As we inch into autumn, there's no better time to sit down to a chilled beer – perhaps a glass of premium Belgian beer Leffe – and some Michelin-starred snacks to boot.
HELLO! Online talks to Michelin-starred Head Chef of the Heston Blumenthal-owned Hinds Head, Kevin Love, about his recent collaboration with the abbey beer – which has seen him reach a whole new level when it comes to bar snacks.
From duck ham to scotch quail eggs, scampi tails to Kentish rarebit (forget crisps and peanuts)… these gourmet treats have been thought up to complement the character and flavours of Leffe. The best bit? They can also be rustled up at home.
Kevin, who currently works with Heston and has also worked with Gordon Ramsay, tells us about the tasty delights, his favourite autumn ingredients and
How did the Michelin-starred bar snacks come about?
We were approached by Leffe at the start of the year and the project instantly caught our eye. Bar snacks are becoming increasingly popular and we take them just as seriously as dishes on the main menu at the many restaurants and gastro pubs. A good bar snack can really help put a pub on the map. So we thought Leffe's proposal to start an award to try and find the best was a great idea and launched the awards with five gourmet bar snack recipes of my own.
Tell us about beer pairings.
Wine pairings are more commonly considered when restaurateurs create menus, it should be no different with beer. Leffe is a premium beer with very distinctive flavours and characteristics, so my brief was to create snacks with this in mind. The recipes, from the creamy yolk of the quail’s egg to the savoury notes of the duck ham, have all been perfectly crafted to complement the slight hint of bitterness, quince, gooseberry, bitter cherry and apple flavours of Leffe Blonde, but also the slightly sweet taste of Leffe Brune which has notes of coffee, vanilla and cloves.
How can we give a Michelin star twist to a classic British dish at home?
Start off with the best ingredients you can afford, treat them with respect and allow them to do the talking on the plate!
What are your favourite ingredients for the autumn?
It would have to be root vegetables; brilliant for purees and garnishes, and you can't beat a good roasted parsnip.
You've worked in Cataluyna. What restaurants did you work with there, and what was your favourite dish?
I worked at El Raco de Can Fabes and it had three Michelin stars at the time. The signature prawn ravioli with ceps, or any of the seafood dishes for that matter, were superb and all the ingredients were brought in fresh from the market every day.
Kevin Love and Leffe, the premium Belgian abbey beer, recently collaborated to uncover the UK’s best gourmet bar snacks. All of Love’s bar snacks created to launch the Leffe Gastro Bite Awards were designed to complement the character and flavours of Leffe, a beer which works perfectly with food. All recipes are available at www.youtube.com/leffeuk