Lobster bruschetta to oatmeal cookies - four chefs give us their Norfolk Day recipes
Our third Norfolk Day, on Monday, July 27, is fast approaching. But we’re calling on the county to turn the celebrations into a long weekend. To help, four of our chefs have contributed their favourite Norfolk-inspired recipes.
• Sheringham lobster bruschetta
Richard Hughes, of The Assembly House, Norwich, and the Richard Hughes Cookery School
We all deserve a little luxury once in a while. Luxury doesn’t always have to cost the earth: This recipe features a local ingredient which is close to the top of the pile when it comes to expense, but it’s a great way to make luxury stretch to a meal for four.
This is fresh, bang in season and packed full of flavour without distracting from the main event: a beautiful north Norfolk lobster served up Italian-style, as a bruschetta.
The mighty lobster hasn’t always been held in such lofty esteem much like the oyster, they were originally the food of the poor. In the 1800s they were a even used as a fertilizer: Dished up to feed hungry school children and even given to ungrateful prisoners in some states of America.
I can remember cooking dozens of these on race days during my early years at Great Yarmouth: It was always lobster Thermidor or a grilled Dover sole being the choice for the hopeful punters.
I’m often slightly disappointed when I’m lucky enough to be served a dish of hot lobster, be
it grilled with butter, with a cheesy mustard glaze or flamed in brandy. As I get older I have learnt to appreciate that keeping things simple is often the best course of action: So serve this stately Sheringham native cold with a squeeze of lemon, or add these salad ingredients and sit it on top of some toast and you’ll have a picnic dish fit for a king.
Or even for breakfast. Now that really would be a taste of luxury.
Makes two or four bruschetta, depending on your appetite.
1 x 1kg dressed lobster
2 (or 4) slices of sourdough bread
1 small red onion
2 plum tomatoes
1 large stick of celery
1 small chilli, quantity to your own taste
00g green seedless grapes
Herbs such as chopped chives, cress, mint or dill (we used micro coriander cress)
100ml extra virgin olive oil
50ml good quality white wine vinegar
1. Peel and seed the cucumber, peel the celery, dice both. Dice the avocado and tomato and cut the grapes in half.
2. Seed and finely chop the desired amount of chilli and place all the chopped ingredients in a bowl.
3. Thinly slice the red onions and steep in the white wine vinegar.
4. Prepare the lobster: Remove the tail, cut either side of the undercarriage and remove the lobster tail shell. Crack the claws and remove the meat.
5. Dice the lobster meat and add to salad bowl with the lightly pickled red onion.
6. Add herbs, olive oil, the juice of a fresh lime and season with sea salt and black pepper.
7. Sprinkle some more olive oil on to the slices of sourdough. Toast lightly under the grill or in a hot oven.
8. Pile the lobster salad onto the toasts. Serve immediately.
MORE: How Norfolk’s WI are getting involved with Norfolk Day 2020
• Lamb and Norfolk samphire
Richard Bainbridge, of Benedicts, Norwich
Summer is without a doubt the best season here in Norfolk. On your walk along the marshes you will find an abundance of the beautiful and tasty samphire.
When harvesting please make sure to nip the stems only, without disturbing the roots and of course only harvest as much as you need for your dinner.
This recipe is simple, easy to do and utterly delicious.
We use samphire on our menu at the restaurant and on our Dine at Home meals, as it is such a beautiful, local and wild ingredient that sings summer time.
1 rolled lamb belly (500g approx)
1 litre chicken or lamb stock
100ml white wine
1 shallot (roughly chopped)
1 carrot (roughly chopped)
1 stick of celery (roughly chopped)
2 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp white peppercorns
500g samphire (cleaned)
1 tbsp black onion seeds
2 cloves of garlic (thinly-sliced)
Splash of good quality rapeseed oil
Handful of fresh almonds (shelled)
For the lamb belly
1. Pre-heat oven to 120C. Place a large heavy based pot onto the stove and put all your ingredients except for the lamb inside and bring to the boil.
2. Once boiling add the lamb belly and cover with the lid or tin foil.
3. Move the pot into your pre-heated oven and leave to cook for three hours or until the meat is tender.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to rest/cool at room temperature.
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5. When the lamb has cooled chill in the fridge for a minimum of two days to allow the flavours to mature.
For the samphire
1. Drizzle the rapeseed oil into a frying pan on a medium heat, once the oil is hot add your slices of garlic to cook off without colour.
2. Place the samphire into the pan and toss until warmed through, add the black onion seeds and fresh almonds to finish.
3. Lastly season with white pepper. You do not need to add salt as samphire is naturally salty. Your samphire is ready to serve.
Pre-heat oven to 120C
1. When you’re ready to serve remove the lamb from the pot, leaving the stock, and slice to your desired thickness.
2. Put your stock back onto the stove at a high heat and reduce to a thickness where it will coat the back of a spoon. Once this consistency has been reached pass the stock through a sieve to remove the debris.
Keep warm until you’re ready to serve.
3. Place a frying pan onto a high heat, once hot add a knob of butter and allow to melt.
4. Carefully lay your slices of lamb into the pan and reduce the heat, gently fry the lamb until golden brown on both sides.
5. Remove the lamb from the pan and rest on a baking tray until you’re ready to serve.
6. Serve the lamb in the middle of the plate with a few fresh almonds scattered over the top and the samphire on the side.
MORE: This time let’s celebrate our county over a long weekend
• Oatmeal cookies
Stephanie and Jaime Garbutt of Salt and Figbar, in Norwich
Norfolk is such a special county, and we are forever grateful for all its incredible produce. We love looking to our farming neighbours for tips on how to grow vegetables in our own garden and frequenting our favourite pick-your-own farms.
One thing we love that we’ve found in this county is oats. The jumbo mornflake oats from Norfolk Watermill truly make these cookies shine.
75g softened butter
100g white sugar
100g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch sea salt
250g Norfolk Watermill Jumbo Oat Flakes (we get them from Norfolk In a Box)
50g dark chocolate chunks*
50g dried cranberries*
*you can mix anything in these cookies - walnuts, milk chocolate, raisins, sprinkles – the world is your oyster.
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with parchment and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients but the oats and mix-ins (butter, sugars, vanilla, eggs, cinnamon, salt) until well combined.
3. Add in the Norfolk Watermill oats and mix well.
4. Stir in the mix-ins. The mix will look a bit like it won’t stick together. That’s fine. As long as you smoosh the dough together while spooning the balls on the baking tray, you’ll be golden.
5. Use a large spoon to scoop little balls of dough onto your prepared baking sheet. We use a 1/4 cup measure. This is equivalent to 4 tbsp, so these are quite large cookies. They don’t spread, so they create these lovely mounded cookie. You can flatten them slightly down if you prefer.
6. Bake for 15 minutes (give or take depending on your oven) until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool on a baking tray for at least 10 minutes to allow the cookie to set.
• Norfolk Day scones
Charlie Hodson, of Charlie’s Norfolk Food Heroes
The perfect way to celebrate Norfolk Day with a glass of Sky Lark by Chet Valley Vineyard. As Norfolk folk we need to support local now more than ever - butchers, farm shops and fish mongers, for example.
450g self-raising flour
110g Old Hall Farm dairy raw milk butter
100g Walsingham white cheese by Mrs Temple’s Cheese
1 tsp Maldon sea salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 x large farm shop hen’s egg
150ml Old Hall Farm dairy milk
1 tsp Colman’s mustard
1. Pre-heat oven to 185C (fan assisted).
2. Rub together flour and softened butter until bread crumb consistency.
3. Mix in grated cheese, keeping approximately a third back for scone topping.
4. Mix egg with 3/4 of the milk and add to recipe, forming a good pastry dough.
5. Divide equally into scone balls and shape into scone-like shape.
6. Brush scones with remaining milk.
7. Sprinkle top with the remaining cheese.
8. Place on tray lined with baking parchment, leaving a good inch between scones.
9. Bake in oven until golden.
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