Best laid plans

Two of my new favorite shops in Saffron Walden, both played a big part in my locally sourced meal.

Dead Time - Saffron Walden

Every kind of beer and cider you can imagine from so many different breweries. A great range of gluten free beers too!

Saffron Fish Co - Saffron Walden

A huge range of fresh fish. I will be back soon to try the fishcakes!

I had made my mind up on what I would be cooking and how I was going to cook my locally sourced meal. I had the meat delivered from Gilbeys, our local butchers. I had the beers for each course, very helpfully picked by Dead Time Beers. I had the monkfish and prawns ordered and ready for collection form Saffron Fish Co, and my wife had made the desert. All I had to do was go to the market on Saturday to get the veg and pick up the fish. Then the inevitable happened. We received a phone call from my daughters nursery that my daughter had a temperature and we had to pick her up. We then obviously had to have a covid test and await the results. So that meant no veg and potentially no fish. Saffron Fish Co closed at 16:00, and thankfully for more than a few reasons the negative result came through at 15:00, so I jumped in the car a managed to find a close car parking space and made the pick up. I then had to go to Waitrose for the veg as the market is only on Saturdays. The plus side to this is that I was able to get some padron peppers for a pre-starter.

So all was not lost, I tossed the padron peppers in a little oil and gave them a good pinch of flaked sea salt. Then put them over the coals at high heat until the skin blistered. These were a great and simple pre starter.

For the stater I had decided on prawn and monkfish skewers. Matt from Saffron Fish Co had diced up the monkfish already which saved me some prep time so I alternated them on the skewers with the prawns. I lowered the coals on my Charbroil and placed the skewers on the grill, basting them with some black garlic butter. Considering I didn’t think I liked prawns, they were great!

For the main I brined the pork overnight in a mixture of cider, sugar, salt and water. I hadn’t tried this before and I was very happy with the results. The flavour of the cider really came through in the pork. So once patted dry, I put the pork on the rotisserie and onto the Grden Grill, having banked the charcoals in one half of the grill. Using the lower grill plates I also put in the parsnips for roasting, having covered them in honey from Saffron Honey. The pork came out great with a really good layer of crackling. Paired with a bottle of “much merriment” cider from the Cambridge cider company, there wasn’t much left for seconds!

Then onto desert. My wife had made an awesome cake using another beer bought from Dead Time. She had previously made a Guinness and chocolate cake so we swapped out the Guinness for a really nice vanilla porter called bad kitty. It worked really well and although not cooked on the BBQ I'll put the recipe on the website for you to try.

So all in all not a complete failure, but definitely not how I had planned it. I guess that’s the world we’re living in now. I've already started planning another locally sourced meal as I really enjoyed the planning and cooking what I could, and I’m sure all of our local shops could do with a boost right now!

After a great weekend away we got home and before I had even unpacked my bags I started unpacking my new Grden Grill Kamado. The first thing I was amazed about was the overall size. I went for the “large” as it was bigger than my Large Green Egg. The BGE being 18” internal diameter and the GG being 21”. As big as the BGE is, I found a couple times it needed to be a bit bigger, so the GG seems to be the perfect size. The XL GG must be the size of a small car!

So after unpacking the boxes and laying out all of the components, I stated the build. This was really easy and actually very enjoyable. It was unpacked and ready to fire up in less than 25 minutes, very impressive. I added some charcoal and lit it for the first time, I kept the temperature to a low 150C and let the coals burn to nothing. One of the things I’ve been most excited about was the rotisserie, which comes as part of the kamado+ set up. I chose a chicken for my first cook as I’ve never cooked on a rotisserie before so I wanted something that I couldn’t mess up to much. Also I needed to keep the temperature down for the first few cooks to help the ceramics settle in. I can’t believe how well this came out. I filled half of the charcoal bucket (using the centre divider) to create a hotter and a cooler side. I got the temperature settled at around 180C and turned on the rotisserie. After about 20 minutes I checked how the chicken was doing and it became evident that I hadn’t secured the chicken on the pole well enough as it was spinning but the chicken wasn’t! A quick adjustment with some heat proof glove and we were cooking all sides of the chicken once again. As I said, I couldn’t believe how well it came out. It really was the best chicken I’ve ever cooked.

Continuing my new found love of spinning food, I decided to try a gyros type kebab. I had some chicken thighs in the freezer that were perfect for this. The taste of the meat was fantastic. The only thing I will do different next time is make sure the skin is on the outside as much as possible - there were few bit that we’re bit too soft, although cooked, compared to the crispy outside.

I think the rotisserie is my new favourite thing!

Stuart - Bbqfestu