Cook a Kentish feast

PUBLISHED: 16:59 27 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:59 27 November 2015

Christmas feasting at Wallett's Court

Christmas feasting at Wallett's Court

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Kent Life has teamed up with Wallett’s Court - whose chef was a finalist in the ‘Chef of the Year’ category in our 2015 Food & Drink Awards - to bring you an utterly Kentish feast for Christmas Day

Meet the chef

Michael Fowler

Head chef, Wallett’s Court, St Margaret’s at Cliffe

What was your inspiration behind your choice of dishes for our Christmas feast?

When I think of a Christmas menu and hopefully spoiling my guests, beautiful seafood, rich sauces and top local produce always get the nod. I have to be honest the menu is basically things I would love to eat in December; this is my way of guaranteeing I will

Is there a ‘stand out’ dish for you on the menu?

Yes, I love the ox cheek, it’s so simple to prepare but such a stunning flavour, mixed in with a little truffle for Christmas exuberance

Are the recipes all new?

I always make sure there are completely new dishes on a menu, but I find that sometimes you will love a dish at heart, so change a few elements depending on seasonality

Was it a challenge coming up with the vegetarian options?

I have always enjoyed cooking vegetarian dishes as it always pushes me harder. My main challenge is to make it interesting and new for my customers. A couple of my good friends are vegetarian and are always happy to critic (they are also very honest)

Who are your principal local suppliers?

My principal suppliers are key to any success I have with my menus, due to their passion and hard work in sourcing the best Kent has to offer. I use our local suppliers because they quite honestly have some of the best produce available, but more importantly I can visit them and see what is available.

Preston Family Butchers, Canterbury

Jenkins fishmongers, Deal

T J Wholesale Fruiterers, Birchington

Turners Fine Foods, Cranbrook

The Wild Food Catering Company

Will you serve the Kent Life dishes at Wallett’s Court?

All the dishes we have produced for today will be on our December menus

What will you and your family have for Christmas lunch?

Christmas lunch with my family will include some shellfish and smoked salmon to start and a cracking Appledore turkey for the main event, with something very unhealthy for dessert. Even better, my wife will have cooked most of it by the time I finish lunch service at Walletts Court.


First course

Seared North Atlantic langoustines with a ginger and lemongrass bisque


Bowyer’s Brie and red onion tarlet with pickled Bramley apple and apple syrup (V)

Main course

Slow-braised ox cheek with truffled pomme purée and winter greens


Kentish-made Ricotta and wild mushroom cannelloni with roasted winter beets, fennel and orange (V)


Quince and cobnut tart with a pear ice cream and Bramley foam


Wallett’s chocolate plate Marquise of chocolate with hot chocolate fondant and white chocolate ice cream

Cheese board



Seared North Atlantic langoustines with a garlic and lemongrass bisque

Ginger and lemongrass bisque Ingredients

50ml olive oil 500g reserved langoustine shells 1kg crab or lobster shells 2 carrots 1 onion 1 stick celery ½ fennel bulb 2 cloves garlic 2 star anise 3 tbsp tomato paste 4 lemongrass, chopped 200ml dry white wine 2ltrs cold water 500ml fish stock 3 inch piece ginger, chopped 2 tins coconut milk 5 sprigs fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 4 25ml shots brandy Method Roast all shells until the colour changes. Chop all the vegetables, sweat in olive oil. Add tomato paste, then add the roasted shells and brandy, light to burn off the alcohol. Add all liquid, simmer for 1 ½ hours. Strain reduce to a sauce consistency.

Saffron pasta Ingredients

2 tbsp saffron water 590g pasta flour 4 whole eggs 6 egg yolks

Method Add all ingredients together, pulse in a blender until of a breadcrumb consistency, turn out and work until a dough is achieved. Chill for 30 minutes to relax then roll out the mixture to its thinnest setting on a pasta machine or use a tagliatelle cutter.

Carrot and courgette spaghetti Ingredients 1 Carrot 1 Courgette

Method Peel the carrot, wash, top and tail the courgette. Use a spiralizer or a swivel peeler.

Langoustine Ingredients 1kg live/fresh langoustine.

Method Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds. Place in an ice bath (half ice, half water). When chilled, peel and reserve the shells.

To drink

Wine recommendation: Biddenden Gribble Bridge Ortega 2013 Kent

Bower’s Brie and red onion tartlet with pickled Bramley apple and apple syrup

Shortcrust pastry Ingredients

250g plain flour 1 small pinch of sugar 1 large pinch of salt 140g unsalted butter 1 egg 1 tbsp milk Method

Dice butter and rub it into the flour, add the salt and sugar, egg and milk and bring together to a dough and chill for one hour

Red onion marmalade Ingredients

25g butter 500g red onions 1 ½ tbsp brown sugar 220ml red wine 3 tbsp Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar

Method Sweat off the onions in butter with sugar until soft. Add wine and vinegar, reduce until nearly all the wine has evaporated.

Pickled apples Ingredients

800g Demerara sugar 800ml red wine vinegar 800ml red wine 2 tsp mustard seeds Zest of one lemon 5 allspice berries 5 cloves 6cm cinnamon stick 30g fresh ginger root 10 coriander seeds 10 Granny Smith apples Method Reduce all the ingredients except for the apple, for 20 minutes. Cut the apples in half and core, then poach for 5 to 10 minutes until they are soft but not losing their shape.

To drink

Wine recommendation: Hand-picked Gerwurtztraminer, Skillogalee 2013 Australia

MAIN COURSE Slow-braised ox cheek with truffle pomme purée and winter greens

Ox Cheeks Ingredients

8 ox cheeks, trimmed 4 small onions, chopped 4 celery sticks 4 carrots 1 head of garlic, smashed small handful of fresh thyme 1 tsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed 1 pinch of salt 3 bay leaves 2 bottles of red wine 400ml port Method Cover and chill for 24 hours, then place into pan with pinch of salt. Simmer for 2½ to 3 hours, with cartouche.

Truffle mash Ingredients

1.25kg Maris Piper potatoes

125 ml double cream

62.50g butter

15g olive oil

1½ tbsp. chopped black truffle or truffle oil to taste


Cook the potatoes in salted water until very tender. Drain and return to the pot, stir over a medium heat until the excess moisture evaporates. Then mash, add cream, butter, olive oil and truffle seasoning to taste.

To drink

Wine recommendation: Chateau Mille Roses Margaux 2011 France

Kentish-made ricotta and wild mushroom cannelloni with roasted winter beets, fennel and orange.


500g wild mushrooms

2 shallots finely chopped

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

1tsp chopped thyme

Splash of white wine

500g Ricotta

Method for mushrooms

Sweat the shallot and garlic, sauté the mushrooms, add wine and reduce. Add the thyme, chill and fold through the ricotta. Place into pasta square, egg wash and roll into cylinders. Steam for 3 to 4 minutes.

Orange powder

Orange peel blanched three times then dehydrated in the oven at 90oc for two hours, then blended to a powder

Fennel cut into wedges

Blanch in salted water ice bath 50 % water 50% ice

To serve roll in extra virgin rape seed oil chargrill


1 bunch mixed baby beetroot

Peel of 2 oranges

2 crushed cloves of garlic

Pinch of salt

Tbsp rape seed oil (Quex)

Sprig of thyme

Method for roasted beetroots

Wrap all in tin foil and bake at 180ºC on a cooling rack in a tray for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Peel while warm and reserve somewhere warm

To serve

Dust the plate with orange powder, place three cannelloni in the middle of the plate, top with baby beetroot and char-grilled fennel

To drink

Wine recommendation: Fleurie La Bonne Dame 2014 France


Quince and cobnut tart with a pear ice cream and brandy foam

Poached quince Ingredients 1 bottle Rosé wine 500g sugar 500ml water 10 quinces peeled reserve peel Lemon juice

Frangipane mix Ingredients 250g icing sugar 250g butter 250g ground almonds 4 eggs


Mix all ingredients together.

Pear ice cream

For the purée

Ingredients 700g ripe pears 200ml pear juice 1 tbsp lemon juice


Peel the pears, add to the pear and lemon juice when very tender, blend and chill.

For the Anglaise Ingredients 4 egg yolks 250ml milk 250ml double cream 100g caster sugar 1 vanilla pod- split length ways & seed scraped Method

Whisk eggs & sugar together until pale Heat milk & cream with vanilla pod & seeds beat onto egg mix , return to pan, continual stir until mix reaches 85oc pass through sieve chill then add the pear puree and churn in an ice cream machine.

For brandy foam

Make half amount of Anglaise

Add brandy to taste and use hand blender to foam when warm.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Ingredients

250g flour 100g butter 100g icing sugar 1 pinch salt 2 eggs (room temperature)

Method Sift flour. Work in butter. Add sugar, salt then eggs.

To assemble tart:

Roll out pastry line tart case fill with frangipane and top with half a quince

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180ºC serve with a scoop of pear ice cream and some quince crisps.

To drink

Wine recommendation: Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2005 France

Wallett’s Chocolate Plate Marquis of chocolate with hot chocolate fondant and white chocolate ice cream.

Chocolate Fondant Ingredients

250g butter 250g chocolate 5 egg yolks 5 whole eggs 125g caster sugar 50g plain flour


Melt chocolate & butter in a bowl over simmering water. Beat eggs & sugar until pale fold in chocolate, sift in flour. Put into dariol moulds that have been buttered & floured chill bake 10 minutes 180 oc

Chocolate pastry Ingredients

40g cocoa powder 160g plain flour 80g icing sugar ½ tbsp salt 80g unsalted butter, diced 1 egg Method Sift cocoa powder, flour and icing sugar. Add salt and blend. Add butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add the egg. Chill, roll out to ½ cm in thickness bake 180oc 5-8 minutes. Cut out with 5cm x 5cm butter, chill.

Chocolate mousse Ingredients

135g Valrhona chocolate 1 leaf gelatine 1 egg (room temperature) 1 egg yolk (room temperature) 300ml cream


Soak gelatine in cold water. Beat eggs, melt chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Warm cream pour over eggs beat return to pan cook to 82oc add gelatine whisk into chocolate pour onto chilled caramel truffle.

Chocolate icing Ingredients

200ml cream 150g dark chocolate

Method Heat cream and beat into chocolate.

Caramel truffle Ingredients

40g castor sugar 140ml cream 250g milk chocolate

Method Make caramel. Add cream. Pour onto chocolate.

To assemble pour caramel truffle in moulds to chill. Add a layer of chocolate mousse to chill and top with chocolate icing

White Chocolate Ice Cream Ingredients 320g white chocolate 500ml double cream 1ltr milk 100g icing sugar 280g liquid glucose Method Bring cream to the boil. Simmer and add the liquid glucose and icing sugar. Add milk and chill. Churn mixture in an ice cream machine, then set in freezer.

To drink

Wine recommendation: The Noble Wrinkled Riesling 2011 Australia


Barkham Blue Two Hoots Cheese), Lancashire Bomb (Shorrocks Cheese), Baronet (The Old Cheese Room) and Wensum White goats cheese (Fielding Cottage), with wild damson cheese & oatcakes

To drink

Taylors Late Bottled Vintage Port 2009 Portugal

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