Now that our local supplier-championing head chef Ross Stovold has settled in at The Torridon, we asked him to sum up his ethos and approach to cooking, see below for his comments.
“My ethos towards food and cookery has held steady for the past few years: I want to deliver intense flavour in every bite with as little manipulation to the ingredient as possible. I work alongside farmers, growers, hunters and fisherman, and am constantly inspired by what Mother Nature has gifted to us. The surrounding mountains and lochs, as well as our two acre kitchen garden and farm for rearing Highland cows and Tamworth pigs, bestow on us a deep connection with the seasons, micro-climates, animals, fish and vegetables. To move forward in the world of gastronomy, I look back – instead of using the latest gadgets and gizmos, we cook over flames as much as possible, preserve ingredients and use a nose-to-tail approach. There are no set menus nor dishes, we simply follow nature’s lead.”
Ross has also shared a recipe for his parsnip cake with tarragon. See below how he recommends maturing parsnips for six months to increase the sweetness and tenderness.
Parsnip Cake, Crème Fraiche and Tarragon
Parsnip and tarragon may seem like a strange combination for a dessert, however, the palate cleansing tarragon and intrinsically sweet parsnip are a perfect match.
We clamp our parsnips from the kitchen garden at The Torridon, this a way of storing vegetables to keep them from absorbing moisture from the air and prolong their shelf life. I have found that maturing the parsnips for as long as 6 months creates an amazing sweetness and texture.
- Tarragon Granite
- 50g Fresh Tarragon
- 150ml Water
- 50g Castor Sugar
Melt the sugar and water together and allow to chill. Once cold blend with the tarragon, pass through a fine sieve and freeze in a tray to speed up the process. The longer it takes to freeze the more ice crystals will form resulting in a diluted flavour. Once frozen use a fork to scrape the surface and form a fine granite. Store in the freezer, in a container with a lid until you need it.
Crème Fraîche Ice Cream
- 300ml Full Fat Milk
- 200g Crème Fraiche
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 100g Sugar
Bring the milk to a boil, meanwhile whisk the yolks and sugar together until well combined. Once up to the boil slowly pour the milk over the yolk mixture while stirring with a whisk. Return to the pan and cook on a low heat, very carefully stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until the mix reaches 85 degrees Celsius. Pour this mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, it’s ideal to have this to hand otherwise the custard will overcook and scramble. Cool the custard over ice and add the Crème Fraiche, if you add it too early it will split because of the high fat content. Churn the mixture in an ice cream machine and store in the freezer until you need it. It’s ideal to have the ice cream at room temperature for a few minutes before you serve it to slightly soften.
- 60g Grated Parsnip
- 60g plain flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg
- 30g double cream
- Pinch of salt
- 300g golden syrup
- 50g butter
Melt the butter, mix all the dry ingredients together then carefully fold the remaining wet ingredients in to the mix. Bake in à lined mould so the mix is 3cm high on 160 degrees Celsius for around 30 minutes, check the cake with a skewer or small knife, if the cake isn’t cooked return for another 5 minutes and so on.
The cake is best served warm to contrast the cold ice cream and granite.