Month: January 2017

A Pre-Incan Relic to Satisfy Your Taste Buds! Tubers and Taramasalata

This month saw Head Chef, Guy Owen taking one of Heligan’s and indeed one of the worlds, lesser-known tuberous vegetables to London for an exclusive fine dining evening, at the prestigious Relais & Chateaux Headquarters in London.

Mashua – Tropaeolum tuberosum – commonly known as tuberous nasturtium, is a root crop that originates from the Andes Mountains of South America, specifically in the Titicaca basin of Peru and Bolivia.Mashua is a member of the nasturtium family with long twining stems on which three to five lobed leaves form and commonly grows up to at least 8 and possibly up to 12 feet tall if given something to climb. In the autumn mashua produce attractive trumpet-shaped red/orange flowers and are fast growing in cool, wet weather. Evidence exists of ancient use of mashua, as far back as 8000 years ago, with introduction to Europe as circa 1827.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan have been growing this unusual root as a small demonstration crop for almost 20 years; nodding to our Victorian predecessors and their intrigue for oddities in the garden.

All parts of the plant can be eaten raw or cooked; with the underground tubers the most frequently consumed part. The raw flavour of mashua is likened to a strong radish, which packs a warm punch. It tends to be more common to eat mashua cooked which produces a result similar to turnip, which is favoured and easier on the western palate. The flowers have large nectaries and are sweet with a bit of aniseed flavour and its leaves are delicious as a spicy salad green leaf.

The tubers can reach up to 4 inches long and have a shiny, waxy skin that cleans easily and it is these that Guy used in his taramasalata, mashua, smoked mackerel and parsley velouté canapé, for the exclusive Relais & Chateaux night in London. He will also be using this wonderful crop on the menus in coming weeks.

Pickled mashua

Mushroom Tortellini with Heligan Black Salsify (Scorzonera) Recipe

In the second of our collaborations with the Lost Garden of Heligan, we share our Junior Sous Chef, Lawrence Snowden’s special Mushroom Tortellini Recipe with Black Salsify (Scorzonera).

mushroom-tortellini-with-heligan-salsify-recipeServes 4

Ingredients for Duxelle mix:
250g chestnut mushrooms
250g button mushrooms
200g peeled chestnuts
50g butter
1 garlic clove – minced
1 banana shallot – finely diced
100ml Port
Black pepper
3 sprigs tarragon
1/2 bunch chives
Cep puree to bind

Blitz all mushrooms in food processor. Add mushrooms, garlic, shallot and thyme to hot pan and sauté. When pan is dry add port, continue to cook until almost all the liquid is gone. Meanwhile roast the chestnuts in foaming butter, once brown drain and chop finely and add to mushrooms. Add chopped herbs. Transfer into muslin cloth, tie up and hang for 12 hours until excess liquid has drained. Fold in cep puree to bind.

Ingredients for Cep puree:
500g ceps
500g button mushrooms
100g butter
100ml cream
100ml milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Colour sliced ceps in pan with butter. Once coloured add button mushrooms and sweat mushrooms. Once soft add cream and milk. Bring to boil and reduce slightly. Blend, check for seasoning, and add lemon juice.

Ingredients for spinach pasta:
150g 00 flour
150g spinach puree
100g egg yolk
Pinch of salt

Make spinach puree by blanching spinach until soft, cool quickly in iced water then drain. Squeeze out excess water and blend in food blender.
Put flour, spinach puree and salt and blend in food processor, add egg yolk until incorporated.
Take out and knead with your hands to bring pasta together. Cling film and leave to rest for at least half an hour in fridge.

To assemble the tortellini:
Roll out the pasta into sheets using a pasta machine. Divide the pasta dough into quarters. Work with one piece at a time and keep the other pieces covered. Run the dough through a pasta roller on progressively thinner settings until you have a sheet of paper-thin pasta. (Setting #6 on a Kitchen Aid pasta roller attachment.)
Shaping round tortellini: Cut the sheet into rounds using a 3″ round cutter, spacing the rounds as close together as possible. Gather the scraps into a ball and put them with the remaining pieces of dough to re-roll later.
Place 35g of filling in the middle of each round of pasta. Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it along the edge of the round to moisten. Fold the dough over to form a half moon, then draw the two corners together to form a rounded bonnet-shape. Press tightly to seal. Toss with flour, set aside on a baking sheet with semolina and cover. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, re-rolling the scraps.

Ingredients for roasted salsify puree:
5 large sticks of salsify – peeled and sliced
100ml butter
100ml cream
100ml milk
50ml water
Lemon juice to taste

In a large pan roast the salsify in hot foaming butter until golden brown and soft, stirring regularly. Add cream, bring to boil and blend. Add milk and water to puree consistency.
Season and add lemon juice to taste.

Ingredients for mushroom and Madeira sauce:
1 banana shallot
1 clove garlic
1 sprig thyme
100ml Madeira
75g button mushrooms – sliced
100ml cream

Sweat shallots, garlic and thyme in a pan. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until soft. Add Madeira and reduce by half. Add cream, bring to boil and blitz. Add milk to light sauce consistency.

Ingredients for basil oil:
2 bunches basil
50ml olive oil
50ml veg oil

Firstly blanch basil in salted water until soft, quickly cool down in iced water and drain. Squeeze out excess water.
Blend all ingredients and hang through muslin.

Ingredients to garnish:
250g oyster mushrooms
3 chestnuts – peeled and sliced thinly.
1 punnet of basil cress.

To Assemble:
Place tortellini in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Meanwhile warm the cep and salsify puree and spoon salsify puree onto the plate. Place dots of cep puree around the plate.
Sauté the oyster mushrooms in a hot pan, once soft finish with a little bit of butter and season.
Place tortellini in centre of the plate, placing oyster mushrooms around it.
Warm mushroom and Madeira sauce and drizzle around the plate.
Scatter sliced chestnuts around the dish, drizzle the basil oil around generously and finish with the basil cress.

Read more about Black Salsify (Scorzonera)

Scorzonera (Black Salsify) Should be better known and grown!

This winter sees The Lost Gardens of Heligan and The Idle Rocks celebrate heritage produce in the most fitting way possible, by incorporating one of the world’s lesser-known vegetables within the hotel’s exclusive winter menu.

Scorzonera is a root vegetable seldom seen in supermarkets or on restaurant menus outside of Europe. Often known as Black Salsify, serpent root, viper’s herb and viper’s grass; Scorzonera is a real culinary delicacy, with a unique subtle flavour reminiscent of oyster and asparagus. It is notoriously hard to harvest owing to its delicate and deep, uniformed black skinned roots.Originating in the Mediterranean, Scorzonera was foraged and used by the ancient Romans as well as the Greeks and cultivated sometime around the 1500s, where they were used for ornamental, medicinal, and culinary purposes.“Each year we always have the fun challenge of seeing who can harvest the longest Scorzonera without breaking it, as they are incredibly delicate and so deep rooted. I imagine it’s for this reason that so many people shy away from growing this wonderful root vegetable and it can be quite time consuming if you grow a lot of it like we do here at the gardens.” Nicola Bradley, Head of Productive Garden.Scorzonera has many health benefits including the ability to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, stimulate hair growth, increase circulation, improve numerous elements of your digestive health, increase the metabolism and positively affect bone mineral density. It also contains significant amounts of fibre and is one of the best dietary sources of insulin, which reduces the concentrations of harmful bacteria in the gut and has a positive effect on the immune system.Scorzonera roots keep well in the ground all winter long and are still good to eat right through until the beginning of spring.  Any roots left in over winter will produce tender shoots and can be cooked like asparagus and come spring the pretty yellow flowers can also be steamed and eaten.Heligan’s Scorzonera maxima were harvested on the 21st December and is going to be part of the vegetarian dish on the Idle Rock’s winter menu. Sous Chef Samira Effa and Junior Sous Chef Lawrence Snowden have designed the dish, which will include roasted Heligan Scorzonera, mushroom tortellini, Jerusalem artichokes and kale.

To read more about our collaboration with The Lost Gardens of Heligan here.

See Guy’s recipe for Mushroom Tortellini with Black Salsify (Scorzonera) here.

Thanks to Albert Savage for another great selection of images.

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