The new autumn menus are now out in the restaurant at Polesden Lacey, so the garden team have been busy harvesting kale for a new delicious soup. We grow two types of kale in the garden, the frizzy leaved ‘Red Russian’ (on the left in photo below) and the dark, strap-like leaves of the Nero di Toscana. (on right in photo below) Young baby leaves from both plants can be eaten fresh and added to salads, but the more mature foliage tastes sweeter after being hit by the autumn frosts, so try to avoid picking too early. Kale is an invaluable winter crop when there is not much else to harvest from the kitchen garden.
The kale and potato soup that chefs Tom and Michael have made in the Polesden Lacey restaurant is amazing! It uses our finely, shredded Nero di Toscana kale and is perfectly balanced with the acidity of lemon zest.
Cucumbers aren’t always long, green and smooth! We like to grow some of the more quirky and unusual vegetables here and these heritage cucumbers are perfect for getting our visitors at Polesden Lacey talking. We’ve just been harvesting these heirloom cucumber varieties called ‘Lemon Crystal’ which is a strange yellow, round-shaped fruit. We’ve used its vigorous, attractive vine to train up a wigwam to add height, colour and structure to the kitchen garden. We’ve also grown short, stumpy, prickly ones called ‘Prickly Long’. Both types have been grown outside and are now producing bumper crops to supply the restaurant.
And check out the size of the Kelsae onions that our kitchen gardener Vaughan has grown. They’re as big as my head! After harvesting we leave them and the other varieties such as 'Red Baron' and 'Sturon' in the greenhouse for a couple of weeks to dry out.