Pebble Pictures Patchwork: The Pig in Brockenhurst

The Pig is set in the heart of the New Forest in Brockenhurst. A restaurant based on food either sourced locally, within 25 miles, or produced in their spectacular kitchen garden, not forgetting wild ingredients foraged by Garry Everleigh who has been gathering wild food from the area since he was a boy. The Head Chef is James Golding. The unpretentious style makes diners feel at home with bare wood tables and mismatched cutlery and the most alluring tiled floor.
A press party was invited for lunch, a couple of weeks back. Despite being mid-week the bright and airy dining room was full, buzzing and relaxed, I know it's a contradiction in terms but that's the way it was. If Andrew Barrow left with a copy of the wine-menu which he turned into an enjoyable read on Spittoon. I  spirited away the A5 recycled-paper menu. Though changes are made every day, depending upon the forager and the kitchen garden's team provisions, there are a few constants.
The cocktails, mixed by The Pig’s bar manager, Duncan Gordon, are served in Kilner jars, goblets or various props, a food-blogger's dream. Literally Picked This Morning provided my main: Hand-Dived Lyme Bay Scallops and streaky Bacon. Pleasing to see  Faggot, offal and pig-cheek sharing the page with other more common dishes such as risotto and chops.
With its eclectic furnishings, top-notch food, unpretentious atmosphere and  attention to details, it was home from home, only better, bring us sunshine and I'll be back.

The Pig
Beaulieu Road,
Hampshire, SO42
01590 622354
Price: Three courses: £31.27
For the London crowd: train-ride from Waterloo to Brockenhurst rail station, about an hour and a half then a 2 miles jouney by taxi.

Square Meal

Les Bugnes Lyonnaises

Shrove-Tuesday has been and gone. It didn't occur to me until this morning that I had missed the yearly Bugnes' saga. You see, every year, the day before Lent, my dad got up at 5am to bang pots and pans and made a "pâte à beignets". A couple of hours later, he would proudly deep-fry his "bugnes Lyonnaises" .

At which point, the house would reek of hot oil. By then, my mother would turn as red as if she, herself, had been deep-fried, she would scream at all that sugar and fat, refusing blankly to eat the most wonderful bugnes Lyonnaises that ever graced any breakfast table.

My dad and I would eat most of them and my dad would take the rest to his friends by midday the delicious doughnuts, would have all vanished, until the following year when the ritual would start again.
But this year, there was no ritual. And no doubt that my dad's many mates will have looked at the charcuterie and boulangerie's windows, shaking their silver heads, probably telling one another "that nobody made bugnes like Michel".
Bugnes, a speciality from Lyon, are traditionally eaten for Mardi Gras. Though found in other cultures, bugnes were first recorded in Pantagruel written in Lyon by Rabelais (16th-century writer and doctor). They are thin and crispy doughnuts, sprinkled with icing sugar. They are really worth a go, even if Shrove Tuesday has been and gone.

Margot as in Coffee and Vanilla tells me that in Poland, Bugnes come under the lovely name of Angel Wings, therefore it seemed fitting to add this recipe to February's Inheritance recipes.

Les Bugnes Lyonnaises
250 g white flour
50 g unsalter butter
50g sugar for the dough and ice sugar to decorate
2 beaten eggs
oil to deep-fry the bugnes you will need about 1/4l
some recipes include orange-blossom water, it is nice with and it's nice without.

The dough needs to be prepared 2 hours in advance making as much noise as you can

Combine all the dry ingredients together, add the butter a little at the time and mix (by hand or with the mixer)
Get the dough out of the mixer if you are using one, put in a salad bowl make a hole in the middle and pour in the beaten eggs
With your hands combine all the ingredients until the dough is shinny and smooth,
Leave to rest for 2 hours at room temperature
Flour the table a little, roll the pastry as thin as you can, cut 6cm stripes preferably with a zig-zag cutter.
divide the strips into length of 14cm and slit the middle vertically over half.
If you feel adventurous lift the strip and pass the bottom end through the slit it will make a sort of knotted butterfly.
Heat the oil in a deep pan, when very hot place each bugne in,  when they puff get them out and place them on kitchen paper before sprinkling with icing sugar.
Eat as soon as they are cooled down, can keep for a couple of days in a metal container.

Picture's copyright Wikipedia under creative common

Product Review : Food Hamper

When Little Red Riding Riding Hood went to visit her grandmother she was carrying a hamper. She was doing so because since the beginnings of times, this is how we show we care.

It may be that Little Red Riding Hood had time to bake and of course grand mother lived just across the wood, but sadly though her gift had been put together with that very special person in mind, the hamper was not the center piece of the story, otherwise the wolf would have eaten it.

What you really want is a delectable hamper which is going to be a show stopper. I possibly had that Wolfie grin when I opened the door to the courier. I knew I was getting a hamper and I wasn't disappointed. A special message-card was attached to the box and in the box was the most beautifully presented basket with a huge bow.

No doubt that the Wine & Cheese Feast had been picked with Pebble Soup in mind-

Without further ado that evening we tucked into Olives Et Al Kiln's Roasted Spiced Siena Nuts & Seeds awarded a gold medal at the Guild of Fine Food Great Taste Awards. First impressions are important and often hampers look great but are let down by the goods, this was not the case, thumbs up for the nuts and seeds.

Then came the wine, the cheese and the cheese biscuits

  • Kleine Zalze Merlot, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2008/9 75cl and the two award winning cheeses were tried on that very same night
  • Snowdonia Cheese Co. Black Bomber Extra Mature Cheddar Truckle Snowdonia Cheese Co. Red Leicester with Chillies & Crushed Pepper Truckle
  • Cairnsmhor Parmesan & Pepper Oatcakes

All medal winners, this is quality food and drink, the table was divided over the Red Leicester with chillies, good cheese but too chilli potent for some taste-buds.

We finished dinner around a coffee and the matchstick size White & Milk Chocolate with Mocha Coffee Filling. Hadn't we pushed our guests out they would have stayed to taste the rest of the goodies. There are plenty more including marmalade, chutneys.

Overall, the hamper was all what it should be, plentiful, good quality products and beautifully presented. With hampers starting from £20 delivered for £6.95 to the door (UK other destinations check) and an easy to surf website covering all occasions. This is an excellent way to show your appreciation.

If you would like to know more click here for food hampers.

Disclosure: I was kindly send the Wine & Cheese Feast Hamper, any opinions expressed are my own.

Crème Brulée

Publishing a dessert for Valentine's is a bit risky. To suit the occasion, it will have to be dazzling. But dazzling in recipe terms, is often synonymous to tricky and I wouldn't like Pebble Soup's readers to get their knickers in a twist before the evening starts. 

It also has to stand out from the army of chocolate(s) offerings. The ideal recipe needs to be simple, dazzling and goes without saying, sexy. Don't look much further than Crème Brulée.

Contrary to common belief, Crème Brulée is not French, it has its origins in England. Having said this, Burnt Cream doesn't have the same ring.
You don't need a blowtorch, the grill will do. The "custard" needs to be really cold and last but not least never leave a Crème Brulée waiting on the side, keep it in the fridge or it will get soggy.
Crème Brulée
300ml double cream
1 vanilla pod scraped
3 egg yolks
15g caster sugar
1 tbsp demerara sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 150C and put 2 small ovenproof ramekins in a baking tin. Crème brulée requires a bain-marie, a fancy name for an easy technique.

2. Put the yolks and caster sugar in a bowl and stir until white completely dissolve. Leave aside.
3. Pour the cream into a heavy based sauce pan. Add the vanilla. Bring to boil. Keep an eye on it at all times. 
4. When boiled pour the cream on the mixture, stirring constantly.
5. Divide between the ramekins and pour cold water in the tin. Bake for 40 minutes. Leave it to cool before transfering to the fridge for an hour.

6. Scatter the tops with demerara sugar use the hot grill to caramelise the top and back in the fridge time it so that it will not stay there for more than an hour.


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