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    Ayr Flower Show

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    20 July 2016

    Ayr Flower Show

    Our Cook School head chef will be attending the Ayr Flower Show to entertain you with a selection of cookery demonstrations.

    Set in Rozelle Park, with its feature trees, ponds, and woodland walks near to Burns' Birthplace in Alloway, today's Ayr Flower Show is much more than an opportunity for gardening enthusiasts to admire bonny begonias and dazzling delphinia, or to purchase plants and related gardening items. For it is now a three-day family festival in which food and fun complement flowers and fruit in a heady mixture that has become increasingly attractive to a much wider market.

    At Ayr Flower Show, visitors can admire the multiplicity of spectacular competition entries in many different classes; view specially-created miniature and themed gardens; sample speciality food and drinks from across the UK; enjoy a range of entertainment, floral art and cookery demonstrations from our head chef here at the Cook School.

    Cookery demonstrations will take place on the 5th, 6th and 7th of August and will be running from 11am until 4pm, see below for recipes!

    • Grilled sirloin steak with chimichurri sauce
    • Pan fried sea bream with potatoes, peas and smoked haddock
    • Scotch lamb, pomegranate cous cous and harissa yogurt
    • South Vietnamese fish curry with ginger and turmeric
    • Butter chicken and chick pea curry, steamed rice
    • Raspberry friands with Glayva cream

    A perfect steak.

    Three key techniques - buying, cooking and resting, serving.


    • Where has your meat come from? Locally sourced, origin and breed is important - Scotch Beef, the cook school choice
    • Has it been hung or aged? Minimum 21 days - up to 10 weeks
    • Choosing the right cut. Price is not generally a reflection of quality, tenderness or flavour.
    • Look out for alternatives to the traditional fillet steak, try a bavette/goose skirt steak, rump or rib eye.
    • Talk to your butcher - get your steak cut the way you want, ask questions? Let them know what you are going to do with your steak.
    • Avoid pre-marinated steaks or meat, do it at home. Top quality meat does not need a marinade.

    Cooking and resting

    • Make sure the steak is at room temperature; take your steak from the fridge 15 minutes before cooking, longer for bigger steak. A cold steak takes longer to reach the correct internal temperature and the shock makes the meat toughen and contract.
    • Heat your pan or grill so that it is hot then turn down to achieve the correct doneness and colour.
    • Cook with very little oil or fat, remember the meat will give off some fat during cooking.
    • Season only with salt just prior to cooking, pepper and sea salt flakes when resting
    • Only cook once on each side. Resist the temptation to turn early and remember service or presentation side in first.
    • Control your heat to obtain good colour and texture.
    • Allow time for the meat to rest - 2 minutes per centimetre of thickness, resting is the final part of cooking and equalises the temperature between the outer and inner parts of the steak, keeps the juices in.


    • Make sure all sauces are at their maximum temperature
    • Make sure all garnishes are at their hottest - chips and vegetables
    • Warm plates - the chef's saying; "warm food, warm plates"
    • Go easy on the sauce, let the steak shine, serve on the side
    • Remember the simplest garnishes are often the best, try lemon and oil.

    Chimmichurri sauce

    • Small bunch parsley
    • 2 tblspn fresh oregano
    • 2 Garlic cloves
    • 1 Shallot
    • ¼ tspn dried chilli flakes
    • 150ml Olive oil
    • 30ml Lemon juice
    • 15ml Red wine vinegar

    Wash and pick the herbs, peel the garlic and finely chop the shallot.

    Place all the ingredients apart from the olive oil in a blender and gradually add the oil with the motor running until you have a thick paste.

    Don't over blend or there will be no texture to the sauce

    Pan Fried Sea Bream

    When pan frying a fillet of fish the skin is prone to sticking and tearing. There are several things you can do to reduce the chance of this occurring.

    Firstly, make sure the skin is dry and free from any scales the fish monger may have missed.

    Secondly, use a good quality heavy based fry pan and control the heat during cooking.

    Finally, a good "hack" is to place a layer of oiled greaseproof between the skin and the pan and cook the fillet as you otherwise would. This prevents any sticking or tearing of flesh.

    Smoked Haddock and Potato stew

    • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
    • 150g frozen peas
    • 25g butter
    • 1 banana shallot, finely diced
    • 150g pale smoked haddock fillet
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 100 ml milk
    • 200 ml double cream
    • Squeeze of lemon juice
    • Salt and pepper

    Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan big enough to accommodate the fish and cook the shallot on a medium heat for a few minutes without colouring

    Sit the smoked haddock in the pan along with the bay leaf and pour in milk and cream to just cover the fish.

    Bring to a simmer and cook for 4-6 minutes, depending on the thickness for the fish.

    Remove the fish from the pan and keep to one side.

    Add the chopped potato  and leave to cook for 15-20 minutes, until the potato is tender.

    While this is cooking, remove the skin and any bones from the haddock and flake.

    When the potato is cooked add the peas, haddock and season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.  .

    Serve with a sprinkle of snipped chives.

    Rack of Lamb with Couscous and Harissa Yogurt


    • 2 racks of lamb, French trimmed
    • Vegetable oil
    • Salt and pepper

    For the couscous

    • 250g couscous
    • Seeds of 2 pomegranates
    • 2 preserved lemons, flesh discarded and rind finely chopped
    • 2 tablespooms mint, finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
    • 1 small red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    For the yogurt

    • 100ml natural yogurt
    • 1 tbsp harissa paste


    1. Rub the lamb all over with a little oil.
    2. Heat a frying pan on a very high heat, and sear the lamb on all sides.
    3. Remove from the pan and place on a baking tray. Place in the oven on fan setting at 200oC and cook to your desired doneness.
    4. Meanwhile, place the couscous in a bowl and cover with boiling water to a level of 1cm above the couscous. Cover and allow to steam for 3 minutes.
    5. When the lamb is cooked, remove from the oven, season with salt and pepper and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
    6. When the couscous is cooked, stir through all of the remaining ingredients and season to taste.

    Mix the harissa and the yogurt together, and serve with two or three of the lamb cutlets and some of the couscous.

    South Vietnamese Curry with ginger and turmeric

    Serves: 6

    • 4 shallots finely chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
    • 2 lemongrass sticks, remove the tough outer leaves and finely slice
    • 30g ginger peeled and finely grated
    • ½ teaspoon dried crushed Indian chilli
    • 1 teaspoon of mild curry powder
    • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon of ground star anise
    • ½  teaspoon of ground coriander seed
    • 400ml coconut cream
    • 300ml water
    • 5 lime leaves or the zest of 4 limes
    • 250g peeled raw tiger prawns
    • 350g firm white fish such as snapper or bream skinned in 3cm square piece
    • 20 leaves of Thai basil roughly chopped
    • 6 spring onions finely chopped
    • 30 leaves of coriander roughly chopped
    • 1 lime
    • Fish sauce


    Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or heavy based pan;

    Fry chopped shallot, garlic and half the lemongrass and half the ginger and cook on a medium-high heat for 3-4mins;

    Add the dried spices and the fresh chilli (cook in a well ventilated space because of the aromatic fumes from the spices and the chilli)

    Cook the base of the curry until the spices are toasted and very aromatic;

    Pour in the coconut cream and the water. Add 3 x lime leaves, bring to the boil and reduce by half.

    When reduced, add the prawns and the cubed white fish;

    Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 5 minutes (the fish is very delicate);

    When the fish is poached, add the chopped Thai basil, coriander and spring onions;

    Take the remaining lime leaves. Remove the stem with a sharp knife cutting away from you. Roll the two leaves together like a cigar and finely slice;

    Garnish the curry with the remaining chopped lemongrass, the red chilli, the remaining ginger and the shredded lime leaves. The juice of one lime and 2 tablespoons of fish sauce.

    Butter Chicken curry

    Serves 4


    • 100mlplain yoghurt
    • 1 lime, juice only
    • 15g garlic, crushed
    • 1in piece fresh root ginger, grated
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tbsp ground coriander
    • 1 tsp garam masala
    • pinch paprika
    • pinch salt
    • 4 chicken thighs

    For the sauce

    • 100g unsalted butter
    • 1 onion, grated
    • 2.5cm/1in piece fresh root ginger, grated
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 100g tomato purée
    • 2 small red chillies
    • pinch chilli powder
    • 200ml double cream

    For the marinade, mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Add the chicken thighs and make sure they're well covered in the marinade. Set aside to marinate in the fridge for upto 12 hours.

    Preheat a heavy based frying pan add a splash of vegetable oil and pan fry the chicken for a few minutes on each side to impart some colour and flavour into the chicken.  Add chicken thighs to the sauce.

    For the sauce, heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a further minute, then stir in the tomato purée, chillies and chilli powder and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

    Reduce the heat, stir in the cream and simmer for a further minute, then add the chicken thighs to the sauce.


    Makes: 6/8

    • 100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 125g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
    • 25g plain flour
    • 85g ground hazelnuts
    • 3 medium egg whites
    • 1 unwaxed lemon, grated rind only
    • 100g raspberries

    Preheat the oven to 180°C. Generously butter six non-stick friand or muffin tins. Melt the butter and toast lightly, set aside to cool. Sift the icing sugar and flour into a bowl. Add the hazelnuts and mix everything between your fingers.

    Whisk the egg whites in another bowl until they form a light, floppy foam. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, tip in the egg whites and lemon rind, then lightly stir in the butter to form a soft batter.

    Divide the batter among the tins, a large serving spoon is perfect for this job. Sprinkle 2or 3 raspberries over each cake and bake for 15-20 minutes until just firm to the touch and golden brown.

    Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack. To serve, dust lightly with icing sugar.