Food & Drink

Bucking the trend – The Castle Inn at Cawood, North Yorkshire.

The Castle Inn at CawoodThe trend in the Public House sector all seems to be bad news at present. With many pubs struggling and several a week in any given region closing their doors, often never to reopen. It's good to see new publicans swimming against this tide and making a notable success in a very short period of time. 

The Castle Inn at Cawood has recently undergone a total refurbishment including all public areas, a complete kitchen refit and even the private living quarters, at the cost of £250000 The bar and restaurant areas were busy with a warm and friendly atmosphere when we arrive on Friday evening. There were a mix of regulars and local at the bar with accents from further a field noticable as we headed towards our destination, the kitchen. You get a real feel about a gasto pub or restarant if you are allowed behind the scenes. Although their accomplished head chef Daryl Salt was expecting us to drop in, by design we arrived exactly an hour early. A mildly devious trick, perhaps, but his kitchen was well presented, tidy and running like a well oiled machine. Even though we caught him off guard. To achieve that level of confident happy co-operation in a commercial kitchen is often beyond the abilities of a team, to achive it in less than a week is extraodinary.

So to the food. The dishes were presented with the sort of panash you might expect in a top London restaurant without the accomanying extortionate priceing. Not a small gastro pub in a village between York and Selby. Chef took the time to decorate each plate before assembling the dish. A balsamic glaze floral design on your steak plate, or perhaps a chocolate and fruit syrup palm tree beside your sweet. The portions were generous, without being excessive and the family sharing platter from the "Family Friday" menu look outstanding. We wish Kathy, Alan and all their staff every success in the future. I personally expect to be hearing a great deal of positive comment about this place.....

The Castle Inn 

7 Wistowgate, Cawood, Selby, North Yorkshire YO8 3SH

01757 268982

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A step beyond "Haggis, neeps & tatties"

Roast loin of venison with haggis ravioli and game consommé recipe


A step beyond For the consommé

500g/1lb 2oz venison trimmings

50g/1¾oz leeks, chopped

200g/7oz red onions, chopped

40g/1½oz celery chopped

175g/6oz carrots, chopped

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs thyme

5 garlic cloves, peeled

4 whole black cardamoms

5 free-range egg whites

1.5 litres/2½ pints strong brown venison stock

150ml/5fl oz Madeira wine

small handful fresh parsley, chopped

For the haggis ravioli

225g/8oz 00 flour, plus extra for flouring

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

2 free-range eggs

4 free-range egg yolks

small chieftain haggis

1 free-range egg, beaten for egg wash

For the venison loin

1 loin of venison

salt and freshly ground black pepper

rapeseed oil, for frying

knob of butter

To serve

1 turnip, diced into 1cm/½in pieces

3 tbsp sugar

25g/1oz butter

4 potatoes, diced into 1cm/½in pieces

Preparation method

(1) For the venison consommé, blend all the ingredients together in a food processor, apart from the stock, Madeira and parsley. Set aside.

(2) Place the cold stock and Madeira in a large stock pot, then whisk in the blended ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil as fast as you can, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and you will find that the whisked egg whites will start to rise to the top of the stock. This will form a thick crust over the stock. Cook for 45 minutes.

(3) Line a sieve with a piece of clean, unused muslin. Gently ladle the crust into the sieve and then slowly ladle the liquid over the crust. Allow time for the liquid to pass through the crust and sieve before adding any more. Avoid pushing the stock through the muslin.

(4) The liquid should be crystal clear and amber in colour. Pour the liquid into a clean pan and set aside.

(5) For the haggis ravioli, place the flour, salt, oil and eggs and egg yolks into a food processor and pulse until it forms small crumbs. Remove the mixture from the food processor and pull together to form a dough. Knead the dough lightly for 2-3 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

(6) Flour the pasta machine and turn it to the lowest (thickest) setting. Feed the dough through the machine, turning the handle with one hand and holding the dough as it comes through the machine with the other. Change the setting on the pasta machine to the next-thickest setting, flour it again and feed the pasta sheet through the machine again, as before. Repeat this process 3-4 more times, flouring the machine and changing the setting down each time - it helps to cut the pasta into smaller pieces as you work to prevent it drying out. Cover any pasta you are not working on with cling film. Set the pasta aside.

(7) Break up the haggis and roll into balls about 2.5cm/1in wide. Lay a sheet of pasta onto a lightly floured work surface and place the haggis balls along it, leaving a gap of about 6cm/2½in between them. Brush the pasta with egg wash and cover with another sheet of pasta. Cut out a circle around each ball of haggis using a biscuit cutter to make ravioli and press down around the edges to seal the layers of pasta together. Set aside until ready to cook.

(8) For the venison loin, heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 7. Season the venison with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat some rapeseed oil in a heavy-based oven-proof pan. Fry the loin on all sides, add a bit of butter, spoon it over to glaze the meat and transfer to the oven. Cook for about six minutes. Remove from the oven, cover and leave to rest in a warm place until you are ready to serve.

(9) To cook the ravioli, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and gently lower the ravioli into the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until they float to the top of the water. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Toss with a little olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper and keep warm.

(10) Boil the diced turnip in a pan of water with the sugar and butter. Boil until cooked through then drain.

(11) Cook the diced potatoes in a steamer until cooked.

(12) To finish the consommé, reheat it to hot, but not boiling. Stir in the chopped parsley.

(13) To serve, put a few ravioli onto each serving plate, top with a slice of venison, garnish with potatoes and turnips and pour over some of the consommé.

Hasselback Apples - Recipe

Hasselback Apples RecipeIngredients:-

2 large, firm cooking apples

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon rolled oats


Cooking oil

Ice cream, for serving (optional)


(1) Heat the oven to 400°F.

(2) In a small saucepan melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Once cooled add 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.

(3) Peel the apples to remove all the skin.

(4) Slice the apples in half from top to bottom.

(5) Core the apples: Use a melon baller or spoon to remove the apple cores.

(6) Cut slices in the apples, leaving the bottom intact: Place the apples cut-side down on a cutting board. Cut slices into the apple, 1/4-inch apart, stopping just before you cut through the bottom. 

(7) Stir together the butter mixture. Use a pastry brush to spread the butter mixture over top of the apples and into the slices.

(8) Bake the apples: Brush a thin layer of cooking oil over the inside of a baking dish. Place the apples in the baking dish, flat-side down. Cover the baking dish with tinfoil, and bake for 20 minutes.

(9) Prepare the streusel: Cut the remaining tablespoon of butter into cubes. Add it to a bowl, along with 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, flour, oats, and a pinch of salt. Use your fingers or a fork to blend the ingredients together.

(10) Top the apples with streusel: After the apples have finished baking, remove the baking dish from the oven. Use a fork to carefully spread the streusel over top of the apples. Work the streusel between the slices as well.

(11)  Increase the oven temperature to 425°F. Place the baking dish back in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes more.

(12)  Remove the baking dish from the oven. Cool the apples for about 5 minutes before serving.

Giant Pavlova with mixed berries and Salted Caramel

Giant Pavlova with mixed berries and Salted CaramelIf you are not keen on Christmas cake or Christmas pudding and are looking for something which is easy, relatively quick and not as heavy as our traditional seasonal sweets, our Antipodean cousins have the answer. Bearing in mind that it’s the height of their summer at this time of year the mixture of soft fruits is perfectly reasonable. But love them or loath them the super markets will supply you with all the fruits you’ll need. This take on a classic Pavlova is a reasonably modern Australian adaptation and is apparently very popular at Christmas and New Year. If anybody would like to assist in the research cost in verifying this, donations would be gratefully received!!!!


6 eggwhites

350g caster sugar

1 tbs white wine vinegar

1 tbs cornflour, sifted

1/3 cup (50g) icing sugar, sifted

600ml double cream

500g mixed berries

Salted caramel

2 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar

300ml double cream (at room temperature)

1/2-1 tsp sea salt flakes, to taste


(1) Preheat oven to 150C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

(2) Place eggwhite in the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 3-4 minutes to soft peaks. Add caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next, whisking until mixture is glossy. Reduce speed to low, then add vinigar, cornflour and icing sugar, beating to combine. Spread mixture over the baking paper in a round or oblong shape, making a slight indent in the centre. Reduce oven to 130C and bake meringue for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave meringue in the oven, with the door ajar, for 1-2 hours until cooled completely. Remove from oven and place on a platter or serving board.

(3) Meanwhile, for the salted caramel, combine sugar with 1/2 cup (125ml) water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and cook, without stirring, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush, for 8-10 minutes until a golden caramel forms. Remove from heat and pour in cream (be careful, as mixture will bubble, then seize). Return pan to low heat, add salt to taste and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until smooth.

(4) To serve, whisk cream to soft peaks, then spread over meringue. Scatter over berries and drizzle with salted caramel.


Christmas Eve Baccala Napolitana

Christmas Eve Baccala NapolitanaA traditional Italian Christmas celebration is centered around a family feast on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve Baccala Napolitana is an iconic dish with it's roots buried deep in the past.

( Baccalà  - Salted Cod )


(1) When you pick out a piece of baccalà remember that the color of the meat should be close to white and the skin light colored. Stay away from meat with a yellow hue.

(2) If sold whole, try to buy a long, thick fish; if possible it should be a bit more than one-inch thick in the middle of the filet.

(3) Prior to soaking, cut your baccalà into large pieces. Cutting the fish before soaking helps speed up the re-hydration process.

(3) At least two days prior to cooking begin soaking your salted baccalà in fresh water (for at least 36-48 hours). First wash the pieces thoroughly, washing off all the salt on the surface, and then completely submerge in any container that will hold a lot of water; change the water at least three times a day (every eight hours or even more frequently). While soaking, keep the baccalà in a cool place. Refrigeration is not necessary.

(4) Just before cooking, peel off the skin and remove any bones—a pair of small pliers will be very helpful for this.


1/2 teaspoon cracked anise seed

1 teaspoon mace

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, washed 

1 onion, peeled

1/3 cup pitted olives

1/4 cup Capers in Salt, soaked and drained

5 cloves garlic

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 pounds baccalà, prepared

1 can Crushed Tomatoes

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup Plain Breadcrumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 cups white wine


(1) To make the spice mixture, combine all of the dried spices with the exception of the bay leaves in a bowl.

(2) Slice the potatoes and onions and place in a large mixing bowl.

(3) With a food processor, pulse the olives, capers and garlic briefly—until roughly chopped. Add to potato and onion mixture. Add 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture and about 1/4 cup olive oil.

(4) Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

(5) Assemble the dish in a large casserole dish. First, layer 1/2 of the potato and onion mixture on the bottom of baking dish. Next, top with 1/2 of baccalà, then a half can of tomatoes. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of spice mixture, bay leaves, breadcrumbs and Parmigiano over tomatoes.

(6) Repeat layering with remaining ingredients, including the white wine. Top with remaining cheese, breadcrumbs and any spice mixture. Drizzle with remaining olive oil.

(7) Cover and bake.

(8) Cook for about 1 1/2 hours covered, then uncover the dish and lower heat to about 300˚F, cooking for another 30 minutes.. Depending on how you like the dish (with more or less liquid) you can let the dish cook longer.

(9) Remove from the oven and let it set covered for at least 45 minutes before serving.



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