Recipes from Fifield Inn chef Justin Brown's Dining Through The Seasons
Former Pub Chef of the Year, Justin Brown has unveiled his first cook book, Dining Through The Seasons.
Aimed at the aspirational home cook, the book is full of seasonal starters, mains and desserts to help you prepare fantastic food that’s not only delicious and simple to make, but is also in season.
Justin, who is head chef at The Fifield Inn in Fifield, has been planning the book for most of his career.
“I’d had the idea for this book for some time. My friends and family are always hosting gatherings and often ask me for ideas and recipes – so this is as much for them as anyone else! Everyone likes to cook seasonally, but I wanted to create something you could turn to for simple yet amazing recipes whatever the season.
The great thing about this book is most dishes can be prepared in advance - meaning, by the time your guests arrive, all your hard work is done! It’ll give you more time to spend actually enjoying the occasion - and less time panicking about it!”
The book is available at the Fifield Inn in Fifield Road.
Here are a selection of recipes from the book to try yourself at home.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Sheep's Yoghurt, Dried Black Olive and Rocket
Heirloom tomatoes, also known as Heritage tomatoes, are varieties that have been in cultivation for 50 years or more. Although many Heirloom varieties have all but vanished due to the rise of the supermarket mass-produced tomatoes, there are farms in the UK still growing Heirloom tomatoes.
They’re also experiencing a rise in popularity due to their stunning flavour and range of beautiful colours and are now available through most good markets and greengrocers.
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
4 ‘Yellow Stuffer’ tomatoes
4 ‘Black Russian’ tomatoes
4 ‘Brandywine’ tomatoes
4 ‘The Amateur’ tomatoes
For the garnish
400g sheep’s yoghurt
250g pitted black olives
Baby rocket leaves
Herbs and flowers
For the dried black olive crumb make sure the olives are pitted and rinsed under cold water to remove any brine.
Pat them dry and place on a metal tray. Place them in an oven at 40°c and leave them for 8-10 hours. I put these in the oven before I go to sleep at night and remove them the next day. The olives will dry out completely removing all their moisture. Once dried, leave to cool for a few hours out of the oven; don’t chop them straight away warm because this could make an olive paste. Once cool, chop the olives with a knife until they look like an olive crumb.
Store in a dry place until needed.
The beauty of this salad is the simplicity of the dish. We are celebrating some great produce here so there is no need to complicate it. The flavour of the tomatoes are incredible so a little olive oil and sea salt is all that is needed to season them. Take your mixed variety of tomatoes and cut them into pieces. If you have big tomatoes, quarter them, a smaller one cut in half and if you have tiny ones just leave them whole. About six pieces of tomato per person is plenty for a starter. Place all your cut tomatoes in a bowl, season with some sea salt and dress with a good quality olive oil and mix gently with your hands.
Take your sheep’s yoghurt out of the fridge and place a tablespoon full on the side of each plate then with a spoon swipe the yoghurt around one side of the plate. Take the olive crumb and sprinkle over the yoghurt and around the plate. Divide the tomatoes evenly between the plates and garnish the salad with some rocket leaves, edible flowers and baby herbs. The colours on the plate are stunning and I can promise you it tastes even better than it looks.
Honey Glazed Duck Breast, Pak Choi, Roast Peach and a Duck Sauce
Ingredients: (serves 6)
6 duck breasts
100g clear honey
For the duck sauce
500ml game sauce
For the garnish
1/2 bunch of lemon thyme
6 small pak choi
This is a really simple dish using some fantastic produce; the fruit with the duck works really well and helps cut through the richness of the meat. You finish this dish feeling really satisfied, it’s a real favourite of mine with flavours that just work.
Start by cooking off the duck breasts. I like to serve my duck pink, this way it will stay tender, juicy and full of flavour. Start by placing a large deep frying pan over a medium heat. Take your duck breasts and season both sides with sea salt and pepper, then place the breast skin side down into the dry pan whilst it’s still cold (no oil is needed as the fat will render out of the duck as it heats up). Cook gently for 6 minutes, the fat will render out of the skin and the skin will begin to crisp. Spoon out any fat from the pan and turn over each breast and cook for a further 4 minutes, then squeeze the honey over the skin of the breasts, flip them over so the skin side is back down and caramelise for 1 minute. Remove the duck breasts from the pan and rest for 10 minutes on a tray, this will relax the meat leaving you with a perfectly cooked, juiced piece of meat.
Once the duck has been removed tip away the fat then place the pan back on the heat and turn it to high, add the port straight away and using a wooden spoon, scrape all the bits off the pan.
Reduce the port then add the game stock, bring to a simmer, add a squeeze of lemon juice and pass through a fine sieve into a jug.
Take a sharp knife and run it through the middle of the peaches, when you hit the stone run the knife around it then pull the peaches carefully in half and remove each stone from the peaches. Drizzle some olive oil over a roasting tray then with some paper towels rub the oil evenly over the tray. Pick some lemon thyme leaves, sprinkle into the tray then season with some sea salt and pepper. Place each peach half into the tray flesh side down, then put the tray into a preheated oven at 180°c and roast for 15 minutes.
Trim off the bottom of each pak choi then slice them in half from top to bottom. Place a large frying pan on the stove over a medium heat and add a knob off butter and a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pak choi flat side down and cook for 2 minutes, turn over, season with sea salt and pepper and cook for a further minute. Once cooked, remove from the pan and place on a tray with a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture.
Cut each duck breast in half lengthways to expose the pink flesh, then season the flesh with some sea salt. Place onto the plate, garnish with two pieces of pak choi and half a peach, drizzle over the sauce and serve.
Pink Champagne Granita
Granitas are a great way to finish a meal. The refreshing ice crystals will cleanse your palate leaving you feeling cool on a hot summer's day.
Ingredients: (serves 6)
For the granita
750ml pink champagne
For the garnish
This is a really easy dessert to make; it can be made in advance and will keep in the freezer for 2 months. It’s great served on fresh fruit although in the restaurant I serve it in a shot glass as a palate cleanser between courses.
To make the granite, place the water and sugar into a heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes then take it off the heat and leave to cool. When cool, pop open the bottle of pink champagne and add to the cool sugar syrup, add the juice of the lemon, whisk everything together and tip into a plastic container.
Place a lid on and put into the freezer. For the first 4 hours take out the granita every hour and with a fork mash the ice crystals together to stop then forming into one big block, it’s good to break them into as little pieces as possible.
After the fourth time of scraping and mixing leave in the freezer until needed.
Take the granita out of the freezer and using a fork scrape the crystals and break them up. Spoon into a bowl, garnish with a few mint leaves and serve straight away before it melts.
Caramelised Rice Pudding
The ultimate autumn dessert; warm, delicious, comforting, filling and one of the nation’s most loved puddings.
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
250g Arborio rice
450ml whole milk
300ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, split
Pinch of grated nutmeg
50g caster sugar
30g demerara sugar for caramelising
This dessert could not be simpler. In a heavy based saucepan add the rice, double cream, nutmeg, caster sugar, vanilla pod and seeds. Place the pan over a medium heat and stir for 3 minutes. Add the milk to the pan and allow to gently simmer on the stove for 1 hour stirring every 10 minutes until
the rice pudding has softened and thickened. If too thick, just add a touch more milk to loosen the rice pudding. You will be left with a creamy, thick, delicious rice pudding. Before serving, have a taste and add any more sugar if you have a sweet tooth.
Take the warm rice pudding and place into individual serving dishes. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and glaze with a blow torch. If you do not have a blow torch place under a grill and caramelise. Serve immediately.