a reblog – Sunshine and Herbs

naturalnorfolkblog

My passion for cooking and plants combines so well with the herb garden. At present we have 59 different herbs, each with their own uses, flavours, colours and textures.

Today, under some long overdue sunshine, it was time to harvest some flowers.

First was the strong, peppery flavour of nasturtium. The flowers and leaves make a beautiful addition to almost any dish. Colour is vibrant and brash with the flowers, but the taste is every bit as bold.


Secondly we have creeping thyme. A hardy perennial that makes perfect ground cover, and is a magnet for bees. The purpley-pink flowers are on display for a long period, and pairs well with almost any meats.


Next up is something sweet. The striking red flowers of Honeydew Melon Sage. A sweet burst of flavour, combined with a truly sensational colour make this flower one of my favourite garnishes to salads. The leaves…

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The Joy of Veg

We were thrilled this week to be named in the top 10 vegetarian restaurants in Norfolk. We don’t consider ourselves to be a vegetarian restaurant, but we believe it is important to have vegetarian options that are different, fresh and vibrant within a menu of fresh fish, local meats that can cater for everyone. 

Living where we do gives us access to some of the best produce in the country, and our local suppliers know how to get the best. We are currently serving a polenta dish which infuses soft herbs, olive oil, pine nuts, white and spring onions, Clive Houlder’s wonderful wild mushrooms, and a truly beautiful vegetarian cheese called Old Winchester. Even for the most carnivorous, this dish is a winner.

 Clive’s earthy mushrooms give this dish real depth and it is one of the most popular main courses on the menu.

Other signature vegetarian dishes on our menu include the beautifully colourful Rosary ash goat’s cheese with marinated beetroot salad, toasted nuts and sherry vinegar. Hours of preparation goes into this small dish, from meringues, jelly, powder and emulsion all derived from beetroot, pickled beetroot, sherry vinegar caviar (you have to try this!!), toasted seeds and fresh varieties of different beetroot. It is a dish we are very proud of and the days of prep are all worth it when a customer tastes it for the first time.

Halibut and the art of prep

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The world’s largest flatfish goes by the quite wonderful name of hippoglossus hippoglossus and grows over 8 feet in length. Found feeding on the bottom of the atlantic, eating anything from pollock, crabs, octopus and other halibut, they can be caught from anywhere between 100 feet and one mile below the surface.

The arrival of a whole halibut is always exciting, and nothing goes to waste.

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The first job is to remove the fins with a pair of scissors, then run a knife over the top of the fish and remove the two fillets, before flipping it over and taking the two from the other side.

img_1720img_1719img_1718img_1721img_1722img_1723img_1724img_1725img_1726img_1727img_1728The head and bones are then used to make a glorious fish stock. The fillets are washed thoroughly, portioned up and then briefly cured.

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The prep doesn’t stop with the fish, every other aspect of the dish is meticulously prepared before being plated up and served.

 

Quite the dish!

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High Summer & Norfolk Mackerel

One of the great phone calls we get at The Duck is simple; “do you want some mackerel?”.

An hour later, the freshest mackerel imaginable is delivered. Landed just a few miles up the road at Wells, you simply couldn’t get fresher fish anywhere. 

We use mackerel in several dishes, but now at the height of summer, we produce a main course of seared mackerel with a warm salad of beetroot, potato and horseradish cream. The whole dish oozes summer flavours, freshness and colour and is ideal on a hot sunny day in our garden. 

Summer is the time for lighter meals, brimming with freshness and colour, and this is a dish that completely fits the bill.  

Welcome to The Duck Inn’s blog

Whilst we have incredible support on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there never seems to be enough space to adequately express detail. As such, we have, today, launched our blog.

This week has been rather extraordinary in terms of the short history of The Duck Inn, Stanhoe, as we have been named the ‘Best Local Restaurant in the East of England‘ by non other than The Good Food Guide! This incredible award is more than we could ever have hoped for and makes us the proudest little pub in the country right now.

This opening post on our blog is simply to pay tribute to our wonderful staff, who make everything possible. Without them, we are nothing.

Presenting, TeamDuck

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