All was revealed last week when I was invited to a 'Secret Garden' barbecue at Bildeston Crown and discovered the beautiful walled garden, tucked away at the back of the inn. You can book it exclusively for yourself and up to sixteen people for an al fresco meal. It has access through a gate from the car park or via the new very cosy lounge and Champagne bar (more about that another time). It's cook your own on the inset grills which run down the centre of the table, allowing you to barbecue delicious meats and vegetables yourself without having to move. Chef and owner Chris Lee is on hand to make sure no one goes hungry or burns anything they shouldn't. Ice buckets fill the gaps where there's no grill ensuring that the wine is as perfectly chilled as the guests. With delightful service from Hayley and the young, professional team at Bildeston Crown we enjoyed glasses of refreshing chilled rose and were delivered superb side salads, hot side dishes, dips and sauces to accompany the Red Poll steaks, homemade beef burgers, chicken kebabs and marinated pork. We cooked our meat on the grills, slowly grazing away well into the afternoon. If you fancy your own al fresco feast speak to Chris or Hayley who will tailor a menu for you. Prices start at £30 a head and I'll put my money on the cute little courtyard working well in the winter months too. Braziers, patio heaters, hot grills, vin chaud, raclette, Pierre-chaude and fondue ...just an idea.
- the inset grills, fired up and ready
- it was easy to reach the grills from our comfy chairs
- we cooked our own beef burgers
- just some of the hot side dishes
- drum roll .. as the food starts to arrive ... what will we be cooking?
- delicious side dishes kept on coming, including the Bildeston classic lobster Caesar salad
- thick cut Red Poll steaks were beautifully tender
- vegetable kebabs were delicious too
- chilled rose wine, ready and waiting
A strange name for a cafe, but a delightful setting overlooking the orchard at Harvey's Garden Plants in Thurston. Outside you can watch the chickens scratching and I like it best early in the morning for a decent coffee. Plenty of homemade cakes and baked goods are also on offer, plus some gluten free and 'free from' choices too. The salads could be a little more inspiring than quartered tomatoes and sliced, unpeeled cucumber though.
Hardly ever seen until this year but now it's trendy and on every menu. It grows like a weed in my garden. My favourite way to use it is to rub my salad bowl with a big handful of the stuff and it will impart a lovely savoury Bovril like flavour. When used raw in dishes it can be very overpowering. The first young stalks of spring are the best for a delicious delicate flavour.
Terry Rayner came home from work one day in 2003 and announced to his wife Win that he was quitting work. Win asked Terry what he was planning to do, "Start up a seed business." "Where?" asked Win. "In the garden shed" replied Terry, and so Terwin Seeds was formed. (Yes. Terry and Win, Terwin!) Win told me she was a little nervous when several tons of seed potatoes arrived on their doorstep, but the business has grown and now they have an online shop and a small unit in Cockfield, Suffolk. I met them at last weeks Edible Garden Show. As I have predicted Buckwheat to trend I picked up a pack of the sprouting seeds to try.