This is a guest blog post written by Denise Barnes in Central Reservations at English Lakes Support Office.
I was lucky enough to be invited to The Wild Boar to experience the Smoking Course which they run each month. I’m quite a foodie, so this was ‘right up my street’.
Smoking experts, Georgina Perkins and Jo Hampson from Smoky Jo’s, met our group at reception and we had a brief on what the course entailed. We learned the difference between hot smoking, cold smoking and how to make food safe through smoking.
Jo told us we were going to prepare certain foods, smoke them and get to taste them throughout the day. We were shown different types of smokers that any amateur smoker could purchase or adapt, like the infamous filing cabinet. These range from a few pounds to a few hundred pounds. Everyone was really impressed by the cardboard box smoker called the Eco Smoker. It’s ingenious. Such a simple idea that anyone with an interest in smoking food can use. I think I have someone’s Christmas present earmarked.
The outside area where the Smokehouse is situated is a lovely area in the grounds of The Wild Boar next to the vegetable plot. Jo showed us which apparatus we were going to smoke our food on throughout the day. We went back and forth between the Smoke House and the restaurant where we prepared the food.
We were given a piece of chicken to prepare for smoking. Given the choice of every type of herb and spice to flavour our chicken, I chose Chinese five spice, ginger and garlic. Outside again and the chicken fillets were put into the large oil drum smoker to cold smoke throughout the afternoon. Other vegetables, mushrooms and peppers were also put into the smoker.
Next, a piece of Salmon to prepare for our lunch. To flavour my piece of salmon I chose dill, honey and white wine. After sufficient time for the flavours to penetrate the salmon, they were placed into a stove top smoker by Marc Sanders, Head Chef at The Wild Boar and hot smoked.
We all settled down in the restaurant for lunch. Bread, dipping oils and sausages which had been smoked earlier outside were already on the table for us to enjoy.
Our salmon was served as our main course. Jo has a unique way of marking and remembering which piece of food belongs to whom by snipping different shapes from the fin and tail of the salmon. We also got to sample some cheeses which had spent over night in the smoke house. Brie, usually my least favourite cheese but after sampling smoked brie, it is now a new favourite!
After lunch we went back to Chef’s table in the restaurant for our final product awaiting flavour. A whole trout – with eyes!! This was a challenge. Without catching its gaze, I flavoured mine with white wine and garlic. Back outside we went to see how our produce was getting on in the cold smoker. Lifting the lid up from the smoker caused great big puffs of smoke to bellow out.
The trout was experimented with. Some were put into the oil drum smoker and some put into a table top smoker to see how different flavours were achieved by the different smokers. By this time it was late afternoon and all of our food was left in the capable hand of Georgina where they would continue to smoke and then be cooked and served up for our evening banquet.
We returned to The Wild Boar in the evening with partners and family, I took my son who is a chef. The kitchen served up everything we had smoked along with other regular smoked delights produced by the Inn.
We had a tapas style starter followed by a fish course of scallops in a creamy sauce. The main course was also served tapas style, a mixture of smoked steaks fillet, sirloin and wild boar chop were placed on our table along with side orders of chips and onion rings. If anyone had space they could chose a dessert from the menu. What a fantastic evening!
Only a few hours earlier we had been a bunch of strangers but here we were reminiscing about a fun day and enjoying the fruits of our labour.
Next Smoking Course Dates
For more infromation and bookings telephone: 015394 45225
- Written by: Denise Barnes