Summer is when the kitchen garden is in full bloom. It’s a joy to look at as well as to taste. Tom enjoys being able to pick and sample his own produce giving him full control of what makes it onto the Barton House menus. He oversees the whole process from the planting of the seeds through to creating delicious dishes out of the produce harvested.
The globe artichoke one of the more intimidating looking vegetables it is hardly surprising given that it is a variety of a species of thistle. The flower buds are actually the edible part, with the heart being the edible centre. The choke is the inedible part.
Artichoke makes a wonderful accompaniment to many types of dip. Tom serves his with a classic Hollandaise or a garlic aioli.
“ I love Artichokes, they can be used in many different cuisines such a Italian, French and Moroccan cooking”
“ In order to prepare an Artichoke you must first remove the outer leaves until you get to the light coloured leaves, then cook in boiling water with some lemon juice for about 30-40 minutes you’ll know when it’s done when you can easily remove a leaf.”
“Once drained serve with a Hollandaise or garlic aioli, eating the fleshy base. But don’t stop there, remove the hairy choke in the centre and eat the heart too”
Artichokes also produce some wonderful flowers which look lovely in a vase in the house.
Also in season are Courgettes, also commonly known as Zucchini, they are a member of the squash family. Courgettes can be used in many different ways and don’t forget to the Courgette flower is also edible!
“ Courgette can be eaten cooked or raw, in the Summer it can make a lovely fresh salad to accompany main dishes or barbecues. For this, simply prepare the courgette by making thin ribbons and marinade with some good quality virgin olive, lemon juice, and season. Then add some torn mint and feta. It’s a lovely fresh easy to prepare salad for Summer entertaining “
“ Use the courgette flower too. Try filling the courgette flower with an aubergine caponata and serve alongside a sea bass salsa verde. Start by opening the flower and removing the stamen, then fill with the caponata, twist the flower tip to close and roast it in the oven. Serve with the sea bass salsa verde and a glass of Chardonnay! “
The kitchen garden has an abundance of blackberries at the moment and Tom says if you find your garden has more blackberries than you know what to do with, he suggests making a wonderful blackberry jam. To make 4 jars Tom suggests:
750g sugar with added pectin
Juice of ½ a lemon & pips
“Leave the berries overnight coated in the sugar, then when you come back to them the next day give them a good stir. Chill a plate in the fridge to be used later.”
“Use a wide based pan, empty the blackberries and sugar mix into the pan and stir in the lemon juice. My tip is to place the pips securely in a piece of muslin and add to the pan. The pips help the jam to set!”
Place over a low heat and bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Then you want to transfer the fruity mix onto the chilled plate it should have started to take on a slightly gelatinous texture, if its not reached that point yet then return to the pan for a few more minutes until it does. After this skim the surface of the jam removing any scum adding a knob of butter and stir. Let the jam set and then transfer into jars.