The story of how some of the dishes came about; by choosing to create food based around reducing food waste in our kitchen & the individuals & local businesses we work with means cooking & designing menus with a slightly different mindset, we look at what we’ve got in the fridge & freezer, what fresh produce needs using first including short dated products, whats in season locally & the surplus/wonky/waste fruit & veg the businesses we collaborate with are unable to sell to the public & we then create menus around this. It takes creativity, a willingness to think on our feet & knowledge of how best to use ingredients to work like this. Admittedly it’s not the simplest or quickest way to work, but making things from scratch means we & our customers know exactly what’s in our products, they are truly handmade, full of flavour & we actively get food that would otherwise have been wasted back into the local food chain. We make real food & we can tell you the stories behind the ingredients we’ve used. So for instance in the last week we’ve had;
Locally grown Asparagus from Mallards Farm just down the road from us, in fact grown less than half a kilometre from kitchen! And vintage Stilton picked up from our wholesaler at a fraction of the price because during the lockdown they are simply unable to sell the volume of dairy items, with so many cafes, pubs & restaurants closed there’s no demand for cheese, yoghurt etc. These two ingredients became a deliciously Springlike ‘green’ Asparagus & Stilton Lasagne with a white sauce packed full of greens, leeks, asparagus & stilton, rather than a classic tomato based dish.
The same week we had bought a whole tray of Fennel bulbs that were looking a little sad from Macknade, we thought a Braised Fennel side would work so well with the Lasagne & whilst cooking we remembered a bottle of Dry Martini that’s been looking lonely on the shelves for a while, so we added generous splashes of this. Then we decided to lift the whole dish and add slivers of our kitchen-made Preserved Lemons, we made these from a glut we bought last August which we salted & left on a shelf to do their thing. Now they are ready expect to see them appear again in cous cous, bean salads, tagines & more!
As another side to this menu we decided to use the gifted Wild Garlic our friend Fern had kindly foraged for us & add it to a Foccacia bread recipe tried & tested by Jane Beedle, we shredded the wild garlic & left it to prove, before adding garden Rosemary & baking, we were pretty pleased with the results our Wild Garlic, Rosemary & Seasalt Foccacia will definitely be back on the menu in different forms soon.
The previous week we collected some cheese from the Dargate Dairy where Cheesemakers of Canterbury are based, we buy their Ashmore, Bowyers Brie & Canterbury Cobble cheese to use in our cheeseboards which are proving so popular. Whilst at the dairy Jane gave us a few litres of Buttermilk that were surplus, she’d been busy churning their Award winning Cowslip Butter & the buttermilk is a natural by product, it normally goes to the pigs, but last week we created Wild Garlic Buttermilk Scones with the Wild Garlic picked by the cheesemakers from behind the dairy. Next week we’ll be using the rest of the Buttermilk to make a traditional Soda Bread to accompany some locally sourced Gammon. Pic @janebbakes
Another area which allows us to use lots of fruit that would have been thrown away is in cakes & sweet treats, Jane Beedle (GBBO finalist 2016) is now baking for us twice a week, and getting creative with any random ingredients we throw at her (not literally!). It really is Ready, Steady, Bake but Jane has been enjoying the challenge. So in recent weeks she’s used a whole tray of lemons past their best in Elderflower, poppy seed & lemon drizzle cakes, tons of Black bananas & a very random jar of peanut powder we had went into some delicious Banana & Peanut cakes with peanut butter icing & peanut brittle & last years frozen glut of Gooseberries combined with a tub of short dated cream cheese to create individual Gooseberry Cheesecakes, we love the way they turn pink as they cook!