National Breakfast Week

 

This week is National Breakfast Week and in it’s honour I want to share our recipe for “Proper Baked Beans”. We hope you enjoy them. My next blog will bring you a breakfast inspired cocktail to enjoy.

Proper Baked Beans

Courtesy of Sous Chef, Luke

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

400g dried white beans (haricot)

Rapeseed oil

200g smoked streaky bacon

200g chopped onions

2 cloves of garlic chopped

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato puree

150g soft brown sugar

200ml red wine vinegar

500ml water

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

Soak the beans in cold water over night

Drain the beans, put them in a large saucepan , cover with water, and simmer for one hour until tender

Heat the oil in a pan, add the bacon (we like to use bacon from Wye Valley Bacon & Sausage) and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and fry until the onion is soft.

Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, vinegar, and water. Bring to the boil and dissolve the sugar. Add the beans and reduce the heat to cook gently for 90 – 120 minutes.

 

It might sound like a long process but the hands on preparation time is quite short and it is honestly worth it!

 

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The Farmhouse – Room 2

Room 2 - before and after

From October 2014 until just before Christmas, Colin was busy organising and managing refurbishment works in the main building. The contractors, Alderwood Construction, did a fantastic job of minimising disruption not only for the guests but also for us in the kitchen. We had a couple of short periods when we were without water, but apart from that we really didn’t notice much at all – not even noise!

So I wanted to take this and the next few blog posts to show you the amazing transformation that they have done. Room 2 in a way has had the biggest transformation although for anyone who has stayed in the room, you will recognise the bedroom itself. The bedroom has been fully upgraded, the woodchip is gone, and there is now a lovely Nespresso coffee machine and a fridge. The old office (which started life as possibly the smallest double bedroom in the world!) has been converted to a bathroom. Pictures tell the story better than I could, so here are the shots from before, during and after. Please forgive the quality of the shots (Colin and Hari took them); the professional photographer is due in March.

For those of you that may be interested, here are some photos of the work in progress:

Room 2- pre refurbishment

Room 2 waiting for the builders to arrive, with the odd built in box that used to hide a multitude of sins!

The Office was renowned for being quite messy, but to be fair to Hari & Colin, this is it when they were packing it up ready to move out. They’ve been working out of a couple of plastic boxes waiting for the new office to arrive. If you have visited us since October you have probably spotted them working in one of the dining rooms.

The OfficeThe Office

The transformation was hard work for Simon and his team.

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The new doorway between the bedroom and bathroom is installed.

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A couple of new suppliers….

Having previously sourced our jams and marmalades from Gloucester, we decided that the Forest Showcase was the ideal opportunity to look for some new jam to go with our scones. Tasting lots of different samples, we settled on The Preservation Society. To go with our delicious scones, we went for their Raspberry Jam, and for a bit more variety for breakfast we have also added Lime Marmalade and Apricot & Almond Jam. The Lime Marmalade was a controversial decision with some of my kitchen team, but so far it has been the best “seller” with the guests. It did win a gold at the World’s Marmalade Awards 2014. You are bound to find at least one that you love. We love the fact they are based in Chepstow and use local produce where possible.

As we near Christmas, we were looking for some wonderful mincemeat for one of our desserts and  our mince pies. The mincemeat from the Preservation Society is probably the best I have ever tasted. It really is Buttery & Boozy like it says on the label.

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In the run up to the showcase, Hari was lucky to meet Lesley from thevintagehire.com . She mentioned a tea company who make all their tea in Gloucester. So now, we stock Higher Living Tea. As we run out of our current stock of envelope teas you will see them appear in the rooms. They are already available for sale at reception, and were the tea we used at the Forest Showcase. We love finding local producers whom we can support, and who share our vision of high quality.

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We are now getting ready for Christmas, as I’m sure you are too. We have a couple of rooms available for our Christmas package. You can find more details on our website by clicking here. I will post again to show you our wonderful pudding using the Boozy mincemeat.

Forest Showcase: Food and Drink Festival

On Sunday, we took part in another successful Forest Showcase. You may have read all about it in the national press as the squirrel burger competition has attracted a lot of attention. It is such a great event and this was it’s 14th year. A lot of our local suppliers have stands, but it’s always a great place to look out for new suppliers too.

For the second year, I did a demonstration. This year I chose to do “something fishy”, which was smoked salmon scotch eggs using quails eggs.

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Doing the demonstrations is always good fun, and the scotch eggs didn’t last long!

In the past we have had a stand to promote the hotel, but this year we decided to do something different. We transformed the pavilion into a pop up tea room. It was a huge undertaking to move everything there for one day, but we had an unbelievable amount of support from other local businesses. A very special mention should go to Lesley from thevintagehire.com . She hires out vintage crockery, glassware and accessories, and helped Hari set up the room on the Saturday. She does a lot of weddings, so if you are looking for that vintage look, then please check out her website. She will travel up to 2 hours for deliveries, and will also help you set up and dress the room. Her contacts were invaluable, and she put us in contact with Josephine’s Fabulous Flowers. Jo’s flowers are amazing, and the arrangements she did for Sunday are now gracing the hotel. We hope to continue to use Jo for the hotel flowers, as the look fits in perfectly back at the hotel. One last person we would like to mention is Graham from Yer Tiz in Lydney (01594 842004). Yer Tiz is great for second hand furniture, and Graham kindly lent us two dressers for the tea room.

The Pavilion before we transformed it!

The Pavilion before we transformed it!

One of the lovely dressers from Yer Tiz

One of the lovely dressers from Yer Tiz

Lesley's lovely bunting brightening up the tea room

Lesley’s lovely bunting brightening up the tea room

In the process of organising the tea rooms, we found two new local suppliers, but more about that next week.

The tea room was a phenomenal success, and we really enjoyed the busy day at the Showcase. Who knows what we’ll do next year – any ideas?

My 8 desert island dishes

 

Tudor Farmhouse scallopsIt’s great to be back in the kitchen after a couple of weeks away following a knee op. It did give me the opportunity to catch up with some old friends though, enjoy a beer and discuss some of the most important things in life… like food and fishing!

It made me think about some of the dishes I couldn’t live without, those that mean a lot to me. So here’s the list, my 8 desert island dishes – the foods I would most crave if I was stranded on a desert island.

1. First on the menu would be a proper bacon and egg sandwich – the perfect set-me-up for the day. Mouth-watering smoked bacon, served between two slices good white bread and topped with a perfectly cooked egg and a hefty dollop of HP sauce. The breakfast of champions.

2. Being a Cornish boy, one of my favourite things in the world is a traditional Cornish pasty. However it can’t just be any old pasty, it must have a good pasty case, crimped of course and definitely short not puff. Stuffed to the brim with succulent rough cuts of quality beef, diced swede, potato and onion – now that’s what I call home.

3. My love for fishing comes from the summer holidays that I spent on the beach helping my dad and a reminder of that is my next dish, barbequed mackerel. Simple and extremely effective, this dish is a key reminder of my childhood and my love for fantastic, fresh food that’s cooked simply.

4. This fishy dish then leads me to my next favourite, a modern classic – roasted scallops with confit port belly and cauliflower. This dish isn’t as simple as my last three, however it sits as one of my signature dishes at Tudor Farmhouse and is always a firm favourite with diners.

5. Now for a firm family favourite, Cheese Soufflé. When making it in the restaurant I love using local artisan chesses to produce a perfectly cooked soufflé, crisp on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside.

6. Slow roasting has to be one of my favourite ways to cook meat, especially lamb. That’s why my next dish would be slow roasted shoulder of lamb. You can’t achieve anything more tender than lamb being cooked in its own juices for more than 18 hours – definitely worth the wait!

7. For dessert I’d choose my mother-in-law’s steamed sponge pudding with nothing other than Cornish clotted cream. Although I am not usually a pudding man, this dish must be one of the most satisfying comfort foods that I have ever eaten.

8. To finish off all my cravings would be a rich, quality chocolate ice cream, made with at least 70% dark cocoa chocolate and lashings of double cream.

It was a tough choice, but these dishes have to be my all time favourites.

What food would you crave whilst stranded on a desert island? Extravagant gourmet meal or comfort classics? Tweet us @tudorfarmhouse with the hashtag #desertcravings and let us know!

Sowing the seed for fabulous fresh produce from our kitchen garden

Blog pic It’s great to see Jeanie, our resident gardener, working her magic in the kitchen garden this year. All her hard work gives me the opportunity to add an extra touch of magic to my dishes, especially with the introduction of a few more interesting and unusual fruit and veg. With ingredients now available to me that are as fresh as a stroll down to the veg patch, I can create some seriously tasty dishes that are seasonally spot on and exceedingly low on food miles. From the exotic, lesser known garden gems, to the everyday classics, there’s nothing better than cooking, plating up and serving fresh as a daisy home grown produce, that’s been dug up that day.

Here’s what Jeanie had to say…

After building the raised beds last year so we could produce more of our own fruit and veg, this year we’re focusing on a few more exotic varieties that are both difficult to source and expensive to buy. All our crops are grown from straight from seed and raised in the greenhouse before planting out in the kitchen garden.

This year’s crops include:

Kohlrabi – a vegetable somewhere between a turnip and water chestnut that has a mild sweet flavour.

Patty pan squash – also known as the custard squash, it has a similar taste to courgette but looks a little like a yellow pumpkin.

Tatsoi – other names include spoon mustard. It has a soft creamy texture and similar taste to bok choi.

Pineberry strawberries – white with a hint of pineapple taste, these are the oldest type of strawberry.

Cucamelon – these grape like fruits look like tiny watermelons but have a tangy cucumber taste.

Inca berries – commonly known as physalis, is a ‘superfood’ that looks a bit like a cherry tomato and has a similar taste to a gooseberry.

Alongside these we’re also growing baby salad leaves, courgettes, aubergines, plenty of pea varieties, beans and baby carrots. Plus to add a splash of colour to the veg patch and Martin’s dishes we’re growing a range of edible flowers, such as blue and white borage, calendula, nasturtium and viola – perfect for plating up that summer dish.

At present the courgettes are in full flower in the greenhouse, with the first fruit beginning to appear. The aubergines have started to pick up speed after a slow start and our squashes and cucumbers are beginning to flourish. It’s also been great to experiment with a few different varieties of the vegetables we grow, introducing golden, white and candy striped beetroots as well as purple, green and yellow dwarf and climbing beans.

With the weather now warmer focus is moving from the greenhouse to the raised beds. The kohlrabi (purple and white varieties) planted out at the end of May are now ready to pick and the beans are beginning to look quite sturdy.

The ground is now warm enough to sow seeds directly into the soil and so the kale, chard, sugar snap peas, beetroots, Jerusalem artichoke tubers and dwarf French beans are in and already showing small signs of life. The kitchen has already made use of some of the tatsoi and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of veg patch featuring on the menus over the coming months.

RECIPE: Gluten free dark chocolate fondant (serves 8)

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Over the years as a chef I’ve seen a rise in diners requesting things that are vegan, dairy free and gluten free. Just a few short years ago that meant one thing – dull, unimaginative and bland food. But these days, because so many people are asking for it, we’ve had to up our game to ensure everyone gets the same level of flavour and finesse no matter what their dietary requirements are.

We find it very easy to cater for gluten free guests when it comes to starters and main courses, but desserts are always tricky. With this tasty recipe we’re definitely onto a winner – it’s one of the best out there, regardless of whether you follow a gluten free diet!

It’s rich, it’s moist, it’s got different textures, it’s basically chocolate heaven on a plate. Consider serving it alongside bourbon ice cream, sour cherries and pistachio nuts like we do for a real show-stopper of a dish. Go on, try it for yourself and let me know how you get on…

Best,

Martin

Ingredients

  • 375g High quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa and above), finely chopped
  • 315g Unsalted butter, diced,
  • 50g Softened unsalted butter for brushing moulds
  • 300g Caster sugar
  • 535g Free range eggs, at room temperature
  • 40g Cocoa powder
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°c or gas mark 3.
  2. Over a pan of simmering water place a large bowl (make sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl).
  3. Add the chocolate and butter and stir continuously until completely melted and combined.
  4. Add the caster sugar and stir gently until it has dissolved.
  5. Remove from the heat and fold in the eggs using a spatula.
  6. The mixture should end up glossy and smooth.
  7. Leave mixture to cool before transferring to a piping bad fitted with a 1cm nozzle.
  8. Take 8 individual pudding moulds, 7cm wide and 4 cm deep, and generously brush the insides with butter before coating with cocoa powder. The easiest way to do this is to tip some cocoa powder into one mould and rotate it while emptying the excess cocoa into the next.
  9. Pipe the fondant mixture leaving around 1cm at the top of each mould, cover and cool in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  10. Place all moulds on a baking tray in the oven and bake for 12 minutes.