• thecooksshed


The other day, we were talking to Bess who grows the incredible veg for Maple Farm in Kelsale. I was asking about salads and similar bits and bobs and she pointed out that it is now autumn. I'm normally very aware of the seasons and how they affect the ingredients we can get, but this year I'm all out of sync (for some reason - can't think why). Anyway, Vlad and me had our regular Tuesday meet up and decided to add some dishes to fully embrace the season of browns and oranges and wind and rain.

Our roast beetroot and fig keeps one foot in the summer but the beets from Maple Farm keep coming and are as sweet as ever from being individually roasted in little foil parcels with a sprig of thyme. We have been producing some wonderfully thick and rich labneh from our yoghurt for this dish and we are now also selling the labneh as a single product. We are loving using the whole and fermented grains from Hodmedods to produce the nutty and complex pilau. This is a full vegetarian main that we developed from a small plate we were serving in the evenings last year.

Our newest vegetarian main, roast peppers and tomatillos with goat curd, makes more use of wonderful produce from Maple Farm and Hodemedods, but this won't last for long. We got the last of the sweet peppers and tomatillos from Bess, we char these and serve on a base of Hodmedods' split fava beans and their bizarrely alluring smoked quinoa. This is topped with our own tangy and creamy goat curd.

The tikka pumpkin is one of those wonderful dishes where one of us suggests an initial idea and between us we complete the plate. In this case, Vlad suggested tikka pumpkin. Without further thought I agreed and we developed accompaniments of dhal-like lentils and gentle cauliflower pakora. It was only when we were testing the process for the pumpkin that I asked Vlad where he got the idea - it turned out to be Tayyabs in Whitechapel, famous for its grilled lamb chops, and who apparently produce a notable tandoori pumpkin. We use Crown Prince squash which we get from Whitehouse Farm in Grundisburgh, and roast it in our own yoghurt and tikka paste.

Our meatballs are pork and beef and are chewy and juicy at once. They come with more Hodmedods fava beans (you may notice we like them) in a sweet, tangy and earthy sauce, gently wilted local greens and at the moment a pilau including yellow peas. They are simple, heartwarming, and thoroughly delicious.

We currently have two kebabs - which I am secretly quite pleased about but don't tell Vlad. As kebabs go though, these are a bit of a cut above. The Iskender is a classic Turkish recipe and I fell in love with this dish when I lived in Turkey many years ago. We use amazing Suffolk lamb, our own yoghurt, our own spicy tomato sauce, our own flatbread and top it with beautiful just-brown butter. The shawarma is made with another truly world-class Suffolk ingredient - free range Sutton Hoo chicken. Again we use our own flatbread and yoghurt and some sour, spicy and crunchy pickles.

We think that our autumn standout star is our new duck dish. We can't wait to start cooking more of this. Sweet, succulent confit duck leg with our own kohlrabi sauerkraut and Maple Farm swede, some sautéed quince and something rather special, prebranac. We served this in many guises in the restaurant but always struggled to name it with justice. Look it up and you'll see 'Serbian baked beans'. It is literally baked beans but so much more. We slow bake butter beans with paprika, wine, onions to achieve a super-savoury, creamy and crunchy accompaniment to any meat dish (but also a staggering vegetable-only main).

These are our main single dishes. You'll see we also have a couple of side dishes, a couple of puddings and some family meals. Proving very popular are our roast packs - fully prepared and cooked - which you can pick up on Saturday for a Sunday roast to reheat at home. Then there's a list of some of our products that you can take home to use any way you choose - including our own rather special breads.

With all of this, please feel free to call us, email us or, if we're there, call in to ask any questions. Be it about a bespoke order for a special occasion, ingredients, dietary requirements, children's portions or anything, we'll be very happy to chat and make arrangements.

Matt & Vlad

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