Welcome back

Thank you to everyone who’s booked since we reopened! We’re loving cooking at The Small Holding and The Curlew again, and reconnecting with our guests once more. A special shout-out to all who supported us during lockdown, and our regular diners who’ve been with us from the beginning.

A new dining experience at The Small Holding

We’re keeping things fresh by doing away with menus, and just serving what’s best on the farm. Our new seasonal dishes will be changing all the time, making up a series of courses that capture the local Kent landscape at its finest.

Firing on all cylinders at The Curlew

We were gutted to close our second restaurant so soon after opening, but are now pumped to be back! The Bodiam site has really found its feet, and we’ve got some absolutely banging sharing plates, wines and beers being served at the tables.

Growing the teams

We’ve got some new arrivals in both kitchens! At The Small Holding, Emma is our trainee chef, who’s joined us part of our West Kent College apprenticeship programme. Over at The Curlew, meanwhile, chef Lloyd has loads of experience, and is cooking alongside Will, Matty and Marcus.

Recipe: Courgette bhaji, nasturtium and chilli

Makes 20 (approx.)
We serve this courgette bhaji in the height of summer, as part of a dish with different courgette treatments, including roasted and puréed. The finished plate is dressed with chilli oil, nasturtium leaves, and flowers. Grace Dent described these crispy little bites as a ‘magical mouthful’, and the highpoint of her lunch for her review in The Guardian.

Ingredients
Five medium courgettes
170g gram flour
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp ground cumin seeds
15g salt
80ml sparkling water
1 litre of sunflower oil, to fry

Method
– For the bhaji, peel, grate, and salt four of the courgettes. Save the peelings and squeeze the grated courgette of excess liquid
– Mix the grated courgette with all the other ingredients, except the sunflower oil, to form a batter
–  Heat the sunflower oil to 175 degrees
–  Using a tablespoon, scoop a spoonful of the mixture into the hot oil, and fry for a minute or so each side until golden brown
– Make a courgette sauce by sautéing the peelings hard and fast in a little rapeseed oil and butter with the lid on to create steam. When just tender and still hot, whiz in a blender and season
– Slice the remaining courgette into thick rounds, season, and brush with a little chilli oil. Roast until soft and just charred

To plate
– Drain each bhaji on kitchen paper, serve hot with a spoonful of courgette purée and pieces of roasted courgette, and dress with chilli oil and nasturtium leaves and flowers

Will’s ingredient of the month

We’ve got a few tasty varieties of summer squashes growing on the farm! Hooligan, Spaghetti and Red Kuri are making an appearance and hitting our dishes, being used in our multi-taste experience at Kilndown, and in our Summer Squash, Kohlrabi, Sumac sharing plate in Bodiam.

Will’s dishes of the month

The Small Holding: Month of mutton

Everyone knows lamb, and often thinks of mutton as past its best – but you can do some really interesting, creative things with it! It’s such an exciting meat to cook with, which we get at about four years old from The Pure Meat Company.

The Curlew: Whole Creedy Carver Duck

Our delicious free-range duck comes from Creedy Carver in Devon, whose ducks are traditionally farmed, and enjoy a cereal-based diet and leisurely growth rate, helping to produce a great-tasting, succulent meat. It’s super-popular on the menu and one of our favourites, so get involved!

Matt’s beers of the month

The Small Holding: The Three Legs Brewing Co’s Wheat Beer

At 4.7% ABV, this bottle conditioned, hazy wheat beer is brewed with orange zest, and fermented with a German yeast strain. It’s made locally in Brede by The Three Legs Brewing Co, and has a low bitterness that we love.

The Curlew: Bedlam Brewery’s Turtle Recall

This floral, fruity beer from Bedlam Brewery near Lewes has tropical fruit and gooseberry aromas, complemented by a touch of honeydew melon and hint of apricot. Plus, £5 per cask or keg, and 10p per can goes towards supporting Project Biodiversity in Cape Verde!

Matt’s wines of the month

The Small Holding: Westwell Wines’ Ortega Skin Contact

Unfined and unfiltered, this is one of our recent pairings at The Small Holding. It’s produced near Ashford by Westwell Wines, who slowly ferment the grapes with their skins on using wild yeasts, before aging in old Burgundy barrels for nine months.

The Curlew: Bodega Cueva’s Orange Tardana and Macabeo

Valencian winemaker Mariano Taberner has created an intense, fresh orange wine, made from white grapes that are macerated over a long period in their skins. It’s fruity and delicious, but with an elegant bitter finish that gives it a great edge too.

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© WILL AND MATT DEVLIN