As soon as you drive in through the gates of Stallingborough Grange Hotel you know you’ve arrived somewhere special. Built around a fine 18th century thatched house and set in beautifully landscaped grounds with lawns, an orchard and a lake, the premises have been tastefully extended to provide 42 top quality rooms plus extensive function facilities and the famous Thatcher’s Bar and Restaurant.
It’s the perfect venue for a candlelit dinner for two or for weddings and corporate events, just right for weekending or as a base from which to explore the Lincolnshire Wolds, but it isn’t just a business – it’s also a family home.
Why does that matter? Because it means that as one of the area’s few remaining independent hotels Stallingborough Grange can offer guests a personal touch that will make a stay there a real ‘home from home’ experience.
The fact that the hotel is outside of town and surrounded by open fields means that very few customers arrive by accident. People who come to the Grange do so by choice – either as return visitors (they get a lot of those) or because of recommendations.
So if you choose Stallingborough Grange you can expect top quality service, an excellent night’s rest, restaurant food of exceptional quality and the very warmest of welcomes – all in a setting that’s modern and comfortable while retaining the period charm of the original grange. Lovely.
Head chef at Stallingborough Grange is Daniel Blow. Born in Kirton Lindsey and trained locally he started at the hotel fifteen years ago as a sous chef.
He’s a passionate advocate of Great British food and his menu reflects his belief that there’s nothing better than locally sourced ingredients cooked to perfection. “Grimsby fish, Lincolnshire beef and vegetables and Norfolk duck” he explains. “There’s nothing better? We like to take traditional British recipes and put our own distinctive, modern twist on them. Our customers seem to approve.”
So we thought we’d ask him to share a recipe for one of his signature dishes with us and here’s what he came up with.
Pan fried halibut with crab fritters, red pepper purée, courgette & pesto mash
2 x halibut loin steaks
4 Maris Piper potatoes
2 courgettes, halved lengthways
For the pesto
50g toasted pine nuts
1/2 clove of garlic
1 bunch of fresh basil
fresh pea shoots for garnish
For the puree
2 red peppers
2 large vine tomatoes, halved
pinch of cayenne pepper
For the crab cakes
225g white crab meat
½ a small red chilli
zest of ½ a lime
50g cream cheese
1tsp chopped chives
Boil and mash the potatoes with butter. Combine basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil in a blender to make a smooth pesto. Season to taste and add some to the warm mash for flavour and colour.
Season the peppers with salt and cayenne pepper, drizzle with oil and roast on a tray with the tomatoes. When cooked, blend to a puree and pass through a fine sieve to remove seeds and skins.
Drain the cooked crab meat and remove any pieces of shell. Mix in chilli, lime, paprika, chives and enough cream cheese to bind. Season to taste. Place in the fridge to chill until needed.
Make a simple beer batter with dark ale and self raising flour. Form crab cakes and coat in seasoned flour. Dip in the batter and deep fry for 1 minute at 200ºC until crisp and golden. Heat up a non stick frying pan on medium heat, add oil, season the fish on both sides and fry for a minute each side or until coloured and place in the oven to cook through for another 3-4 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish). Add a knob of butter at the end and baste the fish.
Season and char grill the courgettes and plate using them as a base. Top with the fish followed by a crab fritter. Place the pesto mash alongside and garnish with fresh pea shoots. Swipe the plate with pepper pesto and serve.
Serves two. Deliciously.
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From The Peoples Issue 37