a cook who writes
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@nigelslater
Thank you once again for all your messages. I can’t tell you how much they mean to me. 💚💚💚 Dangerously late, I know, but I’m moving all the tender plants down to the basement today, where this pic was taken a few weeks ago before the hydrangea lost its leaves. (Jasmine and tree ferns still in fine fettle.) All the pelargoniums and tender potted ferns will be brought down here to see the rest of the winter through in the warm. Many of them already sending up new and incredibly fragile growth. It rarely freezes down in this tiny basement courtyard, partly because it is so well protected by high walls but probably more so because it is home to the warm air of the Aga outlet. So it is always several degrees warmer than the rest of the garden. Snug for the winter.
Mon 30th December 2019
@nigelslater
🙏🙏🙏 A thousand thank-yous for all the generous and utterly heartwarming comments about the New Year Honours. Of course I’m thrilled to pieces but it does seem extraordinary to get an award for simply doing something I love. I wonder what might have happened had my school not allowed and encouraged me to do cookery (pretty much unheard of at the time) and if I hadn’t had so many incredible people who believed in me and gave me a chance along the way. All those who have encouraged, empowered and pushed me over the years. The amazing people who have given me a chance, overlooked my faults and failures, who have been kind and patient and unwaveringly supportive. If you hadn’t been there for me, if you hadn’t believed in me, well, who knows? A massive THANK YOU to each and every one of you. 🙏🙏🙏💕💕💕
Sat 28th December 2019
@nigelslater
Haven’t seen this little chap for a while. (Though he or one of his descendants still leaves the occasional present for me.) I took this pic a few years ago, when I found him fast asleep in the strawberry patch.
Thu 26th December 2019
@nigelslater
Trying to work out which chimney Santa Claus will be coming down tonight. I imagine it will be this is one in the kitchen. It’s the largest, you could almost stand up in it, (and was discovered during renovations, hidden behind plasterboard). It is here I will leave his mince pie and glass of sherry. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. ✨🎅🏼🦌🥕🧦🎁🎄
Tue 24th December 2019
@nigelslater
Christmas Eve, early morning, clearing up the last few bits of paperwork on my desk. Rather enjoying the golden lily that opened this morning like a huge Christmas star. ✨
Tue 24th December 2019
@nigelslater
I write from early morning until elevenish. Then, almost without fail, I stop for coffee. There will be a pastry too - a slice of stollen or Christmas cake, a piece of toasted panettone or a buttered crumpet. Always with a much loved cup and plate (🙏@steve_harrison_pots ). It’s a tiny but crucial ritual, but stopping for five minutes and moving to another room restores and energises much more than snacking at my desk (which doesn’t, and just leaves crumbs in my keyboard). Once over, I head back to my work. Today, it’s a @lily_vanilli_cake caramel brownie. 🙏🤎💛
Mon 23rd December 2019
@nigelslater
✨A Christmas ice cream, made with panforte and maple syrup. I used no machine for this one, just a vanilla custard, crumbled panforte (from the Italian grocer, with hazelnuts, candied peel and honey) and maple syrup. Soft enough to slice straight from the freezer, details in @obsmagazine , Sunday 22nd December. ✨✨
Sun 22nd December 2019
@nigelslater
The extraordinary ceilings and staircases at Crewe Hall all dressed for Christmas (where I stayed for the last night of Toast, but have only just got round to posting the pics.) There is a splendid fire-lit hallway, a magnificent Christmas tree and very kind and helpful staff (not to mention the most hideous extension I have ever seen.) The bedrooms are nothing to write home about but the hotel has jolly afternoon teas in a handsome room, ornately carved and creaky staircases and even it’s own chapel.
Sat 21st December 2019
@nigelslater
Stormzy asked me for a soup recipe. (My take on the beef and okra soup his mum makes.) So I bought short ribs and tomatoes, okra and Scotch bonnet chillies and James and I set about making soup for Stormzy. We took our time, letting the bones do most of the work. The result was a deeply beefy broth with a silky texture (that’ll be the okra) with more than a little chilli fire. We added the Scotch bonnets whole, so they could be lifted out when the liquor was spicy enough. The details are in today’s @obsmagazine which is guest edited by @stormzy. It’s a soup- stew for a bitingly cold winter’s day. Something to warm the soul. I’m hoping his mum likes it too. #stormzy @j_gomez_thompson @obsmagazine
Sun 15th December 2019
@nigelslater
The garden, currently more bronze than green, is still and quiet as if in contemplation. The damp leaves have been swept up, seed heads left in place for the birds and the terracotta pots of white narcissi and rust-red wallflowers for spring are protected from pesky digging squirrels with wire and netting. The fox continuous his nightly patrols; neighbours’ cats curl up on the wooden garden seats and doze, and the garden goes silently into well deserved hibernation. 🍂
Sat 14th December 2019
@nigelslater
The tree went up this weekend, with mostly second-hand decorations picked up in Nuremberg, Vienna, Cologne and Venice. Some are incredibly fragile (I’ve broken one already this year) and shatter like egg shells, but still sparkle under the tiny Christmas lights. I’d like to think a tree has been put up in this room every year for last two hundred years, but the property has had an extraordinary life (at various times, a hospice, a slum and the home of a celebrated art collector) so who knows. It has, however, had a tree in it for the last twenty Christmases. I hope its cosy glow will be there for many more.
Wed 11th December 2019
@nigelslater
Getting the decorations down from the attic. These incredibly fragile glass walnuts and fir cones, found at a Christmas market in Cologne, are among my favourites.
Mon 9th December 2019
@nigelslater
Pork chops, parsnips and red onions baked with cider and stock. Robust eating for a cold December day. Details in today’s @obsmagazine and on theguardian.com. Plate by @floriangadsby
Sun 8th December 2019
@nigelslater
Horse chestnut, 6:30am. I often wake to a pink and lavender sky in winter, but this morning’s was the most dramatic I’ve seen at that time. The colours, completely unfiltered, are more reminiscent of sunset than dawn, and the birds were strangely silent.
Thu 5th December 2019
@nigelslater
This year’s advent calendar. A german made calendar, bought with several others at the Christkindlmarkt in Vienna. Its day has come.
Sun 1st December 2019
@nigelslater
The Loft Pots. A collection of some of Steve Harrison’s extraordinary, beautiful pots (the ones he has been putting away in his loft) are currently on show at @bluemountainschool in Shoreditch. Thank you @steve_harrison_pots and @bluemountainschool for a wonderful evening.
Fri 29th November 2019
@nigelslater
A full Scottish breakfast; a castle shrouded in mist; a 3am serenade 🙉and a city all dressed up for Christmas. Wish I could stay another day or two. Thank you Edinburgh for being so welcoming and especially those who came along to @waterstones_edi today. 📙📙🧡
Wed 27th November 2019
@nigelslater
I briefly stop for tea and cake, sometimes just a biscuit, most afternoons. (And I do mean stop, pushing whatever work I’m doing to one side, even taking it on a tray to another room.) But this week, feeling heavily under the weather, tea has been my life saver. My usual daily favourites from @postcardteas have been joined by citrus infusions from @perfumerhlondon, @lrbbookshop, (and fabulous treacle tart), jasmin tea @bettys in York and Gamip-cha persimmon leaf from @tea_collective 🙏 @rosaliapark. The extraordinary thing is that I only drank my first cup of tea aged fifty. 🙄 Until then I couldn’t stand it. (I still can’t if someone puts milk in it.) I genuinely don’t know what I would have done without tea this week, it has been both comfort and cure. (Blue handled cup @steve_harrison_pots, @gallerykuga ) 🙏Thank you for your kind messages. I really appreciate them. I’m sure I’ll be fine again very soon. Tea and plenty of sleep will do the trick. 🙏
Sat 23rd November 2019
@nigelslater
Lunch with @gilesrcooper at @skoshyork. Brussels sprouts Manchurian (my favourite sprout dish ever); sashimi of sea bass with horseradish and pickled turnip; scallop and trout dumplings with lemon grass; and pork belly ‘massaman’ with crisp, sharp apple. I don’t often have dessert in restaurants but new season pears with matcha sponge and yuzu (a sort of Japanese trifle) was a whole bowl of gorgeousness as (apparently) was G’s warm donut with quince and saffron custard. It is the original and quietly dazzling use of spices that made the food at Skosh so memorable. Thanks to everyone there for looking after us today. 🙏 (And yes, we had the fried chicken with fluffy brown butter hollandaise. How could we not?)
Wed 20th November 2019
@nigelslater
York all dressed for Christmas. Only a sprinkling of snow could make this city more gorgeous than it is tonight. Toast the play is on here at the Theatre Royal until Saturday. How I wish I had longer than just one night here. ✨🎄🎭✨
Tue 19th November 2019
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