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Virginia Coates presents


Virginia Coates, who trained under Prue Leith has worked around the world as a private chef. Virginia crafts and tailor-makes all the menus at Coates & Seely using locally sourced ingredients to make sure the food is expertly paired with the wine.  


Here she take us through some dishes and provides the recipes for some dishes she has created for summer – which accompanies a glass of Coates and Seely fabulously.    

The Summer Recipes

River Test Trout, Tomato & Watercress Salad


This recipe is adapted from a Skye Gyngell dish, using fresh trout from the River Test, close to the Coates & Seely vineyards, and watercress grown locally on water from the chalk aquifers, many of which lie beneath the vineyards.


Serves 6




  • 1 kg Chalk Stream Trout fillet
  • 2 organic carrots – roughly chopped
  • 2 organic sticks of celery – roughly chopped
  • a few fresh tarragon sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Pink Peppercorns
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 limes – finely grated zest & juice




  • 250g Black Venus organic wholegrain rice
  • Maldon Salt & ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil




  • 300 g heritage variegated Isle of Wight tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Maldon salt & pepper
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves torn




  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh horseradish
  • 250 ml organic British sour cream
  • Maldon Salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil




  • 2 bunches of fresh watercress, washed thoroughly, tough stalks removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Maldon salt




  • Place trout in a fish kettle with carrot, celery, peppercorns and bay leaf. Cover with cold water.
  • Put fish kettle on the hob and bring gently to simmering point. Remove to the side and leave to cool in the water until just cooked, c. 30 mins
  • Remove trout from water.  Take of skin and scrape any grey fat away. 
  • Put grated lime zest and juice onto a flat tray with the oil. Add the cooked trout and gently break up into large flakes (approx. 4 cm).  Leave to absorb the flavours.
  • Meanwhile boil the black rice according to the packet instructions, approx. 25 mins. When all water has been absorbed, remove from the heat and put in a mixing bowl with the oil and salt to taste.  Put aside to cool.
  • Mix together in a bowl, the tomatoes, oil, salt, pepper and torn basil.
  • Mix together the dressing ingredients.




  • Arrange a flattened pile of the black rice in the middle of the serving plates.
  • Pile up a few large flakes of trout on top of the rice, propping them up against each other.
  • Scatter the variegated tomatoes on top and around the trout.
  • Spoon the dressing over the ingredients, loosely.
  • Season the watercress with oil and salt and place a handful on top of each salad, keeping height to finish the dish.

Sparkling Summer Jellies


A perfect ending to a summer lunch, the Coates & Seely and fruits combine to bring out the best of the English countryside. You can make these jellies the night before serving for lunch the following day, but no longer.

Serves 6


  • 10 small sheets of leaf gelatin (c.15g)
  • 450 ml Coates & Seely sparkling Rosé wine
  • 150 ml elderflower cordial
  • 400 ml mixed berries (raspberries/redcurrants/blackcurrants/whitecurrant/blackberries)
  • Martini glasses or similar




  • Place the gelatin leaves in a shallow bowl of cold water to soften.
  • Put the sparkling rosé into a pan, heat gently until it is uncomfortable to put your finger in, do not overheat.
  • Add the elderflower cordial to the wine and leave to cool.
  • Squeeze out the water from the gelatin leaves, and whisk them in the gelatine to the wine/cordial mixture.
  • Arrange a mixture of half the berries in the glasses and pour the mixture into the glasses to the halfway point.
  • Cool the jellies and put in the fridge until set.
  • When set, gently reheat to liquify the remaining gelatin/wine mixture. (if it has set while you waited)
  • Top up the glasses of set jelly with the remaining berries and wine mixture and leave to cool and set in the fridge.
  • To serve, take out of the fridge half an hour beforehand.
  • Serve with meringues filled with lemon curd.

Early Summer Meringues

Based on a Claire Macdonald recipe, these meringues look refreshingly rustic, as they contain less refined sugar than the more usual white meringues.


Serves 6


  • 4 large egg whites (about 120g)
  • 125g demerara sugar
  • 75g granulated sugar



  • 2 tablespoons lemon/lime curd (homemade if poss)
  • 4+ elderflowers heads separated into tiny flowers - optional
  • 200 ml whipped organic double cream - optional
  • Lavender sprigs to decorate - optional



  • Line a flat baking tray with greaseproof/bakewell paper.
  • Put on a low oven c.110 degrees/top left door 4 door Aga.
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff, slowly add the sugars one spoon at a time, while beating until they are all incorporated and the mixture holds its own. I do this in a Kenwood mixer for ease, it’s a matter of moments.
  • Take 2 desert spoons and scoop up a spoonful of the mixture to form into egg shaped meringues; line them up on the greaseproof paper. Put in the over for c.2 and a half hours.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.  Store in a tin until ready to serve, this can be done days in advance.
  • Before serving, sandwich 2 meringues together, with the cream and lemon/lime curd, adding fresh elderflowers if in season, (or a mixture of the two).  
  • Make a pyramid of the meringues on a glass cake stand and decorate with sprigs of lavender from the garden, or fresh elderflower heads.

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