that even yummy treats like carrot cakes originated from when fruit was in low supply.

    Food for sale at Aldwych

    Dishes such as Lardy Cake (great post & recipe below from our strategic advisor & guest blogger Matthew Fort), Bread Pudding, Gingerbread, Suet Pudding and Treacle Tart all came about when butter, sugar and eggs were in short supply.

    Lardy cake

    2 oz lard; 2 oz currants; 12 oz white bread dough, risen; 2 oz caster sugar; pinch of nutmeg; drizzle of honey

    Roll out the dough to an oblong. Spread on lard and sprinkle with sugar, nutmeg and currants. Roll up like a swiss roll and place in a greased shallow baking tin. Cover and leave to rise for about 15 minutes. Brush lightly with honey and bake at gas mark five, 190C (375F) for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve hot with butter.

    Matthew added: “Just warm a piece of lardy cake (yes, even in the microwave) and load it with a compote of blackberries and a dollop of clotted cream, and tell me you don’t feel nearer to heaven than with a spoonful of pannacotta or tiramisu”.

    Shaun Rankin's - Treacle Tart from Great British Chefs

    Josh Eggleton's - Caramel Panna cotta with homemade Gingerbread - from Great British Chefs

    We hope this look at austerity cooking has given you some ideas for inexpensive but delicious meals to try.  What “wartime” dishes have you eaten or cooked? We’re discussing this over on the Great British Chefs Facebook page.

  9. Shaun Rankin’s Roast Jersey Royals with Roquefort Cheese

    It’s still British Cheese Week and continuing in our celebration of all things cheesy, we delighted that Michelin Starred chef, Shaun Rankin from Great British Chefs website and app has provided us with another recipe to share with you.  


    This recipe is the perfect way to use up those leftover Jersey Royals in the fridge. It’s so easy and quick to make and delicious!  In Shaun’s recipe below he’s shown how you can also add glazed pears & walnuts to make the salad even more moreish.

    Serves 4 

    Ingredients: 

    400g (14oz) cooked Jersey Royal potatoes, cut into slices

    3 tbsp olive oil

    4 pears, peeled, cored and cut into quarters

    20g (3/4oz) caster sugar

    2 tbsp Poire William

    Knob of butter

    60g (2oz) whole walnuts

    100g (31/2oz) Roquefort cheese

    Bunch of watercress 

    1) In a large frying pan, sauté the Jersey Royals in 2 tbsp olive oil until golden brown. Remove the Royals from the pan and keep warm.

    2) Re-using the same pan, add another 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the pears until they start to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with some caster sugar and allow to caramelise, moving the pears so the sugar does not burn. When golden, add the Poire William (take care as the pears may set alight).

    3) Finish the pears with the butter. Remove from the heat and mix in the walnuts. 

    4) Arrange the warm Jersey Royals on plates with the glazed pears and walnuts. Crumble the Roquefort cheese over the top and serve with watercress salad. If desired, pour the leftover pan juices over the salad as a dressing.

    Shaun’s previous recipe for cheese week was a wonderful Cheese Souffle which you can see here.

    Thanks so much for the recipe Shaun and we’re wishing you the best of luck when you appear on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen today.  Hope you win the omelette challenge!

  10. Shaun Rankin on Saturday Kitchen 1st October 2011

    We’re delighted to say that Jersey’s Shaun Rankin will be on BBC1’s popular cookery show Saturday Kitchen this weekend.  Shaun is Head Chef at Bohemia Restaurant and on Great British Chefs website and app.  

    Shaun Rankin - Great British Chefs from Great British Chefs.

    Saturday Kitchen is watched by 2.7 million people all over Britain and Shaun will be representing the Channel Islands and cooking with local seasonal produce.

    Shaun will be joined by the host of the show, James Martin, along with top chef Ken Hom. The show will also include classic moments from TV show Great British Menu, Rick Stein and Keith Floyd, while wine expert Olly Smith matches wine to all the studio dishes.

    Shaun said: “I am really looking forward to Saturday Kitchen with James Martin and Ken Hom. I will be cooking a recipe from my cookbook Roast Rabbit Loin in Pancetta with Moroccan – Style Couscous & Calamari. I also relish the opportunity to have another go at the omelette challenge.

    There are some brilliant chefs who have appeared on the show and I am honoured to be invited on the show again. I will be talking about the Channel Islands and the producers and produce that feature in my cookbook, I will also be revealing some of my plans and engagements for the rest of 2011.”

    We hope you’ll all be watching on Saturday when the show starts at 10am.  We wish Shaun best of luck in the omelette challenge, although Ken Hom is pretty handy with a wok, we think there will be some serious competition!

    Thanks again to Shaun for sharing his Cheese Souffle recipe for British Cheese Week and we have another one of his cheese recipes to share later in the week.

  11. Shaun Rankin’s Cheese Souffle

    Many thanks to Shaun Rankin one of the great chefs in our Great British Chefs App for sharing this lovely recipe for British Cheese Week.  This method of making soufflé takes the stress out of this notoriously tricky dish.

    CHEESE SOUFFLE WITH APPLE, WALNUT & POMEGRANATE SALAD

    Serves 4

    Special equipment: Four 10cm (4in) diameter ovenproof moulds/ramekins, Steamer

    Ingredients

    240ml (8fl oz) milk

    3 tbsp plain flour

    60g (2oz) butter,

    unsalted 6 eggs, separated

    175g (6oz) mature cheddar cheese, grated

    1 tbsp chopped chives

    Sea salt and cracked black pepper

    5 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

    2 red apples, cored and cut into eighths

    6 tbsp whole walnuts

    150g (51/2oz) rocket salad

    6 tbsp pomegranate seeds

    2 tsp walnut oil, for dressing

    Method

    1 Pour the milk into a saucepan and warm gently over a low heat (just so you take the chill off it).

    2 Sift the flour into the milk and mix well.

    3 Cook on a moderate heat until you can no longer taste the flour in the mixture and there are no lumps.

    4 Remove from the heat.

    5 Beat the butter into the flour.

    6 Beat the egg yolks into the mix, then add the cheddar cheese.

    7 Add the chopped chives and season with salt and pepper.

    8 Grease the moulds/ramekins with soft butter and line with the grated Parmesan cheese.

    9 Whisk up the egg whites in a medium size bowl until you have firm peaks.

    10 Carefully fold the egg whites into the cheese sauce, taking care not to deflate them by over-working or being too heavy handed.

    11 Spoon the mixture into the moulds and cook in a steamer for 12 minutes.

    12 When cooked, remove from the steamer and leave to stand for 10 minutes or until they are cool enough to handle.

    13 Remove the soufflé from the moulds. At this stage, you can either put them in the fridge until needed or re-cook straight away in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C. (400 degrees F./Gas 6) on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper for 6–8 minutes.

    14 To serve, arrange the apple on the plates with the walnuts, rocket salad and pomegranate seeds. Remove the soufflé from the oven and place straight onto the salad. Drizzle with walnut oil and serve straight away.

    We really hope you enjoy Shaun’s recipe and look forward to hearing how it went if you tried making it.

  12. Apple Week Continues with a Recipe from Shaun Rankin

    We had a glut of apples following Ollie’s apple picking this weekend so we asked for your recipe ideas on what to do with them.  Here’s what Michelin starred chef Shaun Rankin came up with!

    ‘A great snack mid-morning. The muffins are at their best served slightly warm accompanied by a frothy cappuccino.’ Shaun Rankin, Head Chef, Bohemia, Jersey

    From the Shaun Rankin Cook Book

    From Shaun’s book Seasoned Islands

    APPLE & CINNAMON MUFFINS

    Makes 10–12

    Special equipment:

    12 muffin cases

    Ingredients:

    225g (8oz) plain flour

    3 tsp baking powder

    1 tsp salt

    20g (3/4oz) ground cinnamon

    1 tsp ground nutmeg

    1 tsp ground ginger

    100g (31/2oz) caster sugar

    1 egg

    150ml (5fl oz) milk

    3 tbsp sunflower oil

    40g (11/2oz) unsalted butter, melted

    170g (6oz) Granny Smith apples,

    cored, peeled and diced

    70g (21/2oz) golden sultanas

    3 tbsp light soft brown sugar

     

    Recipe:

    1. Heat the oven to 190 degrees C. (375degrees F. /Gas 5).

    2. Place the muffin cases in a cake tray.

    3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and sugar.

    4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and stir in the milk. Add the oil, melted butter and stir in the diced apple.

    5. Add the wet mixture into the dry and stir in well. Add the golden sultanas.

    6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and sprinkle the tops with brown sugar.

    7. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until lightly brown. They should spring back when pressed.

    8. Allow to cool slightly before eating.