Food writer, private cook, kitchen gardener, cookery teacher and supper club host, Kathy writes about growing your own dinner and rural life
Kathy is a private cook, kitchen gardener, cookery teacher and writer based in the Cotswolds.
She writes the blog Gluts & Gluttony (glutsandgluttony.com) about the gluts she gets in her allotment and the ensuing gluttony in the kitchen. She also writes about food, and especially growing your own, for other publications like Crumbs Magazine, .delicious and Cotswolds Life.
She's recently published a mini-cookbook and growing guide. Available here:
It's magic in the veg patch at the moment. Actual magic. Every time you visit something new is sprouting. It's a time for firsts: first batch of green beans, first bowl of strawberries, first purple-podded peas, first courgette (though after last year's un-scalable courgette mountain I meet that one with a certain amount of trepidation).
But I think the mussel incident was the moment when Dad really definitely knew that he'd created a kindred spirit: someone who loved food. All of it. Any of it. And wasn't going to waste it. It's not that he'd made me a dustbin/daughter into which you can feed any old crap. It's that he'd shown me how all food has a purpose and an opinion and a currency.
You know those days when you are really up for a bit of a faff in the kitchen? When you want to enjoy some time gratuitously wasted in tinkering. To decadently fritter away a couple of hours making something wonderful but totally pointless. Well, that was me yesterday.
And it struck me - a plate of food is not just a plate of food. It is representative of an almost infinite list of political issues. And that means that when we sit down to eat or cook or grow food, we aren't just fuelling our bodies, we are making surprisingly political choices.
The challenge is that one can end up focused simply on masking the flavour of the kale with sweet things, which rather defeats the object of a smoothie. (They should still be healthy don't you think, otherwise you might as well just have a milkshake and be done with it.)
A chicory leaf and a radicchio leaf walk into a salad bar. One leaf says to the other, "I really hate the way the barman in here can never remember which one of us is which but he can tell a Little Gem from an Iceberg instantly". "Don't be so bitter" replies say the barman.
At least that's what happens in our family. Mum always makes one (complete with teeth-breaking icing which I love - fondant is dirty word in our family), has the odd slice over Christmas and then, come the New Year, she banishes all leftover Christmas cake from the house and foists it onto me
Proust has a lot to answer for. All that chat about madeleines. It's elevated them to 'mysterious French delicacy' status, given them a rarified air of complexity. In fact, they are the work of mere moments and can be knocked out by the dozen with minimal effort.
Dinner parties. So 1970s. They reek of vol-au-vents, Margo Leadbetters and awkward silences. The very mention of the D-P words and I am consumed by visions of an Abigail's Party nightmare. No. Not for me the invitation to 7:30-for-8 soggy canapés and lukewarm cocktails.
With such a singular fragrance, lemon balm doesn't play nicely with other flavours, so it needs to be centre stage. It also needs a far whack of sugar to balance out the citronella vibes. This, fortunately, makes it perfect for an adaptation of lemon drizzle cake.
I will eat green beans with anything. I adore them. But even I get slightly over-whelmed by them come August. It's been a very slow start to the bean harvest thanks to our erratic English weather. However, now the sun's arrived, they have shot up!
Despite the seemingly endless supply of courgettes, using them never feels like a chore and I'm yet to run out of ideas. That's the wonderful thing about courgettes: they are so tasty and so versatile that recipes are never hard to conjure up. I've got 3, yes 3, for you today:
Today I want to quench my rhubarb thirst, but also use up some leftovers. I have half a block of marzipan in the larder and half a box of filo pastry going begging. Also, I've been thinking about baklava a lot lately (it happens that way sometimes) so I feel a plan coming neatly together....
Oh my word I've never seen so many herbs in the garden! This spell of warm wet weather has sent everything into a growing frenzy. The rocket is living up to its name - 'wild'. The parsley is going to need mowing if it grows another inch.
Nothing says Springtime like a posy of flowers. After the seemingly endless grey of winter, early Spring flowers are a welcome splash of colour and life. They look almost good enough to eat. Which is handy. Because with many of them, you can. So hurrah for edible flowers.
11/05/2016 12:33 BST
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.