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Stir it up magazine November December 2015

AMBIENT OLIVES WITH EXTRA APPEAL NEW! Cooks&Co’s new premium speciality olives are packed at source using high quality ingredients, and have a long shelf life – 18 months from manufacturer and two weeks from opening. The range includes: Garlic Stuffed • Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed • Feta Cheese Stuffed • Mixed Greek Pitted with Herbs • Mixed Greek Pitted with Chilli • Antipasto Mix All packed in easy-to-use re-sealable 1kg wide-mouth screw-top jars. JB’s Journa >> When it comes to this time of year, things can get rather challenging. Is it hot? Is it cold? What are the customers looking for menu-wise? So this year I’ve decided to extend my summer menu into the start of November. Alongside this is a special seasonal game menu full of traditional hearty game dishes like roasted partridges, confit pheasants’ legs with seared breasts etc. I believe giving these extra options and extra menus encourages people to go out and try somewhere different, plus also having a lighter summerish menu is great for customers who are bored of the ‘full on’, heavy dishes usually on offer at this time of year. Alongside this is a special seasonal game menu full of traditional hearty game dishes like roasted partridges This year for Christmas Day, we are tying in traditional dishes with slight tweaks of international flavours or methods. For example I have been testing out a really good Scottish salmon sashimi dish, with mizuna cress and champagne mayo drops, with a hint of wasabi and lime. It’s just a bit different to the traditional smoked salmon. I will also be utilising turkey to the max this year, not only by having the breast cooked and wrapped in bacon as always (can’t get away from that!) but all our stocks, jus and gravies will be made from all our trimmings and bone. I’ll also feature a dark leg meat, cranberry and truffle terrine as a starter, showcasing different techniques, and different methods of using the whole bird. Desserts come down to massively traditional dishes – Christmas pudding with really strong brandy butter custard, white chocolate and dark chocolate spiked delice, boozy cherries and traditional cheeseboards. Just realised all my desserts are full of booze. Whoops! (makes it easier when I give them the bill!) On New Year’s Eve, we hold a gourmet dinner party with a singer who does blues – jazz with a hint of cheesy party classics. The menu is £115 per head for five courses and we’ll be serving some really special dishes. Merry Christmas! Bot t le Th e Bank When it comes to reds, though there’s always a place for lightweight Beaujolais and Alsacian Pinot Noirs, they should not be our focus for the colder months. Think Petite Syrah, Italian Anglianico, Douro table wine, spicy Vacqueyras from the Rhone, and why not select our crowd-pleasing Malbec from Cahors rather than Argentina? These reds will light up a room even if the cranked up heating hasn’t managed to yet. Man cannot live on red alone, and so the whites should be given a good level of focus here. It’s business as usual for zesty whites, which are high up people’s like-lists, but winter comfort dishes cry out for richer styles. Although more unfamiliar territory for many, the likes of Viognier from the South of France, Austrian Gruner Veltliner, Rhone blends Marsanne/Roussanne, Alsacian Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminers should get a look-in. The hordes of spring/summer light-to-bright rosés should graciously retire, although it is still a good idea to keep a small selection for year-round pink guzzlers. At the other end of the spectrum, winter is the time to bust out our favourite Tawnys and Tokajis; versatile with starters and desserts alike, and both taste cracking next to a crackling fire. RHA_C&C_Stir It Up Xmas ad_1.indd 2 13/08/2015 08:42 Joh n ‘B o y’ R a n f i e l d JB’S JOURNAL By television wine expert Rob Buckhaven Heavier Wines for Winter >> When putting together our wine list when the weather forecast resembles a Hollywood disaster movie, it’s almost easier to first rule out the wines not to include. Winter is not the cue to bust out an array of Aussie Shirazs or Californian Zinfandels but to start getting creative with our choices. NOV / DEC 2015 43


Stir it up magazine November December 2015
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