Peter Hayward is first to admit he is far from a master in the kitchen. So, how would he get on introducing fine dining into his home? Armed with a [email protected] fine dining meal kit from one of Britain’s most renowned chefs, Nigel Haworth, he takes us through his culinary adventure.
I have never been much of a cook – and that is my loss, I know. Others gain huge satisfaction and joy from producing the most sumptuous of meals, assembling all the various parts at the same time and getting the plates on the table piping hot and at their perfect best.
I salute them, but even though I have tried on many occasions, rarely is everything ready together, and sometimes many minutes apart!
So when I heard about Michelin star chef Nigel Haworth’s new idea of superb food prepared and ready to cook at home – with complete instructions – I jumped at the chance to try it.
I wondered if it was possible he could help a kitchen dunce like me shine – even with expert help!
Nigel (right) was born and raised in Lancashire, and that’s where his food roots are still firmly established. His culinary journey took him to London, Scotland and Switzerland before returning home in 1984 to take over as head chef at the now world-renowned Northcote Manor in Langho, near Blackburn.
By 1995, he celebrated his first Egon Ronay Chef of the Year award, and a year later, he won his first Michelin star, which he has retained ever since.
From his earliest days as a leading chef, he made it his business to use the freshest regional in-season produce and worked with suppliers and growers to improve the quality and variety. He calls this dedication Food with Roots, and it remains a major part of his ethos to this day.
So, I had his reputation to live up to when I started opening the large chilled box of goodies that was to make our Valentine’s Day dinner!
What a garden of delights! And yet – even with his full cooking instructions – I was filled with trepidation, knowing my own barely credible lack of knowledge.
Our sumptuous menu included four courses plus chocolates, and I can honestly say, each was a delight – and the instructions made me look very good indeed!! It’s a complete cheat for a dunce, and I love it.
That’s not to say that those with far better culinary skills and knowledge would not enjoy the experience even more.
First, I had to heat a sourdough roll in the oven for six minutes, and this was served with caramelised onion butter and butter bean hummus – a most delightful and gentle combination to start things off.
Now things got slightly more complicated with a fish course of Wellgate salmon loin and smoked leeks wrapped in a butter puff pastry crust.
This had to be brushed with egg wash, which was part of the package, and then baked in a hot oven for ten minutes or so before being left to rest for five minutes.
The plating instructions were precise enough so that even I could not go far wrong, and the salmon parcel was served with a piquant pickled cucumber and deliciously light sauce mousseline garnished with caviar.
This was a high spot of the meal for me with a fantastic combination of flavours led by the combination of salmon and leeks.
But there was more, with a main course of Truffled Chicken that cooked for about 30 minutes as we enjoyed the salmon, giving us a small respite between one and the next.
The chicken was herb fed and free-range – and among the tastiest I have ever had the pleasure to eat. The cooking instructions were straightforward, and everything came together just as it was meant to.
The white breast meat was served on a bed of leg meat infused with Perigord Truffle butter and served with most unusual Red Emelie potatoes, hen of the woods mushrooms and mushroom puree.
The variety of flavours melded beautifully into an exquisite feast that we thoroughly enjoyed.
Here, we took a longer break before embarking on the Yorkshire rhubarb, rosewater meringue and blood orange compote dessert, which, with its accompaniment of feather-light white chocolate mousse and gently crunchy white chocolate snow, proved a deliciously fitting finale to an evening of culinary delights.
[email protected] is a delightful way to enjoy fine dining at any time – but especially in these drab lockdown days when we all need something to lift our spirits or to celebrate a special occasion properly.
Chef Nigel Haworth’s [email protected] – Where and how?
Nigel Haworth is regarded by many as Britain’s finest chef and has held a Michelin Star for more than two decades. Each month he will be preparing a new menu utilising the finest seasonal produce which you can prepare and enjoy in the comfort of your own home. To register your interest, place an order and for more information, visit www.nigel-haworth.co.uk or email [email protected].
This review of Nigel Haworth’s [email protected] was written by Peter Hayward.
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