On Saturday 28th March, The Little Pickle held it’s first ever Pop Up Event at The Old Prison in Northleach. Nearly 40 people paid the £35 ticket price to come and enjoy a four course tasting menu of local and seasonal delicacies including guinea fowl terrine “Coronation style”, mackerel served cured, charred & smoked, Gloucester Old Spot pork belly & scotch egg, spiced apple textures with set vanilla custard & cinnamon doughnuts.
We had planned and decided the main menu almost a month before the event, however, we still wanted our guests to enjoy a surprise canapé with their pre dinner drinks. We stumbled upon the main ingredient for our canapé the day before the Pop Up while walking along the Broadway hills only a few miles away. Nestled along the edge of a 3 or 4 mile path lied rows and rows of young wild garlic. Delicate little bright green leaves which give off a lovely allium aroma and pack as much punch as a raw garlic clove. So we grabbed a few leaves, popped them in our back pack and spent the rest of the walk deciding what to do with them.
Eventually, we came up with wild garlic aioli, the leaves would give it the most intense chlorophyl green colour, while retaining the classic garlicky taste. Now to find something to dip into it and potato skins seemed like the perfect option. We were peeling a load of potatoes for the bubble and squeak on the main course, why should they be chucked in the bin when they could be washed and fried then simply sprinkled with salt and pepper.
With most of the prep done in advance on the eve of the pop up, We only had a few jobs to complete that morning. The main one, and one of our favourites, was the bread. We decided to go for three different flavours: wholemeal rolls using Shipton Mill stoneground flour, a poppy seed bloomer and finally a wild garlic foccacia using some of that lovely left over wild garlic oil.
Once we arrived at the venue: The Cotswold Lion Cafe @ The Old Prison in Northleach, we got to work setting up the service area. Anyone who’s seen the kitchen there, will know there’s hardly enough space to swing a cat, let alone plate up 40 dishes at once! So we made use of the much roomier courtroom next door….
Guests started to arrive from 7.30pm, at which point they were greeted by Jess, the manager at the Old Prison and Emma & Sophie, who were helping out for the evening. With drinks in hand, they were offered their foraged canapé before being shown their table.
From then, plates of food left the kitchen, or rather the courtroom, so quickly that before we knew it we were sending dessert and clearing down for the night.
And so with the washing up done, kitchen & courtroom left the way we found them, we headed home for a well earned beer and began brainstorming the menu for the next one…..