28 Apr 2011

F.R.O.D.O. Spring Ball - Fulham Palace

I'd like to use this blog post to plug this years F.R.O.D.O. Spring Ball at Fulham Palace.

F.R.O.D.O. are a charity whose aims are close to our hearts here at Bovingdons.

Do buy a ticket and come along, I can promise delicious food (ours!), a beautiful venue (The Chaplains Gardens at Fulham Palace) and fun all in return for your help towards an incredible cause.


20 Apr 2011

British Asparagus... eating it!

Here are some wonderful ways to enjoy asparagus…

As a trio: asparagus torte, chargilled spears, a quails egg and a shot glass of cool asparagus vichyssoise (see left)

As an incredibly elegant starter…
Saturn bowl filled with a salad of fresh asparagus, artichoke hearts, blistered cherry tomatoes and avocado with chervil and mustard dressing

As a natural way of adding some drama to a salad…
Fresh hand made asparagus ravioli with herb emulsion and micro shoots

Spring take on pasta…
Rare roast Sirloin of beef with wild mushroom jus, chargrilled asparagus and thyme Talegio potatoes

As a perfect partner to some phenomenal centrepiece…
Asparagus bundles tied with chives served with a vanilla and pomegranate mayonnaise

A stylist ingredient in a working brunch…
Fresh asparagus soup with crème fresh and sage parmesan bread

Stand alone stand out soup…
Poussin with fresh asparagus stuffing, lemon risotto and tarragon tus

And two ideas from the British Asparagus Growers website ...
Gizzy Erskine’s British asparagus, broad bean, mint and mozzarella brushetta
Tiffany Goodall’s British asparagus Thai coconut curry

19 Apr 2011

British Asparagus.. growing it

The smell of cut grass, the sound of birdsong, the sight of daffodils, the taste of asparagus – Spring is here!
As I mentioned in my asparagus article this time last year, asparagus represents British food at its best but it has a woefully unpredictable and short season. The good news this year is that the first crop has come very early indeed. You may have noticed it already in the shops or at your local farmers market. At Ripley Farmers Market on Sunday, bundles of asparagus on Secretts stall were snapped up very quickly.
I have tried to grow asparagus from two year old crowns – but my soil if definitely not right! One of my girlfriends has a whole bed of it (envy). Once the tips have stopped growing (apparently you must always leave a third unpicked towards the end of the season) the leaf fronds that are produced all summer are fabulous for flower arranging.
In my opinion the very best way to enjoy it is communally. Gather a group of close friends in the garden, wander through the beds with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand picking fresh spears and popping them onto the BBQ for a minute. Dip in melted butter or lemon mayonnaise, fresh, tasty, heavenly.
Happy eating and gardening!

Gatecrasher at The Orangery...

Not a gate crasher we mind though...

14 Apr 2011

April Big Picture

A Modern Tuna Nicoise: seared tuna with quails eggs, black olive tapenade, crostini, fresh tomato salsa and micro shoots.

Ripley Farmers Market

We had a fantastic turn out at Ripley Farmers Market on Sunday. Hello to everyone that came to enjoy fun in the sun.

This months market had a Royal Wedding theme so bunting a plenty (see left). There was also a dog show which was free to enter for corgis!

Walking past the piles of fresh, seasonal produce, asparagus, radishes, spinach.... was inspiring and invigorating. I feel like I have come out of hibernation.

4 Apr 2011

Local Suppliers: The Conisbee Family

As you know, I am a huge champion of local and seasonal ingrediants. It was great to see one of my longest suppliers, F Conisbees and Son, mentioned in The Guardian this weekend.
Bovingdons have been buying meat from the Horsley based Conisbee family butchers since 1996, although the Surrey farmers and butchers has been around for 250 years.

I have served their award-winning sausages to Royalty and common man alike and they are on high demand at the annual Meat and Livestock Commission BBQ at Westminster Abbey Gardens. Their home cooked ham and pork pies are pefect for a picnic in the sun. It is a pleasure to deal directly with James Conisbee, he is hugely knowledgable and incredibly passionate about the welfare of his animals.

The team are right in the thick of lambing at the moment, as you can see from these very evocative series of photos in The Guardian."Up to 300 ewes are lambing at Barracks Farm in Fetcham, Surrey. The farm is owned by the Conisbee family who supply their own butchers shops in nearby Horsley. The business has been run by generations of the family for more than 250 years."