Take three local chefs…

These recipes have been supplied by our good friend Tracy Carroll from www.localfoodbritain.co.uk which showcases the very best local food, drinks, and places to eat locally.

Wilted Watercress & Local Squid Sauté
The Elsted Inn, Lisa and Malcolm King’s jewel of a country pub, is a favourite with walkers and locals alike because of its setting at the heart of the South Downs near Midhurst, its fresh, seasonal and local menu and its selection of the UK’s best ales. Malcolm will even drive out to pick up weary hikers by arrangement and return them to the Elsted Inn for a good feed and a few beers – and the renovated bedrooms are the perfect place to rest the night.

Easy to prepare, fresh and zingy, chef Lisa’s summery salad recipe combines the sweetness of fresh watercress and sautéed squid with the brininess of fried capers for a delicious lunch or starter.

Ingredients:
250g fresh squid, cleaned and sliced, tentacles halved
2 tbsps capers, drained
1½ tbsps olive oil
1 small clove fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp sundried tomatoes or oven-dried tomatoes (see additional recipe), sliced into thin strips
Pinch red chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ a roasted bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
¼ tsp lemon zest
2½ tbsps lemon juice
35g fresh watercress
Pinch Cornish sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Serves 4

Method:
1. Cut the squid tubes into thin rings, cut the tentacles in half, or quarter if they are large, and set aside.
2. Pour the olive oil into a sauté pan, add the capers and fry until the capers pop open and ‘flower’.
3. Add the garlic, sundried or oven dried tomatoes, chilli flakes and parsley to the pan, toss briefly.
4. Add the squid and toss to combine evenly – the squid will not need more than a few minutes to cook.
5. Once all the ingredients are evenly combined in the pan, add the lemon juice and zest and toss again.
6. Add the watercress and toss again until the watercress just begins to wilt.
7. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

For the oven dried tomatoes:
1. Halve the sweetest cherry tomatoes you can find, season with sea salt and black pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
2. Bake in the oven at 100C for approximately 4-6 hours or until they have dried out.

Corn-fed breast of chicken with charred baby vegetables, white onion purée and thyme jus
Talented chef Joe Wright has been heading up the kitchen brigade at The Dog and Pheasant at Brook near Godalming for the past three years, and also takes care of the food for the pub’s busy outside catering operation. A fervent supporter of local food, Joe sources many ingredients from nearby producers and is not averse to heading out for a spot of foraging.

Joe chose this recipe as it is pretty straightforward to rustle up for a dinner party while incorporating a few ‘cheffy’ elements. The flavours are terrific and it works really well – so get set to impress.

Ingredients:

For the onion purée:
2 onions, diced
Knob of butter
240ml milk
1 bay leaf
Seasoning, to taste

For the chicken:
4 corn-fed chicken breasts, on the bone, skin on
350ml hot chicken stock, preferably home-made
175ml hot beef or veal stock, preferably home-made
A selection of baby vegetables, washed – eg carrots, courgettes, turnips, leeks and new potatoes
Splash of oil
Knob of butter

For the jus:
25g diced shallots
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 sprig of thyme
Splash of oil
60ml dry white wine

Serves 4

Method:

For the onion purée:
1. Place the ingredients in a pan, bring to the boil then immediately turn down the heat. Simmer gently until the onions are soft.
2. Season with salt and white pepper, remove the bay leaf then blend until smooth before passing through a sieve. Set aside.

For the jus (make this after poaching the chicken – see below):
1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan, add the oil then sauté the shallots and garlic until softened. Add the thyme and wine then let it bubble until the liquid has reduced to about half, before adding the stock that you cooked the chicken in.
2. Leave it all bubbling away until it is reduced by half and you are left with a thin gravy.

For the chicken:
1. To save time later, pre-cook the vegetables and potatoes in salted water until just tender, then refresh in cold water and set aside.
2. Heat the oven to 190C (fan) and place a large, heavy bottomed and ovenproof frying pan or roasting tin in it to heat up.
3. Meanwhile, put the chicken in a pan with the hot stock, bring to simmer and poach for 2 minutes. Using tongs, remove the chicken and set aside while you use the stock to make the jus – then you can leave it reducing while you get on with the chicken.
4. Remove the pan or tin from the oven, add a small amount of oil to coat it and prevent sticking (unless non-stick), then place the chicken in the centre, skin side down, before returning to the oven. At this point, warm four plates.
5. After 5 minutes, scatter the vegetables/potatoes around the chicken. Return to the oven for another 4 or 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove and glaze the vegetables and chicken with the butter, so they look nice and shiny.
6. To serve, divide the vegetables between the plates, place a chicken breast on top, drizzle the purée around it and spoon over the jus.

Roasted Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Vanilla Crème Fraîche
Elizabeth Treliving, owner of Home Cooking by Elizabeth, has been working as a caterer for almost 30 years so she knows a thing or two about what makes a great dish. She devised this brilliantly simple recipe at the height of the pick-your-own season at Garsons Farm, Esher, where they grow the best strawberries she’s ever tasted, and she describes it as a ‘timeless recipe for even a reluctant cook’.

The combination of sweet, tangy balsamic vinegar with juicy strawberries, delicately vanilla-scented crème fraîche and crisp shortbread is a twist on that British summer favourite, strawberries and cream.

Ingredients:
450g strawberries
2 tsps icing sugar
Black pepper, to taste
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 small tub crème fraîche
2-3 drops vanilla essence
Shortbread (shop-bought or home-made)

Serves 4

Method:
1. Hull the strawberries and wipe off any dirt.
2. Place the strawberries in a roasting tin and sprinkle with the icing sugar, freshly ground black pepper and the balsamic vinegar.
3. Bake in a moderate pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.
4. Mix a few drops of vanilla essence into the crème fraîche and serve with the warm strawberries and shortbread.

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