Sat Bains Kitchen Confidential

Chef Sat Bains, holder of Nottingham’s only Michelin star, discusses seasonal chutneys, the joy of sprouts and flavoursome wild hare...

Cooking With

December is all about making use of the summer fruits that we’ve made into chutneys and pickles. Our forager finds local wild produce and we preserve it for use in the winter months. We pickle elderberries and caperberries, and make a piccalillistyle chutney from crab apples which we serve in winter with pork belly – the tannins in the crab apples work well with the fattiness of the pork.

December also means the start of forced rhubarb, and sprouts, which I love. I like to cook the leaves, stir-fry style, in bacon fat and then toss them with chestnuts. We also make a lot of purées with the abundance of root vegetables available in December. We bake celeriac or beetroot in salt which adds almost a touch of minerality to the flavour; it goes really well with venison or roe deer. We also use beetroot in desserts: we make it into a sheet of gel and serve it with meringue, black pepper and cress.

But for me, December is all about game. We serve wild hare tartare on toast, with pistachios, pine nuts and grated chocolate. We also serve roe deer and mutton. We braise the mutton for hours, then roll it up, take slices and pan-fry it. A beautiful crust develops and the meat is very juicy. We serve it with roasted onion purée and crispy fried onions.

Throughout the year, we use plenty of fish and seafood in the restaurant but we cook a lot with mussels, clams and oysters during this season. Our oyster soup is based on Japanese dashi stock made from kombu seaweed and bonito flakes. It’s very light and delicately fragranced, with a great hit of umami that means it doesn’t need to be over-seasoned. That way, you get very natural taste.

Who i'm using

In the restaurant, 90 per cent of the produce we use is British; we use Derbyshire black pudding and free range eggs, locally produced Stilton and wood pigeon from Yorkshire. Johnny Pusztai from JT Beedham butchers ( provides us with locally farmed pork. He’s famous for sausages and also makes his own version of air-dried Parma ham. I used it in my Great British Menu dish of pea, duck egg and ham.



Get Premium access to all the latest content online

Subscribe and view full print editions online... Subscribe