Food and Meals
Hanford has two stunning walled gardens which produce wonderful ingredients for the kitchen throughout the year. The seasonal vegetables grown in the garden and used by the school chefs include tomatoes, swiss chard, lettuce, cabbage, leeks, onions, squash and pumpkins. The walled garden also has plenty of soft fruit, raspberries, black currants, gooseberry and loganberries, most of these are picked and frozen over the summer holidays ready for the girls return in September. Herbs are also grown, rosemary for example is used in our homemade focaccia, a firm favourite with the girls.
The grounds also have an orchard which is full of apple, pear, plum and quince trees. The kitchen team loves the autumnal season, and much of the fruit produced ends up in a series of delicious crumbles and puddings. But it’s also a time to fill the stores with homemade produce including chutneys, mincemeats, bottled fruits and apple puree. We have so many lovely apple trees that we simply cannot use them all of the apples that they produce and so we have a Hanford Apple Day. This is when the girls pick and press apples to make delicious apple juice. This is then pasteurised and bottled and sold at various school events to parents and visitors.
The wider grounds are also a wonderful source of produce for our chefs, from wild garlic, elderflowers, mulberries to the good old bramble. Hanford’s greenhouses have two magnificent lemon trees the fruits of which make their way into cakes, curd and marmalade.
Our kitchen staff source meat and dairy from local suppliers: Prime Cuts butchers in Shaftesbury, free-range eggs from Foots and dairy produce and vegetables from Arthur David.
There is not a set menu at Hanford as the chefs chose to take inspiration from the garden, seasonal produce and the girls themselves. There are some firm favourites with the girls; these include curry feasts, chicken schnitzel, pasta bolognaise and gooey chocolate puddings. A Hanford Sunday always includes a roast with the trimmings and a hearty pudding. A sunny summer Saturday night will be an outside affair, cooking on either the wood fired pizza oven or the Barbeque.
The most important meal, if you could call it that, of the day as far as the girls are concerned is ‘Milk and Buns’ at around 4pm o’clock when they are given home-baked goodies washed down with a drink.
Girls love having a birthday during term time as they can have a special birthday tea in the Hall. In their last year those girls whose birthdays have always been in the holidays are able to have an ‘unbirthday’ tea on a day of their choice. Parents often bring cakes and treats to celebrate their daughter’s birthday at Hanford. If however they are unable to, the chefs produce wonderful birthday cakes and party food.