Cycling for dinner - part two
Part one of the Cycling for Dinner tour saw me riding around the Cotswolds discovering just a handful of local suppliers on my doorstep. Part two will take you through what I did with some of their great produce and how they were paired with the beers from Compass Brewery.
- Pork rillette, smoked apple chutney and chicken liver pate from Ross and Ross Foods
- A multi-grain sourdough loaf from Daylesford Farm.
No prep needed for this starter which was great as it allowed me to concentrate my time on some of the other courses. Rather than spending four hours to confit a pork belly myself it was definitely worth letting Ross and Ross use their expertise.
The sourdough released a tantalising smell as soon as it was sliced into and the rillette with smoked apple chutney, as Ross had suggested, was an ideal accompaniment. The chicken liver pate was smooth and full of flavour, in fact probably one of the best pates I’ve had the pleasure to taste.
Beer matching: Baltic - This was the first of Compass’ creations and is a stout-style beer. The roasted notes worked really well with the grains of the fresh bread and smoked apple chutney which complemented the pates.
- Hot smoked trout from Upton Smokery
- Rocket and pickled courgettes from the garden
I’ve enjoyed Upton Smokery’s hot smoked trout a few times now and thought it would be the ideal fish course for a locally sourced meal.
I found the pickled courgette recipe online, at growfruitandveg.co.uk. It’s basically a piccalili style pickle that involves salting strips of courgette and thinly sliced onions before pickling with cider vinegar, sugar, mustard powder, mustard grain and turmeric; check out their website for quantities.
To give myself more time on the day I prepared the courgette pickle the night before. To serve I placed half a trout fillet on a bed of rocket and added a good dollop of the pickle. There was absolutely no need to do anything to the trout; it packs plenty of flavour without any faffing.
Beer matching: Symposium – As I mentioned in part one, Symposium is one of my favourite beers at the moment. The lemon and ginger spice of this wheat beer worked fantastically with the trout.
- Daylesford Farm organic chicken
- Streaky bacon from Kelmscott park
- Milk from Nell’s Dairy
- Shallots from Dan and Tamsyn’s garden
- Potatoes, garlic, spinach, runner beans and carrots from the Richinflavour garden
This course was intended to be the piece-de-resistance of the meal. While it would have been lovely to enjoy a succulent whole roast chicken I decided the only way to do this beautiful bird justice was to chop it up and cook each of the various parts in different ways. So I cut off the breasts, de-boned the legs and split the wings. The remaining carcass was used to create a stock which would be used to poach the breasts but also help form part of the sauce which would grace the meal.
In the end our plates enjoyed a garlic, chicken and spinach ballotine, crispy chicken wings and poached chicken breast along side potatoes, runner beans and carrots all from the Richinflavour garden.
Beer matching: King's Shipment - Mathias from Compass said how well this beer matched to chicken dishes and I tend to agree. Relatively strong at six percent, it still manages to offer a good balance of flavours. Like the flavour of chicken, subtle yet flavoursome. As a beer it gets my thumbs up and as a match also.
- Flour milled in Shipton-under-Wychwood at FWP Matthews
- Guernsey milk from Nell's Dairy via Burford Garden Centre
- White currants - Chadlington Quality Foods
- Gooseberries - Daylesford Organic Farm
- Blueberries - Upton Smokery
- Eggs - Burford Garden Centre (purchased post bike ride)
- Elderflower flower cordial - homemade
My intention before I set out on the ‘Cycle for Dinner’ tour was to have a fruit tart for dessert. To be honest I was onto a winner before I’d even started with such quality produce, my only thought was being able to do it justice. This course was actually a joint effort with Gem chipping in to make the Creme Patisserie.
The elderflower cordial was used to create a sweet syrup to balance the tartness of the gooseberries and white currants.
I’m going to be pretty cocky here and admit I thought the end result looked pretty damn good; there might still be a pastry cook in me somewhere. Taste wise the sweet syrup worked as I had hoped and did a good balancing job.
Beer matching: Berry – This was the only match that I have to admit didn’t quite work. The sweetness of the tart overpowered the berry notes of the beer, which meant we weren’t able to enjoy the full impact of the ‘Berry’ flavour. Instead of deciding to write the beer off we decided to give it a try with the cheeses... and I’m pleased to say it worked much better. It's not a beer that would be top of my list to buy, though fruit beers aren't normally, but the savouriness of the cheese worked much better with the flavours that ‘Berry’ had to offer.
- Burford Crudge – Chadlington Quality Foods
- Cotswold Organic Brie - Upton Smokery
As delicious as the cheeses looked, by the time we got round to eating the final course all four of us were feeling pretty stuffed. However, Dan and I found the balls to dig in and give these cheeses the attention they deserved.
The Burford Crudge had a crumbly Wensleydale like texture along with a subtle nutty flavour.The Cotswold Brie, made using organic milk from a herd of fresians on Kirkham Farm and produced by cheese maker Simon Weaver, was lovely and creamy.
Beer matching: Along with the remains of ‘Berry’ we had our final beer from the trip, ‘Torp’. Packed full of flavour Torp is quite a strong dark darkish beer. A great beer to accompany cheese and the perfect beverage to round off an evening’s meal.
So, that was my 'Cycling for Dinner' tour. All in all, I had a fantastic day; with only a little bit of rain it was mainly clear blue skies that accompanied me whilst I peddled around the stunning Cotswold countryside. I love the concept of riding for my dinner and think that with a few other riders in tow, I wouldn’t have needed Tamsyn, to help me with my over laden bag at about 40 miles. As I rode my route, inspired by the people I met and the food they produce, I was able to dream about what I would be serving that evening.
I will definitely be taking on another 'Cycling for Dinner' tour in the near future and am already keeping an eye out for other local producers I can visit. With a baby on the way though I’d better get a ride in soon, before interesting and flavourful food becomes a distant memory!
Pssst... if you missed part one of 'Cycling for Dinner' check it out here.