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Coming soon – Cornwall Place Kitchen

Since letting everyone know about the next chapter in our story – taking the keys to Cornwall Place Kitchen and giving Inspires Dining its first home – we’ve been a little bit overwhelmed by the response. There’s been so much support from people we know and those we’ve yet to meet, which only helps to make this journey even more exciting as it’s great to know that there are people who are interested in what we’re working on.

Thank you so much to everyone who has followed us on Instagram or Facebook and let us know that you’re interested in what we’re working on – it all helps to keep us going and we hope you’re enjoying the updates from our work to get Cornwall Place Kitchen ready and open.

Over the last few months we’ve had a great response to the ventures which started this whole process – IDeli and IDIY – so we’re going to continue them both and, thanks to the space we now have at Cornwall Place Kitchen, we’re looking into ways of expanding our offering.

Our new location in Buckingham gives us space for two really exciting opportunities – we’re currently installing a kitchen upstairs and seating for up to 10 people. This will allow us to offer a uniquely intimate fine dining experience that will have all the quality of a restaurant service but with the friendly feeling of a private party. We’ve been offering this kind of modern high end dining at home for a little over a year now and we’ve had some fantastic services and experiences, so to be able to offer this is something of a dream come true.

Downstairs we’re working on a coffee shop and counter for people to pop in and see us for a drink, a cake or a quick bite to eat. We think that a really good cup of coffee, served exactly how you like it, is actually a really important thing, as it can set you up for the day, bring back a happy memory or give you a great excuse to meet up with someone after a while apart.

With everything that’s been happening in the last few months, we’ve all had to adjust and change the way we do things. Even in the few weeks we’ve been working on Cornwall Place Kitchen, we’ve seen the ‘The Rule of Six’ come into being and a clamp down on larger gatherings. As you can imagine, this has forced us to be flexible and consider how we open and what we offer when we do.

For example, we’ll have space for up to 10 people upstairs, but for a while we can only serve up to six – that’s fine though, as it won’t impact the experience as far as we’re concerned.

In a similar way, our plans for downstairs will need to evolve over time – eventually we’d like to serve food in the evenings and host events here, but for the time being that might be difficult, so we’re going to focus on making the best use of the space we can and ensuring that everyone can feel comfortable with the few tables we have space for.

Overall, we want to offer a warm, friendly and homely experience where the quality of the products we serve can speak for themselves. We want our place to feel like an extension of yours so the relationships that we build up with the people and businesses in our area as almost as important as the food and drink that we want to serve. One of the things that place like Buckingham are so amazing for is the feeling of community and togetherness, which are probably more important now than they have been for a long, long time. We’re really excited about becoming part of that community and growing into our place over time.

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We’ve already had a few questions about what we’ll be doing when we open and what to expect. Here’s a few of the most common ones and a couple of answers: –

Where are you going to be?

As in the name, we are based in Cornwall Place, which for those of you unfamiliar is a small shopping walk in Buckingham near Waitrose. There is plenty of parking, we will validate your 50p during the day and if you are walking the dog, bring them too for a puppaccino.

Will you be serving alcohol?

Yes – we’re awaiting confirmation of our change of use and premises licence. We are looking forward to having really cool wine and cocktail pairings with our menus, alongside some cool homemade cordial mixes for the non-drinkers.

When do you think you’ll be open?

We’re currently working hard to try and open at the start of November. The previous tenants of Cornwall Place Kitchen left us something of a blank canvas, which is great as it means we can really make it own – but it does also mean that we have to do everything from scratch, which includes sanding, painting and re-flooring – as well as things that take a bit more lead time, such as installing a kitchen and a counter.

What is your inspiration and what will you be serving?

Above all us, we’re inspired by quality – we want to share great food and drink with the people we meet and we want everyone to share in that experience. We believe in using good local produce from local suppliers as much as possible and we want to ensure that our business and practices are as sustainable as possible. We want to reduce our waste as much as we can, so we like to be creative with the ingredients we buy, looking to make as much of things as possible, so, for example, we might serve special, one-off items in our deli based on ingredients used for a fine dining experience. Reduced waste equals lower costs and better value.


We’ve yet to decide on our menus and exact offerings just yet as we want to get the venue right first. As soon as we’re ready to share what our menus might include, we’ll make sure to keep everyone updated.

How will you be handling the Covid regulations?

Probably the most important thing to remember in this respect is that they are liable to change – we’re trying to make sure that whatever we do, we’re flexible and able to accommodate. For instance, the latest rules say no more than six people and restaurants have to close at 10pm – that’s no problem for us, we’ll reduce our planned capacity upstairs and we’ll ensure that there’s enough room downstairs for everyone to have at least a metre to themselves.


Inspires Dining: A Little Piece About Our Next Steps

There are so many old cliches about starting something new: one door closes, another opens; turning over a new leaf; laying the foundations for the new home.

We’ve all heard these many times before, but it doesn’t take away the excitement, magnitude or uncertainty of leaving behind that which was familiar in favour of the new and unknown.

Another great cliche currently brewing is that which depicts the year 2020 as one of change, unprecedented change. How many times have we all heard and used that word in recent months?

For us too at Inspires Dining, 2020 will be remembered as a year of huge turmoil – after a number of years working happily and very successfully at The Brasserie at Milton Keynes College, that particular chapter of life has now come to an end. Over the years we’ve delivered many functions, been through seemingly endless changes and served countless hot meals, but most importantly we’ve played a part in changing the lives of dozens of young people. Working in an education environment is an enlightening experience, but that’s even more the case when it’s an industry you care so deeply about and which provides opportunities that were never thought possible.

Many of the students who came to the College’s catering courses arrived with no idea of what they wanted from life – a surprisingly high number of them had little or no interest in catering and there were even some who had no clue where to start. Helping them build their skills, discover their passion and, more often than not, discover their own true identity, is what made all the long hours, stressful meetings and sticky situations worthwhile.

There were many, many good times at The Brasserie – multiple recognitions from industry experts including being named College Restaurant of the Year, winning Milton Keynes’ Restaurant of the Year, mentoring a student to win Young Master Chef of the Year, working with household names and hipster heroes – we packed in a lot of incredible experiences, all of which were for the benefit of the students, but many of which gave us unforgettable memories and unique insights of our own.

We’ve been really lucky to work with some incredibly talented and experienced people in our time at The Brasserie – there’s too many to name them all here and we’d run the risk of leaving some out, but just know that if we’ve worked with you, we loved it, we learned from it and we can’t wait to do it again.

Which kind of brings us to the next stage – the next layer on the cake, if you will. Maybe that cliche won’t stick like the rest.

Life in lockdown was a strange time. The leisure and hospitality industries took a beating and established names in catering were forced to re-think how they run their business in order to survive.

As a burgeoning local business, it was no different for Inspires Dining; we took our passion for locally produced, sustainable products and two new concepts were created: IDIY (we do some of the cooking, you finish it at home and make it look awesome) and IDELI (you did try one of our pies, didn’t you?). Working on getting these two product ranges off the ground gave us something to concentrate on and lit a fire inside – how could we do this every day alongside the intimate fine dining concept that lies at the heart of Inspires Dining?

So we set about finding a way of making the every-now-and-then into every day. We worked on finding a home for Inspires Dining – somewhere we could call our own that would give us the room to think, create and feel, well, inspired.

After looking at a few options, including some serious home renovation projects, we found a place. Cornwall Place. Some of you might know it, others can look forward to getting to know it. Just off the high street in Buckingham, down a little alley way, is where you’ll soon be able to find our place.

We’re currently working on making it just how we want it, with space for George’s intimate fine dining experience upstairs and Sarah’s homely coffee shop down below, so there’s plenty of work to be getting on with at the moment.

You might have seen some of our updates on social media – if not, make sure you follow us to keep up to date with what’s happening and when. We’re hoping to soon be opening our doors to offer perfect, handmade barista coffee in the morning, locally sourced snacks and lunches during the day and contemporary fine dining with the feeling of home in the evening – all underpinned by our passion for inspiring others to become the best they can and our commitment to sustainability and the environment.

There’s a lot to do and we can’t wait to get started for real, but hopefully you’ll join us on the journey and we’ll see you soon at Cornwall Place Kitchen.

George & Sarah, Inspires Dining.


George’s Leftover BBQ Beans

First of all let’s take a moment to look at how delicious the ribs that we barbecued look. We have just bought a new toy to play with, a smoker, and this was the first thing we cooked on it.



With the weather heating up this week you will likely be lighting up the BBQ yourself. We know what it is like, you want a bit of everything at the butcher’s or supermarket which means there is usually bowls of leftover chargrilled meat in your fridge the next day.

Here is our favourite quick and easy recipe for using up the meat from your barbecue using general store cupboard items.

Step 1



Get a high sided roasting tin and chop up everything you have and anything you fancy putting in it such as:

  • Sausages
  • Ribs
  • Chicken
  • Burger
  • Kebabs (with veg)
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Corn
  • Peppers

Roast it for about 10 mins on 160 degrees until it is hot.

Step 2



Add a tin of beans, we have used one tin of baked beans per person but you can use as much or as little as you like and whatever beans you have in the cupboard. Add some BBQ sauce and passata if you fancy it (if you have opted for the plain beans option you will need passata for the tomatoey flavour).

Stage 3



Roast until it is hot, hot, hot. If you have an egg, crack into the middle and cook for 6 minutes before the end.

Stage 4


Top with some grated cheese and serve with a sweet potato jacket.

What do you do with your BBQ leftovers? We would love to know. Follow our story and read more about us via our social media channels.


Celebrating World Sea Turtle Day.

Anyone who knows, works or has bought food from us will have undoubtably heard us say “but think about the turtles!”; it has become something of a mantra of ours to make people think a little bit about waste. It is lighthearted and fun but there is real meaning behind it. 

Helping try to protect the world’s oceans in the food industry is a really big challenge. Pollution, waste, over-fishing, climate change and habitat destruction are increasingly putting marine life at risk and we have to accept that as an industry we have played a part in this. 

BUT…just because it has been like that in the past doesn’t mean it has to be like that in the future.

This is what we are doing; 

Reduce.

Packaging –  you will only find necessary packaging with our products.

Waste – we have little food waste; where possible we will use every part of the produce for something. We even make stock from the butcher’s unwanted chicken bones. 

Growing – last year we took ownership of an allotment, with a vision that in the future we can create menus based on the produce we have growing seasonally. 

Plastic – we request all our deliveries in plastic free packaging and take reusable containers to collect the meat from the butcher. 

Our footprint – our deliveries are only once a week, and we prefer to deliver than collect so that less overall miles will be travelled. 

Supplier footprint – we use local suppliers who we know buy their produce locally. We plan menus seasonally to ensure we are not ordering food with a large carbon footprint. 

Reuse. 

Packaging – all the packaging you get will be able to be reused. 

Storage – in trying to fight the chef war on cling film habits of the past, wherever possible reusable containers will be used to store food. (Try this at home yourself, you will save a fortune on cling film).

Up-cycling – all of our linen was made from discarded denim off cuts. 

Recycling 

Packaging – once you have reused our packaging to death, it can all be recycled.

Food waste – compostable food will be composted ready for the allotment. 

With regards to recycling, food waste bins and composting, be sure to check out your council’s recycling and composting guidelines as they are all seemingly different from one to the next. 

We are all not perfect, but all it takes is for everyone to do a little everyday to make a big impact. 

In celebration of World Sea Turtle Day, Inspires Dining is going a little bit further to help protect the future of sea turtles and we have proudly become adopted parents of two. So be prepared for lots of upcoming turtle spam! 

Inspires Dining – Sustainable Dining 

Find out more about the WWF and adopting a turtle or other endangered animals below.

https://support.wwf.org.uk/adopt-a-turtle

https://www.wwf.org.uk/learn/wildlife/marine-turtles


Great ways to use wild garlic



Wild garlic is the most seasonal of seasonal produce usually available for just a few weeks around Easter time. Buckinghamshire is famously not famous for wild garlic but after a quick search and chat with a forager in the know, an area a couple of miles from Sarah’s house in Milton Keynes was found and a perfect opportunity for a lockdown outdoor activity. 

Checking the Countryfile guide first to ensure foraging was done responsibly she managed to bring back as much as would fit in the bike basket which left George the fun task of what to do with it. 


Preserving

As previously mentioned, wild garlic is not available all year round but there are plenty of ways to enjoy its delicate flavour and health benefits all year around. 

Oil

Perfect for salad dressings or in sauces, and will last for a few weeks or can be frozen. Blanch* your wild garlic leaves, wizz in a food processor and add equal parts good quality oil, then pass through a fine sieve. 

Drizzled over a white fish such as a seabass or seabream combined with roasted tomatoes and new potatoes (or even better, Jersey royals in June) 

The oil can also be used to make mayonnaise: check out this Great British Chef’s recipe to see how. 

https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/recipes/wild-garlic-mayonnaise-recipe

Powder 

Dehydrating as a preserving method is great because once the moisture is removed not only is the shelf life long but the flavour intensified, therefore not much is needed to pack a punch. 

You do not need a dehydrator for this all you need is an oven on 50 degrees. In the industry this is something we might do overnight and if you have an electric oven you can do this if you feel comfortable doing so. 

Once dehydrated blitz down into a fine powder in a food processor and store in an airtight container. 

Uses for the powder

  • Seasoning meat or vegetables 
  • Mix in with eggs 
  • Incorporate into bread flour to make a subtle garlic bread


Freeze 

Blanch and freeze to use in the future. Similar to spinach wild garlic wilts down so blanch* and either freeze into ice trays or small balls. 

*to blanch your leaves, place in boiling salted water for 10 seconds, remove and leave on the side a clean t-towel to dry 

Pickle 

Pickle the buds and use in salads or in a buttery sauce for a light white fish.

Standard pickle recipe

1 part water
1 part vinegar
1 part sugar


Semi preserved

Pesto 

Wild garlic pesto makes a great pesto, perfect for pasta and salads and will last about two weeks in the fridge. There are plenty of recipes to follow to make the pesto, with standard pine nuts, parmesan (or vegan alternative) and lemon juice. 

For a lovely, quick weekday spring dish, add your pesto to cooked gnocchi with cherry tomatoes, artichoke and roasted chicken breast. If you have a bit more time on your hands and feeling braver, try making the gnocchi yourself, see the video by Gennaro on Jamie Oliver’s YouTube channel to see how:- 

Butter 

Butter will last for weeks in the fridge (you could also freeze) and is really very versatile. 

Finely chop your garlic leaves and add to slightly softened butter with a touch of salt. 

The “chef” way to then store it would be as a log**, this is so you can create small portions at a time easily with a sharp knife, but you could store in a tub or a jar. 

This butter then can be used on steaks, in garlic bread or Chef George’s favourite…the mighty chicken Kiev, 

** video on how to make a compound butter 


Eat fresh 

Add the flowers to your scrambled eggs

Pimp your pizza – add leaves to a shop bought or homemade pizza before you cook or add flowers to the top after you have cooked. 

Substitute any of your favourite spinach recipes with wild garlic such as; 
Tortilla
Sweet potato fritters
Saag aloo
Pasta sauce
Filled pasta
Risotto
Filo pie filling

BBQ Marinade – blend (Nutribullet or similar) chopped wild garlic, oil, lemon and green chilli to make a marinade perfect for chicken or even to be served on steak after cooked. 

Foraging should  be done responsibly and with permission of the land owner. Read Countryfile’s guide below to make sure you are following the rules and if in doubt always follow the Countryside Code! 

https://www.countryfile.com/how-to/food-recipes/wild-garlic-guide-where-to-find-how-to-cook-it-and-recipe-ideas/

Have you ever used Wild Garlic in a recipe or have you tried it in a dish in a restaurant? Let us know if you have and what you thought via Inspiresdining on Facebook or @inspires_dining on instagram. 


Inspires Dining at Upper Tetchwick House

Since summer 2019 Inspires Dining has been working closely with Upper Tetchwick House, a beautiful holiday rental just off the A41 near Aylesbury. The house boasts room for 12 guests, a swimming pool, a games room and most importantly for us, an open plan kitchen dining room. Situated 12 miles from our HQ in Buckingham it is perfect for us to do most of the preparation before we arrive, as we usually do, leaving guests to enjoy their day at the house or explore the local area.

The benefits of hiring our professional service is that Upper Tetchwick House guests know they can have a nice dinner of their choosing, without losing any of their holiday to tasks such as doing the shopping or taking taxis to and from the house. Check out our time lapse at the bottom of what to expect when you book us. 

Working in partnership we are able to offer guests a preferential rate, bespoke service and even a weekender package, which includes lunch, dinner and breakfast. See the packages we offer here or book to stay at Upper Tetchwick House here 

We have really enjoyed the dinners we have served at the house so far but when all the guests are super relaxed, in such a fantastic setting and with a great space to cook in, what is there not to love!

Upper Tetchwick is not the only holiday home we have cooked in, as we have also previously been hired for getaway in the Cotswold. If you own a holiday home and think your guests would be interested in what we do, or are looking to book a private dining company in the Buckinghamshire area, then please get in touch. 


December at Nelson Street with Inspires Dining

Join us for our first collaboration with the awesome people from Nelson Street.

Inspires Dining Head Chef, George and Louis owner of Nelson Street (currently Louis’ Place) will be behind the pass for four Monday nights during December giving guests a fine dining taste of Christmas in Buckingham.

Guests will enjoy five courses including one of Inspires Dining’s signature canapés, mushroom suet log with truffle mayo, Louis’ crispy duck with watermelon and chilli frosted cashews and finished with macarons from Pure Patisserie.

In addition to a carefully crafted menu, as much attention has been paid to creating a wine flight paring to compliment the dishes for £30 per head.

I am excited for Inspires Dining’s first collaboration, especially with it being with Nelson Street as I have always enjoyed Louis’ style of food when working with him previously. Being based in Buckingham I am also keen to showcase local produce and cook some really good food for people in the local community and beyond.

George, Head Chef at Inspires Dining

Bookings have already started to be taken by Nelson Street’s loyal patrons so book early to avoid disappointment.


No fresher than this.

In August myself and my family swapped our usual summer trip to the states for some Caribbean sunshine in Barbados. 


Those of you that have been to Barbados will know that it has an awful lot going for it…the coffee not being one of them! As someone who has barista coffee on tap normally, the exploration of finding somewhere for a decent coffee was an amusing one, but discovering Keshwan in Coffee House Italia (that actually had oat milk) after a few days was a great find. He would have my oat milk flat white ready for me each morning as he saw me arrive, awesome service!


As a chef who works as far away from the sea as possible in the UK, obtaining fish always seems to pose a challenge, which is a shame to me because actually, I prefer cooking fish to meat. It is crazy to me that we live on an island surrounded by water but to get a reliable commercial supplier is one of my biggest barriers. Often my suppliers want to try and throw portions of fish at me rather than fresh whole fish. It is funny because I remember a conversation recently where I called my supplier for a whole fish, they said they couldn’t supply it but they could supply the fillets, baffling. 


We love a good fishing trip when we are on holiday so I was really excited that we were going to have the opportunity to do this and see what the tropical seas had to offer. As per usual my brother Jack was in his element and always catches the biggest fish. We managed to catch some barracuda, which for me with my chef head on was really exciting. Barracudas are a subtropical fish so realistically not something I will be cooking in the UK unless I am ok with the miles it has travelled or have a lot of money to spend. We have caught Barracuda before but have never been able to eat it as what they consume in the seas near Florida can make you really ill, but the sea in Barbados is much cleaner so they are fine. 


I was so happy with my barracuda, we took it back to the dock where I filleted it, wrapped it up in paper and headed off in a taxi back to our villa. There really is something so cool to think of all the processes required to get a fish to a plate at work and I just had my lunch straight out the sea ready to go on the BBQ. Never seen a cargo crate, never seen a delivery van, never seen a fridge. Literally, ocean, taxi, BBQ, plate! Awesome. 


Bucks County Show 2019

When Laura, a good friend of ID, said she was entering the Bucks County Show this year, I was instantly intrigued: what on earth was she actually talking about?! 


After a bit of research, I realised that it was right up our street. A food hall full of local producers as well as some awesome examples of home bakers and gardeners, using and growing local products.
We arrived at about 11:30am and of course made a beeline for the food tent. As a result, this meant that by 11:34am we had already sampled at least three types of Foxdenton Gin, with our particular favourite being the Winslow Plum. A quick browse on their website this morning I am gutted to have missed their Dark Lantern rum so I will certainly be picking one of them up in the future (We’re big fans of rum at IDHQ). 

The food hall was buzzing with people all there for little taste tests of what the producers had to offer. One thing you will always notice if you go to a local food market is the willingness of the producers for you to sample their product. My mum, who accompanied me for the day, questioned at one point if it is worth the exhibitors giving away so much, but knowing what it is like from the other side of the table, you spend so long mastering the products that you just want to share it with everyone. Yes, it is ultimately a sales technique but just a small conversation with any of the artisan producers and you realise just how proud and passionate they are.

After a quick lap of the food hall we moved on to see how Laura had performed in the categories she had entered items into, as well as a quick scope out of some groups we could potentially enter next year (once the ID allotment has more than just mud!). As someone who has adapted very well to suburban life in Milton Keynes I cannot lie, I was instantly taken back to my village roots, seeing all these tables full of cakes, flowers and produce. It was great! Then the educator in me also loved to see how all these people entering each class had interpreted the exact same recipe – apart from the Victoria sponges, they all looked so different. The vegetable cake section particularly caught our eye; courgettes are in abundance this time of year so we could potentially develop an ID courgette cake for next year (although a year development maybe taking it a little too seriously!). We were really proud to see that Laura had come first in class for her lemon curd, but her mum really stole the show with plenty of 1st, 2nd and 3rds. We might have to send Laura in to get some of her recipes! 


All in all, it was a really good day out; later in the day I got chatting with the Buckinghamshire beekeepers and sampled some of their local honey fudge, so that is one item I will definitely be encouraging chef George to re-create. When I went back to the food hall later on, so many producers’ presentations were looking quite bare, which was great to see. 


Now to get planning for next year… 


Top 5 Tips To Survive a Heatwave

Team ID give their best ways to get through the sunny days…

1 Advanced preparation. Mornings are cooler so use this time to cook a few elements in advance that can be chilled in fridge while you’re out enjoying the sunshine (or at work, boo). Try any of these below to make an awesome salad:

  • Roasted sweet potato cubes – either plain or with a little of your favourite seasoning
  • Boiled new potatoes – Jersey Royals are the best when available
  • Steamed green vegetables such as mange tout, sugar snaps and asparagus
  • Boiled eggs
  • Roasted sweet peppers (remove the skins) and tomatoes
  • Grilled aubergine or courgette
  • Any kind of grain, quinoa cooked in beetroot or carrot juice is a particular favourite.

2 Smoothies. Keep some berries and bananas in the freezer, then whizz them together with either a bit of juice or milk to make one of your 5 a day into a super cool and refreshing treat. Even better…turn them into lollipops.



3 Iced coffee. We don’t know about you but even on a hot day we still need our caffeine fix! If you have an espresso machine then great, make yourself a double; if not then make yourself a really small, really strong instant shot (if you want sugar, add when it is hot). Pour it over a glass of ice, top up with milk (oat milk is our fave) and have a quick stir. Quick, delicious and without the coffee chain price tag.

4 Eat plenty of food high in water, such and watermelon, strawberries and cucumber, as these all help to regulate your core body temperature. Avoid anything spicy or high in saturated fat such as fried food as these can contribute to raising your temperature even higher.



5 H20. Nothing fancy, nothing special, just plain old water from a tap and plenty of it. You will not want to do any of the above if you are dehydrated, feeling terribly lethargic with a headache. Just please think of our pals the turtles and carry a reusable bottle with you rather than single use, disposable plastic.