What a summer we had! The heatwave meant the crops were in remarkably early, allowing the farmers a more sociable summer than usual. Meanwhile, we enjoyed a really good boost to the season, so we were spoilt for courgettes, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, radish, kale, squash and more – and the celeriac is already being harvested!
We still have plenty of produce coming out of the poly tunnels and raised beds – it’s just a question of keeping up and using it before it goes over.
This week, Reece made a delicious celeriac soup with truffle oil to finish, and we’ve been experimenting with salt-baking the celeriac. The result has been varied depending on the oven, with the bread oven producing the juiciest bake. Once it’s been salt baked, we sauté it in butter to caramelise, which is delicious.
The chefs have perfected the menu for our new Winter Tipi, which is open on set dates between now and Christmas or to book for private dining. It has such a unique atmosphere and is so easy to keep cosy, it’s going to be my winter retreat.
Our chefs have developed a seasonal grazing and sharing menu and you can either book a table for six or join others on the communal table. We have a quirky bar which the team at the wonderful Jolaru Interiors developed in their studio at Vallum, and there’s a fire in the middle of the tipi to layer up the winter ambience.
In other news, we have ended up with a cocktail (see what I did there..?) of chicks of all different colours over the summer, so we’re looking forward to eggs again in spring. Which leads in rather well to me telling you about Skosh in York. We went on a team jolly this week and my goodness, their hen’s egg small plate is heaven in a pottery egg, so do go if you can.
And in the meantime, happy Christmas!
Vicky Moffitt and her husband Peter own Vallum, the food destination and wedding venue on Hadrian’s Wall, near Newcastle, where tea room and wedding guests enjoy the produce of the garden. Vallum, Military Road Newcastle, NE18 0LL, tel 01434 672 652, www.vallumfarm.co.uk