Notes from a Working Kitchen – March 2016
Hopefully we have seen the last of the winter’s deluges and can enjoy the warmth from the ever strengthening sun light. The soil is slowly warming up and we are just beginning to see buds on our fruit trees and bushes, hardy cutting back in February will hopefully be rewarded by strong crops later in the year. Our cue to start looking toward the summer months are the small shoots and leaves of our wild garlic poking through the leaf litter, not long now before we can start using it in the kitchen the first of the delicious spring greens on their way.
The last few bits of the game season are also about to be used now clearing space for our dwindling stocks of trout, the first of which have already been caught and are in the kitchen as I type. Mixed game sausages and game terrines are all done and should keep the game lovers happy for the next couple of weeks. Our plucking machine was very busy this year, I think we wore it out, it’s on the repair list before the next shooting season begins, however we still have a few pheasant breasts left to stuff and use on the specials door. The upcoming months will see some rabbit, muntjac, fallow and roe deer, a fair deal of pigeons smoked or otherwise as our game offering until the full season begins again at the end of the year.
As one season ends the next begins, when out exercising the dogs in the gorgeous Rutland countryside that surrounds us you can’t avoid the sounds of the lambing season and enjoy the antics of the lambs in their fields. Don’t forget that these innocent creatures aren’t used to dogs, so when walking amongst them keep your animals on the lead to avoid scaring them or causing them to come to some harm. We are enjoying some beautiful hogget at the moment the loins or cannons stripped right back, lean and tasty. We serve them up with some braised shoulder meat coated in panko breadcrumbs to serve as a contrast of taste and texture. The remaining piece of the best end we are stuffing with the minced trim and herbs from the garden, tying then rolling and roasting. This gives us a perfect portion for 2 to share with rich red wine gravy and seasonal vegetables. The hogget has a little more flavour than the new season spring lamb and is also somewhat easier on the pocket.
Jimmy’s Rutland Smokehouse – Our Air dried Launde mutton is also finally ready after 9 months of hanging and is an added treat to our Smokehouse Platter along with the wild boar coppa and salami which are both proving to be a real hit with lovers of charcuterie. We have been invited to enter some of our Smoke House produce with Delicious magazine for their Artisan Food Awards. We have decided on our ‘Black Pudding’ and the ‘Dry Aged Smoked Pancetta’ two of our most popular products. We look forward to seeing what the judges think of our hard work back of house.
This time last year we were just trialing Mike Berry’s Fynbury Rutland Cider, it is fair to say it has gone down a storm as hand pull and just as much so in the flavoured varieties in bottles. An extra special bottle and new to Rutland is his ‘Rutland Reserve’. This champagne style cider is a real star and was loved by all who tried it on our wild boar night, so much so that it’s about to become a staple on our wine list amongst the prosecco’s and champagnes. ‘Way to go’ Mike and all that from Rutland Apples.
The Countryside Alliance’s ‘Rural Oscars’ awards will be handed out in April and after nomination we were lucky enough to make it into the finals of the ‘Local Produce’ category. So Kate, I and Dad are off to the Houses of Parliament for a day to see how we’ve done. It’s a great achievement for the whole team here at The Kings Arms – Wing and one we are all very proud of. It’s also a big pat on the back for all the producers at grass roots level who work so hard to supply us with such fantastic raw ingredients. We can only thank our lucky stars for the bounty of the county we live in.
At the end of last year we spent some weeks totally renovating the bathrooms in the Old Bakehouse opposite the main entrance to bring them into the 21st Century. Shortly thereafter The Luxury Travel Guide told us we had been nominated as part of their global awards for 2016. We are very proud to say that out of 10,000 nominations we were crowned winners in the ‘Best Guesthouse’ category which especially for our fastidious and ever hard working housekeeper makes all the hard work worthwhile. The rooms keep us busy and in the mornings after our hearty breakfasts a steady stream of our homemade produce leaves with our guests. Sausages, smoked bacon, black pudding and even the eggs laid by our hens that very morning are very popular, but the quality of the local trout speaks volumes and sides of cold or hot smoked trout or our pate are equally in demand with visitors to The Kings Arms – Wing.
So with summer on its way and the weather improving for walkers, cyclists, sailors, fishermen, bumblers and all lovers of the countryside we look forward to the coming months and what the county has to offer.
Our Big News – Kate & I tied the knot in Stamford registry office before rushing of for a break after the New Year Festivities to Zermatt in the Swiss Alps. We have returned full of beans and energized and are now expecting our first child just in time for the August Bank Holiday, just to spice things up a little. As a big thank you for all your invaluable community support and in recognition of our looming 12th Birthday here at the Kings Arms we would like to share our good fortune by offering the following. For all card toting members of the Great Food Club we would love to extend our Discount offer to 10% off the total food bill of any of our menus or smokehouse produce purchased from Monday evenings through to Friday lunch inclusive (For parties of 4 or less). We look forward to seeing you all soon.