The planning of a new children’s menu can be fairly long, drawn-out affair. Quality local suppliers must be sought, analysis of what children are favouring from our current menu, ensuring that we are keeping up with the ever-changing high street trends, and even, as we have done in the past, consulting to underline our commitment to healthy eating.
Head chef Andy Caulfield at Waterhead has produced a full menu of more than 40 dishes that are inspired by the county’s extensive food heritage, but with an innovative contemporary twist.
Andy and his team use familiar tastes in unconventional ways to create exciting new dishes. Starters such as ‘sticky toffee duck leg’ combine flavours of the famous pudding with a juicy confit duck leg. Mains include a trio of the famous Lakeland fell-bred Herdwick lamb – including a mouth-watering roast rack, rump and herb crusted braised shoulder.
Cumbria has a fantastically rich history and heritage for its food, thanks in large part to the intrepid 18th Century sea-faring traders. The trade that passed through Whitehaven saw an influx of exotic spices, rum, fruits and molasses which gave birth to a range of favourite foods.
The new hyper-local menu is a blend of that rich history and the great contemporary products, all given an innovative twist by the chefs in our kitchen to create a truly stunning menu that will make Cumbria and the Lake District proud.
I have always been of the opinion that when it comes to planning a great meal, sometimes its best to look to the past rather than trying to re-invent the wheel. Every chef boasts about their “own interpretations” or “contemporary twists” on dishes. But for me personally, you’d be hard pressed to beat a true classic that’s been around for generations. Something your Gran might have made. Something that evokes warm, childhood memories of happy times at the family dinner table.
With this is mind, here’s a dish we’ve reincarnated recently at Lancaster House, and what’s more, it’s incredibly easy and also relatively cheap to make.
Beef Daube in a Guinness & Red Wine Stew and “Real” Dumplings (For 2)
For the Stew
For the Dumplings
2 Beef Daubes diced into 1½ cm cubes
1 Large Diced Onion
1 Small Swede & 2 carrots cut into 1cm cubes
2 celery sticks (roughly chopped)
3 Tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
2 glasses of red wine
2 cans of Guinness or stout
25g Fresh Thyme (finely chopped)
½ bulb of garlic (crushed)
Beef-based Thickening agent
4½ oz of Self Raising Flour
1½ oz of Beef Suet
¼ tspn of Salt
1 tbsp of Chopped Parsley
½ tbsp of Fresh Thyme
2 Cloves of Garlic
3½ fl/oz of water
Place all the ingredients (except the thickening agent) for the stew in a deep sauté or good non-stick saucepan
Add the red wine and the Guinness and make sure there is enough to cover all the ingredients, bearing in mind some of the liquid will evaporate during cooking. If you need to add more wine, then feel free to do so. (You can never have too much of a good thing I say!)
Bring the pan to boil. Once it’s reached boiling, turn the heat down and let it simmer for at least 1 hour, or until the meat is tender.
For the dumplings, place all your carefully weighed out ingredients (except the water) into a bowl and make a “well” in the middle of it. Now add the water and mix with your hands to make into a nice soft, spongy dough.
Clean and dry your hands thoroughly. Now add a little flour to cover the inside of your hands and roll out 6 balls of the dough mixture into round dumplings
As soon as the meat is tender, start adding some of your thickening agent (Bisto is good). But don’t thicken it too much as you don’t want it to burn after you’ve added your dumplings
Now, the most important part. Season with Salt & Pepper (to your own liking) and add the dumplings to the pan and keep on a low heat for another 15-20 minutes. The dumplings should rise a little.
Serve into a bowl accompanied with your favourite vegetables. I’d go for some nice creamy mash and green beans. Hope you’ve also saved a little red wine to accompany your meal