The shopkeeper diaries - notes from the pop-up kitchen

by Silvana de Soissons18th July 2014

When we started the pop-up shop and kitchen café we thought that it would look all professional to have printed Menus for our customers. But because the seasonality of produce and the vagaries of Mother Nature are so unpredictable, we ended up having to print them at the very last minute, sometimes as customers were walking through the door.

 

One minute chard leaves are in full flourish and at the peak of their colour, and the next they are wilting in the heat of the summer. We planned to make strawberry tarts, only to realise that the fruits that were sweet a few days ago were getting a bit past it and are not so tasty on the day they were required.

 

The same with flowers and herbs – one chance land, miss the moment and it's gone. So we kept changing ideas, menus, recipes and plans as we went along, and just published a “sample” menu on the website, in the hope that not too many customers would be displeased with our choices.

 

Garden writer Cinead McTernan and her photographer husband Jason Ingram are shooting one of their new book projects here at Bincknoll House, and so they kindly left some of their vegetable, herb and edible flower containers in our garden. We have been feasting on them ever since. I cut the produce daily, and I also water prodigiously.

 

It is amazing how easy it is to cook different recipes nearly every day with cut-and-come-again produce. All our guests commented on the taste - real produce as opposed to pre-packed supermarket fodder.

 

What we do not have to pick we buy from Maddison's, the greengrocer in Royal Wootton Bassett, or Cobb's Farm near Marlborough-Hungerford.  

 

We buy our meat from K. and E.J. Crump on our high street.  We try as much as possible to use the produce we sell in our shop - we only sell what we know and love, and we use it all ourselves. 

 

Some of the recipes have been uploaded into the journal, so you can make them at home.

 

Many of the dishes shown in the photographs do not have a recipe - they are just flavour combinations brought together really simply, frugally and with minimum fuss. No drizzles, gels and foams in our kitchen. 

 

We offered taster menus at £15 per head, or a little bit of everything. Courses were just £5 each. We’re just a pop-up café in the middle of nowhere, serving Mamma food in a homely way. Most people got it, liked it and some even came back for more.

About the Author

Silvana de Soissons is the founder of The Foodie Bugle Shop and its journal. You can follow her on Twitter @SilvanadeS and @TheFoodieBugle and on Facebook and Instagram @TheFoodieBugle

 
 
Zucchini flower and marrow salad.

Zucchini flower and marrow salad.

Pappa di pomodoro with lovage

Pappa di pomodoro with lovage

Wiltshire lamb neck fillets cooked with flageolet beans

Wiltshire lamb neck fillets cooked with flageolet beans

Carrot and almond hummus and aubergine and broad bean hummus, with garden herbs

Carrot and almond hummus and aubergine and broad bean hummus, with garden herbs

Homemade egg tagliolini with English saffron butter

Homemade egg tagliolini with English saffron butter

Herby fried chicken

Herby fried chicken

A selection of Wiltshire-Gloucestershire-Somerset cheeses with dates and flowers

A selection of Wiltshire-Gloucestershire-Somerset cheeses with dates and flowers

Lombard bread rolls - straight out of the oven

Lombard bread rolls - straight out of the oven

Chocolate, pistachio and violet cake

Chocolate, pistachio and violet cake

Lemon and sherry cake with strawberries marinaded in honey, thyme and sherry

Lemon and sherry cake with strawberries marinaded in honey, thyme and sherry

Almond and vanilla cake

Almond and vanilla cake

A selection of biscotti we make for teas and coffees

A selection of biscotti we make for teas and coffees

Our garden gooseberries baked with homemade elderflower cordial and raw cane sugar

Our garden gooseberries baked with homemade elderflower cordial and raw cane sugar

Our communal lunch table

Our communal lunch table