A New Year’s Menu

IN

The Scots call New Year’s Eve Hogmanay. It involves the best traditions of hospitality within the home. Chef Craig Grozier has us making ham for a small gathering. He’s a chef we’ve worked with since 2015 who takes Scottish dishes and humble ingredients to a new level. You can spoil yourself with some fabulous paired Botanist cocktails too by our bartender-in-the-team, Willie Tombe.

Says Craig, “I wanted to share some tricks of the trade with this menu; really, there’s no limit to what you can achieve at home with a bit of patience, some inside information and some basic equipment! This is all food that I love to eat at this time of year. It still has the rib-sticking qualities you want in the colder months, but as with all my food, there is an undercurrent of wild botanicals throughout and staying true to the season with ingredients like beetroot and quince.
“The menu is designed so that you can drink gin throughout. The Botanist’s wide array of plants gives you plenty of flavour profiles to work with; both quince and lovage in the main course have botanical cousins in the gin. The salty, savoury canapé is excellent with a martini, and I have used the gin in the dessert to enhance the earthy, floral elements.”

Happy New Year all.

Starter – Morangie Brie and Pickled Walnut Buns

Serves 4

Ingredients Buns

90g unsalted Butter

250ml water pinch salt

200g plain flour 6 large eggs

140g parmesan, 90g for the mixture and 50g to finish

100g Morangie Brie

Pickled Walnut Ketchup

2 jars of pickled walnuts, such as Opies

Agar agar

Caster sugar

Sherry vinegar

Soy sauce

Specialist Equipment?  Blender + 2 Piping bags

These canapes are perfect for serving with a Botanist martini with a meal or at a party; in the classic tradition of serving snacks with punchy booze, you should always have something that is slightly salty and kickstarts the palette; these little umami bombs deliver on that and pair perfectly with the biscuity and herbal tones of the Nutty Fig Martini.

A classic in French cuisine, the buns are baked savoury choux pastries. This is the same pastry that you would use to make profiteroles, and with a bit of practice, it is a great skill to have. They are moreish and light; I always make a few extra as they will always get eaten up! The recipe will give you more buns than you need, but this dough freezes nicely. Alternatively, bake them all, then freeze once they have cooked and cooled, then defrost and reheat in the oven before you wish to serve.

Pickled walnuts are a classic British store cupboard ingredient that dates back to medieval times. A particularly popular Victorian pickle, as noted by Dickens himself, this ketchup will be a great addition to your festive cheeseboard! It also pairs well with slow-cooked beef and the likes, and you can use it as a condiment in sandwiches.

Agar agar is a vegetarian gelling agent that can be purchased at health food shops or online. Ensure you buy the powdered version.

Walnut Ketchup

  1. Strain the pickled walnuts from the jar.
  2. Weigh the liquid and whisk in 2% Agar Agar
  3. Bring to the boil, then pour into a container to set to a gel. This will take around in 1-2 hours in the fridge.
  4. Place the walnuts and pickled liquid gel in the blender and blend it all until smooth, constantly scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Season with the caster sugar, sherry vinegar and soy to taste.

Buns

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Place the water and butter into a medium-sized pan and heat until the butter has melted. Add the flour.
  3. Cook the mixture until it comes away clean from the sides of the pan.
  4. Transfer to a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs. Keep beating until the mixture has completely cooled. Mix in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe 3cm in diameter balls onto a greaseproof-lined tray
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes then leave to cool to room temperature.

To Serve

  1. Cut small squares of Morangie Brie around 2x2cm and about 1/2 cm
  2. Place the brie on top of the buns and put back on the oven tray and put back in the oven to warm through and allow the cheese to slightly melt, this will take around 1-2 minutes
  3. Pipe on a neat circle of the walnut ketchup and serve

Drink Pairing

See our recipe for Nutty Fig Martini. [Did you know that fig leaves have a great flavour?]

Main Course – Glazed Ham Hock, Quince, Scott’s Lovage, Pork Fat Hash Browns

Serves 4

Ingredients Ham Hocks

2 small ham hocks

1 large onion, peeled 1 large carrot, peeled 1 leek, trimmed

1 celery stick, trimmed 4 garlic cloves, peeled 1 thyme sprig

6 white peppercorns

Glaze

40g Ooh La La Mustard, but English will do

40g French mustard

1 tbsp honey

100g demerara sugar

Handful of cloves

Handful of rosemary needles

Ham Hock Velouté

50g Lard from potatoes

50g Plain flour

500ml Ham hock cooking stock

250ml Water 50ml cream

Scots Lovage Oil

50g lovage

350g neutral oil, such as vegetable or grape-seed

Specialist Equipment?  Blender + Greaseproof paper +  9” x 13” rectangular baking pan + Thermometer + Grater

Ham hocks are a brilliantly versatile cut of meat, and dishes like these are great to feed a crowd. Serve this with a long, refreshing drink made with The Botanist to compliment the slow-cooked, succulent meat.

You can use leftovers to make a simple soup with some vegetables and the leftover velouté, enjoy it in sandwiches with a bit of mustard or toss through salads with loads of parsley and diced shallots. A lot of this can be prepared in advance, so you’re just finishing the glazed ham and hash browns when your guests have arrived!

Ham Hocks & Glaze

Reserve the stock from cooking the hams to make the velouté. This stock will also make a great base for a pea and ham soup.

  1. Rinse the ham hocks well under cold running water,
  2. Chop the vegetables roughly and put them into a large saucepan with the ham.
  3. Add the garlic, thyme and peppercorns and pour in enough cold water to cover the meat.
  4. Bring to the boil then skim off any scum from the surface.
  5. Simmer, covered for 3-5 hours until the hocks are very tender; the bone should easily slide out of the meat.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C. Leave the hocks to cool slightly in the liquid until you can handle them, then remove and peel off the skin, leaving the fat
  7. Score the fat in a criss-cross
  8. Mix together the mustards, honey and Demerara sugar. Spread the mixture over the ham hocks and stuff with the cloves and rosemary
  9. Place in a large roasting pan and roast in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes until the glaze caramelizes. Leave to rest for 5 minutes or so after roasting.

Ham Hock Velouté

This is the same process as making a béchamel sauce or gravy and you can use it with any stock.

  1. Warm the ham stock and water together
  2. In another pot, melt the lard then add the flour and cook till it makes a paste and smells a bit toasty like shortbread.
  3. Slowly add the stock, whisking it in about 100ml at a time until it’s all added. Cook out for 20 minutes then whisk in the cream and loosen with a little extra water until it is a nice smooth sauce consistency and coats the back of a spoon.

Lovage Oil

Scots lovage is a member of the carrot family and has a celery-like flavour but is less aggressive. We tend to pick it on beaches on Islay. You can find it in many coastal areas in Britain and North America. [For more on Scots Lovage see wikipedia >]  If you can’t find it, you can replace it with domestic lovage or flat-leaf parsley. There will be leftovers from this recipe that you can use to dress salads, finish soups and make mayonnaise with, replacing the regular vegetable oil.

The technique of refreshing the greens with iced water is transferable to any green vegetable. Try it on your sprouts!  It sets the chlorophyll so you keep the vibrant green colours.

  1. Boil the lovage for 3 minutes in a deep pot of salty water then refresh into a bowl of iced or very cold water.
  2. Once the lovage is cool, remove from the water and squeeze out any excess
  3. Blend the oil and the lovage together well in a stand-up blender, then transfer to a small pot. It should resemble a bright green, smooth puree at this stage.
  4. Fill a large bowl half full with ice, then place a smaller bowl inside this, on top of the ice.
  5. Heat the puree to 60°C. If you don’t have a thermometer it will be about 60°C when it starts to gently bubble around the edges and give off steam. Then with a piece of muslin or a new jay cloth set in a fine sieve, pass the puree through into the small bowl on top of the ice until it cools.

Poached Quince

1750g water

200g sugar

150g honey

Lemon, cut in half

Vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 cinnamon stick optional

6 large or 8 medium quince

Hash Browns

2 large Albert Bartlett rooster potatoes peeled

1 litre pork lard (or enough to fill your fryer or pan)

5g finely chopped rosemary

1g fine sea salt, plus more to taste if needed

Maldon salt to finish

 

Poached Quince

We use the quince here in a savoury dish, but they are equally great with some good ice cream, baked into frangipane, or tossed with some caramel. Think similar to a poached pear.

You can serve the quince warm or at room temperature. To store, pour the quince and their liquid into a storage container and refrigerate for up to one week. The quinces can be prepared in advance then just removed from the fridge to come to room temperature before serving.

  1. Take a large pot and measure and cut out a circle of greaseproof paper with the same diameter as the inside of the pot.
  2. Put the pan on a medium-high heat and add the water, sugar, honey, lemon, and vanilla bean.
  3. While the liquid is heating, quarter, peel, and remove the cores of the quince, making sure to remove anything tough or fibrous.
  4. As you peel and prepare the quince quarters, gently lower each one into the simmering pot. Once they’re all done, cover the pot with your circle of greaseproof, sitting it just on top of the water level, keeping the quinces fully submerged.
  5. Simmer the quince (do not boil) for at least an hour, until they are cooked through. Cooking time will vary, depending on the quince. They’re done when you can pierce them with a knife with a little bit of resistance. It’s not unusual for them to take up to 2 hours, or more, but start checking after 30 minutes.

Hash Browns

Once you have portioned the hash browns, they freeze down pretty well and can be cooked from frozen. As you can imagine, they go deliciously with eggs but can also be cut into small squares and used as little canapés with some smoked fish and crème fraîche or served with garlic mayonnaise. The possibilities are endless!

  1. Shred the potatoes using a cheese grater.
  2. Fill a large pot with lard and bring the temperature to 90°C.
  3. Once the fat is hot, carefully add all of the potatoes to the lard and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Once the potatoes are completely tender, and almost falling apart, remove them from the lard, and let drain in a colander set over a bowl.
  4. Finely chop the rosemary leaves while the potatoes drain and then transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Season them with sea salt and gently fold in the rosemary until completely incorporated.
  5. Line a 22cm x 33cm rectangular baking pan with parchment paper and spread the potato mixture into a layer about 9cm thick. Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
  6. Once the potatoes have completely chilled, reheat the lard to 160°C. Slide the parchment paper out of the baking pan and onto a flat surface being careful not to break the potato. Portion the hash brown into 3-4cm rounds or if you don’t have a round cutter 3x3cm squares.
  7. When ready to fry, add the hash browns back into the pot, making sure they are very well spaced out; you don’t want them anywhere near each other.  Fry only 6 to 8 pieces at a time so you don’t overcrowd them or drastically drop the temperature of the oil. Turn the hash brown occasionally until golden on all sides, about 4 – 8 minutes.
  8. Scoop the hash browns out of the oil with a slotted spoon and let them rest on some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil. Season with Maldon salt while they are still hot.

To Serve

  1. Remove your quince from the fridge so it comes to room temperature, about 1 hour before serving.
  2. Take 400ml of the velouté and warm through in a pot.
  3. Add 40ml of the lovage oil to the velouté and stir it gently so it has a marbled effect. Pour this onto a large serving platter, and place your just rested ham hock on top. Carve at the table and let everyone tuck in.
  4. On a separate plate, place your just-fried hash browns and quinces, and take to the table to the table to serve.

Drink Pairing

See our recipe for a Crab Apple Collins. Fresh, crisp and really drinkable to accompany this big main.

Dessert – Islands Chocolate 75% Cremeaux, Beetroot, Rose

Ingredients Cremeaux

200g 70-75% islands chocolate buttons

700g firm tofu

40g glucose 50g sugar Small pinch salt

Granita

45g pickled rosehip

350g beetroot juice

5g rosehip vinegar (reserved from your pickling liquid)

5g sugar

15g lemon juice

15g The Botanist Gin

Pinch salt

Chantilly cream

200g cream

20g caster sugar

 

The clean, foraged flavours in The Botanist enhance the slightly off-piste combination of chocolate, beetroot and rosehip here, complementing the refreshing final note of the granita, showing the versatility of the gin.

You can purchase pickled rosehip online, or you can make your own in the summertime to preserve for the rest of the year with our recipe below. These also work very well with rich wild game, such as mallard or well-farmed duck, or could be used as an alternative to an onion garnish in a Gibson martini.

Try to get the best chocolate you can here; it really will make the difference. If the chocolate isn’t available in button shapes, make sure you break it up into small, even-sized pieces before adding it to the mixture.

Cremeaux

  1. In a blender, combine the tofu, sugar, glucose and a pinch of salt.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a pot and warm to 80°C.
  3. Remove from the stove and drop in the chocolate buttons and quickly stir them in. Leave this all for a minute then transfer back to the blender
  4. Blend all until smooth then pour into trifle glasses or ramekins
  5. Set for at-least 4 hours in the fridge or preferably overnight

Pickled Rosehips

These need to be gathered around July in the UK. When pickled like this, a magical thing happens. The rosehips are related to the red fruits of summer, they’re the same plant family as raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, sloes… The flavour transfers from the traditional heady, pot puree to a beautiful, clean, floral, almost raspberry type flavour.

  1. Place them in a non-reactive container, e.g. not aluminium. A plastic tub with a lid is ideal.
  2. Pour over enough organic apple cider vinegar to cover, ensuring that all the rosehips are submerged.
  3. Store in the fridge indefinitely until you are ready to use.

Granita

  1. Blend all of the ingredients together until smooth and pour into a container.
  2. Freeze. It’s a good idea to place a couple of spoons and a fork in the freezer when you do this so they are nice and chilled for you serving the granita, as it can quickly melt.
  3. An hour before serving, scrape the top of the now frozen block with your chilled fork, creating crystals, until you reach the bottom, then place back in the freezer until you wish to serve.
  4. Four hours before serving, whisk the cream and sugar into soft peaks that still keep their shape then place in a container and put in the fridge to firm up a little.

To Serve

  1. Remove the cremeaux in their bowls from the fridge
  2. Spoon on your now crystallised granita and a dollop of the Chantilly cream.

Drink Pairing

See our recipe for Raspberry sherry martini – a complementary simple martini

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