Happy New Year! With the festive season behind us it is time to reflect on the year that has gone and the new year ahead. My first Christmas at Gravetye allowed me to witness the fantastic three day house party that has become somewhat of a Gravetye staple over the years. The party was a huge success and as you can imagine, a very busy time for the kitchen team! We were especially proud of our gingerbread manor house and the selection of menus and food that was on offer throughout the period.
I prefer to evolve the menu little and often rather than all in one go, to try and be as flexible as possible to use ingredients when they are at their best. The black winter truffle is at its finest in January, paired with Jerusalem artichoke (still in abundance underground in the kitchen garden) and guinea fowl. Forced rhubarb will be arriving shortly, with its high acidity working perfectly against the sweetness in a soufflé. Served with a spoonful of rich clotted cream ice cream and a pouring of mint and rhubarb coulis. The distinctive raspberry like flavour of blood oranges will be paired with pistachio, sumac, mandarin and sable biscuit for a dessert with an array of citrus flavours and textures. Another citrus fruit, the Seville orange, will be cooked and stored to make marmalade for breakfast and I have shared a recipe with a slight twist should you wish to make your own this January.
Winter is also the time when the garden team and I reflect on the fantastic crops that have been making their way into the kitchen throughout the year. Deciding on the best varieties to use, timings and quantities for next year is important to get the most out of the garden and make sure there are enough of our favourite fruits and vegetables making their way onto the menu’s. This planning is vital to ensure that nothing goes to waste and that the food is always at its very freshest!
Seville orange marmalade
Scrub the oranges and boil in a large pan with the water for 1.5 hours. Drain them off, saving the liquor, and wait for them to cool. Cut them in half and scoop out the pulp in the centre. Add this to a conical sieve and squeeze any juices out using a ladle. Shred the orange skins as you like and place back in the pan with the sugar, lime juice, diced stem ginger and cooking liquor. Heat gently while the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat and boil rapidly for 15-25 minutes until it reaches 105 degrees C. When the temperature is reached, leave to cool for 20 minutes. Add the lime zest, stir through and place into sterilised jars. Makes ~16 250ml jars.
2015 Spring and Summer Special Events
I am pleased to introduce two special dining events that will be taking place at Gravetye in early 2015. I have tried to create menus that represent the time of the year, and I hope you will join us to celebrate the season!
For this special dinner, enjoy Champagne and fresh oysters before heading through to the dining room where George will take you through a selection of his wonderful shellfish dishes. Caught fresh from the South coast, shellfish at this time of year is in abundance and at its best quality, meaning the dishes will never taste better!
Spring is a stunning time of year at Gravetye and, as the gardens burst into life, so do the Manor’s menus. Utilising the freshest new season produce, George will showcase his repertoire of fantastic spring dishes making the most of some of the first crops from the Kitchen Garden. Join Andrew as he hosts this special lunch and our Sommelier, Sean as he takes us through the accompanying wines.
In the Garden News
Tom talks about the winter jobs in the garden, including the vital task of composting the vegetable garden, as well as looking ahead at some exciting spring events…
At the Manor News