1 March 2014


I feel as though I have been gazing at the wooden box of heritage carrots before me for most of my days. Perhaps it wasn’t this box, perhaps it was another. Winter seems to be creeping along this year, infesting the air with its squall and hail and seeping into the seams of the pub. The damp is everywhere. All that comes in from the vegetable markets are scrubby, gnarled root vegetables, sodden soil hanging from them, hairy and knotted, bringing the smell of soil and rain into the kitchen. Root vegetables feature strongly on our menu at this time of year. We puree carrots, roast parsnips sprinkled with maple and miso, tuck turnips beneath a crumb of black pudding, and dunk celariac into a melting gratin. These carrots are going to be washed and then pan roasted, seared over a medium heat with some smoked bacon and then they will get good and cosy over a low heat in a lidded pan until they are cooked through and tender, roasted on the outside and melting in the middle, about thirty minutes. 

Brown Ale and Roasted Root Vegetables are the perfect partners, the biscuit, malt and caramel flavours of the beer mirroring the rich earthiness of the vegetables and playing up the soft fruitiness of the British hops. Tossed with some quick pickled red onions, rocket and equal parts mustard maple and oil, then sprinkled with crumbled goats cheese, it is the perfect lunch with a bottle of Hunter’s Pheasant Plucker or other nut brown ale. 

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