Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Midsummer night's dream dinner

Home made Elderflower champagne in swing top bottles

Marigold bread, with sunflower seeds, marigold petals and sesame seeds

Elderflowers from my garden (pic by @SiennaMarla)

Bottling ginger beer (pic by @siennamarla)

Beautifully fresh courgette flowers, fried tempura style with goat's cheese

morel custards

Served in boxes

Stuffed tulips, an adaptation from a recipe from Cuisinier Gascon one of my favourite cookbooks

Stuffed with broad beans, peas, tapioca, feta and rose vinegar

Stuffed tulips with pea coulis and wild mushrooms


Sticks: salsify

Salsify nests

So hard to get good pictures when you are trying to get out meals for 31 guests: vine leaf wrapped salmon with salsify nest.

Proofing poppy seed dough

I found rolling out the dough with a chapatti rolling pin made it thinner

I love the marbled paper look of this dough

The delicate bowls

Saffron salad bowls with pissenlit, rocket, winter purslane, summer purslane, broad bean flowers, pea flowers

Rhubarb syrup

Flowers for the ice bowl

Violets from my garden

Making violet icecream in my Kitchenaid icecream mixer

Flavours: Fraises des bois and creme fraiche, violet icecream, mint icecream
in a rose ice bowl with crystallised rose and violet petals

Fraises des bois soaking in kirsch

The Menu

Hibiscus flower cocktail

Marigold bread dusted with sesame seeds

Courgette flowers stuffed with goat's cheese, in tempura batter, drizzled with Kilburn honey
Elderflower fritters

Morel custards with enoki mushroom, micro herbs and vanilla salt

Stuffed tulip with pea coulis

Saffron and poppy seed salad bowls with a selection of wild leaves and edible flowers (broad bean, pea) with lemon mustard vinaigrette

Vine leaf wrapped salmon 
Vine leaf wrapped halloumi (v)
Salsify nests with red currants

Cheese board: leaf wrapped cheeses: Cornish nettle wrapped Yarg, Childerwickbury goat's cheese wrapped in wild garlic leaves, Manchego in romero, Oak leaf wrapped goat's cheese, with fig confit (simmered for three days on the Aga in red wine) and oat cakes, St. John's sourdough bread
Dandelion wine 

Trio of glaces: fresh garden mint, wild strawberry and creme fraiche, violet icecream served in a rose ice bowl with crystallised rose petals and home made crystallised violets.

Borage tea, Rosebud tea or Douwe Egberts vintage blend coffee
Home made ginger beer and elderflower champagne

I would recommend making your own elderflower champagne and ginger beer. It's very easy and remarkably fizzy within a day or so. Mint icecream was also a revelation, those clean flavours come alive, it couldn't be further away from yer classic mint choc chip, especially when served in an ice rose bowl which I last did in May 2009. It's a spectacular way to serve icecream.


  1. what hard work... but looks worth it. Wish I could come to your quatorze juillet bash but will be away

  2. Andrew Parkinson23 June 2010 at 20:24

    Looks amazing and so pretty

  3. "....lets just do it all". Wow.

  4. Wow, impressive stuff, it looked great, I especially like the salad bowls, nice touch. And where did you get the courgette flowers from?

  5. Thanks everyone.
    Food Urchin: I got the courgette flowers from a couple of places, chefs connection and chegworth farm. It's difficult to get enough!

  6. Love those saffron bowls!

  7. What a glorious feast, you must have worked your socks (or heels)off...... All that is lovely in food, flowers and an English summer, very uplifting for a gal with frozen toes.....although my latte seems suddenly rather dreary, what I wouldnt give for a glass of Elderflower fizz right now..

  8. I can't think of the right superlative. Super talented, imaginative and wow all come to mind. Shakespeare would have been proud. Oh to be in England...

  9. Thank you all...
    Elderflower fizz fantastic.It ony took 2 days to fizz whereas recipes say 3 weeks.
    Plum: I guess it's winter over there right now.
    Sally: how is your red wine vinegar getting on ?

  10. Those bread bowls are absolutely stunning. Really lovely.

  11. Inspirational! The kind of fresh, seasonal food I'd love to eat and cook, beautifully prepared and photographed - I have a new benchmark!

    Avidly following

  12. Wow. A stunning set of photos and menu for your midsummer evening, hope your guests loved every minute of what must have been a memorable evening, wish I could have been there. Next midsummer I will definitely clear the diary if you do this again!

  13. Wow, what a beautiful and imaginative menu. The stuffed tulips look particularly gorgeous.
    K x

  14. Wooow, everything is just stunning. I have nothing to say but a perfect summer treat :))

  15. Beautiful, just beautiful. I love the flashing hands in one shot, as though you thought "I've just got time to do another nest whilst this shot's exposing!". A fantastic amount of work!

  16. Absolutely lovely. I know how hard it is to photograph food while trying to *get it out*. I usually forget until it's too late. Well done!

  17. stunning looking menu. I never realised you could eat tulips.

  18. wow. seriously impressive

  19. Absolutely properly stunning. So colourful and pretty!

  20. These dishes all look so delightful, I'm always blown away by how much care and research goes into your menus. And I've not been here for a while so I don't know when you did it but the aqua background is very becoming too!

  21. that looked spectacular. It was about a year ago that I first found your blog and it was pictures of a mid-summer feast that made me get in touch with you in the first place. You just seem to 'get' summer food. All that 'feast for the eye' stuff I suppose. The stuffed tulips looked particularly inviting. How'd they taste??

    Just one thing - isn't pissenlit better known here as dandelion??

    Hope all is well, C x

  22. this is just beautiful and so imaginative! Wish I'd been there....

  23. You can credit my pictures if you like.

  24. This meal looks absolutely stunning. Did you learn how to make those ice bowls from Browners' mum?

  25. That whole meal looks so gorgeous. Wish I'd been there! x

  26. That whole meal looks so gorgeous. Wish I'd been there! x

  27. Green Drawers: yes it is! But Dandelion is a diuretic so it makes you pissenlit...wet the bed!
    Helen: yes I got that from Browner's mum's book 'edible flowers'.

  28. This whole spread is just unbelievable! A multi sensory feast! The tapioca stuffed tulips alone are a work of art! I've only just found your blog and I absolutely love all I've seen so far, incredible stuff. Oh and I love the custards in the egg shells, oh to have been there!

  29. Just amaaaazing!!!

  30. Oooooh I just LOVE the look of this event . Where is it ? I'm in a country town in Victoria Australia where we are sweltering and fearing summer bush fires . But your ideas and photos make me want to party !!!! Thanks heaps . It looks gorgeous .


I would love to hear what you think of this post! I try to reply to every comment (if there is a delay, I am probably away from an internet connection or abroad)