Following our post about Alan Jones and Derwen Gam here’s a little insight into what we’re doing with the sheep milk at the restaurant. It appears throughout the menu, but this week we’ve been having fun with the sweet stuff.
When the milk arrives from Alan, making yoghurt is the best way to preserve it and its healthy fat content makes it ideal for the purpose. We use a natural back slop method, saving a little yoghurt from the last batch to inoculate the new batch. We keep a little of the milk back to drink in it’s raw state. Nothing really compares to this simple serving.
Like everyone in the country we are revelling in the strawberry season. We always take our strawberries from Carey organics, a small farm in Hereford. With the milk increasing in cream content week by week we felt it only right to look toward Strawberries and Cream.
A small bowl of Alan’s yoghurt is covered with strawberries cured very lightly in soy and elderflower syrup and dressed with apple marigold from the farm. This is served with a shot of the raw milk.
We make all of our ice creams in an early 20th century hand churner. It’s the best way we found to date, of churning ice cream. The texture feels more akin to the natural textures of the cream, maintaining the fattiness but still achieving a light whip like gelato. Whipping the cream fresh to order also omits the use of artificial emulsifiers that seem to add a gummy texture.
We churn the Sheep’s milk yoghurt and add a good helping of whole fruit, strawberry jam made from the discarded fruit, either damaged in transit or too small to cure. We think it’s possible that the old churners might have been the start of the rippled ice cream. An old grandma somewhere out in the mid west, finding herself scraping out a jam jar in a flash of creativity to add a zang to her creamed ice. You never know.
We make a whey caramel by taking the left over whey from the yoghurt making process. The whey is reduced very slowly so that the proteins do not crystallise, until we have an incredibly sour caramel. To this we add honey from our bees and then spread the mixture between two wafers creating, in essence a strop waffle which we then serve along side the ice cream.
Sorry for any spoilers but after a bowl of this ice cream I’m sure you’re going to forgive us.
When you find a raw ingredient this good, the urge is to show it off in as many ways as possible and to use everything it gives. I would love to say that this dish will stay on for ever but we start to get more ideas and find other ways of showcasing the milk. For me the dish is not the most important element in the process - it is a fleeting idea for the moment, we cannot be precious. What will stay is Alan’s milk, and our relationship will strengthen, learning more every year and enjoying it in different ways. In this way our menu changes and adapts around the strengthening of our relationships to the people we work with.