The so-called dormant month of January is the perfect time of year for pruning, mulching, fertilising and sowing so that’s what the Virginia Park Lodge gardening team are busy doing.
It’s also a time of planning, building and maintenance. We’ll be repairing of one of the poly tunnels, damaged in the last year’s storms and planning for a new composting area. A new cut garden is also being prepped and sowed with spring bulbs – rows of tulips as seen here will bring colour and fresh blooms to the lodge’s interior in the spring.
We continue to harvest plenty of leek, Jerusalem artichokes and celeriac in January and we are expecting our next crop of purple sprouting broccoli to be ready any day now. Much of our produce goes to our London restaurants Corrigan’s Mayfair and Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill but of course our lodge head chef gets rich pickings from the gardens and this month Jerusalem artichoke soup will be firmly on the his menu. Here’s his vegan recipe for those embracing Veganuary.
DAIRY-FREE JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE SOUP
- Peel and slice the artichokes. As each one is done, drop it into a bowl of acidulated water (just add the juice of half a lemon or a tablespoon of vinegar) to stop the flesh from going brown.
- Finely chop the shallots and garlic in one tablespoon of olive oil.
- When they have softened, add the white wine and the vinegar and season.
- Turn up the heat and reduce by half. Then add the stock and artichokes. Ideally use a light chicken stock, but the flavour of artichokes is so good you can easily get away with water.
- When just cooked, blend until smooth. Don’t let the artichokes go to complete mush; you want them to keep just a suggestion of bite, so keep checking.
- Toast the hazelnuts very lightly and quickly on a pan and cut slices of apple into very fine and thin strips.
- Pour the soup into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the hazelnuts and the apple
- Drizzle with the remaining olive oil to finish.
- 500g Jerusalem artichokes
- 2 shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1tbs white wine vinegar
- 1tbs white wine
- Salt and pepper
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 1 apple
- 1tbs chopped hazelnuts
- 2tbs olive oil