Once again, welcome to my fortnightly column. I hope you have tried one or two of my recipes recently and with any luck managed to produce what I would call restaurant quality dishes.
Here at the Raby Hunt we use a combination of simple flavours and Michelin-standard techniques. My recipes always tend to be pretty simple but with a few extra restaurant-standard finishes that you should be able to recreate at home.
Last time, perhaps prematurely if you’ve had torrential rain, I suggested we get that barbeque dusted off and fired up to create a wonderful, highly-flavoured lamb burger with yoghurt dressing.
Hopefully, this week’s suggestion for a beautiful, refreshing summer juice will not cause the heavens to open.
Earlier this year at the Raby Hunt we decided to stop serving your standard fare drinks, juices and cocktails.
We spent what I have to say was a very enjoyable three months trialing and tasting new juices and cocktails! In that time I realised just how amazingly simple and rewarding it can be to create a flavoursome and thirst-quenching juice.
We now have a new cocktail list where everything apart from the alcohol is made here at the restaurant. We serve our own juices with breakfast or as an aperitif before dinning.
In making our new juices and cocktails we looked at taking classic flavour combinations and making them better.
As you know, most of us at the Raby Hunt have a passion for excellent food and good service. The front of house team have been left to create the cocktails through trial and error and after many, many good and bad ones, we have finally got there. It’s interesting seeing how things develop from an original idea.
Take, for example, our cocktail based on a classic favourite of mine, The Old Fashioned, comprising whisky, sugar and bitters.
We have created a tribute to this by using a full strength 100% proof American bourbon, infused our own sugar with organic Hojicha green tea to produce a syrup and made a bitter solution using dandelion and burdock.
It sounds silly but we even advise stirring this cocktail for 13 seconds just to help the ice melt – and yes, that is 13 seconds precisely. We tested this cocktail an awful lot!
Once again, as I try to point out in all my recipes, it comes down to using the best ingredients and making something simple taste amazing.
So that was the easy bit. Now for the execution. Getting the ratios and ingredients just right, so that each time you get the same effect, isn’t as easy as you would expect. How many times have you bought a bag of apples or oranges and almost all of them taste slightly different? So I will stress once more – taste everything. Even if you have made it 100 times, taste it, change it, season it, add to it until you are sure it’s as it should be.
When you’re only making one or two litres you can ensure the consistency and quality of each element. Imagine how difficult this must be to control on an industrial scale! That’s why we thought: let’s make our own.
* Raby Hunt Restaurant, Summerhouse, Darlington, County Durham DL2 3UD. Tel. 01325 374 237
APPLE AND CELERY WITH LIME
This should make 1 litre and can be stored in a Kilner bottle for 48 hours refrigerated (shake before use).
16 Apples (peeled and de-cored) – Granny Smith are the best to use because of their acidity.
4 Celery Sticks
Sugar to taste
It’s very easy this week. Juice the limes by hand, peel the apples and ensure the celery has no dirt on it. Then throw them in a juicer.
Once all the ingredients are combined, taste the result. It should be fairly acidic so at this point add sugar, a small amount at a time using a teaspoon to stir and taste.
You still want it to be acidic and dry but not too much – this is where personal taste will come into play.
Serve over lots of ice and enjoy outside in the sunshine - HOPEFULLY!