Recipes from two top Essex restaurants to try at home

Vegan Korean cauliflower dish served with a glass of white wine

Vegan Korean cauliflower - Credit: Richard Barker

Two Essex eateries share delicious recipes for you to try at home. Bon Appetite! 

Vegan Korean Cauliflower from The George Hotel; 116 High Street, Colchester;   suryahotels.co.uk

Headshot of Chef from The George Hotel in Colchester smiling

Head chef Jay Cole from The George Hotel - Credit: Richard Barker

The George Hotel's head chef Jay Cole has only been in the post for four months, although he hasn’t had to come far. 

Previously, he was working as head chef at Greyfriars. “I was with them for five years, and before that I worked as a chef in London,” he tells us. Always an Essex boy, Jay grew up in nearby Clacton. 

The hotel has undergone a huge refurbishment, which includes a brand-new kitchen. “Oh yes, everything is all shiny and there’s lots of new equipment,” Jay says. “It’s been a really big investment from the owners.”

With Jay now at the helm of The George, he has updated the menu to reflect the changes throughout the hotel, including its stunning new décor. “I have much more say over the menu in my new role, and have introduced many new and exciting dishes to the recently redecorated restaurant."  

One of these dishes is the vegan Korean cauliflower, which Jay has kindly shared. “There’s also a popular grill for the traditionalists,"  he says, "with a range of delicious sauces to choose from. I’d like to think that our menu now reflects the much more eclectic clientele that the hotel now attracts.”   

Vegan Korean cauliflower ingredients  

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Serves four 

For the batter  

42g of plain flour 

64g of water 

1 teaspoon of baking powder 

1 tablespoon of cornflour  

A pinch of salt 

For the Korean chilli sauce  

6 tablespoons of Korean gochujang chilli paste 

4 tablespoons of ketchup 

4 tablespoons of maple syrup  

Water  

1 tablespoon of cornflour 

For the vegan mayonnaise 

50ml of chickpea water  

4 limes  

200ml of vegetable oil 

For the carrot slaw  

5 carrots  

3 cloves of garlic  

2 shallots  

1 bunch of coriander 

Other ingredients 

1 cauliflower  

2 bunches of spring onions  

1kg of Panko breadcrumbs 

Sesame seeds 

Coriander cress (if available)  

Method  

For the Korean sauce, combine the Korean paste, maple syrup and ketchup, then dilute this to your taste with water. To thicken, put the mixture on the stove and combine the cornflour with a little water and whisk through the sauce. The mixture will start to thicken, now check the sauce for seasoning as it may require a little salt. 

For the cauliflower, combine the dry batter ingredients and add water, quarter your cauliflower and dip into the batter. Let the excess batter drip away and coat in the Panko breadcrumbs.  

For the carrot slaw, chop the shallot and garlic and cook for three to four minutes in vegetable oil, being careful not to colour. Then, peel the carrots and cut into small ribbons. Next, chop the coriander and mix with the carrot, onion, garlic and season.  

Chef’s tip: this is best done the day before, if possible, to get the depth of flavours.   

For the vegan mayonnaise, whisk the chickpea water, lime juice and zest until the mixture becomes white and stiff, then slowly add the oil to this whilst whisking. Season and set aside.  

Now prepare your garnishes to complete the dish. Slice the spring onions very thinly and toast the sesame seeds until golden.  

Fry, or if possible, deep fry the cauliflower until golden before roasting in an oven at 180C for 20 minutes. Once removed from the oven, coat the cauliflower in the hot sauce and then toss in the sesame seeds so they stick to the coated cauliflower.  

To serve, spoon your vegan mayo on the bottom of the plate and put your cauliflower on top. Place the carrot slaw around the cauliflower and scatter the spring onion and coriander cress (if available) and enjoy.   

Toffee and Hazelnut Meringue Roulade from The Old Moot House Tea rooms & Bistro; 3-5 St James’s Street, Castle Hedingham, Halstead, C09 3EJ, moothouserestaurant.co.uk 

Black and white image of a chef in a restaurant

Head chef Xavier Cades of The Old Moot House Restaurant - Credit: Richard Barker

Based in the heart of Castle Hedingham, The Old Moot House Restaurant now offers breakfast, snacks, light lunches and traditional afternoon teas with home-baked cakes, as well as a full restaurant menu in the evenings. 

Xavier Cades is their head chef. “I’ve worked for Sarah now for five years,” he tells us. “I started my working life in London in a French restaurant before moving to Suffolk where I worked at The Swan in Lavenham, the Bull in Long Melford and the Mill in Sudbury. 

Sudbury is where Xavier has made his home, and so the pretty village of Castle Hedingham is close by. 

He’s worked at The Old Moot House for the previous owners for 13 years, so he knows his way around the kitchen. “I stayed because I’ve found somewhere I could be close to home; it’s a perfect place to be.”

As for the menus, Sarah and Xavier design them together - but he has the final word. “She trusts me to know what dishes work and I put them on the menu.” 

Toffee and Hazelnut Meringue Roulade dessert from The Old Moot House Castle Hedingham

Toffee and Hazelnut Meringue Roulade - Credit: Richard Barker

Toffee and hazelnut meringue roulade ingredients 

Serves 9 

For the meringue  

150ml of egg whites  

½ cup of white wine vinegar  

½ cup of vanilla essence  

170g of soft dark brown sugar 

170g of caster sugar 

113g of corn flour 

For the filling 

250mls of double cream 

20g of caster sugar 

200g of hazelnuts 

For the toffee sauce  

50g of dark brown sugar 

100g of butter 

250mls of double cream 

Method 

Line an 11 by 15 inch Swiss roll tin with parchment paper.

Next, in a clean bowl using an electric whisk, whisk the vanilla essence, dark brown sugar and egg whites together until you reach the stiff peaks stage. 

Now, add the corn flour and caster sugar and mix together. 

Spread the meringue mixture in the baking tray and bake at 180C for 35 minutes and leave to cool. 

For the toffee sauce, add cream, butter and dark brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Then take off the heat and allow to cool.  

For the cream filling, whisk the cream and sugar together until you achieve soft peaks.

Add the hazelnuts and half of the cold toffee sauce. 

Remove the meringue from the oven, turn onto a sheet of baking paper and allow to cool for ten minutes. 

Spread three quarters of the filling mixture evenly over the meringue. Roll the meringue firmly, using the paper to help you, from the long end of the roulade. It is essential to keep the roll tight. 

Transfer to a serving tray and pipe the rest of the cream filling on top, drizzle with the remainder of the toffee sauce and serve.  

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