Harvest Time In The Curious Kitchen……….
Everyone has checked in, crazy food fact and all-in, the group are eager to start their day. ” Let the foray begin! ” First the stars of the day are introduced, two monumental haunches of beautiful, fresh, local wild boar. The group embrace the meat, some touching & feeling, some using there sense of smell, some not !!! Mission of the day is to create the most amazing slow roasted, emotionally marinated feast for tonight’s celebration, forage the woodland paths, hedgerows, orchard and kitchen garden for your ideal ingredients…… First divide yourself into two equal teams, easier said than done 🙂 Off they go baskets and bowls, whilst the haunches await their return. You may see from the list of ingredients the two groups have plenty to keep them curious ? … Teams, the clock starts now; German time exactly 6 hours…. Italian time when the oven is filling the kitchen with beautiful aromas, the meat is succulent and falls from the bone and the wine has had time to breath. Team 1 get to work, creating a wonderful marinade of grated ginger, roasted chillies, crushed black pepper, olive oil,massaging the meat, to utter contentment, like a fully sensual deep tissue massage, creating a bed of halved apples and onions, finally filling the roasting tray with crisp, dry English cider, adorned with ripped bay and tied sprigs of fresh thyme and chilli, a grating of lemon zest….. and into the oven. Team 2 get to work, smashing garlic, olive oil and sea salt, creating a abundance of little pockets to stud with rosemary, thyme, sage and the lightly smashed bulbs of garlic, they too give the boar a massage, more gentle, like a light shoulder rub, lots of seasoning, a bed of apples, berries and various herbs, a bottle of red wine to help it on its way…….and also into the oven. They agreed together that the lifted root vegetables, celeriac, carrots, beets and garlic would make for a handsome tray roasted dish, and the potatoes would be steamed and whipped up into a buttery, light and fluffy mashed side dish, with both making plans of their teams accompanying sauce from the trays, epic. Not much you may be feeling, well the remaining menu states otherwise. A roasted butternut squash soup, roasted squash seeds, made with a tasty fresh vegetable stock, with little parcels of freshly made pasta, transformed into ravioli, filled with courgette, wood sorrel, parmesan and black pepper. And to celebrate, a trio of desserts, vanilla panacotta with a vibrant plum compote, hot chocolate puddings, oozing with hot chocolate sauce, amaretti and plum semi-freddo ( Italian meringue iced cream ) with spiced honeycomb shards, and a few life skills shared on the way. Back to the pasta…. Freshly made pasta the traditional way, loved and caressed to form silky light dough balls of joy, rested and then….. a pasta rolling, teams of two challenge, the longest sheet of perfect pasta in two minutes, such fun, finally creating half into ravioli and the remaining into wonderful strands of fresh tagliatelli, left to dry in the gentle afternoon sun. The table is adorned with fresh flowers from the meadow, shiny glasses and a sea of candles, the teams are sharing tales of there own pasta experience, laughter and wine corks popping fill the air. The soup is served and devoured by the hungry participants and heart kitchen team, a real triumph and so deliciously fresh. The main event, two platters arrive, each bearing its own unique wild boar dish, scattered with roasted roots and a pile of creamy mash, two jugs of aromatic gravy both again unique in their taste and flavours, we set to work, carving and shredding – Wow – the aromas fill the dining yurt! Eager, we dig in, the two haunches taste oceans apart; both amazing though. We shared more stories of our day, connecting, more laughter and a look of love filling each person’s eyes. We closed whilst eating our trio of stunning desserts, with a complete or incomplete for our day together and shared one moment we were grateful for, from the many! Smile, eat and be merry 🙂 🙂 🙂
I remember as a very small child, maybe 5 or 6 years old, my mother giving me some seeds to plant in a small area of ground in our garden. I was so excited….I could not believe that anything would grow from these tiny seeds, I could barely see. I planted my seeds, marveling at how tiny they were…..I tended them with water and loving care…..and sure enough I grew a patch of purple and white daisies and some radishes! That experience touched a part of me then that is very strong in me now….the complete awe that something beautiful and something that can be eaten and will nourish us, can be grown from such a teeny, tiny seed. I dabbled with gardening from then on for many years, watching my Mum grow her vegetables and growing radishes and other simple things. Then along came my children and in turn I gardened with them, giving them their own little plots in our garden.
When I moved to the house I still live in, about 10 years ago, I discovered, over by the fields, a disused allotment. It was fenced and incredibly overgrown, but with attention, action and time, my husband and I transformed it into a wonderful kitchen garden. We, me, my husband and four children erected a polytunnel (that was a fun experience in itself!), made large raised beds, shingle paths, compost bins, planted fruit trees and procured a shed. This space is now, for me, a complete sanctuary where I grow all manner of fruit and vegetables. I nurture and tend them well from the teeny tiny seed to the fully productive plant and they repay me with their luscious, delicious, nutritious offerings. It thrills me that I can produce the most wonderfully, delicious food from just a tiny seed and that my produce is used in Heart Kitchen….I put so much love into those fruit and veg it seems only fitting that the process continues ☺