Chef Of The Month September 2017: Nathan Exley
The Sunbury Coffee House, Lancaster
I'm not a native Lancastrian. Being born on The English Riviera in the fishing town of Brixham, a love of food and seafood was a foregone conclusion and working in the Service Industry was inevitable! However, I came to professional kitchens later than most, not starting as a Commis Chef until I was 23 years old. A short bakery course started my love of fresh produce and my ethos of creating as much of my own produce as possible to sell.
Where this is not possible, using consistently high quality suppliers, such as Althams Butchers, is a must.
Having worked in and around the Lancaster area for the last 20 years I finally got the chance to open my own venture earlier this year, The Sunbury Coffee House, on Sun Street in Lancaster. Our style is very simple - good ingredients treated with respect, good food and the sort of venue that I loved to frequent as a child - a place that sells homemade pastries and pies, such as our signature Hand Raised Pork Pie.
For the pastry
225g plain flour
50g strong white bread flour
1 egg, beaten
For the filling
250g pork belly mince
250g course minced pork shoulder
500g sausage meat
10g cracked black pepper
5g picked thyme leaves
5g chopped flat leaf parsley
50g dried apricots, diced
1. Sift the flours and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter, then make a well in the centre.
2. Warm the lard in a pan with 100ml water until the fat has dissolved, then pour into the well in the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough has formed. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. For 1 large pie grease an 10inch springform tin with a little melted lard making sure it's well coated( for smaller pies use smaller tins or a pork pie dolly for the authentic hand raised look).
4. Remove the dough and unwrap. Knead for about 5 minutes then remove a quarter and set aside for the lid. Roll out the remaining dough and line the prepared tin making sure the sides and base are well pressed in to remove air bubbles. Leave any excess over the lip of the tin.
5. Mix all the filling ingredients together and press into the tin (for correct seasoning cook a small meatball of the filling and try first, adjusting as necessary).
6. Roll out the remaining pastry large enough to cover the top of the tin. Brush the overhanging pastry edges with water and place the lid on top, squeezing both pastries together at the edges to seal the pie.
7. Trim off the excess with the back of a knife and crimp. Make a small hole in the centre of the lid and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
8. Bake at 180c for 45 minutes then remove the pie and egg wash the top. Return to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes until a good colour has formed.
9. Serve hot or cold with a choice of pickles and fresh salad.