We were thrilled when leading lifestyle magazine, Scottish Field, visited Britannia to interview our chefs and photograph their food for a stunning 5-page feature uncovering the secrets of an exclusive evening event aboard Her Majesty The Queen’s former floating palace.
Scottish Field’s photographer Angus Blackburn and writer Hermione Lister-Kaye were given the royal treatment and welcomed aboard via The Royal Brow, the entrance previously used for The Queen and members of the Royal Family.
Britannia’s executive chef, Mark Alston, and pastry chef, Stephen Espouy, had been busy all morning preparing an exquisite three course meal to be photographed for the magazine.
The photo shoot began with some shots outside on the deck with Mark proudly displaying a silver tray, dressed with fresh west coast scallops in their shells, and huge succulent crabs perched on top of a bed of fresh seaweed.
Afterwards, we moved into the original Royal Galleys where Mark and his in-house team of chefs prepare all the food for private dinners on board Britannia. Here, Mark and Stephen plated up each dish with incredible attention to detail, ready to photographed at the beautifully laid table in The State Dining Room.
Meanwhile, the magazine’s writer Hermione was busy interviewing Britannia’s food and beverage services manager, and member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Bruce MacBride, who joined the Britannia team in 2006 after ten years on the Orient Express.
Bruce ensures impeccable customer service is delivered for every guest at their event on Britannia. Many special occasions are celebrated on board, from wedding anniversaries to special milestone birthdays, and can be in the form of a dinner for as few as 6 people in The Officers’ Wardroom to 96 seated for dinner in The State Dining Room, where Her Majesty once entertained world leaders and celebrities.
Everything is replicated to the same standards as when Britannia was in royal service so guests really are treated like royalty. “Attention to detail is absolutely key,” says Bruce. “We put Downton Abbey to shame!”
The article was published in the February issue of Scottish Field magazine and the recipes can be found below. Please do send us your pictures if you try out any of the dishes yourself!
Starter - Kintyre scallop, crab salad and pickled cucumber
Diver-caught scallop & crab mix
20g brunoise spring onion
30g tomato concasse
15g tomato ketchup
4g chiffonade coriander
Squeeze of lemon juice
Zest of lemon and lime
1 lime (juice)
250ml white wine
150ml white wine vinegar
100ml olive oil
4 shallots sliced
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
8 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp coriander seed
20g brunoise shallot
20g sliced spring onion
50g tomato concasse
Dash of lemon juice
Method: Open scallop, remove from shell and slice through the middle.
Crab mix: Boil crab for 6-8 mins to cook then refresh in iced water, continue to crack the claws and arms, removing the meat. Check meat for shell, then combine with all ingredients and season, portion to 20g per plate and chill.
Avocado: Combine ingredients in mixer and blitz. Season and set aside for service.
Cucumber: Peel cucumber, using a Parisian scoop make small balls. For pickling, place all other ingredients in a pan and bring to boil, then allow to cool and infuse. Once cooled pour over the cucumber balls.
Dressing: Sauté shallot and spring onion to soften, add champagne and reduce, add tomato to warm only. Finish with lemon, oil and chives.
Plating: Assemble the components nicely, sear and cook the scallop and dress with tomato dressing. Finish with coriander leaves and radish.
Main - Lamb loin, pommes Anna, Jerusalem artichoke & jus gras
Main course recipe
2 lamb shoulder bones in approx 9l chicken stock
2 litres Madeira
300g Jerusalem artichoke
150ml white wine
400ml chicken stock
200ml whipping cream
40g milk powder
35g grated horseradish
Quality loin of lamb
Finely chopped rosemary/thyme
Method – jus gras: Stud two lamb shoulders with rosemary, thyme and garlic. Braise at 150°c with chicken stock until the meat freely comes off the bone. Pick the meat and discard bones. Roast picked lamb in a roasting tray until caramelising and deglaze the pan with Madeira. Once reduced add any leftover braising liquid along with 4l chicken stock. Fully cook out and reduce by ¾. Strain through a steamer tray with a weight on top pressing all the liquid from the lamb meat. Once pressed warm the sauce to pass through muslin, store and finish with butter.
Pommes Anna: Peel and thinly slice good quality potatoes, toss the slices in clarified butter. Using a suitable baking tray, layer up the potato, seasoning as you go. Once the desired depth has been reached, place another baking tray on top and bake at 160°c until golden brown and cooked. Remove from oven allow to cool a little, then press them in the fridge using a weight. The next day the potato can be turned out of the tray and cut to size, reheating at 180°c in the oven.
Jerusalem artichoke: Place peeled artichoke in a pan. Simmer with the wine until reduced. Add stock and water. Cook until soft, finish with 50-80ml of double cream. Bring back to simmer and season. Strain off liquid, blend artichoke, adding liquid until the desired consistency is achieved. Pass through drum sieve.
Horseradish cream: Bring cream and milk to boil then remove from heat. Gently whisk in the milk powder. Add horseradish, leave to cool and infuse. Once cool, strain into small pan. To serve, heat gently and froth using a hand blender.
Lamb loin: Remove the loin from bone, remove all fat and sinew. Finely chop rosemary and thyme. Spread a thin layer of chicken mousse onto the loin and roll in the chopped herbs. Wrap tightly in clingfilm and poach lightly to set the herbs to the loin, refresh in iced water. Carefully remove the clingfilm, set lamb aside ready to seal and roast in oven at service.
Dessert - Chocolate mousse, passion fruit jelly and coffee gelato
110g egg yolks
Large whole egg
325g 67% dark chocolate
325g 35% cream
Method: Place whole egg and egg yolks in a bowl and mix on medium speed. In a saucepan make syrup by boiling sugar and water to 106°c. Slowly pour hot syrup into egg mix. Continue whisking on high speed until it reaches room temperature and set aside. Melt chocolate and milk over a bain marie. Whisk cream until fluffy. Combine the cream and egg mixture and fold into the melted chocolate to make the mousse. Pour the mousse into a baking tray lined with baking paper no higher than 1cm. Freeze the mousse.
Passion Fruit Jelly
330g passion fruit purée
330g mango purée
4.7g Agar-agar powder
Method: In a sauce pan heat the water, passion fruit and mango purée to 40°c. Mix the agar-agar with the 160g sugar and whisk into the liquids. Bring to the boil and boil for 30 seconds.
200g dark chocolate
25g cocoa nibs
Method: Melt chocolate and oil over a bain marie, add the cocoa nibs and reserve for coating.
510ml 35% cream
85g 0% milk powder
Ice cream stabiliser
14g freshly ground coffee
Method: Heat milk and cream to 40°c. Mix stabiliser with sugar, milk powder and glucose then add to milk (quantity and temperature of stabliser might vary depending on brand – I use Louis Francois Stab 2000 and heat milk to 90°c) Finally add coffee and chill for at least 4 hours before churning in an ice cream machine.
450g of eggs
Method: Melt chocolate and butter over a bain marie. Whisk eggs, salt and sugar until trippled in volume. Sift flour. Pour melted chocolate and butter into eggs while continuing to whisk. Fold in flour. Spread 2cm think in a baking tray and bake at 150°c for 16 minutes. Once cool cut 3cm disks and reserve for serving.
Assembly: once mousse is frozen cover with thin layer of the passion fruit jelly. Pour the jelly over a spoon as it will melt the mousse if poured directly. Return mousse to the freezer and once frozen cut 8cm disks. Dip the bottom of these frozen disks in the chocolate coating and leave to defrost. Meanwhile, make chocolate disks by thinly spreading tempered chocolate on a plastic sheet and cutting disks just before setting.
Serving: To serve, stick a chocolate mousse disk to a plate using leftover mousse. Place disk of chocolate cake on top and cover with a disk of tempered chocolate. Add a quenelle of coffee ice cream on top and decorate with fresh passion fruit.
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