Gooseberries; marrows; lamb; snapper

20 July 2005
Gooseberries; marrows; lamb; snapper

Fresh produce
The season for British-grown black cabbage is starting again, but so far supplies have been inconsistent. Marrows are plentiful and very reasonable. Courgette flowers are also in abundance. The male flowers are particularly good deep-fried in a light Parmesan and garlic batter.

Look out for the first of the fresh filberts or cobnuts. The French crop is always the first, but they are generally picked a little underripe.

The Kentish cobnuts which follow the French crops, however, are the best in the world, in our opinion.

White cherries, or Naps, are at their best now but the shelf life is short. Dessert gooseberries (right), or Levellers, are delicious and super-sweet.

Chef's Connection 020 7627 4809


These are versatile cuts that can be roasted, barbecued and used to make kebabs. Another useful cut is the basse-côte, the secondary ribs, which have a great flavour at this time of year but which are often overlooked despite being much cheaper than racks.
Shoulders of beef are also good value at the moment, as are cuts like shin and silverside. With summer now in full swing look out also for likely discounts on calves' liver.

Source: Aubrey Allen 024 7642 2222

Fish Strangely, UK landings are down this week. Fishermen are saying that catches are down by about 75% from before and many are putting their boats in for early refits and maintenance. Many species will be affected, with prices rising although whiting, wytch sole, gurnards, coley, monkfish and herrings should hold their price.

Low landings in the Faroes and Iceland mean supplies of white fish such as haddock and cod will also be tight. Large cod will be very expensive.

Farmed salmon prices have though eased slightly, as have those on farmed gilthead bream from Greece. Exotics, such as snapper, kingfish, spangled emperor, tuna, swordfish and wahoo, should be available all week.

Source: M&J Seafood 01296 588221

Seasonal recipe

Set oregano cream with spiced gooseberry custard and caramel jelly

Ingredients (Serves six)

For the caramel jelly

  • 100g sugar
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50ml water
  • 1/2 sheet gelatine, soaked in cold water
  • For the oregano cream
  • 280ml double cream
  • 90ml milk
  • 45g sugar
  • 25g fresh oregano
  • 1 sheet gelatine, soaked in cold water

For the gooseberry mix

  • 50g sugar
  • 100g gooseberries
  • 50ml orange juice
  • 1 star anise
  • 10ml Grand Marnier
  • For the egg mix
  • 100ml milk
  • 50g sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 sheets gelatine, soaked in cold water
  • 100ml double cream, whipped
  • Orange segments
  • Oregano leaves

For the caramel jelly, get six glasses ready. Then place sugar into heavy-bottomed pan and heat on stove. When it starts to caramel, shake until it all dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and then gelatine. Strain into the glasses. Place in the fridge until set, about 25-30 minutes.

For the oregano cream, bring milk, cream, sugar and oregano to the boil. Infuse oregano for five minutes, strain cream and stir in gelatine while hot. Dissolve it completely, cool, and just before setting, pour it on the caramel jelly.

For the spiced gooseberry custard, first make a gooseberry mix. Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan and heat. When sugar starts to caramel, shake until it all dissolves. Carefully pour on the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until all caramel pieces have dissolved.

Cream the egg and sugar. Pour liquids into a pan and simmer. Whisk the simmering liquids over egg mix and add gelatine. Strain mix and cool. Stew gooseberries with sugar, juice and star anise. Add Grand Marnier.

To finish, mix gooseberry and egg mix together and fold in whipped cream. When the mixture starts to set, pour into desired moulds and chill until set. Dip custard moulds quickly in and out of hot water and turn out on to a plate. Place the glass next to it. Top custard with fresh orange segments and oregano leaves.

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

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