Although the landscape is now shutting down and giving in to the winter winds I think this time of year is my favourite of all the seasons. Leaves cascade from brilliantly red and gold trees and the sun is a lot lower giving us some amazing sunsets here at the Rockliffe Estate. Although it’s getting pretty brisk out there we’ve had some beautiful clear blue skies and long, dark evenings to set the scene.
Generally my food becomes a little more hearty in the Autumn and it’s nice to give that special comfort feel to the tasting menu. We’ve been hard at work making all sorts of different preserves, pickles and fermentations to give a bit more life to the summer's bounty and give the cuisine a lighter lift among the darker, colder evenings of the fast approaching winter.
Stevie, my recently promoted senior sous chef, has been squirrelling away lots of cured meats for the last year and we are hoping they will make an appearance some time in 2019. We’ve had a few tastings and I have to say he’s doing a cracking job.
The Cocktail Bar enjoyed using our 2016 Sloe Gin and this year the Rockliffe Hall estate grounds had another bumper crop so we’ve bottled a lot more for the coming year. My beetroot wine is sleeping very well in Sadberge and the 2017 vintage will soon be ready. We are hoping to draft 40 bottles this time which is 10 more than last time so we are really pleased with the results.
It’s been a fantastic year of planning, with our amazing Head Gardner Phil Mennell, for the coming year's walled garden produce. There’s so much coming up it's hard to not get too excited to be honest. For me there’s something quite special about walking around a kitchen garden, it’s very magical.
On another note my long standing chef Gary Duffy has been promoted to my head chef. It’s been so amazing to see him grow over the last 8 years and it’s brilliant to see him in his new well deserved role which I know he will smash.
I would like to thank all of my team at the Orangery for their continued efforts. I really do appreciate all your dedication.
February 2019 will see the Estate's first Festival of Food and we will be welcoming chefs from all over the UK, who will be holding lots of exciting events to tickle the taste buds. To finish the week I will be cooking alongside the two other amazing executive chefs here, Paul O’Hara and Aaron Craig, doing a three course meal where we will all prepare a course each. It’s going to be a good night and a great laugh. Make sure you book your tickets for the week's events - you really won’t want to miss it.
That’s about it from me so I hope to see you all at Rockliffe Hall some time in the near future.
Happy cooking and thank you for your continued support.
To find out more about Richard Allen and the Orangery please click here.