The sharing of food has always been part of the human story. “To break bread together,” a phrase as old as the Bible, captures the power of a meal to forge relationships, bury anger, provoke laughter and is a way to count our blessings.
My husband, Andrew and I recently moved to Bishop Auckland, and as of 24 March were joined by Andrew’s brother, Tom Wright – who will be living with us during Covid-19. Throughout my working life, I have strived to share and celebrate the value of art, culture and heritage. Culture plays a vital role in bringing people and communities together. We can do the same through the joy of food and drink…
Tom has previously worked at Peace & Loaf, Jesmond and more recently, Michelin starred restaurants including The Raby Hunt and Ynyshir, Wales. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our table, and will walk you through the menu. This Easter weekend, we wanted to share our communal table.
Crucially, all of the key ingredients and drinks paired came from our much-valued local suppliers who we are keen to support. So the following food and drink pairings really are something to celebrate together. Here goes…
Stovall & Wright’s Easter Weekend Pairings >>
Starter: Cured Salmon Crumpets
215g plain flour
215g + 30g warm water
5g bicarbonate of soda
8g vegetable oil
900g salmon fillet (skin on)
300g coarse sea salt
1 bunch dill (chopped)
2 lemon (zest and juice)
1 orange (zest and juice)
10g ground white pepper
10g ground coriander
Cured salmon is a Scandinavian staple, one of Sophia’s favourite style of salmon and a fantastic idea for dinner parties as all the preparation is completed the day before.
In order to cure your salmon, simply combine all of the ingredients and surround the salmon completely in the sugar and salt mixture in a snug fitting bowl, leaving no skin or flesh exposed. After 36 hours, your fish should be cured and ready to go (correctly cured fish feels stiff, and the surface of the flesh will appear quite pale). Give the fish a good wash off to remove any excess salt mixture, and its ready to serve.
For your crumpets, simply combine all of the ingredients apart from the sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda, and leave the mixture somewhere warm to ferment. You can leave your crumpet mixture at this stage for anywhere between 2 – 24 hours, though I tend to find the flavour to be best after around 8 hours.
Just before cooking your crumpets, add the salt and sugar, and gradually whisk in a little water until you achieve a very thick batter consistency. Finally, add the bicarbonate of soda. To cook the crumpets, lightly oil and pre heat a non-stick pan on medium to high heat, and pour a thin layer of the batter mixture into the pan. Cook your crumpet mixture without moving it at all until lots of tiny holes appear and stay on the top of the crumpet, at which point it should be finished for a few seconds under the grill.
We served the crumpets with crème fraiche, lemon zest and wild garlic oil, but there all sorts of flavour combinations that will work just as well with the dish. You can also use the curing technique with trout, however the curing time will need to be reduced by roughly 12 hours.
Main: Dry Aged Cote de Boeuf with Triple Cooked Chips & Béarnaise Sauce
1kg bone in cote de boeuf
1kg good quality potatoes
2kg beef fat/vegetable oil
250g clarified butter
2 egg yolks
½ tsp fresh parsley
½ tsp fresh tarragon
15g white wine vinegar
The first thing you’ll need think about preparing for your main are your chips. Whilst it isn’t difficult to make good chips, great chips are truly a labour of love, and though it can seem a little daunting embarking on a fairly complex and time consuming recipe for the humble chip, I guarantee that it will be worth the effort.
After peeling and cutting your potatoes, simmer them in 1 litre of water seasoned with 32g of salt. You want to cook your chips for at least 20 minutes until they are very soft, and just about able to hold their shape. Once they are cooked, carefully drain off your chips and allow them to cool before transferring them to a tray and freezing them for at least two hours.
Once your chips have had two hours or more in the freezer, you will need to blanch them. In this recipe I have used rendered beef fat, however a neutral oil like vegetable or sunflower oil will also provide good results. Using a deep fat fryer or alternatively a deep oven tray in a pre-heated oven, cook your chips for around five minutes at 130 degrees until they are a very light golden colour. After you’ve carefully drained the chips and allowed to cool completely, they are ready for one final fry at 180 degrees.
Now that your chips are ready to go, we can think about the steak. For a big cut of meat like cote de boeuf its essential to season early with a good amount of salt, and to allow your steak to come up to room temperature – this will take at least 6 hours, so allow plenty of time. I’ve used a 1kg 40 day aged cote de boeuf from the excellent William Peat butchers of Barnard Castle, who specialise in dry ageing locally sourced beef.
Reverse searing is my preferred technique. It works by cooking your steak very slowly in a 100 degree oven until desired level of cooking is reached and then finishing in a very hot pan for a few seconds to finish. If you have access to a probe, 56 degrees is perfect medium rare. If not, a 1kg cote de boeuf will take roughly an hour and 30 minutes at 100 degrees celsius.
Whilst your steak is cooking, you will have time to make your béarnaise sauce. Warm two egg yolks over a bain marie, whisking constantly and being careful not to scramble them. Next begin to slowly add warm clarified butter to the eggs, whilst whisking. When you have incorporated all of the butter, season it with a little white wine vinegar, a generous pinch of salt, and some finely chopped tarragon and parsley.
By now your steak should be ready to finish. Add a good dash of neutral oil or beef fat to a wide frying pan, and heat it until the oil is smoking hot. Being very careful of the hot oil, caramelise your steak on every surface over, taking care to do so as quickly and as evenly as possible. Finally, allow your steak ten minutes of resting time whilst you finish the chips you prepared earlier, and dinner is served.
Dessert: Bourbon Baba with No Churn Ice Cream
230g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
250g demerara sugar
No Churn Ice Cream
600g double cream
250g condensed milk
Rum baba is a classic French desert. It is essentially a yeasted brioche bun soaked in a boozy rum syrup. For this version, I’ve used bourbon rather than rum, and paired it with a very simple ice cream that can be made in a just few minutes.
For the bun itself, combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. After this, gradually begin to incorporate your butter, whilst constantly stirring, over the course of about ten minutes. Your bread will then need to prove somewhere warm for around about two hours, or until it has doubled in size. To bake the bases, pre heat an oven to 180 degrees. Whilst the oven is warming, line six ramekins lightly with butter – If you don’t have ramekins, I’ve found that Yorkshire pudding tins work just as well. Divide the dough into six 30 gram balls, before pushing each ball down into the bottom of each ramekin. Allow to prove for a further 30 minutes, before finally cooking for 25 minutes.
Once you have removed your buns from the oven, check they have not stuck to the moulds, then allow them to cool for at least 30 minutes. During this time, make your bourbon syrup by combining the sugar, bourbon and water, and warming until all the sugar has dissolved. Make a small hole in the top of each baba, and divide the syrup evenly between them, until they are completely saturated. It’s important that the cakes stay in their moulds through this process until serving, or else they will not take on enough syrup.
To make your no churn ice cream, simply combine the condensed milk and double cream, and whip until stiff peaks form, at which point transfer it to the freezer.
Tom’s Beer Pairing
Starter: Canopy – Champion Kolsch
With fish I always prefer more delicate styles which will complement the subtle, fresh favours without overpowering them. Kolsch is a beer originally from Cologne, its combination of top fermenting ale yeast in the brewing process combined with a cold ageing or “lagering” process results in a crisp, clean beer with subtle spicy hop character and delicate golden malt.
Main: Wild Beer and Side Project – Rosa Rouge
This collaboration between the UK’s wild beer and US based legends side project is a big, robust sour beer. Its robust, and mildly ascetic acidity cuts through the richness of the dish perfectly, whilst the addition of rose petal and pomegranate result in a lingering and complex finish.
Dessert: Burning Sky and Three Floyds – Out of the Void
Barley wine is a style that has been regaining popularity over the last few years, and this one is an absolute banger. Aged in Sauternes barrels on vanilla, this beer is robust enough to stand up to the big flavours of this desert, whilst the subtle bretnomyces yeast character lends a little much needed acidity on the finish.
Sophia’s Wine Paring
Starter: Pouilly Fume, Domaine Lebrun, 2018
I am a fan of French wines and for salmon we went for something crisp with high acidity and citrus/green fruits. Pouilly Fume by Domaine Lebrun 2018 is French Loire Sauvignon Blanc at its finest. The oily nature of the salmon needs a high acidity white wine the herb marinade/crust will need some sharpness and vegetal flavours to compliment. If I could not find an appropriate white wine, a dry sparkling wine would also be ideal. This Good Friday sees a national campaign celebrating English wine, so in support of our national producers a Nyetimber would definitely be a #luxe companion to this cured dish.
Main: Cabernet Sauvignon, Avalon, Lodi, California, 2017
Where steak is concerned – go big or go home. Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi, California delivers a powerful partner to this course with juicy cassis berries with secondary flavours of sweet vanilla as it is aged in both American and French Oak alongside liquorice root, tobacco & spice. Great with a steak. This has instantly become a favourite and will be ordering some more soon.
Dessert: My Little Sweet, Late Harvest, Rola, Douro, Portugal, 2016
Something as delicate as Rum Baba calls for something that will both enable the flavours of the dish not to be overshadowed and support the sweetness of the dish. My Little Sweet Rola has been aged for 6 months in oak barrels and brings aromas of dried apricot, peach, honey and subtle citrus zest, bread and butter. Its full-bodied palate is lively and refreshing, showing lots of stone fruit and a light, mellow finish. Equally I would pair this with soft cheese, pates and other desserts such as creme brûlée or Eton Mess. You could even add a little bit to a glass of sparkling brut if you are not a fan of sweet wines, creating your own sparkling cocktail.
Our Local Lockdown Suppliers
WINE | Frivolity Bottle Shop, Darlington
All of these wines can be ordered from David Tindale of Frivolity Bottle Shop, based in Darlington since July 2019 following 15 years+ in the wine trade. David grew up in Cockerton and so it felt fitting to return here to start his first bricks and mortar wine merchants. As well as every day drinking and fine wine he also sells beers and from time to time, intriguing spirits. David supplies the On-Trade from a whole sale import business David of Durham Limited and have several local bars and restaurants on his books and (would normally outside lockdown) hold monthly events (Sophia can happily recommend) at the shop too in the form of a Craft beer Tap Room and a Tutored Wine tasting.
BEER | Caps Off, Bishop Auckland
Based in Bishop Auckland, Caps Off is a craft beer, cider and spirits shop that specialises in local products made in the heart of the industrial North East. Caps Off is also a brewery producing their own beer. Their aim? To bring you the finest selection of craft beer, cider and spirits, and support the local community and the craftsmen and women who supply the best craft produce the North East has to offer. The team at Caps Off were some of the first to offer home delivery, and our fastest to date was 15 minutes! Delighted we are able to support our local brewery during lockdown.
BUTCHER | William Peat, Barnard Castle
A relatively recent discovery, but excellent and extremely helpful service from the team in Barnard Castle and thankfully deliver to Bishop Auckland, with swift to response rates on Facebook messenger! Well known to be Teesdale’s oldest butchers; the Peat family were selling the finest local meat as long ago as the late 19th Century. Castle Bank Butchers bought William Peat from Roger Peat in 1993 before moving the business to more suitable premises closer to the town’s historic market place a few years later. The butchers shop serves the other branches of Castle Bank Butchers and supplies some of the region’s best restaurants