And for a special Easter desert, James McQuade, Head Chef at The Ellersly House Hotel, has devised the Easter Egg Creme Brulee.
Braised Shin of Organic Aberdeen Angus Beef , 4 portions
800g shin of organic Aberdeen Angus beef, diced into inch cubes
2 carrots – local organic – peeled and roughly diced
2 onions – local organic – peeled and roughly diced
2 sticks of celery – local organic – peeled and roughly diced
I bunch of thyme
1 tbsp flour
1 bay leaf
1.5l good beef stock
50ml rapeseed oil
Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper
In a thick-bottomed casserole dish, heat the rapeseed oil. Dust the beef with flour and fry until golden. Set to one side.
In the same dish, fry the vegetables until golden, then add the thyme, bay leaf and beef stock. Bring to the boil stirring occasionally. Then return the beef to the dish and season with salt and pepper.
Cover the dish with a lid and place in a moderately hot oven for 2-3 hours and serve with mash, doughballs or under a suet crust.
Frittata of Organic Eggs, Herbs and Greens, serves 4
4 large organic eggs
Handful of roughly-chopped flat leaf parsley, chives and tarragon
Handful of green shoots/leaves e.g. sprout tops, spinach, radish tops
200g cooked home-grown potatoes – pink fir apple are good
A few capers
1 tbsp Crowdie cheese
50ml rapeseed oil
Knob of butter
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a cast iron frying pan heat half the oil and fry the greens until just tender – a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set to one side.
Peel the potatoes and fry in the remaining oil and butter until golden.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and add the chopped herbs and a little seasoning. Add to the cooking potatoes.
Keep the eggs moving with a spatula, then add the greens. Cook until set.
Remove from the heat and add a few capers and a few dollops of Crowdie.
Slice and serve immediately.
Easter Egg Crème Brulee
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
600ml thickened cream
3 vanilla beans, split, seeds scraped
1/2 cup (75g) icing sugar, sifted
Carefully remove the top of each egg using a serrated knife. Separate the egg from the yolk by passing through your fingers. Wash out eggshells and dry carefully with paper towel. Return to the egg carton. Place yolks in a bowl with caster sugar and beat until pale with electric beaters. Bring cream and vanilla pods and seeds to just below boiling point in a pan over medium-high heat. Pour hot cream over the eggs, whisking constantly until combined. Wash out pan, then return custard mixture to very low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 8-10 minutes until custard is thick and coats the back of a spoon – watch very carefully towards the end or the custard may scramble.
Strain into a jug, discarding vanilla pods, then pour into eggshells, filling to top. Use the remaining custard to fill four to six 100ml ramekins. Chill overnight. Just before serving, sprinkle brulees with icing sugar. Transfer eggs to egg cups, then use a kitchen blowtorch to caramelise tops until crisp and golden, being careful not to burn the sugar.