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Cotswold Food Production- Recipes

PUBLISHED: 11:16 16 December 2010 | UPDATED: 14:33 20 February 2013

looking good

looking good

The Cotswolds are no longer virgins in the Atlantic crossing as we prepare to show Americans how we produce some of the finest foods and drinks...

May is one of those fantastic months of the year when you really get to notice the change in ingredients at the markets, farm shops and even supermarkets in the Cotswolds. Not only that, but you see the countryside start to come alive with colour and vibrancy and the landscape move into one of the most nourishing seasons of the year.

The rape starts to blossom with rich yellow colours, the wild garlic emerges from its long winter under the cover of leaves and the Vale of Evesham stands proud and tall with crisp, tasty asparagus stems, ready to be bundled, steamed, drizzled with melted butter and served simply on our supper tables.

Cotswold Life readers should be proud to know that during the first week in May there is a large promotion in New York all about the Cotswolds and South West of England and that we are leading the way for our country. Interestingly, for a number of years there have been Welsh weeks and indeed a Tartan week in the Big Apple, but never anything distinctively English. Well all that is about to change thanks to some brilliant partnership work here in the Cotswolds and the region.

I am lucky enough to have the honour of leading a team of some of the best chefs in the Cotswolds as we cook and prepare meals at the James Beard Foundation - one of the world's leading culinary Meccas. Joining me are the Lords of the Manor Hotel, The Threeways Hotel and Pudding Club and The Goring Hotel in London. Why a London hotel? Well they have a great partnership with all of the Cotswold Finest Hotels Group and for years have been utilising some brilliant Cotswold products on their menus.

It's a big ask trying to storm New York, where many careers in different sectors have failed. Even in terms of gastronomy, the rumours have it that Gordon Ramsay is having a real battle on his hands. For the team from the Cotswolds though, we believe that our strength lies in the quality of our farming and the ingredients. Combine that with the craft skills of the chefs and an approach that allows natural flavours to speak to you from the plate and we have the recipe for success.

Our promotion isn't just about the James Beard dinner. We are also hosting an event for 50 of America's leading food, drink and travel journalists. This provides us with a chance to celebrate our region and its assets on a global stage. This obviously helps support companies like Kitchen Garden Foods, Severn and Wye Smokery and Four Angels who already extensively export their stunning products, but at the same time it will give other companies like Benson's Apple Juice, Wickwar and Freeminer Breweries, Godsells Cheese and others a platform from which they can launch new aspects and dimensions to their businesses.

If any of you happen to be in New York from May 1st - 6th you could drop in to other venues where I will be cooking some of our products from the Cotswolds. I will be in cookery store Williams-Sonoma on May 6th, Whole Foods in Bower Houston on May 5th, and Caf Opaline at the De Hesh Musemum on May 4th. Interestingly, even after we have returned to the UK, the De Hesh Museum will be offering a Cotswold Menu for another couple of weeks - so pop in to enjoy the sights and sounds of Manhattan with a little taste of star quality from home.

So Fifth Avenue, Tiffanys and Bloomingdales are a long way from the fields of rape and the pub blackboards adorned with the list of suppliers, chilled pints of Cotswold Way Beer and the chatter of happy children at Tewkesbury's Food Festival this month....but it will be with us in spirit as we represent our Cotswolds with pride in a competitive world market place.

We will do our best to represent all that the area is about in terms of environment, education, lifestyle, businesses and fun, and we will do that by good food and good company.

Grilled Spring Lamb Steaks

Serves 4

4 x 200g locally-sourced lamb steaks

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 sprigs of lemon thyme

4 tablespoons English rape seed oil

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 finely chopped shallots

4 peeled and sliced cloves of garlic

4 large sprigs of chopped parsley

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 teaspoons of local mustard

Place the steaks, garlic, rosemary, thyme and the rape seed oil and all the olive oil into a dish with a lid on and marinade for 24 hours.

In a small bowl mix together the chopped shallots, mustard, parsley, pepper and remaining rape seed oil - place to one side.

Heat a griddle, bbq or frying pan. Remove the steaks from the fridge about 15 minutes prior to cooking. Take them out of the marinade removing any excess marinade.

Place onto the hot griddle and cook for approximately 4 minutes either side. Season with extra pepper should you wish.

Just prior to serving and once cooked to your desired temperature, spoon a tablespoon of the parsley and mustard mix over each steak.

Serve immediately with some mashed potatoes and spring greens.

Simple, tasty and local.

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