Liam Dillon On Autumnal Eats

Chef-owner of The Boat Inn in Lichfield, Liam Dillon places exceptional produce at the heart of his dishes.

This autumn, whip up a feast with his delicious duo of autumnal recipes (and find out what keeps him inspired with our five minute chef session)

5 Minutes With Liam Dillon 

What inspired you to become a chef?
My nana.

What’s your favourite autumnal ingredient?

What does hospitality mean to you?
The world.

What’s been your favourite career highlight so far?
Opening a restaurant with my family.

Finally… what’s on your kitchen soundtrack?
Bugzy Malone – King of the North

Liam’s Venison, Cauliflower & Mushroom

Cotswold Shot Venison, Potato terrine & Cauliflower credit Bacon on the beech

Serves 4

For the venison marinade
Ingredients list A:
• Crushed Juniper x 15g
• Orange Zest x 25g
• Rosemary x 2g
• Thyme x 2 g
• Sliced Onions x 400g
• Garlic x 15g
• Black Pepper x 10
• Bay Leaf x 3

Ingredients list B:
• Red Wine x 1 Bottle
• 600g of Venison Loin

1 Place the A ingredients into a metal container.
2 Bring B (red wine) to the boil and then pour over mixture A. Leave to infuse.
3 Place the meat into the cold marinade for one hour.
4 Once marinated, pat dry and reserve.
5 This marinade can be used another two times, so reserve it for another occasion. 

For the cauliflower puree & fried cauliflower
• Cauliflower x 3 Large Heads
• Fresh Yeast x 100g
• Double Cream x 50g
• Maldon Sea salt
• Butter x 50g

For the cauliflower salt
• Juniper x 50g

• Fennel Seed x 50g
• Star Anise x 10g
• Black Pepper x 5g
• Table Salt x 150g

Fried cauliflower method
1 Remove the larger florets from the cauliflower heads and reserve all the trim for the puree.
2 Place the juniper, fennel, star anise and the pepper on a metal tray and place in the oven at 160 °F for eight minutes then blend.
3 Once blended add table salt to it.
4 Sprinkle over the larger florets and leave them to slowly cure for 30 minutes.
5 After this time rinse off and reserve to fry when ready to plate.  

Cauliflower puree method
1 For the puree roast the finely chopped cauliflower trim in butter until it starts to colour.
2 Once coloured, crumble over the yeast and cook out for three minutes.
3 After this time add the cream and bring to the boil.
4 Once boiled remove from the heat and blend to a silky puree.
5 Pass through a fine sieve and then season.

For the mushroom & onion pickle
• Champagne Vinegar (Or White wine) x 50g
• Chicken Stock (Or Water) x 100g
• Rapeseed Oil x 50g
• Lemon Juice x 25g
• Saffron x 1 Pinch
• Thyme x 1 Sprig
• Rosemary x 1 Sprig
• Bay leaf x 2
• Garlic x 2 cloves
• White Pepper corns x 6
• Coriander Seed x 1 pinch
• Maldon Sea Salt x 1 pinch
• Peeled Baby pickling Onion x 20
• Chestnut Mushrooms x 100g
• Pickled elderberries (optional – to garnish)

Combine the liquid ingredients (champagne vinegar / white wine, chicken stock, rapeseed oil and lemon juice).
2 Add all the dry ingredients to a big bowl and then pour over the dry mixture.
3 Slice the chestnut mushrooms and pour the pickling liquid over them.
4 Leave for six hours minimum before using. 

For the Potato Terrine:
• Maris Piper Potatoes x 35
• Clarified Butter x 200g
• Salt
• Pepper

1 Slice the peeled potatoes to 3mm thickness and dress in melted butter.
2 Layer the slices into a parchment-lined container.
3 After each layer of potato, season with salt and pepper.
4 Once filled, cover with parchment paper and a lid.
5 Cook in the oven for 1hour 40 minutes at 170 degrees c or when a knife will go through the terrine with no resistance.
6 Chill the terrine with a weight pressing it, if possible. This is help the terrine stay together when reheating it. 

Bringing the dish together
1 Season the venison loin with table salt and then seal it all over in a hot pan.
2 Then add butter & fresh thyme.
3 Rest the venison loin on thyme sprigs and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes or when probed to 48°F core temp.
4 Remove and allow to rest for no less than 12 minutes.
5 Warm the puree and place a small amount on the plate.
6 Deep fry the cauliflower floret until golden brown. Due to the sugar content and the salting process the cauliflower will be ready to eat before it is too dark in colour.
7 Place the cauliflower on the plate on top of the puree.
8 Cut a portion of the terrine and then roast it in a pan with some oil. (At the restaurant we reserve our venison trim and our butcher makes our sausages for us for this dish). If you are not this fortunate, use bought in sausages or use a larger portion of venison.
9 Place the terrine on the plate with the mushrooms and pickled onions. We finish the sauce with pickled elderberries to help add more acidity to the dish.

Liam’s Carrot Cake with Rum & Raisin Ice Cream

Liam Dillon carrot cake photo credit Bacon on the Beech

For the carrot cake:
• 4 eggs
• 250g caster sugar
• 80g dark muscavado sugar
• 230g rapeseed oil
• 360g grated carrot
• 10g cinnamon
• 350g self raising flour
• 8g bicarbonate of soda
• 8g baking powder
• 5g salt

1 Whip the eggs with both sugars until doubled in size, slowly add the oil.
2 Add all the dry ingredients together in a bowl then incorporate the egg mixture.
3 Bake in the oven at 165 °F until a knife comes out clean. Approx. 30-40 mins.

For the crystallised almonds and walnuts
• 100g mixed nuts
• 45g sugar
• 90g water

1 Roast the nuts on a baking tray
2 Boil sugar and water to 118°F.
3 Add the roasted nuts to the mixture then keep stirring until crystallised.
4 Leave to cool.

For the rum and raisin ice cream
• 250g milk
• 250g cream
• 25g liquid glucose
• 100g egg yolk
• 100g sugar
• 3 dessert spoons of rum soaked raisins
• 50 mls approx. of preferred dark rum

1 Bring milk, cream and glucose to the boil.
2 Whisk egg yolks and sugar and whisk. Add the milk mixture to the eggs and sugar and mix.
3 Put back on the heat and bring to 82°F.
4 Pass through a fine sieve and refrigerate and then freeze.

For the butter icing
• 150g Icing sugar
• 250g cream cheese
• 250g soft butter

1 Cream all ingredients together and then reserve in the fridge until needed.

To plate: 
1 Place the portioned carrot cake on the plate and then apply the butter icing to the top of the cake.
2 Place a small pile of the crystallised nuts to the side of the carrot cake and then scoop the ice-cream onto the nuts.
3 Garnish with a brandy snap.

Recipes courtesy of Liam Dillon, chef/owner of The Boat Inn



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