This savoury sorbet recipe will make a refreshing starter to any festive dinner party this Christmas. Regularly served at Hambleton Hall, we are delighted to share it with you!


For the dish

  • 2/3kg Crab or equivalent in crab meat
  • crème fraiche
  • lemon
  • lime
  • salt

Tomato Essence (prepare 24 hours in advance)

  • 20 large tomatoes
  • ½ bunch basil
  • sea salt to taste
  • large muslin

Celery Sorbet

  • bunch of celery
  • lots of salt and pepper

Lemongrass Dressing

  • ¼ chilli
  • 50g ginger
  • 2 lemon grass stalks
  • 100ml olive oil

Virgin Mary

  • 10 large tomato petals
  • 750ml tomato juice
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • 3 ½ leaves of gelatine (soaked in cold water)
  • Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, ketchup to taste

Brown Crab Meat Puree

  • brown crab meat
  • 200ml tomato essence
  • 2 lemon grass sticks
  • ¼ chilli
  • 50g ginger
  • 10g coriander
  • ultratex (available to buy from MSK ingredients)


Tomato Essence

  • Blitz all the ingredients together
  • For a clear essence: layer muslin with a layer of white paper over lapping in length first then another width ways then another layer of muslin.
  • Place in a bowl and add the tomato pulp. String into a bag and hang for 24 hours

Celery Sorbet

  • Blitz celery and season well (it loses its flavour when it freezes)
  • Freeze
  • When frozen scrape with a fork to break into crystals then keep in freezer till time of use

Prepare the Crab

  • Bring big pan of water to the boil
  • Place crab in the boiling water and boil for 13 minutes
  • Take crab out, put into ice water or into a sink with cold water running till crab is cold to stop the cooking of the meat


  • Crack the legs and claws, pick out white meat with pin or back end of a spoon
  • With the body take off the dead man’s fingers and dispose of
  • Collect any brown crab meat and keep separately
  • Crack open the body and pick white meat
  • Lay all the white meat on a board or cling film on the side in a pile and pick through to find any rogue shell

Lemon Grass Dressing

  • Blitz all together then pass into bottle
  • White Crab Meat Mix
  • Mix the white crab meat with crème fraiche, lemongrass dressing, lemon, lime and salt
  1. This is best prepared freshly on the day of use. The mixture should just about hold itself together and not be too sticky

Virgin Mary Sauce

  • Blitz and pass
  • Season with salt, worcestershire sauce, tabasco, tomato ketchup blitz with olive oil
  1. For cooks who have a nitrogen foam gun; take 1 pint of virgin mary liquid and gently heat 150g of it. Remove from the heat and dissolve the gelatin by whisking.  Add the remaining liquid and leave to set in the fridge.  Gas the gun with 3 x nitrogen bulbs and shake well before use.

Brown Crab Meat Puree

  • Blitz all the ingredients until smooth and season with salt and lime
  • Thicken with ultratex (available to buy from MSK Ingredients)

To Serve

  • Place a tall pile of white crab mix in center of the bowl with a flat top (or place in a ring and push down a little). Add 2 spoons of brown crab meat puree on either side and drag or leave as you wish
  • Pour some virgin mary into the bowl (or foam)
  • Then add celery granite on the top of the crab mix
  • Finish with celery leaves or baby celery shoots


The Chef: Aaron Patterson


A youthful genius who started at Hambleton in 1984 and gained useful experience with Raymond Blanc, Anton Mosiman and others before returning to Hambleton as Head Chef in 1992. He may be lured from time to time to caper about in the television studio for such shows as Here’s one I made earlier or Masterchef but his heart remains in the kitchen with his team of ten like-minded enthusiasts.

The Restaurant: Hambleton Hall Restaurant

Hambleton, Oakham, Rutland, Leicestershire, LE15 8TH | 01572 756991 |

Hambleton Hall is a ‘location perfect’ Victorian mansion lovingly converted into the prestigious hotel as we know it today. It is nestled on top of a hill on an outcrop of land surrounded by Europe’s largest man-made lake in the beautiful and picturesque village of Oakham. Interior design remains traditional and fully in keeping.

The restaurant offers exceptional dining experiences worthy of a journey to Hambleton. Michelin star Chef, Aaron Patterson and his highly skilled team use the best local produce for seasonal dishes, e.g. Grouse, partridge and woodcock which are quite brilliant and display assured cooking.

The Offer: Members exclusively receive a 20% reduction from the total food bill when dining from the a la carte menu for lunch Monday to Friday or dinner Sunday to Thursday. Valid for groups of up to 6 diners. Click here for more details.

Not a member? Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to dine with fabulous benefits throughout the lead up to Christmas. Call membership services on 01276 850581 today and join The Luxury Restaurant Club for 12 months for just £95.00 – or why not purchase as a gift?


Luxury Restaurant Club
Luxury Restaurant Club
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Luxury Restaurant Guide is the place to discover and book the finest dining experiences at all highly awarded restaurants throughout the UK. A must-visit site and FREE app for all food lovers. Subscribe to the Club, the largest fine dining club in the UK from just £10 per month, to receive instant rewards, insights and invitations from over 500 leading restaurants.

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