Between planting, picking and serving all the produce from our kitchen garden, our newest team member, Richard Jack, head chef of our Tea Room, has been toiling in the heat with my husband Peter to keep the cogs turning. There have been some interesting shades of sunburn!
It is a great asset to have a chef who is so interested in the growing. It inspires the dishes he creates, such as his garden salad packed with flavour, his beetroot side dishes and crunchy radishes that you just don’t get in the shops because they are best eaten fresh.
We have even been managing to pick the cherries this year (sometimes they fail) and get them onto the plates. We’ve pickled them, rippled them and popped them on top of the ice cream sundaes, and there has been a bountiful crop indeed, all round the yurt woodland. We’ve even found a massive copse of wild raspberries this summer, and they’ve been amazing.
Now, as we move into autumn, my favourite crops come to the fore – plums, apples and pears. I love how versatile they are and of course they’re all free food. Speaking of which, the brambles are probably going to be stunning this autumn as it’s been a bumper summer for soft fruit in this area.
The wedding team and I are off to The Big Grill festival in Ireland on a research trip to see how we can best introduce open flame slow-roasted meats to the wedding offering. You know that feeling when you arrive at your mum’s for Sunday lunch and the smell drives you crazy? We want to recreate that – and we might need to sample a Guinness or two while we’re there.
My top tip for pies (apart from ours of course) is The Amble Butcher. Peter Forsyth had just baked off his mince pies the other day when we arrived, and I’m not kidding, I could have eaten ten of them! See you next edition…