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Bury St Edmunds' The Northgate's head chef Greig Young goes retro as he celebrates re-opening with a fresh menu



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We are on the home straight (fingers crossed). Menus are printed, gardens are planted, and we are now home to our huge spring garden tipi on the terrace, to keep you all sheltered in the coming weeks. It definitely has the wow factor and is filling up fast, so be sure to book in. I have to say, myself and the team are thrilled to be opening – a little nervous, but excited.

We have a great terrace and a lovely garden at The Northgate and I have written a light and delicious menu to match – fresh oysters from Colchester, wild garlic picked by the team, grilled cod with buttery asparagus, marinaded cucumber salad with pickled garlic, and the fan favourite, rosti chips with a ‘light as air’ tartare whip, to name a few.

None of this could be done without my team in the kitchen, they are great and I am lucky to coach them. They have been amazing over lockdown, doing bits for charity, running and walking countless miles, discussing menus and generally keeping everybody’s spirits up. Tom, Moraine, Katie and Scott thank you for being complete legends.

Today I am going to share the recipe for one of our new starters. It is a smoked haddock vol au vent with a poached egg and a velvety mustard sauce. Vol au vents are a bit retro I know but they are delicious when done well! I really hope you give this classic a bash.

I will hopefully see you all soon in The Northgate tipi and if the recipe is a bit much, it is on the opening menu for you to come and try. . . or to compare to your own masterpiece!

SMOKED HADDOCK VOL AU VENT WITH POACHED EGG AND MUSTARD

(Makes 4)

Mustard sauce with haddock

Ingredients:

100g milk

100g cream

40g butter

40g flour

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

2 egg yolks

200g smoked haddock, skinned and diced up

Method:

Warm your milk and your cream together in a small pot and set aside. In a new pot melt your butter, then add your flour. This is called a roux and will be the base to thicken the sauce. Mix your flour and cook for a few minutes until it thickens then gradually add your warm milk and cream. Once all is incorporated, cook while mixing for a few minutes on a medium heat. Leave to cool to room temperature, then add the mustard and egg yolks, haddock and a good pinch of salt. Put in the fridge.

Vol au vent case

Ingredients:

1 roll of shop bought pre-rolled puff pastry

2 egg yolks mixed with a tablespoon of water

Method:

Roll out the whole roll of puff pastry and cut into 3 even sized pieces. Brush each layer with the egg yolk and stack it up. Rest in the fridge for an hour minimum.

Brush the top layer again and return to the fridge for a further hour uncovered. You can freeze at this stage, if it is to use in the future.

Using a pastry cutter cut out some nice big circles (you need to fit an egg in) and reserve all the trimmings for a pie top. Then, using a smaller cutter, mark the top of the pastry with a smaller ring pressing it, but not so far as to come through the bottom. Bake at 180 degrees for approximately 16 minutes until a lovely golden brown, this depends a lot on the oven, so keep a close eye and don’t open that door!

Once cooked remove the inner circle with a sharp knife and carefully hollow out. Return to the oven for 3 more minutes to crispen up the inside. Leave to cool on a rack.

Poached eggs

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 litre of water

50ml white wine vinegar

Method:

Bring the water to the boil with the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Make sure it is boiling before those eggs go in. Fresh eggs are the best for poaching. Crack your eggs into cups and drop in the water for 3 minutes. I don’t swirl the water or anything like that, I just like to keep an eye on the temperature turning it down when the eggs go in. After the 3 minutes, plunge them into iced water or run them under a cold tap.

To finish:

Place a poached egg in the bottom of each vol au vent and top with haddock mix and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 8-10 minutes (enough to give a nice colour on the top). It will set similar to a quiche and if done right the egg should stay nice and runny. I normally serve with some wilted spinach, mixed with a bit of wild garlic if it's around and top with a salad of fresh flat leaf parsley and pickled shallot rings.

Greig Young is head chef at The Northgate, Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds

Call 01284 339604

See thenorthgate.com