Now’s the time to pickle !

Pickling and preserving has always been part of the kitchen and using natural preservatives such as vinegar and sugar means that the short season for fresh produce can be extended through the dark winter months.

Bright, fresh flavours cheer the dullest day.

As well as the obvious practicality, pickling for flavour had a renaissance over the last few years. We’ve moved from regarding it solely as a way of preserving our crops, to understanding how much the unique blend of crunch and piquancy creates a pleasing contrast to richer ingredients.  If you’ve had chance to taste our Ham Hock and Black Pudding Terrine, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Ham Hock and Black Pudding Terrine with Pickled Carrots

Executive Chef, Stuart Phillips explains that new equipment ,such as the steam oven makes creating innovative flavours even more enjoyable. He talked me through the how he creates the pickled carrots that feature in the Ham Hock and Black Pudding Terrine. As with all good things, it’s deceptively simple. Sugar, vinegar and water are combined to make a hot brine, which is poured over blanched carrots, herbs from our garden, a blend of spices and zing of lemon for a subtle citrus kick.

Baby carrots, chilli, herbs from our garden and a spike of citrus all ready for the alchemy of the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

These gorgeous goodies are steamed for around ten minutes at eighty degrees, in either vacuum packs or jars and that’s it. Sadly the exact recipe is a HH secret, but a little experimentation you could create something similar at home. Personally I’d just nip down to the Hundred House for a mini feast !

Ten minutes at 80° transforms a few simple ingredients into something special.

The fresh flavours are so different to the vinegar laden jars of beetroot many of us have languishing at the back of the fridge. The sophisticated choice of flavours and the quick steam method creates a bright,sparky pickle that instantly becomes best friends with the other ingredients on the plate. I love it !

 

 

 

 

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New flavours you will love !

Autumn is well and truly here and regular diners will have noticed our menu gradually moving towards warming winter flavours that showcase our harvest. As the natural changes wrought by the shift in seasons,we have exciting new technology in our kitchen. With new technology comes new technique, which means we can bring you new tastes to try. I spent a little time with our head chef Andy, who introduced me to some of the creations from the kitchen. One of my favourites is the Ham Hock and Black Pudding terrine.

Ham Hock and Black Pudding Terrine with Pickled Carrots, Mustard Mayonnaise, Salsa Verde and little pops of pork crunch. 
©kam

 

As well as the obvious harmony between soft,melting ham hock and earthy, rich black pudding what made this dish stand out for me were the accompaniments.

Pickled carrots, pops of pork crunch a swoop of mustard mayonnaise…….it’s the accompaniments that make this dish sing.

 

 

 

Chefs often talk about balance in a dish, and this has been beautifully realized here. Each element is good on its own, but together they make the whole dish sing. The contrast between the sharp but sweet, zingy pickled carrots and the rich meats is nothing less than a joy. Combine this with pops of pork crunch and the freshness of the lemon, carpers and anchovies of the  Salsa Verde and you have a truly memorable marriage of flavours.

 

Ham Hock and Black Pudding terrine, wrapped in sauteed leeks, accompanied by home pickled carrots, pork crunch, mustard mayonnaise and Salsa Verde.
©kam

You can sample this beautiful dish as a starter on our À la carte menu or as part of our lunch menu. A perfect start to seasonal eating.

 

I’ll be featuring more of our latest food creations regularly in the new year, sign up to be the first to know ! Just press the button below, or follow us on FaceBook.

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Cheery Chutney

Chutneys are used in so many ways at the Hundred House, whether they’re enhancing our home made paté, giving a bit of zing to our scrumptious lunchtime sandwiches or complimenting our selection of cheeses, we love the curious combination of sweet and savoury that only a chutney can give.

Assembled loveliness
©kam

 

 

Chutney makes a gorgeous gift too, and is a great way of using up a glut of apples or pears from your garden, making the most of homegrown veg, or even just taking advantage of special offers at your local greengrocer.  Here are a couple of my favourites

Beetroot and Orange Chutney

  • 1½ kg raw beetroot, trimmed, peeled and diced (wear gloves!)
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 eating apples, peeled and grated
  • zest and juice 3 oranges
  • 2 tbsp white or yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 700ml red wine vinegar
  • 700g golden granulated sugar

Method

  1. In a preserving pan or your largest saucepan, mix together all the ingredients well. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cook for 1 hr, stirring occasionally, until the chutney is thick and the beetroot tender.
  2. While the chutney is cooking, prepare your jars by running through a short hot wash in your dishwasher. Or wash thoroughly by hand, then put in a hot oven to sterilise for 10-15 mins. Once the chutney is ready, let it settle for 10 mins, then carefully spoon into the jars and seal while still hot. You can eat it straight away but it will be even better after a month. Will keep for up to 6 months in a cool dark place. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within 2 months.

Spiced Beetroot and Orange Chutney. Great with cold meats and rich brie and sharp stilton. Making it makes the house smell stunning too !

Recipe from Good Food magazine

Spiced Pear Chutney

Ingredients

  • 60ml/2¼fl oz olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 200g/7¼oz sultanas
  • 100g/3½oz raisins
  • 100g/3½oz demerara sugar /or coconut sugar
  • 400ml/14¼oz cider vinegar
  • 100g/3½oz crystallised ginger, finely sliced
  • 800g/1lb 12¼oz pears coared and cut into wedges
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 good pinch of saffron

    Method

    1. Heat a large saucepan with the oil, add the rosemary, sultanas, raisins and sugar and fry them until the fruit begins to caramelise.

    2. Pour in the vinegar and boil on a high heat for three minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, then turn to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Because of the fruit, this chutney has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan, so stir it well and keep an eye on it. Don’t let the pears cook too much; they should keep their shape.

    3. Spoon it into clean hot jars, filling them as full as you can, and seal while hot. Store in the fridge.

      Pear Chutney is delicious with hard cheeses such as Comté, or slathered on a pork pie.

 

Recipe from BBC Food

There’s just got time time to make a batch or two ready for Christmas. Alongside a Hundred House gift voucher you’ve got the makings of a perfect food lovers gift.

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Spiced Pumpkin Loaf

Remember the post about using up all the lovely Pumpkin left over from lantern carving? Remember the promise of Spiced Pumpkin Loaf ? Well here’s the recipe!. It’s really straightforward to make and uses all sorts of warming Autumn spices as well as making the most of your Pumpkins. The loaf without the glaze freezes beautifully too so you could use it to make your Bonfire celebrations go with a super spicy bang ! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have !

 

You will need

For the  Spiced Pumpkin Loaf

  • 1/2 tsp Ginger, ground
  • 225g pureed pumpkin
  • 115g Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 225g Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg, grated.
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 60ml Milk
For the Maple Glaze
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 225g Butter
  • 200g Icing Sugar

    Puree your Pumpkin

    Mix everything up until well combined.

  • What to do 
    1. Preheat oven to 160° (140° fan). Liberally grease a 2lb loaf pan.
    2. Combine the bread ingredients and beat at medium speed with a handheld mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well-mixed.
    3. Pour the bread mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for approx. 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the center comes out mostly clean or with a couple moist crumbs (not wet). Cool for about 15 minutes, then very gently remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

      Bake at  160° for 40-50 minutes

    4. While bread cools, make your glaze: in a small saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat until melted. Continue cooking, watching butter carefully, until it sizzles and begins to turn amber in color, about 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook because it can quickly burn! When butter looks caramel-colored and smells nutty, it’s ready. Remove the butter from heat and cool completely ( if you skip this stage you’ll end up with a gloopy mess). Then stir in the powdered sugar and maple syrup until a soft glaze has formed.
    5. Pour the glaze generously over top of the pumpkin loaf and let it set, about 30 minutes. Cut into slices and serve!

      Enjoy !

    This takes around an hour to make serves 8 people, is suitable for vegetarians and tastes delicious !
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Pumpkins!

Pumpkins

With their vivid orange colour and excellent ability to be turned into spooky lantern masterpieces, we have truly embraced the pumpkin in recent years.

Pumpkin carving season is in full swing

But what happens to all the tasty flesh we scoop out in our quest to create the perfect lantern?  Information gathered by HUBBUB makes spooky reading.

It’s not easy to know what to do with it all though, especially when it’s as huge as this one from the Hundred House gardens !

Giant pumpkin.

I had a chat with Joanne Phillips to find out how she made sure nothing was wasted when she made her lanterns using this monster pumpkin. She managed to use every part except the stalk, producing enough soup for ten hungry friends, a deliciously moist spiced pumpkin loaf and even using the seeds to make piquant paprika nibbles.

Here are some of her favourite recipes

Thai  Pumpkin Soup

From this……

…….to this.

What you need

  • 1½ kg pumpkin or squash, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 tsp pumpkin oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 lemongrass, bashed a little
  • 3-4 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • lime juice, and sugar, for seasoning
  • 1 red chilli, sliced, to serve (optional)

What to do

Start off by roasting your pumpkin

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the pumpkin or squash in a roasting tin with 2tsp of oil and plenty of seasoning. Roast them for about 30 mins until golden and tender.

Roasted and ready to be turned into velvety soup spiked with the flavours of Thailand.

While the pumpkin is roasting, you can prepare the base for the soup.

  • Put the remaining oil in a large pan with the onion,ginger and lemongrass. Cook on a gentle heat for for 8-10 mins until softened. Stir in the curry paste and cook for one minute,stirring continuously. Add the roasted pumpkin, all but 3 tbsp of the coconut milk and the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, then fish out the lemongrass. Cool for a few minutes, then whizz until smooth with a hand blender, or in batches if you use a large blender. Return to the pan to heat through, season with salt, pepper, lime juice and sugar to taste. Serve drizzled with the remaining coconut milk and scattered with as much chilli as you like.

Piquant Paprika Pumpkin Nibbles

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • On a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, add pumpkin seeds. Try to remove as much pulp from the seeds as possible.
  • In a small bowl, combine oil, paprika, chili powder and salt. Stir to combine. …
  • Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool, and serve.

    A tasty start to your halloween feast

These are gorgeous with a warming ale or a robust red wine. They taste even better when you remember that they’re virtually free and have a stack of health benefits including trytophan for restful sleep and magnesium for a healthy heart. Both of these could be essential if you’ve seen one too many zombie films this week.

Jo’s next quest is to find the  very best Pumpkin cake, so watch this space. I do love cakes made with vegetables, how can they be anything but healthy !

Happy Halloween, don’t get too scared and remember to use up your Pumpkins !

 

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All I want for Christmas……

is a copy of The Shropshire Cook Book. We feature in this lovely book, with a recipe similar to the lamb you all loved on last weeks blog.

Our recipe in the celebration of Shropshire food.
©kam

As well as giving us a charming opportunity to talk about what we love most, the book is packed full of recipes from some of the best restaurants in Shropshire.

Brimming with food focused delights.
©kam

We’ve only got a few copies, so pop in, have some lunch and bask in the satisfaction of having started your Christmas shopping early.

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Luscious Lamb

Monday was a fun day. Now I know that’s an unusual thing to read but it’s true. I had chance to spent the morning with Andy, finding out about the some of dishes on the Hundred House menu this season.

I have to admit I was surprised at how complex each dish is. Perhaps this sounds like an foolish thing to say, but because Hundred House has such relaxed,simple style, it’s easy to think the food just happens. This is a clever ruse to make which makes us diners feel even more at home. Andy explained how each dish has several elements,each element has several processes and every part of what goes on to the plate works with the other. It is this that takes a dish from something lovely, to something outstanding.

One of the highlights of the menu celebrates lamb by marrying  a lightly seared lamb cutlet with often overlooked lamb breast and kidney. This trio of flavour and texture is sharpened by the onion cream and brought together by the subtle tarragon jus. It is one of the nicest things I have eaten.

Andy talked me through each stage, starting with the preparation of the lamb breast. Cooking this cut low and slow means the natural flavours of the meat melt right through, needing little more enhancement than the classic flavours of garlic and parsley.

Breast of lamb is trimmed of excess fat, and rubbed with a garlic panade.
©kam

 

The meat is rolled, tied and cooked sous-vide for ten-twelve hours.
©kam

Lamb cutlets are seared with garlic and rosemary, and seasoned, and the lambs kidneys are sauteéd in butter.

Lamb cutlets are seared with garlic and rosemary.
©kam

Our garden vegetables are used to provide contrast in texture and augment the lamb flavours. These accompaniments vary according to the produce available. The confit chantenay carrots (made by cooking the carrots sous-vide with butter, carrot juice and thyme) are so silky sweet they could star in their own dish.

Ready for assembly; grilled spring onions, confit chantenay carrots, leek wrapped potato cake and burnt onion cream.
©kam

The dish is assembled with accompaniments that enhance the sweet flavour of the lamb. Burnt onion cream is created by blending caramelised shallots with reduced lamb stock.It sounds so simple, but the deeply savoury taste contrasts with the lamb to  create complex layers of flavour.

Lamb breast, sauteéd kidney potato cake and burnt onion cream
©kam

The final stages of preparation. I’ve counted at least twelve stages before Andy reaches the point of cooking the cutlets.
©kam

 

 

 

 

 

Roast Shropshire Cutlet, Braised breast of lamb,sauteéd kidney burnt onion cream and a tarragon caper jus.
©kam

The best way to find out how this masterpiece tastes is to visit the Hundred House but I can give you a sneak preview. It would be easy to just say it’s delicious, but there is much more than that. Earthy, piquant kidney makes the delicate lamb taste even lighter, then the a mouthful of rich slow cooked breast reminds me of unctuous casseroles and winter evenings. A dip into the burnt onion cream and a slick of the tarragon jus give contrast  and keep me going back for more. I can’t think of a better way to brighten a chilly evening !

 

 

 

 

 

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Amazing Apples

Do you remember the Apple blossom photographs from our April blog ? Well, harvest time is here !  Whilst it’s sad to wave goodbye to summer days in the garden, the sheer abundance of outstanding Shropshire produce makes Autumn a very exciting time at the Hundred House.

The next few blogs will be dedicated to showing how we  make the most of our delicious local and homegrown produce, starting with our glorious apples.  If you’re anything like me you can’t wait for steaming hot bowl of apple crumble and custard, or succulent, rich roast pork (complete with crackling) beautifully paired with a tart apple sauce.

Whilst modern production and storage methods mean apples are available all year, there is something extras special about the first harvest of our own fruit. Signs for apple pressing days are springing up, and many local communities have wholes dedicated to celebrating this unsung hero.

I wonder what our chefs will transform this beauty in to ?

 

There are around 7,500 varieties of apple in the U.K. !

There are so many ways of using apples, they deserve their own blog.That’s quite a task though so I’ve picked out a couple of favourite Hundred House recipes for you to try at home. The first one is a stunning side dish that works well with pretty much any delightful Autumn dinner you could create.

Braised Red Cabbage with Caraway and Apple

Ingredients:

2 Red cabbages (thinly sliced)

4 onions (thinly sliced)

2 Bramley apples

4 Tbsp. oil

½ Pack of butter

2 Tbsp. caraway

¼ Pint of red wine vinegar

2 Pints red wine

2-3 Tbsp. of crab apple or redcurrant jelly

Zest and juice of 2 oranges

Method:

  1. Sweat onions, cabbage and caraway in the oil and butter for 20 minutes
  2. Add balsamic and reduce by half
  3. Add red wine and reduce to a glaze then add orange zest and juice.
  4. Stir in the jelly then cook further for 10 minutes.

From this…..

 

 

 

Delicious, warming and very good for you !

This recipe will serve a crowd, but it’s easily halved. Any leftovers will freeze well too. It works well as an accompaniment to many autumn and winter dishes but my favourite is when it’s served alongside some deliciously simple roasted duck.

Another favourite is our Apple and Cinnamon Crumble Flan.

 

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Pegasus

Did you know we have our very own donkey ?  This may be a surprise, since dear Pegasus is safely positioned away from the hustle and bustle of the Hundred House.

 

Waiting for apples

We gave a home to Pegasus around four years ago, as a companion to Donk. She’s five years old and gorgeous.

 

Her favourite person is Libby, who feeds and cares for her. Pegasus does her bit for recycling too, taking great delight in the leftover apple and potato peelings. She’s the most recent in a long line of rehomed donkeys, and another of the things that make the Hundred House such a unique and charming place.

There’s nothing quite as lovely as a donkey’s nose.

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Edible Flowers – Viola

I’ve been so taken with the summer trend of using flowers in food, I feel a bit sad that salad season is almost over. The vivid colours and peppery notes of flavour have brightened many a meal for me this season.

There is a way to keep using these dainty delights though, and it’s probably in your garden right this minute.

Happy little faces brighten the morning.
©kam

Yes the humble viola mainstay of many a patio pot and a bright little face to cheer the days as winter draws in, is also a diamond when it comes to culinary delight. They can be used to give a delicate flavour to many recipes, and look absolutely delightful. Take care which variety you choose though, since not all are edible. The most common edible ones are Viola Cornuta, Viola x wittrockiana and Viola tricolor .

Growing Violas in the Herb Garden means the Hundred House has an endless supply.
©kam

 

As well as adding a pretty zing to your favourite dishes, Violas also work beautifully when crystallised. It’s incredibly simple to do and makes the humblest of cakes look like a work of art.  I use this method which features on the BBC Food website.

Crystallised Flowers

Ingredients

Method

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the egg white and water. Grasp the petals with a pair of tweezers and carefully brush the egg mixture onto the petals, lightly coating both sides.
  2. In another bowl, toss the petals with the sugar and transfer to a rack. Allow the petals to dry at least 6 hours, longer if necessary.

    Crystallised violas
    ©kam

I find using a flat paintbrush gives me a more even finish. The main thing is to pick flowers that are at their best. Any little nicks or blemishes will be more obvious after crystallisation. It’s a lovely way to cheer up a grey afternoon!

The finished article. Not bad for a first attempt.
©kam

 

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