Home LifestyleFood & Drink In the shadow of a Cornish castle, a vegetarian feast for Beltane

In the shadow of a Cornish castle, a vegetarian feast for Beltane

by YAR

In the summer of 2018, while on holiday in Cornwall, South West England, Frieda Gormley and Javvy M. Royle, the married founders of British interiors brand House of Hackney, stumbled across Trematon Castle, whose gardens were open to the public. for the season Entering the nine-acre estate of the Norman motte and courtyard structure, which was built by Robert, Earl of Mortain, in 1068 after the Battle of Hastings, they were instantly charmed. The formal grounds accented with palm trees and acanthus flowers that enclose the house on three sides give way to apple orchards and untamed woodland that slope down to a creek, and from the lawn at the top of the hill, the couple could see the Lynher River and, beyond, the port city of Plymouth.

To the west of the castle mound is a nine-bedroom Georgian manor house, its stucco façade crowned with the same tooth-shaped battlements as the medieval curtain wall from which it was partially assembled, after sections of the fortification were dismantled. to improve eyesight. . Known as Higher Lodge, the house was built on the site of the original property’s castle hall and chapel in the early 19th century. There’s also a swimming pool whose Mogul pavilion was salvaged from Rajasthan and, inside the circular keep, a rather grand chicken coop. “It was wildly romantic, like an otherworldly English fairy tale,” says Gormley.

Coincidentally, three days later, once the couple were back in East London, a friend called to gauge their interest in taking over the same estate, which has been in the Duchy of Cornwall since 1337 (the estate was established by Edward III to give independence to his heir, Prince Edward, and later the eldest son of the monarch, and is currently administered by the Prince of Wales), as the last occupants, the English landscapers Elizabeth and Julian Bannerman, sought to end their tenure as trustees Without setting foot inside, Gormley, 41, and Royle, 45, agreed. “We just thought, ‘How bad can it be?’” she says. Since moving in with their two children, Javi, 13, and Lila, 10, three years ago, the couple have set out to revive the house’s neoclassical interior, restoring the floor-to-ceiling sash windows and removing the layers of history on the walls before covering them again with their own wallpaper designs, which are modern takes on the flocked patterns synonymous with the English Arts and Crafts movement.

In fact, the house also functions as a sort of unofficial showroom and office (the official one, as of March this year, is located at St. Michael’s, a Victorian Gothic church and clergy house in East London). ) for House of Hackney, which they started in 2011, after Gormley, a former fashion buyer, couldn’t find the kind of richly decorative and playfully naturalistic prints he wanted for his Victorian home in London Fields. It has since expanded into paint, furniture, rugs, and clothing. “Our houses have always been our muses,” she says. Her time at Trematon has spawned the Trematonia print, which mimics an ancient tapestry decorated with Celtic foliage and mythical beasts, and Phantasia, a pattern awash with dragons and poisonous mushrooms, and gave them the idea of ​​running a bed and breakfast. move out of the house during the month of August (they are taking a sabbatical to spend the summer with their children, but plan to reopen next year; the entire house can still be rented through Unique Homestays).

But his interest in ecology is more than aesthetic. “Being in this corner of the world, seeing the seasons change and really following the cycle of nature, builds your connection to the environment and the desire to protect it,” says Gormley. So Royle has started tending the house’s now-organic vegetable garden, planted with broccoli, kale, peas and zucchini sprouting purple, and is in the midst of transforming the old walled garden. with heritage fruit trees and a small solar plant. Also, since the couple stopped using chemicals and switched to the no-dig method of cultivation, they have seen new levels of vitality in the plants, as well as in the slow worms, butterflies and even swifts that nest along the remaining castle walls.

On a recent spring day, Gormley and Royle hosted a small gathering at the house, bringing together some of the friends they’ve made since moving to Cornwall to celebrate Beltane, an ancient Celtic fire festival held midway between spring and summer. . Guests included chef and regenerative farmer Dan Cox; Daze Aghaji, climate justice activist and creative director of the online platform Earthrise; medical herbalist Harriet Coleman; Dom Bridges, the founder of the Haeckels natural skincare and fragrance line; Catherine Chong, climate economist and co-founder of Farms to Feed Us, which connects British consumers with small-scale sustainable food producers; Tim Williams, a New Zealand-born soil expert; and her wife, Claire Williams, a gardener, cook and, with her husband, promoter of regenerative agricultural practices throughout the region. “We didn’t expect to run into kindred spirits,” Gormley says of the group, which has developed its own cyclical economy and shares everything from food to furniture to Old Spot pigs.

By noon, everyone had gathered in the kitchen for a chat and coffee while Claire and Cox, former executive chef of Fera at Claridge’s in London and L’Enclume in Grange-Over-Sands, put the finishing touches on a vegetarian feast they prepared. . using ingredients from the nearby Crocadon Farm, a 120-acre regenerative site in St. Mellion that the two friends run together with Tim. Dishes were then presented buffet-style on the large marble-topped preparation table, and after their plates were filled, diners took their places at the long oak table in the hall, which was decorated with pitchers full of Poet’s Daffodil blossoms that Gormley had cut earlier that morning.

Pasta included a Garden of Eden cake, or baked vegetable omelette, filled, in this case, with kale, wild garlic, fennel, chervil and Comté cheese; Roasted Shadow Squash served with Sautéed Swiss Chard, Capers, Fermented Cucumber and Sorrel Leaves; and a Carolus potato and Russian kale salad with miso mayonnaise and sautéed tricorn leeks. Much of the food was so fresh it was barely off the ground. “We dug them up yesterday,” Cox said, pointing to Jerusalem artichokes, some roasted, some pureed, that were combined with lovage, plantain leaves and broad bean heads. To drink, there was Ripe, an organic cider made from otherwise unwanted organic apples harvested from Cornish orchards.

In part, the food was a way to sample potential dishes for Granary, a cafe and event space that Cox will open with the Williamses at Crocadon Farm this summer. (Later, they plan to add a farm store and full restaurant.) Not that the guests offered much criticism. Over lunch, they discussed greenwashing issues, whether it would be possible to make charcoal from the property’s towering oaks, and the progress of the portable “chicken hotel” that Tim is currently building out of the back of an unused trailer. Finally, a sweet clover, Bloody Butcher corn, and black honey cake garnished with marigolds appeared, along with steaming cups of Spring Equinox tea, a custom blend of nettle, cleavers, dandelion leaves, and Plantago conceived by Coleman. Dessert was followed by a walk around the gatehouse ruins and into the meadow, allowing the group to bask in the splendor of the natural environment that continues to bring them closer. Below, Gormley and guests share tips on how to host your own seasonal festivity.

Bring a little sunshine to the table

No guest came empty handed. Coleman, who grew up in a Somerset household that adhered to certain pagan practices, baked sun bread, an age-old recipe passed down from his mother. “Paganism is a seasonal way of life, and certain foods mark certain seasons,” says Coleman. “This bread has to do with the return of the sun in the Celtic calendar.” The sun, for its part, is associated with the harvest, and one of the main ingredients of bread, honey, represents the richness of nature.

Keep setup simple

Gormley dressed the table with a crisp white tablecloth made by House of Hackney in collaboration with Lancashire linen farmer Peter Reed, matching napkins embroidered with the brand’s HOH monogram, and a vintage Burleigh Blue Asiatic Pheasant pottery set. “We wanted it to be fresh and harmonious, just like we tried to do with the kitchen as a whole, so you could feel the serenity of the garden,” says Gormley. In fact, the room’s understated green and white palette complements the garden, rather than distracting it with too many clashing colors or patterns. “Simplicity is important,” says Gormley. “The table should be a place where you can think.”

light up everything

Despite the inclement weather, Gormley managed to pay homage to Beltane by skilfully playing with natural light. He danced on the crisp white tablecloths, and built and built a wood fire, using fallen logs collected after winter storms, in the open kitchen hearth. For added light, he drew from the collection of antique chandeliers she has acquired over the years, placing a large silver specimen set with forest green candles at the end of the table.

Get creative with your ingredients

“We wanted to be inventive,” says Cox. When the beans he and Claire hoped to combine with the roasted Jerusalem artichokes weren’t yet ripe, they used the plant flowers and tops instead. “The caps look beautiful and taste amazing—they taste sweet, almost fragrant,” says Cox. He believes that being open-minded in his approach frees him up to wear whatever is truly in season. Lunch was also packed with forage food, from nettles to garlic and ribgrass banana leaves. Normally fodder for cows, this herb, which grows on Crocadon pastures, adds a touch of mushroom. “You may have an idea of ​​what you want to cook, but until you get out there and see what’s ready to harvest, nothing is set in stone,” says Cox. “The earth is full of surprises.”

Don’t waste, don’t want

Cox and Williams not only incorporated whatever seasonal ingredients they had on hand, they tried to use as many of them as possible. Instead of discarding the artichoke skins, for example, they created so-called choke fries: After thoroughly scrubbing the whole artichokes, Cox roasted them in a deep pan with a thin layer of water at the bottom that he covered with aluminum foil, until softened but still al dente. Once they cooled, he cut them in half and carefully skinned the hearts, placing them on a baking sheet which he returned to a low oven for a few hours. After that, he lightly fried them in hot oil and seasoned them with sea salt. As Cox says, “It takes some extra effort, but it’s well worth it.”

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

The Float