Monday, 23 April 2018

I'm going to publish a cookery book!!

I am very excited to announce that my first book will be published next year! I have been keeping it under my hat for far too long! ‘COOK HOUSE’ will be a collection of recipes and the story of following my passion for food, published with the brilliant Head of Zeus in September 2019.

I have been working on my proposal since last summer, with the help of my agent Daisy at Lutyens and Rubinstein. The proposal described the concept of the book, which is a recipe book, but also the story of Cook House, of leaving one career to follow a true passion, I hope it will inspire other people to do the same, or at least dream. It also included a full recipe list and examples of my writing, example chapters and other little snippets I would like to include in the book, it was pretty lengthy by the end.

cook house recipe book by the grazer

We sent it out to a list of chosen publishers in February and then waited nervously. I was delighted when Head of Zeus made an approach to buy the rights. I went down to meet the team in London a few weeks ago and am really looking forward to working with them. I will be working hard to put the whole thing together by the end of the year, you can follow the journey on social media and here on The Grazer.

I can't wait to hold my own book, it is hugely exciting. It is so surreal to think I will be able to go into Waterstone's and pick it up, with my name on it. I still can't quite believe it!

Monday, 9 April 2018

Pickled Rhubarb with Ginger, Orange & Clove

My god it's been a long winter, not that we are even out of it yet, but at least there are some signs. Today I felt the warm sun on me as I walked outside and I began to feel hopeful. Tomorrow it is forecast to rain all day, continuing for the rest of the week; but at least there are glimmers of hope...

We really felt this winter at Cook House. I lost track of how many times they tried to fix the roof, each time it seemed to have stopped leaking there would be another big freeze, a thaw, a shift, and subsequently a new leak. From November to February there was an issue almost every day and I shed some frustrated tears on occasion. Then the snow storms came, and there were no leaks as we were enveloped in a layer of snow and ice inside and out, totally frozen solid.

pickled rhubarb recipe

I can talk about it now that the other side is in sight, now that the daffodils are coming out and the sticks of rhubarb are beginning to appear at the allotment. People often ask me what to do with lots of rhubarb, it is a common allotment affliction, I only have a small plant and it produces more than enough for all my rhubarb requirements. Pickling is one of the answers I think; this pickle is really pretty damn good. It's lovely on it's own, great with cheese, rich liver pate or on top of a salad, and its super easy to make.

pickled rhubarb recipe the grazer

Fill a large, sterilised, 2 litre kilner jar with rhubarb cut down into 1- 2cm diagonal batons. I have seen recipes that ask you to put the rhubarb into the hot pickling liquid, but I find this generally makes it fall apart, so prefer to add the hot pickling liquid to it, as it softens, but keeps its shape.

pickled rhubarb recipe the grazer

For the pickling liquid combine 750ml water, 500ml white wine vinegar, 350g caster suger, 15g maldon sea salt and heat to dissolve everything. Then you can add your flavours, I used thick slices of fresh ginger, a few large peels of orange zest, a cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, a pinch of chilli flakes and a few black pepper corns. They all bring something to the party, heat and a kick from the ginger, warming chilli, fragrant orange... I don't usually love cloves, but here they really work and the musky flavour is mild but pleasant. Feel free to experiment with other flavours such as juniper, mace, cinnamon, coriander seed, fresh herbs...

Simmer the mix for 5 minutes to bring out all the flavours, then pour the hot liquid over the rhubarb and seal the jar, it will all bob up to the top to begin with and you may need to push it back down a few times over the course of first few days. It is delicious after a couple of days, really delicious after a couple of weeks and will keep well for months if you can manage not to eat it all...

pickled rhubarb recipe - the grazer

pickled rhubarb recipe - the grazer