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Food from the Field Kitchen

PUBLISHED: 14:11 20 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:51 20 February 2013

Food from the Field Kitchen

Food from the Field Kitchen

As the evenings draw in, Jane Baxter, head chef at Riverford's Field Kitchen, cooks up some tasty autumnal dishes. Photos by Martyn Norsworthy

As the evenings draw in, Jane Baxter, head chef at Riverfords Field Kitchen, cooks up some tasty autumnal dishes. Photos by Martyn Norsworthy

Jane Baxter (right) has been Head Chef at Riverfords farm restaurant, the Field Kitchen, since 2005. Jane trained in Dartmouth at the Carved Angel with Joyce Molyneux, before moving on to the River Caf in London. Subsequent years of travelling and cooking her way around the southern hemisphere have greatly influenced her cooking style.

During October, with a colder autumnal feel to the air, the Field Kitchen tends to move towards pork as its main meat dish, accompanied by Riverfords wonderful veg of course. Beetroot, walnuts, mustard, leeks, fennel and spinach all marry well with pork and can be cooked in various ways to complement it.

The following recipes all serve 4-6 people


"This dish came about in the Pacific Islands, with excess pig and too much time on my hands. A lovely autumn roast"

Cooking time: 1-2 hours

1-1kg pork spare rib roll
2 garlic gloves, crushed
12 sage leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1 tsp cracked black pepper
8 rashers smoked streaky bacon

1 Open up the spare rib roll and slash the meat so that the spice mix can penetrate the joint.
2 Rub crushed garlic all over the meat.
3 Finely chop the sage and rosemary. Mix with the fennel and black pepper and rub over the scored pork meat.
4 Place strips of bacon across the joint.
5 Re-roll the meat and tie with butchers string. Rub with salt and pepper.
6 Place pork in a roasting dish and roast for 1-2 hours at 190C.

Braised spinach

400g spinach, washed
2 tbsp olive oil
Grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper

1 In a large pan heat the oil until very hot. Tip in the spinach and stir vigorously until it has all wilted. Cover with a lid and leave for 2 minutes. Stir again, remove from the heat and season with grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.
2 Place over a colander and squeeze out excess moisture with the back of a spoon.
3 Serve with the pork.

Slow-cooked fennel

"A dish that has been known to convert fennel haters. Not the most attractive looking dish but it delivers on flavour"

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

8 fennel bulbs cut into quarters/sixths
4 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper

1 Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the fennel and cook over a medium heat stirring occasionally until the fennel has browned (approx 15 minutes).
2 Take the fennel out of the pan. Put the garlic and rosemary into the pan and just before the garlic browns, return the fennel to the pan.
3 Continue cooking over a low heat for about another 30 minutes. You may have to add a little water if it starts to stick.
4 Finish with the salt, pepper and the juice of half a lemon. (Its particularly delicious served with grilled fish or pork.)

Warm romanescue salad with grilled leeks and walnut dressing

"Cauliflower can be substituted for romanescue if not available. It can be roasted instead of blanched for a different result but it is the walnut dressing that makes the dish and can it be used with French and runner beans, and fennel in different combinations"

100g walnuts
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp walnut oil
1 head of romanescue
500g leeks
Salt and pepper

For the walnut dressing:
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 dsp honey
3 tbsp good red wine vinegar
100ml sunflower oil
1 tbsp walnut oil

1 Preheat the oven to 180ËšC.
2 Toast the walnuts in a pan in the oven with a pinch of salt, cayenne and walnut oil mixed through for five minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
3 Mix dressing ingredients together either with a whisk or in a food processor. Crush half of the walnuts and add to the dressing.
4 Cut romanescue into florets and blanch in boiling water for a few minutes until just cooked.
5 Trim leeks and blanch for 5 minutes. Cut in half lengthways, toss in a little olive oil and grill on a griddle pan until lines appear and they are just cooked. Cut into 6cm lengths.
6 Mix romanescue and leeks together with walnut dressing and remaining walnuts.

Mustard mash

"King Edwards are a great potato to use for mash. The food mill gives a good texture but a serious mashing will do, and sometimes can be therapeutic!"

1kg potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
100g butter
100ml double cream
1 dsp Dijon mustard
1 dsp wholegrain mustard
Salt and pepper

1 Bring the potatoes to the boil in a pan with the garlic and simmer for about 20 minutes.
2 In another pan, heat the butter and cream with the mustards.
3 Drain the potatoes.
4 Place a food mill (or mouli legumes) over the butter mix and use to sieve the hot potatoes directly onto the hot mix.
5 Beat the resulting mix well and season.

Beetroot Gratin

"A great idea from Sarah Pope, one of our old cooks. Only a little cream needs to be used as a great deal of liquid comes out of the beetroot. Other herbs can be used instead of summer savoury, ie thyme or rosemary"

1kg beetroot, peeled
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
100ml double cream
2 sprigs of summer savoury, chopped
Salt and pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 170C.
2 Thinly slice the beetroot (about 2-3mm thick), either by hand or in a food processor.
3 Mix the garlic with cream in a small pan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat to allow the cream to infuse with the garlic for about 10 minutes. Mix well and season.
4 Season the sliced beetroot in a bowl. Add the cream and garlic mix and chopped summer savoury. Mix thoroughly so that the beetroot is coated with cream.
5 Arrange beetroot in layers in a 30cm gratin dish. Cover with foil. Bake in a medium oven for 40 minutes.
6 Remove foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Roasted squash salad with lentils, red onion and feta

"An old favourite at the Field Kitchen. This salad also works well with roasted beetroot"

red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
100g mixed salad leaves
3 tbsp cooked puy lentils
50g feta, crumbled
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 Mix the red onion with the sugar and balsamic vinegar, and set to one side.
2 Peel the squash and cut into 2cm rough chunks. Sprinkle with olive oil, season well and bake in a medium-hot oven (about 200C) for about 30 minutes or until the squash is browned and cooked.
3 Sprinkle with garlic, red chilli and rosemary and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes until the garlic and chilli is cooked but not brown. Allow to cool.
4 Drain the red onion mixture, adding olive oil to the balsamic sugar residue. Use a little of this to dress the salad. Place on a serving dish. Top with squash.
5 Sprinkle with lentils, feta and red onion. Drizzle with a little of the dressing.


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