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1921’s Zack Deakins welcomes the seasonal produce becoming available, offering a colourful palette of inspiration



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This time of year in the kitchen

is so exciting. Everything changes. . . to an extent it feels like starting somewhere completely new with produce you have not seen for a year and a chance to look at them in a completely fresh way. It’s bright, it’s fresh, it’s electrifying.

The natural change in mindset brought on by the warmer weather and longer days only adds to the sense of renewal.

Suffolk lamb loin, local asparagus, Jersey Royals, goat’s curd, lamb shoulder navarin (56302880)
Suffolk lamb loin, local asparagus, Jersey Royals, goat’s curd, lamb shoulder navarin (56302880)

Our menu will get a complete overhaul. There is so much great produce already around and more coming up, it’s almost a struggle to get it all on the menu.

The palette of colour available to us becomes so alive. Starting with bright greens, we are already well into wild garlic season and the best in the world English asparagus has just started. Both are already well embedded on our menu, the latter with Suffolk lamb canon, goat’s curd and another wonderfully seasonal ingredient Jersey Royals. We have lightly pickled these to bring a nice bit of acidity to cut through the goat’s curd and the rendered fat of the lamb canon. We serve this with a little lamb navarin on the side. My take on a classic spring vegetable and lamb stew. I could eat this all day.

Staying with green, sorrel is wonderful at the moment and of course we can all get excited about the impending arrival of peas, broad beans and runner beans, which will all no doubt feature on our menus in the coming months.

English Strawberries with pistachio and basil (56302882)
English Strawberries with pistachio and basil (56302882)

Colours wise, we continue with red and, of course, you would have to start with strawberries. Unbelievably, local strawberries are already available, and we got them straight on our menu last weekend. They come in the guise of a playful take on jelly and ice cream. Strawberries are simply served with basil sorbet, pistachio ice cream and a fresh strawberry jelly. It is simple, but it is just exciting to rediscover the wonderful flavour of strawberries and I just want to have that wash over you.

Peaches and apricots will give us oranges and yellows, cherries, raspberries and red gooseberries bringing deep red and purple to our plates. I feel so charged up for the next few months in the kitchen.

It’s not just a change of ingredients, of course. The processes we use day-to-day become lighter. There will be less confit, less braised.. . . more ceviche, more dressing. The approaching warmer weather makes us all desire lighter, fresher food, and the season generously provides us with the ingredients to do just that.

The approaching summer will also see the return of food demonstrations, of which we have a couple coming up. In August, we will be back at the Bury food festival. My sous chef Aonghas and I have done these for a couple of years now and we always come away with some ridiculous story to tell. The first year, Aonghas poured boiling water into the sink on stage. . . only to discover the sink wasn’t plumbed in, so we spent the rest of the demo splashing around in a puddle.

Last year, we were so busy in the run-up to it I had no time to plan what we were going to cook. Because of this, there was no food ordered, so the Sunday morning – two hours before the demo – we were running around our kitchen trying to find enough ingredients to make a dish.

This is normally the one demo of the year we do, but as we are now closed on Wednesdays it has allowed us to do one at the Suffolk Show for Infusions – I look forward to having a new story to tell after that one.

So, if you are at either the Suffolk Show or the Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink Festival, please do come check us out. Who knows what might happen!

Zack Deakins is chef patron of 1921 Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds.

Call 01284 704870

Visit www.nineteen-twentyone.co.uk