So now that I am here, my cooking is inspired by my beloved cookbooks, but it really centers around three things: meat, eggs and fresh produce. Where we live in Oxfordshire there are three excellent butchers all equidistant from our house, but in opposite directions from each other. So whichever way I am driving to or away from home, there is always a convenient opportunity to buy an excellent piece of meat. Pork with crackling, leg of lamb, and organic free range chicken are my most frequent purchases.
Then there are the eggs. In addition to our own chickens, my husband's brother and sister, who also live on the farm, have their own laying chickens too. So we are constantly trying to think of new ways to use the eggs. There is no shame about having fried, boiled, or scrambled eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner here. My cholesterol must be through the roof!
And finally, the produce. While we won't be able to get our own vegetable garden going until the spring, there are two other kitchen gardens on the farm, and each one could probably feed all three families on its own. So I am always thinking about what is fresh and what needs to be eaten quickly or in great quantity. When I have an abundance that proves too much to cook, I relieve guilt by squeezing them into juice. And if that doesn't happen then the pigs get it, which is fine with me too. But we do have lots of fruit in our garden - pears, apples, all kinds of berries - which has prompted me to search for a baking cookbook. Any suggestions?
The bounty from the kitchen garden.
Leg of lamb, just about to go into the oven. I sliced a very sharp knife into the skin and stuffed a clove of garlic and some rosemary into each hole. While I have always loved that bright green, completely artificial version of mint jelly that Polaner makes in America, I have been won over by a more naturally colored one here in England that tastes a bit more real.
This is the farm stand at my kids' school. They have their own chicken eggs and make their own jam. It's one of the things that won me over when I first visited the school.
My first meal from "Three Good Things" - chicken, tarragon and roasted tomatoes. Easy to cook and totally delicious.
We've had an incredible blackberry season. You know, I never thought I liked blackberries, but eating them straight after picking is delicious! They are much sweeter than any store bought ones I have ever tried.
Lunch is usually a collection of leftovers from previous dinners. My son is a dedicated carnivore and my daughter is a vegetarian, so usually some combination of things I have made for them is perfect for me.
I never get over the wonder of freshly laid eggs. Collecting them never gets boring.
My breakfast most days of the week. I have soft boiled eggs down to a science. You boil the water and just as its starting to bubble you drop two lit matches into the water (not sure the science behind this but it prevents the cold eggs from cracking as they enter the hot water, according to Tamasin Day Lewis). Then gently drop the eggs in for exactly four and half minutes which ensures the white part is cooked by the yolk is runny enough to dip buttered soldiers (toast strips) into. Salt and pepper are a must.
I never get tired of this kale salad with butternut squash, toasted almonds and clothbound cheddar. If you can believe it, Katie Holmes first told me about it at a Calvin Klein fashion week dinner. It's from a restaurant in NYC called Northern Spy. You can find the recipe online.
It was very very wet here this summer so our raspberries where huge but a little watery. We ate loads nonetheless.
My first ever pie made with blackberries and apples from our backyard. I have to admit that I cheated on the crust - I bought the pastry. It was still delicious, but now that I've done it once, I'll make my own next time.
Sometimes I crave one of my favorite meals from NYC and have no choice but to recreate it. This one is inspired by my favorite lunch from Pain Quotidien.
I was so excited the first time I saw artichokes growing. The whole plant is so beautiful.
More garden bounty.
(My secret treat when I'm in Oxford!).