February’s news – sparkling eco-glitter, rhubarb & more

6th February 2019

Whether its snow, wind or rain this month, comforting food is still desirable and easy to create from the abundant seasonal veg available, cheerful too with purple sprouting broccoli, purple kale and the glorious pink rhubarb.

The early crop of rhubarb with its shocking pink stems has a wonderful sweet zingy taste. Often thought to be a fruit, rhubarb is in fact a vegetable – the stem of a perennial plant.  These pink stems are grown in an area known as the Yorkshire Triangle where in dark forcing sheds they grow rapidly searching for light.  They are harvested by hand and by candlelight so as not to allow any photosynthesis to take place.

This pink variety is delicate and tender with an amazing flavour – sour and acidic but balanced with sweetness, tart and refreshing all at once.

As a nutritious source of potassium, rhubarb helps keep blood pressure healthy and muscles functioning properly.

Delicious in both sweet and savoury dishes, it partners strong flavours well, such as orange zest, vanilla, ginger, honey and winter herbs such as thyme and rosemary.  Packed with juice it needs little or no liquid.  Add squeeze of orange and bake at a low heat or simmer with a little sugar for a compote to serve with yoghurt, use in crumble and serve with custard, or in tarts, sponge puddings, chutneys, jam, in a sauce served with lamb or salmon.

In the Café

This month will see new savoury morsels and sweet treats for both our Afternoon Teas and Dan is also creating new dishes for our menu.

Mother’s Day – 31 March. We are now taking bookings for breakfast and lunch, please call to make your reservation 01920 821246

In the Shop

We love finding new British producers for you:

Greetings Cards, English Graphics – founded by Heather Marten these gorgeous sparkly cards are designed, printed and hand-glittered in her New Forest workshop. The whole card is now fully biodegradable including the eco-glitter which is made from plant cellulose.

Her notebooks, make-up and tote bags are  adorable too.

All About Eve – relax with these luxury scented candles that are hand-poured in the UK. Melanie formerly a buyer for Harrods and The White Company, uses quality essential oils to create a unique combination of scents such as the fresh Herb Garden and 42 Signature, each one has about 40 hours of burn time with the fragrance lasting until the very end.  The fragrances are also available as diffusers.

Fused Glass Designs – these charming bright designs made by Nico Brown who is based in Hertford caught our eye.  Each design is cut and assembled from layers of sheet glass and fired in a kiln becoming fused into one piece.

Sophie Allport – more gorgeous practical products to decorate your home or as wonderful gifts from this talented British designer – mugs, jugs, oven gloves, gauntlets, tea-towels, aprons, make-up bags and lunch bags in a range of designs including the new peony, flamingo, dragonfly, pug, elephant.

Croissant, pastries & cupcakes

New in from our bakery suppliers Simmons, are individual freshly baked – plain, almond and chocolate croissants traditionally made with French flour and Belgian butter and a variety of Danish puff pastries, also made with Belgian butter – cinnamon swirl, pain au raisin, Danish pastry, toffee & pecan Danish.  Their yummy range of mini bakes are also available in boxes – jam and bakewell tarts, carrot and cherry cakes and doughnuts.

Cheeses of the Month

We have four cheeses that carry the 20% discount this month – look out for the red star.

Capricorn Somerset Goat Cheese (v) – made by the Lubborn Creamery in Somerset with milk from local goats that graze the lush pastures around Cricket St Thomas. The cheese ripens from the outside towards the centre and is gently sprayed with salt during the maturing process when an edible white rind grows. When young it is mild, crumbly and has a nutty flavour. As it ripens the white curd becomes softer, creamier and develops a fuller flavour. Serve with sesame crackers, fresh figs or crumbled on a salad.

The absolutely ideal and unusual wine to pair with this cheese is the Picpoul de Pinet Domaine de Morin Langaran 2017 states Rob, our Corney & Barrow wine guru. Picpoul is an old Languedoc grape variety that has been grown on the banks of Lake Thau, in sight of the famous oyster-beds of Bouzigues, for generations. Produced from vines that are aired by the salty sea breeze, this wine is unmistakably Mediterranean and will absolutely sing with this beautiful expression of goat’s cheese, from the equally beautiful valley of Cricket St Thomas.

Mature Cheddar heart– made by Ford Farm in Dorset and perfect for the cheeseboard on Valentine’s Day. Using milk from herds that graze locally, the cheese is traditionally handmade and wrapped in a burgundy wax coating that preserves the freshness.

The little Rioja is exactly as a ‘joven‘ (meaning’young’) should be: juicy and fruit-driven, showcasing dark cherry fruit and subtle spice. Based in Rioja Alavesa, the finest part of the region, the Altos de Baroja Rioja Joven, shows the potential of youthful Tempranillo to pair just as well with a ‘firmer’, ‘hard’ or ‘yellow’ cheese such as this cheddar as a more traditionally-minded pairing would. Such vivacity and freshness to be enjoyed here!

Truffle Brie – made by the French specialist Brie producer Rouzaire with cow’s milk. When this cheese is very young, it is cut horizontally and an indulgent mixture of crème fraiche, mascarpone and summer truffles added, the top is put back and the whole cheese left to mature in underground cellars. It develops a bloomy white crust that mottles as the cheese reaches maturity and the interior is at its soft and sumptuous best. Flavours are rich and decadent with the mushroom flavour of truffle highlighting the creamy soft character of the brie.

The distinguished and supremely drinkable Champagne Delamotte Brut goes perfectly here. Adding a glass of sparkling wine will always add to the pleasure of eating a truffle cheese and Rob sees no exception of that rule here. Let the zip of the fizz cut right through that softness providing a sound and ample contrast, while the richness of the wines (high) proportion of Grand Cru Chardonnay grapes meet the sumptuousness of the cheese.

Black Bomber (v) – The Snowdonia Cheese flagship cheese is an award-winning ‘cheddar with attitude’. This strong extra mature cheddar packs a powerful punch yet is surprisingly mellow, full of flavour with a bite and long-lasting aftertaste. Rich, slightly sweet and creamy and very moreish. Wrapped in black wax retains a moist smooth texture, distinctive from other traditional cheddars which are usually more crumbly.

With vibrant, cherry-plum notes and a spicy, liquorice finish, the Bodega Ruca Malen Malbec has an array of flavourful qualities to match, with a body and firmness, too, that should meet the character and structure of the Black Bomber soundly.  A pairing of equal parts distinction and deliciousness.


The Pearces