Our menus are born of conversations had, seeds sown and appetites ignited. With ingredients from our doorstep, neighbours and community members, we are inspired by our environment and are proud to share our flavours when you gather here for a lunch, feast or course.
To make a batch of water kefir you need to have some water kefir grains. These are known as a SCOBY, a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. Water kefir is just one of many names for this culture, that in the restaurant we use to ferment a sugary liquid to which we add lemon and a little dried fruit to bring a fruity flavour to the finished sparkling drink.
The term grains is purely to do with the appearance; there are no actual grains used in the process. It is also important to remember that milk kefir and water kefir grains are not the same. Their appearance is similar, but for this recipe we require water kefir grains.
Making your own water kefir is a fun and simple process. As with all preserving and fermenting, it is beneficial to collect all your equipment and ingredients before starting and important that your fermenting vessel and other equipment has been cleaned well.
Caring for your grains requires a little work; if keeping them in a jar in the fridge it is good to add a teaspoon of sugar every three days to keep them ticking over. If they are happy, then they will multiply so share them with friends and family. Having a weekly rhythm is useful when making kefir; we make it twice a week for the restaurant, meaning we have a super sparkly drink with a slightly sour tang, like a lemonade with more funk. The finished kefir will store for about a week in the fridge with the flavour becoming more sour each day.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Naomi Devlin for sending us our starter grains. The recipe we use in the restaurant is an adaptation from her wonderful book, Food for a Happy Gut, a super guide for healthy gastronomy and a constant source of inspiration. Naomi recommends for newcomers to kefir to indulge in small glass or 2 each day then slowly increase the quantity you drink over a week as the probiotic can cause a little bloating for some people and has a cleansing action on the liver for others. People with no digestive issues can probably consume as much as they like.
1L warm, unchlorinated water (our tap water on the farm is fine, but you can use filtered water if you are concerned about your own; heavily chlorinated water kills off the grains)
2 tbsp water kefir grains
3 tbsp organic cane sugar
a slice of organic, unwaxed lemon
2 unsulphured apricots (alternative dried fruit can be used resulting in different final flavours)
1.5L fermentation crock or glass jar with lid or cheese cloth
1 whisk or wooden spoon
2x 750mL or equivalent swing top glass bottles
1 measuring jug
1 funnel (for bottling)
1 small sieve
1 jam jar for storing grains
Begin by cleaning your equipment. This can be done by simply washing everything in hot soapy water and rinsing well. Then fill and boil the kettle and slosh the boiling water over all the equipment. Allow everything to cool to room temperature and then get started immediately.
Once the equipment is ready, pour the warm water into the fermenting vessel, add the sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the kefir grains, dried fruit and lemon slice and gently mix for a few seconds. Place the lid on loosely, or secure the cheese cloth with an elastic band. This ferment is not reliant on oxygen, but it will begin to produce gas, so it’s good to allow some kind of release. We only cover ours to prevent foreign bodies climbing inside and floating amongst the grains.
Leave the jar to ferment at room temperature for up to 48 hours. The longer the ferment the more sour it becomes. We find that 24 hours fermentation before bottling is perfect for us. The trick is to have a little taste along the way. The drink won’t yet feel carbonated, but you can decide on the acidity you prefer.
Once you are happy with the flavour, it’s time to bottle. Using a clean spoon, fish out the now rehydrated fruit and the lemon. Carefully pour the grains and liquid through a sieve and into a clean measuring jug. The grains can now be stored in your jar, making sure they are covered with water and fed every two or three days with a teaspoon of sugar. Leaving the grains in the same solution without the addition of sugar will eventually kill them, so look after them and keep making fresh batches of kefir.
Carefully pour your kefir into your clean bottles using the funnel. Seal the bottles with the swing tops and leave at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Check the fizz by opening a bottle every few hours. Don’t leave too long at room temperature otherwise the bottles may explode; I am know this from personal experience!
The kefir can be enjoyed as it is or mixed, as we do with a little homemade fruit or herbal cordial. Enjoy!
SQUASH & RAISIN BRIOCHE
The perfect loaf for autumn, warm, soft and comforting. This also makes excellent bread and butter pudding filler.
280g strong white flour
1 tbsp active sourdough starter (optional)
20g egg yolk
35g whole egg
160g squash, peeled, chopped, baked , mashed and cooled
5g instant yeast
water, as needed
40g brown sugar
75g unsalted, cubed and softened butter
Place the flour, eggs, yolks, milk, squash, spices, yeast and salt in a metal bowl or stand mixer. Mix well for a few minutes, the dough should be stiff but come together. If it seems too dry, then add a little water to form the dough. If working by hand, tip the dough onto your work bench.
Slowly mix in the sugar, bit by bit. Knead for a few minutes till well incorporated and the gluten begins to work. The dough will become more elastic and springy. Add the soft butter and mix in until the dough is soft and silky, with a good spring. Add the raisins and combine with the dough.
Transfer the dough back into your greased mixing bowl. Allow it to double in size; this will take around 1 hour at room temperature. Alternatively, place in the fridge overnight (8-12 hours), this will make a better dough, as more flavour develops and the gluten strengthens.
When the dough is ready, tip back onto the work bench and shape as desired. Place into tins or onto greaseproof paper. Brush the dough lightly with egg wash made from remaining egg, a little milk and a pinch of salt. Allow to prove for a further 45 minutes or so.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC . Brush your dough once more with the egg wash and bake in the oven for 20-40 minutes depending on loaf style. Allow to cool slightly before eating.
WILD GARLIC CAPERS
Trill’s wild garlic grows deep in the forest, close to the river and when it awakens in spring it transforms the forest floor to green and fills the air with its pungent aroma.
The leaves make wonderful pestos, butters and are a great addition as a dressing for a wild spring salad of dandelion leaves, pennywort and ground elder. The roots are also edible, scrubbed, poached in milk and warmed in good butter. Once the leaves are fully grown, the plant goes to flower and after the flower comes my favourite part, the seeds.
To pick the seeds wait until the petals begin to fall, this is when they are full off flavour and packed full of juice. I love to gently sauté these little flavour bombs in butter and serve them with squid, lemon and a pinch of cayenne. This recipe allows us to preserve them for later in the year. It also means that we can add to the larder of native ingredients. They’re salty, sour & delicious!
After collecting the seed heads, simply snip of the small seeds; don’t worry if there’s a little stalk left on the seeds, it’s all edible. Firstly, in a non-metallic container generously sprinkle the seeds with sea salt, cover the container and place in the fridge. Leave the seeds for two weeks to cure. After two weeks, empty the seeds into a sieve. The salt will be wet but can be reused. Wash the salty seeds under the cold tap. Allow to drip dry for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, make your pickling liquid.
For 200g of seeds you will need roughly 250ml pickling liquid
200ml cider vinegar
100g sugar of your choice
1 bay leaf (optional)
A pinch of black pepper
1 sprig rosemary (optional)
Boil all the ingredients together. Add the wild garlic seeds and return to the boil, then quickly pour into sterilised jars and seal immediately.
Store in a cool place for one month before using. They will last for one year.
THE SPRING FLAVOURS OF TRILL FARM
A fresh dish of nettle gnocchi, labneh, herbs and foraged foliage, championing the first shoots and vibrant greenery of early April at the Farm.
For the wild garlic Labneh
300mL full fat yoghurt
10 large wild garlic leaves
½ tbsp salt
Mix the yoghurt and salt together and leave to strain through a muslin cloth overnight.
Finely chop the wild garlic and combine with labneh; season with a little fresh black pepper.
For the nettle purée
12 large handfuls of nettle tips (top 4 to 6 leaves, washed well in cold water)
5L boiling water
Salt the water and bring to the boil. Blanch the nettles for 2 minutes, remove from the boiling water and refresh in icy cold water. Drain the nettles and squeeze out the excess water. Blitz in a food processor to create a smooth purée.
For the gnocchi
1kg Russet potatoes
3 egg yolks
250g plain flour + extra for dusting
150mL nettle purée
150g hard goats cheese (grated)
salt & black pepper
150mL olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
Wash the potatoes well and prick all over with a fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 180ºc until soft inside; about 45 minutes depending on size.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Half the potatoes when they're just cool enough to handle. Scoop out the soft inside, and squeeze through a potato ricer or mouli. Mash the riced potatoes and add the cheese, nettle purée, and a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix to combine.
Add the egg yolks and half the flour and tip onto the work surface. Knead the dough, adding more flour if the mixture is too gluey. You are looking to create and workable dough that isn’t too sticky. Check the seasoning. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
Roll out your dough into long sausages about 1.5cm in diameter. Cut the dumpling into 2cm long pieces and roll them against the front of a fork to create ridges.
Cook the dumplings in batches in the boiling water, stirring very gently to prevent them sticking together. When they begin to float, cook for a further 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and dress with the olive oil and lemon zest.
For the garnish
A selection of edible shoots and flowers, freshly picked from the garden
Plate the labneh and dumplings first, then garnish with the shoots and flowers and serve immediately.
1kg unwaxed lemons
300g sea salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 bay leaves (sliced into strips)
1 tsp coriander seeds
To fill a 1L Kilner jar.
Firstly, make the cure. In a pestle and mortar coarsely crush the peppercorns and coriander, then combine in a bowl with the salt and bay leaves. Mix well.
Slice the lemons in half lengthways and again into quarters, and squeeze to remove juice - the juice can be used for something else or added to the preserve. Add the used rinds to the cure mixture. Combine well, making sure to rub the salt into all the little nooks and crannies.
Sterilise your jar then scatter a little of the cure in first. Pack the lemons in alternating layers with the cure until the jar is completely full and each lemon piece is surrounded by the salt and spices. The lemons should be completely covered so add a little more salt, if needs be.
Seal the jar and keep in a dark room for at least one month before use.
At the ODK, we use the preserved lemons in a multitude of ways, but our favourite is making our Lemon Tasty Paste, combining puréed preserved lemon with rosemary, raw garlic, fresh lemon juice and olive oil. We turn this into dressings for winter cabbages, replace parmesan in our dairy-free pestos or rub onto chickens before roasting. Yum!
CHARRED CABBAGE WITH FRIED BROWN RICE & SAUERKRAUT
2 large pointed cabbages
1 tbsp fennel seeds
150mL dry white wine
100mL unsweetened apple juice
50mL olive oil
20g unsalted butter
1 lemon (cut in half)
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
3 tbsp red cabbage sauerkraut
400g cooked rice
Begin by splitting the cabbage into quarters lengthwise. Salt the cabbage well and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile heat a quarter of the olive oil and butter in a frying pan until the butter begins to foam, add the sauerkraut and fry for five minutes or so. Add the rice and reduce the heat to low. Stir the rice every few minutes with a wooden spoon until it becomes crisp. This mixture should be crunchy and savoury.
Heat another frying pan until hot, add the cabbages and char on the two cut sides. Do the same to the lemon. Add the fennel seeds and toast briefly, then add the white wine and apple juice. Reduce the liquid until it becomes syrupy and add the remaining olive oil. Turn down the heat and place a lid on the pan; cook gently until the cabbage is tender. This will take around ten minutes. When the cabbage is soft, squeeze the juice from the lemon and remove from the pan. Add the yoghurt and combine.
late the cabbage and spoon over the crispy brown rice.
RUNNER BEAN PICKLE
1.8kg runner beans (weighed after trimming and slicing into thin strips lengthwise)
1.4kg onions (peeled and finely chopped)
1.6L cider vinegar
3 heaped tbsp. toasted mustard seeds
2 tbsp turmeric
1kg demerara sugar
To begin, put the chopped onions into a preserving pan or large casserole or saucepan with 275mL of the vinegar. Bring them up to simmering point and let them simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the onions are soft.
Meanwhile, cook the sliced beans in boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then strain them in a colander. Add them to the onions once you've shaken off all the water.
Combine the cornflour, mustard and turmeric in a small bowl with a little of the remaining vinegar – enough to make a smooth paste – then add this paste to the onion mixture.
Pour in the rest of the vinegar and simmer together for 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar and molasses (keep stirring until they dissolve) and continue to simmer for a further 15 minutes.
Pot the pickle in warmed, sterilised jars, and seal and label when cold. Keep for at least a month before eating.
AROMATIC PHEASANT BAKED IN HAY
1 1.5kg whole pheasant
4 garlic cloves
1 star anise
300mL dry cider
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 big handfuls of organic hay
100g unsalted butter
40mL rapeseed oil
300mL chicken stock
1 sheet of muslin cloth (large enough to completely wrap the bird in)
This is a wonderfully autumnal and rather fun way to cook pheasant. Natural, aromatic hay both helps hold in the moisture of the lean meat and creates a delicious sauce with a true flavour of the farm’s colourful meadows. This recipe serves 4.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6.
lace the pheasant on top of the muslin. Rub a little rapeseed all over the bird and season well inside and out with salt and pepper. Lightly crush the garlic cloves and place inside the carcass, along with the star anise. Wrap the pheasant tightly in the cloth.
To bake, you will need a heavy based ovenproof pot with a lid. With the hay, create a nest in the pot in which to roast the bird. Nestle in the wrapped pheasant and make sure to cover the top with plenty more hay. Pour the cider around the sides and place the lid on the pan. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes; this will vary depending on the weight of the meat. Check by probing a knife through the cloth and into the thigh of the bird. The juices should run clear. Once cooked, remove the post from the over and allow the bird to rest with the lid on, out of the oven in the juices for 30 minutes.
Once rested, remove the pheasant from the cloth. You now want to colour the skin. Add a touch of oil and the butter to a frying pan large enough to accommodate the whole pheasant and allow to melt until the butter begins to foam. Place the pheasant breast side down in the pan and gently colour all over by twisting and turning the bird to ensure even browning.
Meanwhile, strain the juices from the pot through a fine sieve into a saucepan and add the chicken stock. Place on heat and reduce until you have made a lovely, rich and delicious sauce.
Carve the pheasant and serve with the sauce.
This works well with many garnishes, roasted pumpkin and chestnuts for an autumn supper or a little damson and beetroot slaw at lunch.
RED CABBAGE AND CARAWAY SAUERKRAUT
3kg red cabbage, shredded
20 juniper berries, ground with a pestle and mortar
2 tsp caraway seeds, ground with a pestle and mortar
300g apples, cored and sliced
55g sea salt
This recipe will make two litres of kraut.
Sterilise a two-litre Kilner Jar: wash the jar in soapy water and dry it. Pour boiling water into the jar, empty it and place on a baking-tray in a cold oven and bring the temperature up to 140°C/gas mark 1, until it’s completely dry. Alternatively, run the jar through on the hottest cycle of your dishwasher.
Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a rolling-pin or your hands, smash the cabbage with the other ingredients so it releases some of its natural juices. The salt helps this process, as it naturally draws out moisture.
When the mixture in the bowl is covered with a small amount of liquid it is ready to be spooned into the sterilised jar.
Fill the jar, leaving a 3cm gap at the top. Use a plastic spatula to clean around the top of the jar. I like to fold up a small piece of cling film and place on the top of the ferment, then put a weight on top of this, ensuring that the mixture is submerged under the liquid. Leave at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and taste every few days until you are happy with the sourness, this will probably take about 10 days. When checking the mixture, use a clean spoon to taste.
After opening, store in the refrigerator with the lid on.