Beetroot, Squid, Pigeon

02 October 2008 by
Beetroot, Squid, Pigeon

Fresh Produce

There's plenty of wild produce around at the moment, from the more exclusive white truffles - the first batch of which arrived on the market last week at about £2,800-£3,000 per kg - to the more reasonable sea buckthorn, a bright-orange sour berry found on the coast and popular with Scandinavians, who serve it as a condiment with reindeer or as a dessert with white chocolate.

Autumn truffles are around as an alternative to more expensive varieties, and are priced at £200-£250 per kg. Trompettes are not widely available and cèpes seem hard to come by, but girolles are plentiful and should be in good condition for the next 3-4 weeks. Winter chanterelles (right) are coming through now and wood blewits are being picked. There are plenty of root crops coming in - especially chervil roots, parsley roots and Jerusalem artichokes - as well as purple and Ratte potatoes and all the beetroot varieties.

Wild Harvest - 020 7498 5397 - / Forager - 01227 730385


There have been good landings of grey mullet from South Wales - expect to pay £4.50 per kg - while the price of large Dover sole is dropping to about £16-£17 per kg. Squid is plentiful but not dropping in price, staying at around £9.80 per kg. Oysters, clams and mussels are in good condition, and there is plenty of line-caught mackerel, skate, all sizes of John Dory and nice dabs available at £3.50-£4 per kg.

Source: Chef Direct - 01275 474707


In terms of the game available at present, expect to pay £3.90 a bird for mallard, £5.25 for English partridge, £3.25 for French partridge, £2.80 for wild rabbits, £1.75 for hare legs, £1.60 for wood pigeon and £9.50 per kg for boned and rolled venison haunch.

Source: Chef Direct - 01275 474707

Seasonal recipe

Venison bresaola with beets, hazelnuts, watercress and goats' cheese dressing

Ingredients (Serves one)

30g beetroot, boiled and sliced
Olive oil vinaigrette
20g chargrilled aubergine (3 slices)
5g rocket
50g venison bresaola (5 slices)
5 leaves watercress
10g goats' cheese
5g roasted hazelnuts

For the goats cheese dressing:

100g left-over soft goats' cheese
1/2 cup hot water
Olive oil vinaigrette


Arrange three slices of beetroot, dressed with olive oil vinaigrette, in the centre of the plate. Place a few leaves of rocket on top of the beetroot. Crumble the goats' cheese on to the three slices of aubergine and fold them over. Then place them on top of the rocket.

The next step is to take five slices of the venison bresaola and begin to build them on the plate. Do the same with two more slices of beetroot and aubergine. Add some more rocket and place some watercress leaves accordingly.

The salad should be finished with crushed roasted hazelnuts and a drizzle of goats' cheese dressing.

For the dressing, add the cheese to a blender and begin to blitz. Pour the hot water in slowly, and add a little vinaigrette at the end to enhance the flavour. The result should be thick and creamy.

Nick Bell, head chef, Apsleys restaurant at the Lanesborough, London

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