Straight from the garden with Ben Abercrombie

Ben Abercrombie is Head Chef at The Newt in Somerset, a magnificent country estate renowned for delicious dishes harvested from its bountiful gardens. Here he helps maintain the establishment’s reputation for freshly foraged food. “My menus are really dictated by our gardeners,” he explains. “What they plant and harvest, we use in exciting and unconventional ways. Each plate has its own identity, just like the ingredients themselves.”

Here are two of Ben’s recipes, each one ideal for when you down tools this Garden Day, Sunday the 10th of May:

Raw house salad – shaved fennel, buffalo curd and walnuts with a wild garlic green sauce

Grow garlic in your garden so you can forage for wild leaves in late spring or early summer. This wonderful plant can be harvested and pickled to liven up a stew or add a kick to pasta sauces. You can also freeze garlic to enjoy in the winter months.

Serves 4 as a main or 6 lighter bites


Ingredients

Green Sauce

  • 200g wild garlic leaves
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 300g ricotta or grated buffalo cheese
  • 50g toasted pine nuts

Salad

  • 1 head of fennel, shaved thinly
  • 180g goat’s curd or crème fraîche
  • Handful of fresh mint chopped roughly
  • 150g walnuts, halved, toasted and crushed
  • 150g fresh garden peas
  • Handful of pea shoots
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 20g grated hard goat’s cheese 

 

Method

  1. Wash wild garlic leaves and dry well with kitchen towel
  2. In a food processor, add all green sauce ingredients and blitz to a rough sauce, seasoning well
  3. In a large bowl, shave the fennel and add cold water, then soak for 20 minutes
  4. Drain water and add peas, lemon, mint, walnuts and green sauce to the fennel
  5. Layer on pea shoots, a dash of green sauce and the goat’s curd / crème fraîche
  6. Finish with goats curd, pea shoots and grated goats’ cheese
Raw tomatoes, blood orange, red chicory and smoked trout salad

Zingy, tangy and full of life, this fresh recipe is everything a salad should be…and more.

Serves 4 as a main or 6 lighter bites

 Ingredients

  • 12 large, fresh heritage tomatoes at room temperature 
  • 4 blood oranges, 2 segmented and 2 juiced
  • 2 heads of red chicory
  • 1 bunch of tarragon, finely chopped
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 50ml sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of toasted caraway seeds
  • 50g honey
  • 4 fillets smoked trout 

 

Method

  1. Quarter tomatoes, season and leave to one side in a large bowl
  2. Add orange segments
  3. In a smaller bowl, add sherry vinegar, caraway seeds, orange juice, honey and olive oil
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes
  5. Add tarragon and red chicory
  6. Lay on a large flat plate and flake trout through the salad

 

These recipes are just the starting point for your Garden Day menu and you can download both of them here. The exciting part is embellishing them with fresh ingredients straight from your own garden. Want some advice on how to do this? Download Candide, a garden community app, where you’ll find lots of information, as well as an extensive knowledge base of plants, plant identification, growing tips and recipe ideas. 

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