Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Well, once again, I come to my blog tardily. It's not that I am not at The Bay Tree as much as usual, or that I am not trying new recipes and food combinations, or that Jonny (chef) and I havn't been working on the new evening menu. No, all these things are as normal. However, my greenhouse, outside my greenhouse and my car are all overflowing with seedlings, many of which I now need to get into the ground or pots. I hardly know where to start, and I can't decide which would look best where. And then there is the  large amount of soil preparation also needed ....Sundays are spent pulling out ground elder and dividing yet more plants (plus mixing and making compost with all the peelings from The Bay Tree)
There seems to be so much to do....aaaaagh, I'm in a frustrating paralysis. The garden is at a very demanding stage of the year, and were you to see it, you wouldn't think I cared about it at all, so messy is it. Tidiness doesn't come naturally to me, and this applies to the kitchen too.. I feel I can achieve more by just blasting on and getting everything done, but now that I share the kitchen with other chefs.....well, lets just say they disagree. I'm self taught, and didn't learn in the tyrannical regime of a hierarchical kitchen. So, you are reading the blog of an old dog learning new tricks. This is good for me, but is still work in progress.There is one small corner of the kitchen that now actually offends me when its messy, so I can honestly say I keep that half a square metre very nicely, but I need to start having those feelings about the whole kitchen at work, and at home, and in both my gardens.
The reason for all the seedlings is ofcourse the wedding, and this is why its a bit important that they should be put in the right place, although William did point out that no one is going to leave the wedding saying 'nice wedding, shame about the plants'. I'm looking forward to 2 days in the garden at Easter, and hopefully that will make me feel I'm more on track.
I must just finally report....that Simnel cakes have been made (ref my last blog). We even made some cup cake sized ones, which look great, but couldn't carry the required 11 marzipan balls. We will try Lorraine Pascale's Rum and Pear Simnel cake from the Observer Food Monthly magazine next...sounds great.

This is a photo of Jonny the chef, chopping scallions, and in the background you can see the very precious soup whizzer.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Mother's Day and Easter

It's a month since I last wrote in my blog....I let the momentum go, and I've misplaced my camera. However The Bay Tree and I are both well. I have been using Camelias from William and Tanya's garden for the tables for the last week or so, and although they don't last very long (3 days max), they do look great at first. I used them on Mother's day first of all.
 We offered a nice lunch menu for Mother's day, and had a lot of bookings, even turned a few people away, but were then a bit disappointed when some of the bookings were expecting breakfast, not lunch. Communication and organisation problems. We'll do better next year!
My cup cakes are slowly improving. I have learnt a new little trick with an apple corer. That is to remove the centre with the corer, and insert some lemon curd or fruit or some other tasty stuff, put the little tuft back and then pipe icing over the now uneven top. It works brilliantly. I am becoming more assertive with the piping bag. Cup cakes apart, I am going to make a Simnel cake in the next few days, with its eleven balls of marzipan on top, representing the eleven apostles who went to heaven. I wonder if it will sell. Maybe it's not naughty enough. If I had to choose between Pecan pie and Simnel cake, I would definately go for Pecan pie.