Enjoy a Kentish feast this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 15:58 20 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:23 20 February 2013

Enjoy a Kentish feast this Christmas

Enjoy a Kentish feast this Christmas

Kent Life has teamed up with four of our favourite chefs from 2012 to bring you an original, truly Kentish Christmas feast based on local produce. Brought to you in association for the second year running with Faversham Enterprise Partnership

Enjoy a Kentish feast this Christmas

Kent Life has teamed up with four of our favourite chefs from 2012 to bring you an original, truly Kentish Christmas feast based on local produce. Brought to you in association for the second year running with Faversham Enterprise Partnership


Daniel Hatton

Head chef, Thackerays

85 London Road

Tunbridge Wells TN1 1EA

01892 511921

Tell us a bit about you

I was born in Mayfield and have lived there for the last 29 years. I have been cooking for 11 years in top restaurants in Kent and London learning my art before coming to Thackerays as head chef. Ive been here just under two years, and in that time we have been awarded a Michelin star! I have worked with Richard Phillips group for many years, starting with my first at Thackerays 11 years ago as a commis chef.

Any advice for Christmas cooks?

Keep it simple. Preparation is the key to making it easy, plan where youre going to get your ingredients carefully, so you can get the best produce on the market

What will you be doing this Christmas?

This year Im keeping it quiet as my fiance and I have just moved into our new house, so it with be spent at home.

Do you get a break at all over Christmas?

Not usually, its all about the restaurant and meeting the customers needs, so I will leave the break till after the New Year.

Top tip when buying ingredients?

Buy the best you can afford, as this will make a big difference to the end dish. And although everyone says buy local, it really is important to do so to ensure a better flavoured product.

Will Devlin

Head chef, The Windmill

32 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne ME17 1TR

01622 889000

Tell us a bit about you

I have always cooked from a young age and my mother and father are both very good in the kitchen. After being a qualified mechanic for four years I realised cooking was where my heart really was, so I left my job and started my culinary career at The Marriott Tudor Park Hotel with Jo Mackay. After 18 months I moved to London to work under Gordon Ramsay at Petrus, my first experience of Michelin star cooking - and I loved it! I wanted to come back to Kent and joined the Richard Phillips company at Thackerays under Dan Hatton. I learnt a lot, it was hard work but great fun, and we ending up winning our Michelin star back. I was then offered the opportunity for my first head chef position here at the Windmill and jumped at the chance to work on a new venture for the company and really make somewhere special to come and eat and drink in Kent.

Any advice for Christmas cooks?

Preparation! Be organised, get the majority of the cooking done beforehand so you can sit down and enjoy the dinner

What will you be eating this Christmas?

As a family we are going to have goose this year, its a touch more pricey but well worth the money.

Do you get a break at all over Christmas?

Nope, it is our busiest time of the year, we are cooking for everyone elses Christmas so we need to make sure we are on top form. Most of us chefs take our time off in January.

Top tip when buying ingredients?

Splash out, buy the best. And make sure you have something in mind for the leftovers on Boxing Day. Saves you cooking twice.

Charlie Lakin

Hhead chef, The Marquis at Alkham

Alkham Valley Road, Alkham, nr Dover CT15 7DF

01304 873410

Tell us a bit about you

Im a devoted father, head chef and heavy metal fan!

Any advice for Christmas cooks?

Dont go overboard keep it simple and buy good quality ingredients.

What will you be eating this Christmas?

Lots of snacky bits something to soak up the ale!

Do you get a break at all over Christmas?

Yes, we are closed for a few days so it should be a great Christmas.

Top tip when buying ingredients?

Support your local, independent shops not only now but also in the New Year we need to keep them going and they sell so much great quality, interesting produce.

Andrew McLeish

Executive chef, Chapter One

Farnborough Common, Locksbottom, nr Orpington BR6 8NF

01689 854848

Tell us a bit about you

Growing up in Nottingham, I completed a chefs diploma and began working as a commis chef for a small restaurant in Bray called the Warrener. The experience of working in a small town showed me the importance of local produce which I have taken with me to Chapter One, sourcing as much as possible local ingredients and even shooting the deer, rabbits and pheasant myself. As a young chef it was my dream to move to London but after working at amazing restaurants such as The Ritz, Chez Nico and the Mandarin Oriental I became intrigued by fusion food and decided to move to Thailand where I worked for 12 months. It was a great experience and I returned to the UK ready for my next challenge.

Any advice for Christmas cooks?

Prepare as much in advance as possible so as to leave Christmas day as easy and enjoyable as possible.

What will you be eating this Christmas?

A nice free-range bronze turkey with all the trimmings and Christmas pudding for afters. Boxing Day I will have to have some honey roast ham on the bone, plenty of cheese and wine with friends from the village where we live.

Do you get a break at all over Christmas?

Christmas is a very special time for the family. I will pop into the restaurant on Christmas Day to make sure it is all going well, but the hard work will be left with my head chef Dean and his team.

Top tip when buying ingredients?

I understand it is a little more expensive, but I would always buy a fresh, free-range bronze turkey. The taste is far superior and it is ethically reared.



Stuart McCloskey, Z&B Vintners Limited, Biddenden

Champagne: 2004 Le Mesnil Blanc de Blanc, Grand Cru at 32.99 (Waitrose)

A superb grand cru Champagne and made from Chardonnay grapes grown on top vineyards. The palate is finely toned, beautifully focused, powerful without being clumsy and will put many Grand Marques to shame!

Sauternes: A chilled glass of Sauternes is a beautiful way to start your Christmas lunch or pre-lunch nibbles. Opt for classic vintages such as 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and avoid those hot years like 2003. Waitrose offers the 2005 Chteau Doisy-Daene at 17.99 (per half bottle) which is a great wine. A must-have with your cheese course if you are not convinced about starting your day with a glass!

To start

Monkshill farm goose breast bresaola, honey soused vegetables and Kentish blue cheese


Roasted chestnut soup with puff pastry and Parmesan croutons

To follow

Venison Wellington with roasted parsnips, Brussels sprouts and Madeira-glazed chestnuts


Salad of winter pumpkin

To finish

Dark chocolate and orange fondant


Cobnut parfait, preserved Brogdale fruits and sloe gin sorbet

Kent Life would like to thank our four chefs, Daniel Hatton, Will Devlin, Charlie Lakin and Andrew McLeish for their imaginative recipes for our very special Kentish feast. Also Stuart McCloskey, our resident wine columnist, for his inspired wine suggestions and our sponsor for the second year running, Faversham Enterprise Partnership our Fabulous Faversham Friends


Recipe by Charlie Lakin, head chef, The Marquis at Alkham

Monkshill Farm goose breast bresaola with honey soused vegetables and Kentish blue cheese

Serves 8


2 goose breasts

300mg rock salt

4 bay leaves

10 cloves, juniper berries and peppercorns

5 strips of lemon and orange zest

cup of orange juice

500ml red wine

2 cloves of garlic

8 sprigs of rosemary

1 carrot, 1 small parsnip, 1 turnip and 1 shallot

2 tbsp local flower clear honey

1tbsp sherry vinegar

1tbsp dry sherry

125ml Quex Park rapeseed oil

1 lime zest and juice

1tsp finely chopped thyme

To garnish

100g Kentish blue cheese

1 bunch rocket or watercress

Start the goose a week before you require it, first remove the skin from the goose breast (reserve to be rendered down to make goose fat for your roasties on Christmas Day). Mix remaining ingredients together and place in a plastic container then lay the goose breasts in the marinade. Leave for 24 hours then turn the breasts and leave for a further 24 hours. Remove the breasts from the marinade, wipe off any excess liquid, wrap in muslin cloth and tie with string then hang to dry in a cold pantry, cellar or fridge for at least five days.

Do the vegetables the day before you need them for a better end flavour. Using a potato peeler, cut into thin strips, sprinkle with salt and leave to one side. Finely dice the shallot and sweat in a little of the oil, add the honey, vinegar and the sherry and bring to the boil and reduce to by half then add the remaining ingredients and cook for one minute. Wash the salt of the vegetables, add to the marinade, give it a good stir, place in a metal bowl and cover with cling film. Let it cool to room temperature then place in the fridge and save for the following day.

To serve, slice the goose breast, place 8-10 nice slices on each plate then arrange a mixture of the honey soused vegetables over the top, followed by a few rocket or watercress leaves and shavings of Kent blue cheese.

To drink

A Riesling will work beautifully with the honey soused vegetables and Kent blue cheese. Goose can be rather rich so the acidity found in Riesling will work wonderfully too. I would opt for a German, Alsace or Austrian - Sainsburys offer a tight, bright, spritzy Riesling from Dr Loosen Graacher Himmelreich (Riesling Kabinett) at 12.99 per bottle.

Stuart McCloskey, Z&B Vintners Limited, Biddenden


Recipe by Andrew McLeish, executive chef, Chapter One

Roasted chestnut soup with puff pastry and parmesan croutons

Serves 6


50g butter

2 onions chopped

1 clove garlic

2 celery sticks chopped

1 large potato peeled and chopped

1 kg of fresh chestnuts

1 litre vegetable stock

250ml whipping cream

Bay leaf

Salt /pepper


1 piece of ready rolled puff pastry cut into 6 pieces, 15x2cm each

50g grated parmesan

1 tblsp paprika

1 egg for egg wash

Egg wash each strip of puff pastry, sprinkle with the parmesan and paprika. Twist both ends of the pastry one end clockwise and the other anticlockwise like a sweet wrapper. Bake on a tray at 180Ëš C for 12 mins until golden brown.

Roasting the chestnuts

Pre-heat the oven to 200Ëš C. Score a cross on the chestnuts with a sharp knife and place on a baking tray, cover with tin foil and bake for 12-15 mins. Remove and put on a plate, leave until cool enough to handle then peel away the skins.

Making the soup

In a saucepan, melt the butter add the onions, celery, garlic and fry until soft but with no colour. Add the potato and then the chestnuts leaving four aside for the garnish. Add the stock and bay leaf and bring to the boil and simmer for 30 mins. Remove from heat, take out the bay leaf and then blend in a blender and pass through a sieve. Stir in the cream, check the seasoning and serve in bowls. Garnish by grating the remaining chestnuts over the soup and serve the puff pastry croutons on the side.

To drink

A mature white Burgundy will work beautifully here. Tesco are offering Nicolas Potels Saint Romain for around 10 per bottle, which is delicious for the money. I would recommend decanting the wine (as its young) for an hour before serving as this will open up the aromatics and lift the palate.

Stuart McCloskey, Z&B Vintners Limited, Biddenden


Recipe by Andrew McLeish, executive chef, Chapter One

Venison wellington with Madeira-glazed chestnuts (pictured)

Serves four


600g Sika venison loin cleaned with sinew removed


For the mushroom duxelle

250g button mushrooms

4 shallots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

100ml Madeira

4 tbsp double cream

For the pancakes

150g plain flour

2 eggs

140ml milk

To wrap the venison

6-8 leaves of large spinach

400g puff pastry

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp milk

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Season the loin with salt and pepper and add to the pan, turning it every 1-2 minutes to colour it on all sides, until it is cooked to rare. Remove from the pan and refrigerate. Melt the butter in the same pan, chop the mushrooms finely and saut until golden. Remove from the pan and put to one side. Add the shallots and chopped garlic to the pan, cook until soft, add the mushrooms again and cook quickly until no liquid is left. Add the Madeira and boil until reduced by half. Add cream then cook until the mixture is thick and beginning to darken. Season and leave to one side.

To make the pancakes, whisk together the flour, whole eggs and milk to make a smooth batter. Heat a frying pan and add a drop of oil. When it is hot, pour in a small amount of batter to cover the base with a very thin layer and cook until set. Turn over and cook the other side. Repeat the process again until mixture is finished keeping cooked pancakes to one side.

Blanch the spinach leaves in boiling water and then cool in iced water. Dry the leaves well. Lay a sheet of cling film on a chopping board and put three pancakes overlapping on it. Lay the spinach on top in a single layer. Spread the mushroom mix over the spinach and lay the venison on top. Roll the pancakes, spinach and mushroom mix around the venison. Wrap tightly in the cling film and leave to cool in the fridge, preferably over night.

Roll out the puff pastry thinly, remove the venison and pancake layers from the cling film and lay on the pastry. Brush the edges with the egg glaze and roll up, sealing the edges well. Brush the rest of the egg yolk glaze over the outside.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ËšC for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Place a thin metal skewer in the centre of the venison, it should be slightly warm. Remove from the oven, rest for at least 10 minutes in a warm place, then slice and serve.

To accompany

500g brussel sprouts

300g peeled chestnuts

100ml Madeira

100ml chicken stock

300g parsnips

100g pancetta lardoons

Remove the outside leaves from the Brussels sprouts and score the base with a cross.

Colour the chestnuts in a hot pan with a little butter. Add 100ml Madeira, reduce then add 100ml chicken stock and reduce further until the chestnuts have a nice sticky glaze. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Blanch the sprouts in boiling salted water for approximately 2-3 minutes. Drain and refresh in iced water (this can be done in advance).

Peel and cut parsnips into four lengthways. Roast in a hot pan until nicely coloured. Add the pancetta lardoons, colour then add the drained sprouts, remove from the heat but keep in the pan then add the glazed chestnuts. Season er and serve.

To drink

A red Rhone, preferably from either Hermitage or Cote Rotie and with some bottle age would be the perfect partner to Andrews Venison Wellington. Tesco offers Guigals superb 2005 Cote Rotie for around 32.50 per bottle. Alternatively, and to keep ones budgets in check, opt for a bottle of Montes limited selection Cabernet Sauvignon & Carmenre, available from Tesco at 8 per bottle. Either way, decant the wine for a better result.

Stuart McCloskey, Z&B Vintners Limited, Biddenden


Recipe by Daniel Hatton, Thackerays

Salad of winter pumpkin with goats cheese and hazelnut dressing

Serves 4


1 medium Pumpkin

500g goats cheese, Kentish if possible

10 sage leaves

500g mixed wild mushrooms

Praline paste:

100g hazelnuts

100g super-fine capers

1 bulb of garlic

Olive oil

100ml hazelnut oil

100ml white wine vinegar

1 tbsp English mustard

250g English watercress

Peel and cut the pumpkin into 1cm dice, lay onto a baking tray and drizzle over some olive oil, garlic, sage and capers. Bake in the oven at 190ËšC until soft and so the pumpkin has roasted edges, leave to one side

Put the trimmings from the pumpkin into a pan and cover with vegetable stock or water, season and bring to the boil until soft, add to a blender and blitz until smooth, and put back into a saucepan to keep hot. Saut the wild mushrooms and leave to one side.

To make the dressing, add mustard and vinegar to a mixing bowl and whisk, slowly add hazelnut oil so it emulsifies, then add 100ml of vegetable oil and the hazelnuts.

To serve, spread a layer of the pure on the plate, add the roasted pumpkin, capers and sage leaves, then the wild mushrooms. Decorate the plate with dots of hazelnut praline (you can use Nutella) around the edge. Dress the watercress leaves and arrange on top, finish with crumbled cheese and a spoonful more dressing over the top.

To drink

Sauvignon Blanc lends itself well to the strong flavour found with goats cheese, but try to avoid New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc as its gooseberry, grassy and herbaceous characteristics will clash. Instead, opt for a wine from the Loire. Either a Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume will work nicely. All the major supermarkets stock these but I particularly like Tescos 2007 La Chaudouillonne Sancerre for around 15 per bottle.

Stuart McCloskey, Z&B Vintners Limited, Biddenden


Recipe by Will Devlin, The Windmill at Hollingbourne

Dark chocolate and orange fondant

Serves 6


For the fondant

180g dark chocolate

170g butter

6 whole eggs

200g caster sugar

2 whole oranges

70g plain flour

For the orange syrup

80g orange juice

150g caster sugar

2 oranges

For the orange cream

100g double cream

30g Grand Marnier

20g icing sugar

For the fondant moulds

50g unsalted butter

50g cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 200ËšC. Butter fondant moulds using a pastry brush. Once coated, chill the moulds. Repeat the process once more this time dusting the inside with cocoa powder. Place moulds back in the fridge.

Melt the chocolate, butter and orange zest in a bain marie. Whisk the eggs, sugar until the mix has doubled in volume. Add the flour then the melted chocolate and butter. Spoon the mixture into individual pudding moulds and cook for 12-14 mins and serve straight from the oven.Dust with icing sugar. They should still be runny in the middle.

Whisk the cream until it starts to thicken and then add the sugar and Grand Marnier. Continue whisking until you have soft peaks.

Boil sugar and orange juice until syrup is reduced, drop in clementine segments and remove from stove. Allow to cool

To drink

Paring wine with chocolate is incredibly difficult and would require lots of fondant and wine samples to find the perfect marriage, therefore I prefer to serve either a Pedro Ximnez Sherry or an aged tawny Port, both served slightly chilled. The latter option serves your cheese course perfectly too. Waitrose offers a super example of the Pedro Ximnez grape, which has spent 30 years of aging in oak barrels (G Byass Noe Pedro Ximnez Viejo at 16 per bottle). Also from in Waitrose is a caramelised and nutty 10-year-old tawny port from Quinta do Noval at 18.99 per bottle.

Stuart McCloskey, Z&B Vintners Limited, Biddenden


Recipe by Charlie Lakin, The Marquis at Alkham

Cobnut parfait, preserved Brogdale fruits and sloe gin sorbet

Serves 4

Preserved Brogdale fruits

280g preserving sugar

210ml cider vinegar

1 pear, 1 apple and 1 quince

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

5g fresh ginger

Cobnut parfait

110g sugar

40g shelled cobnuts, toasted and skinned

2 egg whites

115ml double cream

Sloe gin sorbet

150ml sloe gin

500ml still water

75g glucose

90g caster sugar

1 strip orange zest

The preserved fruit can be made well in advance and if the container is properly sealed they will keep for at least two months. First peel and cut the fruit into wedges removing the cores, set to one side. Gently dissolve the sugar in the vinegar then bring to the boil, add the fruit and the remaining ingredients, gently poach the fruit until tender but not breaking up, once cooked remove the fruit from the liquor and bring back to the boil for 1 min. Place the fruit in a kilner and cover with the cooking liquor. Close the lid and place in pan of boiling water for 10 mins. Leave to cool at room temperature.Heat 40g of sugar to a caramel and pour over the cobnuts and leave to cool. When cool smash the nuts into small pieces - for the best result use a food processer, but a good heavy duty plastic bag and a rolling pin will also do. Whip the egg whites until stiff and add the remaining sugar. Continue to whisk until shiny and stiff. Whip the cream until firm. Fold all ingredients together and place into four ramekins, place in freezer to set.

For the sorbet boil all ingredients together, pass, chill and churn in an ice cream machine until firm, pop in the freezer until needed.

To plate gently warm the fruit, turn the parfaits out just of centre of the plate with a pile of the fruit next to it and a scoop of the sorbet on top, finish with a sprinkle of crushed cobnuts.

To drink

Why not finish with a sloe gin cocktail? 8oz sloe gin, 1tsp dry vermouth, 4 dashes orange bitters. Stir all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve (serves 4). All ingredients are readily available from Waitrose.

Stuart McCloskey, Z&B Vintners Limited, Biddenden


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