Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Menu for Summer Fruits, Summer drinks supper at the Secret Garden Workshop

I'm a berry addict which is no bad thing, since it was discovered that they were in fact, super foods. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, black currants, red currants, white currants, elderberries, just to mention a few we grow on the British isles, but I envy Scandinavia with their larger range of berries: cloudberry, lingonberry, sea buckthorn berries... I like the combination of sweet and sour, gooseberries should be in season but sadly I haven't seen them around. Can we grow some gooseberries for next year, Zia Mays?
Visiting Jekka McVicar's #herbfest at the Queen Elizabeth hall last night, (do go and see her remarkable herb greenhouse and garden) I saw a copy of her book, which described how to grow your own berries by keeping the pips or seeds, teasing them out from the pulp, drying and planting them. There is a bizarre interesting debate on this Paleo diet site as to whether we should chew the seeds or not.
Zia will be showing guests how to grow berries and make summer drinks while I make the food.
Of late I've been interested in using fruits with savouries and vegetables with desserts. I'm going to play around with the former in this meal. Here a few ideas I've come up with which I'll serve this Sunday. As always, expect the unexpected at the Secret Garden Club.

Berry Spritzers

Strawberry and baby leaf salad with raspberry dressing. Strawberries are still quite acid, so should complement a savoury salad beautifully.

Roasted apricot and Danish blue cheese salad. Roasting apricots makes them gorgeously sour.

Stuffed pasta shells with pickled cherries. I like to add the piquancy of cold pickles to hot savoury dishes.

Summer pudding: a British summertime classic.

Forest fruits sorbet in blueberry soup, with grated chocolate: a sorbet made quickly in the Vitamix and paired with a very Scandi blueberry soup.

Wines from Winetrust100: a new wine club which asks three masters of wine to pick a range of 100 wines, the best for their price, from all over the world.

Book tickets here £30


  1. Me and my friend Emma bottled gooseberries last week. They are running a bit late this year anyway as the cold spring weather lingered longer than usual. We picked a first crop, which gives the berries remaining a bit more room to grow to fruition. So there will be more to come later. The first pickings are the tartest and great for jam and compote. They are easy as owt to grow.

  2. Are they easy? So why does nobody grow them or sell them? It's just like tomatillos, so easy to grow and so hard to buy.

  3. Gloria, I'm very impressed you have already harvested gooseberries this year. I have three bushes at my allotment and they are coming along nicely but are still hard, green and about the size of olives. Running *very* late, I say. They're a dessert variety, Pax, so will ripen to a rich maroon when ready. We should definitely plant some in the Secret Garden.

    Why does no-one grow them/sell them? Thorns, I reckon.

  4. Yes Zia, they are vicious to pick but there are thornless varieties, just I don't have any! If there was enough demand then surely the supermarkets would sell them. But it takes more than Hugh Fernley-doodah to cook them with mackerel to create an audience. They must be available at farmers markets?


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