As the weather turns a bit cooler during the autumn months, as I said in my last blog, the menu changes to suit the season. The later months of the year are certainly my favourite times of the year. Lots of root vegetable are becoming available and they are such diverse vegetable to be able to use. The dreaded Brussel sprout makes its annual appearance but there is so much more you can do with it rather than just boil it. We had a function last year for Aldeburgh Business Association and one of the items on their menu was guinea fowl with pan-fried shredded sprouts with smoked bacon and chestnuts. The secret ingredient in this dish is of course the bacon. Smoked bacon can make the worst things taste good. Any way that was just a quick example of something different to do with them. But root vegetable are my favourite of all as they just have so many different uses. Making pies is something that I like to do too. Making pastry is something that I’m not tremendously good at though I know enough about to get by and not have to search out a recipe every time I want to make it. Working with pastry is something I really enjoy to do if there is nothing else in the kitchen that needs my attention. The radio goes off and I’m in my own little world of rolling pins and flour. The end result isn’t to bad I don’t think.. you judge for yourselves above.
As summer draws to an end I like to get all my Christmas puds and mince meat made by the end of September. This way it allows time for chefs to take holidays and there is another school holiday packed in between the end of summer and the Christmas holiday. Also it means no last minute rushing at the end of November. The Christmas puds I make go on sale in our village shop as well as being used in the restaurant for Christmas functions. It seems that over the years my Christmas puds have gotten them selves a bit of a reputation with people coming from the other side of London for them and Carole was even taking mail orders for them this year. When making the puddings each year I like to use a different ale every time just to keep them different from the previous year. This year it was Woodfordes Wherry that I used. It is an ale that is very popular in the bar and goes down very well. With the feed back I’ve had it seems that the puddings have gone down very well this past year. I am responsible for the whole precess of making the raw product to having it packaged and on the shelf in the shop to sell. I know it isn’t very fancy and very Christmassy but using plain brown parcel paper to package the puddings is very popular with the customers. Although very time consuming to wrap them all I think the end product looks very good. The label is also down to me and again nothing fancy but it gets across what it’s selling. I am hoping for an upgrade on the label printer this year…. fingers crossed on that one. As you can see in the picture below we sell our own chutney in the shop to and it is bought by lots of people wanting to take it home as gifts. You may have read in previous blogs that I do a range of ready meals that are available from the freezer in the shop. Mince pies is something else that we make alot of every year too. whilst I make the mince meat it is the other chefs that make the pastry and put them together. But all in all we probably get through nearly a thousand mince pies every year, whether it be for Christmas parties, functions, coffee mornings or just selling on the bar we certainly get through them.