Winter is now suddenly upon us and following the recent cold snap rosehips are ripe and ready for picking. The red and orange globe-shaped fruit can be found in hedgerows around the UK and contain 20 times more vitamin-C then oranges. Once collected they can be cooked to create a delicious syrup which we use in cocktails, desserts, and sauces throughout the winter.
Suitable hedgerows are hard to come by on Ladbroke grove, or Notting Hill in fact, however you do not need to venture far into the countryside before finding bushes covered in these little gems. You will require some warm clothing, and thick gloves that will stand up to the vicious thorns. Simply pluck the rosehips away from the bushes, they are best after the first frost, should be soft and come away easily.
This syrup is really versatile and can be used to make a number of cocktails, including our favorite, the Rosehip Spritz (see below). It can also be added to sweeten stock reductions, perfect for game dishes such as venison.
1kg Rosehips, washed
Remove the rosehip storks and bottoms with scissors or a knife as these have a bitter taste. Add the prepared fruit and sugar to a large pan and cover in water. Bring the mixture to a simmer and leave for 2-3 hours until tender.
Transfer the mixture into a blender and pulse quickly to break up the rosehips, leaving the seeds intact. Strain through muslin to remove all solids leaving a thin syrup containing the rosehip pulp.
Reduce the pulp mixture further to thicken the syrup or continue until a jam-like membrillo is formed
This is our favorite rosehip cocktail as the fruity rosehip syrup perfectly complements the floral Sussex Reserve white wine.
35ml Rosehip Syrup
75ml Nutbourne Sussex Reserve White Wine
35ml Chase GB Gin
Top with soda water
Garnish with slice of lime and candied rosehips
Add the syrup, wine, gin and ice to a cocktail shaker and mix well. Empty contents into a wine glass and top up with soda water. Add a slice of lime and candied rosehips before serving.
Sous Chef Arron and Manager Craig
Osea at low tide
September is harvest time and the fruit and foragables are in abundance after our wonderful summer. At home in Nutbourne one of our Plum tress has fallen due to the weight of the fruit!
Osea is an island located in the Blackwater estuary Essex, somewhere we have a feeling will be talked about a lot more come summer. Here the foraging for sea herbs is second to none and we have featured on our menu Sea Astor, Sea Purslane, Sandwort and Samphire as well as the inland produce such as Wood Sorrel and many different Hen of the Woods Mushroom.
See pictures of Arron, Craig, Richard and Oliver finding and picking on the island as well as pictures of some forgeable plants to recognise on your wild walks over the weekend.
Plum for our daily loosener
Samphire on Osea Island
Wood Sorrel, Chickweed and Sea Astor
This weekend we were very lucky to head back to the farm on a cherry picking mission.
This year, British cherries have made a comeback. Compared with previous years the last month’s warm weather has allowed for the cherries to fully ripen on the tree. The UK will produce 2000 tons of commercial cherries this year, a 50% increase from last year. There is also a huge regeneration of cherry orchards in Sussex at the moment, so expect to see them in shops and on menus even more on in the years to come.
At Nutbourne this weekend, we discovered our wild cherry trees ripening for the first time in five years, and thankfully the birds had not eaten them!
On Sunday morning we took to picking. We’d read up on this since cherries are notoriously difficult and labor intensive to harvest. Our first attempt started with ladders and girlfriends to catch the cherries, this didn’t last long! In the end Gregory came out with his six ton John Deer and balanced Richard in the bucket to get high in the branches and pluck those deliciously sweet and fragrant berries.
Watch this space to find out what will happen to the cherries now safely down at The Shed!
The tomatoes are planted in glasshouses and can produce fruit from May through to October, though mid summer is when they are at their best and ripest.
In the glass houses the vines need a lot of attention. Every week Gary and the team go through and pick any spurs that are growing to ensure the main vine gets all the energy.
You’ve probably noticed the green shrubbery blooming tiny white flowers everywhere – from London city to the countryside…it’s elderflower season that’s why! We’ve been picking tonnes of the stuff and boiling the creamy white flowers in our kitchen to make a delious syrup. Expect elderflower cordial on tap when you visit The Shed in Notting Hill over the coming months.
Not only does it make a sweet summer drink but it is also handy for warding off hayfever…drink some elderflower tea during early summer to combat the itchy nose & eye effect.
Best time to pick the flowers is when they are a creamy off white shade – before they turn snow white (usually at the start of summer). Late autumn brings the elderberries, so it’s safe to say that this shrubby tree is going to be featured on our seasonal British menu for a while still!
We’ve had a buzzing start to the first 7 months at The Shed and we’re now looking to expand our team. We are currently looking for experienced, enthusiastic, foodie waiting staff with a spring in their step as well as a few chef positions in our kitchen (where the magic happens!)
If you feel that you are a suitable candidate and are interested in getting involved at The Shed, please email us your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Country bumpkins or city slickers welcome – as long as you’re experienced, friendly and hard working!
Being Sussex boys, we pride ourselves in stocking our restaurant with the best of the fantastic British produce we can lay our hands on. On Monday we visited our good friend and owner of Southview Dairy Farm in West Sussex and were treated to a tour of his impressive operation in action! Charlie has installed a robotic milking machine, which means he doesn’t need to be milking his herd at the crack of dawn anymore and instead has time to create offshoots of his business…one being a beautiful farm shop located on the grounds. If you find yourslef in Bury, West Sussex, it’s definitely worth making a pitstop to fill up your basket with local produce on offer.
We bought ourselves some raw milk (the most fresh & delicious taste ever fyi!) which we have used to make a creamy ricotta dish for The Shed restaurant’s menu. Teamed with a batch of Sussex asparagus that we collected from Sefter Farm, this guy’s a must for anyone dining with us this week!
We always tell people down The Shed about our vineyard come farm back in our home town of little Nutbourne, West Sussex. Now we have the chance to show you all!
Due to last year’s success, we are thrilled to announce that Nutbourne Vineyards is hosting “JAZZ IN THE VINES” this coming bank holiday Monday (27th May). Expect an afternoon of jazz set in the scenic grounds of our vineyard with refreshing Nutbourne english wines and food on sale. Tickets are £12 per person and include half a bottle of wine each. Tickets MUST be purchased in advance.
The Shed is giving away 5 tickets to this special day down in the Sussex countryside.
To enter, simply sign up on our website (see the little box bottom right) or tweet us your favourite country animal and why to @theshed_resto and put #jazzinthevines to be entered -
*closest train station is Billingshurst with trains departing every half an hour from Clapham Junction (LDN) and Victoria (LDN)*
Having a day off from The Shed last Sunday, a good country walk & foraging trip was in need. So off we headed for the Surrey Hills!
Essential tools for a foraging trip: scissors, rucksack, a hat (to shield you from sunshine or rain…or to be used as a spare container for when your bag is full) and a “foraging caddy” to carry everything for you when a bank of sorrel is discovered and you need to dive in!
What we found…
White Dead Nettle (also known as “Bee Nettle” as bees love the sweet nectar from the white flowers) is a long, green stemmed plant which looks very similar to a stinging nettle. It’s all a game of trickery to stop rabbits and other wildlife from eating its leaves – there is no sting at all. This edible plant is actually a member of the mint family and its leaves can either be eaten raw or cooked like spinach.
If you’re new to foraging, Wood Sorrel is easily identifiable by its three heart shaped leaves and citric, sharp lemon taste. It is a common plant – in fact there are around 900 species of sorrel! Rich in Vitamin C, this delicious leaf can be mixed in salads or used as an alternative to lemon in dishes.
Fancy yourself to be a forager? Please tweet us your foraging pictures – @theshed_resto
…and remember – “IF IN DOUBT, CHUCK IT OUT!” Forage responsibly.
The short lived season of British asparagus has arrived!
St. George’s day marks the start of this delicious green stemmed plant (which not many people realise is a part of the lily family) and of what we hope will be sunshine filled days in England.
Those who have sown asparagus will need to wait 3-5 years before yielding results but it will be so worth the wait – once these guys get going they shoot up, growing as much as 10 inches in 24 hours!
Sadly the asparagus season is short lived and officially stops on Midsummer’s day. Not a lot of time left to enjoy these vitamin – packed glorious green spears so we haven’t wasted anytime creating a fabulous dish with them at The Shed in Notting Hill. Pop in and try our chargrilled asparagus with home-made chorizo mayo and almonds.
Now…someone pass the garlic butter please…