This is the start of a really good year. My beautiful little Summer House in the woods has been revived with the installation of my new Ironheart stove. I had been looking forward to its arrival very much!
The Summer House is hidden away in East Devon and has wonderful views out to sea over Lyme Bay, just a few miles from where I work at River Cottage.
Originally, it had a small open fire but it didn’t work at all well and, as the house is off grid, we had no way of warming it up inside.
It had been a bitter January and the little stone house was terribly cold. So when the Ironheart arrived I simply could not wait to get a fire going!
The difference it has made to the house can not be measured and it cannot be explained in words. The warmth that comes from the Ironheart is so reassuring and so comforting that you never want to let it die out, it heats the very fabric of the house and in the half light of a frozen dusk, it glows steady and strong.
I’ve liked making fires since I was a small boy. The first time I cooked wild mushrooms I was nine years old. I lit a small fire 15ft up an old beach tree we used to like to climb and in the embers I toasted the mushrooms like marshmallows. They were delicious and something I will never forget.
Im still cooking with fire… but less so up trees. There are very few things more satisfying, rewarding and tangible than working with wood and cooking good food.
With my Ironheart I get to do both at the same time!
So this is the beginning of my year at the Summer House. Im going to be cooking a lot there and every month I’ll put up some recipes. I don’t know what they’ll be yet. It will depend on what’s available at the time.
In late spring I hope to be catching the first of the mackerel down on the beach. In the summer I’ll find wild herbs and sea greens and then maybe Roe deer and cob nuts in the autumn.
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February 2013 – Sunday Lunch: