Hake, squid, venison, brussel sprouts

02 November 2006
Hake, squid, venison, brussel sprouts

Howling winds up north have meant another bad week for Scottish produce, with no scallops arriving at all and only small quantities of langoustines. North Cornwall has seen small day boats make the first good landings of herrings, whose short season finishes at the end of December. The sprat season is well under way, offering chefs an inexpensive alternative. Netting boats have also been making good landings of hake, pollack and ling. Squid are in plentiful supply, as are large crabs, sea bass, mackerel, halibut and cod from Iceland, as well as South Devon shellfish.

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

Venison is now in plentiful supply, with all species of deer now available. Pheasants are in good supply, and the season is far enough in for birds to have ample amounts of meat. Partridges are also available in abundance, as are hares, which our supplier takes only from areas where the numbers are sustainable. It's worth avoiding putting mallard on the menu as they may be too hard to obtain this week, with supplies of duck problematic. Wood pigeon and wild rabbits are also scarce. There is plenty of saltmarsh lamb arriving. Most offal is also plentiful.

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

Fresh produce
Gem and acorn squashes are available, as is black cabbage, both Italian and English. Purple sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts and Japanese artichokes are all in good supply. Spanish pomegranates are now arriving, as are purple potatoes from France. Prices of Jerusalem artichokes are falling. Honeydew melons, grapes and cherry vine tomatoes are all expensive. And, as Christmas approaches, the usual selection of nuts is pouring on to the market.

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

Seasonal recipe

Tian of white crab, avocado and langoustine emulsion

(Serves four)

175g white crabmeat
Fresh coriander stalks, finely chopped
Grated zest of one lemon
60g mascarpone
2 ripe avocados, peeled and roughly chopped
1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
6 large langoustines (shell on).
Peel and keep the shells and claws
For the emulsion
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 carrot, diced
25g butter
2 dashes Tabasco
2 dashes Worcester sauce
2tbs tomato purée
120ml dry white wine
600ml water
100ml milk


Sweat off the ingredients for the emulsion, including the shells and claws from the langoustines, in a heavy-based pan and add tomato purée. Cook on a high heat for two minutes to soak up all juices, then add the wine and reduce. Add water, cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes and strain through a fine sieve. Add milk and reserve.

Place crabmeat, coriander, zest of lemon and mascarpone in a bowl and mix. Season.

Place avocado, chilli and juice of lemon in another bowl and season.

Layer both mixes, one on top of the other, in a hoop or similar and turn out on to a plate. Whisk up langoustine and milk with a hand blender and spoon around your tian. Garnish with whole langoustines and chopped coriander.

By Julian Wright, head chef, Livingstons, Linlithgow, Scotland

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