CORN ON CORN

This is a dish from our Sweetness of Summer Feast. It’s really the perfect segue from cucumbers to squash; the fresh, crisp early crops and the sweeter, denser flavours that come later on. I think the corn harvest is bittersweet - it is one of the highlights of the summer, but also marks a shift in the late season.

Serves 4 people

Polenta
200g course polenta
750mL corn stock (see below) or water
250mL full fat milk
100g unsalted butter, cubed
100g strong Cornish Gouda cheese, grated
Salt and black pepper

Corn
3 corn on the cob
100g unsalted butter, soft
6 large sprigs of rosemary, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
120mL corn stock (see below)
¼ lemon, juiced

Begin by making your corn stock. Remove the kernels from the cob and keep for later.

Roughly chop the cobs themselves and place in a pot. Cover with at least 1 litre cold water and a pinch of salt, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 40 minutes then strain and keep the water.
Compost the used cobs.

Now onto the rosemary butter. Combine the minced garlic, rosemary and soft butter, and mix well. Set to one side.

Begin making the polenta; to a heavy based pan, add 750mL corn stock, the milk, a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the polenta in a long stream, whisking continuously.
Turn down the heat and cook as per the packet instructions, usually around 30 minutes. You will need to stir it every few minutes to prevent sticking. Taste the polenta - it should be smooth. Add a little more corn stock until a thick porridge consistency is achieved.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated cheese and the cubed butter. Cover to
keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan until hot and then add the corn kernels. Toast them in the pan until they are lightly charred. You will need to toss them and do a little bit of scraping to prevent
them burning too much; use a wooden spoon for this. Once they are ready, add 120mL corn stock and toss in the pan. Add the herb butter and toss together so the corn starch, stock
and herb butter emulsify to create a delicious creamy sauce. Correct the seasoning with salt,
pepper and a little lemon juice.

To serve, plate the wet polenta first then spoon over the creamy, toasted corn. Enjoy!

PICKLED CARROTS WITH TARRAGON

Our favourite way to capture the sweetness of baby carrots to use all year round.

500g baby carrots
300mL dry cider
200g cider vinegar
50g caster sugar
50g honey
1 star anise
Black peppercorns
Salt
Fresh tarragon

A pickling liquid is something that must be tasted; the spices can change to one’s preference.

Put all ingredients except the carrots and tarragon into a pot and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, peel the sweet, new season baby carrots and split into quarters, lengthways.

Sample the pickling liquid and adjust the spice and seasoning to suit your taste. Add the carrots and simmer for two minutes or so before adding the tarragon. Put into hot, sterilised jars. Store in a cool place.

Serve as a nibble or add sweetness and crunch to salads.

WATER KEFIR

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.

Ingredients
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)

Equipment
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
10mL milk
160g squash, peeled, chopped, baked , mashed and cooled
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch ginger
5g instant yeast
5g salt
water, as needed
40g brown sugar
15g raisins
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
black pepper
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
30g salt

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.