A bunch of youngsters (and a couple of slightly oldsters) go crazy in the kitchen!

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Setting up on Friday morning for our event on Saturday, Sue and I felt rather sad that we were erecting great big black marquees over the Curious Kitchen Courtyard, the weather forecast was awful, just for a change! So we accepted the idea that we would be working undercover with our 12 enthusiastic participants, 3 returners, 2 pregnant ladies, a family of 5 who had bought the day as  gift for a 21st, and a newly married couple whose younger brother had bought the day as a wedding gift, and decided to accompany them!…What a beautiful mix of souls to create and experience our most wonderful day, oh yer!!!!  and the sun came out……. Once again, with mostly younger participants (and very enthusiastic slightly older ones) the energy that arrived at 11.30 on Saturday was tangible, not too many hangovers, some trepidation, a lot of humour and playfulness arrived along with our guests. We tuned and checked in…….. The theme of the day was ‘Retro, Fridays’, as we decided everyone around the courtyard would have some memories of the most famous burger joint to come across the pond (with the exception of one other beginning with Mc), and today we were going to recreate some amazing dishes from scratch. These included: A trio of mini yet monumental burgers: Black bean, rice and spiced roasted sweet potato burgers; Japanese inspired prawn katsu burger and Italian spiced beef burger, all served on warm fresh baked brioche seeded bun, with a range of homemade mustard mayos, tonkatsu sauce, salsa and foraged leaves….. Sticky, slow, slow, slow cooked plum basted racks of ribs, Epic “beer can” chicken with scrumped apples, hassel-back potatoes, crunchy zingy slaw, courgette and carrot spirals coated in a light sage infused batter and deep fried. Rocky road sundae, with homemade honeycomb & marshmallow and chocolate fudge brownie topped with freshest organic freshly churned vanilla ice cream drizzled in a hot chocolate fudge sauce – I think ‘Orgasmic’ was one quote; Strawberry fraziers – crunchy freshly made shortbread, crushed and topped with strawberry and elderflower mousse, topped with strawberry jelly and finished with mint and more strawberries, and a stunning original New York cheesecake……. Every bit of the menu constructed lovingly from scratch by our lovely guests! Nikki Patterson was with us for the day this time, guiding participants through some mindfulness exercises around food, encouraging them to feel the food, smell it, imagine where it had come from; Sue asked many a probing question round conditioning around food, always willing to share some of her own experiences; i.e. why she is happy to sit and scoff a ton of crisps before dinner…………… Simon likes to share his memories of spaghetti Bolognese too – how pasta he was served was boiled to within an inch of his life, making it resemble a bowl of wet slime…. It took him many years to get over this experience and to enjoy a beautifully cooked bowl of ‘Al dente’ spaghetti! This group was really keen to get involved with every aspect of the food preparation, volunteering to get involved with each task, so that we managed , as usual, to create a feast fit for Kings and Queens, only half an hour late – we truly embraced our Italian lover of food, rather than our German timekeeping selves! Sue requested that everyone take part in the ‘flower for the table challenge’, where a group of women and group of men went out into the garden, hedgerows and woodlands to forage for beautiful flowers to create centrepieces for the table. Each display was unique, never failing to surprise me how differently 2 groups of people can interpret the request, using similar raw materials. The starter for the meal was another challenge: everyone had a lidded glass pot, and had to create a ‘pot noodle’ from the freshest abundance on the kitchen table for a partner who Simon picked for them. Everyone was moved by the experience created for them by their culinary partner, Jack especially blown away by Alex’s creation……. All the pots were thoughtfully prepared, with each participant really connecting with their partner to ensure they came up with a dish that would be as lovingly received as it was given. Nikki guided some mindful clearing up before we started to eat, and everyone helped to load up the table with our feast. The gratitude that everyone felt for the day, friendships, old and new, connections, wine and beer, all flowed throughout the evening, which was organised to finish at 8.30. Julian and Rory had brought guitar and drums; Nikki and Alex had brought their voices, and everyone else had brought their party heads, so after much singing, dancing, gyrating on the dining table, deep conversations and sharing of a wonderful evening, we wrapped up at about 3 a.m. Wow! Another great day in the curious kitchen!! Check out the pics…. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10206482164884287.1073741874.1574721103&type=3

Author: Celia

The Rambler, AKA Celia Dulieu
Celia has been sharing food, wine, recipes and friendship with Simon and Sue Gale for more than 15 years.
In a former life she was a mass caterer, working for large companies such as Selfridges, London; but after moving to the countryside with husband, 2 kids and dog, she resurrected her love of food, - particularly by entertaining her large extended family to lunches ,sharing informal get togethers with friends, and developing her small but productive kitchen garden. She is passionate about all things to do with food and wine; from where it is produced to how it arrived on her doorstep.
Celia’s love of meeting people, visiting places and trying different things has culminated in being invited to get involve with writing up the experiences of the Heart Kitchen and sharing her love of food with you through her ramblings.