5 years ago I entered the World Marmalade Awards and won a bronze for my Seville with Cacao it was an epic day it lead me to decided that this is what really makes my world go around. So I thank Dalemain House for giving me the confidence that started me on this epic journey, this road has consisted of late nights and even hospital visits as I have fallen out of a trees. So thank you. (I am giving the world marmalade awards a rest, no other reason than I didn’t post it on time yet again!)
So now I make jam and the very fact you all wanted to buy eat and enjoy it well is nothing more than fabulous. Time has flown by and I moved out of my home kitchen, to one I built, started to keep bees, planted more fruit and vegetables, teamed up with the Chewton Glen to forage sustainably. So far so good.
I’ve lived and loved every minute, every disaster, every high, every low, they have all been fantastic. Although I feel that I may have lost the plot from time to time! But you, my friends, my children and my family have been there always encouraging me, every step of the way believing in me. Which means so much to me it hard to put into words.
So thank you all for supporting me in every way be it small large for helping me forage be it picking crab apples Carol,(Daisy cake company)or for growing them Darren Venables, to believing in my wacky ideas Martyn Nail, Luke Mathews, Leckford Farm, and of course the many bar tenders who have invited me in to help develop products cocktails and use jam in ways that made toast curl !
If I was to say I love what I do, it would underestimate the passion I have and my urgent need to cook everyday. I am always up early and chomping at the bit to get into the kitchen. So as I stop and reflect on the past five years, I shall share with you a few moments below.
Antonio Carluccio at Leckford Farm shop opening
Waitrose Charimans Award 2013
BBC Children in Need Carfest
Lunch Break with the Fabulous Baker Boys
Food & Drinks Award Hampshire
Foraging with nothing but the Bear essentials
Cooking at the Hotel & Catering Show
Cooking with Luke Mathews (my hero)
Talking Foraging with Estate Manger Darren Venables
What a summer and the weather been terrible?? So everyone keeps telling me, personally I thought it was fine! A typical English summer, it has been a little windy and maybe the last few days a little too wet. But to be honest at least the grass looks green.
But without the weather what would we talk about?
Has it been challenging well yes, my vegetable plot has rather lost the plot, and on top of that my produce has been either too early and lots of it, or its started too late, with little results. But isn’t the case? The very idea that the seasons change, each year and the weather is slightly different is well a welcome challenge. Each day can and is a surprise and isn’t it wicked how we cope how we change how we adapt (and by we, I mean the inhabitants of this green isle we live on). Aren’t we fortunate are we not to wake up every day to wall to wall sunshine or wall to wall rain? How boring would that be?
Well I guess for a week it would be rather nice and picnics could be planed and events schedule in without the fear for cancellation? But how boring would that be? Seriously how exciting is it when the tent still standing after a few days of rain. This morning I heard Chris Hughes on radio 2 (Still owe you a beer I haven’t forgotten) off Brand Events talking to Chris Evans on how Carfest was shaping up, in the mud, his pride and excitement of overcoming such a challenge sent tingles down my spine, he was loving it! Something he and his staff could get their teeth into, and in months to come they will be reliving laughing reminiscing how they managed in the mud the rain and what a success it has all been.
My mind wondered back to the Darren at the Chewton Glen his a gardener down and his beautiful lawn after a good soaking has had 12 cars parked on it! His challenge to restore it is going to be interesting this year and I can’t wait to hear about it! With that in mind, I shall take on the challenge of my rather bedraggled vegetable plot. Although I have no idea what I’ll be cooking today at least the jam pan does it knows no matter what the weather brings there be fruit in the pan and the challenge will be for it to set it in this damp weather! Life is never dull in the jam world; in the meantime I bring in the fairies to help with the garden!
So season’s sprung early, the pan went on and the next time I look up, it’s September ! So for a very, very quick catch up on the last few months, here goes:
Spring started with a hop and a skip into the Marmalade Awards and I was very lucky to win a Silver Award for my Organic Marmalade at this wonderful festival. This world class award is not only open to working marmalade makers, it’s open to everyone so please take a look and support it by entering it’s great fun so go on and give it a go http://www.dalemainmarmaladeawards.co.uk/
Sad times were then to follow, the world’s greatest cook, my inspiration, my mom passed away in my arms. A difficult, and very heart breaking time. It all happened around the time I was filmed for Home Comforts with James Martin, sadly she missed it by just two days! She loved watching James Martin and I am only hoping that she got to see it from above! If you haven’t seen it check it out here /www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8Qar-zphvc. I sat and watched it when it was aired on TV drinking champagne from jam jars with friends
I filled the rest of the days making Jam and fitted in a few other activities which included a jam cocktail master class at The White Buck in Burley along with Conker Gin and Belinda Clarke marshmallows. I also spent a delightful afternoon at Sparsholt food festival giving a jam workshop and managed to fit in the New Forest Show and Carfest as well. To Round off nicely, I was lucky enough to be invited on a fascinating garden tour of the Chewton Glen with Darren and Anne-some of the best gardener’s I know www.chewtonglen.com
So, what’s next? Lunch on the 12th September with the wonderful Dining Divas at the Captains Club Hotel all in aid of a very special charity Oakhaven Hospice www.oakhavenhospice.co.uk