free from the shackles of our year long social experiment, we have been granted more autonomy and time to pursue other culinary avenues. during the last year we were constantly searching for unique flavour combinations and recipes which would stand out and attract interest from our readers. it was from this concentration of research that we became more and more interested in forgotten ingredients. influenced by fashion, socio-economic consciousness and profit margins, large supermarket chains are determining more and more what ingredients are available to us.
one significant event occurred towards the final quarter of our last experiment which sent us off in a different tangent we knew would make for an interesting new challenge. that event came in the form of lou's birthday; where i booked us in at sat bains and rooms to undertake a day in their professional kitchen as part of their kitchen workshop experience. amongst many hugely talented chefs, including the big man himself, we spent some time foraging with nanna vestergaard. originally from denmark, nanna arrived at her interview armed with a bounty of unusual ingredients gleaned from the surrounding locality.
in a tale of almost legendary proportions.... to the people of nottingham anyway.... nanna then preceded to seduce sat's culinary taste buds with a recipe which soon found its way onto the kitchens menu, titled simply ng7 2sa after the restaurants postcode. during our foraging expedition with nanna she introduced us to jack by the hedge, ground elder and dead nettles. each of these ingredients had once formed important roles in the post-war kitchen, but the uses of each of them has been forgotten and sometimes lost from the modern larder.
nanna also introduced us to her foraging bible, food for free by richard mabey, which is packed full of forgotten ingredients. the majority of these ingredients are supported by a few suggestions on how they can be used in cooking. as a consequence of that day foraging, and reading food for free, we realised how many ingredients we were surrounded by. nestling in the undergrowth, perched upon the canopy of local trees and inconspicuously hiding in plain sight for all to see.... and pick for free.
our intention for the coming seasons is to explore the forgotten ingredients around us and to source unusual recipes which utilise their potential. coupled with the concept of foraging for ingredients, is the importance of seasonality. as produce found and harvested from the wild can only be sourced when it is in season. therefore we intend to be more seasonally aware, and to try to choose ingredients when they are at their prime. preferably, but not exclusively, ingredients which have been grown and / or reared in the british isles.
we intend that the results of this year to be less intensive, and therefore the entries on this blog will be less frequent. however we hope you'll enjoy the experience, and continue to contribute to its success. our new challenge is born.
when one door of happiness closes, another opens.