WHEN she isn’t cooking for clients as far apart as the extreme north of Scotland and Singapore, Boston and Provence, Shaftesbury-based private chef Philippa Davis writes a regular column for The Field magazine and is constantly exploring new tastes and new products.
Her travels may take her around the world, but her heart is firmly in Dorset, and she is a passionate voice for the best that the county and the West Country has to offer.
Before Christmas, she tried the first release from Dorset’s newest, third producer of sparkling wine, D’Urbeville Vineyards. It is still young, she says, but showing exciting potential: “Dorset has south facing chalky slopes, geologically the same as found in the champagne region, which is partly why our bubbles are so bloody good!”
Another Dorset recommendation is the Gotland hogget from the well-known basket maker Malcolm Seal, who farms near Bridport. Philippa says: “Hogget is the meat from a sheep that is between one and two years old. It’s no less tender than lamb but it has a much more complex flavour as it has had the time to graze on delicious grass and pasture.”
Philippa has plenty of advice for interesting food for this time of year – see her recipes on The Field website if you want inspiration for Christmas left-overs. But while this is always a time for rich food, she has noticed how many people are also keen to tuck into piles of greens and vegetables and love any interesting seasonal salads that accompany the main event. “My most popular one at the moment seems to be a honey roasted root vegetable salad with lots of soft herbs, toasted seeds and a really good sherry vinegar, apple and mustard dressing.”
New Year is almost on us and Philippa has an exciting new cocktail recipe, a delicious blend of two spirits – “rum, which gives the cocktail a warm, spiced edge and secondly rye which adds a vanilla and oaky twist, both of which are guaranteed to make even Scrooge merry.”
Rum, rye and clementine sour
2 limes, juice only
2 clementines, juice only
2 shots rye
2 shots rum
1 shot sugar syrup
1 egg white
a sprinkle of ground cinnamon
Place your cocktail glasses in the freezer. Pour into a cocktail shaker the lime and clementine juice, rye, rum, sugar syrup and egg white, Place the lid on and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Add a handful of ice and shake again – shaking without ice first seems to give a better head.
Strain into your cocktail glasses (filled with fresh ice if you want a longer drink) and top with the egg foam. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drink. Guaranteed instant merriness.
Follow Philippa and discover more of her travels and recipes on her website www.philippadavis.com – you can also find more of her inspirational recipes on The Field website, www.thefield.co.uk