Cook a Kentish feast

PUBLISHED: 23:02 28 November 2013 | UPDATED: 23:02 28 November 2013

Loin of venison with juniper berry sauce and roast pumpkin

Loin of venison with juniper berry sauce and roast pumpkin

Manu Palomeque

Make your Christmas lunch a truly local one



* Winterdale cheese fritters with sour cream and chive dip

Smoked chicken brushcetta with cherry tomatoes, spring onions and crème fraîche


* Parsnip and apple soup with parsnip crisps

Game terrine with pickled pears and herb salad

Potted spiced crab with toasted sour dough and bitter leaves

Main courses

* Loin of venison with juniper berry sauce and roast pumpkin

Turkey kiev with chestnut and cranberry butter and crushed celeriac

Roast goose, braised leg, and red cabbage

Wellington of sea trout with creamed leaks and bacon

Blue cheese pan haggerty with roasted roots


* Saint Nick’s profiteroles filled with Christmas pudding and orange pastry cream)

Custard tart with drunken raspberries

Winter trifle made with brandy custard and Baileys cream

* See below for recipes; all other dishes please contact Dan Kennedy at Kent Cookery School (details at end)


Fish: Griggs of Hythe, CT21 6HG

01303 266410

Meat: J C Rook & Sons

13 shops around Kent, visit:

Fruit and vegetables: David Catt & Sons, ME17 4JT

01622 743537

Game: Godmersham Game, CT4 7DU

01227 730337

Dry goods: Macknade Fine Foods, ME13 8XF

01795 534497


Dan Kennedy

Tell us a bit about you

I have been a chef for about 13 years now. I’m from London originally and I trained at Westminster College. I started my career working around the West End and Mayfair, during which time I was lucky enough to work for some amazing Michelin-starred chefs as well as having the privilege of cooking for HRH The Queen.

I started working for the Kent Cookery School about 18 months ago as I was studying for my teaching qualification. My wife Lucie and I were recently given the opportunity to take over the running of the Cookery School, something I had secretly dreamed of since I started working here.

I am a foodie first and foremost and just love sharing my enthusiasm with others. We now work in partnership with owners of The Secret Garden restaurant, who set up and established the cookery school. We are working together to make the school an amazing place to come to and hopefully one that will become known through out the industry.

What happens at the school?

Every day is different at the cookery school, we run all sorts of classes from Italian and pasta making to bread courses, meat, fish as well as foraging, baking and preserving. You name it we do it. All classes are tailored to fit the needs of the group. Recently we have catered for a group of 15-year old boys cooking British classics, we also ran a cupcake party for a group of eight-year-old girls (which was quite messy) and then we ran a full day’s Asian flavours course for adults during which we made. Chinese dim sum, Vietnamese spring rolls and a Malaysian curry.

We also run quite a few team-building events for local businesses and their staff, which is always really good fun. The main aim of the school is to inspire everyone who comes through our doors and leave students with new ideas, skills and most of all great memories they can look back on.

Our full-day courses are £125 but in the New Year we are adding mid-week courses from 10am-2pm, which will be £99. We also offer evening courses at £40 and demo and dine evenings at £49 per person.

How do you fit in family life?

It’s hard (big smile), very hard, but Lucie and I always make time to spent with our three young boys when we get home from work, either helping them with homework, reading books, playing games or some days just a movie and popcorn. You just become very good and juggling thing around when you have to work full time.

What will you have for Christmas lunch?

I think it will be loin of venison this year, with all the trimmings. Our boys also love prawn cocktail, so I have to give everyone what they want. For dessert we usually have a few choices: Lucie and I go for Christmas pudding with brandy custard, one of the boys loves trifle and the other two are go mad for profiteroles. It will be me wearing the apron, as usual - after I have put all the toys together, of course.


Stuart McClosky

Stuart is the director and owner of Z&B Vintners, founding the company in June 2005. Stuart has spent the past 16 years in the wine trade and 20 years as a collector and is responsible for all wine purchases for both Z&B and The Vinorium.

All the wines Stuart has recommended are available online at

or to buy in-store.

The Vinorium

Mersham-le-Hatch Business Village

Hythe Road, nr Ashford TN25 6NH

01233 500561 or



Winterdale cheese fritters

Serves 4


200ml water

80g butter

110g plain flour

2 large eggs

100g Winterdale Shaw cheese (extra-mature cheddar will do if you don’t have)

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp English mustard

Pinch of salt

1 ltr vegetable oil for frying

For the dip

100ml sour cream

1 tbsp chopped dill

1 tbsp chopped chives

1 tsp lemon juice

Pinch of salt

Pinch of paprika


Put the butter and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough and is lump free. Cook for a further two minutes until the mixture no longer sticks to the pan. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes then add the cheese and cayenne pepper, mustard and pepper. Add the beaten egg a third at a time, beating the mixture well to incorporate the egg. Allow the mixture to cool.

To make the dip, mix the sour cream with the herbs, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Place in a dish and dust with paprika

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan; to check if the oil is hot, add a piece of bread, it should sizzle and be golden brown after one minute

Using a teaspoon dipped in vegetable oil, place spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil. Fry each portion of the mixture for five minutes until it puffs up and turns golden brown.

Drain the fritter on kitchen paper and serve hot.

Wine suggestions

1 Greywacke Riesling 2011, Marlborough, New Zealand, £17

The palate delivers a burst of lime sorbet and a suggestion of flinty minerality, which combined within its Yin-Yang structure of delicate sweetness and vibrant acidity produces a wine of sumptuous vivacity, which will work brilliantly with the slight spiciness and richness of the cheese.

2 Grand Cru, NV Brut Champagne from Egly Ouriet, £49.95

Egly-Ouriet is at the forefront of the new ‘Artisan’ movement. This will thrill and surprise many the first time it is tried as it balances freshness with the most extraordinary complexity. I simply adore this distinctly fruit-driven, opulent style of Champagne.


Parsnip and apple soup with parsnip crisps

Serves 4


3 parsnips

1 large Bramley apple

2 white onions

1 ltr vegetable stock

75g crème fraîche (plus a little extra to garnish)

Salt and pepper to taste

50g butter

Oil for frying


First peel and slice the onions and two parsnips, then place a pan on a medium heat. Add the butter to the pan, let it melt and then add the onions and parsnips. Cook for eight to10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and golden brown.

Peel and slice the apple and add it to the pan, cook for a further two minutes, add a pinch of salt and pepper and then add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, take the remaining parsnip and shave it into long strips using a peeler. Place at least one inch of oil in a pan on a high heat; test the oil is hot by adding a strip of parsnip, which should sizzle when it hits the oil. Be careful not to get the oil too hot as the crisps will burn and become bitter,

When the oil is hot, fry the shaved parsnip in batches for a minute until the strips are lightly golden brown. When cooked, drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt, allow them to cool and store until required.

When the soup is cooked, transfer to a blender, add the crème fraîche and blend until smooth.

Put the soup back in the pan and bring to the boil again. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve the soup, spoon it into a bowl add a teaspoon of crème fraîche to the middle of the soup and place a few parsnip crisps on top to decorate.


Roast loin of venison with spiced pumpkin mash and juniper berry sauce

Serves 4


500g venison loin joint

1 large pumpkin (about 1kg)

1 tsp fresh chopped thyme

4 garlic cloves (skin on)

1 tsp ground allspice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

2 large shallots (thinly sliced)

25g butter

1 star anise

2 cloves

250ml red wine

85ml port

10 crushed juniper berries

1 bay leaf

500ml chicken stock

1tbsp balsamic vinegar


For the pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 180˚ degrees, cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds. Cut each half into four wedges. Place the pumpkin wedges on a baking tray and drizzle with rapeseed oil, sprinkle over the thyme and all spice and season with salt and pepper. Put the tray of pumpkin in the oven to roast for 45 minutes.

After the pumpkin has been roasted, remove it from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Using a spoon, scrape the roasted flesh away from the skin, discard the skins and place the flesh in a saucepan. Take the roasted garlic cloves, squeeze the garlic from its skin and add it to the pumpkin. Then crush the pumpkin with a fork and season with salt and pepper if required. Keep the pumpkin warm until it is time to serve.

For the sauce

Place a small saucepan on a medium heat. Melt the butter and then add the shallots, cook for eight to 10 minutes until nice and soft and slightly browned. Take the pan off the heat and add all the spices and bay leaf, leave for one minute so the spices can release their flavour.

Return the pan to the heat and add the port, red wine and vinegar, turn the heat up high, bring the sauce to the boil and reduce the liquid by half, then add the chicken stock and reduce the sauce by two thirds. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve to remove the shallots and whole spices.

Return the sauce to the pan and reduce the sauce until it starts to thicken, season with salt and pepper and keep warn until required.

For the venison

Place a large frying pan on a high heat. Drizzle some rapeseed oil over the venison and season well with salt and pepper, rubbing the salt, pepper and oil all over the venison. Place the meat in the hot pan and brown and seal each side of the meat. Transfer the meat to a roasting tray, put in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

When the venison is cooked allow it time to relax after cooking (about five to 10 minutes).

To serve

Place some of the pumpkin mash on a plate, cut two nice slices of venison and place them on top of the pumpkin, spoon over some of the sauce and serve immediately.

Note: new-season Brussel sprouts go really well with this dish.

Wine suggestion

Majella Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Coonawarra, Australia. £22.95

This is a full-bodied, round red wine with generous cassis blackcurrant fruit, soft full tannins and some fresh aromatic notes. It will complement the rich meat and will go beautifully with the spicy pumpkin mash.

Saint Nick’s profiteroles

Serves 4



60g strong flour

150ml water

50g butter

1 large eggs

1 tsp sugar

Pinch of salt


100g of Christmas pudding

1 orange (zest and juice)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

175ml whole milk

175ml double cream

125g caster sugar

1 large egg

20g corn flour

Chocolate sauce

75g dark chocolate

125ml double cream


For the profiteroles

Place the water, butter, sugar and salt in a pan and bring to the boil. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and beat until smooth. Cook for two minutes until the mixture comes away from the side of the pan.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool for five minutes, beat the eggs together and add them to the mixture a third at a time, beating well to incorporate the eggs.

Preheat the oven to 200˚ degrees. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, place a teaspoon of the mixture on the tray and leave a one-inch gap between then next one, repeating the process until the tray is full.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown. Once cooked, transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before filling.

For the filling

Place the milk and 75ml of cream in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil.

Meanwhile mix the sugar and egg together in a mixing bowl with a whisk, then add the cornflour and mix until smooth.

When the milk is just at boiling point, remove from the heat and carefully mix one third of the milk with the eggs, whisking all the time, then slowly add the rest of the milk and return the mixture to the pan and place back on the heat.

Bring back to the boil stirring all the time and simmer for two to three minutes, making sure you have a nice smooth mixture. At this point add the zest and juice of the orange and the cinnamon and mix well.

Once cooked pour into a bowl, cover and leave to cool,

Once cooled transfer to a blender and add the Christmas pudding and 100ml double cream and blend all together for one minute. Now your filling is ready for the profiteroles

For the chocolate sauce

Break the chocolate into small pieces, place the chocolate and cream in a heavy based saucepan. Place on a low heat and stir continuously until the chocolate has melted and brecom a smooth, shiny sauce. Best served warm.

To finish

Place the filling in a piping bag, cut across the side of the profiteroles to open them up and pipe in a generous amount of the filling. Give five or six per person and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Wine suggestion

2007 Chateau Doisy Vedrines, Barsac, France, £20.95 (half bottle)

A full-flavoured, sweet desert wine such as this superb Barsac with its citrus peel, tropical fruit notes and balanced acidity would be delicious with this dessert. The palate is medium-bodied with a very rounded texture lovely pure honeyed fruit with orange rind and tang of marmalade. It is very generous towards the finish which lacquers the palate in its decadent richness.


The Kent Cookery School opened in 2011 and is owned and run by the Wanstall family, who have farmed in the village of Aldington since 1918. They also own The Secret Garden Restaurant on the same site, whose Victorian kitchen garden supplies many of the cookery school ingredients as does the family farm and other local suppliers.

On offer is a vast range of day and evening classes (as well as demonstrations), suitable for everyone from novices to experts, children to OAPS. The team also offers private instruction, corporate events, hen, stag and birthday parties, with special events held throughout the year.

Kent Cookery School

Mersham-le-Hatch Business Village

Hythe Road, nr Ashford TN25 6NH

To book a course or for general enquiries: 01233 501771 or

Meet the 
wine expert

Stuart McClosky

Stuart is the director and owner of Z&B Vintners, founding the company in June 2005. Stuart has spent the past 16 years in the wine trade 
and 20 years as a collector and is responsible for all wine purchases for both Z&B and 
The Vinorium.

All the wines Stuart has recommended are available online at

or to buy in-store.

The Vinorium

Mersham-le-Hatch Business Village

Hythe Road, nr Ashford TN25 6NH

01233 500561 or

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