Paul on foraging

Forage 2019.

As the spring kicks into gear, wild flowers, herbs, plants trees and shrubs awaken from their winter slumber. As I continue to forage on a pretty much a daily basis, I see the transformation in slow motion, little bits here and there then I go missing for a week and bang loads of stuff has sprung. 

At the moment primrose and sweet briar are all coming along strong, alongside gorse, wild garlic wild leeks to name but a few.

Dandelions as I’m sure you may be aware are weeds, that grow uninhibited in area where you may not necessarily want them. These flowers are the 1st food for bees, along with the sweet briar, all very important to the bees for nectar and honey production. 

Later in the season I hope to develop my mushroom hunting skills, as I can already pick the elf cup in abundance, on some days and in scarce supply other all weather dependant. 

By the coast, all the greens are developing at a rapid pace. These spring shoots are soft, salty, delicious bursts of freshness, flavour and nutrients. 

Now for nettles as they begin their growth on the roadways and hedges of the countryside stinging any unsuspecting passer by. I plan this year to develop a bit more than soup as these early nettles are loaded with iorn, and are a great detox after the winter to kick start the immune system after taking a beating all winter long. 

As always stay tuned and follow on all social media platforms @chefpaulc for some random pics from my adventures 

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Beef cheeks

SALTED BEEF CHEEK, BEETROOT & HORSERADISHINGREDIENTS

• 4 kg Trimmed Beef Cheek’s

• 1 Carrot

• 1 Onion

• 1 bunch thyme & rosemary

• 1 head garlic

• Beef Brine

• 200g Sliced Bone Marrow

• 1kg Pickled Beetroot

• Sourdough crouton

• Horseradish crème fraiche

BEEF BRINE RECIPE

2.5 litre Water

250g Salt

37.5g Salt Peta

150g Sugar

2.5 bay leaves

1 bunch thyme

4g Juniper

10g Black pepper

2g Cloves

3g Star anise

METHOD

• Place all ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil

• Remove from the heat and cool

• Brine the Prepped Cheeks for 4.5 days

• Rinse the beef cheeks and place in a pan with chopped onion carrot, thyme, rosemary, garlic, and cover with water.

• Cook in the oven at 175°C.until tender, allow to cool I the liquor then wrap in cling film individually while still warm, then cool completely and carve into 4 portions. Horseradish Crème Fraiche

• 200g Hung Crème Fraiche

• 25g Grated Horseradish

• 25g Dijon Mustard

• 100g Whipped Cream

• ½ Lemon

• Salt & Pepper

METHOD

1. Mix the crème freich, horseradish, mustard and lemon together.

2. Fold in the whipped cream and season.

PICKLED BEETROOT

• 1 kg Beetroot.

• 75g Honey

• 200g Red Wine Vinegar

• Thyme

• Garlic

• Salt

• Olive oil

METHOD

1. Steam beets until cooked then cling film and allow to cool slightly

2. Peel beets and cut into wedges

3. Marinade the beets using the vinegars honey garlic thyme and seasoning.

4. Pour over beets while still warm and chill overnight.

5. Take some of the pickle liquor from the marinated beetroots and reduce in a pan until slightly thickened.

6. Add olive oil and a little more vinegar to make a dressing for the beetroot leaves.

ASSEMBLY

1. Warm the beef cheeks up in some reserved cooking stock.

2. Lightly sauté the beetroot leaves in a pan, add the pickled beetroots and dress with the pickle dressing.

3. Put the beef cheeks on a plate with some roasted bone marrow on top, the beetroots and leaves to the side.

4. Add a generous spoon of the horseradish cream, finish with the sourdough crouton on top.

Service , Kevin talks

The click of an amazing service.
Running with the herd is pretty much what it feels like on a busy Saturday night. The key is space, everyone need their space, section, customers and time. The dance of a busy restaurant is a very fine art and in order to be at your best you must respect the job you do. Focus and planning is what it’s all about. Times are the dictator and knowing what your kitchen and restaurant can handle so as not to mess the whole thing up is key. 8pm Saturday night and you fill the beast after already clearing a full first sitting is a bad move. The kitchen build, like it’s a practice run in the first sitting, the head chef voicing with accuracy as the team dance to their own rythem so as everything my come to the same end, service.

That’s us, the team out front that pound it out but on a sweet night it’s very hard to explain and I can only ever say how it feels for me. It feels like a bright white ball of light is in the center of my chest. An energy flows through the body and self awareness goes through the roof because being in control is your job at this point, that sounds very serious I know but you will pay hard earned cash to experience.

Giving is another key I believe one must be, to give the people time, time to arrive, be seated, take in their surroundings if indeed this is their first time. Chilled water is such a gimme these days but in order to provide there is a cost, bread and dips. Giving is also knowing and building a trust between you and your people. We give our story as to wear our hearts on our sleeves because we believe in the ethos, we respect our planet and we respect our guests.

Now it’s the staff’s turn, firstly there is the start of the shift and let’s just say like a super football club a player can get injured, a sniffley noes and it off home to bed with some Lemsip and hopefully a cuddle. While this causes a ripple effect through a small team like the vibrations of a wave that started 3 hours ago and service hasn’t started yet, We are full. On a sweet night when you sit down at the end of that night, you know you did good you feel better then a lotto winner. Every guest shows on time and every guess leaves blown away because the service was great is an emotional feeling you can’t compare. Sales is a feeling of giving in a different way and generally something that is a service but waiting is a skill given in order to please your need. Sometimes the chef and I at different times stand to listen with closed eyes as we hear the people busy enjoying their time. Cutlery dancing and wine glasses singing, the dance of a service is gold.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in our restaurant and welled up with tears of joy on a night where everything went our way. The team I have support our cause, they see the head chef and the struggle he breaths, with a kitchen no bigger then a standard sitting room but still he makes it work. Regulated the gills, he makes it work. An admirable man and we fight for that cause. We change our wines as to deliver the perfect glass to each individual but keep them on their toes by introducing them to more so the mind can travel. “Oh hello sir, good to see you. Yes, I believe the merlot isn’t it? I see you’ve ordered the steak, try this taster of Malbec too and see how the flavour works with the steak”. “You know, I have an amazing Australian Chardonnay that will go with that, would you like to taste?” Is an art, a dance, a rythem of it own and the pleasure one can feel like there is no other. Feed is a need, dining out is a pleasure. The beauty of what we do has a soul of its own created by all who are involved.

Paul on 2019

Dieting

As 2019 roars into action for Kevin Noel and myself the list of things to do this year, last year’s list was fairly small. As many people know getting a proper 3 meals a day is hard enough, and in the kitchen surrounded by food it’s often hard than you’d think, tasting and seasoning and tasting again keeps hunger pangs at bay a lot of the time. We often go a few days without a proper meal in the kitchen, “Did we eat yesterday??” Is a common question in the kitchen here anyway. We tend to feed everyone but else ourselves, ironic cooks for everyone except himself. 

As a result we eat late and honestly fairly crappy food, snack box, toastie, chocolate, basically all the stuff you shouldn’t be eating. I’m just speaking here from personal experience, across the industry, both front and back. 

When I 1st met my now wife, i was fairly slender, now I’ve what’s called a Dad bod, or beer belly. Whichever you prefer, catching it now seems like a good idea. 

I’ve a fairly hectic life as it stands without the addition of exercise and cooking at home. 

I found last year I had motivation from here to go after my goals for last year so I figure why not do the same here. I don’t want or need a shaped muscular toned beach body, just a healthier body than what I currently hold, I know my BMI is high and I also realise the flaws with it. For me it’s pretty accurate. Just a few stone 2 or 3. 

Now I don’t plan on sticking to a regimental diet of apples and oranges with spinach and kale, that to me seems counter productive, as I know I won’t stick to that at all or anything resembling it. 

To speak frankly I want to do this naturally, good honest food less of t ghe crappy processed food that I currently consume. I want potato with butter, I want bacon, beef, pork, fish and lamb all honest food. As I believe it’s the added sugar salt and chemicals that’s added to food today to cut cost and maximise profit. 

Here goes. 

As always stay tuned, 

@chefpaulc on all social media platforms.