Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Fruit Tarts

We have an abundance of fruit in the village store at The Old Red Lion today so I got creative!
Sweet pastry tart cases filled with custard and topped with a mixture of fresh fruit glazed with apricot jam. Find them on sale at Radmore Farm Shop, Cambridge tomorrow afternoon.

Fresh Fruit Tarts

Fresh Fruit Tarts

Sunday, 4 August 2013

A Fishy Tale (or How To Oven Cook A Side of Salmon!)

As the sun shone, and the church bells rang, late morning today, 50 guests crossed the road from St Martins Church, Litchborough to The Old Red Lion to attend a christening party and a buffet lunch of the pubs finest food.
Buffets are renowned in the catering trade for being hard work and very time consuming but, it is immensely satisfying when seeing the end result of all your hard work spread out on one long table.
I have spent many years preparing buffets so basically know what I'm doing by now, however, for this particular buffet, along with the beef, pork and hot new potatoes was also a request for whole salmon. There was a slight SHREAK inside my head on hearing this news as I have never cooked such a big fish before but I'm always up for a new food challenge and set out straight away to find out how to achieve the best results.
Usually, it seems, most cooks use a fish kettle to cook salmon on the hob but, as we don't have a fish kettle at the pub, I decided to do my research on oven baking.
 Having  googled loads of recipes and ideas, and making pages of notes, this morning I very nervously put it all together and prayed for great results!
I had a beautiful fish to work with. Weighing 10lb and having been gutted and pinned I was left with 2 large, clean and very pink sides of salmon.

10lb Salmon gutted, pinned and ready to cook.
First I laid out 3 large pieces of foil on a baking tray and covered with slices of lemon.
Slices of lemon on a bed of foil.

To the lemon I added slices of onion, rosemary and bay leaves.
Lemon, onion, rosemary and bay leaves on foil base
I rubbed the skin on the salmon with olive oil then laid the fish, skin side down, onto the foil and seasoned the top with sea salt and cracked black pepper. I then wrapped the foil around the fish, like a parcel, and, just before totally closing the top, poured white wine over the fish. The "parcel" was then transferred to the oven for about an hour until we were ready to serve it.
Sides of Salmon on a prepared bed of lemon, rosemary, onion and bay leaves.
While the salmon cooked I prepared a few items of decoration for when it was on display on the buffet table. On removal from the oven it took 2 of us to very carefully transfer both sides to a display slate, and I mean CAREFULLY as it was a tricky manoeuvre to lift the fish!
I quickly got to work decorating.
I had made tomato roses with halves of lemon and cucumber for the top.
Tomato rose decoration with cucumber and lemon.
Lots of cucumber and lemon!
I piped some flowers out of cream cheese and paprika directly onto the slate to the side of the salmon, and added a finishing touch of king prawns.
2 decorated sides of salmon with tomato roses, cucumber and lemon.
Finally completed and our young restaurant manager Chris had the rather important task of delivering this large platter to the buffet table. No Pressure on that task at all!!
Dressed salmon with cucumber, lemon and tomato roses with cream cheese and paprika piped flowers with king prawns.
The party hosts and guests were extremely complimentary about all the food and service today. It's lovely for us all to receive such praise when we have worked so hard. Good job done once again by Team Red Lion!!!