Allan Pickett’s recipe for a summer feast

Shakespeare was not a man unfamiliar with a feast. “Eight wild boars roasted whole at breakfast, but twelve persons there,” he wrote in Antony and Cleopatra, describing a bountiful and convivial scene.

While that may be a bit excessive by today’s standards, there is nothing better than laying on an almighty spread for family, friends and loved ones — exactly the kind of thing we do day in, day out at Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe.

With that in mind, our Executive Chef Allan Pickett has put together a set of recipes based on his menus at the restaurant for you to cook at home. Either try them individually or prepare as a starter, main course and dessert for a stunning summer feast.

All recipes serve four, but can be scaled up or down as required.


Starter: Grilled asparagus with fried duck eggs


20 spears of asparagus (peeled)

4 duck eggs

4 slices of brioche

40g of roasted hazelnuts

30ml vegetable oil for frying

Salt and pepper to season

A sprinkling of red amaranth


  1. Boil the peeled and trimmed asparagus in lightly salted water for around 3 minutes.
  2. Once cooked, drain and brush with a little oil and place under the grill. Cook for a few minutes until they get a slightly charred colour. Remove and keep warm.
  3. Toast the brioche slices on both sides under the grill.
  4. Fry the duck eggs in a little oil until the whites have set but the yolks are still runny. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  5. To serve, place a slice of brioche on each plate, followed by five slices of the grilled asparagus and a fried duck egg. Sprinkle with hazelnuts.


Main course: Hay-baked shoulder of Sussex lamb with slow cooked onions and wild thyme sauce


1 2.5kg spring lamb shoulder (ask your butcher to tunnel bone it, which means that he will leave the shoulder intact)

1 sprig of rosemary

3 cloves of garlic

1 kg of clean sterilized hay (the easiest way to do that is to pour boiling water over it and leave to soak for 5 minutes)

1 roll of butcher’s twine

For the accompaniments

500g baby new potatoes

24 small round onions

2 sprigs of wild thyme

2 bulbs of garlic

100g butter

100g duck fat (or goose fat)

50ml olive oil

For the sauce

500ml good quality chicken stock

200ml red wine


  1. Make a paste with the 3 garlic cloves and the rosemary either by hand with a large knife or in a small blender. Rub this paste into your lamb 2-3 hours before you cook it, or overnight. Tie the lamb across ways about 6-8 times to hold it into a set shape.
  2. Seal the meat by searing the surface all over until golden brown, in a pan with a little hot oil.
  3. Place the washed and drained hay into a large roasting pan, making a nest to place the lamb on, and cover with more hay. Cover with a piece of foil and bake in the oven for an hour and a half at 130°C or until the temperature reaches 60°C in the centre.
  4. Remove the strings and leave to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place to allow the juices and temperature to even out through the shoulder.

For the garnish

  1. Peel the onions and break down the garlic into cloves
  2. Tear off a large piece of foil and place it into a shallow pan, add the cloves of garlic, onions, baby new potatoes and half of the thyme sprigs.
  3. Scrunch up the foil to form a parcel and cook in the same oven as the lamb for 45 minutes.
  4. Once cooked, remove from oven and drain off the duck fat which can be saved and reused.

For the sauce

  1. Bring the red wine to a simmer and reduce until thick and sticky
  2. Add the stock along with the remaining thyme and remove from the heat
  3. Cover the pan with cling film until needed

Allan’s tip: The hay imparts a lovely flavour and keeps the lamb moist as well. I normally serve this dish in the centre of the table so my guests can see it with the hay for added effect.


Dessert: Set buttermilk cream with poached Kentish strawberries     

Set buttermilk cream

400ml double cream

250ml buttermilk

1 vanilla pod or 1tsp of vanilla essence

4 leaves of bronze gelatine, soaked

130g sugar

½ bunch of mint

Poached strawberries

16 good sized strawberries, hulled and cut in half

300ml water

100g sugar

1 cardamom pod

1 vanilla pod


  1. Pour the cream and milk into a pan, add the sugar and vanilla and bring to the boil on a gentle heat.
  2. Add the soaked gelatine, stir to dissolve and immediately remove from heat
  3. Pass the liquid through a fine sieve to remove any lumps and leave to cool for half an hour until almost set before pouring into your dishes, then place in the fridge for 5-6 hours

For the strawberries

  1. Place the sugar, water, cardamom and vanilla in a pan and bring to the boil
  2. Add the halved strawberries and then instantly remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly
  3. Remove the strawberries from the liquid and set aside
  4. Heat the liquid and bring to the boil, cooking until reduced by about half so it is thick and sticky

To serve

  1. Remove the set creams from their moulds and place one into each serving bowl
  2. Divide the poached strawberries between the bowls and drizzle over a little of the reduced liquid