With Autumn well and truly upon us, we set about writing our new menu. Using seasonal ingredients has always been an important part of the Little Seeds ethos and we wanted to use the best produce on offer at this time of year. From damsons and blackberries to organic squash and girolle mushrooms, the starting point for our new dishes is fresh, vibrant and seasonal. We took inspiration from other British chefs such as Tommy Banks, Simon Rogan and Jason Atherton; chefs that embrace the changing landscape and turn humble offerings into colourful plates of creativity.
We love to work closely with all our suppliers - we talk regulary about fish landed that day or order samples of new ingredients to understand the flavour profile - but this is even more important when we're developing a new menu. This year we were able to source girolle mushrooms foraged from the Scottish Highlands - these luxurious little things are hand picked and pack lots of flavour and a meaty texture to any dish. To go alongside the girolles we chose the white fish coley, it’s a more sustainable option and generally has a nicer flavour than cod. We pickled the girolles to preserve them and, more importantly, to give acidity to complement the coley and marry them with the other flavours of the dish, in this case curried cauliflower and peppery watercress.
The three main things we look for when developing a main course are flavour, texture and temperature. The coley is pan seared to give a crispy skin, the cauliflower is finished in foaming curried butter to caramelise it, the girolle mushrooms are served at room temperature and the whole dish it tied together with a silky-smooth watercress velouté.
The development process for our blackberry mousse started in August as we began to forage wild blackberries and preserve them ready for autumn. The dish was inspired by a dining experience at Rogan & Co., Simon Rogan's Michelin star restaurant in Cumbria. We share the same values and respect for our ingredients and have tried to reflect that in this dish. The finished plate is a real celebration of blackberries: a blackberry frozen mousse with blackberry and juniper meringue, finished with a blackberry and anise sauce. The simplicity allows the blackberries to truly shine.
Words (C) 2019, Little Seeds. Photos (C) 2019, Matthew Owen.