Wednesday 25 August 2010

Cooking in the Mall?

What was I saying about no two days being alike? Saturday - I opened an email inviting me to take a slot in the Sustainability Kitchen at the Start Garden Party in the Mall.
Isn't life bizarre? Last summer I was given a place on the "plinth" in Trafalgar Square - I took my favourite garden chair, was hoisted in the air by a cherry picker with the help of a charming whizz from Oz and sat on show, in comfort, having a jolly time with the crowd.
Now I am to be cooking in the Mall, not on a plinth next to Queen Vic, but in a tent along with with a host of other cooks and chefs as part of the Start "A Garden Party to make a difference" when the Prince of Wales opens up his own gardens at Clarence House, together with his neighbours' gardens at Lancaster House and Marlborough House.
This unique festival in the heart of London runs from September 8th for twelve days. I shall be there at 5pm on Wednesday September 15th showing how to make potted meats and fish with leftovers, crostini with stale bread and how to pickle the pick of the autumn fruits to serve with it.
The Prince is also joining forces with musicians, comedians, environmental experts and some of Britain's best known companies to create a unique event which will raise the profile of this new initiative to help people across the UK lead more sustainable lives and to show what a more energy efficient, cleaner and healthier future.
Tickets are on-sale today from the Start Garden Party event website or by calling 0844 248 5052.
Life is wonderful but we can make it even better - S T A R T by checking out these 20 ways to make a difference
Here are 20 great starting points for sustainable living
1. Start filling up the cracks where the drafts come in, and then you'll be able to start turning down your thermostat

2. Start holidaying closer to home

3. Start thinking about your driving (petrol usage, the car you drive)

4. Start switching electronics off at the wall

5. Start drying your clothes in the fresh air

6. Start recycling

7. Start using energy saving light bulbs

8. Start growing your own vegetables

9. Start loving your leftovers

10. Start buying only what you need

11. Start eating what's in season (it's cheaper and it tastes better too)

12. Start supporting the people near you who produce food

13. Start thinking about packaging

14. Start composting

15. Start cherishing, repairing and making your possessions last longer

16. Start boiling only what you need

17. Start saving paper and only print what you need

18. Start thinking of ways to reuse what can't be recycled, such as paint tins

19. Start using natural cleaning products

20. Start having shorter showers

Monday 23 August 2010


A week in the life of cookery writer is as diverse as any. I started the week up at the Chef’s Room in Blaenavon hosting a cookery class with Franco Taruschio for the US gay press who were touring Wales – what a colourful and appreciative bunch they were.

Wednesday evening I was in London for the launch of Salumiamo – let’s eat and appreciate Italian cured meats – fronted by top chefs Giorgio Locatelli and Francesco Mazzei at Locatelli’s New Bridge Street restaurant Refettorio.

We sipped Prosecco and Lambrusco (not the awful stuff you buy in your corner shop but a rich ruby red wine from Emilia with just a touch of sparkle) and ate delicious finger food created by this duo of delightfully unassuming chefs prepared with the best cured meats Italy has to offer.

Salumini (tiny pure pork salamis from central and northern Italy) alla cacciatora – their name comes from the fact they are small enough to pack in the hunter’s (cacciatore’s) knapsack – aromatic, soft, chewy and delicious. Culatello (little back-side) from Parma – the upper leg, the tenderest part of the adult pig slowly cured through summer warmth and autumn fog ready to eat in the winter – melt in the mouth! Mortadella from Bologna - selected and finely ground pork cuts plus fat lardons flavoured with myrtle berries and gently cooked by indirect contact with steam with a silk-like texture! Lastly Bresaola from Valtellina (best cuts of beef first dry cured with salt and spices, then in wine, more spices and sugar and finally wrapped and hung for four to eight weeks. Cut paper thin this makes the ultimate antipasto!

Thursday morning I was back in Ross for our Italian week - making pasta in The Cook Shop and on Friday in the market square cooking Italian food to complement the visit of the colourful Italian market - Italia in Piazza. I made two pasta dishes, a broad bean salad enriched with some of the unusual cheeses on sale and made finger food with the many fine Italian cured meats the market had to offer.

Sandwiched between cookery demonstrations I signed books at Rossiters – Pasta dishes and Sunny days and easy living.