Fanatical about Foraging!
At this time of year there are so many edible plants in the woodlands and fields that until this year, we knew very little about, so we decided to go foraging! We have been busy bees – not just walking our scruffy cocker spaniel but coming back with delights for our customers at The Kitchen. Our children, Charlie and Emily have become foraging experts now too – bringing back samples of a new flower they have discovered on a walk – and quick photo message sent to Emma, the kitchen gardener to find out if it is edible or not.
The wild primrose flowers have just come to an end, of which there was an abundance around the village and our foraging haunt, Farnborough Lake. But new leaves and flowers are popping up everywhere.
A couple of our favourites featuring on the menu at the moment, wild garlic mustard leaves are delicious and the delicate white flowers are a wonderful addition to salads and yellow nipplewort (still cannot say without an inner giggle) is like a little sunny smile on a plate.Wild garlic is about to hit its prime and whilst totally scrummy in salads, the flowers are edible as a pretty garnish.
Whilst we like to keep everything seasonal we are looking forward to making a large batch of wild garlic pesto with lashings of extra virgin olive oil – it will keep in the fridge, sealed, so we can use it over the summer months. We will be out foraging shortly for the best pickings and our team of chefs will work their magic with it.
We are now just waiting patiently for a little more sun and for my own favourite, the fragrant elderflower to come into bloom now so we can make wonderful cordials and salad dressings.
Anthony and I love all food but foraging is now certainly becoming our new hobby and I am sure we will appreciate the seasons so much more and all that nature has in store for The Kitchen.
Fanatical about Foraging!
Well a second blog, with even more excitement in the air, and still dust and paint fumes!
When we bought the Inn in 2001, we closed and had no money, so had no choice but to re-open in 10 days! So it seemed only right that we closed for another 10 days – 15 years on.
Back in our first days at the Inn, friends and family descended on the pub with sleeping bags and paint brushes in hand and my wonderful Ma was actually the first person to cook in the kitchen under our ownership, creating feasts to fuel the helpers.
15 years later, despite friends offering a helping hand, we now have a brilliant team led by Rob. Rob is a quite brilliant chef by trade but lends his hand to anything practical.
Rob looking a bit dustier than he does when he is in the kitchen and assures me that the grey hairs are just dust covered! It is still a case of all hands on deck and our great team have come up trumps! Waiters have suddenly discovered they are brilliant painters and kitchen porters have put their hand to carpentry – all under Rob’s watchful eye!
We have found a fantastic decorator, Andy, who has whipped through the place this week – with speed and precision. Oh and Farrow and Ball have become my new best friends!
But Sarah is the person who has been my greatest inspiration, who whilst sitting in a hospital bed, and I was having a panic about not knowing where to start, told me I really didn’t need an interior designer and I could do it myself. And then went on to help me choose paint colours, fabrics and focussed me on a foody theme throughout and gave me total confidence in my vision. Who needs an interior designer when you have such a talented mate as mine?!
Anthony and I had great fun gathering cutlery, crockery and various bits and bobs from antique centres all around Oxfordshire. It was great fun and I don’t think that we had one disagreement on these shopping trips other than that I couldn’t leave the little flour boy behind!
There is still dust and paint fumes in the air, but it is all coming together. The floor is going down and new lights are going up. And dare I say it, but is all going smoothly and according to plan and Anthony and I cannot wait for the big reveal on Thursday night!
P. S. Would highly recommend Andy, anyone looking for a decorator – you can contact him on 07833 313640