Spring is around the corner and with it comes a new season of foraging! To kick things off we have had the pleasure of finding some wild garlic on the banks in Nutbourne. This has sprung to life early due to the unseasonably mild and wet winter.
Wild Garlic growing in woodlands
Wild garlic grows in woodland, in near or among bluebells, and is identifiable by its garlic-like smell and long lush leaves. Towards the end of spring it bursts into bloom with white flowers.
Wild Garlic, and Pennywort, both foraged by Oliver in Nutbourne
Unlike domestic garlic, wild garlic is championed for its leaves rather than its bulb. The bulbs, along with the flowers, are edible, but are much smaller in quantity. The leaves are delicious raw or cooked and work well in salads and soups.
Wild Garlic Pesto incorporated into a Venison Dish
This week at The Shed we have been incorporating this wonderful wild garlic into our dishes in all sorts of ways. The leaves and bulbs have been used to create a fantastically rich pesto. We’ve created beautifully vibrant wild garlic oil, and the leaves have been used to garnish our Lamb and Venison dishes, both of which graze on this plant in the spring.
We are delighted to announce that The Shed has been awarded three stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association!
Many thanks go out to all our suppliers who allowed us to achieve our highest score in this section. Our dear brother Gregory is at the forefront of this providing lovingly reared, West Sussex livestock, which feature on our daily changing menu. We strive to source all our seasonal produce from within 100 miles of London, cutting down on CO2 emissions, and incorporate fair trade standards for tea, coffee, and chocolate products produced abroad.
Our Nutbourne, Free Range Piggies!
All this could not of been achieved without the help from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, who have offered fantastic support and advice. We are very proud to have achieved the converted three stars and look forward to the SRA awards this afternoon.
To find out more about the SRA visit their website www.thesra.org
TUESDAY – 4TH FEBRUARY
Following the climax of the shooting season we would like you hang up your guns and join us in an evening of celebration.
Our philosophy is what grows together, goes together, and there’s nothing better than game to show that. Oliver Gladwin has skinned, foraged, and plucked a set menu full of wild produce and game.
In support of the countryside alliance’s ongoing promotion of game we will be donating a proportion of the evening to this great organisation.
We currently have limited space availability so get in touch to bag a hot peg! Tables of 2, 3, or 8 are currently available.
Here at The Shed we value Game above all things. It offers a fantastic opportunity to show what we are all about. Serving sustainable, British produce, alongside foraged ingredients the animal feasts on in the wild. Venison with Oak Moss Lichen, Pheasant with Pearl Barley, Pigeon with Wood Sorrel, they just work! Alongside this game has a wonderful distinct flavor, is low in cholesterol and very lean making it one of the healthiest meats available. Watch Oliver explain why he loves Venison in our latest YouTube video.
Venison With Nettle Dumplings
Game is any animal living in the wild that is hunted. For years game was thought of as something reserved for the upper class or special occasions. However, this is a belief which needs to be corrected. As the shooting season draws to a close game birds are abundant and far cheaper than alternatives like chicken. 35 million pheasants need to be eaten each year and many of these are transported to the continent do to the lack of interest in the UK. To find out where to buy game visit http://www.gametoeat.co.uk, they also have a host of fantastic recipes.
At the Shed we work closely with our suppliers to ensure the welfare and quality of all game animals. Our West Sussex stalker Alex supplies us with glorious Venison, shot on and around our vineyard (normally found nibbling on the delicious grapes!). Eddy supplies us with only the best birds from Beighly Estate near Petersfield. These can all be found on our menu week in week out. Dishes such as Game Terrine, Venison Ragu, Breaded Pheasant, Rabbit Spring Rolls, Smoked Pigeon breasts, and Grilled Venison with Oak Moss regularly appear. So if you fancy giving it a try get your game face on and visit us at The Shed, Notting Hill.
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.
Rosehip foraging in Autumn
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.
Remember Thick Gloves When Picking Rosehips!!
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.
The Delicious Rosehip Spritz
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!