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Corona conversations

Well here we are - under the cloud of a global pandemic, with social distancing our strongest weapon so far in the fight against Covid 19.  But we are going to use this space to share what we are doing to face up to the challenges of home isolation.  Each day, we will add a new diary entry with our thoughts and ideas, suggestions of things to do and, possibly, the occasional rant and howling at the moon.

So many people are now confined to their homes, interaction with the outside world restricted, day to day life disrupted beyond recognition.  Some people will remember wars; others, here in the UK can reach back to the 3 day week, but for so many, this is an unprecedented disruption to their daily life, an unsettling reminder that not everything in our lives is under our control.

 

Day 17

1st April 2020
 
A day typically full of pranks and gags, with newspapers, major brands and Google all joining in.   This year it has been a more muted, but no less amusing April Fools’ Day and we have i-news to thank for this great round up of stories.
Did any one of you spot our social distancing pan on Twitter and Facebook?   We umm’ed and aah’ed about doing this, but in the end we decided to go ahead and we had some lovely feedback.
 
 
 
And any other time, you would have thought that stories of goats invading Llandudno town centre were definitely a joke, but now it’s all part of the new normal!
And no, going to see the goats does NOT constitute essental travel
Meanwhile, as Neil drives through the Wyre Forest on his way to and from the workshops, he has seen queues of muntjac deer gathering at the rural bus stop.  Wonder if he should be offering them a lift?
The white stag, however continues to keep his distance
 
Hero of the day: David Hockney, thank you for sharing your visions of Spring

 

Day 16

31st March 2020
 
When you find out who your real friends are………… in our case, a huge thanks to Mandy, who found us some yeast in her corner shop!  Our attempts at sourdough have been just about edible, but we still need a lot more practice, so the gift of a packet of yeast has felt like the best present ever.  And their  thoughtfulness and generosity will be repaid in cake. 
Bread rolls made to accompany home made soup
And a thank you cake to be delivered tomorrow.
 
Back in the workshops, we are still making cookware and sending out parcels, and whilst our hearts go out to our fabulous independent retailers, who have had to close their doors, it does mean our delivery times for website orders have improved.   If you want to see what we get up to in there you can have a flashback to when we were on the telly!
 
 
Heroes of the day are Morrisons supermarkets, doing their bit for food banks

Day 15

30th March 2020
 
For fans of the Archers, where time has moved at a slower pace for decades, it appears that the first reports  coronavirus won’t reach Ambridge until May 
 
Back in the real world, April is just around the corner, the clocks have gone forward, bringing lighter evenings, the blossom is out on the trees, it’s almost English asparagus season  and we can look forward to Easter eggs and hot cross buns.  We are chalking up the positives, ticking off the signs of Spring, heralding any and every piece of good news.
Please send us your “signs of Spring”, be it your first cuckoo call or the ceremonial lighting of the barbecue.
 
Tonight’s dinner will be a quiche, made with wild garlic foraged from the banks of the River Severn, so recently under water and now thick with garlic, nettles and blackthorn blossom. 
 
Our hero of the day is James McAvoy, who recently starred  as Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials and who has donated £275,000 to a crowdfunding campaign for vital protective equipment for NHS staff treating coronavirus.
Photo from the bbc
 

Day 14

29th March 2020

How have you spent your Sunday?  The differentiation between weekday and weekend is beginning to blur for those totally isolated in their homes.
We have used today to re-charge our batteries, before heading back to the workshops tomorrow.
Taking advantage of the weather, we have been out in the garden, digging, weeding, clearing away dead and broken branches and planning a bonfire.  Hopefully our seed delivery will be here soon and we can get planting.  There is something hopeful about the planting of seeds, the promise of fresh shoots and life to come.  A metaphor for the future, perhaps.
 
And what have you been cooking?  This would once have been considered a standard, even boring dish of pasta in tomato sauce, with griddled Halloumi, but now any pasta dish feels like a luxury. 
Carefully rationing out the store cupboard supplies and savouring every mouthful.
 
Heroes of the day: The German government who have sent military planes top pick up Covid19 patients from Italy and France and transfer them to German hospitals to relieve those countries' over-stretched medical facilities.  A truly humbling geature of solidarity and support.

 
 
 
 

Day 13 

28th March 2020

We'll get by with a little help from our friends

The crisis is bringing out the best in people, well most people, and we are grateful for all our friends in the midst of this.

On Friday, our friends Rupert and Tracey from Bennett and Dunn, dropped off (from a respectable distance) a special delivery of their beautiful oils, infusions and dressings, which are now available on the website.

We have been selling their gorgeous rapeseed oil for some time, it certainly fits our criteria for local supply, coming from 9 miles up the road!  But npw we have added their full range of delicious dressings and infusions.  And as we all revert to cooing up whatever we can find in the back of the cupboard or the depleted shop shelves, this is the perfect opportunity to support a local, small scale food producer, while perking up your cooking.
A quick drizzle of Chaat Masala infusion can transform a bowl of boiled carrots, and a drizzle of horseradish oil is the added zing you need on a dish of beetroot.
Browse the entire range and keep watching for more recipes and ideas.
 
When our local, independent household store closed its doors a few days ago, they left a big box of chitted seed potatoes and onion sets on the step for everyone to help themselves.  So today, we made the most of the fair weather and planted out our first outdoor sowing of the year.
we will be heading steraight into the shop when it re-opens to pay for our spuds and deliver a thank you cake.
 
Back tomorrow

 
 

 

 

Day 12

27th March 2020

 
The whole of our street came out to clap for the carers last night and we could hear the applause echoing from the neighbouring roads, avenues and crescents.  It was a clear cold night, under a beautiful crescent moon and we hope that the sound carried to the ears of all those whom we were thanking and celebrating.  It was all a bit surreal, as we all kept our physical distance, even though we drew close in spirit and to be honest, it was certainly very emotional.
 
Right then, let’s talk about pastry.  The easiest form of pastry is bought, ready rolled,  from the supermarket  - all you have to do is take it out of the packet, cut it to size, add a filling, pop it in the oven and hey presto you have pie.
But where’s the challenge in that?
Now’s the time to have a go at making your own (Please don’t shout at us if you haven’t got any flour.   We are hoping that now that the shops have sensible restrictions in place, rationalised product ranges,  limits on the number of items people can buy and  orderly queues to get into the stores, then the shelves might start to fill up again and we can all calm down and keep shopping)
The simplest pastry is probably shortcrust; flour, fat and water, which is a good place to start.  If you have children, why not start with jam tarts?  Let’s be honest, if something has got jam in it, they are noty going to go full on food critic over the quality of the pastry, are they?
 
Once you feel a little more confident, try a few more simple ideas, such as sausage rolls:
Or a cheese and onion pie.
 
And then you will be ready to branch out – so get your hands on a copy of this stunning book about all types of pastry and what to do with it, by Annie Rigg.
It was Annie who first got us into making the pie dishes, so we can all be grateful to her for coming up with the original idea.  We just happen to know that Annie is working on a new book at the moment……..no more, our lips are sealed, but we will reveal more when we are allowed to.
 
Our baking trays and pie dishes are absolutely perfect for making sure you don’t get a soggy bottom; the black iron heats up beautifully to ensure your pastry cooks to a crisp and even finish.
 
 
And finally, a day in the life of the workshops.  This may not look very exciting, but it means a lot to our workshop team.  We had to knock a hole in the wall to keep our new compressor cool. Fortunately it's the only thing running a temperature round here.
 
 
Stay safe, look after yourselves.

Day 11

26th March 2020
Another sunny day, if a little chilly!
The greenhouse has been swept out and we are getting ready to pot up some seeds. 
Even if you only have a windowsill, it is worth  planting a few seeds and watching their progress; even if it’s only some herbs, the sight of seedlings emerging from a tub of soil is uplifting.  If you are fortunate enough to have any eggs, wash out the used shells and use those as mini pots for cress, and get any children you have under your feet to paint faces on the shells.
 
Here is an update on yesterday’s buckwheat bulked bread – it’s delicious, so when we have wheat flour in abundance again, we will still be repeating this one.
  
 
Judging from our order book there is a lot of baking going on out there!
 
So, moving on from bread, let’s tackle something more basic.  I was going to talk about pastry, but that is coming tomorrow.  Let’s practice our rubbing in skills with some scones first.
Scones are simple and delicious; you can make savoury or sweet ones and  the debate about jam or cream first will rumble on regardless of what else is happening in the world.  Allegedly, the Queen prefers jam first
 
Once you have got the basic idea, you can play around with all sorts of additions beyond the traditional cheese or dried fruit.
The best cheese scones we have EVER eaten were made by Great British Bake Off star, Val Stones, who now bakes all her scones on the Netherton baking sheet she designed in collaboration with us.  Her tip is to heat the sheet in advance, so that the scones start to rise as soon as they hit the hot metal – it really does make a difference. 
 
You can read more about the collaboration and find our recipe for beetroot scones on our blog.
If you want Val’s recipe for the best scones in the world (in our opinion, at least, but we do know that there are other good scones out there) you can find it on her website or better still, buy her book.
 
We have also got recipes for apricot scones and savoury scones with sun dried tomatoes and goats cheese, so get baking and send us pictures of the results.
Please do send us your #coronabaking stories and photos. 
 
Heroes of the day: it goes without saying that these are all the people in our amazing health service who are working so hard to look after everyone who is in need of care, not just those suffering from Covid19
Will you be taking part in the national round of applause at 8pm this evening

Day 10

25th March 2020

Another gloriously sunny day, so we hope you managed to get out for some fresh air and your daily exercise.  If you are self-isolating, we hope that you at least opened the window and listened to the birds.
Take the opportunity to relish the quietness, no planes overhead, cars down to a minimum, although there does seem to be an underlying hum of lawnmowers across the land.
 
After yesterday’s post about bread making, we have been experimenting.  Our stock of bread flour is running low, so we have added some buckwheat flour to today’s bake.  We’ll report back after breakfast tomorrow.
 
We thought you might be interested in a quick peek behind the scenes at the workshops.  Yes, we are still making things, packing things, despatching things.  DPD keep turning up, and we are leaving all the day’s parcels out on a pallet for them to collect each day.  So far, so good.
Everyone else is working from home.
Which leaves a lot more space for Neil, Carl and Mandy to get on with things well away from each other.
We appreciate everyone’s efforts in keeping things going and keeping one another safe.  We would also like to thank our suppliers who are keeping us ticking over.
 
  
 
And if you want to see what life was like before the arrival of shiny new big blue machine or, indeed the less welcome corona virus, take a look at the time that ITV4 came to visit LINK.
If you would like to nominate a hero or villain of the day, please write to us, explaining your reasons for the nomination and adding a photo if possible

Day 9

24th March 2020

Ok, so now it’s time to start thinking about things you haven’t tried before that you can do at home.

Seems like EVERYONE got the memo make bread, right? Well if you are not stocked up on ingredients, you may struggle until supply lines and supermarket sweeps settle down  Really, really good bread is the result of years of experience.  Our friend, Robert Swift is the 5th generation of his family to bake, he knows how many years of experience are distilled into every loaf, every roll he bakes.  Baking an adequate loaf isn’t hard, but it does take practice and not every loaf you make will have you dreaming of opening your own bakery.  But if you are one of the early birds who bought the flour and the yeast, then keep up the baking and if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.  Don’t leave the ingredients lurking at the back of the cupboard.  And if you can share your efforts with others, then please do so.
 
And if you are in the mood for baking, head over to our competition page for a chance to win a copy of Regula Ysewijn’s glorious new book; Oats in the North, Wheat from the South.
  
 
Drawing:  we are a household of two halves.  There are the two who make it looks so simple (we know it isn’t, honestly, it just looks that way!), who can create a piece of art from practically nothing.  And then there are the other two, who struggle to draw a stickman who doesn’t look like he’s about to fall over.
But don’t let your perceived inability, lack of practice or underconfidence stop you – just have a go.  Just doodle on the back of an envelope or in the margins of the newspaper.  Get inspired, go on-line and lok at the “old masters”, check out fashion or cookery illustrations, create your own cartoon character.  It doesn’t matter what form it takes or what medium you use.
 
 
Heroes of the day: Carol Vorderman who has made her maths classes for 4-11 year olds free and David Walliams who is uploading a free audio story every day  
Villain of the day: Tim Martin, who is refusing to pay his staff until the company receives the government grant , which may not be until the end of next month.  We will be boycotting Wetherspoons when the pubs re-open.

Day 8

23rd March
 
A deep dive into the freezer and we emerged with a pot of gold.  A tub of dal, rich with ginger, chilli and turmeric was emptied into our new round bottomed wok.  A forage in the fridge unearthed some sorry for itself spinach and that was chucked in to the wok with some squishy tomatoes.
Traffic light dinner dished up with date and tamarind chutney and makki di rotis from Romy Gill’s glorious book Zaika. 
 
The shops seem to be reasonably well stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables, and this book is a very handy helpmate for creating tasty vegan meals – a good opportunity to experiment.
 
If you want to read more about dal, this is a superb introduction from our customer, Jas.
 
In other news, another export order was loaded up today, heading to America; life goes on.
 
Social distancing - 2m, 6’ 6” is further than you think; take the tallest person you know and imagine them lying down between you and the next person………….then add a bit, because even most tall people are not THAT tall.
The old measurement of an English ell is 45”, or 1.143m.  An ell-wand was a rod of length one ell used for official measurement. Edward I of England ordered that every town should have one.
Perhaps we should all have double ell-wands now!
 
And CONGRATULATIONS to Thom E who has won our collaborative competition with Fieldware Co – a stockpot and a waxed cotton apron will be on their way to him this week.
Keep watching our competitions page and social media as there will be new competitions coming soon.
 
 
Heroes of the day: a joint award today to Shrewsbury Ark, who together with Shropshire Council have secured accommodation for all their vulnerable clients at the wonderful Prince Rupert Hotel for the duration of the crisis.
  
  
 

 

Day 7

22nd March 2020
 
Mothers' day in the UK - a one like none we have ever seen before; where the advice has been to keep our mothers safe by keeping our distance, by staying away.  Hold them close, but only in your hearts and minds.
We know that today can be hard for some; for those who have lost their mothers, who never knew their mothers, mothers whose children were taken too soon and those who will never be mothers.
Our thoughts today are with you all, mothers, mothers in law, stepmothers, foster mothers and adoptive mothers.
 
We particularly enjoyed reading about the Mum who received flours, not flowers on her doorstep today.
 
We would also urge you to think about taking your mum out to lunch when all this is over.  Many restaurants are setting up voucher schemes to generate income now, to ensure they can be back later.  They will appreciate your support.
 
In other news, and in the spirit of "life goes on", we are delighted to receive an order to send a baking dome and tray to Hawaii and Neil is especially cheered by an order for a Dutch oven - just goes to showe that you lot are reading our social media and browsing the website. 
 
Hero of the day: Ryan Riley and Kimberley Duke who used their shared experience of losing their mothers to cancer at far too young an age, to set up Life Kitchen.
You can support these inspirational youngsters by buying the Life Kitchen Cook Book  and/orbuying a Life Kitchen spatula
 
  
 
Keep being kind, keep washing your hands, keep your distance.
Don't be a COVIDIOT!!
 

Day 6

21st March 2020
 
Beautiful sunshine today, but still bitterly cold, so the contents of the freezer are stacked up in boxes in the shade outside, while the big white box weeps the equivalent of a Titanic sinking iceberg into drip trays and bowls.
A veritable treasure trove has been unearthed, including a long forgotten pack of sausages and some of last year’s blackberry harvest.  Hopefully we should now have a bit more room to store some basic supplies.
So tonight’s dinner, from the freezer to the prospector pan to the oven to the table to our bellies, will be Diana Henry’s baked sausages, apples and blackberries from the indispensable From the Oven to the Table.
You can see the version that was cooked up when Sue headed down to Salamander Cook Shop last year.
    
 
Pubs, cafés, and restaurants are all now closed for normal business.  But many are still finding ways to operate, by offering takeaway services.  This is going to be a tough time for businesses, so if there is any way that you can support your locals, please do so.  After all, we want them to be back in business when all this is over so that we can celebrate postponed birthdays, anniversaries, weddings etc.
 
Meanwhile, we are going to going to be cooking outdoors as often as we can and looking forward to getting on to a course at Bristol Fire School with Genevieve Taylor – the courses are listed on her website and if you want to support her and sign up for future courses, then please, please email her.
 
If you fancy getting out into the fresh air and practising, we are still shipping out our outdoor cooking kit, including the brand new Dutch oven.
 
And please use good charcoal, we think that Whittle and Flame charcoal is outstanding, these guys rock.
 
The government has stepped up its response to the crisis and is offering more support than has ever been committed before.  Whatever your political affiliations, this has to be acknowledged as brave, bold and finally decisive.  
 
Hero of the day: Rishi Sunak
 
Can the supermarkets hide the large trolleys and you can only use one if you can prove that you are shopping for a larger than average number of people?
STOP PANIC BUYING.

Day 5

20th March 2020

Reasons to be cheerful :

#1 A breathing space for the planet: every cloud has a silver lining and the glow shining from the underside of the corona cumulus is the impact on the environment. This piece in the Washington Post highlights how emissions of pollutants have dropped significantly as industrial activity and the use of transport has fallen.

Of course, global shutdown is NOT the answer to global warming, but we should at least celebrate any and every piece of good news.

#2  Today is the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere - the start of Spring. We have had sunshine today and the blossom is appearing on our damson trees.
If you can safely leave the house and head to a patch of green space, we urge you to do so. Count the flowers, listen to the birds, stop, look, listen
 
Leisure
by
William Henry Davies
 
 What is this life if, full of care, 
We have no time to stand and stare.
 
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
 
No time to see, when woods we pass, 
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
 
No time to see, in broad daylight, 
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
 
No time to turn to Beauty's glance, 
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
 
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her mouth began.
 
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare
 
#3 The National Trust are currently offering free admission to some of their parks and gardens, but please check on their website, before setting out, as circumstances change from day to day.
 
#4 We sent 4 pallets of baking domes to America today - hope they have not been cleaned out of bread flour too.
 
Villain of the day: Britannia Hotels, we will be boycotting them from now on.  
Hero of the day: MacDonald Hotels

 

Day 4

19th March 2020
 
Well it had to happen and now it has.  Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson announced last night that all schools will close from Friday, until further notice.  There is no date for them to re-open and how could there be?
Obviously this raises a huge number of issues, far too many to list here and many of which are being tackled by government departments and schools.
 
We take our education system for granted most of the time; the schools educate and nurture our children, they are staffed by dedicated people with skills which we do not possess and they provide safe haven for them while we go to work.
And now it’s down to us – to care for them all day, to educate and entertain them, to keep them safe and explain the social distancing without frightening them, to mitigate the disappointments of cancelled trips and birthday parties.  Of course, much of this is the role of parents in any case, but this a whole new ball game, isn’t it?
Our own children are older – one is directly affected as he is employed as a teaching assistant, the other is at university, currently still open, but for how long?
All of our staff, however,  have school age children, so what do we do? 
Well, we will keep going as long as we can as that is the best way to support them in the long run – so we will be making your pans and posting your orders as long as is physically possible.
But what about the children?  If you have heard the expression “it takes a village to raise a child” you will understand when we say that this is where the wider family comes in.  We are located in a village, life here could be described as tribal; when one person is in need, the community responds. 
This is the positive side of this situation, the rainbow on a grey day, the bright light at the end of the tunnel.  The resounding chorus of “let us help you”, the hands reaching out, the coming together – all of this lifts the heart, all of this is what binds us closer.
 
Relatives and friends, who can safely do so, are stepping in to look after the children whose parents are at work and we will be welcoming some of the children in to work a couple of mornings a week and trying to relieve besieged grandparents, aunties and neighbours.   
 
The plan is to spend some time on school work, but also to get out and about if we can and introduce some new activities if the weather doesn’t cooperate.  When we were at primary school, many, many years ago, we always had a nature table in the classroom, covered in things that us kids picked up and brought in or that the teachers thought would interest us.   My Dad taught me to identify birds and trees, my Gran knew the names of countless wild flowers.  In the intervening years, I have learnt a lot about foraging and the abundance of edible plants that can be found on verges and in hedgerows.
Who knows, we may even get to see the white stag that lives in the Wyre forest
 
The timing of the school closures at the start of Spring is a metaphorical ray of sunshine -  a few genuine rays would be appreciated too –  nature rambles are high on the agenda!
There will probably be coloured card, glitter and glue too.
One thing’s for sure – there will be cake; it can’t cure anything, but it does make you feel better.
Today’s cake was chocolate and orange, much enjoyed by Nataley (left) and Mandy (right)
 
We wish all of you with children the very best of luck and much patience in the coming weeks, and applaud the efforts of all those school staff who will stay on the front line to provide support and care for special needs and vulnerable children.
 
In other news  - we know it’s serious when Eastenders has to eke out its episodes and the cobbles of Corona(hit)tion St will be seen less frequently.  Bring out the boxsets.
 
Hero of the Day is Gary Neville – read why here

Day 3

18th March 2020
We have just listened to the moving, emotional speech by Leo Varadkar TD  "This is the calm before the storm, before the surge......To all those living in the shadow of what is to come, we are with you".
 
These are extraordinary times and extraordinary people doing extraordinary things will emerge and be remembered.  For the rest of us, the motto Be Kind, has never been more important.  If we start with kindness and consideration, we can make this all a little more bearable for everyone. 
What can you share with your neighbours? Can you do a book swap and run an on-line book club?   (Don't forget to wipe the book with sanitiser and leave it on their doorstep.)
Have you got more loo rolls than you really need?  
Call your parents, grandparents, friends - keep in touch by whatever means you can.  And think about writing a letter, even if you can't get out to send it.  The art of letter writing may be due a revival.
 
BAKING
We plan to do as much baking as long as our stock of flour allows.  And then we have a flour free preview recipe from Regula Ysewijn's latest book, Oats in the North, Wheat from the South to try out.  Keep reading along with us and we will share the recipe shortly.
Meanwhile this is a carrot cake we made last night.
 
 
Recipe from Nigella Lawson
 
Keep being kind
 
 

Day 2

17th March 2020

The financial impact of the coronavirus is yet to be quantified, but the number of noughts on the end of whatever figure the economists come up with is going to be staggering. This is a stressful time for everyone, from huge financial institutions and international corporations right the way through to the homeless and those living day to day, hand to mouth.

Today, newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, who can never have dreamed that this is what his new job would entail, pledged to do "whatever it takes" to provide the security blanket to get us through the crisis.  An aid package of £350billion is being made available to support businesses with loans and grants. Whether or not this will be enough remains to be seen, but this is a reflection of a global response from governments around the world, determined to overcome not only the virus, but also the economic and social consequences of the pandemic.

READING

Now is the chance to read all those books that you have always promised to get round to.... 
We currently have bookmarks in Isabel Allende's A Long Petal of the Sea, Bill Bryson's The Body; A guide for occupants and in every one of Philip Pullman's tales about Lyra in her alternative universe; His Dark Materials and the first two books of the Book of Dust trilogy.   We can only hope that he gets started on the follow up to the Secret Commonwealth soon, we want to know what happens next...........
 
If you can't get to the newsagent, we would seriously recommend checking out the newspapers on-line; some are available free, others offer a couple of free articles a week and there are some that require a subscription.  As a means of keeping up with world events and listening to a variety of voices, newspapers are incomparable.  If you can speak a language other than your mother tongue, seek out a national newspaper published in that language - you will get a different perspective on life elsewhere and be able to improve your language skills at the same time. (More on that another day).  There are many international titles published in English however.  The Wall St Journal is an endless treasure trove, packed with news, interviews, opinions.
 
Recipe books can be more than just a list of ingredients and a methodology.  Writers such as Diana Henry, Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater, Regula Ysewijn and Samin Nosrat write far more than recipes in their books, scattering words like crumbs which lead you into their kitchens, into their lives and tempt you into your own kitchen with their passion for food.
 
  
And while we are all stranded on our own small patch of this island nation, we can virtually travel the world with Caroline Eden, Olia Hercules, Fuschsia Dunlop and of course, Claudia Rosen.  We are heading to Carpathia with Irina Georgescu, to read about Food from the Heart of Romania. 
 
 
Whilst our store cupboard may not have everything we need to cook from our recipe books, there is a sense of hope in planning for parties and get togethers to come once all of this is over.  And while they are still running, there is always the lure of the Sous Chef website for a delivery of exotic ingredeints to be left outside the front door.
 
Send us your reading recommendations and reviews, we will pass them on.

 


Day 1

16th March 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has advised that we should all avoid non-essential travel and contact, but has not introduced the more stringent measures in place in countries such as Italy.
 
Covid 19 presents enormous challenges to families, schools, health services, large industries, the financial markets, supply chains, travel and, close to our hearts, small businesses.  National governments are also wading through uncharted waters and responses around the world have shown differing opinions on the best reaction.
 
But we are going to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to us.  We are, thankfully and for now, well and the business is still open.  We will do whatever we can to support our staff and keep making things.  But we will also be sharing what we are doing to face up to the challenges of home isolation.
And if you want to share your thoughts and ideas, please email us.
 
SHOPPING
Those of you with the good sense and/or good fortune to own Claire Thomson's books the Art of the Larder or New Kitchen Basics, will know that a well stocked pantry/cupboard/kitchen drawer is a "good thing".  Right now, a well stocked cupboard is what we all need.
Note: we are not talking a spare bedroom full of loo rolls, pasta and baked beans; that would be a very specialised round of Ready Steady Cook!  Do not panic buy, do not hoard, consider others, especially those less fortunate than you.
So while there is still some degree of normality, either get down to your local bookstore, IF YOU CAN, or order Claire's books on line.
 
  
 
Then sit down and write yourself a sensible shopping list. Check with neighbours, friends and family to see if they need any supplies.  If you are not self isolated, head to the shops, go to your independents if you can, go to the supermarket if you can't.  While you are out, and if you are in a position to do so, please pick up a little extra for the food bank trolley; these are going to be more important than ever, espaecially if (when?) schools close and free schools meals are not available.
If you can't get out, ask someone else to go for you and leave the shopping on the doorstep or shop on-line.  If you are shopping on-line, be prepared to wait, the supermarkets are struggling to keep up with rapidly increasing demand for delivery services and are likely to be seeing reductions in the number of staff available as the virus spreads.  
 
This is a dish of yoghurt and garam masala slow roasted carrots from Art of the Larder, that we made...........
 
and Claire has kindly given us permission to share the recipe with you:
 
Back tomorrow
 
 

 

 

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