Who am I? Well I'd like to think that I'm not a 'foodie'. I dislike the term as it often implies some kind of food snobbery: "Dahhhling, you really must get hold of this exquisite olive oil hand pressed by mice in the prettiest little village in Tuscany. It's £300 a bottle (hand blown glass of course), but it tastes so much better than the stuff you get from those common supermarkets." But I do like good quality, fresh ingredients, and in the last couple of years have taken a few tentative steps towards growing my own, more on that another time. I've also been lucky enough to eat in some fabulous restaurants, including the legendary Fat Duck and Alexis Gauthier's Rousillon in Belgravia. I've eaten equally good, if somewhat less refined, meals at bistros in the back streets of Montmartre, burritos in San Francisco that are just about rivalled by one of my cheap eat staples, Wahaca in Covent Garden, and almost unidentifiable but mostly delicious food in a monastery in Japan. Recently I've tried a new eating experience and have visited a couple of London's secret restaurants in people's homes. Nuno Mendes' 'Loft' was an incredible experience, and Ms Marmite Lover's New Year's Eve feast was a real treat.
Tea time at a Mount Koyasan monastery in Japan
I'm not sure what all of the above information makes me, other than someone who loves good, ethically produced food, no matter where it comes from – my husband is now used to my requests for "happy eggs from happy hens" when we do the shopping, and I'd much rather buy an organic chicken and use it to feed us for a week, rather than eat a different cheap meat every day. I like small producers such as 'The Giggly Pig' who are a weekly fixture at our local farmers' market, and I was given a supply of Willie's Chocolate (as opposed to chocolate shaped willies) for Christmas which has so far made a wonderful chocolate cake, and I'm looking forward to trying some more in some savoury recipes.
What will I be doing in this little venture? Probably making the food that you wished you had time for, but can't squeeze in when life gets that little bit too busy. I'm going to start off with soups, stews, and maybe a few ready meals at local farmers' markets and anywhere else I can get them distributed. I also started making my own pickles and preserves last year from the glut of tomatoes and plums in the garden, so I'm going to try my hand at marmalade (if I can find anywhere that sells Seville oranges), and later on in the year, following rave reviews from the family at last year's attempts, perhaps home made Christmas puds, cranberry sauce and other seasonal trimmings.
But I've got a long way to go yet – first stop getting registered with the local council, and figuring out all of the red tape I need to comply with to get going. It could take a while, but please bear with me, and I'll try and make it all sound entertaining.