Thursday, 14 April 2011
No longer just an after thought
The Kitchens at Horsley
Chutney has never been a ‘must have’ in the cupboard and never been anywhere near the top of my weekly shopping list. Lifelong experiences of indigestible sandwiches and equally as unappealing buffets have meant I often wander down supermarket aisles, straight past jars and jars of the stuff and never give it a second glance. Country fetes with over-flowing lop-sided tables of gloopy, horrific sounding tarmac substitutes have never endeared me or encouraged me to indulge. Admittedly, the odd lunch or half decent Ploughman’s has often benefited from a little bit of Branston but that has been as far as it goes. Till now.
The Kitchens at Horsley have developed a local product that has a sophistication and a revelation of taste that took even a hardened cynic like me by surprise. There is no denying that the initial attraction was the quality and professionalism of presentation, something you don’t often see from a chutney. That is not all though.
The ‘Beetroot and Cracked Black Pepper’ chutney completely changed my obviously outdated view of all that had gone before. The competition of flavour within one taste is negligible, none being overpowering to the detriment of another. Instead the coolness of the beetroot is perfectly complemented by a little smack of pepper.
Intrigued to know more I was fortunate to meet Neil and Chris, the guys behind The Kitchens at Horsley and the enthusiasm for their range is incredible. Both have full time careers in law and accountancy and their ‘hobby’ has developed from a seasonal gift for friends and family to now supplying outlets such as Brown and Green, Greengate Deli and many more. One takes credit for the image and the other the taste but they both contribute to all aspects of their fledgling business with a passion that is infectious. Established late last year, with the aid of former gift recipients as ‘taste guinea pigs’, it remains a two-man operation with development plans aplenty, including wedding favours, gift sets and limited edition lines for stockists. A beautiful concept is the ‘inspiration tag’ -luggage style labels strategically placed in store that guide customers, stating all the ingredients needed to make that perfect dish, all within the store they are frequenting.
Previously seen only as an after thought with a cheese sandwich, The Kitchens at Horsley are intent on changing that perception completely, with chutney the key ingredient on which the rest of the dish is based. ‘Carrot and Chilli’ chutney with roasted sea bass, ‘Spiced Apple and Scrumpy Cider’ with pulled pork. The potential is endless and all this before the bottled sauces! The ‘Plain and Simple Tomato Ketchup’ is a must with bacon and cheese oatcakes and the ‘Fiery Tomato and Chilli Ketchup’ will make that BBQ hot-dog taste incredible this summer.
I was particularly drawn to the ‘Caramelised Onion and Stout’ chutney made using Titanic stout.
Eager to experiment I took on the below. Admittedly it is a manifestation of numerous recipes however the intention was to put the chutney at the heart of the dish. And boy does it work.
‘Potteries ‘n’ Pans' is all about sourcing and shouting about great food and drink on our doorstep. The Kitchens at Horsley certainly fit the bill.
Caramelised Onion and Stout, Cheese Tart
1 x 375g ready rolled shortcrust pastry
2tbsp Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 green pepper seeded and roughly chopped
300g of grated cheese (I used Kirkham’s Lancashire on recommendation but any robust cheese will do)
1 beef tomato - sliced
1 jar of The Kitchens at Horsley ‘Caramelised Onion and Stout Chutney’
4 slices of streaky bacon
Salt and pepper to taste
Line a lightly buttered 9-inch tart tin with the pastry, trim the edges and chill for 20 mins
Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Heat a baking tray in the oven until hot then place the chilled tart tin onto the baking tray and bake blind for 15 mins (i.e. – no filling)
Meanwhile heat the oil in a heavy based pan (I had enjoyed a smoked bacon breakfast that morning and used the oil from this rather than the olive oil as above. It added a hint of ‘smoked’ rather than using smoked bacon that can often overpower all other taste)
Add the garlic and pepper and cook on a medium heat until soft (between 5 and 10 mins)
Add the bacon and most of the tomato slices (leave some for decoration) and a handful of parsley and mix. Cook for 5 mins and season to taste
Remove from the heat and add the grated cheese
Spread the chutney (you may not need a whole jar – who knows…I had eaten a few spoonfuls as I was prepping!) over the pastry base and spoon the cheese mixture evenly over the top
Brush with a little olive oil and decorate with the remaining tomato slices and some more parsley
Bake for 20 mins
Serve with a salad and of course - a bottle of Titanic Stout