Surprise delivery: Skye Gyngell prepares lunch using fresh produce from Sting's farm

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Last Saturday we held a lunch at the restaurant to celebrate the beautiful produce that is regularly supplied to us by Lake House Organics. Lake House is a farm owned by the musician Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler – it produces everything from lamb, pork, beef and chicken, to lovely little organic free-range eggs and a selection of the most wonderfully fresh seasonal vegetables, herbs and salad leaves.

The couple also have an estate in Tuscany, where they have their own bees and make a variety of honeys, from my favourite – chestnut – through to acacia and honeydew, as well as their own extra-virgin olive oil, all of which sells under the name Il Palagio.

We ordered the lamb, pork and some river trout a couple of weeks in advance, but took pot luck with vegetables and herbs – waiting to see what we got in the delivery, due the day before our lunch.

What arrived was better than we could have hoped for – beautifully vibrant broad beans, the smallest, sweetest carrots and rainbow chard of the most vibrant hues. The salad leaves included mizuna, rocket and dandelion as well as bundles of glorious summer herbs: dill, borage and tiny peppery nasturtium flowers in oranges, pinks and crimson.

This is my favourite way to work – with an element of surprise. I enjoy not quite knowing what you might find in the garden – or what may unexpectedly arrive on your doorstep; it's the most creative way to cook.

Rather than planning the menu in advance, we placed all the ingredients to hand on our workbench and just allowed the menu to unravel over the first of the morning's steaming cup of coffee. It's fun to bandy about ideas – everyone puts in thoughts and opinions and then we come up with a menu we all feel happy with.

These are a few of the things we came up with last Saturday morning – it helps when the raw ingredients are the best they can be – and these most definitely were!

Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627. For details on Lake House produce, see The Forager below

Bruschetta of summer vegetables with pounded almond paste

The day before the lunch, huge baskets of squeaky fresh vegetables arrived on our doorstep, so beautiful that we wanted to showcase them in the purest possible way. This is the dish we came up with.

Serves 4

10 little carrots
1kg broad beans
1 bunch rainbow chard (you can use Swiss chard if it is easier to find)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
The juice and zest of one lemon
50g/2oz grated Parmesan
60ml/21/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil

For the almond paste

1 dried red chilli
1 bunch of rosemary, leaves only
1 clove of garlic
2 anchovies
1 handful of blanched almonds
120ml/4fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
30ml/11/2fl oz red-wine vinegar

To serve

4 thick slices of chewy peasant-style bread
1 whole clove of garlic, peeled

First make the almond mixture: place the chilli, rosemary leaves, garlic and anchovies into a pestle and mortar and pound until you have a rough paste. Then add the almonds, three or four at a time, pounding to a paste as you go, and continue until all the almonds have been incorporated. Stir in the olive oil and the vinegar and set aside while you cook the vegetables and grill the bread.

Peel the carrots and chop into one-inch rounds. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water; add a pinch of salt. Place over a medium heat and bring to a boil, cooking the carrots until tender (about 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and drain in a colander. Set aside while you cook the other vegetables.

Pod the broad beans. Boil a pot of well-salted water, add the beans and cook for three minutes. Drain and allow to cool. Now "double-pod" the beans, peeling off the tough pale skin to reveal the tender, brightly coloured bean beneath.

Rinse the chard well and boil a pot of well-salted water. Blanch the chard – this will take a couple of minutes – and drain.

Place all the cooked vegetables into a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Squeeze over the lemon juice, add the Parmesan and lemon zest and the olive oil. Toss together thoroughly with your fingers. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Grill the bread and, when it is golden-brown, rub each piece of toast with the garlic. Place one piece on a plate and pile on the cooked, dressed vegetables. Spoon over the almond paste and serve at once.

Leeks vinaigrette with eggs mimosa

A timeless classic, elegant and simple. Eggs mimosa are so called because they resemble the flower, and as Lake House provided us with 30 of the freshest eggs –– not quite enough for us to make cakes – we decided to make this lovely dish.

Serves 5

20-25 trimmed small leeks, well washed
200ml/7fl oz verjus or wine
300ml/10fl oz water
8 whole black peppercorns
4 sprigs of thyme
3 fresh bay leaves

For the vinaigrette

11/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp double cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2tbsp red-wine vinegar
100ml/31/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil

Eggs mimosa, to serve

2 organic free-range eggs, hard-boiled
A handful of black olives
Small bunch of curly parsley, finely sliced

Check that the leeks are thoroughly cleaned; they can retain a lot of dirt. Place the verjus and water into a pan and add the peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves. Place over a medium heat and bring to a gentle boil, then add the leeks. Turn down the heat slightly and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: place the mustard and cream into a small bowl, add a little salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Add the red-wine vinegar and whisk together. Now slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking as you do so, until you get a thick, emulsified sauce.

Now peel the hard-boiled eggs and grate them on the finest holes of your grater – they should have the lightest texture imaginable. As soon as the leeks are tender, remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Lay them neatly on top of each other on warm plates and spoon over half the vinaigrette. Scatter the grated eggs and the olives, sprinkle over the parsley, and drizzle over the last of the vinaigrette. Serve at once with warm crusty bread to mop it all up.

Slow-cooked lamb with red peppers and chickpeas

Lovely, tender little legs of lamb arrived from Lake House along with salad leaves and vegetables. We decided to slow-cook the lamb and accompany it with a burst of summer vegetables and herbs.

Serves 4-6

1 leg of lamb, trimmed of most of its fat
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
700ml /241/2fl oz white wine
6 salted anchovies
10 cloves of garlic, peeled and just crushed
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
1/2tbsp fennel seeds
1 bunch of marjoram

For the red peppers and chickpeas

2 large red peppers, sliced in half, deseeded
80ml/3fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch of little plum tomatoes
1 bunch of marjoram
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
220g/71/2oz cooked chickpeas
A handful of rocket leaves

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Now place a roasting pan on top of the stove over a medium heat. Season the lamb well all over with salt and pepper. Add a little oil to the roasting pan and, when hot, add the leg of lamb. Brown well all over – this will take a good 10 minutes. When the lamb is well-browned, remove from the heat, take out of the pan and set aside while you pour the fat in the pan away.

Return the roasting dish to the heat and deglaze it with the wine, allowing the wine to bubble and reduce slightly. Now add the anchovies, garlic, dried chilli, fennel seeds and marjoram.

Carefully return the lamb to the roasting tin, cover with foil and place in the warm oven. Cook for three hours, turning once or twice during that time. The meat should be meltingly tender and falling apart, while the sauce will be reduced, aromatic and intense in flavour.

While the meat is cooking, slice the peppers into thick two-inch strips and place in a roasting tray. Pour over the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and scatter over the little tomatoes and the marjoram. Cover in foil and place in the oven along with the lamb. Cook covered for half an hour, then remove from the oven and stir in the balsamic vinegar and the cooked chickpeas. Return to the oven and cook for a further half-hour uncovered then remove from the oven and stir in the rocket. Serve alongside the lamb.

Walnut tart

This reminds me of a treacle tart, only the flavour is more complex and elegant. Its flavour is sticky and malty – and it is completely delicious served with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Serves 10-12 (keeps well for a day or two)

For the pastry

250g/8oz plain flour
125g/4oz unsalted butter
1tsp caster sugar
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1 whole organic free-range egg
1tbsp iced water

For the filling

300g/10oz shelled walnuts
300g/10oz unsalted butter
200g/7oz caster sugar
100ml/31/2fl oz chestnut honey
6 organic free-range eggs
The zest of one unwaxed lemon

Start by making the pastry. Sift the flour and place in a food processor. Add the butter – first diced into small cubes – the sugar and vanilla extract and finally the egg. Turn the motor on and pulse until it is the consistency of damp sand or crumble topping. Add the water and continue to pulse. The pastry will soon begin to come together and form a ball. Turn off the motor and remove the pastry. Wrap in parchment paper and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Once the pastry has chilled, remove from the fridge and flour a work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry into a circle that is about an eighth of an inch thick. Line a 10-inch tart tin, pressing the pastry into the sides of the tin firmly with your thumbs. Prick the base of the pastry well all over using a fork and return to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes. While the pastry is chilling, make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Place the nuts in a roasting tin and toast briefly in the warm oven for no more than 3-4 minutes, to tickle out the flavour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then place in a food processor and pulse until ground. Add the butter, sugar and honey, and turn the motor on. Add one egg at a time and purée until smooth.Fold in the lemon zest, remove from the mixer and set aside.

Remove the chilled tart case from the fridge and place on the middle shelf of the hot oven. Blind-bake (using baking paper and dried or baking beans to weigh it down) for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon in the nut-and-honey paste. Return to the middle shelf of the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the centre is just wobbly to the touch and the top is a rich nutty brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Cut into slices and serve with a generous dollop of crème fraîche.

The Forager by Wendy Fogarty

Petersham's food sourcer on the range of food available from Lake House...

Lake House ( launching a new range of products, which includes Seville orange marmalade with coriander; beetroot chutney; gooseberry, sage and mint jelly; fig, date and thyme relish; and lemon and lime curd. The full range is currently on sale at Selfridges, while its Il Palagio range of honeys and extra-virgin olive oil is available from

The rare-breed meats produced on the farm include: Gloucester Old Spot and Saddleback pigs, Lleyn sheep, Sasso Chicken and Guernsey and Brown Swiss dairy cows. Rare-breed meats are best sourced from local farmers' markets – for details in your area, contact the National Association of Farmers' Markets (

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