Journal

Spring: In the Kitchen

4 May, 2022

Spring Ingredients Courgettes

Whatever the season, we believe that delicious produce with provenance is one of life’s true pleasures, and that it should always endeavor to be a source of delight and comfort, made to be shared and enjoyed.

Our philosophy when it comes to curating the ingredients that make their way onto our menus is a simple one; eat food that is fresh, seasonal, and – where possible – locally sourced. Always free of chemicals, we make fruit and vegetables the heroes of our kitchens, alongside ethically sourced meat and fish. With causing as little waste as possible at the centre of our ethos, our ingredients should enrich the environment that surrounds them, which is why our menus – regardless of the month of the year – are based upon showing in practice how beautiful, exciting, and simple eating well can really be.

Our Spring Produce

Spring brings with it an impressive array of seasonal ingredients; simple, sustainably-grown produce that captures a careful balance of versatility and flavour, always of the highest quality. From the very start of the season, the colours of our plates reflect the changes found outdoors, each individually inspired by nature.

“Towards the middle of spring, we meet the Cuore del Vesuvio tomato and San Marzano variety, both from Italy. The former is a deep red, round and large tomato, full of flavour and best to be eaten raw, while the second has an elongated shape, tender texture, and mild acidity, perfect to make passata.”

Ambra Papa, Head Chef at Petersham Nurseries Café

Spring sees the introduction of Italian peas and broad beans, as the English season starts a little later, known to be delicious and flavourful when young, with a delicate consistency and ideal for bringing colour to otherwise simple dishes. A staple on our Spring menu, our team is known to pod kilos and kilos of them per day! Celebrated alongside them is borage, with its flowers used throughout our menu on dishes including fish carpaccio, admired for its fresh cucumber taste, while its leaves are great to be deep-fried or chopped and mixed into a spring minestrone.

Spring dining at our Restaurants

From the compelling ambience that blooms within our first greenhouse restaurant in Richmond to the vibrant Italian flavours that grace the tables at La Goccia and  The Petersham; every signature Petersham Nurseries dish has one thing shared; seasonality. With an array of locally-farmed and sustainably sourced ingredients to be celebrated across our locations this spring, each menu will never compromise the quality and ethics behind the produce that forms it.

The Petersham

Spend spring at The Petersham, with seasonal dishes such as Asparagus Risotto and Strawberry and Rhubarb Pavlova adorning the menu. You will find specialty fish dishes, featuring the best in season from the British coastline, including Crab and Agretti and Seared Cod with Mussels, accompanied by a Pea and Broad Bean Guazzetto.

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La Goccia

A seasonal menu filled with Italian influence, springtime at La Goccia is awash with dishes to be adored. Indulge in an encyclopaedia of culinary delight with our signature Tagliolini with Peas, or Burrata with Courgettes, featuring locally sourced and sustainably grown produce.

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Petersham Nurseries Café

There is no better place to enjoy the evolution of spring than within our greenhouse restaurant at Petersham Nurseries, Richmond. With a menu supplemented by seasonal ingredients grown on-site, try our Lamb Rump with Crispy Sweetbread, Broad Beans, Courgette and Margherita Onion, to sample some for yourself.

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Sourcing Spring Produce

When it comes to sourcing produce for our restaurants, ethical farming is always front of mind, which is why we only ever work with suppliers that share our ethos for sustainably produced, nutritionally rich food. Everything starts with produce, which is why we choose to lead by example through careful sourcing and simply being more aware of the effects our actions have on the Earth. For us, caring for our food means growing it organically, and ensuring that our partnered suppliers share the same slow food ethos. Where and when possible, we always buy British first. From the Marine Stewardship Council-certified fisherman who obtains our sustainable catch to the foragers we work with in scouring the riverbanks and hedgerows of the English countryside. For specialty ingredients, our chefs are in constant collaboration with our suppliers, establishing when their produce is at its peak each moment of the season to build out our changing menus.

Ethical farming at Haye Farm and our partnered supplier

Our very own farm, Haye Farm, is an organic, high-welfare mixed farm in East Devon, based on the principles of regenerative, holistic farming that continues to nurture the entire ecosystem from the soil up, with a focus on building biodiversity and encouraging natural processes. Throughout Spring, Haye Farm supplies some of our mainstay ingredients, including British organic lamb and eggs farmed to Soil Association standards. We believe that farming methods that are derived from a place of considered, sustainable actions make for a better overall experience for everyone; the highest standards of animal welfare, the very best produce, and - imperatively - less waste and damage to the environment, from mindful use of plastic to zero toxic chemical fertilisers. In short - our approach to farming sparks from a love for being connected to life.

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Our Spring Recipes

Each and every recipe dreamt up by our culinary team is designed with seasonality in mind, only using responsibly sourced ingredients at their peak, to promise the best in flavour, provenance, and conscience. Spring allows our chefs to explore a diverse selection of sustainable produce, found both here in Britain and farmed by like-minded suppliers across Italy and wider Europe, to create only the finest, high-quality experiences in our restaurants.

Recipe: Wild Garlic Pesto

Ingredients:
- 80g Pine Nuts
- 60 g Basil, finely chopped
- 60g Wild Garlic, finely chopped
- 150ml Olive Oil
- Juice of half a Lemon
- 80g Parmesan, grated
- Pinch of Sea Salt

Method:

- Add the chopped Wild Garlic, Basil and Pine nuts into the mortar and grind with a pestle.
- Add half of the olive oil, mixing together until combined. Add in the Parmesan and the rest of the Olive Oil until combined, followed by the lemon juice.
- Mix with a spoon until the pesto has a smooth texture, then season with Sea Salt to taste.

Recipe: Artichokes alla Romana with basil and mint

Ingredients:
- 12 small or 6 large Artichokes, Juice of 2 Lemons, 50ml Olive Oil, 100ml Water or White Wine

For the stuffing:
- 40ml Olive Oil, 1 Onion, finely chopped, 1 clove Garlic, finely chopped, 100g fresh Sourdough Breadcrumbs, 20g Parmesan, grated, 8 Basil Leaves torn, 8 Mint Leaves torn, Salt and black pepper

To garnish:
- 20 small Basil Leaves, 10 small Mint Leaves, Oilve Oil (we like to use Zisola)

Method:
- Begin by preparing the stuffing. Warm the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the Onions and Garlic over medium-low heat until completely soft. This should take about 15 minutes. Then add in the Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, Herbs, Salt and Pepper, mix thoroughly and cook for a further 2 minutes. Check the seasoning and set to one side.

- Prepare the Artichokes by removing the outer leaves until you see the tender pale leaves underneath. Slice off the top of the artichoke using a serrated knife and then use a small spoon to scoop out the hairy choke, being careful not to damage the heart. Use a paring knife to trim and peel the stalk and the base of the Artichoke. Leave to one side in a bowl filled with cold water and the lemon juice while you prepare the others.

- Stuff the Artichoke hearts with the filling, making sure they are completely filled. Heat a pan wide and deep enough to hold the artichokes. Once hot, add the olive oil, then the artichokes, flat side down, stems vertical. Cook until the heads have taken on the deep golden colour, about 5 minutes. Then add the water or wine, cover and cook until tender, which should tale about 15 minutes (a little longer for larger artichokes).

- To serve, drizzle with more Olive Oil and sprinkle with the basil and mint leaves.

Signature Spring Cocktails

Nothing sets the mood at a spring gathering quite like a fresh and seasonal cocktail, using the best home-grown produce at its peak. At Petersham Nurseries, our signature cocktails are just that; evocative of the season, featuring fruits and garnishes grown sustainably, to bring a touch of nature to any occasion.

The Petersham Negroni

An aperitif steeped in Italian heritage, the Negroni is synonymous with balmy spring days and good times with friends. Believed to have been first mixed in Florence in 1919 at the iconic Caffè Casoni, signature Negronis have come a little way since then; now able to be found in sweeter, lighter, sour, or even floral adaptations. Our Negroni Menu is inspired by both English and Italian ingredients, combined to create a drinks list that takes you on a journey. From the Petersham Vintage Negroni - made with Elephant gin, Campari and our Petersham vermouth blend - to the Negroni Mediterano - a blend of Gin Mare, Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto, Chartreuse green and Bitter Truth olives bitters - there is simply something for every taste.

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