Melting Mendip Moments

A talented chef from Weston-super-Mare and an award-winning Somerset business reveal that ice cream is not just for Sundaes, writes Sarah Ford

My close friends and family will tell you I like my food, and when it comes to new culinary experiences I’m prepared to give anything a go. However, when I heard about new recipe ideas from one of my favourite Somerset ice cream makers, I admit even I was sceptical.

An exciting collaboration between the award-winning Mendip Moments and Amy Hunt, owner and head chef of the celebrated Oak and Glass restaurant in Weston-super-Mare, has resulted in a collection of ice cream dishes with a creative twist.Take this starter for instance: honeydew melon, Parma ham and pear chutney. This sounds deliciously straightforward so far. But add a dollop of Mendip Moments mascarpone, fig and honey ice cream and you’ve got something mouth-wateringly different to tickle your taste buds. By the time I had arrived at the fillet of Red Ruby Devon beef, wild mushroom, truffle and Chocoholic Chunk ice cream, I was hooked on the idea of using Mendip Moments’ ice cream in a main meal. Maybe I could try this at home?Jayne Lunnon, director of Mendip Moments, explained to me over dinner how they had been so inspired by Amy’s ingenious use of their ice cream in her menu, that they approached her to devise some recipes that can be recreated in a domestic kitchen. Free recipe details are available at mendipmoments.co.uk, so we can all impress our dinner party guests with some fantastic flavour combinations.“We have supplied Oak and Glass with ice cream for three years and got to know Amy well over that time,” explains Jayne.“She is very creative and has risen to the challenge beautifully, pushing people’s perceptions beyond three scoops in a bowl.”She recalls the day that Amy and her sous chef, Leon, came out to the family farm near Wells, took over her kitchen, and came up with some amazing ice cream ideas.“We sat out on the patio with our staff eating their wonderful creations. It was all fabulous and it was just a case of choosing what we went ahead with.

“It’s all about getting people to try things in a different way – although for some it takes them a while to get their head round it.”Amy, who has worked with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons confesses that the dishes did not sell as well in the Oak and Glass restaurant when she put ‘ice cream’ on the menu.“So I now write it down as cream. But once people have tried it they think... wow, it really works!”In fact, after one couple tried the Oak and Glass Cornish crab cakes with sweet chilli dipping sauce and Mendip Moments’ Stem Ginger ice cream, it wasn’t long before they were back again – bringing a group of friends with them and ordering the crab cakes dish for the whole table.Before Amy returns to the kitchen to create a whisky and marmalade souffl� with Mendip Moments’ Orange and Lemon sorbet, she tells me that she grew up in the hospitality industry, helping out in her family’s hotel.“It certainly gave me an insight into the unsocial hours and hard work,” says the talented chef who, nevertheless, obviously loves her chosen career.And her favourite Mendip Moments dish? “Somerset lamb rump, hazelnut and green bean salad and Mendip Moments’ Praline and Pecan ice cream.”

Fillet of beef, braised red cabbage, Mendip Moments Chocoholic Chunk ice cream

Ingredients (serves 4)4 x 6oz Beef fillet steaks250g wild mushroomsBraised red cabbageButtered mashed potatoTender stems of broccoliBeef jus4 scoops Mendip Moments Chocoholic Chunk ice creamMethodThis dish is a twist on a classic flavour combination, bitter chocolate and rich red meat. We’ve used the Chocoholic Chunk ice cream to enhance the flavour of the beef fillet, whilst the red cabbage (braised with red wine vinegar) cuts through the richness to complete an unmissable flavour experience.Pre prepare the braised red cabbage and a jus (rich gravy).Mash potatoes with butter, blanch the broccoli stems and pan fry the mushrooms.Cook the fillet steak to your personal taste.Pre scoop ice cream balls onto a plate and place back in the freezer.Arrange the dish on warm plates and add the ice cream scoops before serving.A dinner party dish your guests will never forget for the right reasons!

Mendip Moments is available from independent retailers, delicatessens and farm shops. For further information visit mendipmoments.co.ukOak and Glass Restaurant is at 1 Uphill Road North, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 4NE. 01934 641874, oakandglass.co.uk

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