|Grandfa and Oliver|
Food shows come and food shows go. As an exhibitor, you don't always know what to expect: plenty of opportunity to catch up with fellow exhibitors, a mad panic to protect your stock from being ruined in a downpour of English weather or lots of enthusiastic people eager to talk about artisan food production. And so it was in Cheltenham last weekend where I attended the Food Festival for the first time...
On the way there very early on the first morning of three, I had time to work out that it was fully 29 years since I had been at school at Cheltenham College. Maybe I should not have been so surprised to find myself having become a grandfather to a very beautiful boy called Oliver in the same week!
The festival was in the beautiful setting of Montpellier Gardens. We were in a large marquee surrounded by lots of other lovely producers like Cotswold Gold, Grumpies Pies (thanks for the lunch!) and Artisan Smokehouse who use maple for all their smoking, which makes particularly their smoked duck taste really sweet and tender. Being practically unique, we rarely find ourselves having to compete with many other fruit vinegar producers so we enjoy talking to people about how to use them and how to be creative in the kitchen with a good glug of our vinegars. When possible, though, we try to ensure our vinegars are included in the cookery theatre or we work with a local chef to showcase a recipe. I had recently met a charming fellow called Wayne Sullivan at an event at the impressive herb and micro leaf growers, Westlands, near Evesham and found out he is a head chef in Cheltenham, so I asked if he would like to do a demonstration on our stand on the Sunday. He loved the idea and, fresh from having moved house, he turned up with his whole family to show just how easy it is to make a delicious salmon ceviche. And, being a chef, this was also a great opportunity for visitors to ask questions about food preparation and mixing flavours and what is ceviche! (Ceviche is, put simply, raw fish marinated in citrus juice or vinegar and spices; the acid in the juice denatures the proteins in the meat in much the same way as cooking would. The flesh becomes opaque, the texture firmer and dryer, yet the flavours remain spanking fresh. Naturally, our vinegars do the job beautifully).
So, on a day off from his role as Head Chef at the local Storyteller Restaurant, Wayne made a delicious salmon ceviche with our Strawberry & Mint vinegar and finished with our Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender for a punchy sourness.
200g fresh salmon, diced as fine as you can make it
1 red chilli, finely sliced up to the seeds (or a little further up for more spice)
1 whole spring onion, finely sliced
10g coriander, finely chopped.
1 lime, zested & quartered
10ml Womersley Strawberry & Mint vinegar
Toasted ciabatta, crackers, biscuits (anything crispy)
Womersley Lime, Black pepper & Lavender Vinegar (for drizzle before serving)
Prepare all ingredient in a bowl as fine as you can as this will ensure the vinegar can infuse, cure and tenderise.
Try not to prepare too far in advance but the longer you leave it then the more cured the fish will be.
Simply spoon small quantities on to pieces of toasted ciabatta, drizzle over the Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender vinegar and serve.
This recipe was inspired by Wayne's time as head chef at Storyteller, an eclectic fusion restaurant in Cheltenham that blends traditional Californian cooking with modern and European techniques.
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