This week, our judges, Prue Leith, Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton, were joined by fourth guest judge, Jim Radford, thought to be the youngest serving member of the Merchant Navy on D-Day.
The dinner kicked off on a high note with Jacqueline’s "Not Quite Your Mammie’s Liver & Onions” starter, consisting of onion puree, calve’s liver, granola made from pecans and paprika, onion tuile garnish and finally, pots of cassis sauce on the side. “The dish itself is extremely brave,” said Oliver. “This is absolutely divine,” said Prue. “This is gourmet liver,” said Jim. “The crunchiness of the granola on top is a master stroke,” said Matthew.
Stevie’s starter, “Normandy “1944”, made with cured ham and wilted spinach, calvados butter, artichoke hearts, normandy camembert mousse and crispy onions, was praised for its idea but not its execution. Matthew called it an “ingenious acknowledgement of the French side of D Day.” However, Prue wasn’t a fan, and Oliver agreed: “It’s a lot of French ingredients on a plate which don’t really work well together."
Jacqueline’s fish course, “Black Market Silver Darlings”, made with herring, pickled cucumber and whisky served in a hay bale presentation, was a hit, and not only for the whisky (though it certainly helped). "She’s combined the background story with a contemporary piece of cooking," said Matthew. “This is perfect for the fish course,” said Prue.
Stevie followed with his fish, “Food to March On”, a celebration of the seafood we have today, with crab meat, lemon and cumin cured mackerel, sea vegetables, spicy tomato mousse, aubergine puree, all finished with seaweed mustard. Matthew called it “light and fresh” but Oliver disagreed: “this is a car crash of a dish…food to march away from.” Prue agreed you couldn’t taste the ingredients but still conceded, “I love it.”
Stevie’s main dish, “A Letter From Home”, was made to an authentic wartime recipe, including lard and potato pastry, beef wellington, chicken and mushroom mousse over pancakes and fillet of beef encased in puffed pastry. The presentation was pleasing, including the letter that came with it. And the food was outstanding according to the judges. “Wow…that beef is the perfect colour,” said Prue. “As near to perfection as you can get,” said Jim.