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The Northgate’s head chef Greig Young is full of admiration for the local food scene. . . and one very important member of the family who we can celebrate in style next month with his tasty recipe




Finally, it is starting to feel like spring is on the way – I have picked my first batch of wild garlic, daffodils are out and Valentine’s Day has been and gone.

The Northgate team and I had a great time preparing lots of finish at home meals and I am currently making some Pakenham Mill pancakes to celebrate Shrove Tuesday while thinking about the next big day, possibly the most important, Mother’s Day.

Before I get into my recipe, I would just like to say how lucky we are in Bury St Edmunds with the current restaurant scene. Over Valentine’s Day it really opened my eyes to how passionate the chefs are in our little town. Zack in 1921 offering the most beautiful menu that would happily be served by any of the top chefs in the country; Charlie and Tanya’s afternoon tea at No.5 looked incredible; Justin at Pea Porridge served a Moorish sharing feast with a slow-cooked goats shank which could give anyone food envy; Hannah at WanderSups taking us away recreating her travelling journey through food is not to be missed (I’m all about the tacos).

Macarons (44553980)
Macarons (44553980)

Pascal at Maison Bleue has launched LÉA, a very cool ready-to-eat selection of lunches and dinners with the quality you would expect from the Maison Bleue team. There are lots more – Forage cookery school, The All Saints, The One Bull all delivering some outstanding fare at home. Sorry if I have missed anyone and I would love to hear if there are any more, I am very excited to see what everyone comes up with next.

Now Mother’s Day. Sunday, March 14. Do not forget. I am lucky, I have a fantastic mum, my granny is a legend, and my wife is the best mum my family could ask for, so I enjoy getting ready for Mother’s Day, and it should be a treat.

Nothing says a treat like an afternoon tea. I am working on a takeaway afternoon tea with everything from salted caramel and coconut eclairs to lemon tartlets with toasted marshmallow, which will be available to purchase from The Northgate shop on the website. All profits go to Giving Tree providing meals for people that really need it.

Today I will share a recipe for a staple in all my afternoon teas. The holy grail of French fancies. . . the macaron.

Hope you give these a go to gift to mum, and if not, there is always our takeaway!

MACARONS

Ingredients:

150g almond powder/ flour

150g icing sugar

165g caster sugar

55g water

55g egg white

55g egg white

Water soluble food colour

Filling:

200g white chocolate

150g double cream

40g unsalted butter

1 vanilla pod

Method:

Start by mixing your almond flour with your icing sugar then sieve your mix to break up any lumps.

In a clean pot put your caster sugar and 55g of water. Bring to 118 degrees. In a stand mixer start whipping 55g of egg whites slowly when your sugar mix reaches 114 degrees. When the sugar is hot enough, pour slowly down the side of the bowl on to the whipped egg whites. Whip until cooled down.

In a separate bowl mix your almond/sugar mix with the other 55g of egg white and your food colour and beat with a spatula until smooth.

Fold your meringue into your almond base in three parts being careful not to deflate your meringue. Place your mix in a piping bag with a plain tip.

Pipe disks to the size you want, then leave for 30 minutes to dry slightly at room temperature before baking. (This seems complicated but I’ll put a video online.)

Bake at 147 degrees with a low fan if possible, for about 14 minutes depending on your oven.

Filling:

Place the chocolate in a heat safe mixing bowl and chop up if using a bar.

Scrape the vanilla pod into the cream and bring to the boil. Remove the pod and pour hot cream over the white chocolate. Mix to melt the chocolate.

Cut your butter into cubes and piece by piece mix into the warm chocolate mix. Leave to cool to room temperature mixing every 5-10 minutes. It will thicken up considerably so don’t be scared to give it a good mix with your spatula before putting it in a piping bag. Try to pipe from room temp and avoid the fridge until the macaron is constructed.

If this is too much effort, lemon curd or Nutella will work perfectly.

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

Call 01284 339604

Visit thenorthgate.com