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sweet pot

Recipe: Stuffed Sweet Potato Light Lunch

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In our video, we did a half portion. Here’s the recipe to feed yourself and 3 friends.

Prep Time: 35 Minutes

Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients
4 Sweet Potatoes (Pricked with a fork) Each approx. 275g
6 Large Sausages (Skins Removed)
2 Leeks (Thinly Sliced)
200g Cream Cheese
4 Eggs (Hard Boiled)
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Vine Tomatoes
100g Mixed Leaf Salad

Method

Preheat the oven to 220c (450F, gas mark 7)

Microwave the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes, turning half way through. Leave to cool, then cut in half lengthways, scoop out the middle of the potato flesh into a bowl, keeping the skins intact.

Skin the sausages and rip them into small pieces, add to frying pan and cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, until they’re golden and cooked through. Remove from the pan, add sliced leeks and cook until tender.

Put leeks and sausages into the bowl with the sweet potato flesh and ¾ of the cream cheese (keep ¼ to top potatoes when cooked). Mix it all together and then spoon mixture back into the sweet potato skins.

Place on baking sheet and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Once baked arrange on plate with 1/4s of hardboiled egg, a spoon of cream cheese on top, garnish with mixed leaves and tomato wedges, season with black pepper & sea salt.

Yum!

vietamese squid

Recipe: Vietnamese stuffed squid and green papaya salad

By 3 | by Chris Ince, Recipes | No Comments

Background

The spring festival or Chinese New Year falls on January 28th this year. It’s always been a good opportunity for caterers to put on a theme day, dress the unit up a bit and put on some great food that is perhaps rarely cooked at other times in the year. While this is always a great celebration and always popular with customers, those looking to change things up a little bit could do far worse than looking south and putting on a second theme day featuring the fascinating and beautiful cuisine of Vietnam.

Vietnamese cooking has several immediate benefits to the contract caterer. It’s light, full of flavour, healthy and simple to make. It also has the added benefit of being relatively un-explored in the contract world.
Vietnamese cooking has evolved over thousands of years. In addition to what was already happening inside its many regions, the influence of thousands of years of Chinese rule has can clearly be seen; chopsticks are widely used and stir frying is a frequently used technique. French colonial rule brought with it not only greater variety of ingredients but also some refinement in technique. Added to this are influences from Cambodia and the spices of India and you have a cuisine that is among the most sophisticated and delicate in the world.

The featured dish is a stuffed squid. It’s very quick to cook and full of great flavour and texture, with the noodles and finely chopped mushrooms holding the filling together. The green papaya salad is borrowed from Thai cookery, but it stands up to the bolder flavours of the dressing and is very refreshing when eaten as an accompaniment.

There isn’t a sauce or dressing with this dish but if you’d like one then some sweet chilli, water and a pinch of 5 spice once the squid has been cooked makes a good rudimentary pan sauce. Some sticky rice would be the best accompaniment.

Stuffed squid
10 large squid tubes (or more smaller ones) – cleaned dried and tentacles removed
500g minced pork
2 finely diced shallots
6 spring onions
Fish sauce, soy sauce
200g finely chopped mushrooms
300g glass noodles
1 finely chopped red chilli
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
Veg oil

Green papaya salad
600g green papaya (very finely shredded)
Thai basil
Fish sauce
Mint
Lime juice
Chopped red chilli
Handful cut cherry tomatoes
Sugar
Ginger
Garlic

Method

Sweat the shallots, garlic and chilli. Turn up the pan and brown the pork mince.

When the meat is cooked add the glass noodles, mushrooms, herbs, spring onion and seasonings to taste. Leave to cool.

Stuff the squid about ¾ full and secure the end with a cocktail stick. Poke a hole in one end so that the tubes don’t expand and burst.

Heat some veg oil and brown the squid all over. Cover with a lid and cook for a couple of minutes until cooked through. De-glaze, if you like, with some sweet chilli sauce, water and a pinch of 5 spice to drizzle over. Leave to rest before slicing.

For the dressing, put everything except the papaya, tomatoes and herbs into a bowl and pummel with the end of a rolling pin. When the balance of the dressing is about right, add the herbs.

When ready to serve, lightly dress the papaya and scatter in the tomatoes. Enjoy!

christmas-pudding-flames

An Angel Hill Xmas: The Pud

By 29 | by Chris Ince, Recipes | No Comments

Ah, the Christmas Pud. Usually comes with the added danger of someone attempting to light it on fire (we do not endorse such behaviour). What better way to finish off a gargantuan meal than to tuck into a heavy pudding? Get it down you!

Christmas Pudding

Ingredients
150g Sultanas
150g Currants
150g Raisins
50g Mixed peel
50g Vegetable suet
1 Grated apple
150g Self raising flour
2tsp Mixed spice
100g Dark brown sugar
100g Minced dates
150g Fresh white breadcrumbs
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
3 Oranges, zested and juiced
3 Whole eggs
50ml Guinness
50ml Brandy
A 1.5L pudding base

Thoroughly mix all ingredients together then fill the greased pudding basin up to an inch from the rim, place a greased circle of parchment on top of the mix, then make sure the lid is on tightly and steam for 5 hours.

Christmas day
Put an upturned saucer in a deep saucepan, sit the pudding basin on top of the saucer and then fill the pan half full with boiling water. Cook for 1 hour. Serve and enjoy!

pexels-photo

An Angel Hill Xmas: Spiced Sides

By 29 | by Chris Ince, Recipes | No Comments

The name of the game today is festive spice, what would Christmas be without loads of cinnamon and cloves? We shudder to think.

So there’s a warming Christmas drink, a spiced chutney and a delicious red cabbage dish to try (the cabbage goes fantastically well with roast duck, if you ask me). Enjoy!

Winter Warmer Drink

Ingredients

8 cinnamon sticks
8 bay leaves
4 star anise
20 cardamom pods
20 cloves
1lt cranberry juice
1lt orange juice
800g sugar
5 fresh oranges
3 fresh lemons

Method

Zest the oranges and lemons, slice and place into a bowl. Mix all the other ingredients together and leave to infuse.

Christmas day

Place the winter warmer mixture into a pan and dilute with either water or red wine (or both) to taste. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat, serve warm.

Spiced cranberry chutney

Ingredients

1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
225g cranberries
1tbsp freshly grated root ginger
½ red onion
175g Demerara sugar
1 Grated zest and juice of an orange
200ml red wine vinegar

Method

Place all the ingredients into a pan and bring up to simmering point and stir well. Continue simmering for about 45 minutes or until you can draw a wooden spoon across the surface and leave a trail that doesn’t fill up with the vinegar. Don’t forget, it will thicken as it cools, so don’t let it get too thick. Pour into a sterilised container and seal.

Red cabbage with apples and sultanas

red-cabbage-1224132_1280

Method

35g unsalted butter
2no onions finely chopped
50g sultanas
2 cloves of garlic
1 red cabbage shredded
1tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4tsp ground cinnamon
1/4tsp ground cloves
3tbsp dark brown sugar
3tbsp cider vinegar
2 bramley apples cored and cut into chunks
1 oranges zested and juiced

23rd December

Preheat the oven to 150c, melt the butter in a large oven dish and cook the onion and sultanas for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions have started to colour. Add the remaining ingredients, except the apples and orange zest, cover with a tight fitting lid. Place the oven dish into the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours stirring at half hour intervals. Remove from the oven, stir in the orange zest and the apples, then cook for a further 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

Christmas day

Reheat in a sauce pan for 15 minutes season and serve.

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An Angel Hill Xmas: The Fowl

By 29 | Blogs, by Chris Ince, Recipes | No Comments

Christmas Fowl

Bronze turkey has the best flavour. Choose a plump-looking bird and if you would like leftovers, allow 350g-450g per person for birds up to 4.5kg and 200g-350g for birds over 4.5kg.

Goose makes a rich-flavoured alternative to turkey. Choose a plump breasted bird. If stuffed, a 5-5.5kg goose will serve eight people. When roasting, drain off the excess fat at regular intervals and save for scrumptious roast potatoes cooked with rosemary and whole garlic cloves. Goose tastes wonderful when partnered with apple, prunes, sausagemeat or spiced red cabbage.

Grey-legged English partridge has a lovely delicate flavour. Allow one bird per person and roast, basting with lemony butter. Serve with game chips and watercress.

Pheasant is ideal for one or two people – roast two birds if you would like leftovers. Wipe clean before roasting, encase in a streaky bacon jacket and baste with butter. It is delicious eaten with bread sauce or fried breadcrumbs, clear gravy, apple and rowanberry, or redcurrant jelly.

Foolproof turkey

Ingredients

1 turkey (defrosted, if frozen)
1 lemon, cut into quarters
A large roasting pan of fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and sage
40g unsalted butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5.
Wipe the turkey inside and out with kitchen roll, removing the giblets if it has them. Put the lemon and herbs inside the bird, weigh it, and calculate the cooking time (see below). Put the turkey in a sturdy roasting pan, brush with the butter and season well. Loosely cover with foil refrigerate.

Christmas day

Cook for the calculated time, basting now and then to prevent drying. Thirty minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil so the bird can brown.

At the end of the cooking time, check if the bird is cooked and insert a skewer into the thickest part of the bird. If the juices run clear, the bird is cooked. If there is any pink in the juices, return the turkey to the oven for 15-20 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a hot serving plate and leave to stand for 15-30 minutes, covered with foil, before carving.

Sizes and Times

To calculate cooking time, allow 45 minutes per kg. The following is a good guide to the size of bird you’ll need:

2-2.8kg 5 servings
3-3.8kg 6 servings
4-4.8kg 8 servings
4.6-5.8kg 12 servings
6-6.8kg 14 servings
7-7.8kg 20 servings

It is very important to get your timings right; too long and you’ll end up with dry inedible turkey, too short and you’ll be giving the gift of food poisoning. But don’t worry, stick to the guide and you’ll be fine!

If you buy a frozen turkey, defrost it completely in a cool room, or the fridge. It is completely defrosted when the cavity is free of ice crystals. The following is a guide to minimum defrosting times in a cool room. Double the time for defrosting in the fridge.

2-4kg 20 hours
4-5kg 22-24hours
5-7kg 24-28hours
8-9kg 40-48hours

Turkey Tips
• Order your turkey as early as possible
• Make sure the turkey will fit in your oven before ordering it. A turkey of up to 7kg will generally fit into a standard main oven.
• If the turkey comes with giblets, use them to make stock for the gravy.
• If your fridge is too small to fit the turkey in, put it into a cardboard box with a couple of ice packs and keep in a cool, safe place such as a garage or shed.
• If you’re using a large bird, make sure the legs are not trussed too tightly or the cooking may take longer.
• Any leftover turkey should be refrigerated and eaten within 2 days. If you’re using it in a cooked dish, such as a curry, make sure it is thoroughly reheated, until piping hot.

matt-vernon3

Matt Vernon: What got me into cooking

By 1 | Blogs, by Matt Vernon, Recipes | No Comments

What got me into cooking

I decided to do A-levels when I finished school – maths and physics – very boring stuff, as I’ve always been a very passionate and creative person. After 2 years of skipping class to do more exciting things, I found myself at 18 not knowing what I wanted to do for a career. I had always had a bit flair for cooking, which I’d done at GCSE level (and got top marks!), but was told by teachers is wasn’t a good career choice (what do they know?!).

So after taking a gap year travelling and doing odd jobs, I heard an advert for Birmingham College of Food on the radio and remember thinking that I should check it out. I went to the open day and enrolled myself, they had some really welcoming chef lecturers and I felt at home straight away. They asked me what I wanted to be and told me that I had the A-levels to do a degree course in hotel management. I told them I wanted to be a chef and they put me on the 2 year NVQ course – in hindsight, it wasn’t such a bad choice after all!

I spent 2 of the best years of my life at the college, learning from the very best Michelin-starred chefs and I felt that cheffing is exactly what I was meant to be. I completed the NVQ course and a chef lecturer told me of a potential job at Raymond Blanc’s restaurant. I couldn’t wait to start work in a professional kitchen, so I headed down there, did a trial and got my first chef’s job.

What got me to where I am now with Servest

I first came into contact with Servest whilst working at a Football Club in the directors’ kitchen. A Servest catering manager saw that I was a talented, passionate chef and gave me the opportunity to work at Worcester Bosch as the hospitality chef. I spent my time there implementing a lot of new ideas and concepts that I had learnt along the way, from working in high volume al a carte restaurants, 5 star hotels and gastro pubs. Whilst working at Worcester Bosch I met Chris Ince, our Chef Director, we clicked instantly and so I got involved with some of the projects he was working on. As the company grew larger there was a need for another development chef on the team, which I was offered by Chris and only too happy to accept. I have been working under Chris for almost a year now, this is a perfect role me as it allows me to be at the forefront of food development and work with many other chefs in all of our units and implement new concepts across the board – so exciting.

Hobbies

I am a very keen golfer and like to play almost every week, even in our harsh winter conditions, and summer ones too! I love travelling the globe and going on holiday to exotic locations (when I get time off!), one of my favourite things to see and do is experience the food in other countries, after a recent trip to South Africa I discovered a whole new range of ingredients, dishes and a culture built around food, especially their fantastic wines and vineyards.

What I’ll be doing in these blogs is sharing some of my expertise with you by writing a topical blog and recipe that you can try at home. Give them a shot, I’m sure you won’t leave hungry!

Plum Tarte Tatin with Honeycomb Ice Cream (serves 8)

A recipe very close to my heart, using the best in season British plums, this dessert combines hot spiced plums with a cold, easy to make, homemade ice cream

For the honeycomb

For the ice cream

  • 200ml double cream, whipped until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed
  • 1 tbsp clear honey

For the tarte tatin

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 25g butter
  • flour, for dusting
  • 375g ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 20 plums, stone removed and cut into halves
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 star anis
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. For the honeycomb, place the sugar, honey, glucose and water into a heavy-based pan, insert a sugar thermometer and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking sheet. When the mixture reaches 160C, which is a light caramel, remove from the heat.
  2. Add the bicarbonate of soda and stir in quickly, then immediately pour the mixture onto the greased baking sheet – it will start to bubble up straightaway. Leave to cool.
  3. When the honeycomb has cooled completely, break it up into small pieces (don’t worry – you’ll have plenty leftover to eat!)
  4. For the ice cream, place the whipped cream into a large bowl and fold in the honey and about two large handfuls of the broken honeycomb.
  5. Pour the mixture into a container and place into the freezer to set for about 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  7. For the tarte tatin, place the sugar into an ovenproof pan (approx 20cm) and heat gently without stirring until it turns golden brown. Remove from the heat, add the butter and stir in gently.
  8. Place the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and cut out a circle slightly larger than the pan.
  9. Place the plums flesh-side down into the pan with the caramel and add the cinnamon, star anis and vanilla. Cover the plums and caramel mixture with the pastry and tuck the edges down the side of the pan.
  10. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown.
  11. Remove the pan from the oven and leave to rest for a minute before turning it out. To do this, place a plate on top of the pan and invert so that the tart slips out, pastry to the base, plums on top.
  12. Serve the tarte tatin warm with a scoop of the honeycomb and ice cream
  13. Enjoy with a glass of dry white Muscat!
chris-ince

Recipe: Maryland style crab cakes

By 3 | Blogs, by Chris Ince, Recipes | No Comments

Maryland style crab cakes

It’s in the nature of cooks that while we’re using the best products of the season, we’re also looking ahead to what we can cook with next month, and the month after that, and possibly the month after that. From a personal perspective, May is the month that I anticipate most for one reason alone – we can start eating British crab again, something that continues right throughout the summer.

Crab should be avoided during the winter months as it is the breeding season. However, during the summer months, the meat is sweet and delicious, not to mention extremely versatile.

I know that most kitchens are hard pressed to make their margins and that Cornish brown crab might not be the first thing the chef thinks of when planning meals to send out at £3 a plate. But, if there was ever a product that still has a perception of luxury and that could feature as a tariff-busting, top line driving seasonal special, then perhaps crab is it.

Opinions vary on the best way to cook a crab. While the creature should be alive when you buy it, I believe it should be dead before it enters the pot. This means locating the small hole under the triangular flap on the underside of the crab and giving a screwdriver a sharp tap until it reaches the shell on the other side, then move it from side to side. Boil the crab in plenty of salted water for 15mins (for one that weighs up to 1kg). Rinse the crab off in cold water and leave to cool before going to work on extracting the meat.

The featured recipe is for Maryland crab cakes, a stunning delicacy. It’s really nothing more than white meat, loosely bound with a little egg and seasoned with English mustard powder, Worcester sauce and chopped parsley. Its most natural home in the contract environment might well be as a hot bite on a canapé menu, but consider it as part of a Friday fish offer on the mains counter. If served with a lightly toasted bun and a little dressed watercress, this would make the most delicious lunch.

Move over, the omnipresent ‘posh’ fish finger sandwich.

The brown meat also makes a brilliant lunch if spread on a thick slice of sourdough toast and served with a tomato salad.

You could of course buy packs of picked crab meat but the danger here is that the texture will be lost. What we are looking for is large nuggets of juicy sweet crab, barely held together. Not small shards of pasteurised meat bound up with too much filler to taste of anything. Best to talk to your fish supplier and see what they suggest.

Serves 10

  • 80g cream crackers
  • 800g white crab meat
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 4tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2tbsp English mustard powder
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Put the crackers into a blender and blitz to a fine crumb. Add this to the picked crab meat and leave to absorb the moisture for an hour. Beat together the eggs, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce and mayonnaise. Pour enough into the crab meat for it to bind together then add the seasonings, parsley and a little lemon juice. Fry in some foaming butter. Enjoy!