With the days getting longer, the weather warmer and a hint of green in the countryside, it’s the perfect time to welcome in our new Spring menu in The Pig & Whistle bar and restaurant.
Taking inspiration from the freshest produce from the Lincolnshire fields and North seas that surround Healing village, our new spring tasting, bar and à la carte menus are brimming with vibrant, fresh flavours, all with a playful twist. We spoke to The Lincolnshire Chef, Steven Bennett, to find out more about the ideas behind his spring dishes, which are all available to order now.
Pea and Mint
Made from garden peas and fresh mint from our garden, their flavours blend together to create an aromatic and fresh spring soup for a light start. Served with the soup is pork shoulder, cooked on the bone before being shredded and flavoured with orange zest, dijon mustard and smoked sea salt, smoked in-house. This is then seasoned with chives and parsley and formed into a boudin – essentially a sausage shape used for black pudding in France. The boudin is cut into disks and pan-fried, then topped with a potato dumpling (known as gnocchi or ‘potato pillows’ in Italian). Made with flour, egg yolk, salt and potato, the dumplings are steamed, roasted, sieved and finally pan-fried to form little potato pillows. This dish is designed to contrast the lightness of the soup with saltiness and strength of the proteins and carbs from the potato and pork.
Chicken Liver Parfait
Chicken liver parfait is one of the regulars on our menu, however here in the kitchen we like to switch it up by combining it with different typical desserts turned savoury. Previous versions have seen a brioche waffle and a jammy dodger, and now we have paired it with a savoury éclair, made from choux pastry and filled with the chicken liver parfait. We’ve created a parfait rather than a pâté as it is lighter, more aerated and more mousse-like due to it being set with cream and eggs rather than butter. The filled éclair is served with crispy chicken made using corn-fed chicken thigh, fried to create a jerky texture. We’ve also used the chicken skin to create a crackling, adding to the crispy chicken element. Finally, we add an orange gel made from a reduction of orange zest, cordial and fresh juice, set with agar and re-blended. This creates more of an orange fluid gel to work alongside the sweet parfait and contrast with the meaty flavours of the crispy chicken.
Smoked Haddock Scotch Egg
Our Spring 2023 take on the Scotch egg, another regular on the menu, is the Smoked Haddock Scotch Egg. Our smoked haddock comes from Alfred Enderby, the oldest smokehouse in Grimsby at around 100 years old. The haddock is naturally smoked overnight in their traditional brick smokehouse to allow for a fuller flavour. The Scotch egg filling is essentially a fish cake with a Scaman’s egg in the middle. The Scotch Egg is served with a balsamic powder, made with smoked sea salt and balsamic vinegar that has been dried to form a powder and served on little air bags that look like Rice Krispies. Alongside is a tarragon emulsion of eggs, tarragon oil and mustard as well as a Marie Rose sauce. Finally, for a more impactful flavour and umami punch, the dish is garnished with seaweed powder made from dried seaweed.
Beef and Scallops
In the Pig & Whistle kitchen we use hand-dived Orkney scallops. This is much more environmentally sustainable as fishing for them with nets dredges up the ocean floor. We always serve scallops with some form of meat as their sweetness contrasts really well with the meat proteins. For Spring 2023, we are serving the scallops with a seared brisket which has been cooked in Yorkshire Tea for twenty four hours. This may sound strange at first but the idea behind this concept is that our Head Chef Steven’s dad is a proud Yorkshireman and asked why we don’t do anything with his Yorkshire heritage such as Yorkshire puddings and Yorkshire Tea. The scallop and brisket are served with a Yorkshire pudding – flavoured with beef fat and tea. The pudding batter is cooked in the beef fat and the mixture is made with tea that was made in milk and water for 24 hours and then strained. This is served with horseradish hollandaise. This spicy root herb is added to the hollandaise, known as the mother sauce as it is the base for over twenty different sauces. The dish is finished with roasted onion and caramelised onions too as carriers for the other flavours. We’ve had a good look around to see if this dish has been done anywhere previously, but we are left thinking that this is a completely new and unique concept for Steven Bennett and Healing Manor Hotel.
Risotto is a traditional northern Italian dish. Risotto rice is cooked until it reaches a creamy consistency yet it must be served al dente to make sure the final dish doesn’t end up like rice pudding. The rice is cooked in oil until it pops and cracks; this forms a shell around the rice and ensures that it is cooked until it can be crushed against the roof of your mouth. This is served with pumpkin seeds and pumpkin purée which has been roasted in the skin to preserve the flavours and then blended down. This is also served with pecorino cheese, a hard, salty Italian cheese made with sheep’s milk; the name itself means ‘of sheep’. This cheese adds an acidity to the risotto to balance out the more creamy flavours of the rice and the pumpkin.
This fresh spring dish uses a trio of lamb. The first is lamb shoulder which has been cooked on the bone to remove the gelatine, shredded and folded through with spring onion and dijon mustard. This is then rolled into a boudin shape and disked. Next is the lamb liver, served pink for tenderness. The inspiration behind this is from when a grandparent would eat liver with bacon or some other meat for dinner. Finally, the loin of lamb; this is the fillet and the least-worked muscle which is why it is so tender when cooked. The lamb is served with colcannon, an Irish dish using potatoes that have been mashed with cabbage, rosemary and caraway seeds. Caraway seeds come from the dried fruit of a caraway plant and taste slightly bitter, with an earthy flavour reminiscent of liquorice, coriander, anise, and fennel. Alongside is a pot of sauerkraut, a traditionally Polish fermented cabbage that we have mixed onion and carrots through. This adds a cold, acidic pickle flavour to contrast with that of the meat. This whole dish is served on a disk of fresh spring cabbage.
Our baked cheesecake is made with lemongrass, a herb that is known for its strong lemon aroma and mild citrusy flavours with hints of ginger. The herb looks like a spring onion and is very widely used for its purifying qualities. The lemongrass is bruised, then sweetened with condensed milk. We try not to use too much sugar in this dessert so the use of condensed milk is a way of using inverted sugars. The mixture is then baked with lime to give a strongly citrus cheesecake with hints of ginger. The cheesecake slice is served with a Rice Krispie square – made from Rice Krispies and pink marshmallow, it tastes absolutely delicious. The final flourish is lemon curd ice cream for an extra kick of citrusy flavour. The idea behind this dessert is that not all kitchen work is supposed to be serious, so adding in the Rice Krispie square allows the kitchen to show some personality and childishness.
Our Chocolate Plate is a new sharing dessert on the menu, perfect for the end of a tasting menu when you are pretty much full up. Firstly is the torte, made using a florentine base; a sweet pastry made from nuts, chocolate, biscuits and melted butter to create a crisp base. The torte filling is rich and chocolatey, made using eggs, sugars and whipped cream with little flour to create a real richness. The torte is served with Rolos, made by hand in the kitchen. These are dark chocolate Rolo filled with caramel to contrast with traditional Rolos and work really well with the paired dessert wine. Another element is our take on a Ferrero Rocher, made with dark chocolate and hazelnut and filled with a Nutella centre held together by a mousse. The final element is white chocolate ice creams and Caramac. Together, these elements create a plate full of each type of chocolate, from milk to dark to white. This is the perfect end to a spring tasting menu.
Our Spring Tasting Menu is served in The Pig & Whistle Restaurant every Friday and Saturday night. To book your table, please visit this link.
You can opt for our paired drinks flight to accompany your tasting menu. Each course is perfectly matched to a specific wine, cocktail or liqueur to bring out its flavours and create an experience to remember. The drinks flight is available at £49 per person.
Bolney Bubbly with St Germain Liqueur, paired with pea and mint
Bolney Bubbly is an English sparkling wine made in Sussex, very similar to a champagne. The grapes used are chardonnay and pinot noir, hence its darker colour and stronger flavours in comparison to regular sparkling wines. The grapes are pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks for around 14 days prior to malolactic fermentation. It has lovely floral and brioche notes combined with aromas of citrus fruit, honeysuckle and elderflower. Delicate and well balanced, with a soft fresh hint of sweetness, it is perfect for the beginning of spring. The sparkling wine is served with St Germain Liqueur, a French liqueur made with fresh elderflowers, handpicked in full bloom every spring. The wild, natural sweetness of handpicked elderflowers gives St Germain a delicate taste with a fresh natural sweetness and notes of pear and honeysuckle. The combination of these fresh flavours with the slightly perfumed elderflower blends well with the freshness of the pea and mint soup and contrasts with the pork shoulder’s meat flavours.
Infused Sherry, paired with Chicken Liver Parfait
Sherry is a fortified wine that has been aged in oak barrels to give it clean and fresh overtones with crisp and elegant fruity grape flavours, backed up by woody and nutty flavours. The sherry that we infuse is Harveys, a rich and full-bodied sherry that is one of the leading sherries in the UK. The kitchen have infused the sherry with burnt lemon and orange to create a strong, citrusy flavour whilst the burnt flavour from the lemon works alongside the woody flavours and contrasts with the creaminess of the parfait. The citrusy flavours also work to balance out the orange gel and the meatiness from the crispy chicken.
Talisman Grüner Veltliner, paired with Smoked Haddock Scotch Egg
The Talisman Grüner Veltliner is a beautiful dry wine made from the late ripening Grüner Veltliner grape. The grapes for this wine are harvested from some of the best wine growing regions in Hungary, the terrain and climate of which provide perfect growing conditions. The grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks for eight days at 15-17 degrees to enhance the freshness of the citrus fruit flavours. This wine has aromas of citrus fruit and green herbs balanced with flavours of white pepper and warm spice. We’ve paired it with the Scotch egg due to its strong yet perfumed flavour so it can hold its own against the strength of the dish’s flavours.
Beefeater Gin with Ginger Beer, paired with Beef and Scalliop
Beefeater Gin dates back to around 1863 when James Borrough created his own distinctive style of gin, named after the bodyguards of the monarchy. This gin is steeped for 24 hours in nine, perfectly picked botanicals, including juniper, lemon peel, Seville orange peel and almond, to create this unique gin with strong citrusy notes but powered overall by the flavour of the juniper. The gin is paired with Fever-Tree ginger beer, which combines a blend of three gingers from Nigeria, Cochin and the Ivory Coast. It is not too sweet on the palate with a deep, long-lasting ginger character. Using the gin with the ginger beer creates something different that contrasts well as the dry gin has more citrus flavours and the beer is spicy yet refreshing. Along with the spiciness of the horseradish, it’s a very refreshing drink.
Alberino Bernon, paired with Risotto
This particular wine is a 2021 Spanish wine produced in the cool Galician vineyards of Rias Baixas. It shows great intensity with an elegant yet crisp body. The vinification of this wine begins with the vines being green-pruned to enhance the concentration, giving tannin ripeness and high sugar levels. The grapes are crushed and the juice is fermented under controlled temperatures using indigenous yeasts. Soft clarification and filtration before bottling retains the wine’s natural freshness along with a note of salinity and lifted aroma and palate. This wine is pale in colour with flecks of green and gold. It is fresh on the nose with intense aromas of citrus and flavours of crisp dessert apple, roasted nuts and mineral-like flavours that allow for a lovely balanced acidity throughout and a long, fine finish. The sweetness of this wine contrasts with the acidity of the pecorino cheese, allowing for a more balanced flavour throughout the dish.
Shiraz, paired with Lamb
This shiraz is from south east Australia, where the cooler climate leads to much darker and fruitier flavours within the wine and a soft and smooth body. Harvested in the beginning of March, just before the Coronavirus lockdown, this Shiraz was crushed and transferred straight to ferment, maintaining a temperature of around 26-28° to maximise colour extraction. Fermented in stainless steel with French oak chips, this wine was left to ferment until dry. Malolactic fermentation is commenced after racking onto French oak, after which the Shiraz parcels are blended, filtered and stored in stainless steel until bottling. This entire process leads to a wine that has a bright colour and aromas of plum and redcurrant with hints of mocha and spicy oak. It is full flavoured with plum, blueberry and mocha notes. The tannins are well balanced and give the wine great structure which allows it to balance out the sauerkraut, which can be strongly acidic.
Rutherglen Liqueur, Muscat, paired with Chocolate Plate
Rutherglen Muscats are classified under four descriptions that mark a progression in richness, complexity and intensity of flavour. Rutherglen Muscat is the foundation style for this dessert wine with a rich and full flavoured body. Each year Muscat grapes are harvested at high sugar levels. After fortification this wine is clarified then transferred into barrels and casks of different volumes for several years (3-30). It is this maturation process that concentrates the wines and produces rich complex flavours. These parcels of varying ages are blended together prior to bottling to create the perfect balance for drinking. It has aromas of floral and raisin fruit, and has rich, luscious flavours. The blend had been carefully prepared to incorporate the youthful freshness of the younger grapes with the complex, concentrated flavours seen in the older grapes. This kind of wine is not one that you would particularly like to drink on its own so first try it without having the dessert then try it after a few mouthfuls of chocolate; the difference will be huge.