English crab and buckets of it

South England crab As the English summer is fully at our feet it’s no surprise that we are lapping up the amount of seasonal produce. From the ruby red strawberries and raspberries, the bright orange of courgette flowers and the muted greens of gooseberries; our veg deliveries are full of colour.

However it’s not just the fields that produce the summer’s bounty! A classic English favorite comes from the summer shores; crab! It’s been synonymous with summer dining for so long; from samphire and broad bean simple salads to a final flourish on scallops with chili clarified butter. Crabs are something of a two-in-one ingredient for chefs, as they contain both light, sweet white meat and the richer brown meat, fantastic used both as a mix and on their own for their own unique flavour qualities.

We source regularly from Salcombe and Dartmouth. It’s a sustainable choice too of course: with brown crab from the south-west rated as a “fish to eat” by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

It’s not just the likes of fine dining plates that have been seeing crab as their final flourish. Clients requesting sharing/ feasting nights have also been able to take advantage of the season! Taking inspiration from the New England tradition of the clam bake; serving whole crab alongside corn husks, coal roasted potatoes; and tiger prawns  or even alongside yellow and ruby beetroot aioli and courgette ribbon salads and mint leaves.

Soft drinks with personality

Homemade lemonade with mint in glass beakers

In a season of drinks parties it’s no wonder that some of our clients are keen to offer a contemporary and ‘special’ soft. We often find that our pre ordered fruit coolers are in popular demand on summer nights where guests are keen for a simpler liquid rather than the alcoholic alternative under the summer rays.

So here are some options out there to focus your mind on:

  • Craft sodas: These are a force to be reckoned with these days! From the Dalston based Square Root sodas to the commercial juggernaut Fentimans. Our eye has been caught by Kitsch sodas: Started in a student kitchen! An epic story of a young craftsman who went out to seek fantastic ingredients to create a soft drink with a little difference. His first venture: Rhubarb and Thai basil (Stewed rhubarb is gently infused with Thai basil before being finished with hand pressed Rhubarb Juice) followed by Cucumber and fennel (Hand pressed English cucumber juice is infused overnight with fennel seeds and blended with white wine vinegar) has seen his online shop sell out!
  • Summer muddles: Mocktails, presse with pretty garnish, combination of juices! These are the most popular choice by far. Our list ranges from our Rhubarb and raspberry spritz: rhubarb syrup with smashed raspberries and fizzed with tonic to Mango and plum sweet tea; mango puree with cold brew rooibos tea. We vary our suggestions depending on the occasion and the venue. Of course garnish is often as valued as taste when it comes to making ‘softs special’. We adorn our glasses with edible petals, herb leaves, pomegranate seeds or berries and even sometimes dehydrated fruit crisps.
  • Nonalcoholic spirits: This one is rather a taste it to believe it! Seedlip, the world’s first non alcoholic spirit was started by Ben Branson. Ben, from a family of farmers started experimenting. He spent two years in his kitchen experimenting with combining and re-combining a myriad or herbs, spices and vegetables from the farmland – hay, peas, rosemary, thyme to name a few! Each batch of ‘spirit’ is made in six weeks in a copper still. It’s brilliant simply with a tonic water and offers a great alternative to that trusted G&T.

Wedding trends of the 2017 season so far

Wedding calligraphy

With wedding season in full throttle it’s great to see so many plans and visions finally coming together. Our event team have helped plan and run weddings across the city from leafy Kenwood House, the sun drenched Orangery at Holland Park to blue plaqued William Morris Gallery.

  • Free and rustic: From the loose tendrils on our bride’s bouquets to the straw coloured linen choices or even the selection of rustic wooden canape trays finished with English blooms.
  • Moss and ‘candle light’: We have seen so much of it we can’t really bunch this into the above. Lanterns nestled onto mossy glades in doorways has been the wow factor at a few weddings.
  • Welcome boards and signage: with the continued popularity this season on calligraphy message boards are ever popular. Our couples are thinking about every detail from the staging of a guest entrance to the rose gold bar menus.
  • Flower favours: from mini potted sedums to goodbye posies; we have seen couples wanting to invest in a living memory of their day more and more
  • Gin: this popular spirit is not going away! Gin bars are ever popular. With so many artisan beautiful bottles it’s no wonder that these are spectacular focal points for a wedding day. Our favorite is the Eden Mill ceramic bottles, their ‘love gin’ includes a blend of red rose petals, marshmallow root, goji berries and whole hibiscus flowers.

Inspired new menus from the kitchen

Earl Grey tea poached apricot, Brioch melba toast, tea leaf gel

Our new menus have officially been launched and tasted! True to ethos our chefs have stuck to form, relishing in seasonal ingredients and tastes. So what do the new season’s menus hold and why should you be keen to have a little taste?  Our kitchen team, always keen to stay abreast of food trends have been embracing the raw- eating movement, Korean flavors in their homemade kimchi and their never ending passion for showing off humble ingredients in a new way!

Our favorites so far have been:

Bowl food to watch!

Chargrilled artichoke and fennel served on a courgette spaghetti with olive oil, lemon and thyme dressing

Bowl food to watch!

Spiced buttermilk and seeded sourdough crust chicken with carrot ribbons, cauliflower kimchi and carrot gel

Bowl food to watch!

Oxtail cakes with wild mushroom and carbonized aubergine puree

Of course our pastry chef has been in on the act too with her infamous Tea and Toast. It’s a celebration of all things English!  From the earl grey poached apricots and the toast cream, it’s a dessert to finish in true British style.

New venue listing: Icetank

Icetank venueWe are thrilled to be now listed at Icetank a unique blank canvas event space in the heart of Covent Garden. The white walled, ultra-cool venue stretches around a show kitchen. Perfect for the C&P food ethos!  Cooks and Partners joins the venues suppliers list to enhance the offer not only in their bespoke events but also in their daytime menu offering too;  offering our delivery service into the venue as a cost effective alternative without compromising our trademark tastes!

We join the suppliers list with a wealth of experience in food brand collaborations and launch events; a real target demographic of the venue. The venue is the ultimate back drop for immersive brand experiences and we can’t wait to see what the calendar holds!