Ed Fortune is Head Chef at the Shelburne Restaurant on the Bowood Estate. Each month Ed gives us an insight into a working kitchen, the goings-on at Bowood and shares with us a recipe to try at home.
The best part of May, as a chef, is that winter is finally over. Late frosts through April can have a knock on effect on our supply chain for many months. Produce ripens later, and cauliflower crops in particular can be damaged. It does appear however that conditions have been extremely favourable, and while vegetable prices are slowly rising, there certainly has not been a spike, boding well for the summer’s menus!
Excitingly, we have seen the first produce of the year from the beautiful gardens at Bowood House. Lady Lansdowne kindly informs me what has been picked, and an hour later I have it in the kitchen to prepare. The asparagus is looking fantastic, and I am sure it will feature in a future recipe (watch this space!)
Her Ladyship clearly has her ear to the ground in terms of what is hot in the culinary world, as I was recently sent across some very on trend sea kale. It looks similar to young celery, raw it is very fresh and crisp, almost like bean sprouts in flavour, and blanched for 3 minutes it takes on a slight butteriness akin to white asparagus, which I think lends itself very well to grilled fish. I serve it on the Shelburne bar menu with John Dory and a lemon and brown butter sauce.
Unfortunately May, will be the last month of my favourite vegetable, forced rhubarb. If I could I would use it all year round, as its sharpness works so well in the hot summer months. For this month’s recipe I’ve gone for a chilled rhubarb soup, in the Shelburne restaurant I serve this with a white chocolate dome, yoghurt foam and toasted almonds; here I’ve matched it with homemade granola as a wonderfully simple dessert for a dinner party. Enjoy.
Forced Rhubarb Soup with Homemade Granola – serves 6 (plus granola for breakfast the next day!)
For the soup:
1kg forced rhubarb – chopped
150 g sugar
1 sprig mint
1 sprig thyme
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 peel lemon
Boil everything together, cook for 5 minutes, take out all the flavourings and puree until smooth. Adjust consistency as needed.
For the homemade granola:
120g sunflower seeds
85g apple sauce
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp ginger
100g golden syrup
50g brown sugar
125g flaked almonds
1 tablespoon oil
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly (I like to do this by hand, but beware it is rather sticky!)
Bake at 160c for about 35 minutes until golden brown, stirring a couple of times during cooking
If you have any questions on this recipe, or anything else going on at the Bowood Estate, we would love to hear from you – Email: email@example.com Until next time, happy cooking!