NEIL'S RECIPES: ICED CROWDIE AND RASPBERRY PARFAIT

by Cafe St Honoré in


"The taste of this parfait is similar to a frozen cheesecake with the slightly salty, textured crowdie mixed with the sweetness of Angus raspberries. It just knocks me for six every time I eat it. Scattering a few oats as a tiny crust is great, or have it on its own, in a glass, bowl or plate, it doesn’t matter. Once it’s made, it’s in your freezer for a good few weeks until it’s all eaten! Do give it a go, maybe ask for help as there are a few stages to go through. Come on, I did give you an easy starter and main course to cook!"

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

This will make 2 terrine moulds (classic le Creuset style) or ice-cream tubs rubbed with oil and lined with 2 sheets of cling film. Very importantly, before lining with oil and cling film, add a strip of triple layered tin foil so you can lift the parfait out of the terrine when it’s frozen. Allow for an overhang of the tin foil and the cling film.

INGREDIENTS

350g raspberries, chopped plus extra for garnishing

Roasted pinhead oats, toasted as a garnish, optional

coulis:
150ml water
140g sugar
175g raspberries

creamed crowdie:
300ml double cream
600g crowdie

meringue:
4 egg whites
250g sugar
pâte à bombe

110 ml water
150g sugar

8 egg yolks

METHOD

Begin by making a coulis. Boil the coulis ingredients together until syrupy then blitz and pass through a sieve. Keep to one side. 

Next make the crowdie cream, by whisking together the cream and crowdie until smooth. Keep to one side. 

To make a classic meringue mix, whisk the egg whites until 3/4 whisked then add the sugar a little at a time as you continue to whisk. Use a mixer for this if you have one. Keep to one side.

To make the pâte à bombe parfait mixture, heat the water and sugar until it reaches 121°C. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and continue to whisk as you gently pour in the molten sugar. Use a miser for this if you have one. Keep whisking until the mix starts to cool slightly. This will take about 5 minutes.

To assemble, use a large bowl to fold the meringue into the pâte à bombe. Then fold in the coulis and crowdie cream, being very gentle as you go. And finally fold in the chopped raspberries.

Ensure all is combined and scoop into your prepared terrine moulds. Fold the cling film over the top and freeze overnight. The next day, remove the parfait from the moulds by lifting out using the tin foil handles.

Serve sliced with some toasted oats and fresh raspberries.

 


NEIL'S RECIPES: HALIBUT AND PETIT POIS A LA FRANÇAISE

by Cafe St Honoré in


"Quite delicious and fresh tasting - what more could you want from a very quick dish? It’s so easy now to obtain sustainable fish from your monger or market, so for this recipe I’ve chosen halibut. I adore this fish, but hake, cod, coley  - or any other fish of your choice - work well with this classic and versatile garnish. Bacon lardons, peas, lettuce, a touch of mint and a lot of butter is key here. And I love adding the crunch of a garden radish. Peas are everywhere now but frozen would do outwith the short harvest. Or try it with broad beans - if they are fresh, keep them in their shells after podding. Delicious."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 150g pieces of Halibut or whatever fish you like, all skin and bones removed

200g petit pois, or your own home-grown peas, shelled, podded and blanched in boiling salted water for 3 minutes

1 baby gem lettuce, washed

A handful of mint leaves

A small handful of curly parsley

150g piece of good bacon or pancetta, cut into lardons

1/2 a shallot, finely sliced

100g butter

30mls cold-pressed rapeseed oil

1 teaspoon flour, optional

A handful of radishes, sliced

1 lemon

Good salt and pepper

METHOD

Heat half the oil and fry the lardons until just starting to go brown. Then add the shallot and fry gently for 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the blanched peas and season with salt and pepper. Add half the butter and bring the ingredients together.

Meanwhile, get the remaining oil hot in a non-stick pan and fry the halibut steaks for 3 to 4 minutes either side or until they are just cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining butter and baste the fish as it finishes cooking in the frothy butter. Add a squeeze of lemon and place the pieces of fish on a warm plate.

Shred the lettuce, rip the mint and parsley and add to the pea mixture with a touch of flour if you like to thicken the butter slightly. Season and add the radishes. Serve with the halibut and bring to the table warm.


NEIL'S RECIPES: MONKFISH TAIL WITH SALSA VERDE AND SEMI-DRIED TOMATOES

by Cafe St Honoré in


It is a rare treat for me to use monkfish. Always ensure you buy from a sustainable source and it’s very fresh. Monkfish has a meaty texture with no small bones, just one central bone that can be left in if you want to cook it on the barbecue, or trimmed and the bone removed. Either way, don’t overcook the fish - keep it slightly underdone and allow to rest as it does go a bit dry if it’s over cooked. I’m serving here with salsa verde, a brilliant sauce a bit like pesto, but so much better.

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 large monkfish tail, either on or off the bone, get your fishmonger to help you trim it or remove the bone
4 large new season tomatoes, I like Isle of Wight organic tomatoes
A small handful each of fresh mint, parsley and basil, washed and dried
1 tablespoon of capers
1 tablespoon of anchovies, optional
1 tablespoon of good Dijon or wholegrain mustard
250ml extra-virgin olive oil, I use Palestinian organic olive oil, plus extra for roasting the tomatoes
A splash of red wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic
A few sprigs of thyme
Good salt and pepper
A few edible flowers, optional
A splash of sunflower oil
Lemon juice for seasoning

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 130°C.

To make the semi-dried tomatoes, remove the eyes from the tomatoes and cut them half . Then cut each half into 4 wedges and place in an oven-proof dish. Trickle with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle over the thyme leaves. Place in the oven for a few hours until just semi-dried.

To make the salsa verde, blitz the herbs, capers, anchovies, vinegar, garlic and mustard, and olive oil in a blender until a slightly chunky consistency is achieved. Taste and season as required.

Prepare the fish for cooking by patting it dry and seasoning. Then place a frying pan on the hob and add a splash of sunflower oil. Once the oil is very hot add the monkfish very carefully. Colour the fish on all sides then season again and place in a hot (180°C) oven for a few minutes until it is still slightly under cooked.

Remove from the oven and season with a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper if required.

To serve, slice the fish and drizzle with salsa verde and serve with the tomatoes.


NEIL'S RECIPES: STRAWBERRIES, CREAM, MERINGUE AND BRAMBLE VINEGAR

by Cafe St Honoré in


Strawberries and cream is a classic. This dish is a bit like an Eton Mess but made different with the addition of bramble vinegar. It has a wonderful fresh sweetness which brings out the taste of the strawberries, in fact I use it with a lot of fruit. I get mine from Summer Harvest but you can make your own. It’s not a vinegar to put on your chips – it has a very light, almost drinkably sweet, sharp taste. Try it. 

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 punnet of local, new-season strawberries, husks removed, washed and at room temperature

150ml double cream, lightly whipped

A handful of mini meringues – shop-bought is fine

A few tablespoons of bramble-infused vinegar, I like Summer Harvest

Icing sugar for dusting

A few sweet cicely leaves

METHOD

Arrange the strawberries in a bowl, with the mini meringues dotted around then pipe the cream on top. Drizzle the vinegar over the top and add a dusting of icing sugar and a few leaves of sweet cicely.


NEIL'S RECIPES: FLAPJACKS

by Cafe St Honoré in


"Flapjacks seem to be one of those sweet treats that we all know, but no-one really talks about. I adore their sweet oaty taste. This recipe was devised in collaboration with Connor from the restaurant, who makes it very well. Perfect served with a cuppa."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Makes 18 finger-sized bars

INGREDIENTS

500g porridge oats

250g jumbo oats

375g unsalted butter

375g dark brown soft muscovado sugar

10 tablespoons of golden syrup

Nuts, seeds or dried fruit as desired

METHOD

Heat oven to 180°C.

Melt the butter over a very low heat then slowly stir in the brown sugar until dissolved.

Add the oats and give it a good mix. You may need to do this in a large mixing bowl.

Add nuts and fruit, stir.

Line a baking tray with a smear of oil and then a layer of greaseproof paper. The oil helps to stick the paper in place.

Spread the mix into the tray, pressing it down firmly with a palette knife. It can be thick or thin, depending on the size of your tray.

Bake for around 20 minutes, or until it begins to turn golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Then turn out of the tray, remove the paper, and cut into desired shapes.


NEIL'S RECIPES: FISHCAKE, WILTED SPINACH AND POACHED EGG

by Cafe St Honoré in


"We always sell out of these when they’re on the menu as they are just such a tasty way of eating. The little things to get right here are balance of lemon and herbs. Ask your fishmonger for fish pie mix, and even ask for the skin off. I’m not that keen on oily fish in my fishcake but salmon works well as the pink flesh stands out when you cut through the crunchy coating. So very tasty and a recipe you will come back to again and again. A true classic."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Makes 4 fishcakes

INGREDIENTS

250g fishcake mix

3 large potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed, no butter added

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon capers

1 tablespoon chopped parsley and chives

2 spring onions, finely chopped

A splash of vinegar for the poached egg water

2 tablespoons plain flour

2 eggs, beaten, for egg wash

4 tablespoons breadcrumbs

4 organic eggs

2 big handfuls of washed spinach, I like baby spinach

A knob of butter

Good salt and pepper

Oil for frying

A little olive oil for drizzling

METHOD

Heat oven to 180°C.

Firstly ensure the potato mash is dry and still warm.

Next, place the fish on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven until just cooked, moving it around if necessary.

Once ready, add the fish to a large mixing bowl with lemon juice and mashed potato and gently combine. Then add the zest of lemon, capers, parsley, chives, spring onions and season. Combine being careful not to over mix.

Divide the mixture into 4 and form into fishcakes. Place them on a sheet of greaseproof paper and place in the fridge until fully chilled.

Meanwhile season the flour and lay out the egg wash and breadcrumbs in small bowls. Coat each fishcake in flour, then egg wash then breadcrumbs.

Heat a deep fryer to 160°C and cook the fishcakes for 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown all over, turning carefully if necessary. Then place them in the oven (180°C) for a further 10 to 15 minutes until the centre of each fishcake is piping hot.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to just below the boil and add a splash of vinegar. Crack the eggs into the water and poach for 3 to 4 minutes.

Heat the knob of butter in a pan and wilt the spinach. Season with salt and pepper. This should only take 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve, arrange the spinach on warmed plates, placing the piping hot fishcake on top with the egg on top of that. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and finish with a grind of salt and pepper.


NEIL'S RECIPES: VANILLA RICE PUDDING WITH NEW SEASON FORCED YORKSHIRE RHUBARB

by Cafe St Honoré in


"An old favourite of mine. Rich, velvety rice pudding works brilliantly with the slight sharpness of new season forced rhubarb. Grown in dark sheds in the ‘rhubarb triangle’ of Yorkshire it’s harvested by candlelight. Some say you can hear the rhubarb crowns creaking and growing as they force their way through the crowns. Be careful to not overcook it though. I like to add a hint of citrus zest and a wee kick of vanilla."  

Images: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Images: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

100g pudding rice

75g caster sugar

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out

500mls whole milk, I use organic

400g Yorkshire rhubarb

Zest of half a lemon

Zest of half an orange

A liberal sprinkling of sugar

A splash of cream

A knob of butter

METHOD

Heat oven to 180°C.

Place the milk in a thick-bottomed pot on the hob. Add the rice and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then add the vanilla seeds. Keep the pod for the rhubarb.

Bring this mixture to just below the boil, stirring every minute or so. Be careful not to burn the milk or to let the rice stick to the bottom of the pan. It will take around 20 minutes for the rice to soften. Add a touch of cream and butter to enrich the pudding if you like.

Meanwhile, top and tail the rhubarb and give it a good wash. Cut it into roughly 1-inch pieces and place on a baking tray with sides. Add the citrus zests, the vanilla pod and a liberal sprinkling of sugar. Place in the oven until the rhubarb is soft and the sugar has created a wonderful syrup. Allow to cool slightly.

To serve, divide the pudding between four warmed bowls and top with the rhubarb.


NEIL'S RECIPES: CHOCOLATE FONDANT

by Cafe St Honoré in


"To guarantee a soft, liquid centre place a few chocolate buttons or a cube of chocolate into the centre of the mix you are using. I use a dariole mould - a metal bowl the size of a tea cup. I love Montezuma chocolate; use your favourite, but use dark. To add extra texture I’ve used a sprinkle of praline."

Images: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Makes 2 large or 4 small fondants

INGREDIENTS

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon of plain flour

100g dark chocolate, plus a few extra buttons for the centre

100g unsalted butter, diced

65g caster sugar

A little melted butter for brushing

A little cocoa powder for dusting

A dollop of crème fraîche

A small handful of hazelnuts

Another 75g caster sugar

METHOD

Heat the oven to 180°C.

Begin by making a praline. Add 75g of caster sugar to a pan and melt gently, allowing it to become dark and caramel in colour. This should take 3 to 5 minutes. Then stir in the hazelnuts and pour onto an oiled, clean surface like a non-stick, heat-resistant mat or a marble work surface. Once cooled, blitz in a food processor or crush with a rolling pin.

Next, prepare 2 large, or 4 small, dariole moulds by brushing with the melted butter then dust with a little cocoa powder. Knocking any excess powder out.

Whisk the egg, yolks and flour in a bowl and set to one side.

Place the chocolate, butter and sugar in a bowl over a pan of boiling water and melt gently whilst whisking to combine. When it reaches room temperature, add the egg and flour mix to the chocolate mix. This is a basic fondant recipe.

Next, spoon the mixture into the moulds until they are half full, then add the buttons, then fill the moulds to the top. If there’s any mix left over, it will keep well in the fridge for another day.

Bake the fondants in the oven for 9 to 11 minutes, and then let them sit for a minute outside the oven before carefully turning them out onto warm plates. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkle of praline.


NEIL'S RECIPES: SEAFOOD PLATTER

by Cafe St Honoré in


"Trust your fishmonger. Always ask for creel-caught prawns and lobsters, and only ever buy hand-dived scallops. Don’t be tempted to buy cheap shellfish; it’s cheap for a reason! Here I have used mussels, scallops and other pieces of fresh fish but tomorrow the fish may be different so be flexible. Always serve with a massive lemon; roasted in the pan cut side down helps make it even juicier. Have a salad on the side to break up the richness of the fish and a garlicky butter with parsley will get the flavours combined. Don’t bother with cutlery. Get messy and enjoy!"

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1 handful of mussels, beards removed

2 scallops, hand-dived and out of the shell

1 squid, prepped and scored

1 fillet of grey mullet

A few radicchio leaves

A handful of watercress

Half a lemon

Good salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of cold-pressed rapeseed oil

A knob of butter

A clove of garlic, smashed

1 tablespoon of curly parsley, chopped

METHOD

Find your biggest frying pan, and get it hot on the hob. Add the rapeseed oil. Season the fish and shellfish and add to the pan. Keep an eye on the temperature as you don’t want the pan to get too hot. And be aware that each fish will have different cooking times. The mullet will take a little longer to cook than the scallops for example.

Season the fish and shellfish again in the pan and add the smashed garlic clove, the parsley and the butter then cover the pan with a lid (if you have one) so the mussels can open up, and the squid should start to curl up. Add some lemon juice and season again. Turn the scallops and fish as required, the whole process should only take 3 to 4 minutes. Try not to over cook the fish.

Once ready, remove the fish from the pan and place onto a warm platter. If you have the scallop shell, use them to display your scallops. Add the lemon to the pan cut-side down and cook until it starts to blacken then add to your platter. Enjoy with a salad and a glass of fizz.


NEIL'S RECIPES: SECRET HERB GARDEN BEER RAREBIT

by Cafe St Honoré in


"To some, this may just be cheese on toast but this humble supper dish is elevated by making a roux for the sauce using the wonderful nettle and sticky willy beer made by the great Hamish and Libby at The Secret Herb Garden. If you haven't been yet, go! Good bread is vital for this recipe, so use a proper sourdough or a rustic farmhouse wholemeal. And serve with a crunchy salad with a sharp dressing to cut through that rich cheese. Here I have used Isle of Mull cheddar made by the Reade family. The cows are fed the leftover barley from the distillery in Tobermory. What a lovely story."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 slices of really good sourdough

250ml Secret Herb Garden Sticky Willy and Nettle beer, any other artisan beer would be fine

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of flour

1 handful of grated Isle of Mull cheddar

1 heaped teaspoon of Arran mustard

Good salt and pepper

A splash of Worcester sauce, optional

METHOD 

Melt the butter in a pot and add the flour to make a roux. Cook this for a couple of minutes then add the beer a glug at a time until the mix is nice and thick. Add the mustard and bring to the boil, stirring continually. You may need a whisk.

Add the grated cheese and a splash of Worcester sauce and taste for seasoning whilst the cheese is melting in the sauce. 

This mixture keeps well for a few days in the fridge in an airtight container. 

Toast the bread on one side then spread the cheese sauce onto the untoasted side, and grill until golden brown and bubbling.

Serve with some endive leaves coated in a sharp dressing. 


NEIL'S RECIPES: CLAMS WITH BACON AND THYME

by Cafe St Honoré in


"I’m using palourdes clams for this recipe. They have a nice sweet taste and are quite meaty. In countries like Portugal and Spain these sweet beauties are highly sought after but are often overlooked here. They’re lovely in a chowder, or a soup as well, but I urge you to try them as a plate to share before a main course. They’re so simple, and so tasty."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango  

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango 

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 handfuls of clams, either palourdes or surf

1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped

A few sprigs of thyme

2 rashers of bacon, chopped into little lardons or strips

A tablespoon of organic extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

Good salt and pepper

A tablespoon of curly parsley, chopped

METHOD

Rinse the clams thoroughly to remove any grit.

Place a large pot on the hob and turn the heat up high. Add half the olive oil and the bacon. Fry until golden.

Add the clams and garlic to the pot and cover with a lid. Move them around continuously as you cook until all the shells open. Then add the thyme, lemon juice, parsley and season with salt and pepper.

After a few minutes with the heat still on high, the clams should all be open. Now add the remainder olive oil and stir.

Serve in warmed bowls with good bread to mop up all the juice.


NEIL'S RECIPES: BREAST OF MALLARD WITH CHESTNUTS, CABBAGE AND POTATO

by Cafe St Honoré in


Mallard, or wild duck, is one of my favourite game birds and is a great alternative to turkey for Christmas lunch. They’re available from good game dealers – in Edinburgh I would try Crombie’s, George Bower or Saunderson’s. If you choose a whole bird, I would recommend removing the legs and cooking them separately for longer than you do the breasts or the crown. Cooking the breasts on the bone will lessen the shrinkage and keep it moist but you can cook single breasts in a pan if you prefer.

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango  

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango 

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 breasts of mallard

4 heritage potatoes or new potatoes, skin on and par-boiled - I like Pink Fir and Aura

1/2 a Savoy cabbage, stem removed and shredded

12 chestnuts

4 cloves of garlic

4 sprigs of thyme

Good salt and pepper

2 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

4 knobs of butter

METHOD

Heat the oven to 180°C.

Add the oil to a large, hot frying pan, season the mallard and place each breast carefully, skin-side down in the pan. Season again.

Cut the potatoes in half and place them next to the breasts. Add the garlic and thyme. Once the mallard skin is golden, turn and add the chestnuts. Reduce the heat and cook for a minute or 2.

Place the pan in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes depending on how cooked you like your duck. Remove from the oven, add 2 knobs of butter to the pan and baste the mallard. Season again. Remove the mallard from the pan and allow rest on a plate in a warm place. Remove the potatoes from the pan and keep warm. Retain the juices in the pan.

Blanch the cabbage in boiling, salted water and drain, and add the remaining butter. Season and stir in any juices from the pan. Duck fat is delicious in cabbage! You can also add any resting juices.

To serve, slice each breast into long slithers and arrange on a wooden board or 4 individual, warmed plates. Arrange the cabbage, chestnuts and those golden brown potatoes and garnish with the garlic cloves and thyme stalks. Add a pinch of good salt and serve at once.


NEIL'S RECIPES: LEMON POLENTA CAKE WITH PISTACHIO, HONEY AND CRÈME FRAÎCHE

by Cafe St Honoré in


This is a lovely and moist flour-free cake with the delicious flavour combination of lemon and honey. The vibrant pistachios add a lovely crunch whilst the rich and creamy crème fraîche cut through the sharp lemon.

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Makes one cake

INGREDIENTS

330g butter, softened

330g unrefined caster sugar

330g ground almonds

1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out

4 eggs, beaten

Zest and juice of 3 lemons

1 teaspoon of baking powder

150g dried polenta

1 tablespoon of pistachio nuts, not the salted ones

3 tablespoons of honey

Knob of butter for greasing

Sprinkle of polenta for cake tin (optional)

Lots of crème fraîche

METHOD

Heat the oven to 165°C.

Firstly, grease a 10-inch cake tin with butter and sprinkle with polenta to make it non-stick, or line a Pyrex dish with buttered greaseproof paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric whisk. Then add the ground almonds, vanilla, and the eggs a little at a time. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, reserving some juice for the syrup. Then fold in the baking powder and polenta and combine into a nice cake mix.

Spoon the mix into the prepared tin or dish and flatten the surface with a wet palette knife until smooth.

Place in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until golden on top and it feels firm to the touch. Do the prick test by inserting a cocktail stick into the centre of the cake - if it comes out clean then the cake is ready. Leave the cake to cool.

Make a syrup by warming the pistachios, honey and lemon juice on a low heat.

Cut the cake into slices and drizzle with the syrup and serve with a huge dollop of crème fraîche.

 


NEIL'S RECIPES: VENISON COTTAGE PIE

by Cafe St Honoré in


This is one of our best sellers at the restaurant. It’s rich, homely, comforting and a great-tasting dish. If you can’t find venison mince, replace with grass-fed beef mince. I pipe my ridiculously buttery mash onto the pies at Cafe, but my mother used to spread the mash over the cooked mince and make a tartan pattern with the back of a fork, who remembers that?

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

400g of lean, very good venison mince

4 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

150g of mixed diced vegetables, such as carrots, celeriac, turnip and onion

1 bay leaf

A sprig of thyme

1 litre of very good beef or game stock, chicken stock would do - any leftover gravy is good to add here

1kg potatoes

200ml double cream – heated

100g butter

1 egg, beaten

Good salt and pepper

METHOD

Heat the oven to 160°C.

Heat a large ovenproof pot (with a lid) on the hob - get it quite hot – then add half the oil. When smoking, add the venison mince. Keep the heat up and keep stirring until the mince is nicely browned, this should take 7 to 8 minutes. Drain through a sieve and reserve.

Bring the same pot back up to a high heat and add the remaining oil. Fry the veg for around 6 to 8 minutes. The more colour you add, the more flavour your pie will have. Then add the thyme, the bay leaf and the drained venison mince. Combine whilst still on a high heat and season with salt and pepper. Next add the stock and any leftover gravy and bring to the boil.

Once boiling, remove from the heat and cover with a lid. Then place the pot in the oven to simmer for 2 hours, stirring every half hour or so. Then remove the lid and cook for a further hour, stirring every 15 minutes. It should reach a rich, thick mince or stew consistency. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish.

For the mash, boil the potatoes in salted water, drain and pass through a potato ricer. Stir in the hot cream and butter.

Top the pie with the mash. Use a piping bag to create a decorative design, or spread the mash with a palette knife and use a fork to create ridges.

Brush all over with a beaten egg and brown in a very hot oven or under a piping hot grill. Serve at once with some cabbage or greens cooked with a little beef fat left over from Sunday lunch.


NEIL'S RECIPES: ORGANIC CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

by Cafe St Honoré in


It's everyone's favourite, but if you’re not careful, a lot can go wrong. The cooking time will vary dramatically depending on the oven you use, so be aware of this and don't over cook. Brownies are better soft and gooey than dry and overlooked. I love the addition of white chocolate buttons in this recipe, and try adding walnuts for some crunch. Serve them with a good vanilla ice-cream and a chocolate sauce for extra moisture, richness and gooeyness! 

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Makes one tray

INGREDIENTS

675g organic unrefined caster sugar

225g organic self-raising flour

125g organic cocoa powder

150g organic white chocolate buttons or 50/50 dark and white organic Montezuma pistoles

6 organic eggs, beaten

340g organic butter, melted

90g organic milk

A few organic chocolate buttons (for chocolate sauce)

A splash of cream (for chocolate sauce)

METHOD

Sift the flour and the cocoa powder together into a large mixing bowl.  Add the sugar, chocolate buttons then add the melted butter, milk and lastly the eggs. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.

Line a roasting tin (around 450 x 300mm) with greased baking parchment or grease-proof paper and pour in the mix. For a thicker brownie, use a smaller tray, but cook it for a bit longer.

Bake the brownie in a pre-heated med to low oven (160-170°C) for around 20 to 30 minutes. All ovens are very different so check every 5 to 10 minutes. Try the tip of a knife test - if it's still too wet inside the centre then cook longer. Don't over cook the brownies, keep it gooey!

To make a chocolate sauce, gently melt a few organic chocolate buttons with a splash of cream over a bain marie.

Serve with a good ice-cream and chocolate sauce.

 


NEIL'S RECIPES: PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM WITH SPINACH, WHITE SAUCE AND HERB CRUMB

by Cafe St Honoré in


Such a good dish to eat, a joy to cook and a test of skills! For me it's rare for a dish to be so long in prep. You can simplify this by removing the chard or the white sauce, but I encourage you to make this delicious and classic sauce. The onion cloutie, studded with bay and clove, gives this humble and versatile sauce its edge. Don't rush it, take your time and enjoy beating the hot milk into the butter and flour. 

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

A big handful of rainbow chard, washed and dried, roughly chopped

A shallot, peeled and finely chopped

2 bay leaves

A few sprigs of thyme

3 tablespoons organic olive oil

A splash of white wine

250ml double cream

500ml full fat milk

150g butter

50g plain flour

1 small onion

3 cloves

4 cloves of garlic

4 large handfuls of baby spinach, washed and dried

4 field/ flat or Portobello mushrooms

A small handful of herbs you like, tarragon and parsley work well

A handful of breadcrumbs

A few chanterelle mushrooms

A knob of butter

Good salt and pepper

METHOD

Firstly, prepare the chard.  Sweat the shallot in a tablespoon of olive oil with a bay leaf and a sprig of thyme. Add the chard and cook on a medium heat until soft. Season. Next add the white wine to the pot and cover with a lid. Add a little water or stock if you prefer. Let the chard braise for about an hour. Remove the lid and allow some of the liquid to evaporate for a few minutes whilst keeping the heat on medium setting. Then add the cream, bring to the boil and reduce until a sauce consistency. Season to taste and leave to one side in a warm place.

Make an onion cloutie by attaching a bay leaf to the onion with the cloves. To make a white sauce, heat the milk with the onion cloutie. Be careful not to boil. In another pot, melt 50g of butter and stir in the flour until you achieve a texture like wet sand. Cook the flour through for a minute or two, but don't burn it. Keep it on a low heat and add the milk a little at a time, continuing to stir. When all milk has been added, you should have a rich, glossy sauce. Add the onion to the sauce and cover with a lid. Keep warm.

Clean the Portobello mushrooms with a wet cloth and season all over. Place them on a roasting tray and dot over with the remaining butter. Season again. Gently bash the garlic, and rip a few sprigs of thyme. Add these to the roasting tray and place in a hot oven (180°C) for 20 to 30 minutes until just soft. Remove from the oven (leave the oven on). Leave the mushroom on the try and keep warm.

To wilt the spinach, heat a little olive oil in a pot with the juices from the mushrooms. Cook the spinach until wilted and season.

Make a herb crumb by mixing the herbs with breadcrumbs in a food processor.

Top each mushroom with some spinach, then one or two tablespoons of white sauce, finished off with the herb crumb. Return to the oven and bake at 180°C for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the knob of butter in a medium hot frying pan and cook the chanterelles for a couple of minutes, or until cooked.

To serve, place two tablespoons of the creamed chard on each plate and top with a Portobello mushroom. Arrange the chanterelle mushrooms in a circle around the plate. 


NEIL'S RECIPES: TOASTED SOURDOUGH WITH CRUSHED BROAD BEANS AND PEAS

by Cafe St Honoré in


My sous chef Joe created this lovely dish. It sells well and is so easy to make. The sweetness of the beans and peas, with the richness of the crowdie cheese with the tang of mint makes it a perfect starter, canapé or supper dish. I love using organic olive oil with this and a tiny squeeze of lemon to enhance all the flavours. And don’t forget the colourful, peppery radish!

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 slices of good sourdough

500g broad beans in their pods

500g peas in the pod

4 tablespoons Katy Rodgers Crowdie

4 radishes, I like the French Breakfast variety

A small handful of mint

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Good salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

Firstly, remove the broad beans and peas from their pods (discard the pods in a compost heap!). Blanch in a pot of boiling, salted water for a couple of minutes until they are tender, then gently refresh them under running cold water.

Place them into a food processor and blitz with half the olive oil, and some salt and pepper to taste. Aim for a pâté consistency - you may need to add a splash of water to help it to blitz.

Scrape the mix into a bowl. Rip half of the mint rip leaves and add to the mix. Taste and season as desired.

Toast the sourdough and top each slice with some of the bean and pea mix. Add dots of crowdie over the top, along with some slices of radish and a few sprigs of mint. Drizzle with the remaining oil and serve.


NEIL'S RECIPES: WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE WITH KENT CHERRIES

by Cafe St Honoré in


"Simple and delicious, a cheesecake needn’t be overly fancy. The little kick of orange zest in the mix is lovely. Try to buy British cherries as our orchards are disappearing every year and it would be a shame to lose them forever. Use a different alcohol if you prefer, or none at all, but use the sugar as it helps to cut through that rich cheese cake." 

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Makes one 10” cheesecake

INGREDIENTS

150g digestive biscuits

50g unsalted butter, melted

400g white chocolate

100g caster sugar

Zest of 1 orange

350g cream cheese

3 eggs

100ml double cream

A large handful of Kent cherries, pitted and halved

50ml Cointreau

50g caster sugar for the cherries

Edible flowers for garnishing

METHOD

Blitz the biscuits to crumb stage in a food processor. Thoroughly mix the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter and half the orange zest in a bowl, then press this mixture into a loose-bottomed 10” spring-form cake tin lined with greaseproof paper.

Next, cream the sugar and cream cheese to a loose consistency then add the remaining orange zest before beating in the eggs one at a time. Then fold in the cream.

Heat the chocolate very gently in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Once melted, combine with the cream cheese mix and spread it over the biscuit base. Tap the cake tin on your work surface to remove any air bubbles.

Place into the oven to bake for 45 minutes at 150°C until set. Remove from the oven and place in the fridge until cold.

To make the cherry topping, put the fruit in a pot and place on a medium heat on the hob. Add the Cointreau and sugar and bring to the boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes then allow to cool before topping the cheesecake. When serving, garnish with edible flowers from the garden. I like calendula and borage just now.


NEIL'S RECIPES: HERRING ROLL MOPS

by Cafe St Honoré in


"People have been pickling herring since medieval times. In Old Norse ‘herring’ means ‘army’. These vast silver shoals were on the move and needed to be contained and conquered! Pickled herring makes a refreshing change from smoked salmon or mackerel and is low in fat and high in Omega 3. It’s easy to make at home and will keep the fridge for weeks. Pack some for a picnic or be brave and put one in the kid’s packed lunch box!"

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 fillets of the freshest herring your can buy

2 shallots, peeled and sliced into rings

1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thin slices

A few peppercorns

A small sprig of thyme

1 tablespoon of salt

200ml cider vinegar

200ml water

50g sugar

1/2 bulb of fennel, shaved thinly on a mandolin

1 radish, sliced

1 apple, cut into matchsticks

Salt and pepper for seasoning

METHOD

Make the pickle liquor first by bringing the vinegar, water and sugar to the boil with the carrot, shallot, peppercorns, thyme and pinch of salt. Remove from the heat as soon as it reaches boiling point and allow to cool in the fridge, it must be cold.

Meanwhile, rub the salt into the herring fillets and leave them to cure overnight. The next day, rinse them well, then roll them up from tail to head and secure with a cocktail stick.

Submerge the fillets in the chilled pickle liquor and leave for 2 to 3 days before eating.  

To serve, slice the roll mops and arrange them on a plate, with some of the carrot and shallot from the pickling liquor, and top with a few slices of radish, the apple matchsticks and some shaved fennel. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


NEIL'S RECIPES: HAND-DIVED ISLE OF MULL SCALLOPS

by Cafe St Honoré in


"Scallop diver Guy Grieve is a bit of a superhero in the world of food and at Cafe St Honoré we serve hundreds of his scallops weekly. Please only ever buy hand-dived scallops. If they are cheap they are probably dredged which devastates the ocean floor. You only really need 2 or 3 of these each, as they are huge, sweet and tender. This recipe is a bit retro, but it’s simple and it works." 

Images: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Hand-dived Isle of Mull Scallops with Lemon, Parsley and Garlic Butter

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS 

Allow 3 scallops per person

2 large garlic cloves, bashed, peeled and chopped quite finely

150g unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons of freshly-chopped curly parsley

Zest and juice of 1 very large organic lemon

Good salt and pepper

METHOD

Keep the scallops in the shell - ask your fishmonger to do this for you, and leave the orange coral on too.

To make the butter, add the chopped garlic to the melted butter and add some fine zest of lemon and season with salt and pepper. Add the parsley and mix.

You can fry the scallops in a hot pan with a little rapeseed oil, one at a time, but I prefer to spoon on the garlic butter on to each scallop in the shell and place under a very hot, pre-heated grill or the top shelf of a very hot oven (250°C) until they are golden brown but not over-cooked.

Serve in the shells with a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of good salt and a lemon wedge. Eat at once.