Tasters + Hix report
Katy Salter dishes up the local gastro need-to-know
THE MODERN PANTRY
Anna Hansen is launching her food range in Harvey Nichols. The Modern Pantry products include jams, condiments and spice blends, all based on favourite flavour combinations from the restaurant’s menu.
Highlights from the range include Kumquat Marmalade, Hazelnut & Macadamia Dukka and Confit Watermelon Rind. It goes into Harvey Nicks this September and is also available from the St John’s Square restaurant and The Modern Pantry’s online store.
BOURNE & HOLLINGSWORTH BUILDINGS
If you’ve ever been to the Blitz or Prohibition parties, or supped cocktails at Bourne & Hollingsworth in Fitzrovia, then you’ll be excited to hear that B&H is bringing the retro party to Clerkenwell. Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings will be an all-day hangout with a brasserie and bar. It’s slated to open in September on Northampton Road and will boast a greenhouse, private dining rooms and a separate café.
Parents of Clerkenwell: we have good news. Next time you want to eat lunch en famille, there’s no need to trek up to the Upper Street chains. Foxlow on St John Street now offers a kids’ menu, so you can enjoy those ten hour short ribs while the nippers get stuck into roast vegetable pasta or a mini Sunday roast. The restaurant has commissioned up-and-coming illustrator Andrea Alimbriti to design colouring-in place mats, plus 50p from every kids’ meal goes to the charity Kids’ Company.
Our esteemed food columnist is looking forward to cooking with autumn’s be produce…
The long, hot summer is at an end. But it’s not such a blow as there are an awful lot of great autumnal ingredients to look forward to. That’s the great thing about seasonal cooking, it’s all about what you can do with the next bunch of stuff appearing in the shops and farmers’ markets.
This time of year is less about colourful ingredients, like tomatoes and summer berries, and more about earthy ingredients, with all the different wild mushrooms coming into play from ceps to girolles,
hedgehog fungus and those delicate little winter chanterelles that survive the coldest conditions. Although the majority of the berries have gone, we still have elderberries that go perfectly with game birds, either in a sauce or in a salad. Pigeon or grouse with elderberries is fantastic, and a great way to stretch what is potentially an expensive game bird like grouse by making two starter salads with elderberries and cobnuts. Late hedgerow fruits like plums, damsons and rose hips are great for jellies to serve with game birds, or to keep through the winter for roasts and spreading on toast.
The mutton season is also beginning. I know it sounds a bit odd having a season for old lambs, but now is when the killing starts and mutton is so much better for braising and slow cooking, or making a lamb pie. Mutton is still relatively unused but a few good butchers or halal shops will certainly sell it (try the Quality Chop House Food Shop & Butcher on Farringdon Road or online butcher blackface.co.uk). It has a much better flavour than lamb – almost gamey, in fact.
Winter greens can also be used in creative ways with autumnal dishes. Try young leaves of curly kale tossed in with a few shallots and finely diced bacon. Chard is another great leafy vegetable and farmers are now growing all sorts of heritage varieties in yellows, reds as well as the common green chard. It’s great cooked slowly with borlotti beans (which are also grown in the UK now), olive oil and some stock, and even tossed into pasta with some grated Parmesan on top.
Grouse salad with bilberries
This is a great way to get a couple of servings out of a grouse and you can make a nice broth with the bones. You could even add some wild mushrooms and nuts like hazelnuts or cobnuts. These tiny bilberries (also known as blaeberries or wild blueberries) have a great earthy, fruity taste. Alternatively you can use elderberries or normal blueberries. You can make this salad with any game bird like pigeon, mallard or partridge.
2 oven-ready grouse
60-70g butter, softened
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small handful of bilberries or normal blueberries
Couple handfuls of small flavoursome salad leaves and herbs
For the dressing
1tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp Tewksbury or Dijon mustard
4tbsp rapeseed oil
Pre-heat the oven to 240°C/Gas mark 8. Season the grouse and rub the breasts with butter. Roast for about 12-15 minutes, keeping them nice and pink then leave to rest.
Meanwhile make the dressing by whisking the vinegar, mustard and oil together and seasoning to taste. To serve, remove the breasts from the carcass and cut them into 6 or 7 slices and remove all of the leg meat and shred it. Arrange the leaves on 4 serving plates with the grouse and berries and spoon over the dressing.