Another tasting menu dish, or small starter. Actually the first dish I cooked using The Book and Bucket Cheese Company’s Hardy Cheese. It’s a dish of root vegetables braised in butter, they become very nutty and buttery. In this case, we had carrot and swede.
We use the Hardy’s cheese to make a sauce with water, I know this sounds strange, its a technique I learnt and gives a very pure flavour. We split the sauce with an oil made from a herb called apple marigold. Apple marigold has an intense citrus/apple flavour. This giving the source more dimensions in flavour.
The root vegetables are then arranged with gooseberry puree made from fresh gooseberries, and slices of gooseberry salted and preserved in our own elderflower vinegar. Finished with a linseed cracker.
It’s a small dish but packs a punch, again this comes down to the quality of ingredients, hardy’s being the sauce bringing the whole dish together. I understand not everyone will have preserved gooseberries, these can be omitted, or you can make some, I will include the recipe.
Ingredients Portion for 4
1 x 250g Hardys
1 x swede
3 x medium-sized carrots
150g unsalted butter
1x bunch of apple marigold herb.
1 x bunch of parsley flat leaf (This is quite hard to source, replacements won’t have the same flavour but will work very well. Verbena, parsley, chives.)
200g gooseberry fresh
10 x preserved gooseberries, sliced finely
Apple marigold sprigs.
100ml boiling water
White wine vinegar
To begin, grate the hardy’s into a small pan, don’t grate the rind. You should have around 220g. Cover with the same amount in weight of cold water.
Heat very gently, but do not boil. When it’s hot, pull off the heat, add a pinch of anthem gum. Go very minimal on this to start, with a blender blitz the cheese water. The xantham emulsifies the mix. We are aiming for a single cream consistency. If its too thin, a tiny touch more anthem and blitz again. If you add too much it will turn to a gel-like consistency. Check seasoning, and adjust with sea salt.
The day before, bring 100ml water to boil, and pour over 60g of linseeds, stir then leave. They will thicken on their own. Season with sea salt, when thickened. Spread out thin on a lined tray and dry in a low oven. It’s ready when completely dry and like a cracker, break into shards, store in an airtight container.
For the vegetables, I cut into Jenga like strips. You can do whatever you like. Just remember the more depth you give them, the more cooking they will take.
Slice the butter and place at the bottom of a cold pan, season with sea salt. Place the vegetables flat side down in the butter. Foil the pan tightly or use a lid, place on lowest heat possible. The butter will steam, cook the veg through, then brown and glaze the veg. You have to be patient, don’t shake the pan, remove the lid or turn the heat up. Leave to cool and glaze in the butter, use the butter to warm when ready to serve.
For the gooseberry puree, place the fresh gooseberries in a pan, cover with sugar, then cover with water, bring to a boil, simmer until reduced by half. Transfer to a blender and blitz. Check the acidity and adjust with lemon juice if needed.
The preserved gooseberries.
First make an elderflower vinegar. Bring 2 litres of white wine vinegar to the boil, then turn off.
Add between 10 to 20 elderflower heads, and let steep.
To preserve the gooseberries, first wash them, then coat them in sea salt, leave for 2 – 4 hours to remove excess water. Then wash again, cover in a jar with elder vinegar.
These last a very long time and only get better.
Slice as thin as you can to serve.
For the oil, blanch 70g of marigold and 70g of parsley in boiling water. Refresh in iced water. Transfer to a blender. Cover with a neutral oil like grapeseed or vegetable. Blitz on full power, season, then pass through a fine sieve.
To serve warm the cheese sauce, then add marigold oil to split the sauce.
Arrange your veg in the bowl, with each piece add gooseberry puree and a piece of preserved gooseberry. We want acidity with each piece. Then add a piece of linseed cracker to each piece of veg, along with a sprig of apple marigold. Finally, spoon in the sauce. For more of a wow factor spoon the sauce at the table and reveal the speckled green sauce.