As most of you will know and we’ve definitely mentioned before… we love to grow stuff here! We all get stuck into the gardening and harvesting but we have a particularly madcap twosome at the helm. Tom (or TB as he’s known to us) and Alan keep us well stocked with everything you’d expect from an English country garden but also display a keen interest in the bizarre and unusual. If you ever see TB out and about, ask him about some of his secret projects! Last year they enquired around us all what new crops we should plant and my boyfriend (who works as a chef here) unbeknownst to me decreed a ton of tomatillos should be grown because they’d be really useful for drinks! Pardon?! Which brings us to late summer where I pop into work and a gigantic heap of Tomatillos has been left in our prep area with the message ‘Oli said you would want them’…
The heaps just kept coming, and then some, and then some more too. Cursing the boy and the garden and the lovely weather that left us with approximately a billion tons of tomatillos I had to deduce how on earth to get them used!?
This is where the ‘secret projects’ come into play… Because TB and Alan had something else planted, another South American crop called Pipiche. Now, this had flustered all of us because it absolutely REEKS. Like rust and old money and other unsavoury things. We’d chalked it up to a complete failed experiment. But… ask Alan for some, forget you’ve asked, ignore it for a couple of days, go back to it when it’s dried off slightly and remarkably it has mellowed and taken on the flavour of strong, slightly spicy coriander and ideas start to happen.
So the culmination of these opportunistic crops and a few mistakes and successes along the way is our take on a Margarita. The fresh, green acidity of the juiced Tomatillos replacing the lime. The pipiche infused into tequila to add a herby flavour. Oh yeah, and don’t mean to brag but WE GREW OUR OWN KUMQUATS in the polytunnel and did an amazing zesty take on a triple sec. I love that, as the drinks menu reads it seems utterly unlikely that this has anything to do with an English restaurant serving home-grown produce. But we did actually grow it all and managed to bring flavours from another part of the world to our little patch in North Yorkshire.
Reluctantly, thanks Oli, the tomatillos were actually kinda useful.