the story

New Seasonal Dish
From the banks of the River Dee

“As always with the lovely menus at the Art School, we are moving into a new season which is always very exciting to have three or four new dishes coming on. Heralding the start of the beef and oysters but using a local combination that heralds from the impoverished populations thrifty cookery.”

“We are using a local beef from the Galloway breed. We are using what I call the Cinderella cuts of tongue, cheek but then the prime cut of Sirloin and that’s enhanced with oysters. It comes from poor families who could only afford to buy a small amount of beef, which they would supplement with oysters found on the beach because they needed the extra protein. This dish is a refined version of that, we are using spring vegetables including cauliflower that’s in season now.”

“The particular beef we are using is from Heswall. It comes via Callum Edge who slaughters and ages the beef for us. This dish is a refined Art School fine dining version of the beef and oyster pie. There’s no crust involved, the cheek is served in the oyster shell with a poached oyster wrapped in courgette on top. The cheek has been poached in the cooking liquor which is a beef, brown stock with leeks, carrots, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme and rosemary and the juice from the poached oysters goes in there. That is the jus that we refine by passing through muslin to make for the sauce so the beef and the oyster flavours are mingled and it’s a marriage made in Heaven. This is what the impoverished found when they put the two together.”

“For instance, in Chinese cuisine you will beef and oyster sauce in a stir fry, they use a fermented oyster potion which is very thick and strong. The way we do it is rather elegant and we recommend the guest eat the oyster first as the beef is a strong luxurious meaty flavour and the oyster is a sea breeze. The idea of the Heswall beef is it’s from the banks of the River Dee, the vegetation where these cattle come from, Heswall, Caldy and Hoylake means there is some salt water is passing through it. The soil is very good, the pasture is very good for the cows. Callum ages it for us.”

“The Galloway originates from Ireland and Scotland, similar to a Hereford or an Angus. The flavour is the slow cooked braised element of the cheek, the cured tongue which is a bit like a beefy bacon and then the prime cut of the sirloin where you really taste the Galloway flavour. It sounds odd to say this but you need the braised element, the cured element and the slightly bloody element mixed up with the flavours of the cauliflower, the fennel and tarragon butter on the vegetables, some turtle beans mixed with the jus and the final element is the horseradish snow.”

“I’m excited about it. There’s a little bit of theatre in the dining room as they have two things to serve. One is a frozen element, one is a hot sauce. Just because you can have hot apple pie with ice cream doesn’t mean you can’t have hot and cold elements in a savoury dish, that’s how I think of it. It challenges your taste buds and your mind. The reaction from the staff was very positive. It will be going onto our Excellence and Tasting Menu.”

“Another exciting thing is we have matched it up with a true Liverpool named wine which gives the history of Spion Kop.”

Spion Kop (or Kop for short) is a colloquial name or term for a number of single tier terraces and stands at sports stadiums, particularly in the United Kingdom.

Their steep nature resembles a hill near Ladysmith, South Africa, that was the scene of the Battle of Spion Kop in January 1900 during the Second Boer War. In 1906 Liverpool Echo sports editor Ernest Edwards noted of a new open-air embankment at Anfield: “This huge wall of earth has been termed ‘Spion Kop’, and no doubt this apt name will always be used in future in referring to this spot”. The use of the name was given formal recognition in 1928 upon construction of a roof. It is thought to be the first terrace officially named Spion Kop. – source Wikipedia

“Spion Kop is made from Pinotage, a grape that’s only grown in South Africa, it’s very meaty and goes well with stew and prime cuts of beef and game. But the Spion Kop wine matched with the beef and oyster pie idea of a peasant Liverpool dish made into a restaurant dish is very exciting to me.”

Chef Patron, Paul Askew

A plate of Callum’s Heswall Galloway beef. To include; tongue, cheek and sirloin with turtle beans, oyster, cauliflower and spring vegetables.