This recipe must be good because it won me the coveted Best Domestic Chef award at the Taste of Dorset Awards 2013. I thought you only had to submit a recipe, but ended up cooking it at the Poundbury Food Festival with an audience of thousands (erm slight exaggeration, Andy Murray was winning at Wimbledon which thankfully kept the crowds down!!) and having to commentate as I cooked. I was cooking against 3 other excellent cooks, Michelle (lamb with blue berries), Lynne (Charlton Lyme Bay scallops) & Isabella (Blue Vinny ice-cream – FAB). We all survived the day and the judges gave nothing away as they nodded and smiled while tasting each dish – don’t play poker with these guys!!

Taste of Dorset Awards
It wasn’t until the the awards night, two months later that we all met up again (except for Lynne?) they are the nicest people you would wish to meet and the ‘competition’ was forgotten as we chatted away sipping wonderful Furleigh bubbly. Then we were ushered in and ate a fantastic four course meal, it was amazing night sat amongst all these fantastic Dorset foodie finalists. The awards ceremony then kicked off and the Domestic Chef award was on first, I really was in shock when host Peter Gorton read out my name – wahoooooooooooooo! (the rest of the night was a major blur!) for the list of all the winners please click here

Big thanks you to the sponsors of the award Dorset Farmers Market and to Blackmore Vale for the whole event. The biggest thanks goes to Ben Garner who caught me the bass on the morning of the competition, without him there was no dish – I just couldn’t get a bass, buy one or catch one!! This photograph was timed at 11:14 and the competition started at 13:30!!!!

Taste of Dorset Awards
Here is the winning recipe, poached Bass on a bed of potato and crispy Pancetta with fresh wild garlic Pesto, which is bit of a mouthful to say, but is an even tastier mouthful to eat! Check out my recipe for homemade wild garlic pesto.


Serves 2

2 skinned bass fillets (other fish halibut, cod, pollack)
350g peeled potatoes, diced into 1cm cubes
olive oil
300ml home made fish stock
150ml Furleigh Estate Bacchus Dry white wine
2 slices of Capreolus Pancetta, cut into 1cm wide strips
1 tablespoon wild garlic capers
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
50g butter
1/4 red pepper, cut into fine julienne strips
2 cubes of frozen wild garlic pesto

  • Toss potatoes in olive oil and place on non-stick baking sheet. Season well and cook in a pre-heated oven at 200c/400f/gas 6 for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown, tossing occasionally.
  • Bring the fish stock & wine to the boil in a saucepan and add the fish, cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat just before the fish is totally cooked.
  • Cook the Pancetta strips until crispy in a little olive oil. Drain on paper towel to remove excess oil.
  • Return the Pancetta to the pan with capers, cooked potatoes, half the parsley and half the butter, gently toss together until the butter has melted.
  • Place a 9cm metal ring on plate and spoon in the potato mix, remove the ring and place bass on the top and brush with melted butter. Top with the pepper and chopped parsley. Drizzle over with pesto and then serve.

Wine: has to be Furleigh Classic Cuvee

please excuse the slightly over cooked potatoes!
Taste of Dorset Awards

My prize – huge thanks to Hart of Sturminster Newton 🙂


wild garlic

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