Cèpes, sardines, pork

06 September 2007 by
Cèpes, sardines, pork

Fresh produce

The seemingly endless varieties of apples are now under way, with Discovery and Worcester the first to arrive. French and Italian grapes are excellent at present, especially Muscat and Muscatel. Plums have finished, but samphire is still just about around. It's a bad year for mushrooms - too hot on the Continent and too wet in Britain, and cèpes and mousserons are incredibly hard to come by. Wild blackberries are later than normal this year, again due to the lack of sun, and won't be at their best until the end of the month.

Source: Fresh Direct, 01869 365600, www.freshdirect.co.uk


The last wild salmon are now in stock. Bad weather has affected scallops and langoustines, and there are none available as we go to press, but the situation should improve. There are good Cornish sardines available as well as line-caught mackerel, large herrings and good sand eels, which will be finished come the end of October. Line-caught bass is in excellent condition. There is nice line-caught pollack, and both brill and monkfish are down in price. Also worth considering are megrim sole from Cornwall and farmed cod and line-caught haddock from Norway.

Source: Chef Direct, 01275 474707 www.chefclubdirect.co.uk


The price of beef fillets has gone through the roof for the moment, and legs of lamb remain dear, but lamb shoulders, pork belly and leg of pork are all cheaper options.

The game season has now started in earnest, and it promises to be a brilliant year for grouse. A warm April when the eggs hatched meant lots of birds survived, and a wet August grew the heather, meaning that not only is there an abundance of birds but they are in excellent, plump condition. To top things off, they are also very affordable, and chefs shouldn't be paying more than £7.50 for a bird. Hares are available, and the first real shoots this weekend should see the first French partridge arrive for Tuesday. It's still too early for English partridge and mallard but wild rabbits and wood pigeons are readily available.

Meat source: Birtwistel Butchers, 0161-728 3340 www.birtwistlebutchers.co.uk

Game source: Chef Direct 01275 474707 www.chefclubdirect.co.uk

Seasonal recipe

Apple soufflé with crème fraîche sorbet

Craig James's preference for this dish is the Bloody Ploughman apple, as it infuses a good colour into the soufflé and has a strong flavour

Ingredients (Serves eight)

For the soufflé
About 500g apples
30g corn flour
300g caster sugar
6 large egg whites

For the sorbet
250ml crème fraîche
188ml cold syrup (made up of 105g sugar, 13g glucose and 96ml water brought to the boil and chilled)
15ml lemon juice


Peel, core and dice the apple. Place in a pan with 1cm of water, cover with clingfilm and cook gently until a purée is achieved. For 300ml of purée, whisk in 30g of corn flour, allow to thicken, then cool. Whisk the egg whites until they start to thicken and froth, then add the sugar and continue whisking until the whites stand up firm.

Gently fold in the apple purée mixture and spoon into a buttered and sugared mould. You could use a ramekin, cup or a small copper pan. Cook in a fan-assisted oven for seven minutes at 180°C.

To make the sorbet, combine all ingredients together and either churn in a traditional ice-cream machine or freeze and finish with a Pacojet.

Craig James, head chef, Quaglino's, London

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