Will Holland Kitchen Confidential

Chef Will Holland of Ludlow’s Michelin-starred La Bécasse sings the praises of root veg and rhubarb pudding to tackle the January chill.

Cooking With

The new year for me is a no-turkey zone; the very last of the turkey leftovers should be gone and I like to focus my attention on root vegetables. I’m a big fan of using root veg in January, especially British swede as it’s really sweet. Beetroots are also brilliant at this time because they are full of natural sugar. When they arrive in my kitchen I like to combine them with a fruit purée – for example a goat’s cheese salad with plum and beetroot. Jerusalem artichokes are another favourite and I like to create a dish centred on these sweet, almost garlicky vegetables consisting of truffle purée and artichoke mousse with some deep-fried artichoke crisps.

I’m blessed with great produce around me and I source as much as possible locally. The community is always eager to share. People who have allotments and fruit trees in their garden will often turn up at the kitchen door with bags of fresh produce that they’ve just picked – you can’t get much better than that. In January we’re still in game season and I source all my venison from Mortimer Forest, which can be seen from the restaurant. At this time of year it is big and full of flavour – great for juniper crusted roast venison. Partridge is also mature and plump. I make a classical dish with bread sauce where I confit the legs and poach the breast in a water bath of truffle sauce. It’s an extravagant, rich recipe.

Puddings in January should be comforting; I try to preserve the last of the English apples by juicing them and adding pectin and sugar to make delicious jellies. These are then bottled and served on the cheese trolley all year round. Another of my favourite puddings features forced rhubarb – this is just starting in January and I cook it with ginger rice pudding and freshly made gingerbread to give it that slight kick.

Who i'm using

There’s a great shop in Ludlow called Farmers, where local farmers and producers sell their goods to the shop who then in turn distribute the produce to local restaurants. We use Andrew Francis’s butchers who are based in Ludlow’s market square. They have a great relationship with all the shoots that take place in the area, so they are able to get a lot of really good-quality game birds that I can use at the restaurant (http://labecasse.co.uk/).



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