The first of the new-season apples are arriving, in particular discovery apples and Worcester pearmain. Jerusalem artichokes have also restarted and chanterelle melons are at their cheapest and best. Fragoline grapes, also called the strawberry grape because of its similarity in taste, are arriving from Italy, as are Muscat wine grapes. Golden dates on the branch have just started and the red-flesh dragon fruit, much more flavoursome than the white-flesh variety, are arriving from Israel. More wild mushrooms are arriving from the UK but on the whole it has been a poor year, with the cèpe season not threatening any improvement. Greengages and meribel plums are still good, but lettuces are still poor.
Source: Fresh Direct - 01869 365600 - www.freshdirect.co.uk
Beef prices are set to remain high until at least 8 September, when markets should reopen - so long as there are no more scares or outbreaks. The price of lamb is set to come down over the next few weeks but the cheapest cuts are still shoulders and breasts. English steak cuts remain the most expensive. The grouse season is now well under way, and while the birds won't come down in price for a few weeks they often prove a popular early-season game treat.
Source: AB&S Wholesale - www.birtwistlebutchers.co.uk
The weather hasn't been kind to landings this week and prices are, on the whole, quite high. There are, however, good black bream arriving from Brixham and sardines from Newlyn. At present, monkfish and line-caught sea bass are both good buys. Wild salmon prices, which usually come down after the first week or two of July, have remained high throughout the summer and show no sign of decreasing. There were no diver-caught scallops available at the start of this week, but hopefully that might change as the week progresses, with the weather looking set to improve for the weekend.
Source: Flying Fish - 01726 862876 - www.flyingfishseafoods.co.uk
Roast grouse, Savoy cabbage with smoked bacon, potato rösti, caramelised pear with wild mushrooms and a juniper and red currant jus
4 young grouse, plucked and drawn
4 cloves garlic
1tsp juniper berries
1 small Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
60ml olive oil
60g clarified butter
150ml chicken stock
2 large red rooster potatoes
100g wild mushrooms (eg, chanterelles)
15g watercress leaves
100g diced carrots, onions and celery
200ml red wine
350ml dark chicken or grouse stock
Salt and pepper to season
Remove the legs from the grouse. Stuff with one clove of garlic, a crushed juniper berry and season. Sear on all sides and roast at 210°C for about six minutes. Rest for six minutes. (If we were serving this at the restaurant, we'd take the legs off the carcass, remove the thigh bone, remove the breasts from the crown and trim. But you can of course serve it whole.)
Put 60ml of olive oil into a pan on full heat until smoking. Cook the cabbage in the oil until wilted. Add 150ml chicken stock, 2tbs double cream and reduce until the sauce has reached an emulsion consistency. Season.
For the potato röstis, parboil the potatoes, grate, add a little clarified butter, spoon into a rösti tray and bake until crisp. For the caramelised pear, peel, core and slice one pear then add to a hot skillet with olive oil and butter and fry until caramelised on all sides. Sauté wild mushrooms in remaining butter then finish with a knob of butter and picked watercress and season.
For the jus, caramelise chopped grouse trimmings (including legs) in hot oil. Add diced carrots, onion and celery and remaining juniper berries and caramelise, then quickly add 200ml red wine, 350ml dark chicken stock and reduce to a sauce consistency before sieving and seasoning. Before service add fresh picked redcurrant berries to the jus.
Stevie McLaughlan, head chef, Andrew Fairlie@Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Perthshire