16 July 2008


There have been good landings of fish in the West Country leading to a wide range being available, including a large number of plaice and even some dived plaice.

There are good quantities of bass and skate coming in from north Devon, with large numbers of John Dory being landed. The weather has been perfect for line fishermen and Cornish cove boats have been bringing in line-caught pollack and mackerel. Gurnard seems to be hot on lots of menus at the moment and as a result is rising in price and is fetching in excess of £7 per kg.

Cheaper alternatives are grey mullet, ling, plaice and mackerel, and Cornish sardines are value for money at £4.50 a kg. There are plenty of mussels and cockles from south Devon, and Scottish divers have caught good quantities of razor clams, scallops and live langoustines. Lobsters continue to be available in quantity, and are slightly up in price to £15.50 per kg.

Source: Chef Direct - 01275 474707


The market seems to have levelled out in terms of the price for live cattle in the markets. We have seen a fall in the volumes of beef being requested over the last month as consumer demand slows down.

There has been little change in the price of imported steak cuts, and consumer demand appears to have cooled due to the price increases. The Argentina beef market is now open and this has helped to ease further increases on imported beef.

Pork prices have remained strong, and market reports suggest that there will be a shortage of pork for Christmas due to a shortage of breeding sows. The recent warm weather has kept demand for cooked hams strong.

Spring lamb is in excellent condition and plentiful supply, and this will continue until the end of August. We are seeing more and more demand for legs and racks of lamb as chefs seek an alternative to beef.

The UK market has seen strong promotions from the retail sector for chicken, and this has kept prices firm. Turkey prices remain static, but we are starting to see increases in volume as the white-meat carvery option is proving more popular in the warmer weather.

Veal liver is available at reasonable prices and is a good main menu option. Veal topside is also now affordable for veal escalopes because of the end of the winter skiing season on the Continent when demand is normally high.

Source: Birtwistle Butchers - 0161-728 3340 -

Fresh produce

The supply of mushrooms has slowed to a halt, but girolles are in full swing, coming from eastern Europe and Scotland and getting smaller and going down in price. Morels are coming to an end, but summer truffles are holding their price at £130-£170 per kg.

In terms of seasonal vegetables, there are still plenty of tomatoes from Sicily and fresh almonds from France. English marsh samphire is still plentiful at about £10 per kg. Globe and baby artichokes are coming through from Europe, with grelot onions arriving from France in good supply.

English cherries are now coming through, but thanks to the bad weather of the past week, British strawberries are practically non-existent.

Sources: 4°C - 020 8558 9708 - / Wild Harvest - 020 7498 5397 -

Seasonal recipe

Roasted Scottish lobster, fèves, girolles, apple and green almonds

Ingredients (Serves 2-4)

4 Granny Smith apples
6tsp lemon juice, plus a little extra
300mg kappa carrageen
300mg iota carrageen
Salt and pepper
500-550g Scottish native lobster, blanched
30ml lobster oil
27g broad beans, blanched
10g green almonds, peeled and shelled
10g small girolles, washed
5 apple blossom flowers
5 oxalis flowers
5 small dice of apple jelly
Lobster jus


Peel a Granny Smith apple, then slice thinly and toss in half the lemon juice. Place in a pan with a little water and cook until translucent. Blitz until smooth. Cool.

To make the apple jelly, juice the remaining apples with the remaining lemon juice and pass through muslin. Whisk the kappa and iota carrageen into the juice. Bring to a rapid boil for five seconds, pass and season. Pour into 100g trays and set in the fridge. Remove from tray and cut into equal-sized small dice.

Place 20g of lobster oil into pan with the lobster tail, place in a 180°C oven and cook for four minutes. Add the claws and cook for two minutes more. Remove from oven and add the almonds and shelled lobster knuckles.

Sweat girolles in a little butter. Season with salt. When cooked, add one drop of lemon juice. To serve, place small dots of apple purée in the bottom of a bowl. Add sliced lobster, giving height, and arrange the girolles, broad beans and almonds around the lobster. Then sprinkle the apple jelly around, and spoon warm frothed lobster jus on top of the lobster. Finish with a drizzle of lobster oil and garnish with oxalis flowers and apple blossom.

Adam Simmonds, head chef, the Oak Room, Danesfield House hotel, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

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