Apples, Oyster, Partridges

25 September 2008 by
Apples, Oyster, Partridges


The native oyster season is in full swing now so expect to pay 80p-£1.20 per mollusc, compared with around 40p for Pacific oysters.

All shellfish are in good condition - razor clams, mussels and cockles especially.

Settled weather has generally meant very good landings this past week. There are excellent John Dory on the market - expect to pay £7.90 per kg for 200-300g fish and as much as £14.50 per kg for larger ones.

There are nice large wild turbot around, priced at £15.50 per kg, or, if that's out of your price range, there are very good farmed ones from Spain priced at £12.50 per kg.

Despite it being late in the plaice season, there are still some excellent fish around, and they will be on the market until December.

Source: Chef Direct - 01275 474707


French partridges are down in price, so expect to pay a maximum of £2.90 a bird. There are also good supplies of widgeon, teale and mallard around, as well as hares, wild rabbits and tame rabbits.

It's going to be a few months, though, until we start seeing decent pheasants available.

Source: Chef Direct - 01275 474707

Fresh produce

Brogdale apples are excellent at present, while this week's newcomer is Red Charles Ross (left), a sweet, mildly aromatic, handsome red-and-green apple.

There are also St Edmund's Pippins, Alkmene, Karin Schneider and Norfolk Royal Russets on the market. New-crop Bramley apples have mellowed and lost their grassy edge.

Italian black cabbage, or cavalo nero, is always a good buy at this time of year.

Strawberries are way up in price, and the English crop has almost finished.

Tomatoes are getting dearer, and cucumbers show signs of going up, too. Aubergines had settled down in price, but are moving up again. Rhubarb is nearly finished for the season.

Melon supplies are tightening as the Spanish season draws to a close. Many fruits are scruffy, and prices are on the rise.

English courgettes are scarce and runner beans past their best. There are a few late peas around, but don't bother to buy them - they are hard and lack sugar. English plums were very scarce this year and have almost finished.

Source: 4°C - 020 8558 9708 -

Seasonal recipe

Oyster soup with ginger, soy and chilli

Ingredients (Serves four)

12 native or Pacific oysters
1.5 litres cold chicken stock
2tsp Thai fish sauce
1tsp light soy sauce
1 medium-hot green chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
1cm piece of fresh ginger, sliced
100g cheap white fish fillet, finely chopped
50g leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 egg white
1tsp salt
A few tarragon, chervil and young flat-leaf parsley leaves, to garnish


Open the oysters and pour off the juices into a bowl. Release the oyster meats from their shells and keep them chilled until needed.

Put the chicken stock, oyster juice, Thai fish sauce, soy sauce, green chilli, ginger, chopped fish, leeks, egg white and salt into a large pan. Place over a medium heat and slowly bring to the boil, giving the mixture a stir every now and then. Allow the stock to boil vigorously for 5-10 seconds, then lower the heat and leave it to simmer undisturbed for 30 minutes.

Pass the soup into a clean pan through a fine sieve lined with a double thickness of muslin.

Slice the oyster meats lengthways into two or three slices, depending on their size. Bring the soup back to the boil, add the oyster slices and leave them to cook gently for just five seconds.

Then ladle the soup into warmed bowls and scatter each one generously with the herb leaves. Serve immediately.

Rick Stein, chef-patron of the Seafood Restaurant, Padstow taken from his book Coast to Coast, available now from BBC BooksInterview with Rick Stein and Sam Harrison on the opening of Harrison's >>

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