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"... there’s no despair in a seed. There’s only life, waiting for the right conditions – sun and water, warmth and soil – to be set free. Every day millions upon millions of seeds lift their two green wings."

Janisse Ray

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Thursday
Aug272015

Purple cauliflower polonaise

My Dad didn’t often make vegetarian main courses when my sister and I were kids. He knew he was likely to be hurled with abuse. This was one of few of his vegetarian dishes that did not induce a temper tantrum. I think it was probably the crispy, salted breadcrumbs that did it. He was always very liberal with those.

For my cooking demo at the Natoora shop this week I am making my Dad's recipe with purple cauliflower, as well as white. Of course, you can just use white cauliflower on its own, as my Dad does. The purple cauliflower does look fabulous though, doesn't it? It tastes great too. They're grown organically for Natoora by Good Earth Growers in Cornwall.

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Tuesday
Aug252015

Apple and greengage crumble

There is only one month left of summer and while everyone else is busy catching the last rays of sun, I am trying to make the most of all the wonderful summer fruits at Natoora before they go out of season.

One of my new favourites is the Reine Claude Doree greengage. It is the variety from which all other greengage plums originate. Doree means golden; unlike most greengages, which have green flesh, these are golden when fully ripened.

The golden, jammy flesh of the Reine Claude Doree works beautifully in this summer crumble. The natural sweetness of the fruit is well balanced with crisp, tart green apples. Sweetened with honey and topped with a crumble packed with cobnuts, this recipe turns a simple dessert into something special.

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Thursday
Aug062015

Gilpin's Chicken Tagine Thing

A few weeks ago some very dear family friends of mine all congregated at the Commonwork Farm in Kent to cook for the open day there. They have been doing this annually for many years now but in 2013 it gained particular significance. Our friend Gilpin, who used to be the head chef there, passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly of cancer. We were all left with a little less laughter in our lives. Gilpin was larger than life. We still have a lot of fun together, but we miss his presence keenly. 

A few months after his death the open day gave us all the opportunity to come together and say our goodbyes in an informal way in a place that Gilpin loved and where he was loved. Against the backdrop of bucolic English countryside – rolling hills, wild flowers and the smell of cut grass – we looked on as his wife, Gayle, trudged up and down over a neatly ploughed field scattering his ashes with the help of a ladle she had borrowed from the Commonwork kitchen (unbeknown to the new head chef). She read a goodbye poem to Gilpin and we all laughed and cried and sang and laughed some more. It was sad, it was funny, it was moving and it felt utterly appropriate.

 

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Monday
Jul132015

Ones to watch

On 1st July I was invited by Angelica Malin of About Time Magazine to a networking dinner for bloggers at Café Rouge in Holborn. Lucky me! Café Rouge's marketing team weren't so lucky. The day they had chosen to preview the Christmas menu was one of the hottest of the year so far. Fortunately, we were just trying the starters, which were tapas-style dishes designed for sharing and thankfully quite light.

The event was a great opportunity to meet other people who love food and I especially like a couple of the blogs I discovered via the ladies behind them. 

The Little Library Café is my new favourite. It is the most imaginative concept for a food blog that I have come across in a while. Kate makes and bakes fiction

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Wednesday
Jun032015

Spring bean salad

This is one of my favourite salads. I make it, or a version of it, on a regular basis as a side with fish or chicken dishes or as part of an Ottolenghi-style spread that I like to do for BBQs and big dinner parties. 

Since I started working at Natoora I have played around with the ingredients a bit. I used to always make it with green beans and mange tout, which are great and easy to source. However, Natoora focuses on seasonal ingredients so I have swapped out the mange tout for white and green piattoni (Italian runner beans). They are sweet and tender and they look gorgeous.

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