Led by the seasons,
Just north of Winchcombe, near Hayles Farm, a large cluster of empty coaches and mini-buses are parked, waiting to take our all-important pickers home. From the unmistakeable pungency in the air and the odd few scattered across the main road, this heralds the start of the spring-onion harvest. Thankfully a more floral fragrance is returning to our table as well, with lavender and wild elderflowers. At last our home-grown food is on sale in our stores, and our reliance on the tasteless, pallid imports from polytunnels abroad is waning. It won’t be too long before the first crop of strawberries will be ready for PYO at Hayles and we shall be potting and jamming our way through the summer.
Our cookery lessons and demonstrations will cease for the season as we look to our gardens and throw ourselves into supporting many local charities by participating in fêtes, country shows, and open gardens. Lyn will be assisting Vanessa Berridge , a long time client of La Petite Cuisine, in her beautiful walled gardens, situated on the rich soil of the well-tended ancient demesne of the famous Winchcombe Abbey.
Vanessa is a leading authority on gardens, writing regularly for RHS The Garden, Country Life, The Telegraph and The Times. With a successful history of editorship of many lifestyle magazines behind her, Vanessa ‘s most recent gardening publication is ‘Kiftsgate Court Gardens, Three Generations of Women Gardeners’ (Blackwell 2019) the history of our nearby famous destination garden, perched high on the edge of the northern Cotswolds.
Demonstrated by the Experts
Lyn and Dawn, two experienced cooks, demonstrate new seasonal recipes using glorious local ingredients. This takes place in Lyn’s cottage kitchen in Winchcombe where the atmosphere is welcoming, fun and friendly and the groups are small and like-minded.
Both have taught cooking for years in the UK and across the world, and are still keen to share their enjoyment of cooking by providing delicious fail-safe recipes that are bound to inspire. Providing plenty of modern cooking techniques, hints, tips and treasures from their recipe collections, this enjoyable event lasts about four hours - from coffee, tea and home-made biscuits to a final sumptuous tasting of all the recipes. Whilst most of the cooking takes place on a large and roomy AGA, Dawn and Lyn are equally at home on gas and electric cookers. All recipes are annotated accordingly. One-to-one AGA clinics with Dawn, after the demonstration, are free.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or a confident cook, an AGA-lover or not, there is something for you. By booking a place for only £45 you will also be supporting the work of the admirable charity, Kate’s Home Nursing.
Family visits to the Cotswolds and summer entertaining are an essential part of an English summer. Lyn usually pulls out a portfolio of favourite recipes, both new and old from the demonstration programmes, and stocks up the larder, fridge and freezer to ensure all the ingredients are to hand to welcome guest arrivals. A menu which never fails to charm is food served at ‘aperitivos’ time.
Lyn prepares generous platters of canapés, appetisers and sharing boards drawn from mezze and tapas, or Middle Eastern or South East Asian finger food. This can be far more appealing to make and serve than the traditional three course meal on a hot summer’s day. Think bowls of mussels, cherry tomatoes, summer veg frittatas, honey roasted young beetroot, herb pestos, dry-cured meats, Dawn’s tear-and-share soft rolls and sour dough loaves. All ideal for al fresco dining. Serve with sparkling perry, botanical cordials, English sparkling wines and artisan gin. All ideal for al fresco dining. Serve with jugs of fresh lemonade, sangria, wines, sherry or botanical cordials.
Waste not, want not
Keeping little pots of tomato pastes, aubergine purées, and sweet spice rubs such as Baharat in the fridge can result in them growing little bumps of mould and going off. Pour a film of olive oil over them before screwing down the lid each time, and they will last for months.
"A treat for the dark months"
Margaret Reid, Winchcombe
White Wine Sauce for Fish
A timeless classic given to Lyn by Raymond Blanc, this creamy alluring sauce has a deep heart of well-reduced fish stock, sweet buttered white button mushrooms, a half bottle of Loire Vouvray wine, and our Cotteswold cream. Served over roast cod loin, it was a favourite at The Gotherington Wine Club ‘Cooking with Wine’ demonstration given recently by Lyn and Dawn.