George Marsh is head chef at the Fox Inn, in Corscombe, Dorset. He loves this recipe of braised rabbit with cider, rosemary and cream.
You can use chicken joints instead of rabbit if you prefer, but if you do you should reduce the cooking time to about 40 minutes. You may have to remove the chicken and reduce the sauce to thicken it, adding it back to warm through.
Braised rabbit with cider, rosemary and cream. Serves 4
Ingredients: 2 rabbits, cut into joints - ie legs removed, ribcage discarded and body chopped into 2 pieces Sunflower oil - for frying Unsalted butter - for frying 3 cloves garlic - thinly sliced 2 medium-sized onions - thinly sliced 425ml/3/4pt Blackthorn cider 700ml/1pt 3fl oz double cream 4 sprigs rosemary 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard 2 bay leaves 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley Salt and pepper
To serve 4 deep-fried bay leaves or parsley sprigs (optional)
Method: In a frying pan, heat a little oil and a knob of butter. Fry the joints of rabbit until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, add the garlic and onions and fry until softened but not coloured. Transfer the onion mix to a heavybottomed pan, add the rabbit, cover with the cider and cream, then add the rosemary, wholegrain mustard and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, cover and, stirring occasionally, cook on a very low heat for about 1 hour, or until the rabbit is tender. Just before serving add the parsley, and season to taste. Serve a front and back leg and half of the body to each person. Garnish with a sprig of parsley or a bay leaf quickly deep-fried in vegetable oil, until dark green but not brown. Recipe courtesy of the Gastro Pub Cookbook by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley, £20)
Bitter sweet symphony
Steve Harris, of the Sportsman in Seasalter, near Whitstable, Kent, tempts the sweet tooths.
Bitter chocolate tart with blood orange ice cream. Serves 12
Ingredients: For the pastry 255g/8oz unsalted butter, softened 40g/11/2oz icing sugar 1 medium egg 500g/1lb 2oz plain flour - sifted
For the chocolate filling 360ml/12fl oz double cream 150ml/1/4pt full-fat milk 400g/14oz dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)broken into pieces 3 medium eggs - beaten For the blood orange ice cream 500g/1lb 2oz blood oranges - preferably unwaxed 340g/12oz caster sugar 6 medium egg yolks 200ml/7fl oz double cream 400ml/14fl oz full-fat milk
Method: Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/ Gas-mark 4. Place a baking tray on the middle shelf in the oven. Cream the butter and sugar in a food mixer, or in a bowl with a wooden spoon, until pale and fluffy, then add the egg. Turn the food mixer to its lowest setting and add the plain flour. Mix until the pastry comes together. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30mins. Butter a 20cm/8in tart ring or a loose-bottomed tart tin. Roll out the pastry into a circle 3mm (1/8 inch) thick and about 5cm (2 inches) bigger than the tart ring. Line the tart ring with the pastry, pressing it down gently and leaving a 2.5cm (1 inch) overhang.
Prick the base with a fork and blind bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 mins, or until starting to brown. Remove and trim the overhanging pastry level with the top of the ring, using a sharp, heavy knife. Turn the oven down to 130ºC/250ºF/Gas-mark 1/2 and make the filling. In a saucepan, heat the cream and milk until trembling, just under boiling point. Take off the heat. Add the chocolate to the cream and milk and stir until fully blended, then add the eggs and mix again. Pour the chocolate mix into the tart case and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1 hour. The tart is done when it is still a bit wobbly in the middle. Leave to set for at least 45 mins before serving.
For the ice cream To make the ice cream grate the orange skins and quarter the fruits. Put the grated skins and quarters into a bowl and pour over 250g (9oz) caster sugar. Refrigerate for a day or two. Squeeze the juice from the mixture - start by using your hands and then press through a nylon sieve. Measure the juice. Make the custard for the ice cream by whisking the egg yolks and remaining sugar together until thick and pale (this should take 10 mins in a food mixer). Bring the cream and milk to the boil in a heavy-bottomed pan, then whisk the mixture into the eggs. Return this to the pan and cook gently, stirring constantly until the custard begins to thicken. You must not allow the mixture to boil or it will scramble. If you prefer you can cook the custard in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
Check whether it is thick enough by coating the back of a wooden spoon with the custard. If, when you slide your finger through it, it leaves a trail, it is ready. Remove from heat to cool. Whisk the juice with one and a half times its volume of cooled custard, then churn in an ice-cream maker. Alternatively, pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container and half freeze, and then whisk again to remove the ice crystals. Return to the freezer. Recipe courtesy of the Gastro Pub Cookbook by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley, £20)
Craig's Cumbrian beef
Craig Wilkinson, from the Bay Horse Inn, Forton, Lancashire, shows how you can beef-up your menu's offerings.
Roast fillet of Cumbrian fell-bred beef, deepfried new potato chips, wild mushrooms, and Madeira cream. Serves 6
Ingredients:6 x 225g/8oz fillets Cumbrian fell-bred beef (available from Udale Specialty Foods, Morecambe, 01524 411611) 1lt/13/4pint double cream 500g/1lb 2oz mixed wild mushrooms (shiitakes, chanterelles, oyster, field, horse, etc - as available) Glass of Madeira 2lt/31/2pt chicken stock 200ml/61/2fl oz red wine sauce Bunch of rocket Slightly under-cooked newpotatoes in their skins
Method:Clean and chop the wild mushrooms. Place them in a pan with the chicken stock and reduce down to a third. Pour in the cream and reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Pour in the Madeira and the red wine sauce, season to taste, keep war. Season the fillets then sear on both sides and place in the oven until cooked as required, rest the fillets for five minutes. Slice the new potatoes in half and then deep fry at 170ºC for a couple of minutes then at 190ºC until crispy.
To serve: Place the fillet on a nice blue spode dish with the fried new potatoes and the wild mushroom sauce. Then serve with some crisp rocket tossed in truffle oil and black pepper with some blush tomatoes. A couple of my customers like a nice slab of pan-fried foie gras on the fillet.