Foodstyle Review Magazine

Lamb Ploughman/platter 

A Ploughman’s platter is one of the quintessential English pub lunch dishes that can be as simple as three ingredients (bread, cheese and pickle) or a royal picnic. Inspired by this traditional, and flexible, recipe we present a prime lamb platter.

Bread and cheese is as English as bangers and mash, but the Ploughman's platter we have known for the past six decades is derived from a pub advertising campaign in the 1950s by the Cheese Bureau in the UK, and later in the 1960s, on a larger scale, by the Milk Marketing Board.

These days there are more versions of a Ploughman's lunch then there are of bangers and mash (including a great Ploughman's 'salad' by Gordon Ramsay). The only ingredients that appear consistently are bread, hard cheese, cold meat (ham and terrines are popular) and pickle/chutney. The tart pickled onions popular in the 1970s’ Ploughman's have long been sent to the culinary shame bin.

Our Lamb Ploughman's Platter

Using prime lamb cut (served cold) we are going to make individual gourmet platter servings, fit for any occasion, as we are fond of saying.

Use a prime cut of lamb. We have used Silver Fern Farm lamb loins – ready to flash-fry straight out of the packet – three minutes each side for medium rare. Do this any time as the lamb is served cold.

Each packet has two loins – plenty enough for two servings. We wrapped ours in prosciutto, but feel free to go to town – make a pocket for stuffing, rubs, spices, marinades before frying etc.

Scotch egg
The Scotch egg is as classic as Pommie pub food gets. Don't buy 'sausage meat' – buy quality sausages and take the meat from the skins. We used meat from chicken sausages. Boil your eggs – not too hard – 8 to 9  minutes. When eggs are cold, wrap each one in a thin layer of sausage meat and make sure there are no holes – use wet hands. The coating is the usual flour, egg wash and crumbs – go for Panko for texture. Deep-fry for five minutes in advance of serving. Alternatively, make some traditional 'curried deviled eggs' for your platter.

Caramelised onions

Cut four large red onions into fine slices. In a covered pan sweat these down over low heat in 2 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of butter for around 20 minutes, until soft. Stir occasionally. Salt and pepper the mixture and add 2 tbsp of honey, thyme leaves, a bay leaf, half a cup of wine (red or white – your choice), and 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Cook uncovered for around another 20 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Taste and adjust with seasoning if necessary.
As figs were in season (autumn) we also caramelised some fig halves in honey and balsamic vinegar.

Sauces and mayos
Go for it – your choice of favourites. We prepared a basic mayo flavoured with honey and fine-grain Dijon mustard. Three 3 egg yolks, 720ml of neutral oil, and 60ml lemon juice or vinegar. Whisk egg yolks together with everything except oil. Pour oil in mixture slowly while whisking. Blend in equal amounts of honey and fine-grain Dijon mustard.

Anchovy butter
Lovely to go with the breads – slices of ciabatta and fruit loaf (toasted). Blend 1 tbsp of anchovies with 2 tbsp of soft butter. Roll in cling-film to make cylinder and refrigerate.

The cheeses

Two cheeses – they both have to be 'hard' (soft is messy) and one has to be vintage cheddar. We used a hard blue from Puhoi for the second cheese.

Present on a wooden board and break out the Morris Dancers.

Winter 2016

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