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For the third instalment in our Gourmet Getaways series we’re brandishing our knives and forks in Michael Caines’ much-lauded, two-Michelin-star restaurant at Devon-set moorland manor Gidleigh Park, which takes pride of place in our new gourmet hotels collection. Caines’ cuisine regularly tops foodie-favourite lists; and we’re not ones to argue – in fact we firmly believe that his signature eight-course tasting menu is quite simply one of the most spectacular sensory experiences you can have with your clothes on, at least until Gidleigh Park relax their dress code.

Gourmet hotel | Michael Caines at Gidleigh ParkGastronomic genius aside, this luxurious Arts and Crafts manor house on Dartmoor would be worth a visit even if it weren’t for Michael ‘not the actor’ Caines’ award-magnet of a restaurant, but the oak-panelled elegance of Gidleigh’s dining room and the breathtaking inventiveness of Caines’ kitchen make it a must-stay. The Modern European dishes are crafted from resolutely West Country ingredients, and the hotel even has its own kitchen garden to provide the greens served up on the restaurant’s tasting menu.

Gourmet hotels | Gidleigh Park RestaurantSo, what could possibly make the UK’s most desirable dining experience – encased in a quintessentially British black-and-white country manor and garnished with Dartmoor’s wild surrounds – any better? How about an exclusive dinner package for Smith members? We’re offering two-night stays (from 9 March to 1 May 2014) with a full English breakfast, tea tray and an à la carte dinner dreamed up by the ‘Wizard of the West’ for £545 a night, per room. Call our expert Smith24 team on 0845 034 0701 to book your stay.

To sate your appetite in the meantime, Caines’ has bestowed a little of his epicurean alchemy on our Gourmet Getaways UK email series, which showcases the best hotel restaurants in our collection (to receive these, just sign up for free Smith membership); this recipe is taken from his tasting menu and bears the hallmark of his 20-year tenure as the hotel’s premier tastemaker.

Salt cod with samphire, crab, chorizo and lemon

Gourmet hotels | Michael Caines' tasting menuIngredients

• 8 skinned cod fillets

• salt

For the chorizo foam:

• 100g butter

• 200g shallots

• 200g cooking chorizo

• 300ml fish stock

• 2–3 roasted and skinned red peppers

• Half a tablespoon of smoked paprika

• 1 sprig of thyme

• 1 bay leaf

• 250ml water

• 100ml skimmed milk

• 60g butter (to finish)

For the lemon purée:

• Peel of 30 lemons

• 4 tablespoons turmeric

• 600g caster sugar

For the stock syrup:

• 300g caster sugar

• 300ml water

For the crab and samphire:

• 200g white crab meat

• 50g samphire

• 1 sprig of tarragon


1 Sprinkle 4g of salt for every 100g of cod evenly over the fish; leave for eight hours, then wash off the salt and dry the fish with a cloth.

2 To make the lemon purée, place the lemon peel in a pan and just cover with water, add the turmeric and 60g sugar, bring to a boil, then refresh the water.

3 Repeat nine more times, adding 60g sugar (but no more turmeric) for each blanch.

4 After the last blanch, blitz the peel until you have a thick, smooth purée (add water if necessary).

5 For the crab, blanch the samphire for 30 seconds in boiling water, then refresh with iced water.

6 Finely chop the samphire and tarragon, then mix with crab meat, mayonnaise and seasoning.

7 For the foam, sweat the shallots in foaming butter until soft, but without colouring.

8 Add the chorizo and cook for two minutes.

9 Add the paprika, thyme and bay leaf, then season.

10 Blend the red pepper and fish stock then add to the chorizo.

11 Add the milk and water and bring to a boil, then leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

12 Pass the liquid through a fine sieve, mix with 60g of butter and season.

13 Cook the cod in foaming butter for 2 minutes on one side, then transfer to a 180º oven for four minutes.

14 Boil 300g sugar with 300ml water to make stock syrup, then add to the purée, season and add a spritz of lemon and a knob of butter before serving.

15 Plate up the cod topped with a spoonful of the crab mix, and surround it with a few cubes of chorizo, the chorizo foam and a few spoons of lemon purée.

If we’ve whetted your appetite, why not find a fine-dining hotel in our gourmet stays collection…

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