Zest Restaurant

Zest Restaurant Low Road
CA28 9HS
01946 692848

Opening HoursSun-Tue: Closed
Wed-Fri: 6.30-9.30PM
Sat: 6.30-10.00PM


We regularly get asked to share our recipes. We also regularly get asked if we mind sharing our recipes because it is like giving away our trade secrets. The answer is that we like to spread the gospel, especially if it helps to give someone the confidence to cook at home.

1. Sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce

Serves 6


For the pudding:

175g Self raising flour

175g chopped dates

175g dark brown sugar

50g butter

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 eggs


For the sauce:

100g Butter

100g Dark brown soft sugar

Teaspoon vanilla essence

¼ pint whipping or double cream

For the pudding:

Pre heat the oven to 190 C

In a bowl, lightly cream the sugar and butter then add the vanilla essence.


Heat 300ml of water, the dates and bicarbonate of soda together in a saucepan until frothy.  Be careful not to allow it to boil over.  Then add everything, even the water, to the butter and sugar mix.


Sieve the flour into the mixture and fold in.  Break the eggs into the bowl and stir thoroughly.  The mixture will look really wet, but don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.


Pour the mixture into a baking tray lined with non stick greaseproof paper.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 190oC

For the sauce:

Melt the butter, vanilla essence and sugar together in a pan, then simmer for a few minutes until it makes a caramelised sauce.

Add the cream, occasionally it will spit as the cold cream touches the molten sugar so be careful.  Simmer until it amalgamates and stir now and again for a further two minutes.


Cut the pudding into squares and drizzle over the sauce, top with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.


2. Roasted Garlic Mushrooms

Serves 4


For the garlic butter:

1 pack butter, softened to room temperature

6 cloves garlic, crushed

splash of lemon juice

pinch of blak pepper

small handful of fresh parsley, chopped


For the mushrooms:

olive oil

8 Large flat mushrooms

prepared garlic butter

lemon juice

soy sauce


For the garlic butter - combine the softened butter with the garlic, lemon juice, pepper and fresh parsley.


For the mushrooms -

Pre heat the oven to 220 C

Drizzle a little oil onto a large baling tray.  Place the mushrooms on the tray with the stalks facing upwards.  Load some garlic butter into each of the mushroom 'cups' - be quite generous - about a golf ball size in each.

Add a couple of splashes of lemon juice and soy sauce to the mushrooms and finish with a sprinkle of black pepper.

Roast the muhrooms in the oven for around 15 minutes until they have softened and are seeping garlicky juices.

Serve with plenty of crusty bread or toast.

3. Venison Stroganoff

Serves 4


600g venison haunch or loin strips

A little oil for frying

50g ground dried wild mushrooms. (we use a spice grinder to whizz them into a fine powder)

2 medium red onions, finely sliced

250g button mushrooms, finely sliced

4tsp paprika

Handful of cornichon (baby gherkins), sliced and a little reserved vinegar from the jar

75ml brandy

300ml whipping cream

Salt and pepper

Fresh parsley

Stroganoff, a true classic.  This is one of the very first composite classic dishes that Ricky was ever taught to make back in 1987 as a trainee chef.  Made well, this is a fantastic, full flavoured, quick to make dish that tastes like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen.  You can dish it up for tea but it’s also posh enough to serve for a dinner party.  The classic version is made with beef but you can use any tender, quick to cook meat such as pork fillet, beef steak strips, wild boar or, as we do in the restaurant, venison.  We enrich the flavour of the stroganoff by using a very fine powder of ground wild mushroom almost like a seasoning.


Add a splash of oil to a large hot frying pan on the stove top. Keep the heat high as you want to flash fry all of the venison so that it seals, gets a good colour and does not ‘stew’.  (Or do this stage in batches if you do not have a pan big enough to accommodate all of the venison). 

Add the venison and season with salt and pepper and the ground wild mushrooms.  Leave the venison to seal and colour without stirring.

Add the onions and fresh mushrooms and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, still on a high heat.

Add the paprika and stir to make sure it coats everything.

Add the brandy and flambé to burn off the alcohol.

Add the cream and reduce quickly over a high heat to a coating consistency. 

Add the cornichon and a little of the vinegar from the jar and mix together.  Some recipes use sour cream or lemon juice to add some sharpness to the dish – we think this dash of vinegar does the trick just nicely.

Serve with lashings of fresh chopped parsley to lift the flavour.  We serve the dish with mash but you could serve with rice if preferred.


4. Thai Fishcakes with Cucumber dipping sauce

Serves 4


150g skinless and boneless cod fillet (or other white fish), cut into rough chunks

150g skinless and boneless salmon fillet, cut into rough chunks

1-2 tblsp red Thai curry paste (depending on your taste and how fiery the paste is)

1 egg white

1 tblsp cornflour

1 handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

1 heaped tsp ground coriander

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 tblsp fish sauce

50g finely chopped green beans


Vegetable oil for frying

Sweet chilli sauce for coating


For the dipping sauce

60ml rice or white wine vinegar

50g granulated sugar

60ml water

1 cucumber, cut into fine batons or dice

½ - 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced


Time for a menu change at the restaurant and the first of our new dishes to make the grade are our Thai Fishcakes.  We’ve made other versions before but these are our new current favourite, which taste very authentically Thai and are served with a lovely cucumber dipping sauce.

Firstly make the dipping sauce:

Place the vinegar, sugar and water in a saucepan.  Put on the stove and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Once cooled, add the cucumber, chilli, ginger and shallots and mix together lightly.  Cover and set aside until ready to use.


For the fishcakes:

Place the cod, salmon, egg white, cornflour, fresh and ground coriander, garlic and fish sauce into a food processor.  Pulse the mixture together until just combined so that the mixture retains some texture.  Transfer to a bowl and then mix in the green beans.

Heat a deep layer of vegetable oil in a deep fryer to 170 C. 

You will need to cook the fishcakes in batches depending upon the size of your fryer.

Scoop ¾ tablespoon sized rugby ball shapes of the fishcake mixture using a wet or oiled tablespoon and carefully place in the oil.  Fry the fishcakes for around 4-5 minutes until cooked and evenly browned.

Drain on kitchen paper and keep each batch warm whilst frying successive batches.

Once they are all ready, put them into a large bowl and lightly drizzle with sweet chilli sauce, just enough to give a light coating.  Mix together then transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately with the cucumber dipping sauce on the side.


5. Vanilla Shortbread with Strawberries and Mascarpone

Serves 4


225g plain flour

75g caster sugar

150g butter

1tsp vanilla extract or beans scraped from ½ vanilla pod.


A simple shortbread is a thing of beauty and this week we are using it in the restaurant to showcase some lovely strawberries as part of our ‘Trio of Desserts’

We use vanilla in our shortbread to give it an extra dimension.  Give it a go.

Cream together the sugar, butter and vanilla until pale and creamy.  We do this with an electric whisk but it is possible to do with a wooden spoon and good old elbow grease if you don’t have one.

Stir in the flour then turn the mixture out and knead briefly, just to bring everything together.

Form the mixture into a chubby cylindrical shape and then roll it on a flat surface to lengthen the shape so that the circle at each end of the cylinder has a diameter of roughly 5cm.

Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for half an hour (or the dough can also be frozen at this stage and defrosted when needed).

 Preheat the oven to 170 C

Cut the dough into 1cm thick discs.

Lay the discs on baking sheets that have been lined with non-stick baking parchment (you may want to do this in batches).

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the biscuits turn light brown at the edges.  Leave to cool before serving.


We are serving ours with some freshly hulled strawberries (sprinkle a little icing sugar over your strawberries to bring out the sweetness if preferred) and a pot of mascarpone cheese that has been mixed with the beans from ½ vanilla pod.


This shortbread recipe can be flavoured with other ingredients for a change rather than vanilla.  Try orange or lemon zest, chocolate chips or nuts.


6. Baked Rhubarb and Custard Cheesecake

Serves 8


250g digestive biscuits, finely crushed
125g butter, melted (plus extra for greasing the tin)
750g cream cheese, softened
225g caster sugar
2 tblsp custard powder

1tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3 tblsp lemon juice
300ml double cream

We have a rhubarb plant that grows outside of the restaurant.  We never planted it; it was just there when we arrived.  Each year, just like clockwork it pops up to give us a lovely crop of rhubarb.  So this week we’ve made baked Rhubarb and Custard cheesecake – why not give it a go?


Preheat oven to 180°C

Grease and line the base of a 22cm round loose-bottomed springform cake tin.

Add the crushed biscuits to the melted butter and mix well.

Press the biscuit mix into the tin. Use a large spoon to smooth out the base and push the mixture half way up the side of the tin, making sure it is evenly distributed and packed solidly.

Bake for 15 minutes in the oven, until the base has turned golden brown.  Remove from the oven.

Beat the cream cheese for at least three minutes until it becomes light and fluffy (use an electric whisk to make things easier if possible).  Add the custard powder, vanilla and sugar to the cream cheese.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating enough after each egg to get the mixture smooth —but do not overbeat.
Add the lemon juice and cream and mix to incorporate.

Pour the mix onto the base in the tin. Shake the tin to smooth out the surface – or use a spatula.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 140°C and cook for further 40 minutes.
When the cheesecake is cooked, turn the oven off but leave the door of the oven ajar and let it cool completely – this stops the cheesecake cracking.

Serve topped with our baked rhubarb compote

Preheat the oven to 200°C

Rinse and trim 500g rhubarb.  Cut into 5cm lengths.

Place in a baking dish with 100g caster sugar, the zest and juice of one orange.  Toss everything together and then cover the dish with foil.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until soft and tender.  Serve warm or cold with the cheesecake.


7. Sausage and Black Pudding Patties

Serves 4


  • 500g good quality sausage meat
  • 1 heaped tsp white pepper
  • ½ level tsp ground mace
  • 1 tsp dried sage leaves
  • Pinch mustard powder
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • 150g black pudding, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • Oil for frying




Making your own sausage is a little tricky.  Negotiating sausage skins, nozzles and such like requires skill, but turning sausage meat into a pattie (like a little burger) is a cinch.

We have a restaurant favourite to offer you.  Our sausage patties have been on the menu for a few years now.  We’ve tried taking them off the menu but when we did, we found a lot of customers were making ‘off menu’ requests for us to prepare them especially for them anyway.

This menu run we have added black pudding for a little twist.

At home, you can make these patties and serve them, as we do on an English muffin with a poached egg, as a starter (we add a little ‘jus’ garnish to ours).  However they are perfect for breakfast too.


Combine the sausage meat, pepper, mace, sage, mustard, marjoram and salt and mix together well.

At this stage we like to check the flavour and seasoning by preparing what we call a ‘chef’s treat’.  That is that we make the tiniest of burgers and fry it in a frying pan on both sides until cooked through.  We then taste it (dividing it between all those in the kitchen for opinions) to check the flavour and seasoning and add more of whatever we feel may be necessary (salt, pepper, herbs etc)

If you are happy with the flavour of your patties – or if you trust us just as they are – then carefully fold the black pudding through the mixture so as not to break it up too much.

Divide the mixture into four burger shaped patties.

Pre heat the oven to 180 C

Seal the patties.  Put a large frying pan on the stove top and add a splash of oil.  Over a reasonably high heat, seal the patties on both sides allowing the meat to get some colour.

Transfer the patties to a baking tray and cook in the preheated oven for ten minutes.

If you’d like to serve them as we do then here’s our guide:

You’ll need 2 English muffins, split in half, 4 eggs and butter if preferred.

If you are going to poach eggs, our number one top tip for perfect successful poached eggs is that they are fresh.  If you’ve ever tried poaching eggs and all the white floats away from the yolk making the water cloudy, it is because they are not so fresh.  So if you can get fresh then it is worth making a trip to the farm gate for poached eggs.

Put a deep pan of boiling water on the stove (big enough to accommodate all of your eggs freely without cramming them in).  If your eggs are super fresh (laid that day) you won’t need vinegar, but if you are unsure as to the freshness then add a dash of white wine vinegar to the water.

Have the water so that it is a rolling simmer – that means that you can see little bubbles forming in the bottom of the pan and then rising to the surface.

Break your eggs into little receptacles such as ramekins, teacups or similar.  This seems a faff but it makes dropping them into the pan quicker and easier – especially if you are doing eggs for 4 people.

At this stage you should pop your muffins in the toaster or under the grill.

Drop your eggs into the pan carefully.  You don’t need to stir the water, just drop each egg onto some of the rising bubbles, these bubbles will ‘catch’ the white helping it to form around the yolk.  As you add the eggs, the temperature of the water will drop slightly so raise it a little if you need to.

The eggs will need 3-4 minutes (or longer for hard yolks) to cook.  Fish them from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper or a clean tea towel.

Place a muffin half on a plate (buttered if preferred) and top with a cooked sausage pattie and finally a poached egg.

8. Creamy Turkey Casserole (on the telly)

Serves 6


  • Olive oil
  • 1 pack turkey rashers cut into strips
  • 1kg diced turkey meat
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 400g quartered button mushrooms
  • 1 glass white wine (optional)
  • 2 level tablespoons English Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 600ml water
  • 600ml skimmed milk
  • Salt and pepper

Here’s a recipe that Ricky recently did ‘on the telly’. It went down a storm with his guests for its luxurious creamy texture and flavour, but it is actually surprisingly low in calories. Our ‘skinny’ turkey casserole uses lean turkey, turkey rashers instead of bacon and skimmed milk. This cuts back on calories in a hidden manner because the flavour shows no compromise.


In a splash of oil sauté the turkey, turkey rashers, onion, garlic and mushrooms together in a saucepan. Do this over a decent heat in order for them to get a nice colour for around five to ten minutes.

Add the flour and stir to distribute it throughout the meat.

Add the liquids, so that’s the water, milk and wine if you’re using. If not just add an extra splash of water.

Add the mustard and stock cubes.

Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for ten to fifteen minutes until you achieve a nice sauce consistency, stirring every now and then.

Taste to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Our Tips

This is a low fat version so substitute the skimmed milk for full fat or even cream if you wish. This would be lovely with the addition of chopped fresh tarragon. To make it a real one pot wonder, why not throw some vegetables in there too. Asparagus, peas, mange tout, green beans, small broccoli florets or sweet corn (or a mix of vegetables) would all work well here. Throw them into the pan for the last few minutes of cooking time.


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Latest Comments


Thu, 27 Feb 2014
I have been eating at Zest for ten years and have always found the food and service to be great.

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