Unpacking the suitcases – in my kitchen
Unpacking at the end of two months in the UK is always a bit difficult. So having some treats to put away helps ease the sadness of leaving family, friends, rolling hills and – this year – an incredible amount of blissfully, clement weather.
Having forked out to British Airways for two extra bags, there was no way I could bring back many more of the food-related things that I began to accumulate over the summer. The contents of the Food Blogger Connect goodie bag and seasonal items from the Lidl Christmas preview (yes Christmas in July) were dispensed to food lovers who would appreciate them most.
KP gets incredibly twitchy about luggage; I think he regards himself as a lone wanderer with his napsack on his back. Good thing he travelled on a different flight and was not there to witness the final weight reckoning (thank goodness for those portable digital scale things that take away the nail biting suspense). I just hope he doesn’t read this post and realise just how many cook books I brought back. So as a foodie snapshot of my summer, in my kitchen this September:
No prizes for guessing that a little haul from Country Cheeses would be nestled in my suitcase. We took friends to the Tavistock Real Cheese Fair this year and they loved it. Sharpham Elmhurst is a creamy, tangy Brie-style cheese and the teens picked the Devon Smoake from Curworthy. I usually choose Ticklemore‘s Harbourne Blue (goat’s cheese) but the Devon Blue (cow’s milk) took precedence this year. Montgomery‘s, Keen’s and Westcombe unpasteurised Cheddars are all made within ten miles of each other in the same way and from milk from the same type of cow. The different tastes are an expression of the atmosphere, pasture and the antithesis of standardised mass market production. As the man at the counter rightly said “the changing taste is something our Grandfathers took for granted.” Montgomery was my favourite this year, but the flavours can differ week to week.
Who needs to cook when you have ingredients like this?
The Bristol Foodies Festival was an exercise in self-restraint as I wanted to buy everything. Scorchio from Fat Man Chilli was chosen for KP and he’d doused his baked bean lunch in it before I had time to protest. He has a high heat tolerance. I couldn’t resist the chutney from Bath Food Company – seriously good.
Phil from Pelagonia Foods works in partnership with a cooperative of 650 families to produce a range of traditional Macedonian mezze. He hopes that aivar, made of roasted peppers, will be the next hummus. Spinney’s stocks it in Dubai if you want to try some (because my jar of smooth, tangy, smokiness won’t be here for long).
A few things made it from my Food Blogger Connect goodie bag including kiskh (a fine, powdery cereal that is a mixture of burghul wheat that has been fermented with yoghurt) which Bethany’s brother brought all the way from Lebanon. I couldn’t leave my smoked Maldon salt behind or the aromatic peppercorns from Peppermongers – I will never look at pepper in the same way again.
This hand-harvested Piran salt and fleur de sel from Slovenia was given to me by Joe Gray from Slovely at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. It’s stocked at Fortnums and Selfridges ..and now my kitchen. You’ll see me doing my shopping with a Borough Market jute bag from now on. Pretentious….moi? The memory of a lovely morning there.
And this is a bit of a cheat as I didn’t have time to take a photo. Lovely Dana from Arganic put aside a bottle of her fantastic argan oil. You may have heard of this unique oil, but there are many adulterated imitations. Dana lives and breathes the stuff and works directly with Berbers in Morocco to source the freshest, organic and ethically sourced argan oil around. It’s now stocked in Jones the Grocer in Dubai or you can order from the website.
As usual, Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial is sharing what’s in her kitchen (and it’s always awe inspiring, totally mouth watering and usually contains chocolate).
So what’s in your kitchen this month?
- Harbourne Blue (ideasinfood.com)