V and H Café’s #EatSussex Seasonal Specials (guest blog!)

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Harry from V and H Cafe shares his seasonal specials…

August and September have been plentiful, busy months. The weather this summer has been kind to us (despite what many cynics may say) and this has reflected in the quality and the abundance of produce. Trying to make the most of every seasonal miracle is near enough impossible for this very reason: there’s too much of it and too many varieties to try and squeeze onto the menu! By the time we find space, it can already be too late and you have to wait until next year – but that’s all part of the fun!

We said at the beginning of the #EatSussex campaign that the real challenge would be using all of the available produce, not struggling with what to cook. So we gave it our best shot, and here are some of our favourites…

Caprese Salad

One of our earliest and fondest dishes. So simple but only excels when the highest produce is used. There is little to hide behind.

Ingredients:

· Coeur de boeuf tomatoes (or a ripe mixed variety)
· Mesto extra virgin olive oil (New Harvest)
· Buffalo mozzarella
· Arundel bail pesto (recipe below)
· Toasted hazel or pine nuts
· Fresh basil to garnish

Slice the tomatoes as you wish. Coeur de boeuf tomatoes a better sliced but the mixed varieties are best chopped randomly. Season lightly with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Arrange in layers slices of mozzarella, basil leaves and tomato onto on a base of homemade pesto. Garnish with crushed nuts, more olive oil and smaller tips of basil leaves.

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Arundel Basil Pesto

This pesto is a staple at the café. It varies slightly every time depending on the time or who is making it so is always unique.

Ingredients:

· Large bunch of Arundel basil leaves
· 2 cloves garlic
· Extra virgin olive oil 50ml
· 50g Nuts (Hazel, walnut or pine depending on season)
· Pinch of salt
· 5 drips of lemon

In pestle and mortar, start by crushing the garlic with the salt. Followed by crushing in the basil and nuts, and gradually pouring in the olive oil to create your desired pesto texture. Season to taste.

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Stuffed Tomatoes

If you have ever been to Greece you will be familiar with these ingenious lunchtime staples. Batch cooked and kept warm, they sell out fast as a wholesome, delicious and seasonal lunch. They’re also dead simple to cook. We made pork stuffed tomatoes using our recipe below. However, we’ve also made veggie ones using pearl barley and cranberry risotto with Grana Padano – but I have no measurements or quantities for that one. We made it up as we went along!

Ingredients:

· Coeur de boeuf tomatoes x6
· 900g Sausage or seasoned Pork mince
· 20g Dry Oregano
· 3 cloves garlic
· 150ml Mesto extra virgin olive oil

Carefully slice off to tops of the tomatoes with the stalks on, about an 8th of the way down. They will be lids. Using a spoon and a small knife if necessary, scoop out the inner membrane and seeds of the tomatoes doing your best to retain the structure of the tomato. Cook the innards of the tomatoes with 50ml of olive out and a clove of garlic, nice and slowly. Meanwhile we can mix the pork mince with the remaining oil, garlic and oregano, a good pinch of salt and pepper then roll it into six 150g balls to stuff into the tomatoes. Place the lids back on and bake for 1 hour at 180 degrees Celsius.

To serve, blitz the tomato innards in a food processor to form a rich sauce and sit the baked tomato on top, serve warm, not hot.

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Tibbs Farm Raspberry Ripple Yoghurt & Granola.

I didn’t know the real taste of a raspberry until the punnets arrived with Nick, just picked from Tibbs farm that day. We had to immediately reorder them. Such was my excitement about these dark, blood red, sweet, juicy flavour-bombs, that I shared them out to every customer and member of staff we had. Do yourself a favour: eat raspberries that are LOCAL and IN SEASON and NOTHING ELSE! The kind you buy in the supermarket are not even from the same planet as far as I’m concerned…

Granola is great, you can keep it in the dry store to be sprinkled on all sorts.

Ingredients:

· 500g jumbo oats
· 150g South Downs honey
· 70g soft dark brown sugar
· 250g mixed Sussex nuts (cobnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, sweet chestnuts)
· 50ml Mesto olive oil
· 1 tbsp cinamon
· 1 tbsp sea salt
· Dried fruit (optional depending on season)

To Serve:

· Northaim Dairy natural yoghurt
· Tibbs Farm Sussex raspberries
· A squeeze of lemon
· 1 tbsp unrefined sugar

Making the granola is simple. Combine all of the above granola ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and, when combined, spread onto a large baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 150 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes crudely break up the granola to form large nuggets. Leave out to dry out, turning every 5 minutes or so. If it’s still a bit moist afterwards either bake it again for another 5 minutes or leave in a warm dry place such as the airing cupboard!

The raspberry ripple component is make by a simple maceration process. In a mixing bowl place your fruit with the sugar and a few drops of lemon. Toss gently just using the bowl and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes. This will intensify the flavour and create a wonderful natural syrup.

To put the dish together, combine a spoonful of the macerated raspberries with a portion of yoghurt and loosely marble. Top with as much granola as you like, some fresh raspberries and extra honey if you wish. (We also love sprinkling on some bee pollen!)

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Butterhead Lettuce & Smoked Chicken Salad.

We love butterhead lettuce. Big leafy multi-textured ears of crunchiness, bitterness and sweetness. It’s also beautiful to look at. We tend to keep them whole, retaining the natural structure and contours. They’re so perfect.

As for smoked chicken, it’s a wonderful ready-to-go ingredient with so many uses and is an interesting alternative to regular chicken. Ensure it’s a naturally smoked free-range bird. We buy ours from Springs Smokery, Edburton. You can put all sorts with salad – so go wild!

Ingredients (Serves 2):

· 1 head of Butterhead lettuce
· 200g smoked chicken
· 1 avocado
· 2 shallots
· Handful of radishes
· 50g walnuts
· Bunch chives
· 50ml Mesto extra virgin olive oil
· Tspn Dijon mustard
· 20ml red wine vinegar
· Tspn Sussex honey
· Salt/pepper

For the dressing, combine the oil, mustard, vinegar, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper using a whisk or in a food processor and taste. Using a minute splash of boiling water will help to emulsify the mixture. Add more acidity, salt or sweetness depending on personal taste. Throw in an inch or so of finely chopped chive stems from your bunch.

The rest is self explanitory really! Tear the chicken, half the butterhead (washing and drying gently), thinly sliced radishes the remaining chives and scooped teaspoonfuls of the avocado all together and dress with the dressing.

Thinly slice the shallots and caramelise in a pan without busting them up too much. Toast the walnuts. Add to the salad with any spare chives.

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Bon Appétit!


Making you hungry? Check out the award winning cafe on Holland Road for delicious and seasonal eating. Visit their website, instagram and facebook for more mouth-watering and inspiring seasonal dishes.

Fancy contributing to our blog? Let us know! And don’t forget to use the hashtag #EatSussex in your seasonal, locally sourced and delicious creations this autumn…

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V and H Café’s #EatSussex Seasonal Specials (guest blog!)

Mini Recipe Roundup! #EatSussex Inspirations…

If you’re curious about some of the #EatSussex August dishes we’ve been eating, here’s a few snapshot recipes to (hopefully) inspire you to try some 100% Sussex-sourced cooking. Quality is essential for creating delicious food, and with unusual varieties from small-scale producers, our #EatSussex meals are a joy to eat. Believe me, you haven’t eaten kale until you’ve tried our amazing organic red kale…

Garlic Crushed Comfort Potatoes

A comfort recipe for delicious garlicky crushed potatoes. Using our amazing Sussex grown potatoes really add flavour and texture!

You’ll need: 
4-5 flavoursome medium-sized Sussex potatoes (we used Pink Fir Apples)
4 -5 cloves of garlic, peeled (we got ours from a friend with an allotment!)
A generous glug of Mesto Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes whole in salted water. When al dente, add in the garlic cloves whole and continue to boil until the potatoes are fully cooked. When soft, drained and crush the potatoes, garlic and a generous amount of olive oil with a potato presser or fork. This should be fairly roughly crushed – not a smooth puree like conventional mashed potatoes. Season well and serve with greens, a stew, pulses, sausages – anything you like!

IMG_0870 (3)                     Try different potato varieties to discover delicious flavour nuances!

 

Kale and Potato Soup

This recipe was created after a craving for leek and potato soup. We didn’t have any Sussex leeks, so we adapted with very good results!

You’ll need:
Mesto Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium Sussex onions
Several flavoursome Sussex potatoes
A generous bunch of kale
1 generous tsp cumin
1 generous tsp black pepper
A few stems of fresh rosemary
Rosemary and hemp bread to serve.

Saute the onions in a good serving of olive oil. When they started to soften, add in the garlic, cumin and black pepper. Roughly chop the potatoes and add to the pan. Cover with water, adding the rosemary, and allow to slowly simmer until the potatoes are soft (approx. half an hour). At the end of cooking, add in the fresh kale, roughly chopped, and continue to cook for a few minutes until the kale is tender.

Serve steaming hot with slices of fresh wholemeal sussex bread! (We love our rosemary and hemp recipe for extra flavour).

kalesoupA satisfying evening meal of beautifully flavoured kale soup.

Spiced Summer Apples

If you want something that’s a bit of a treat but still on the wholesome side, this seasonal apple dish will satisfy. With borage honey, sweet-sharp apples and notes of cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger, you’ll be dreaming of this dish for summers to come…

You’ll need:
2 tart discovery apples, diced
1 good teaspoon of borage honey
A splash of Elderberry liqueur
1 generous tsp mixed spice
1 tub of creamy biolive Sussex yogurt

In a pan with a splash of elderberry liqueur,  simmer  the chopped tart discovery apples with a teaspoon of honey and mixed spice. Cover and simmer until the apples are soft and the flavours have melded (about 15 minutes). Serve hot with cool, thick, creamy biolive Sussex yogurt straight from the fridge.

summerapplesPink discovery apples are worth waiting the year for!


Do you have any #EatSussex recipes? Use the hashtag #EatSussex and post to your social media so that we can see and share your seasonal discoveries and cooking adventures!

Mini Recipe Roundup! #EatSussex Inspirations…

Perfect Sussex Charmer Rarebit

Welsh_rarebit

Since Hove Museum has closed it’s cafe doors, we have been on the lookout for a replacement proper Welsh Rarebit.   A good Rarebit is not necessarily just posh cheese on toast.  It’s a melting combination of whipped cheese, butter and flour with the lightly nutty aftertaste of a dash of beer and served with a crisp, spicy rocket salad.  Sometimes served with an additional egg, but that’s just overkill in our book.

I’ll say traditionally a good Rarebit has been made with a salty, mature cheddar, but of course, the dish itself was (is!) a Welsh tradition appropriated by the rest of the UK and Cheshire or Caerphilly cheese is often used.  Both Cheshire and Caerphilly cheeses have a slightly citrussy tangy taste, so for us, we prefer something a little more oozy and mildly buttery.

We are very lucky to have THE perfect Rarebit cheese from a local cheesemaker, Rob, from Bookham Harrison over in leafy Funtington, near Chichester meandering at the foot of the South Downs.  Sussex Charmer is a punchy hard cheese which is the lovechild of Cheddar and Parmesan (and certified vegetarian) with the gutsiness of a good Parmesan and the creaminess of cheddar.

How to make a perfect Sussex Rarebit

Important note here…the bread is very important.  A good thick slab of a wholemeal sourdough is delicious and robust enough to withstand a rich sauce without becoming soggy .  But that said, if you prefer white, then just cut it from a good fresh loaf and don’t stint on the thickness of the slice.

Serves 4 | Prep 10 minutes | Cook 10 minutes

Ingredients

225g Sussex Charmer cheese
25g salted butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (if you’re vegetarian, we had a go at making vegan Worcester sauce – recipe here)
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
4 free range egg yolks
A good sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of golden beer – try Long Man Long Blonde or Dark Star Hophead
4 thick slices of bread

Method

Mix the mustard with the beer in the bottom of a small pan to make a paste, then add the butter and about 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce – you can always add more later if you like. Heat gently until the butter has melted.

Mix in the cheese and stir carefully until it has just melted but be careful not to let it boil or burn.  Once you have a sauce, season if required, then allow to cool until just slightly warm, being careful the mixture doesn’t cool to be come solid.

Pre-heat the grill to medium-high, and toast the bread on one side and just lightly toast the other. Beat the yolks into the warm cheese until smooth, and then spoon on to the toast and cook until bubbling and golden.

Serve immediately with a spicy leaf salad and some tiny cherry tomatoes to balance the rich flavours.

 


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Perfect Sussex Charmer Rarebit

Broad beans

 

About broad beans …

The broad bean – which you might know as the Fava bean – is a crop which originated in the Mediterranean region or southwestern Asia and are one of our most ancient crops – so great for paleo digestive properties. Broad beans are a great source of protein and carbohydrates.They are rich in potassium, which can have beneficial effects on blood pressure.

Did you know? Broad beans also contain an amino acid (called L-dopa), which stimulates the brain to make dopamine – the chemical associated with happiness.

 

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How to store them?

You can keep them in a perforated bag in the fridge for up to 5 days. But the easiest way to store broad beans remains by freezing them. This way they can be used cooked or defrosted as and when needed. They can also be dried and stored in air-tight jars but be careful to avoid damp, as this can make the beans ferment, so follow instructions carefully if you go down this route.

Preparation

To prepare the beans, first of all you have to pod them. Put them in a pan, cover with boiling water, return to the boil and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then drain, empty into cold water, slit each pod along its seam and run your thumb along the furry inside to push the beans out.  New season tender beans don’t need double podding but as the season progresses you might need to pop them out of their rubbery skins.

How to cook them?

The creamy texture of broad beans complements sharper, salty flavours perfectly. Toss beans with Greek cheese to create a tasty topping for bruschetta, simply sauté with anchovy fillets and seasonal tomatoes to accompany meat dishes or combine with lemon juice for a warm, zesty salad base for halloumi.

You can also try to create a taste sensation and super fresh flavour by combining broad beans with mint. If you like it subtle, add a few mint leaves to soup or sides to intensify the taste by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of mint sauce.

 

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Here is a simple and totally delicious recipe for a quick supper, from the BBC Good Food website (we don’t want to lose this site as their recipes are fab and all work!) ; a crushed broad bean pesto.

Ingredients 

  • 300g. podded fresh broad beans
  • 2 garlic clove, halved lengthways
  • 3 anchovy fillets , chopped
  • 25g. parmesan, grated – or use wonderful veggie Twineham Grange parmesan
  • juice and zest 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  1. Cook the broad beans in a pan of boiling salted water for 3 mins until they float. Drain and quickly run under ice-cold water to stop them cooking. Squeeze the small green beans from their skins and discard the skins.
  2.  Fry the garlic and anchovies in a small pan for a few mins until golden, then stir through the broad beans. Transfer to a bowl (or use a pestle and mortar) and crush the broad beans with the Parmesan, lemon juice and zest, and oil. Will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

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Broad beans