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Plaice, tuna, Maris Pier, berries

29 June 2006

Fish

Supplies are looking better this week, with better weather conditions around the UK. Haddock landings should be a little better, with prices easing. Halibut prices will also fall slightly, although Canadian halibut will become slightly scarcer as their salmon-fishing season starts. Plaice is also plentiful.

Cod will be available in greater numbers but still expensive. There will also be some superb Irish fish. Farmed salmon prices from Scotland and Norway show little sign of falling while demand remains so high. Tuna and swordfish supplies remain very good.

Source: M&J Seafood 01296 333848 www.mjseafoods.com

Meat

Owing to the continued lack of imported beef, prices on prime cuts are going through the roof. This means that rather than head for sirloins, rumps, ribs and fillets, chefs need to look a bit closer at other cuts, perhaps like the French steak cuts from the skirt, such as bavette and onglet. Bearing in mind that another European delegation is being sent to Brazil to investigate foot-and-mouth outbreaks, there is unlikely to be any end to the situation soon. It is worth talking to your supplier to find out what they have available and what alternatives might be used.

As a result lamb prices are also still on the rise, although free-range pork remains good value. Prices on poultry are steady.

Source: Aubrey Allen 024 7642 2222 www.aubreyallenwholesale.co.uk

Fresh produce

The first of the Maris Pier potatoes are coming through now. Loose skinned, they do not have a long shelf life and need to be consumed quickly, but they are a good taste for the summer. UK black cabbage is also now starting. Silver-skinned button mushrooms are also back on the market and sweetcorn in the husk are super-sweet. Jerusalem artichokes are coming to the end of their season, so check the quality, which can be a bit ropy.

UK berries are excellent now, although most of blackcurrants get used up by industrial food manufacturers. Wild red and white strawberries - or frais de bois - are also delicious just now, but need to be consumed on the day of purchase. Gooseberries are also good now, as are UK raspberries.

White (in fact, more yellow) or nap cherries are now on the market, as are flat or mountain peaches. Spanish and Italian black figs have also started.

Source: Chef's Connection 020 7627 4809 www.chefs-connection.com

Seasonal recipe

Summer pudding with thick Jersey cream
Ingredients
(Serves four)
65g caster sugar
500g mixed fresh berries (blackberry, strawberry, redcurrant, raspberries)
65g raspberry purée
65g blackcurrant purée
100ml water
125g strawberry purée
5 x slices (or more) of day-old white bread
Berries to garnish the plate
Thick Jersey cream
Fresh mint to garnish

Method In a large pan add the caster sugar and all the purées together with 100ml of water. Bring to the boil, set aside and leave to cool. Then add the fresh berries.

Using a pastry cutter, cut the white bread to fit your chosen moulds (about 200ml capacity each). Line the mould with clingfilm. Dip your bread into the cold mixed purée, allowing the bread to soak up the purée. Then place the soaked bread at the bottom and around the edge of the mould. Spoon in some of the berries to fill the cavity, then top with more soaked bread to form a lid. Press down firmly on the lid to compact. Once all four are complete, compact again and set in the fridge overnight, preferably with a weight on top of each one.

To finish, carefully turn the pudding out of its mould and clingfilm. Place on the plate and spoon on the remainder of the purée on the pudding.

Garnish with fresh berries, mint and a good dollop of thick, thick Jersey cream.

Shaun Rankin, executive chef, Bohemia, St Helier, Jersey

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