Executive Chef Valentine’s Day Tips

While most of us aren’t Michelin starred chefs with our own restaurants in Gloucestershire, Head Chef Richard Picard-Edwards at Lords of the Manor is. For him, whilst the rest of us are channeling our feelings towards our significant other, Valentine’s night is always one of the busiest nights of the year.

If the recipe below makes you question your skills, why not pop along for our special Valentine’s Lunch at one of the best Michelin star restaurants, Cotswolds has to offer? You can reserve a table here or call on 01451 820243. Alternatively, with Richard on hand, let’s waste no time in getting started.

TIP ONE: Simplify the meal

While it might seem like you’re pushing the boat out by whipping up pot roasted breast of Squab pigeon with a ravioli of confit leg, there are three questions to bear in mind.

Firstly, have you used these ingredients before?  Secondly, have you tasted the ingredients cooked well before? Thirdly, how committed are you to getting it spot on?

If your answer is no or not really to all three and still want to brave it, simplify your menu choice by just focusing on either cooking the pigeon or the ravioli. Your success rate will be substantially higher… yet it will still seem pretty impressive.

TIP TWO: Pick Your Produce

When it comes to executing great tasting cuisine, what you cook with is just as important as how you cook it. Nothing injects love, care and attention more so than handpicking your produce. As oppose to hitting the supermarket, why not head down to your local greengrocer, butcher or cheesemonger to ask for their advice.

TIP THREE: Practice Makes Perfect

This famous saying couldn’t be truer when it comes to creating a masterpiece. Cooking is all about confidence; and practicing your dish once or twice in advance should be enough to give you the confidence to get it spot on.

Recipe by Richard Picard-Edwards

Loin and Haunch of Salisbury Plain Venison, Pickled Red Cabbage Purée, Blackberries, Sloe Gin Sauce

This dish is a great way to enjoy venison, a Valentine’s favourite. It may seem a challenge for the home cook (for example, you will need to chat up your butcher for some venison bones and trim), but of course a dish like this is pretty much for special occasions and well worth the effort. Or pop in and to see if we have it on the menu!

Venison Loin

200g of venison loin

Trim of any sinew, season, roast in a pan until golden brown, finish in hot oven for 4/5 mins (depending on how you like it cooked).

Allow to rest in a warm place 5 minutes, carve re season.

The other elements are prepared more in advance, but the loin is the most straightforward element of the dish. If the Croustillant (below) seems a challenge, take the advice in Tip One and serve loin, cabbage puree and sauce.

Venison Croustillant (= crisp/crunchy)

250g diced venison fillet (no sinew)

13g salt

1g thyme leaves

5g juniper berries (chopped)

40g brandy

30g egg yolk

Blitz venison, salt, thyme and juniper for 1 minute and chill in the freezer. Add remaining ingredients and blitz again. Pass through a sieve and chill on ice, in a bowl. Prior to serving it is wrapped in a sheet of bric pastry (which has origins in North African/French cuisine and is available in supermarkets) and deep fried. In the restaurant it is also wrapped in potato spaghetti but that really is probably a step too far for home equipment.

Pickled Red Cabbage Purée

1 red cabbage (not too much white) sliced long and thin.

100g Port

200g red onion

5g Demerara sugar

50g redcurrant jelly

150g vegetable oil

100g raspberry vinegar

A cooking apple.

Salt cabbage and leave for 90 minutes. Squeeze out through a cloth until all the water has come out.

Add all remaining ingredients to a pan and bring to the boil. Pour over the cabbage and then cover with cling film. Leave for two hours and, when ready, reheat in the liquor and reduce until it goes shiny. Finish with a brunoise of apple (finely diced, fried in butter).

Sloe Gin Sauce

Kilo of Venison bones

Venison trim

2 banana shallots

250ml red wine

80ml Port

10ml sloe gin

2 juniper berries

2 black peppercorns

Thyme

Bay leaf

Garlic

200ml veal stock

Heat up a heavy-based pan. Add oil and the venison trim. Roast until golden then drain off with a tray underneath. Deglaze the pan with the shallots and lift all of the sediment off the bottom of the pan, then colour the shallots until golden. Add the red wine and port and reduce by three quarters. Add the veal stock and the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour. Then rest it for 20 minutes. Next pass through a double muslin. Reduce the sauce if necessary.

To finish add a crushed juniper berries and 10ml of sloe gin. Reduce by three quarters and add venison sauce to taste. Season and finally pass through the muslin a final time.