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Winter food in Suffolk at the Westleton Crown


Suffolk has made a name for itself as the foodie county: from wild game to artisan cheeses, this is a place where real food is celebrated, and where chefs take pride in filling their menus with local produce. As autumn rolls in and the menus change, we ask four Suffolk chefs to tell us about their favourite dish that they’ll be cooking this season:

Stevie Robson, Head Chef at The Cookhouse, Suffolk Food Hall, Ipswich
Cooking: Venison, baby onion & pearl barley pie

“Venison is without doubt one of my favourite game meats; not only is it packed full of flavour and has a sense of luxuriousness, it’s also very lean and reasonably priced. In the Cookhouse this autumn we will change the menu so that it has more seasonal options available, and the dish I am looking forward to preparing, cooking and tasting will be a venison, baby onion and pearl barley pie. Hearty, warming, comforting and most importantly tasty, this is a real warmer as the weather changes and the dark nights start to draw in. Succulent meat, sweet, melt-in-the-mouth onions, and filling pearl barley are slowly cooked and finished with red currant jelly and raspberry wine vinegar. What makes it even better is the quality: shot on our own estate by our gamekeeper, and then butchered in the Food Hall, it doesn’t get any more local and fresh. Maybe not the most interesting dish, but sometimes the simple things in life bring the most pleasure!”
Ben the gameskeeper Suffolk Food HallThe Suffolk Food Hall’s venison is shot on their estate by gamekeeper Ben
Photo (c) Suffolk Food Hall

James Finch, Head Chef at The Westleton Crown, Westleton
Cooking: Pork and Apple Suet Pudding

“Autumn is a great time of the year for food; after the lighter summery dishes we can go to town on some homely comfort food, and start thinking about lighting the fire.

This autumn, pork and apple suet pudding will be on my menu: a mix of slow cooked pork, cyder and apple. The pork will come from Blythburgh (as the crow flies not far from The Westleton Crown), the apples from the orchard on the Westleton-Darsham border, and the cyder from Aspall’s – so it’s a true, local Suffolk dish, simply served with some creamed potatoes, roasted root vegetables and a gravy to complement the local produce on show. Pork is one of my favourite meats, and in this fashion it tastes fantastic.”

James Finch head chef at the Westleton CrownJames Finch’s menus have earned the Westleton Crown 2 AA Rosettes
Photo (c) Westleton Crown

Regis Crèpy, Head Chef & Owner at The Great House, Lavenham
Cooking: Roasted Fillet of Muntjac with Heather Honey and Fig Sauce

“Deer meat has been eaten for thousands of years, and although once the preserve of the aristocracy it has recently seen a huge increase in popularity. It’s plentiful, flavoursome and healthy, being low in fat and high in Omega 3. We are lucky in Suffolk to have different species of wild deer on our doorstep, each with different eating characteristics. We like to use muntjac at The Great House. It is Britain’s smallest deer, which we source from our local farmland. It has lean sweet meat with a very fine grain, more like lamb than venison; it also has a thick layer of fat over its back that adds to the flavour and keeps it moist. Figs are now in season and delicious. It’s a good crop this year for this distinctive and vibrant fruit, which is enormously versatile as it can be eaten raw, roasted, poached, baked in pies and pastries, or made into a compote. The figs team up with a variety of ingredients: honey, yogurt and nuts, as well as match strong flavours such as tangy blue cheeses, anchovies and salty dried meats. With the venison they add a sweet bold richness to create a delightful dish.”
The Great House LavenhamRegis and Martine Crèpy are celebrating 30 years at their award-winning hotel and restaurant
Photo (c) The Great House

Alan Dann, Head Chef at The Oaksmere, Eye
Cooking: Loin of Venison with Roasted Roots, Fondant Potatoes and Red Port Sauce

“I have selected this dish from the Oaksmere’s autumn menu as it is an excellent example of local seasonal produce.

It has a well-balanced combination of flavours: earthy roasted root vegetables complimented by the gamey venison loin, rounded off with the sweet rich port sauce. The Venison loin from Suffolk is cooked using the modern sous vide water bath technique. This ensures it remains most tender alongside the classically roasted roots of celeries, red candy and golden beetroot. To finish the dish I serve honey drizzled parsnips, fluffy fondant potatoes and a few leaves of black cabbage (cavolo nero). It is a delightful dish, a perfect autumn feast.”

Suffolk venison dish at The Oaksmere

Alan Dann’s seasonal dish stars loin of Suffolk venison
Photo (c) The Oaksmere


If this article has made you hungry for more, why not read about foraging in Suffolk, artesan bakers, producers, restaurants, or Suffolk's 12 most commonly eaten foods? And if reading about food only makes you hungrier, perhaps it’s time to plan a trip to Suffolk and the acclaimed Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival on September 24th and 25th in 2016! And don't forget to tell us all about your foodie adventures in Suffolk via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.