Apprentices have a cracking time at Clarence Court
Last week our apprentices were lucky enough to be invited by Clarence Court (supplier of our eggs), to one of their farms. We were greeted at The Old Shire Inn, Pendarves by Andy, Chris and Vicki from Clarence Court who gave a very insightful presentation on the history of Clarence Court and the variety of eggs which they produce.
Clarence Court was launced in 1990 with the objective to bring eggs laid by special breed birds with real taste and difference back into the market. Clarence Court now have a wide range of eggs, which are now found in most supermarkets including the Burford Brown (used in our yummy breakfasts), the beautifully pale pastel blue Old Cotswold Legbar, and the porcelain Braddock White Duck eggs (excellent for baking!). They also stock some more unusual ranges such as Pheasant eggs, Turkey eggs and the gigantic Rhea and Ostrich eggs which they sell to specialist food halls such as Harrods and Selfridges.
After a quick journey in the minibus we arrived at the farm and donned our blue all-in-one overalls – very fetching!
We then proceeded to take the tour around the farm, first stop was the chickens. Our tour guide and farm manager Geoff also introduced us to the egg conveyor belt where they sort the eggs for broken or damaged ones and the ones which go on to being packaged up for selling.
We then moved our way around the farm seeing the Ducks, Quails and finally the Rhea, which look like a smaller version of an Ostrich. Everybody was fascinated with their big brown eyes, long legs and fluffy feathers. Geoff explained that once the female has laid an egg they have to quickly take the egg before the male sits on it – this can be a challenging task, especially with those sharp beaks!
Following the tour we grabbed some much needed lunch, and set up our equipment ready for the cook off. Gazebo erected, ingredients at the ready, Karl Jones (Training and Development Chef) explained the rules of the cook off and prepared the basic store cupboard which they could use. Split into two teams, they were offered two separate boxes of ingredients, wrapped in foil so not to give it away, they had to select a box at random.
One team selected the savoury box which included ingredients such as ‘Nduja, bacon, parmesan, mint, salad leaves, turmeric, cardamom seeds and chilli. Where as the other team revealed a selection of sweet ingredients such as vanilla, raspberries, chocolate, lemon and almonds.
The brief given by Karl was to utilise the ingredients given and incorporate it into a dish with eggs. They were given a selection of duck eggs and quails eggs to create 3 dishes, each of which had to be distinctly different.
The first team, after a quick team talk decided to crack on with a poached duck egg dish served with bacon fried in ‘Nduja served on a bed of watercress. Many of the team noticed the amazing colour of the duck egg when cut in half, it almost had a translucent/stained glass effect, which really made the duck egg stand out.
The savoury team went on to create two more delicious dishes, both using quails eggs. One dish was inspired by a birds nest with three beautifully form quails eggs (a devil to peel!) sat on a bed of watercress. The other dish was their take on ‘devilled eggs’ which was equally as delicious.
Once packed up, the two teams were tasked with a quiz covering all that they had learnt at Clarence Court. The winning team were presented with some lovely pheasant eggs, and the rest of the group were also kindly given some Burford Browns and Old Cotswold Legbars to take home.
All in all, it was an eggcellent day at Clarence Court, the Apprentices really enjoyed the trip and learnt so much about the farm and the eggs which they produce. A massive thank you to Clarence Court for supporting the Fifteen Cornwall Apprentice Programme and helping them on their journey.