Growing up as a kid we used to visit my Grandmother -or “nan” as we used to call her – quite regularly and sometimes we’d head over for Sunday lunch. I remember the food was always so delicious! Looking back I realise that our Nan had a very hard life and very little money.
In post war Britain they were often fed by the Salvation Army. The meals we were given on a Sunday were made up of a traditional roast and the veggies were Home grown out of the garden. Produce swapping was a very common and informal practise. Carrots were sweet, peas were fresh and served with garden mint and a knob of butter, potatoes were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Nan’s secret was to part steam them and then use lard (pig fat) to roast them. Amazing taste and texture I highly recommend! And the gravy consisted largely of the juices out of the roasting pan. This was all done on a wood-fired Aga that was kept burning night and day during the colder months and gave the most incredible depth of flavour. These days we know those flavours as ‘umami’, back then it was known as “mmm” and was clearly visible in the form of clean plates.
On our recent trip to Vanuatu, we were very fortunate to experience a lunch prepared by a family with produce they’d grown themselves. I was struck by the common ground and similarities between this scenario and my Nan’s lunches. Both prepared using very humble, homegrown ingredients picked fresh from the garden or purchased locally from someone else who grew them and sold them at the local market.
Wherever possible we aim to re-create this same process of buying locally produced ingredients and using traditional wood-fired ovens. Our aim is to produce food that has the same end result of happy faces, clean plates and “mmm” all round. And if you’re looking at those wild raspberries and wondering how good they tasted? They were even better than they look!