Cauliflower is often on the menu here. In fact, it is rather affectionately nicknamed – “the king of vegetables” if that gives you any idea how much love there is for cauliflower in our kitchen. And this roast cauliflower with capers and jalapeno is one of our go-to meals. A simple one pan dish (little cleanup = always a winner ) its a meal that is satisfying on those cold wintry nights and not so time-consuming, i.e. perfect to be made on a weeknight. It fills the house with warming aromas and is good at chasing those chilly empty spots from the belly that always seem to creep up in subzero temps.
Cooking for a crowd is something for which I have the very greatest affection; the menu planning, ingredient shopping, kitchen prep and especially, those last few moments before the meal begins and everyone is seated together at the table. I even love the clean up. Washing and putting away all the plates and flatware and large platters; I ones I only ever use when serving a crowd.
Unsurprisingly, the Wednesday before my recent Boston workshop which I hosted with guest teacher Betty Liu, in the midst of all the bustling and prepping, I felt that familiar infectious excited happiness I always feel before an event. I could feel it bubbling up as I was driving back to the farm, windows down and heady hay scented summer air rushing in and a load of beautiful Five Fork Farms blooms in tow. I began to feel intoxicated with happiness . In less than 24 hours, accompanied by two of the loveliest food bloggers I know, Betty & Valentina, I would be standing in my kitchen, cooking for a crowd. We were preparing a lunch which relied on fresh ingredients, prepared simply, and using as much gorgeous produce from my gardens at CottageFarm as possible. Our gardens at the farm have been producing at such a rapid rate it was wonderful to have an excuse to cook up a big meal to share! To showcase without overworking or overcomplicating things is always my desired method of preparation. I simply want the food to be at its best and freshest and for this to shine through. continue reading
The first signs of spring are pushing their way into the world. Tiny green shoots among the previous years grasses, delicate snow drops dot the gardens and the old magnolia tree is heavy with buds. Some days I find myself lighting a fire in the fire-place but other days, I have the windows thrown open, perhaps prematurely as I end up wrapped in layers, but the heady smell of the new season is powerful and irresistible; anything seems possible.
There is something thrilling about the first days of any new season but particularly I think to spring. Storms blow through often and with unmatched ferocity. Frost creeps in when you don’t expect and the occasional few inches of snow are still falling. These early days ask us to, rather consistently in fact, embrace the unexpected. As temperatures flip-flop and time changes come to pass, plunging us into darkness where there had been light and lifting the shadow of dark winter afternoons, we must wait patiently for what we know is coming. I, somewhat happily, awoke the other morning to find spring banished altogether and in its place, a wintery blanket of snow. Confused and delighted, I pulled on my boots and trudged out into the white world knowing full well that it wouldn’t last into the afternoon. I think it a bit remarkable that even after being away from this place for so long, I still understand its basic pulse. I feel pleased that the childhood memories of this land, not the film strip type of memory but the ones embedded and entwined in the land, endure after so much time away.
They are the perfect getaway. Accessible by train, cups of coffee in the morning, a late breakfast in a new city & home to bed after dinner.
Brighton was a recent day trip – nostalgic, slightly faded beach front and a vibrant little town waiting just up the hill.
Winter Couscous Salad