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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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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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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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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Beautiful Blueberries

Blueberries burst on to the British culinary scene around ten years ago, when sales of these little spheres of goodness overtook raspberries for the first time. Despite being introduced in to the UK in 1952, sales had remained at around 1000 tons per annum until around 2006, when they were discovered as a superfood. We now buy around 15000 tons a year. That’s quite an increase!

Freshly picked Blueberries bursting with possibility
©kam

Why should this be? Well  for a start they taste amazing, a mix of sweet and tart, and with something unmistakably, well, blueberry. They also have a shelf life that is much longer than our native berries, so they’re a popular choice for profit driven supermarkets. Blueberries are also incredibly versatile.  They are stunning on their own as a healthy snack and divine in a range of bakes, chutneys and savoury dishes. Oh, and did I mention that they’re a superfood? All in all, this little purple power pack is incredible.

Blueberry facts

  • Blueberries are native to North America. They did not arrive in Europe until the 1930s.
  • Blueberries contain Vitamin K which helps to build strong bones and ward off heart disease.
  • They may protect against memory loss
  • They can be used as a natural food dye. Legend has it that early American colonists boiled them with milk to make grey paint, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s Fruits & Veggies More Matters campaign.
  • The perfect blueberry should be dusty in colour

Source http://www.wfafnj.org/the-gardens/childrens-garden/blueberry-bed/

Perfect blueberries, with their dusty colouring. Don’t wash this off until you’re ready to eat them.
©kam

 

Blueberries are used in many ways at the Hundred House. One of the most unusual is in our Smoked Duck dish. The blueberries take the place of more traditional fruit pairings, and fulfill the role of cutting through the richness of the succulent duck in a unique way. It really is a dish to devour, and a perfect lead in to autumn dining

Smoked Breast of Duck, Duck Croquette, Potato Puree, Blueberry Port Wine Sauce
A new flavour for the classic pairing of duck and fruit.

This gorgeous recipe features in the Made in Shropshire recipe book which showcases delicious food from around our beautiful county.

Apple smoked Duck with Duck Croquette roast beetroot, horseradish cream and rainbow chard

Duck Confit Croquettes

(Serves 6- 10)

2 Confit Duck Legs, approximately 600g

100g Button Mushrooms

2 Teaspoons fuinely chipped French shallots

2 tablespoons Olive oil

250ml whipped cream

1 teaspoon finely chopped chives

2 eggs

Plain flour, for dusting breadcrumbs, for coating vegetable oil, for deep frying

 

  • Preheat the oven to 210C (Gas 6-7).
  • Warm the duck legs in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove the skin and finely slice, then sweat in a small frying pan over medium heat, cooking until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Debone the legs and put the meat with a small glass of water in the frying pan. Cook slowly over low heat until the liquid has evaporated. Shred meat with fork and set aside.
  • Wash and finely chop the mushrooms. Place the olive oil in the frying pan with the shallots and cook until golden brown. Season generously and add the cream. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then pour into a bowl and set aside. Add the shredded duck meat, skin and chives to the mushroom mixture. Adjust seasoning to taste, cover and place in the fridge until cool.
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl. Lightly flour your hands then shape small amount of the duck and mushroom mixture into croquettes by rolling between the palms of your hands. Coat in the egg then roll in the breadcrumbs. Coat again in eggs and breadcrumbs. Place in the fridge.

 

Brine

2 Large White Onions, peeled and chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

½ head of celery, chopped

3 garlic bulbs, split, peeled and chopped

8 allspice berries

8 cloves

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

20g thyme

6 bay leaves

45g coffee beans

630g salt

220g sugar

5 litres of water

 

Duck Breast

  • Make the brine one day ahead. Sweat in a saucepan the vegetables and herbs together gently without colour for 15 minutes. Roasted the spices at 180c for 5 minutes in a tray. Add the herbs and spices, salt, sugar and water to the pan, bring to a simmer for 45 minutes, then chill
  • Pour the brine over the duck breasts and leave overnight in the fridge. Remove duck breast from liquid, pat dry with clean cloth then smoke over apple wood for 1.5 hours in a Bradley or similar style smoker

To Serve

  • Place duck breast, skins side down in a dry frying pan over a low heat. Then gentle heat will render the fat from the breast and brown the skin.
  • After a few minutes turn over and place in overn for 5- 8 minutes at 185C
  • Rest in a warm spot for at least 6 minutes. Meanwhile bake croquettes at 185C till golden
  • To serve cut croquettes in half and serve thinly sliced breast with roast beetroot, chard, potatoes puree, horseradish cream and duck jus

 

 

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Beautiful blooms

Our garden is one of our favourite things. It’s what makes us unique and we know that our guests love it too.  Whilst the glorious summer flowers are fading, we’ve just harvested the latest crops for creating our hanging herb posies. All the herbs and flowers that we use to decorate the Hundred House are grown, harvested and dried right here. Libby had just created some beautiful new arrangements, and we think they look stunning.

Helichrysum, and Love in a Mist
©kam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfectly preserved
©kam

We’ve commissioned some gorgeous slate labels too, the heart shape gives a stylish retro feel.

The contrast between slate and delicate Angelica is beautiful
©kam

I love the vibrant purple of the Globe Thistle against the soft red brick.
©kam

 

Pop in soon to have a look and a bit to eat, everywhere is looking beautiful and of course the food is fantastic !

Ready for a lovely lunch
©kam

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What’s in the garden ? Edible flowers

As promised, here’s a bit more the best value members of the garden, edible flowers. These guys really earn their keep!  Looking good and tasting great is no mean feat. Having the combination of beautiful gardens and great food really makes the Hundred House special, and it’s great to be able to share some of that with you.

Lavender 
©KAM

First up, Lavender; we’ve seen it used with varying success, it’s been the downfall of more than one contestant on a certain British Baking contest. Use with care, it gives a unique flavour to desserts, can be used to create flavoured honey, sugar and vinegars, and the sprigs complement pork, lamb and chicken. It has a mass of health benefits too, being renowned for helping us to sleep, and soothe anxiety, as well as aiding digestion.

Mix 1kg of caster sugar with 2tsp lavender to make lavender sugar, sprinkle over freshly baked shortbread for a sweet treat.

 

 

One of the nicest ways to use it is in a delicate dessert this adaptation of our classic Panna cotta is a glorious end to a summer meal.

Lavender Panna cotta

For the lavender flowers

225ml/8fl oz. water

100g/3½oz caster sugar

handful lavender flowers

For the panna cotta

  • 625ml whole milk
  • 170ml pouring cream
  • 125g superfine sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 6 gelatine leaves

 

 

Method

To prepare the lavender flowers

Heat the water and caster sugar together in a pan.

Stir until the sugar melts. Boil gently so the liquid reduces a little.

Remove from the heat, and allow to cool.

Once cooled, add the lavender flowers to the pan.

Allow to steep, to create a delicate lavender syrup. After a few of hours, remove the lavender and allow to dry. Keep them to decorate the panna cotta.

To make the Panna Cotta

  • Mix milk, cream, sugar, cardamom and vanilla bean & seeds in saucepan over medium heat
  • Bring it to boil then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes
  • Soak gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes until soft then squeeze the excess water out. Add them to milk mixture until combined.
  • Remove from heat & pass through a fine sieve into clean jug
  • Pour into cups and refrigerate overnight
  • Turn the panna cotta out onto individual serving plates and drizzle the lavender syrup over them. Decorate with the crystallised lavender flowers.
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What’s in the garden ?

 

We’re getting near harvest time. More and more goodies are showing off their colour, fragrance and flavour on our menu. To see what I mean, take a look at our black pudding and chorizo stack.

Tangy and earthy, and just look at those gorgeous tomatoes !

Contrasting dark, rich black pudding with the tang of apple and the clean taste of a fresh garden salad makes a glorious starter, of a deliciously indulgent lunch. And there is very little better than an indulgent lunch ! Our tomatoes are becoming more and more abundant, and filling our menu with their luscious taste of summer.

For a slightly more virtuous option, caulifowers and cabbages are in full swing.As well as being fabulous side dishes, these humble vegetables really shine when placed in the centre stage. Our Cream of Cauliflower soup embodies the concept of simplicity, and it does it perfectly. With the way the weather has been this summer, I have to to say a tasty bowl of smooth, delicate loveliness has been quite tempting.

Smooth and delicately delicious.

Finally, although not strictly in our garden, we have a fabulous dish that showcases that most Mediterranean of vegetables, the Aubergine. Shiny, deepest purple, and with a mild taste that responds beautifully to other flavours, this vegetable is at it’s very best now. It packs host of nutritional benefits. As well as being an excellent source of  dietary fibre, they are also a good source of vitamins B1 (good for nerve, muscle and heart function) and B6 (helps produce serotonin) and potassium (for healthy digestive function). Sounds pretty good to me !

We pair it with chickpeas as part of our Mezze, which it makes a glorious starter, or as part of a grazing platter to enjoy with a glass of wine.

I also like to sneak a bit of it for a healthy lunch. There aren’t many things that are this tasty, and this good for you ! Here’s a recipe for you to have a try.

Chickpea and Aubergine salad

Serve as part of a mezze platter, or as lovely lunch.

Ingredients

1tbsp Ground Cumin

250g Dried Chickpeas

2 Aubergines

2 Onions, thinly sliced

4 Cloves of Garlic, finely sliced

Juice and zest of   one Lemon

200ml Yogurt

 

  1. Pre-soak chickpeas overnight. Place them in a pan with 3x their volume of water, 1 onion, 1 carrot and a bay leaf.
  2. Sweat the sliced onion in olive oil with ground Cumin and sliced Garlic until tender.
  3. Sauté the aubergine slices in olive oil until tender and golden.
  4. Add the aubergine & drained chickpeas to the onions.
  5. Add yogurt and season to taste with raw garlic, salt, pepper and lemon.

Enjoy !

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