Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: cuisine
Showing posts with label cuisine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cuisine. Show all posts

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Milestone Cookery School

The Milestone, for those who don't know, is one of Sheffield's greatest restaurants, serving high end food made from locally sourced seasonal produce, with a sincere passion (verging towards reverence) shown towards the ingredients. They run a variety of regular masterclasses, from day courses in pastry or pasta, to "A Pig in a Day", and half day courses in bread, Indian street food and the course I went on, all about sausage, bacon and black pudding. The cookery school experiences can be given as gifts in the form of vouchers bought from the restaurant or online here and this is how I found myself counting down the days to the visit.

When the day finally dawned, I arrived a little nervously clutching my golden ticket, to be greeted with a coffee and some pastries in the dining room downstairs, which is cosy and inviting for all occasions. After the full group of seven arrived, we made our way upstairs to what is usually another space for eating, which had been converted for the occasion into an makeshift cooking space with a single gas stove ring and a big knife each.

The Cooking

We started the proceedings by preparing the black pudding. This began its life as a tray of powdered blood and half a bottle of cider, to which we added lightly fried onions and some nutmeg, before passing it to Richard (our host for the day) to put in the kitchen's oven.

We moved on to the delectable bacon cure: a simple blend of equal parts sea salt and brown sugar, with the aromatic mixture of nutmeg and thyme to add a varied sweetness and a herby meatiness. Richard prepared the full pork belly joint for us, demonstrating an array of butchery techniques, leaving the short rib behind to provide us each with a tender fatty portion of meat ready to be cured.

As we placed the bacon to one side, word came from the kitchen that the black puddings were done, and they were brought forth, still in the steaming bain marie. As we were presented with the warm blood pudding, the next event was prepped. An exercise in plating up food, using the Milestone's very own burnt onion sauce, horseradish crackling and divine miniature apple jellies. I can't quite believe I managed to produce such a pretty plate of food!

The final activity was sausage making, an awkward skill for the clumsy set of hands I came with, but in the end a very worthwhile technique to know. We started by mixing to ground pork, a small amount of lightly fried onion with a great selection of fresh herbs, such as thyme and parsley as well as an ingredient that I had only heard in hushed whispers around whisky tastings... Smoke powder. This definitely lived up to my dreams - a seemingly magical white powder that filled the whole room with a smell of open fire. Once all the ingredients had been mixed and squeezed to the bottom of a piping bag we were ready for rolling.

The skin of these sausage was to be crepinette (known less exotically as caul fat). Rather than using the lower intestine, this French method of wrapping meat in bladder lining quickly became obvious as an easier method, than the filling of traditional sausage. Once piped as a strip onto the crepinette, all that was needed was a tight roll once and the outer would stick to itself. Once we had our sausages portioned, we cooked a few up and were presented with a hearty dollop of the restaurant's mash and their frankly delicious gravy.

Being able to leave with a bacon on the cure, a still warm black pudding and a fistful of sausages just meant I was hankering to cook it all.

The Eating 

What better way to eat a smashing homemade sausage than with Yorkshire puddings, roasted sweet potatoes, and lashings of tarragon gravy. The perfect Sunday tea.

Chicken, bacon and black pudding empanadas, and black pudding huevos rancheros.

The traditional English breakfast, remastered with a healthy dose of homemade bacon, some free range eggs and a pinch of chilli.

I'll definitely be making the bacon again, and would feel confident with the sausages and black pudding too once I'd paid a visit to a good butcher to acquire the right ingredients. All in all, the experience was a great day which taught me an array of new skills. Highly recommended.



Saturday, 29 March 2014

Tamper Late: A Polynesian Feast

We are always on the lookout for something a bit different here at Mashtun HQ, so when we came across a Polynesian-themed supper club at the lovely Tamper Coffee, we absolutely jumped at the chance to book ourselves a table, and arrived filled with excitement to try some ingredients that we had never even heard of before, let alone tasted (taro leaves, anyone?! - Look them up: they're amazing).

The venue itself, coffee bar by day and to my knowledge the only place in Sheffield where you can treat yourself to a bronut, was perfect for an evening of fine cuisine: relaxing, sophisticated and just a little bit industrial with a warehouse feel.

The menu was a showcase of Pacific ingredients, and it was evident that this is the sort of food that Head Chef Steve Tauillii loves to cook.

Our starter was a yellow fin tuna carpaccio, marinated in citrus, which was served with accompaniments including pink grapefruit and beautiful little pickled cucumbers. The taste of the marinade did not overwhelm the fish, and the rest of the ingredients on the plate really made it sing. It was a light, zingy and refreshing dish, which made our mouths water for what was to come.

Main course was suckling pig three ways and was an absolute treat. The oily sweet, sesame pork belly melted in the mouth and worked really well with the monkey apple puree. Loin of pork, smoked in taro leaves, was also cooked to perfection. The smokiness had a pleasant hint of what was almost tobacco and a whisky-ish flavour. The star of the plate for us was a rosemary, thyme, and taro leaf encrusted pulled pork ball, which looked a bit like a Scotch egg but was much more exciting! It was crispy, fragrant, and totally unusual. A real winner. The meat was served alongside roast cassava and plantain (definitely more interesting than your usual carbs!), with buttery, silky silver beet, all presented in a giant leaf. Pleasing to the eye as well as the palate (you'll have to take our word for that as we didn't get a picture to do it justice!)

We both went for a pint of the recommended beer pairing, Magic Rock Rapture, a 4.6% red ale which had just the right level of hoppiness to cut through the flavours of the pork without being too overpowering, and the citrussy nature of the beer also complemented the food really well.

When pudding arrived it was almost too pretty to eat: Samoan biscuits, with coconut ice cream, a mango and pawpaw salsa, and an edible flower! The biscuits soaked up the juices from the fruit and the melting ice cream to become soft and delicious, and the salsa was floral and aromatic.

We finished off our meal with a signature Tamper coffee, a great end to a relaxing evening. With these supper clubs planned as regular events in the future, we will definitely be back!

Laura xx

Friday, 6 December 2013

Chicken Wontons

Crispy wontons are relatively complicated to construct. The filling is simple, as is the dipping sauce, but the dish as a whole becomes more awkward when folding is concerned. These are perfect for a large celebration, or as a starter for a dinner party. The crispy outer delicately gives way to a soft juicy centre, that sings with aromats and spice.

Begin by mincing a chicken breast - I used a knife, but the filling could all by done in a food processor, if you want to slightly speed up the construction for the sake of more washing up, although chopping by hand will achieve a better texture. To that add a tbsp of sesame oil, and the same of oyster sauce, a dash of fish sauce, a small tsp of ground Szechuan pepper corns, 2 finely chopped spring onions, a chilli and a couple of Kafir lime leaves, a grated clove of garlic and a small thumb of ginger. Once you have the mix together you can begin the wrapping: this is where technique becomes a factor.

1) Place the skin in front of you with a point towards you with a spot of the chicken mixture in the centre.
2) Then lift the bottom corner up to meet the top corner and press down, sticking these two points using a thick cornflour water mix brushed on the edges to hold them in place.
3,4)Next fold the two remaining corners up to meet the top corner. Again make sure the points are stuck so they don't open while frying.
5) Finally fold the two side corners to meet in the middle.

Once you have completed this process for all the wontons you will need to heat up some oil. It is best to do this after you have assembled the wontons as hot oil can of course be a hazard. You need the oil to fry a cube of bread to golden brown in about 15-20 seconds, or when bubbles start to form consistently around a wooden spoon. When the oil is up to temperature fry the wontons for 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Then place on clean paper towel to get rid of any excess oil and stop them being greasy.

Dipping sauce

Gently fry finely chopped chillis, ginger and spring onions in a saucepan. When softened, add a big glug of  3-4 tbsp rice wine vinegar and  3 tbsp of white sugar, and cook this into the chillis. This will all soon boil, removing some of the tang of the vinegar. After a minute or so, add two tables spoons of ketchup, this will thicken everything and give the sauce a sheen.

Serve the wontons either on a platter with the sauce as a starter, or with noodles and a veg stir fry.