Ask the Chef
New: I had Turbot in your restaurant, it was beautiful! I now want to try to cook it myself but dont know how?
Thank you! Turbot is an expensive fish so asking how to cook it will avoid expensive mistakes! Firstly, you should only buy from a good fishmonger, the flesh should be white/creamy colour, avoid Turbot that looks slightly blue or even fatty.
Ask your fishmonger to fillet the fish for you, its easy for them but if you dont know how to fillet a fish you can easily go wrong.
Cook the fish gently, either poach with a bouquet garni or simply grill. This is a very tender fish and does not need to be bashed about in a pan.
Our Turbot dish came with a shellfish risotto, langoustines & scallops, a great marriage of flavours which will set our heart alight! - Enjoy!
I recently bought some Scallops from my supermarket but couldn’t get them to colour around the edges when frying them, they looked very pale and weren’t as nice as the ones I had at Culloden House, what did I do wrong?
The reason they didn’t colour or “caramelize” is that they were not fresh, they could possibly have been frozen. You can always tell a fresh Scallop when cooking as they will caramelize around the edge.
I tried to make a pea soup but after cooking the green colour faded and it looked awful! How do you make yours look so beautiful?
Use fresh or frozen peas, bring them to the boil, then immediately put them into ice old water, this retains the colour, from there you can blitz in a food processor with some seasoning and chicken or vegetable stock. Return to the heat, bring to the boil, remove from the heat and add a little crème fresh just as you are about to serve.
I do a lot of cooking and want to buy some new knives, can you recommend any?
Yes, you get what you pay for when it comes to decent knifes. Don’t be fooled by the “amazing cutting tool” or “300 piece set of knifes” for £30.00 gimmicks.
I suggest buying 4 decent knifes and Gustav Emil Ern is a good recommendation. You will need a Chef's knife, it does about 90% off all the work in a kitchen, it's long, sturdy and can cut through most things. Second I suggest a paring knife which is used on fruit, vegetables and small foods. If you are serious about cooking then a good boning knife for taking meat off the bone and fish work, finally a good carving knife.
Do you have any tips for vegetable trimmings? It seems a waste throwing them away.
You could add them to your compost heap or better still you can make vegetable stock to keep for soups & sauces.
Put your scraps into a large soup/stock pan, fill with water, add a couple of bay leaves, peppercorns and bring to the boil, once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer and leave for 2 hours, skim any froth off the top, carefully ladle out the stock and strain, discard the remaining vegetables. The stock can be kept in the fridge for 3 – 5 days or frozen for future use.
What’s your favourite ingredient?
That’s an easy question. I like seasonal items as it means the ingredient is always at there best. Here are a few:
In summer it has to be sea trout, fresh from the sea, available through until end of August, or berries such as raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.
September to December is wild mushroom season which has to be high on anyone’s list. Along with rabbit, crab and all the vegetables such as French beans, fennel and truffles.
January to March would be venison, purple sprouting broccoli and parsnips.
April it has to be spring lamb, asparagus, new potatoes and langoustines