The Milestone release their first ever cook book, First Catch Your Pig, this week – it’s a collection of recipes from the gastro-pub and the restaurant (which are now merged together into one menu) and it sounds like pre-orders have been racking up quickly. Not surprising, since they’ve had so much publicity recently. As well as winning a number of local awards (Eat Sheffield restaurant of the year and White Rose Yorkshire pub of the year), they reached the semi-final of Gordon Ramsay’s best restaurant 2010 and only narrowly missed out on reaching the final two.
I was invited, along with a few other local bloggers, to try out a sneak preview of some of the recipes from the cook book before its official release. I was sent 2 recipes – one main and one dessert – to test for myself. The main course happened to be the very same meal I chose last time I was at the Milestone a few weeks ago, so I had a pretty good idea how it should taste. I’ve posted below photos of my version, vs. the Milestone’s version for comparison. I’m not going into too much detail about the recipes, as I suspect they’d rather I didn’t give them away here for free!:
Venison meatballs in tomato sauce with watercress pilaf rice
The recipe uses venison heart mince, which I couldn’t get hold of, even though I tried several butchers. The Milestone recipe came with a suggestion of lamb heart mince in place which was easier to get. The heart gave the meatballs a distinctive flavour – stronger than I recall the venison heart being when I had it at the restaurant, so I think the lamb heart adds extra depth. I’ve never cooked with heart before, so starting off with mince was a nice simple introduction. Watch out for the shot in the venison – I got a tiny little one that added an unexpected bit of texture.
The other elements were the tomato sauce – which has quite a kick, be warned if you’re wary of spicier tastes! – and the watercress pilaf rice. Both the sauce and the rice would transfer well to other dishes and as they’re simple to prepare and very effective, they’ll certainly make their way into my more regular range.
Poached pears with mulled wine and a mulled wine shot
This was a really simple but impressive dessert, which I’ll definitely do again. It needed some preparation the day before, but it was very straightforward and all done and dusted pretty quickly, leaving an amazing mulled wine smell in the kitchen. The mulled wine shot was a lovely touch and they recommended a lemon balm ice cream to accompany the dessert – rather fortuitously, I just happened to have in some lemon curd ice cream which went nicely with the sweet pears.
What I liked about the recipes is how well they worked – they were straightforward to follow and turned out exactly how they should – I think my pictures are a pretty good echo of the Milestone’s originals and they tasted good too. Although I’m a keen cook, I’m definitely no expert so you don’t need extraordinary flair to make these work for you in your kitchen. There were no hidden surprises, or tricky procedures in the recipes I was sent to try out so despite the Milestone’s growing reputation for its food, I think this is likely to be a pretty accessible recipe book. It’s available now via their website or on Amazon, at £19.95 for hardback or £16.95 for paperback. Let me know what you think of it!