Last week I visited Perch Hill, for a sneak peek at their Christmas decorations, as well as the newly converted barn. I’ve never visited in the winter before, and so it was lovely to see it at another time of year – still as fabulous as ever, but entirely different.
The veg garden is bare, but things are planted, mulched and still growing. Kale and chard bring colour to the patch, and the architectural frames keep it interesting and glamorous. Fennel and lettuces look incredible too by the greenhouse, growing strong still, and providing well for the kitchen.
We filmed a lovely Christmas wreath making tutorial, which will be going up on our YouTube channel soon. The wreath was gorgeous with pomegranates, cranberry chains and limes, and lots of lovely foliage too. It took about an hour to film, stopping and starting to grab a few extra ingredients, and to pause whilst the workmen were running machinery loudly in the background, or whilst cars went down the road, or whilst the light dipped behind a hedge. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the final outcome…
The day after filming, it was the Christmas flowers course. The courses are always so much fun – meeting new people and discovering new ideas from Sarah. She always tells gives lots of little titbits of information which are so useful, and her recommendations for which flower varieties to use in arrangements in winter were of particular use – great tips for future Christmas parties (it means I know exactly what to look out for at the florist, and that it’s a good idea to visit London’s flower market at Nine Elms at 6am for the very interesting/unusual things).
The courses begin with tea, coffee and a biscuit in the greenhouse, which was looking all decked up for Christmas. Most of the things cooked and baked on a course or open day come from one of Sarah’s own recipe books – this time it was peanut biscuits, and mincemeat brownies (from the Christmas cookbook).
Sarah instructed for a couple of hours before lunch, demonstrating different arrangement ideas, including a whole Christmas table with lilies, sprayed silver pumpkins, baubles and candles.
Lunch was fabulous – fresh lettuce picked from the garden, with fennel fronds and violas. Pomegranate couscous, chicken wrapped with parma ham and stuffed with prunes, feta and pine nuts, as well as a delicious fennel and apple salad. I do love the food at Perch Hill – so fresh and delicious. I’m excited for the new dinners and supper club at Perch Hill in 2014 – that should be lots of fun for the team, as well as those eating in the new barn.
In the afternoon of this course, everyone spends time making their own wreath, either for the door or a table, with any ingredients they choose from (and there’s lots to choose from, given Sarah’s earlier trip to Nine Elms!). This time it was a lovely opportunity to try out the new barn space…
It was so lovely to spend time in the new construction – and it’s exciting to anticipate all that will happen there next year. As always, I’m looking forward to going back there, and seeing it in another season – with all of the plant trials that happen at Perch Hill, it’s always different…
Thanks for reading,