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Broccoli, cauliflower, haddock

15 September 2005
Broccoli, cauliflower, haddock

Fresh produce
British broccoli and cauliflowers are outstanding at the moment and reasonably priced. Golden beetroot is still good and will carry on right through the autumn. However, we're now seeing the last of the fresh peas and broad beans.

English Conference pears are on the market, along with the blush Forrelle pears from the Cape. There are also new-crop Granny Smiths from France.

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

Fish
Better weather along the South Coast means improved landings of bream, brill, pollack, lemon soles and Dovers. Other native species such as dogfish and conger eel should also be more plentiful. Haddock is also getting better and better by the week. It is always said that haddocks are at their best when the month ends in "-er".

Prices on lobster, both Canadian and native, are on the rise, however. Skate wings, John Dory, mullet and turbot are also looking like they will become more expensive.

Source: M&J Seafood 01296 588221 www.mjseafoods.com

Meat
Supplies of English grey-legged partridge are a little short but there is plenty of the good-value French red-legged variety around. The quality is excellent and each bird is costing £3-£4. Grouse still hasn't got off the ground, and the situation won't improve for the rest of the season. There has also been some wild duck about.

Lamb is still good and prices are the same as at this time last year. Beef is also in good supply - imports remain plentiful but quality is variable.

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

Seasonal recipe

Roast partridge with cauliflower and apple purée, bitter chocolate and thyme

Ingredients (Serves four starters)
For the partridge
2 x 450-500g partridges (plucked, drawn, legs removed and left on the crown)
Oil
Butter
Salt and pepper

For the cauliflower purée 1 small cauliflower, trimmed and finely chopped
100ml vegetable nage
50g unsalted butter
Salt and pepper

For the apple purée
1 large cooking apple, peeled and chopped
25g unsalted butter
10ml lemon juice
10ml water

For the chocolate sauce 50g caster sugar
50ml red wine vinegar
100ml port
100ml lamb stock
100ml game stock
20g bitter chocolate pistols 70%
Picked thyme leaves

Method
For the partridge, preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat frying pan and add oil. Colour partridge crown all over for three minutes, and season. Place in the oven for three minutes on its front then three on its back. Remove from oven and rest, placing the butter in the cavity, for five minutes. Remove the breasts from the bone and season. When ready to serve, place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes.

For the cauliflower purée, heat a pan with a good-fitting lid on a medium heat. Add the butter and the cauliflower, and season. Cook for two minutes (don't colour) and add the nage. Place the lid on the pan and cook for 25 minutes, checking every five minutes, adding more nage if required. Once the cauliflower is cooked, remove the lid and allow the nage to reduce until almost dry. Place the cooked cauliflower into a blender and blend until smooth. Reheat for service.

For the apple purée, place all the ingredients into a pan with a good-fitting lid. Heat until cooked with the lid on, and blend until smooth.

For the chocolate sauce, place a pan on to a medium heat and add the sugar. When the sugar turns to caramel, add the vinegar and port and reduce to syrup. Add the stocks and reduce to desired consistency. For service, bring to a simmer and remove from the heat, whisk in the chocolate and add the thyme, then serve immediately. Do not boil or reboil once the chocolate has been added - the chocolate will burn.

Nathan Outlaw, head chef, St Ervan Manor, near Padstow, Cornwall

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