Sunday, 2 June 2013

Week beginning June 3rd - Elderflower and Fat Hen

Great Britannia has well and truly flourished with edible goodies courtesy of Mother Nature. Our main highlight this week is the darling of English shrub, elderflower. Commonly treated like a pest of the plant world, what people don’t realise is how versatile the elder bush is. In much the same way people survive off coconut trees in tropical environments, whether it supplies water, food, natural sunscreen, insect repellent or timber. 

Not necessary in our modern times, but elder bush produces blossom, berries and leaves that all serve a purpose throughout the seasons. During winter and early spring young elder leaves are edible and great in salads. In spring the blossom can be used for cordials, jellies, eaten battered and fried, or used for medicinal properties (I might be wrong, but did you mean purposes?) to relieve colds, asthma, burns and upset stomach. Boiled in vinegar you can even make a natural black hair dye. 

Throughout autumn berries grow and can be used for sauces, elder wine and jams. The berries nutritional benefits include large amounts of potassium and beta-carotene, as well as sugar and fruit acids, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C. 

To kick-start the blossom season we've infused elderflowers in a mayonnaise that will be spread in our ham foccacia and complimented with new English strawberries and large leaf spinach and this weeks friands will change from Japanese knot weed to fragrant elderflowers.

Other foraged items on offer include fat hen, which is very much like spinach and commonly grows all around us especially in areas with disturbed soils such as construction sites. Fat hen also goes by several names such as lamb's quarters, melde and goosefoot. Treated as a pest by produce farmers in the United Kingdom these succulent leaves and their grains are used in local cuisine in India and North Africa. Fat hen is also high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. 

At Kaffeine this week we will be lightly sautéing the fat hen and serving it with brown sugar roasted aubergines and dressed in spicy yoghurt and lastly garnished with pretty parsley flavoured Ox-eye daisy flowers. 

This week is also the return of two of Kaffeine's more popular salads from last year, curried chickpeas with goats curd, water mint, bourbon and rose water dressing. The second is one of my personal all time favourites, hot smoked salmon coleslaw.

Come get caffeinated and while you're at it, satisfy your hunger pains.

Jared Bryant
Lead Chef

Traditional bircher muesli with rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.50
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses and rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.50Fruit salad (pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passionfruit, peach) 3.70 (add 30 p for granola or yoghurt)
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Ciabatta roll with courgette omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach & plum tomatoes 4.90
Croissant with gruyere cheese and plum tomatoes 4.00
Seven seed bakery bloomer toast with homemade preserves 1.70
Coffee, cherry and walnut toast 2.30
Banana bread 2.40

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissants 1.80
Pain au chocolat 2.40
Almond croissants 2.80

Baked Treats
Sweet Muffins: Blackberry and oat 2.20
Savoury Scone: Creamed mushroom 2.20
Elderflower friands 2.20
Super moist chocolate brownies 2.40
White chocolate blondies 2.40
Portuguese tarts 2.00
ANZAC cookies 1.80
Chocolate chip cookies 1.80

French retro baguettes 4.90
Pancetta, roasted cherry tomatoes, gruyere, basil, rocket
Carrot pickle, mature cheddar, coriander, spinach

Foccacias 5.00
Ham, elderflower mayonnaise, english strawberries, spinach
Tomato, aioli, mozzarella and rocket

Salads: 5.50/6.50
Curried chickpeas with goats curd, water mint, bourbon and rose water dressing
Brown sugar roasted aubergine, saute fat hen with a yoghurt, chilli and thyme dressing, garnished with ox-eye daisy flowers
Hot smoked salmon coleslaw

Tart: 4.00 or 7.50 with salad
Baked coriander soft cheese and pear

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