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|The Buxted Inn,
High St, Buxted,
Uckfield TN22 4LA,
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020 1234 5678
12 hour cooked ox cheek, braised in Guinness and blackberries, served with smoked mashed potato, honey roast parsnips and pickled shallots
||As the nights start drawing in and summer feels like a lifetime ago ox cheek becomes one of my favourite comfort meals this time of year.
The more a muscle works the more flavour ends up in the meat, with four stomachs to fill, cows never stop eating and therefore chewing with those cheeks. Whilst it may be one of the toughest it is certainly one of the tastiest cuts of meat!
It must be cooked slowly and for a long time, we cook ours for at least 12 hours, leave it in the oven on a low heat before you go to bed and it is ready for lunch time. It will just melt in your mouth with an explosion of flavours. I love to cook it in Guinness (but any strong flavoured alcohol will do), add some vegetables, veal stock and herbs throw in a handful of blackberries for sharpness and freshness. It is such a simple dish sure to wow the whole dinning table.
In the restaurant we serve it with smoked mashed potato, honey roasted parsnips and pickled shallots but it works with any potatoes and is great with polenta too!
Serve it with a glass of big bold red. Something from the Medoc (or any high tannin, oak aged Cab Sauv for that matter) would be ideal. The tannins will be broken down by the meat which will enhance the dark berry fruit and oaky characteristics of the wine.
Pan-fried pheasant breast, confit leg wrapped in Brussel tops served with celeriac puree, roasted paprika celeriac, crispy cabbage and fruit 'n' nut flapjack.’
|October sees the start of pheasant season and 20 million birds will be shot between October and February in England alone! Whilst when butchered it looks a lot like chicken it is much richer and gamier in taste and a far superior bird in my opinion.
Pheasant is a very lean meat so if overcooked can quickly become dry, to avoid this make sure you use plenty of butter when cooking. I love to roasted the bird whole but you can also butcher it down confit the leg and pan roast the breast like we do in the restaurant.
If you have shot your own brace be sure to hang the bird for 4 or 5 days, preferably with the feathers still on.
Pheasant is a rich meat and matches perfectly with mature pinot noir, look at Burgundy if you want to push the boat out but you can get great versions from New Zealand, Chile and even Bulgaria at a much more affordable price range. If you wanted to go white you need something full and rich. Chardonnay works great and again Burgundy is the go-to region for this.
|With a summer more usually seen on the beaches of the Mediterranean than England’s green and pleasant land were these the ideal conditions this fledging industry need to make it’s mark on the world wine stage?
Us English are used to complaining about the weather but this year our winemakers have got no complaints. Simon Robinson, Chairman of Wine GB went as far as saying ‘Growing conditions across the country have been ideal and this shows in both excellent quality and high yield’
In normal years English winemakers need to try and maximise ripeness by leaving the grapes on the vine for as long as they dare before the weather threatens the autumn rains or frosts. But in 2018, with temperatures consistently over 30 degrees, the sun was baking down on the grapes meaning vineyards started harvesting weeks before they usually would, some grapes destined for sparkling were even picked in August!
With the perfect weather and an industry that can now boast some exceptional wine makers signs are looking great this year. It will certainly be a bumper harvest, and I have every confidence that it will be one of exceptional quality too.
With mainland Europe suffering terrible droughts all over their vineyards the English wine community has never had a better chance to put it’s stamp on the international wine world. However even before Brexit it was hard enough to get the French to drink anything not French, so I fear it may be sometime yet until we people can enjoy an English wine in the restaurants of Paris.