Rainbow chard,Sea bass,Duck

08 February 2007
Rainbow chard,Sea bass,Duck

Fresh produce

If you are looking close to home then there is great rainbow chard from the UK, as well as to other classic winter produce including purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower and sprouts. For something a bit more exotic, try barber di frati (or monk's beard) - a green vegetable from northern Italy - or cavalero nero, a black cabbage also from Italy. Scarlet elf cup mushrooms are still available for about £30 per kg. South African cèpes, arguably superior to their European counterparts, are currently on a slight hiatus because of dry conditions in southern Africa. Worth considering are the exquisite golden mangos arriving from the Indian sub-continent in a few weeks.

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


The stable weather of the past week has seen excellent landings of fish and with more good weather forecast for the next week or so, supplies should continue to be steady. All premium fish is available - with Dover sole, wild sea bass, red mullet, John Dory and day boat squid all excellent options. If you freeze fish, then now is the best time to buy in bulk. Nice sardines are arriving from Cornwall, there are plenty of shellfish around and there has even been an easing on native lobster prices. For something different there is a supply of hand-caught spider crab meat coming from Cornwall at present. Traditionally unpopular outside of the Continent because it's messy to eat, it is a lot sweeter than normal crab meat and is available for £16.50 for 500g.

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


The danger of a crisis because of last week's discovery of bird flu in Norfolk seems to have been avoided, as chicken and duck sales continue unabated. In fact our supplier sold more chicken in his shop this week than ever before, and wholesale purchasing hasn't dimmed in the slightest. Chefs are continuing as usual in what appears to be a case of "we've heard it all before". Elsewhere, there are fantastic supplies of lamb arriving, including both Somerset and Pyrenean milk-fed, while the last of the saltmarsh lamb until July is available this week. As is the case at this time of year, mutton sales have soared as the colder weather sets in. Beef prices remain stable, English veal is abundant at present and pork is in very good supply, with plenty of nice rare breeds available, including Gloucester old spot and Tamworth. The pheasant and partridge season is well and truly over, so only pigeon, rabbit and venison are around on the game front.

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

Seasonal recipe

Grilled John Dory with butternut squash risotto and roasted tomato, cumin and garlic chutney

Ingredients (Serves six)

For the roasted tomato, cumin and garlic chutney
9 large tomatoes
1 shallot
1tbs garlic
1tsp cumin (dry roasted and coarsely ground)
2tbs olive oil
For the risotto
1 large butternut squash
1 shallot
150g arborio rice
125ml dry white wine
250ml chicken stock
40g butter
120ml olive oil
1 lemon
6 large John Dory fillets


Wash and core the tomatoes, then slice in half from top to bottom. Squeeze out the seeds and discard. Mince the shallot and add it to the tomato with the chopped garlic and cumin seeds. Toss the mixture with 2tbs of olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay the tomato (plus mixture) flat side down on a baking tray. Roast at 180°C for 25 minutes.

Peel the butternut squash and cut little squares from the flesh (set these aside). Use additional trimmings from the flesh to make a purée. Place the trimmings in salted water and boil until soft. Drain the water and purée in a food processor.

Warm 40ml olive oil in a heavy bottom stock pot. Add the diced shallot and soften for 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat all the grains with olive oil. Deglaze the rice with the white wine, cooking until the wine is gone. Add the chicken stock half at a time and stir constantly, cooking for about 22 minutes. On the last cup of stock add the diced squash. When the rice has only a slight bite left to it and the stock has been absorbed, add the purée and 2tbs butter. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Rub each John Dory fillet with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the fish on a very hot grill and cook for four minutes, before flipping it over to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the fish and season with lemon juice. Serve with rice and tomato chutney.

Recipe by Surjan Jolly, executive chef at Curve Restaurant & Bar

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