Way back on a sunny day in April super talented photographer John Holdship drove down to join me on the farm to shoot a feature for Borough Market's Market Life newspaper, which is free to pick up in the market. The theme was that of an Early Summer outdoor dinner party; I put together 5 dishes that would either work together as a weekend spread, or that you could pick and choose recipes from to add to your own menus. My full menu and all the recipes for everything you see here is now available in Issue 20 if you pop down to the market to grab a copy, but I thought that I'd share a few of John's photos from the day here, too.
Something I have been told is that one of the favourite from my blog year and year out are my Summer barbecue recipes. For the meat part here I wanted something you could cook in the oven as it is still early in the year (more on that in a moment), but as important as things to go on the grill are, I think sides worthy of a barbecue are just as important. I'm particularly proud of these Vinaigrette Potatoes (which can be made with any potatoes you can find and whatever fresh herbs you have available), which are lifted a little with the addition of chopped shallots (I got the idea from my recipe for French Sautéed Potatoes with Parsley, Shallots & Garlic) and baby capers. It can be served warm or cold too; the perfect make ahead dish.
By way of a starter that everyone can enjoy with a good glass of chilled rosé while you're finishing up the rest of the food are these Pea & Mint Bruschetta. You can either assemble them just before serving on a board (each toast finished with a bright grating of fresh lemon zest), or you can grill the bread ahead either in the toaster, under the grill, on the hot plate of an AGA or even on the heating barbecue and bring the mortar bowl fill of topping to the table with a couple of spoons, and let everyone build their own.
Light and vibrant salads are always an essential accompaniment to any outdoor meal, and I can admit to becoming slightly addicted to and hogging most of this salad made with pea shoots, creamy hunks of avocado, punchy radish slithers and navel orange segments, all tossed with a honey vinaigrette when I took all of the leftover food from the shoot into the campaign office later that day.
For me, my favourite part of the whole spread were the Pomegranate Molasses Chicken Wings. Slightly sticky with a shiny glaze, the cheapest part of a chicken on the bone is here transformed by simply marinading it overnight and baking it in a hot oven, basting occasionally. Be sure to serve them on a big Spanish plate with plenty of fresh herbs scattered over. They are good cold, but you want to serve them still warm, but not too hot that people can't pick them up to eat - this is finger food at its best, and one of my new favourite recipes.
To finish things off, we're back at my obsession with serving things in jam jars, but this time to good end; these Raspberry, Peach & Pistachio Mess Jars (an alternative Summer twist on the classic Eton Mess, which incidentally would also look great in a jar) are perfect for a picnic; you just screw the lids on to transport them. If you're Summer luncheon or dinner party is a family affair and there are small children about, once you've sliced the peaches and whipped the cream these jars are just a matter of layering and assembly, so they're also a great way to get them helping out in the kitchen!
Pop down to the market now to pick up your copy of Market Life and to find all of these recipes; I for one can't wait to get my hands on a copy and see how the spread turned out! As I'm still in Los Angeles until the middle of next week, I have not actually had a chance yet to see my first proper physical print feature in all of its printed glory yet! (International readers don't worry, I think Borough Market will be sharing some of these recipes on their website, and I'm going to be posting a full scan of the feature to my 'Portfolio' page once the issue is no longer available in the market.
All images © 2015 John Holdship for Borough Market.