A Word from Chef
Spring is upon us, at last. Warm weather has arrived in mid-April no less. I have added two new chefs to our team, they have been recruited to broaden our skill set and to provide some chef cover so’s I can give my hard-working team some well-earned rest and recuperation time before what is sure to be a very busy Summer season.
I’ve made tweaks and additions to the spring menu, adding and taking away to suit lighter appetites and seasonal produce. We have a beautiful new yogurt panna cotta dessert, it features forced rhubarb, orange, mint and raspberry and provides a clean and light dessert option. We have had freshly picked new season asparagus paired with beautiful hens egg on our specials board along with slow cooked roast hogget and mint sauce.
David the gardener is making amazing progress and I’m hoping before long we will start to see some ultra-fresh progress making its way onto my menu. The chefs have all had a few visits to the garden so see progress. I find the visits a hugely valuable exercise. Getting to see the work and endeavours that go into the growings gives great perspective and respect for the ingredients, part of becoming a good chef is understanding and respecting any and all ingredients we are lucky enough to use.
This is the time of the year that gardeners look forward to, as spring is arriving, the winter is leaving us and nature is waking up.
The walled garden has been trimmed back and tidied up in preparation for the growing season.Weeds have been removed and the soil has been dug over and raked flat. The last of the winter vegetables have been delivered to the pub, I believe the rhubarb is going down well amongst our diners, choosing the panna cotta for dessert.
Snowdrops have shown themselves and daffodils are flourishing, life is coming back to the garden.
In the green house, tomatoes, gherkins, cucumbers and chillis have all sprouted and are 3 inches tall already. We also have a range of herbs that have started to grow. These include garlic chive, tarragon, basil, parsley, rosemary, sage- so be sure to look out for some of them growing outside the pub in the coming season! Some of the seeds planted in Ratho vegetable garden so far include lettuce Malmaine, lettuce Cos, radish, beetroot, sorrel, kale, mixed Asian leaf, spring onion and the early potatoes.
Jobs for the month
This is the time to prick out and re pot any seedlings, vegetables and flowers included. When the risk of frost has passed we can plant out some seeds., rake the soil and plant seeds at a depth and separation as required for the seed.
Herbs can be started in a greenhouse from seed. The germination process can take between 7 and 21 days depending on herb (a propagator is recommended).
First cut of grass lawns is now recommended, expert tip – for a fine lawn do not cut the grass too short and cut often.