Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Fun at the Field Kitchen

Being slightly obsessive about our veggie box it was only a matter of time before we went to see where exactly it is our vegetables come from. The only thing that had stopped us before was transport. When my Dad came down to visit we thought we'd beg a lift by treating him to a meal.

We arrived far too early for our tour and where welcomed into the kitchen and offered drinks. The first sight of the farm already had us impressed. The sounds even more so. Any spare bit of land was home to wild flowers and the birds and bees could be heard everywhere. In fact some very naughty bees where swarming as we arrived. The bee keeper was to wrangle them later.

We had a great group for our tour. One couple had come from Blackpool with their Mum and where passionate and enthusiastic. We all begged our guide for gardening tips which he was happy to oblige us with.

While walking round we stopped at the broad bean field. He pulled up a plant for us to sample. Not the beans, it's too early for them yet, but the leaves. They had an intense flavour. Stephen described it as 'green'. I agree but I wouldn't sound so negative about it.

After a quick tractor ride (we had spent too long talking about aphid issues) we returned to the kitchen. We were sat with the group from Blackpool who began to feel very maternal about Stephen who only eats potatoes.

"But he's a growing boy"

The omnivorous amongst us helped themselves to some lamb with couscous and other bits that I didn't enquire too closely about. As the table's solitary vegetarian I had this stunning summery dish of artichokes, broad beans and tomatoes. The tomato and broad bean tasted sweet and delicate contrasting with the heaviness of the artichoke and broth. Almost too heavy for me but I'm not the hugest fan of artichokes.

We shared out the side dishes. New, Jersey potatoes baked in parchment with wet garlic and rosemary was a massive hit. We bought some baking parchment on the way home.

I also enjoyed the carrots with fennel and even the asparagus. Baby spears lay on a bed of mixed leaves with grilled tomatoes and goats cheese. It was sweet, sinful and refreshing at the same time. Don't call me an asparagus convert just yet. But perhaps, one day.

Also on the table were a fennel gratin and spinach with lemon (not pictured) I was quite happy with my one serving of them but I didn't help myself to more.

As we where lead up for desert we put our faith in seconds and ordered the chocolate almond cake. It was delicious and soft. Then seconds arrived and I got to sample this seasons strawberries fresh from the plant with meringue and cream.


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