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Monkfish, Rabbit, Truffles

18 September 2008 by

Fish

In general, the South Coast has seen good landings.

There's good gurnard (£6.50 per kg), monkfish (£10.50-£14.50 per kg) and large plaice (£7.50 per kg) at present, and plenty of day-boat squid (£10.25 per kg). All sizes of John Dory are around (£5.30-£7.90 per kg) and Cornish sardines are available whole at £4.50 per kg or filleted at £6.90 per kg.

Shellfish are in good condition although cockles are in patchy supply, while crabs will be scarce this weekend because of big tides. Native lobster prices are reasonable at £16 per kg but should rise with colder weather.

Finally, porbeagle sharks have been landed off the north Devon coast and, of all the sharks, make the best eating.

Source: Chef Direct - 01275 474707

Meat

The first English partridge are now available at about £5.75 a bird, French partridges are cheap £3.25 while grouse cost up to £7.50. Teale, widgeon and mallard are all available, as are rabbit and wood pigeon.

There is plenty of salt marsh lamb on the market. Our supplier has also sourced lambs from the Isle of Boreray, which are small, with a distinctly gamey flavour.

Source: Chef Direct - 01275 474707

Fresh

Everything is getting very autumnal.

Autumn truffles are on the market and reasonable at £200 per kg. Chervil roots and parsley roots are also in, and as sure a sign of summer's demise as you'll get from fresh produce.

Purple potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, crab apples, fresh walnuts and cobnuts are all around, while damsons and Victoria plums will be in good number very soon.

On the wild front, elderberries and rowan berries are available. So, too, is the less-known sea aster, a large-leafed coastal plant that flowers purple in the summer. When finished, it produces fresh leaves for the winter which hold their shape when blanched and are good paired with fish or shellfish.

Wild wood bluits are now around and knock the socks off cultivated varieties for taste. Puffballs will still be around for a few weeks while chickweed is also a good salad option that thrives in wet weather.

Wild Harvest - 020 7498 5397 - www.wildharvestuk.com / Forager - 01227 730385

Seasonal recipe

Spartan apple chutney with raisins and Old Monk rum

Ingredients (Serves 30 portions of 1tbs each)

15 Spartan apples
350ml white wine vinegar
5 ginger julienne slices
5g chilli flakes
2tbs raisins
90g brown sugar
Sea salt to season
100ml Old Monk rum

Method

Wash and core all the apples (keep the skin on). Place the apples in a flat-bottomed pan, add the vinegar and about 50ml of water and stew the apples on slow heat till they are half-cooked.

Add sugar and rest of the ingredients except the rum and cook until everything emulsifies.

Take the apples out and keep aside, making sure they do not break. Add the rum to the syrup and simmer for 3-4 minutes on slow heat. Cool the syrup then combine with the apples.

Anirudh Arora, head chef, Moti Mahal, Covent Garden, London


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