Winter warmers

Credit: Food Story Media)

January may traditionally be the month of diets and detoxes but if you’re not in the mood to go cold turkey after Christmas why not consider easing yourself into a more seasonal way of eating – that’s pretty healthy too. The Small Holding’s Will Devlin shares the recipes for these delicious dishes…

Loin of venison with chestnuts, bacon and cabbage

Venison is a hugely underrated meat. It’s wild, plentiful, sustainable and delicious cooked fast and pink or low and slow. This is a warming wintery dish, but it is celebratory enough for a special occasion.

Ingredients: Serves two but can easily be scaled up

Two x 200g venison loin pieces, trimmed of any sinew

300g winter cabbage such as savoy or cavolo nero, washed and shredded

100g chestnuts, ether vac packed or roasted and deshelled weight

100g smoked belly bacon

Four cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed

Three sprigs thyme

500ml beef or chicken stock

250ml red wine

150g unsalted butter


Prepare the sauce by simmering the stock and wine until reduced by three quarters and intensely flavoured. Keep warm.

Season the venison pieces well with salt and pepper and sear in a medium hot pan with a little rapeseed oil, turning often for an even colour all over. Add 50g butter, two lightly crushed garlic cloves and a sprig of thyme. Keep spooning the foaming brown butter over the venison as it pan-roasts, for about four minutes. At this stage it should feel firm to touch and will be medium rare on the inside and caramelised and golden on the outside. Keep warm and leave to rest.

In a small frying pan, add a drizzle of rapeseed oil and the bacon and fry until the fat renders and is crispy. Add the chestnuts and coat in the bacon fat until starting to caramelise and add the reduced stock and wine liquid to deglaze the pan. Stir and keep wa rm.

In a small saucepan, with a lid, add 100g of butter and the remaining cloves of garlic and thyme. Stir until melted and you can smell the garlic and add the finely chopped cabbage. Stir and replace the lid, moving the pan every so often while the cabbage cooks in its own steam. Remove the garlic cloves and thyme and season with salt.

To serve, slice each venison loin into three or four pieces and plate with the cabbage and bacon and chestnut sauce. Delicious served with mashed potato and swede
and a glass of the same wine used in the sauce.

All of the below can be made a day or two in advance if you like – or kept in the fridge until assembly.

Kimchi cured sea trout


1kg side of line caught sea trout, pinned and scaled

70g kimchi spice

50g flaked sea salt

30g sugar


We make use of leftover kimchi juice at the restaurant by dehydrating it and crushing it to a fine powder. If you don’t have a dehydrator, make a wet cure with the juice left over from a tub of kimchi. Mix in the sugar and the salt. 

Check over the fish for any missed pin bones and make seven or so evenly spaced scores into the flesh side and place into a shallow tray. Cover the fish all over with the cure making sure it gets well into the scores. Put in the fridge to cure for 12 hours. After this time, turn the fish over and cure for another 12 hours. After 24 hours in the cure, wash the fish and pat dry and leave in the fridge to air dry for a further 6-8 hours.

Serve with black treacle bread, sourdough crackers or as twist on the classic canape, blinis, with a dot of gochujang (spicy) mayonnaise and pickled sea vegetables.

The Small Holding: all you need to know

The Small Holding is a Michelin green-starred kitchen and farm on a country lane in the village of Kilndown on the Kent and East Sussex borders. Run by brothers Will and Matt Devlin, as Chef and Head of Operations, respectively, The Small Holding is part of the Acre Group which also includes Birchwood in Flimwell, East Sussex.

The Small Holding is open Wednesday to Sunday with an eight-course Full Acre menu costing £85 per person and a five-course Half Acre menu costing £65 per person, with the option of a wine flight. The drinks list also includes house made soft drinks, kombucha and non-alcoholic wine, beer, and spirits.

The 36-cover restaurant and farm are set in one acre of land, permitting a unique connection between the land and table. Growing, foraging, and cooking the best ingredients is at the core of The Small Holding, with monthly changing tasting menus, using home-reared and home-grown ingredients from the farm, which is less than 10 feet from the kitchen.

The Michelin Green Star for sustainable gastronomy recognises restaurants with a focus on environmental practices; it encompasses everything about The Small Holding and the teams’ drive for sustainability.

Opening Hours

‍Monday / Tuesday – Closed

Wednesday – Dinner

Thursday – Lunch & Dinner

Friday – Lunch & Dinner

Saturday – Lunch & Dinner

Sunday – Lunch

Lunch sittings

12pm and 1pm.

Dinner sittings

Wednesday to Friday – 6.00pm, 7.30pm and 8.30pm

Saturday – 5.30pm, 8.30pm

Ranters Lane



TN17 2SG


Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter