Recipes and notes from Charlie Hibbert, Chef Director at Thyme: a pastoral idyll which offers a place to pause for thought in harmony with the seasons.
A bucolic retreat of rooms, luxury and rest, Thyme provides a range of workshops, treatments, events, and some of the most delicious, locally sourced food in the county at the Ox Barn.
Stuffed Courgette Flowers with Honey and Pecorino
A little courgette flower, filled with ricotta and deep fried is a deceptively simple way to wow your dinner guests. Crispy and comforting, with a bit of sweet honey and salty pecorino makes a very pleasing little starter or a lunch time mezze treat. We are lucky enough to have our own bees making honey right next to the courgette patch, abundant with fruit and blooms.
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter
- 4 large courgette flowers
- 1 tub ricotta
- Grated pecorino – 100g for the stuffing and 50g to scatter
- Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- A handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- Vegetable oil for cooking
For the batter:
- 140g corn flour (keep a heaped tbsp aside to dip the flowers into first)
- 60g plain four
- 180ml chilled sparkling water
- A large pinch of table salt
- Mix the flours and salt in a bowl and start to lightly whisk in the water. Don’t overwork it – you want it to be as light as a feather.
- Prepare the courgette flowers by gently cutting out the stamens with a pair of scissors. Brush away any dirt and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Add the ricotta, 100g pecorino (or Parmesan if you can’t find pecorino), lemon zest and chopped parsley to a bowl and mix well. Season to taste. Put as large a spoonful of stuffing into each flower as they will take and twist the petals at the end to close.
- If you’re deep frying on the hob, put about 6cm of oil into a deep pot, wide enough to hold a couple of flowers and heat up until visibly hot (a light bubble should do it). Be very careful with this method – oil has a tendency to bubble over the side hence the pot needs to be deep.
- Dip each flower gently into a little corn flour, shake gently and then cover in batter. Pop into the oil and fry until golden brown.
- Remove from the pot with heat-proof tongs and remove the excess oil by gently patting with kitchen roll. If you’re using an airfryer, follow the instructions and ensure that the flowers are golden brown before you serve them.
- Put onto a warm plate, drizzle a little honey and sprinkle a little pecorino over the flower and serve immediately.
Holiday season is upon us. At Thyme, this means slowing down and re-charging those batteries, ready for September’s back-to-reality fast pace. The Meadow Spa, spring water swimming, and the Orchid House are very much up and running, and we have a series of spa away-days that will allow you to spend time by the pool, eating, drinking and taking in Thyme’s sense of calm, restoration and general well-being without being a hotel guest.
Our spa package days include The Botanical Bothy Experience – focusing on a bespoke breathe, nurture and restore treatment, The Bertioli Experience takes in the Bertioli breathe, nurture and restore treatment and The Aurelia Experience, a face and body treatment. Aurelia partners exclusively with Thyme for their probiotic skincare treatments. Each includes an Orchid House lunch and a glass of botanical sparkling wine, complimentary herbal tea and a Bertioli gift – not to mention a stroll around the gardens, should you fancy it.
Discover more online at thyme.co.uk/happenings