April 7, 2016
Despite the thunder and lightning recently and the occasional heavy showers of rain, the markets tell us that the green shoots of spring are springing!
Catch the new season peas, purple artichoke and fava beans from Italy and Spain and partner them with the (admittedly slightly expensive still) fine asparagus stalks from Norfolk.
The Egyptian pink garlic has arrived and we are roasting the sweet and tiny cloves un-peeled to serve with grilled veal, lamb and venison dishes. Jersey Royals have started as well – tasting of the earth and the seaweed that traditionally cover the fields.
Good supplies of blood oranges from Sicily, leafy lemons and oranges from the Amalfi coast are constant reminders that this is springtime, and that incorporating citrus into our menus is not only healthy but also brings a freshness and acidity to our palettes.
Many of our shop customers continue to give us really positive feedback regarding our ‘takeaway’ dishes, saying that they are not only convenient for those who have little time to create their own dishes at home, but also that they are nutritious and, of course delicious.
There are some dishes however which can easily be ‘enhanced’ when you get home. For example our most popular salads, the Black Rice with pomegranate or Red Rice with fennel could be made to look ‘your own’ by simply the addition of some salad leaves and a few shavings of fresh goat cheese.
Use a shallow serving plate, toss a selection of salad leaves together with sea salt, pepper and olive oil, arrange them flat on the dish, scatter the black rice over and around the leaves, then slice the fresh Perroche goat cheese and arrange over the top. This could be served as a light supper or lunch dish or after a bowl of¬† Clarke’s spinach or carrot soup. For a more robust meal, serve it as an accompaniment to our cold roasted chicken or our thinly sliced San Daniele ham.
Have you tried the Frank Hedermann ‘hot’ smoked salmon? He is based in County Cork, Ireland and I have been to his smokery and tasted his smoked mackerel too, with his family. A bunch of asparagus, washed, peeled and boiled for a few seconds in salted water will partner this salmon perfectly. Simply toss the cooked spears in olive oil, salt and pepper and divide between your plates, carefully flake the salmon over, then drizzle a little Neal’s Yard Dairy creme fraiche over and around. Serve simply with lemon wedges and slices of honey-wholewheat bread, spread with good unsalted butter. As a more filling meal, or perhaps for a weekend Brunch, poach a Fenton Farm, Somerset free range egg or 2 for 3 minutes and serve atop the salmon. YUM!
For those who need warming, easy-to-heat-and-serve suppers or lunches, there are always our daily-changing selection of dishes to choose from: Braised beef with red wine and mushrooms is always popular, or the classic Duck, slow cooked with orange and herbs. Chicken cooked with apricots, chickpeas and spices or Macaroni cheese with pancetta.
Fishcakes are made twice a week, and are a quick and simple dish to cook and serve at home – as are the Mushroom, spinach and cheese pithivier – (puff pastry packages ready to pop into the oven).¬†¬† For another vegetarian option, choose the Baked goat cheese with salad of blood oranges.¬† Of course, the Production kitchen create delicious roasted vegetables and potatoes cooked in a variety of ways to accompany any of these dishes – so just ask!
Freshly made soups are always available and most may be simply warmed gently in a pan and served with a scoop of creme fraiche or a sprinkling of gougeres (find them in the soup counter) or with a slice of crusty baguette. The ‘chunky’ soups such as minestrone, often with spelt or orzo pasta within, hardly need any embellishment – unless you wish to make them into a ‘main meal’, when perhaps some strips of our roasted corn fed chicken could be added along with some leaves of baby spinach or shredded kale as you heat it up.
As many of you know we have recently reintroduced our fabulous Chicken Liver Pate – now presented in a screw top jar. This is the perfect item to have in the fridge to use either as a spread on toasts as canapes, or scooped at the table with large chunks of toasted baguette for a light lunch or supper. Either way, it makes a welcome return to our shelves.
The eagerly awaited news from the Dalemain Marmalade judges has thrilled us AGAIN this year!!¬† Our famous Seville Orange Marmalade has gained a fabulous Bronze Medal¬† – Look out for it on our shelves – we made hundreds of jars this year so there is ample to go around!
Look out also for the NEW POSTCODE HONEY – labelled SW7, SW14 and E5 – made by London bee enthusiasts Chris Barnes and Paul Webb. We heard about them from one of our customers who lives in South Kensington. She has bee hives on her roof looked after by Barnes and Webb and recommended them to us.
The new bottles of Clarke’s Tuscan olive oil are now in – every kitchen needs one!
For those of you who are enthusiastic bakers or pastry chefs, remember that we sell our all butter puff pastry ( frozen, ready to use) and also fresh baker’s yeast – ready for any number of bread recipes – so just ask!
Our Wholesale Bakery goes from strength to strength also – producing record levels of breads, brioche buns, cakes, brownies and chocolate truffles for our Wholesale customers throughout London.¬† Remember that there are a few other shops in central London who sell our baked goods – so even if you are not in Kensington, please try Jeraboams, Bayley and Sage, Delicorner, la Fromagerie, Verde and Co, and for our truffles, try Monmouth Coffee Company!
HUGE NEWS …..
…….. ‘at last’, ‘finally’ and ‘why did it take you so long??’ !!! Our newly created web site sallyclarke.com has gone through its final final tweaks and is now ready and waiting for you all to see, admire and gain from.¬† So thank you all for your patience – it has taken a while!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† May we all wish you all a delicious continuation of Spring!