Chef's Special with with Ben Bullen of Magnolia Brasserie @ Sudbury House

My name is Ben Bullen and I have been head chef at Magnolia Brasserie @ Sudbury House in Faringdon for 13 months.

My passion for cooking started in my mum’s kitchen. There was no question when it came to choosing a career. Being a chef was the way forward without a doubt. I went to college to build my foundations and from there onwards it was straight into the industry, working with some phenomenal people sharing the same passion for food.

My cooking style is very relaxed and slightly rustic. I truly believe in simple bold flavours created by only a few ingredients to maintain maximum flavour of the main ingredient of the dish. I like to use locally sourced British ingredients and add a twist of Spanish, Italian and French influences into it.

I would have to say my guilty pleasure is to go for a curry with my wife. A night off from cooking is the perfect excuse for a good curry and a couple of G&T’s.

2 ham hocks
1 carrot
1 leek
1 onion
2 cloves
10 parsley stalks
10 black peppercorns
4 bay leaves

For finishing

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp capers
Sherry vinegar
400 ml ham stock (reserved from cooking)

Soak ham hocks for one hour in cold water to remove any excess salt.

Peel the carrot and onion. Cut all the vegetables into chunky pieces and place in a heavy based pan. Add the ham and all the remaining ingredients and cover with water.

Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer for four to six hours.

Once cooked, leave to cool in the water. Place in the fridge overnight for the hocks to absorb as much flavour as possible.

The next day bring it back to the boil; this will help with the picking down of the meat.

Strain off the hocks and make sure you keep the stock as this will help with the setting of the terrine.

Pick the ham hocks down making sure there’s no bone or gristle. 

Chop the parsley finely and add to the ham, along with the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and a splash of the sherry vinegar. 

Add the 400ml of stock, the natural gelatine in the ham and bones will help to set the terrine along with adding more flavour. 

Next, line a terrine mould with clingfilm, or if you don’t have the luxury of a terrine mould then a rectangle cake tin can do the same trick. 

Make sure when you line the mould you leave some clingfilm hanging over the sides. Fill the mould with the ham about 2cm below the top of the mould, then fold over the cling film to cover. The terrine will need to be lightly pressed. Ideally, a second terrine mould would be the perfect tool. If not, try to find something heavy you can put on the top, be it some weights from scales or even a few tins.

Leave to set for eight hours or ideally overnight. Carefully turn out from the mould then slice and enjoy!