23 November 12

The British Larder: A Cookbook For All Seasons

The time has come to unveil this beautiful book to the world!

Holding the final product in my hands, I feel both honoured and humbled to have been given such a wonderful opportunity and I hope you grow to love it as much as I do.

After all this time, I still can’t quite believe that we have finally produced a cookbook and I can still remember my first conversation with Jon Croft, Publisher and Managing Director of Absolute Press (an Imprint of Bloomsbury), as if it were yesterday.

It was 4:30pm on a bright clear May afternoon. I had just finished my staff lunch, when the phone rang. It was Jon. He asked whether I would consider writing a cookbook. When I responded that I had recently declined such an offer because I had felt that the other publisher was not quite right for me, Jon turned on the

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05 November 12

Wild Plum and Hazelnut Crumble, Vanilla Custard

This year Lottie Lin has provided us with plenty of wonderful fruits and vegetables from her garden and allotments. These wild plums appear amongst the array of scrummy goods that she delivers. Apart from making chutney, parfait and wild plum cheese, this crumble (made either in one large dish or in 6 individual dishes) quickly became my favourite recipe to use these beauties for. Served with a large jug of homemade warm, fresh egg custard laden with vanilla, this recipe gets as close to pudding heaven as I can imagine! It’s the kind of pudding that makes you feel a whole lot better when the weather is damp and cold, the toilets have sprung a leak, some of the staff members are misbehaving and, altogether, you are simply feeling pretty low.

The crumble topping is an old favourite of mine, it’s almost flapjack-like, as I make the crumble mixture, bake

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23 October 12

Crab Beignets with Fiery Apple Chutney

The days are getting shorter and the nights longer now, with most days being cooler and some having a decidedly chilly nip to them. The central heating is on and I’m looking forward to lighting the log fire soon. Until then we use food to warm us up, and this fiery apple chutney does exactly that. Steve, our sous chef, is partial to chillies, he even grows his own, and last week he brought in a splash of his scotch bonnet chilli oil that he made at home for this creation. The oil itself is hot enough to blow your taste buds to shreds, but once cooked with the apples, vinegar, spices, lemongrass and sugar, it becomes more mellow with a lovely heat that makes the perfect ‘pick-me-up’ for these fabulous crispy crab beignets.

After making choux pastry in the Thermomix the previous week, Steve wanted to try this method

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11 October 12

Choux Buns Filled with Cinnamon-baked Damsons and Vanilla Cream

The mornings are becoming crisp and are verging on actually being fairly cold, as autumn is settling in and my damson trees are starting to lose their leaves. There are still a few damsons on the trees to be harvested, but most of them are high up and out of reach, which means I’m leaving those for the wildlife to enjoy. I had a good crop of damsons this year, a couple of wheelbarrow loads, and it soon gets to a point where my fingers are discoloured and stained a yellowy brown colour and no amount of scrubbing and soap can remove the stains. I suppose it’s a small price to pay for something so enjoyable and amazing.

Our damson crop has been divided between a few recipes. I turned a good amount into a purée, which is used for making damson parfait, damson bellinis for the bar and even

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