Keen as mustard: Mark Hix reveals some new ways with the hot stuff

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A tour around a specialist condiment producer in Wiltshire gives our resident chef some inspiration.

I recently went down to Wiltshire to visit Guy Tullberg at the mustard and condiments specialist Tracklements. Their premises are located in a former prisoner-of-war camp, and Guy's father William first made wholegrain mustard in 1970, after reading John Evelyn's diaries, in which he came across a mention of an English rustic mustard similar to the French brand, à L'Ancienne.

William found an old industrial coffee mill and adapted it to grind mustard seeds; he then started making mustard for friends as a hobby, and supplying the local pub. I'm sure most of you will have seen the excellent Tracklements products on the supermarket shelves – over the years their items have grown into a really great range of seasonal and larder staples. It was inspirational having a tour around a mustard and condiment producer, and I came away with lots of creative ideas for new recipes.

Apple, cobnut and chicory salad with mustard dressing

Serves 4

You can serve this as a starter or instead of a cheese course. The slight bitterness of the chicory leaves and cobnuts makes a nice contrast with the sweet flavour of the apple.

4 heads of chicory, leaves separated, washed and dried
2 dessert apples, cored
40g cobnuts (or walnuts), lightly toasted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

1tbsp cider vinegar
2tsp grain mustard
1tsp English mustard
2tbsp vegetable or corn oil
2tbsp olive or rapeseed oil

Cut the apple into thin slices, then shred the slices into matchstick-like pieces. Whisk all of the ingredients together for the dressing and season.

To serve, toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl, season to taste and serve on individual bowls or one large one.

Pork tenderloin with Tewkesbury mustard

Serves 4

This is a simple dish to knock up with a no-nonsense sauce that you can make in just a minute. You can use pork tenderloin which sits under the rib cage, or the loin itself.

1-2 pork tenderloins weighing about 500-600g
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable or corn oil for frying
A knob of chilled butter
4 shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2tsp Tewkesbury mustard
250g crème fraîche
1tbsp chopped parsley

Cut the pork into 8 slices and flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand.

Heat a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil in a heavy or non-stick frying pan and fry the pork pieces on a high heat for a couple of minutes on each side.

Remove from the pan and keep warm. Add the butter to the pan and cook the shallots for 20-30 seconds, add the mustard and stir in the crème fraîche and simmer until the sauce thickens, then add the parsley and season to taste. Arrange the pork pieces on warmed serving plates and spoon the sauce on top.

Pickled sardines with sweet mustard and dill sauce

Serves 4

The oiliness of sardines is a perfect match with a tangy, sweet mustard sauce. In Scandinavia it's common to pickle fish like this, but in this country we don't seem to do it very often, which is a shame.

16 sardines, butterfly filleted and the heads and bones removed (marinated for 4-5 days)

For the marinade

300ml white wine vinegar
300ml warm water
80g sugar
2tsp sea salt
15 peppercorns
1tsp fennel seeds
8 juniper berries
2 bay leaves
6 shallots, peeled and cut into rings

For the sauce

2tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
2tsp Tewkesbury mustard
1tbsp clear honey
1-2tbsp chopped dill or fennel tops

Bring all of the ingredients for the marinade to the boil, then leave to cool and add the shallots.

Mix with the sardine fillets, then lay the fillets in a non-reactive container and pour over any remaining marinade.

Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 4-5 days before serving.

To make the sauce, mix the mustard, mayonnaise and the honey, then whisk in a tablespoon of the marinade to about the consistency of double cream; stir in the dill.

To serve, remove the fillets and dry on some kitchen paper.

Fold them in half or roll them up with the skin on the outside and arrange on a serving plate with a few of the shallots on top and serve the sauce separately or poured over.

Cold ox tongue with celery and mustard

Serves 4-6

My grandmother used to prepare a salted cold ox tongue as a special treat; she used to press it in a bowl with a weight on in the fridge.

1 salted ox tongue, weighing about a kilo or so (soaked in a pan of cold water overnight)
4-5 sticks of celery, peeled if stringy
1tbsp wholegrain mustard
½tbsp honey
½tbsp cider vinegar

The day before you want to serve the tongue, place it in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently with a lid on for a couple of hours or until the tongue is tender. (You can use a pressure cooker which will cut the time in half.) Remove the tongue from the liquid and place it in a bowl that will fit the tongue tightly.

Place a plate, smaller than the bowl, on the tongue and place a weight on top (like a large can of vegetables or something heavy that will press the tongue into the shape of the bowl). Leave to cool, then place in the fridge overnight or until you need to use it.

To serve, cut the sticks of celery into 3-4cm lengths then cut them into batons. Mix the mustard, honey and cider vinegar together and mix with the celery; leave to stand for 30 minutes.

Slice the tongue as thinly as you can with a sharp knife – or you can use a slicing machine – and arrange on a serving dish with the celery on the side or in the centre.

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