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SurreyK were lucky enough to be invited to a cooking Masterclass at the Burford Bridge hotel, Box Hill on 24th November 2016.
Set in the stunning North Downs I was immediately taken aback by just how pretty the Burford Bridge hotel is. The interior of the hotel is fresh and contemporary and uncluttered so that I immediately felt at home. Bookcases for the guest lounge, cosy Chesterfield sofas and antique chairs have been carefully sourced from the local area to pay homage to the historic heritage of the hotel.
The beauty to be found in this small section of surrey attracted poet John Keats who took a room at the hotel overlooking the gardens and found inspiration to complete his epic poem ‘Endymion.’ Other notable guests include Queen Victoria, Jane Austen, Wordsworth and Robert Louis Stevenson. Lord Nelson spent secret hours with his love Emma Hamilton, before going to vanquish Napoleon’s fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar.
We were allowed behind the scenes into the kitchen of the hotel for the start of the masterclass. Head chef Nick Sinclair and his young team of gastro genius’ were so welcoming and knowledgable that we immediately felt at ease in their capable hands.
Nick talked us through a typical three course menu that aims to bring together the best seasonal produce for that week. First his team select the main ingredient e.g venison, then together they decide which two or three other ingredients would work well to compliment this first choice and which cooking techniques to use to bring out the best flavours and textures.
Starter – Carpaccio of Surrey Venison, Carrot & Caraway Puree, Hay Smoked & Wealdway Ash Goats Cheese. Here is the recipe in case any of you would like to try it out at home.
Weald way Ash
1) Trim all excess fat and sinew from the venison
2) Season the venison well with salt & pepper & seal in a very hot pan.
3) Chop carrots, place in a sauce pan, cover with carrot juice and a rich of caraway seeds. Cook until tender.
4) Blend carrots & pass through fine sieve. Set aside.
5) Vacuum Pack the raw beetroot and steam @ 85C until tender.
6) Place the hay in the base of a large mixing bowl, set alight the hay & cover with a colander. Place the cooked beetroot in a colander.
7) Cover with cling film & leave to cool in the smoke.
8) Blend half of the cooked beetroot with a little water to form a puree.
9) Dice the other half. Dress with a pickling liquor of white wine vinegar & sugar.
10) Crumble the Goats cheese & set aside until ready to plate.
One of the highlights of the masterclass was watching the hay being set alight. I’m just disappointed I wasn’t quick enough to catch it on camera.
Main – Slow cooked Rib of Dry Aged Surrey Farmed Beef, Variations of Shallots, Hogs Back Beer.
Nick explained how he cooks all of his cuts of meat in a water bath because the temperature is consistent and his team don’t have to worry about tracking temperatures. After having the pleasure of eating this wonderful dish later in the evening I can say that this method of cooking does indeed result in some of the most succulent and tender meat I’ve ever tasted. Even better it’s a simple, low cost, hands-off cooking process that anyone can do at home. It’s easy to see why this method of cooking has become so trendy of late.
Rib of Dry Aged Surrey
Silver Skin Onions
Red Wine Jus
Hogs Black Tea Ale
Norbury Blue Cheese
Brioche Bread Crumb
1) Break the Beef in half, roll in cling film, vacuum Pac & cook @48C.
2) Slice some of the shallots, cook down with ale and Butter until very soft and tender. Add a little cream & reduce, blend until smooth.
3) Peel 7 split the onions in half then cover in a picking liquor.
4) The Roscoe onions are cooked sous-vide @ 85 oc & each layer is picked apart and charred on the stove.
5) Some of the shallots are kept whole & again cooked sous-vide before being caramelised in a pan.
6) The trimmings from the beef are braised very slowly & combined with the blue cheese and a thick béchamel sauce, before being rolled 7 covered in bread crumbs and deep fried.
7) The dish is finished with a red wine sauce mixed with a little raw ale to give a nice bitter hop taste.
Dessert – Clementine Curd, Blood Orange Ice Cream, Silent Pools Gin Jelly & Honey Comb.
Blood orange puree
Silent pools Gin
Bicarbonate of Soda
1) Juice some of the clementines & use to make a curd. Place the juice, sugar & butter into a pan & cook out. Whisk in the hard butter.
2) Some of the segments are held back for plating.
3) Combine the Blood orange puree with the ice cream. Churn before freezing.
4) Mix gin with the sugar syrup, clementine zest & rosemary sprig. Set using gelatine.
5) Make honey comb (cook sugar & golden syrup until a golden caramel is formed). Add the bicarb & transfer into a tray to bubble and harden.
6) The honey comb is then broken into pieces and set aside for plating.
My favourite of the three courses was the Carpaccio of Surrey Venison. Not usually a fan of carpaccio I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed this dish. Earlier on Nick explained that when creating a new dish for the hotels menu he and his team choose 3 or 4 complimentary elements combining them to bring the food alive. His Carpaccio of Venison was a stunning example of this with the elements of carrot puree, smoked beetroot and goats cheese resulting in a marvellous symphony of texture and tastes.
The hotels restaurant overlooks landscaped gardens and views of Box Hill and beyond making it a romantic and memorable place to dine. It’s easy to see why Burford Bridge Hotel is a favourite location for weddings in Surrey. The hotel has an outdoor heated swimming pool that’s available from May-September, perfect for a relaxing summer evening.
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