Last Thursday, Owner Mike Morgan and Head Chef Mike Hendry, dusted off their dinner suits and headed North for the National Tourism Awards for Wales to hear whether we would be crowned winner of the Best Place to Eat – Small Restaurant category.
A fair few nails were bitten in the run up to the results, but they had an excuse to pop the bubbly when our name was announced by host Aled Haydn Jones of Radio 1.
It’s fantastic to have won such a prestigious national award. The judging process was rigorous, but best of all the final winner was decided by public vote and it means our wonderful team’s dedication has been recognised.
Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, said: “Congratulations to all the winners at this year’s National Tourism Awards for Wales. They represent everything that is great about Welsh tourism – passion, commitment, creativity and drive. It’s an outstanding achievement, especially given the calibre of entries and finalists that we had this year. It’s because of businesses like these that tourism is thriving in Wales. We are delighted that we could celebrate their achievements and reward their best practice at the awards ceremony.”
With this brand new title, we are confident 2014 is going to be going to be full to the brim with brilliant food.
With snow on the horizon, twinkly lights in sight and carols in the air, we’re getting into the festive spirit at the hotel. Whilst Christmas preparation may include shopping for that Rudolph jumper or pre-ordering the Xbox One, we know many of you will already be thinking about what dishes to serve on the big day itself.
Turkey is traditional and there’s no doubt, that with careful buying and accurate cooking, it can be a stunning and delicious centre piece. With so many fantastic suppliers on our doorstep, our head chef, Mike Hendry, has decided to break the mould and create a warming, wintery dish of Bwlch venison, served with the freshest seasonal vegetables picked straight from the garden. Whether you’re planning on serving this on a cold winter evening or straight before the Christmas pudding, it is sure to leave all of the family glowing.
Do you like to experiment with different dishes at Christmas? We’d love to hear from you.
Smoked Brecon venison with Llansantffraed celeriac, beetroot, heritage carrots and wild mushroom.
You’ll need a smoker, or you can easily create your own by using a roasting pan, a metal cooking rack and some good quality cooking foil for a lid
One whole peeled celeriac
On well-aged, trimmed Brecon venison loin
1 pint of full cream milk
20 garden beetroots, the golden variety have the best flavour
400g of fresh Blewit and girolle mushrooms
4 heritage carrots
2 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Unsalted welsh butter
Welsh Rape seed oil
Halen Mon Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Take the whole loin and put it in the smoker on the metal grid with the maple smoking chips below a gentle heat sauce. Lightly smoke the venison for 2 minutes on each side, keep the heat very low as you don’t want to cook it at this stage, and put it to the side
- Peel and roughly chop one celeriac into 1 cm dice, cover it with milk in a thick bottomed pan, and gently simmer until tender all the way through
- Once tender, drain fully, and then blitz the celeriac in a food processor to make a completely smooth purée
- Using a casserole dish with a tight fitting lid, place the peeled carrots in with 100g of unsalted butter, fresh thyme and garlic (chop in)
- Place the carrots in the oven at 180 degrees and cook until only just tender
- Clean and cook the beetroots in boiling salted water until tender, and then the skin will easily peel away
- Place the previously smoked venison loin into a hot, heavy bottomed frying pan and season with a little bit of rape seed oil
- Add a knob of unsalted butter and let the venison cook and caramelize in the juice for a maximum of 3 minutes on each side
- Warm the carrots and beetroots in the saucepan, add a knob of butter and season to taste with sea salt and ideally white pepper
- Clean and check the mushrooms, and put them into a hot pan, sauté until they start to colour but be careful not to break them up as they move in the pan.
- Let the venison loin rest for 10 minutes in a warm place, then carve it into generous slices on to the plate – it should be nice and pink in the middle- and present with celeriac purée, mushrooms, carrots and beetroot
What’s not to love about the creamy rich dark, milk or white stuff?
Chocolate is internationally adored and in celebration of it our Head Chef, Mike Hendry, wanted to share one of his award-winning restaurant favourites with you to recreate at home.
His Chocolate Cremeaux has our guests making all kinds of noises in the dining room! We’d put good money on you struggling to resist the urge to lick your plate.
120 ml of Welsh double cream
240 ml milk
3 x medium free range eggs, they will need to be very fresh
90g caster sugar
180g of good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% ), broken into individual squares
Boil all of the cream with 40g of the caster sugar and allow to cool until just warm
In a separate bowl, whisk the whole eggs and the remaining sugar
Pour the cream and sugar mixture over the eggs, slowly, gently stirring as you do so
Heat the combined ingredients to 85 degrees, add in the broken chocolate until it’s melted
Blend with a whisk or hand blender until completely smooth
Pour into a large rectangular mould that will fit into a suitable place in the freezer. Leave to set over night. Remove from the mould and cut into slices and chunks.
Serve with seasonal berries. At the moment Mike is serving this with a double chocolate hit of Vodka and White Chocolate Sorbet.