Cornish Rarebit with Doom Bar Beer from The New Westcountry Cook Book

Nathan Outlaw's Cornish RarebitA few weeks ago I took possession of a lovely new cook book. I had pre-ordered The New West Country Cook Book months ago and, to be honest, had almost forgotten about it, so I was thrilled when it turned up in the post.

For me, there are two types of cook books; the ones you use regularly and the ones you buy just to drool over with their beautiful photography. This one ticks both those boxes. I spent a happy hour flicking through the pages and day dreaming about which recipes I might make and it was worth the cover price for that hour alone.

David Griffen is a wonderful photographer and his passion for food, the countryside and all things West Country is evident in these pages. In addition, he has enlisted the support of some amazing chefs and persuaded them to contribute some stunningly simple recipes. This really isn’t an overly “chefy” book.

As you might expect from a West Country cook book fish features very strongly amongst the recipes but you will also find Tom Kerridge’s Pork Pie and the Tanner brother’s Treacle Brushed Pork Belly amongst the meat dishes and some stunning looking desserts including a Baked Elderflower Custard with Honey Roasted Damsons from Tom Blake.

So far I have made two dishes; the first was Roasted Cod with Creamed Leeks and Wild Mushrooms by Michael Caines and it was heavenly. I will definitely be making it again at some point and will blog it when I do.

The second dish I made was the one featured here; Nathan Outlaw’s Cornish Rarebit with Doom Bar Beer. I rustled it up for brunch in 15 minutes flat and it was delicious. I suspect the Welsh might have something to say about it but, as it uses a wonderful Cornish ale and, in my case, some delicious Cornish Cheddar, I think the sobriquet can stay.

I can honestly say that it is the first time in my life that I have opened a bottle of beer before 10.00 a.m. but it was definitely worth it even if it does get the neighbours talking.  The only change I made to the recipe lies in the fact that, as I cook using a Rayburn, I don’t have a grill so I put the whole thing back in the oven for five minutes and then browned the top with a blow torch.  It tasted great but didn’t look as pretty as it might so please use the grill if you have one.

p.s. If David Griffen ever reads this and decides that he wants to give me some photography tips then I would be very happy to accept!

The New West Country Cook BookServes 4

Ingredients

120g Mature Cheddar

60ml Doom Bar beer

30g Plain Flour

30g Breadcrumbs

1 tbsp English Mustard

3 Egg Yolks

1 Loaf of Bread

Method

Grate the cheese and place in a saucepan with the beer.

Heat over a medium flame until the cheese has melted and the mixture begins to bubble.

Stir in the flour, breadcrumbs and mustard.

Continue to cook gently until the mixture comes away from the saucepan cleanly and forms a soft ball.

It is important to keep stirring.

Remove from the heat and cool. Beat in the egg yolks until the mixture is smooth and all the yolk is incorporated.

Slice the loaf into ‘doorsteps’.

Lightly toast the ‘doorsteps under the grill on both sides.

Spread liberally with the Cornish rarebit mixture.

Place under a hot grill until the rarebit bubbles.

Cut and serve immediately.

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How to Make Stock

Beef Stock

At present I am trying to develop the perfect gravy.  Gravy, as I suspect we all know, begins and ends with a really good stock.  Now I consider myself to be incredibly privileged because Vasey, the chef from No. 4 Peterville (a truly wonderful restaurant in St Agnes in Cornwall), shared his recipe with me some time ago when I wrote a piece about opening a restaurant.

I have never published a guest blog on bun scuffle before but this one is worth it.  Vasey writes as he speaks and as he cooks – with energy, enthusiasm and honesty.  He has no time for niceties and Nola, his partner in life, No. 4 and everything else, describes this piece as “more of a rant than a recipe”.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

Veal Stock

At the heart of every good kitchen there’s a freezer filled with little plastic containers of stock and in particular the ‘mother stock’ – veal .

I think of Veal stock as a labour of love which is weird when you consider all you’re doing is roasting bones, boiling the shit out of them , taking all the good stuff out and boiling some more shit out of them.  But consider the results and the improvement that a dash of veal stock would add to your Sunday lunch , you start to see the love part of this labour.

If you read Keith Floyd’s book ‘Floyd in the soup’, within three pages he’s sung high praise of the darkened gloop, implied his readers are idiots for not having a freezer full and written out his own recipe for it and if this isn’t inspiring enough check the front pages of any cook books and they’ll all rant lyrical on the importance of stock.

I said that this is not really a recipe and it’s not because the way we make stock at No.4 we end up utilising things like vegetable peel and fish carcases; this means that nothing gets wasted and that we’re always armed with tasty stocks and bases for many of our sauces and soups.

Now at home you’re less likely to have large quantities of useable stuff around , especially veal bones , in fact we don’t even have veal bones kicking around (space issue). But if you speak nicely to your butcher I’m sure he’ll have some or will be able to gather some to hand.

Ingredients

5kg Veal Bones

3 white onions roughly chopped

1 stick of celery chopped

A couple of carrots

Any discarded bits of leek (or any other hardy vegetable for that matter)

Bay leaves and a couple of sprigs of thyme

Enough water to cover bones

Red wine

Method

Get your largest roasting tray and your largest pan. Stick the veal bones in the tray with a little oil and seasoning, whack the oven on full bore and roast the bones, turning a couple of times.  After about 30-40 minutes the bones should fill the kitchen with meat perfume and tasty marrow should be popping up from the top of the bones.  At this point if there’s any meat left on the bones feel free to apply to mouth. Once the bones are golden and smelling fantastic put to one side and stick the chopped veg into the tray, shake so that they cover in meat juices. Roast the veg for about ten minutes and splash some wine into the tray and scrape up all that lovely tray residue and stick into your pan with the roasted bones. Try to avoid getting too much fat from the bones into the stock.

Cover the bones and veg with water and bring to the boil, then simmer until reduced by half (labour of love remember) you will be rewarded with the best smelling kitchen around.

As a rule I skim my stocks but I’m not massively anal about drawing a little fat into it, fat is flavour after all. So once the stock has reduced by half discard the bones add in the red wine and reduce by half again .

The rest is up-to you depending on how sticky and jus-like you want your stock.  I, like ‘Fergus Henderson’, am not a fan of mega sticky jus, but if you do want this you can keep reducing it until you have a coma inducing sauce to wow your friends with. Or you can go half again and have a pretty decent base to work with. Add a hunk of butter and you’ve got a shiny liquid that will take your roast that little bit further.

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Home Made Baked Beans

Baked Beans on ToastWho doesn’t love beans on toast?  It’s a quick and easy staple in most houses at some time or other and a regular chez bun scuffle.

But have you ever considered making your own beans?  These are quick, easy and tasty – ok not quite so easy as opening a can but much much tastier.  I made these during the vegan challenge so kept them entirely vegan.  If that’s not your thing then try a little Worcestershire Sauce too.

They taste even better if you bake your own bread too!

Ingredients

Serves 4

2 x 410g tins Haricot Beans

2 x 400g tins Chopped Tomatoes

2 Onions

2 Cloves Garlic

3 tbsp Tomato Puree

1 tbsp Muscovado Sugar

2 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tbsp Brown Sauce (HP is suitable for vegans)

1 tbsp Thyme Leaves

Salt & Pepper

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large sautee pan.  Chop the onion and garlic and cook in the oil over a gentle heat until softened.  Add the sugar and thyme to the pan and cook for a minute or two longer.

Add the tomatoes and tomato puree to the pan, stir well and bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.  Add the brown sauce and season to taste.  Leave to simmer for ten or 20 minutes until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.  Stir in the drained haricot beans and cook gently until hot.

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Crumpets Crumpets Crumpets

Last week I posted a picture of an empty plate on the bunscuffle Facebook page and asked what you would most like to see on it. There were lots of wonderful suggestions including cream teas, Swiss rolls, toast and butter and raspberry friands (which I will get around to) not to mention £50 notes, Euros and Daley Thompson! But the suggestion that made me stop and think was crumpets.

We like crumpets at bun scuffle despite years of the kind of jokes you have to expect when your last name is Crump. We like them for breakfast, as a mid afternoon snack or just when we get in from work tired and hungry and dinner seems a long way away.

The little holes in the top of a crumpet are perfectly designed to hold onto melted butter so a little goes a long way. They taste great topped with jam or honey or Marmite or even a little ripe brie which begins to melt over the hot … I’m getting carried away now but the crumpet is a lovely  vehicle for the sweet or savoury topping of your choice.

I have to confess that I have always just bought crumpets in the past but today, especially for all you lovely people who take the time to read my blog, I have made them from scratch. Have a go – it takes longer than just popping them, ready made, into the toaster but it is well worth the effort.

Ingredients

450g / 1lb strong white flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp / 1x7g sachet fast-action dried yeast

300ml / ½ pint milk

300ml / ½ pint water

vegetable oil

4 crumpet rings or 3in plain (not fluted) pastry cutters

Method

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.

Mix the milk and water and heat to blood temperature (when you dip your [clean] finger in it should feel neither hot nor cold). Stir the sugar and yeast into the milk / water mix and leave for a minute or two.

Pour the warm milk / water into the flour and beat well to give quite a thick, smooth batter. Cover with a tea towel or cling film.

Leave in a warm place to rise for about an hour until it has a light, spongy texture.

Very lightly oil a non-stick frying pan (use kitchen towel to remove any excess oil) and place over a very low heat. Grease the crumpet rings and place them in the pan then leave to heat up for a minute or two.

Pour in enough mixture to fill the rings about half to two thirds of the way up. Leave to cook until plenty of small holes appear on the surface and the batter has just dried out. This will take about 8-10 minutes.

Remove the rings and turn over the crumpets to cook for a further minute or two on the other side. Sit the first batch of crumpets on a wire rack while continuing to cook the remaining mixture.

These crumpets are best eaten at once but can be kept warm or re-heated in the oven without too many problems.

 

Cheese and Chive Mayonnaise (Courtesy of Nathan Outlaw)

Ingredients

3 free range egg yolks

50g finely grated Davidstow Cornish Crackler Cheddar

2 tsp English Mustard

1 tbsp Cider Vinegar

500 ml Sunflower Oil

A pinch of Cornish Sea Salt

Method

Place the egg yolks in a bowl along with the mustard and vinegar and whisk to blend.

Slowly add the oil a few drop at a time to start with and as it begins to emulsify add it in a steady stream whisking continuously as you do.

When your mayonnaise is the consistency you would like it to be (it will take all the oil but you may prefer to stop before then) whisk in the cheese and chives. Season to taste.

Alternatively this can be made in a food processor.

Place the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, cheese and chives in the mixer.

Blend for one minute then add the oil in a slow, steady stream whilst the processor is still running. When the oil is incorporated add salt to taste.

Tip

If you add the oil too quickly or don’t whisk it well enough the mayonnaise may split. If it does simply break another egg yolk into a bowl and slowly add the split mayonnaise, whisking as you do so. This should pull it back together.

This mayonnaise will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days.