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Chestnuts, parsnips, mussels, tuna

27 October 2005

Meat
We are seeing the best game we have seen in a long time at the moment and prices are the same now as they were 10 years ago. Teal and mallard are particularly good, as are English and French partridges. We are keeping a watchful eye on the poultry situation, but for the time being, prices and supplies are normal. Beef, lamb and pork continue to be in abundant supply, with cuts such as heel or shoulder of beef and oxtails a good economical buy at this time of year.
Source: Aubrey Allen, 024 7642 2222, www.aubreyallen.co.uk

Fresh produce Fresh European chestnuts are plentiful once again, although the larger graded sizes are more expensive. Crosnes, a seasonal favourite, are beginning to reappear once again. British swedes and parsnips are both excellent quality and value for money now. Leafy Spanish clementines are back on the market, but as yet the flavour is too acidic. Look out for the first of the forced Dutch rhubarb from next month. Baby Italian pears have been terrific of late. More news on any damage sustained by the citrus groves in Florida will follow as the aftermath of hurricane Wilma is assessed.
If you're cooking pumpkins this autumn, best to stick to the Continental Ironbark variety as these are particularly flavoursome.
Source: Chef's Connection, 020 7627 4809, www.chefs-connection.com

Fish
Bad weather conditions are limiting the supply and pushing up prices of certain fish this week, including Dover sole, cod, brill, John Dory, plaice and mackerel. In steadier supply are mussels, scallops and crabs. There should be the odd blue shark landed on the Cornish coast. Further afield, tuna is expected to be plentiful, while red snapper, barramundi and some excellent quality swordfish are all readily available now.
Source: M&J Seafood, 01296 58822, www.mjseafoods.com

Seasonal recipe
White chocolate délice, pumpkin and cardamom choux buns, bitter chocolate sorbet

Ingredients (Serves six)
For the délice
125ml single cream
225g white chocolate
1 leaf gelatine, soaked
1tbs kirsch
190ml double cream (lightly whipped)
For the chiboust 150g crème pâtissière infused with five cardamom pods
75g purée of pumpkin and butternut squash
75g Italian meringue
100ml double cream, lightly whipped
For the bitter chocolate sorbet
200g sugar
450ml water
125g Valrhona 70% dark chocolate
25g extra bitter cocoa powder
To garnish
96 miniature choux buns
6 ultra fine caramel plaques

Method
To make the dèlice, melt the cream and chocolate together. Melt the gelatine and kirsch, then mix with the single cream and white chocolate and then combine with the whipped cream just before it sets. Pour into six rectangular moulds and set in the fridge.
To prepare the chiboust, combine the purée of pumpkin and squash into the crème pâtissière, then blend this with the meringue and double cream. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a fine plain nozzle.

To make the bitter chocolate sorbet, combine the stock syrup with chocolate and cocoa powder, mix until very smooth. Allow to cool and then churn in a sorbet machine.

To plate, fill the choux buns with the cardamom and pumpkin chiboust. Place a rectangle of dèlice on each plate, line four rows of four choux buns on each dèlice. Place a caramel plaque on top and quenelle the chocolate sorbet on to each plate.

Robert Thompson, head chef, Winteringham Fields, Winteringham, Lincolnshire

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