Tag Archives: Food

The Colours Of Autumn

There is so much choice for fresh produce in September and to celebrate the wonderful crop of seasonal vegetables, our kitchen team showcases the best in season to create the colours of autumn on your plate.

Just as the heady days of Summer wane, crops spoil us with a wealth of colourful health-giving produce that are prime for creating comforting, warming dishes ideal for crisp mornings and chilly afternoons.

Succulent, lip-smacking raspberries and pears are ideal on top of muesli or to create an energising smoothie. We’ve showcased this on our vegetarian menu with our delicious dessert: ‘raspberry and beetroot with marinated strawberry in port with wild strawberry sorbet’. Also you might spy a raspberry or two in our afternoon tea cakes!

The tartness and fleshiness of plums and greengage make up our dessert of walnut praline and greengage coulis with sautéed plums.

The fresh produce in autumn makes creating vegetarian recipes easy. For example, layering vegetables in a baking dish with garlic and herbs to create a vegetable gratin is very easy yet supremely tasty and health-giving. Kale, potatoes, squash and swede are really filling too.

Afternoon Tea: A Very British Tradition

Today marks the start of Afternoon Tea week. Rebecca Galland, Restaurant Manager at The Vineyard, takes us back in time to the origins of this most delicious British tradition.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea all started with Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, in the early 1800’s who coined the phrase of having the ‘sinking feeling’ which was how she felt in the middle of the afternoon when breakfast had been worked off.

At that time there were only two meals a day one in the morning and one in the evening. Dinner was served later and later in the day. To remedy her feeling, Anna started having tea, usually Darjeeling, and a cake in her boudoir in the afternoon. She enjoyed it so much that she began to invite her friends to join her at her country house Woburn Abbey where she and her husband Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford, lived in the Summer. Eventually when the season ended and she returned to London she the continued this habit in the city. More and more people started to hear of it in her social circle and in the 1840’s Afternoon Tea quickly became fashion amongst the wealthy classes.

It is worth noting that this ‘Afternoon Tea’ that Anna started is not to be confused with what is known as ‘high’ tea which usually refers to the meal the lower classes would have, complete with a hot dish, followed by cakes and bread, which was all about the height of the tables.

Nowadays, Afternoon Tea is usually served on a stand and it led to a phenomenon that has swept the globe, albeit still a very British tradition.

Fresh and in season: Peas

We only buy what is in season at the time, to be as close to the natural environment as possible. Peas are in season between June and July. Executive Chef Daniel Galmiche advises how best to enjoy them.


In-Season Peas

I always look forward to the change of seasons and how that is reflected on our plates, especially when it comes to side dishes and salads. Each season brings its own special selection of vegetables. The fresh, the earthy, the tender, the robust and the sweet, there is always something delicious and new to enjoy.

Peas are one such vegetable that add a wealth of flavour and texture and are available June to end of July. Whether steamed, sautéed, roasted, baked or grilled, the possibilities are endless and the bonus of growing them yourself is that you gain all of the flavour. Lightly blanched really retains their texture and are wonderful to eat alone.

Peas are best when not prepared with too much fuss. Lightly blanched or boiling briefly and they can be added to stews and risottos or pasta.

Or – peas and pancetta, what a wonderful combination. Indeed, fresh peas are really versatile and so much tastier fresh from the garden and used in more innovative ways.

For wine matching, a fresh Loire Sauvignon Blanc can go well with creamy pea risotto, whereas a more exuberant herbaceous Marlborough version can go well with a heavier pasta. For a pea salad, a not-too-leesy Picpoul or Albariño would work well too – the clean and neutral notes would enhance the delicate pea flavours…bon appetit!

Introducing The Modern Tea Ceremony

This July, we will introduce new luxury teas to our Afternoon Tea experience from Lalani & Co. Far removed from the ‘English Cuppa’, more like a fine wine or whisky, their batch teas come from family-run gardens throughout the world and are chosen for their exquisite flavour from particular elevations. This is the first in a new series on artisanal tea.

Lalani Teas

Lalani Teas

Buying tea is very much like buying whisky: some are blended and some are single-batch. Also like whisky, you get various qualities and styles, and this all comes down to the people who grow the plants as well as the plantation’s location.

The pleasure comes in the taste and there is a gulf of difference between PG tips and single batch darjeeling or oolong for example. Season, soil, elevation and producer all affect flavour characteristics and the best teas express the best flavour of their region: some batches will be exceptional, some will be average, some will be low end. This spectrum occurs even within a year on the same garden.

The very best single batch teas are made as a luxury craft with the same artisan skill as a family vineyard or a small whisky distillery. Single batch teas also offer seasonally changing flavour profiles, much as with fine wine, offering expression of their terroir which whispers its provenance story to you palate with every sip.

Throught the world’s tea trade, most batches are sold into the markets and blended, but some will be kept as single batch teas. These are normally the better tasting batches and are what will be used here.

When you taste a batch and know the story behind it, it opens up a whole new enjoyment and understanding of tea and flavour.

Sweet, fresh and in-season raspberries

A superfood, with many antioxidants and flavonols, raspberries play a part in many dishes and are in season from now. Whilst naturally sweet, they have a low sugar concentration and have a strong flavour profile so an interesting match for many foods. So says Daniel Galmiche.

Raspberries are in season now

Raspberries are in season now

With all of the delicious desserts and patisseries available from my homeland, there is still something irresistible and also wholesome about choosing juicy raspberries for pudding. Nature’s sweetener, they’re very versatile and are strong enough to be the stand-out or to match the strength and richness of creamy dishes or dark chocolate flavours. The best is to choose fresh berries so ripely-picked that they make your lips and teeth pink.

A fantastic match for lime, where the sweetness of the berries complements the zing of lime zest, the colour of this fruit is also very appetizing. They are also sensational with a crème brûlée as raspberry, despite being naturally sweet, this fruit also has a high acidity and complements perfectly the richness of such dishes.

And of course with summer sun, perfect excuse for a raspberry-embellished aperitif, such as demi-sec Champagne with a dash of raspberry puree or a single berry. And in terms of matching with wine, on their own raspberries go well with a sweet Loire or German wine. How about Côteaux du Layon?

In season now until September, you will be lucky if you have a raspberry bush at home in your garden or allotment. They are so easy to grow and just a few raspberry plants will reward you with plenty of fruit from midsummer until mid-autumn.


The seasonal wonders of mackerel, tuna and crab

Fish plays a big part on our menu and sustainable line-caught or certified organic fish, including hand-dived scallops is something we are committed to and believe in strongly. Here, Executive Chef Daniel Galmiche highlights  the wonders of mackerel, tuna and crab and their wine pairing, all in-season now.

The sustainability of fish is a big issue these days and is very important that I find the right suppliers who will provide the best possible fish that is also sourced from sustainable stocks. It is too easy to forget that most species are overfished and therefore becoming expensive, as well as increasingly rare.

The beautiful mackerel with its black and blue stripes, full of omega-3 fatty acids and packed with goodness is delicious grilled, smoked, pan-roasted, whole or in fillet form. Lime works with the flavour of the fish really well. Depending on how it is served, medium-bodied crisp whites such as Muscadet, Gavi di Gavi or Picpoul de Pinet work very well with this fish.

I also adore tuna, especially blue fin tuna which is incredibly rare. I source yellow-fin or skipjack tuna instead. I love tuna raw, pan-fried or marinated and it is delicious also in a Niçoise salad. This fish works well with rich full-bodied whites such as Australian Chardonnay, or light-bodied reds such as a New Zealand Pinot Noir.

Crab is now in season and when selecting crab meat to buy, as with every fish, it is so important to buy fresh, quality produce from a good source. Crabs should look undamaged and feel heavy for their size. Again this works well with aromatic medium-dry whites such as South African Chenin Blanc or crisp dry whites such as unoaked Chardonnay.

Fresh, delicious, seasonal asparagus

Locally-sourced and seasonal produce is absolutely our aim, with 90 percent or more of our foodstuffs hailing from Britain, and local farmers very much being our main suppliers. Executive Chef Daniel Galmiche has ‘picked’ the star vegetable of the moment- asparagus.


May heralds asparagus season

Late spring is harvest time for asparagus, both green and white – a mere seven or eight week season – and the best is whatever you can buy locally. You can often get hold of it throughout the year, but as ever I like to get seasonal, locally sourced produce, not only because it truly does taste better.

Green asparagus has more of an intense nutty flavour than white varieties and really works well with creamier sauces, such as hollandaise. I like to keep the flavours simple so you can appreciate the freshness and flavour of this wonderful vegetable.

Preparation is key and often it will naturally snap between your fingers at just the right place – to do this, when you cut it, hold a spear from both ends and bend.

When you cook asparagus, remove the bundle from the pan and plunge it into ice cold water. This helps to keep the chlorophyll (and therefore the goodness and colour) locked in.

Depending on how it is prepared, this vegetable is best served with a lovely glass of medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc, such as white Graves when served simply, or white Burgundy when served with Hollandaise sauce. Currently we have a number of asparagus dishes available at The Vineyard.

And…when the asparagus season is over, leeks make a great alternative!

Where would we be without herbs?

Bundle of fresh Kitchen HerbsBy Daniel Galmiche

I cannot remember a day when there were no herbs in my home or my kitchen, and if such an instance we ever to happen, it would purely be by accident. Would I be able to cook without them? Yes, because I love my trade. Would I like it? Probably not.

It’s very hard to explain how essential herbs are to the cooking process or how profoundly they enhance food, whether added to a salad, meat, fish, vegetables or even a dessert. They have such an important place in the kitchen simply because they bring so much taste, so much scent, so much colour to a dish.

Like everyone, I have a few favourite herbs that I often use. One of them is thyme; one of the most versatile and commonly used herbs in the kitchen. It is especially good with meats such as pork, lamb and mutton because it aids the digestion of fats, and it’s also used in stuffing, ragout, and the all-essential bouquet garni- my standard bouquet garni is made up of a sprig of thyme, a sprig of parsley and a bay leaf.

Another herb I like to use is lavender. Many people do not associate lavender with cooking and are surprised to find it in food, but it is a versatile culinary herb. It is great in meat and poultry dishes as well as desserts. We use it in our specialities at The Vineyard. For example, lavender infused in honey and chilli gives a wonderful flavour to fish dishes.

My favourite herb to cook with is rosemary. Whilst it’s difficult to explain why I love it so much, I suspect it is partly because it is so evocative of my childhood, reminding me of when I would cut it freshly from our garden at home to go in whatever dish Maman was preparing that day.

When mixed with other ingredients, rosemary changes character. It is a great herb, but it’s strength can be lethal, and adding too much of it can make a dish taste bitter. Using rosemary carefully is therefore crucial – but when you succeed, you have a heavenly scent.

Growing a variety of herbs in your very own herb garden, whether in your kitchen or on a balcony, a roof terrace or window sill, is a great idea, especially if you cook a lot. Not only does this allow you to control the quality of herbs you use in your cooking, but it also means you regularly get to use fresh herbs whose flavour is completely different from and far superior to the flavour of shop bought dried herbs.

Chef’s Table – a totally unique and exclusive dining experience

DG on the pass with Slow cooked fillet of Scottish beef - 529KBThe Chef’s Table at The Vineyard is fantastic for larger groups as it allows everyone to see behind the scenes in the kitchen throughout lunch or dinner from preparation right through to dessert. So whether you’re looking for an exciting way to end a productive meeting, celebrating a birthday or another special occasion, the Chef’s Table is the perfect way to entertain and indulge in food and wine pairing at it’s best.

With fixed cameras fitted to the most interesting areas of the kitchen, guests will be able to watch the chefs in action on large television screens from the comfort of their own seat.

Vineyard-66A select number of guests will be lucky enough to get an insight into the workings of a hotel kitchen by joining our Executive Head Chef, Daniel Galmiche and his team throughout the dinner to put the finishing touches to each of the dishes before they are served. Kitchen tours for the whole group can also be arranged so that everyone has a chance to see behind the scenes.

Vineyard-69You’ll be treated to a Champagne reception on arrival followed by a seven course tasting menu cooked by Daniel and his team with matching wines for each course chosen by our sommelier team. With over 30,000 bottles in our cellar and 3,000 bins, we have wines to suit every food, mood and palate. Take a peek at our menu that past Chef’s Table parties have enjoyed:

Cream of asparagus velouté, white balsamic gel
Guinea fowl and parsley terrine, orange, chicory, almonds
Lyme Bay monkfish, green and white asparagus, fennel
South Coast turbot, girolles, rocket, chicken jus
Corn fed Tidenham duck breast, spring carrot, wild rice
White chocolate and passion fruit terrine, exotic purée, coconut
English rhubarb savarin, poached in thyme, hazelnut cream

Daniel_Galmiche - photoEach guest will receive a signed menu by Daniel Galmiche at the end of the evening to take home as a souvenir of the unique culinary experience. The price per person is £220 per person based on a minimum of 50 people.

Daniel comments on the Chef’s Table: “I really enjoy meeting the guests and inviting them into my kitchen to see all the amazing seasonal produce we use. Being a sustainable restaurant, we only use produce in season sourced as locally as possible. ”

If you are interested in discovering more about our Chef’s Table experience, please don’t hesitate to give our events team a call on 01635 589407 or email events1@the-vineyard.co.uk

For more details on other food and wine experience we can offer, please visit our website

Recipe: Raspberry Clafoutis

Traditionally, a clafoutis is made with cherries, but the summer brings an abundance of fruit – tender apricots, juicy plums, fat cherries and wild blackberries, all warm from the sun begging to be eaten. However my favourite is raspberry! The sweetness of the berries and the zing of the lime zest send your taste buds twirling!

  • Preparation time 35 minutes
  • Cooking time 25 minutes
  • 250 – 280g/9 – 10 oz/2 – 2 ¼  cups firm raspberries
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 125g/4 ½ oz/ ½ cup caster sugar
  • 50g/2oz butter, half softened and half melted
  • 85g/3oz/ 2/3 cup of plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 300ml/10 ½ fl oz/ 1 ¼ cups full fat milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Put the raspberries, lime zest and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl. Mix gently, then set aside to macerate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 24 x 16 x 6cm/9 ½ x 6 1/4 x 2 ½ in a baking dish or clafoutis dish (an oval earthenware dish) with the softened butter and sprinkle with another 3 tablespoons of sugar. Carefully shake the sugar around the dish to make sure it coats the inside.

Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk and remaining sugar, then slowly add the mixture to the flour and mix until incorporated and smooth. Slowly add the milk, stirring until the batter has the consistency of a crêpe batter, then add the melted butter and mix until combined.

Put the raspberries in the clafoutis dish and mix to release the juices. Pour the batter over the raspberries and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until golden brown and set. A tip of a sharp knife inserted into the centre should come out clean and dry. Remove from the oven and serve.

CHEFS TIP: It is also fun to make this dessert in individual 150l/5fl oz/ 2/3 cup ramekin dishes, just reduce the cooking time to 10-12 minutes.


Daniel Galmiche
Executive Chef at The Vineyard