Need some cooking inspiration? Matthew Reeder, the head chef at Harpenden’s The Silver Cup, is here to help
The Silver Cup sits on the edge of Harpenden Common and is minutes from the bustling High Street and the station. A part of Harpenden’s Community for nearly 200 years, friends Matthew Reeder and Michael Singleton have lovingly refurbished the pub to bring it up to date – a public house for the 21st century.
They serve top quality Modern British food in their dining room, it’s just a little bit special but welcoming and unpretentious. They’ve retained the bar so everyone is welcome to call in for a drink and a bar snack. They have been such a hit, they were named Hertfordshire’s Best Pub for 2022 by the National Pub and Bar Awards.
In the run up to Christmas, we all get a little stressed out about cooking over the fest period, but Matthew – the head chef as well as co-founder at The Silver Cup – has some words of advice.
“I prefer to cook roast beef on Christmas Day, and with the bird flu outbreak causing turkey shortages, this year it will be harder to get hold of turkey at a reasonable price,” he says. “If you are looking to do something impressive on a budget, the Chipotle Honey Roast Ham recipe below really is a winner, as you can prepare all the day before and a ham joint goes a long way. The glaze is also a fabulous dipping sauce to store in the fridge and use on other meats, for instance it’s great on chicken to give it a tang and make it more exciting.
“A little Christmas cooking tip is to utilise your BBQ, as long as it has a closing lid,” he adds. “Use it just like an oven, let the coals die down to the temperature that works for your roasting joint, and it not only adds more flavour, but also frees up your oven for roast potatoes!”
Want to wow your guests? Here Matthew rustles up some recipes to really ensure you have a cracking Christmas.
Chipotle Honey Roast Ham
For the chipotle and honey mustard glaze
100g chipotle ketchup
50g wholegrain mustard
25g sherry vinegar
Mix all ingredients together
For the ham
2 stick celery
1 bulb garlic
2 bay leaves
½ bunch thyme
Teaspoon star anise
Teaspoon black peppercorns
1 large gammon joint
1. Place gammon joint in large stock pot and cover with water. Bring up to a gentle simmer, skimming any layers that rises to the top.
2. Finely dice the onions, carrots, leek, celery, garlic, along with the herbs and spices and fry in a little oil on a low heat for 5 minutes (in a Mirepoix’) and add to the stock pot.
3. Once simmering, drop down the temperature and simmer for 4 hours or until centre of the ham is cooked to 58 degrees.
4. Once cooked, cool in the stock for 1-2 hours. Then pull the ham leg out and place onto baking tray. Score the skin with a sharp knife, creating small squares, then glaze with the chipotle honey mustard mix.
5. Place into oven at 180 degrees and cook for 1 hour, basting throughout to build caramelisation. When golden brown, place on serving platter and carve at the table with a sharp caring knife.
Matthew says: “The chipotle dressing is great for brushing over cheaper cuts of meat to elevate them and make them utterly delicious as a Sunday roast lamb or pork shoulder. The glaze works exceptionally well on a honey roast ham recipe, which is cheap and feeds plenty. It can also be used for glazing chicken breasts to make your midweek dinners more exciting. Once a batch is made and placed in the fridge, it can also be used as a dipping sauce or BBQ marinade. If you don’t have time for the chipotle ketchup you can make dressing/glaze easily with a shop brought replacement. I recommend this dressing for all home pantries!”
Venison Scotch Egg
– 500g venison mince
– 500g sausage meat
– 4 sprigs rosemary, vhopped
– 3 juniper berries, grated
– 13 eggs
– 250g panko breadcrumbs
– 100g plain flour
– 10g salt
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the venison mince, sausage meat, chopped rosemary and grated juniper. Add salt. Cook a small sample in frying pan to check seasoning.
- Bring pan of heavily seasoned water to boil. Carefully place 10 eggs in and cook for 6 minutes and then refresh in ice bath. Once chilled set aside and then peel.
- Weigh meat mix into 100g balls, flatten out in palm of hand and wrap the eggs one by one. Place onto floured tray.
- Prepare egg wash by whisking 3 eggs in a bowl with a splash of water.
- Set three bowls up; one with flour, one with the egg wash and one with the panko mix.
- Dip the wrapped eggs into the flour, followed by the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs. Repeat this process twice.
- Preheat a pan of oil or a fryer to 180 degrees. Fry for 4 minutes. Finish in the oven at 180 degrees for 5 minutes. Rest for 2 minutes before serving.
- Serve with English mustard or sliced pickled walnuts.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
800g dried dates
1L of water
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
340g softened butter
700g dark brown sugar
8g of baking powder
150g vegetable oil
540g of plain flour
8 eggs lightly beaten
9 Earl Grey teabags
Sticky toffee sauce
500g soft brown sugar
500g double cream
1. In a pan filled with the water, boil teabags along with the dates and bicarb of soda. After five minutes, remove the teabags and continue to boil until the water has evaporated. Let mixture cool.
2. In a mixer, cream the sugar and butter together. Slowly whisk in the eggs and then add the oil to emulsify. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and continue to whisk until creamy.
3. Gently pour in the cooled date mixture and fold together until all mixed together.
4. Pour into a 20cm square cake tin, or two loaf tins and bake at 160C for 45 minutes.
5. For the toffee sauce, add ingredients to a pan and heat gently until the mixture is glossy and a rich toffee colour.
6. Pour toffee sauce over the puddings and serve with cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
And to finish… Christmas Cocktail
Silver Cup Eggnog
1 dash chocolate bitters
Build & stir, top with ice
Garnish, sprinkle with cinnamon