Students get to grips with local produce to make tempting dishes
I LOVE cooking – creating new dishes and experimenting with different flavours. But sometimes, if I'm busy or it's a special occasion, eating out wins out.
We've got the choice of so many lovely ingredients in Lincolnshire so it's always a pleasure to find restaurants and pubs that have local dishes on their menus. Often, it's because the chef is passionate about what we produce in the county.
At Boston College, they're teaching a whole new generation of catering students to be the chefs of the future and the college's training restaurant's ethos is 'fresh, local and seasonal produce'.
We recently challenged catering students at the college to come up with a home-cooked family meal using produce from our Love Local range.
Called 'the Big Boston Cook Off' the students taking part came up with some delectable dishes.
Menus included ale-braised beef, honey-glazed pork, mini toad in the hole and pork burgers, the variety highlighting what you can do using local food.
Two finalists were chosen – Adam Coote and Kim Mason – and people in Boston were encouraged to pick their winner after tasting the students' creations during a busy Saturday in the town.
Kim's Lincolnshire mince and potato crumble won out.
A cottage-pie type dish with a twist, it used Lincolnshire Quality beef, guaranteed to have been born and reared in the county, topped with a crumble made with Gadsby's white bread and Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, produced by the Jones family in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Those ingredients are pretty versatile. As well as Kim's crumble you could use the mince to make Lincolnshire burgers, adding some wholegrain mustard and finely chopped red onion for flavour. Or transform your everyday cheese on toast by using Lincolnshire Poacher cheese and a glug of Batemans' Dark Lord ale to make a Lincolnshire Rarebit.
It's been great to see how much enthusiasm the budding chefs at Boston College have for local food.
Let's hope when they've finished their training they'll transform that zest for yellowbelly produce into memorable dishes on the menu at pubs, cafés and restaurants across the county and beyond.
Kim's recipe will be available to pick up as a recipe card in all Lincolnshire Co-op foodstores in November. People can also view it on Lincolnshire Co-op's blog blog.lincolnshire.coop
Lincolnshire Mince & Potato Crumble
By Boston College catering student Kim Mason
500g/1.1oz Lincolnshire Quality minced beef
4 medium carrots
1 large potato
The Co-operative gravy granules
8 slices Gadsby's white bread
250g/8oz Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese
2 tsps The Co-operative dried mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to season
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
2. Finely chop the onion and fry with the mince.
3. Dice the potato and part boil for 10 minutes.
4. Chop the carrots and part boil for 15 minutes.
5. Make ½ pint of thick gravy.
6. When the mince, potato & carrots are all cooked mix with some of the gravy until combined.
7. Place the mince mixture into an oven proof dish
8. Use a blender to make bread crumbs and add the grated cheese and mixed herbs.
9. Layer the crumb mixture on top of the mince.
10. Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.