I have been torturing my partner Leopold (according to him) for the past few years by constantly relaying new cooking information I have read about, usually beginning with the sentence “Did you know…?”. So in an effort to save his sanity and to hopefully have all this cool technique reach a more appreciate audience, I started this blog. Did you know that if you over-whip cream you can just stir in a little liquid cream to bring it back? Life changing information.
I only really discovered the joy of great food when I was twenty-five. Before that, the art of cooking was a complete mystery to me and I ate whatever processed crap was on offer at the supermarket that week. That year I spent a summer working in Bordeaux, as a kitchen slave in Bistro Bio, an organic cafe there. Revelation. I finally understood why people eat lettuce. A simple plate of leaves dressed in cider vinaigrette had become a feast. So I ate everything on offer in the cafe, went to the market every weekend and really experimented with vegetables for the first time. Up to then, I had been a vegetarian (nutritionists look away now) who didn’t eat vegetables. Not anymore.
Since then I have taught myself a broad range of culinary skills. I am always seeking to improve my cooking skills and all my time is spent practising, researching and eating. And now blogging about it. I have been vegetarian since I was ten, but have learned quickly that no one was ever brought over to the cause with words – instead I cook. I know that vegetarian food can be mind-blowing when it is done with skill, creativity and dedication, so that is what I strive for in my cooking and in this blog.
I make everything from scratch, all the time. From pasta to mustard to ricotta to vanilla extract. It just tastes better that way and I know exactly what goes inside it. I get a real buzz from cooking with top-quality ingredients, be that a firm, shiny, organic aubergine alive with freshness or an aromatic truffle salt whose essence permeates everything it touches. I always buy the best I can possibly afford and am constantly searching for new and innovative ingredients, influences and methods.
A few years ago I went on my first mushroom hunt and a whole new world of (free!) ingredients and flavours opened up to me. There are all kinds of amazing plants out there that we have lost touch with, just waiting to make their way onto your plate. I am still very much learning and you can read about this education here. My blog also takes its name from this wonderful world of culinary foraging!
But most of all, I love cheese. My taste has developed over the years from supermarket mild Cheddar to the unpasteurised, ripe and fragrant, but I have loved them all. I genuinely believe that veganism is the only truly ethical way to eat (hence many of the recipes here include instructions on how to make them vegan), but my relationship with cheese is passionate, long-lasting and fulsome. So there will be lots of it here. And pizza – I really love that too!
There is a lot of negativity on the internet and so I have decided to make this blog a place of happiness and praise. Here I write about the very best things I have learned or discovered, the most amazingly flavourful recipes I have tried, the most remarkable restaurants I have visited and the most inspirational books I have read. So if I review something here, or write about it, that means I love it. If I don’t like it, I just won’t write about it.
You can contact me here – I’d love to hear from you!
Nancy Anne Harbord