Close House head chef Chris Delaney offers recipes fit for royalty for your jubilee celebrations. KATHARINE CAPOCCI has the details
CHRIS Delaney is head chef at the award-winning Argent D’Or restaurant at Close House Hotel and Golf Club at Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland.
The team at the lavish fine-dining restaurant is celebrating following its recent award of two AA rosettes.
The grand gold and silver-themed Ritz-style restaurant is in the former ballroom at Close House with views of the greens.
Chris was trained by the renowned Albert Roux and his menus have a definite French influence, although Chris is also passionate about local sourcing.
Here Chris offers inspiration with a selection of classic crowd-pleasing dishes sure to make your jubilee gatherings go with a swing.
QUIRKY WARM CORONATION CHICKEN
For the chicken
2 corn-fed chicken breasts
Pinch curry powder
Splash white wine
4 asparagus spears, blanched
2 baby carrots blanched
1 head, baby gem lettuce
1 large Charlotte potato, just boiled.
Salt and pepper
For the sauce
250ml double cream
2 medium banana shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Few sprigs fresh coriander, chopped
1 tbsp hot Madras curry powder (or more)
Splash white wine
Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and curry powder then brown in a hot pan till skin is golden, transfer to a tray and cook in oven at 160C for 14-16 minutes depending on size (check juices run clear).
Cut the gem lettuce in half and trim the root and outer leaves and run under a cold tap to remove any grit or beasties! In a hot pan fry the gem cut side down until just coloured, turn and repeat, add a little white wine just to help it cook but keeping it crisp at the same time.
Cut the Charlotte potato in half lengthways, season with salt and a little curry powder and fry till just coloured. Reserve and keep warm.
Saute the shallots and garlic till soft then add curry powder, cook for a few minutes then add wine and cream, cook till thickened and reserve in a warm place. Add coriander.
Warm the vegetables in a small amount of water and butter. When chicken is cooked and rested a few minutes, assemble the dish, finishing with the sauce.
Chris says: “Coronation chicken is a classic cold chicken in curry mayonnaise served in a lettuce leaf cup!
“It was invented in 1952 by Constance Spry, who at the time was a big name in cooking.
“In fact I’ve got an original cookery book by her from that era!
“For my version (pictured), I’ve ‘cheffed’ it up a bit with the addition of a sultana syrup, apple gel and toasted hazelnuts (in place of chopped apples, sultanas and toasted almonds) and a waterbath-braised chicken thigh!”
100g caster sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
5 leaves gelatine
200ml Pimms No 1
300ml fizzy lemonade
Fruit including strawberries
Stir together water, sugar and lemon juice until dissolved and simmer for 5 minutes.
Soften the gelatine in some cold water, remove, squeeze out excess water and add to the pan. Stir until dissolved and cool at room temperature.
When cool, add Pimms and lemonade. Pour a little of the Pimms mix, enough to just fill the bottoms of the glasses and add fruit of your choice, then chill till set, add a little more jelly then some fruit/cucumber or mint. Set again and repeat process till the required amount.
Garnish with more fruit/ cucumber and mint then serve.
CLASSIC VICTORIA SPONGE
125g caster sugar
125g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1-2 tbsp milk
Rolling out icing for the topping
Red and blue food colouring for the Union Jack icing
Raspberry Jam to sandwich the cake together
Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Beat the butter and sugar together till fluffy, beat in the eggs followed by the flour and baking powder. Add enough milk to the mixture so that it falls off a spoon easily then divide the mixture between two lined rectangle sandwich tins. Bake for 35-40 mins or until a skewer comes out cleanly, turn out onto a wire rack.
Once cooled, sandwich the two halves together with jam.
Mix three bowls of icing, red, blue and plain. Cut the flag into shapes, as the picture, and lay neatly on to the cake.