I have been busy recipe testing.

slice of nut loaf

The team I work with at Melrose and Morgan are publishing their first book in October which is the most wonderful compendium of food. Good Food For Your Table is a guide to food, written in an easy colloquial readable style, designed with quirky snippets and fun facts, plus some simple suggestions for piecing together a dish and a handful of recipes as well. All in all, it is going to be the most fab Christmas pressie when it comes out so you all know what you are getting this year!

But for now, we are busy ensuring that the recipes translate from a professional kitchen and chef’s knowledge to the layman, hence my involvement.

When you read a recipe, you really don’t get just what has gone into writing it. Every gram is critical. Every comma. Every description. If you say cut lengthways will you cut it right? do we understand a finger of lemon peel? how to bring together a loaf of bread dough? how much is in a pinch? I could go on.

So under the watchful eye of Mr Melrose, I worked my way through the recipes, checking, perfecting, weighing and tasting my way through a small proportion of the repertoire. It is just one step in a long commitment to creating their book and putting themselves out there to be reviewed. I guess the well known chefs have a team of stylists, writers, home economists and so on to support with the process but for us, it is a matter of getting stuck in and working pretty damn hard.

My kitchen gets a good work out....

My kitchen gets a good work out….

One of the many lovely things about this process is sharing the experience with like minded food fanatics like me. Last week I cooked one evening with my nephew Asher and this week I spent quality time with Mr M. It was also a great excuse to give my relatively new kitchen a run for its money. And it stood up well. When you design a kitchen it is difficult to imagine whether or not it will facilitate an easy way of using it and I am pleased to report that most of my decisions were right. The best bit, given the heatwave we are currently experiencing, was having the bifold windows fully open bringing the kitchen into the garden to benefit from the small breezes from outside.

One of many ingredients boxes to be loaded into the car

One of many ingredients boxes to be loaded into the car

Our recipe test journey started in the professional kitchen weighing and measuring out the many varied ingredients that we needed. It’s quite a job in its own right but great when you have the quality of ingredients that these guys use on a day to day basis. We butchered the most wonderful Sutton Hoo chickens, benefitted from the best pastry the kitchen makes, a full and varied seeds & spice rack plus beautiful produce. It’s no wonder the Melrose and Morgan shop has a loyal following. Then we loaded up the boot, added in the cameras, computers, books etc. and drove back to me.

Spiced butters - I am convinced they are the way forward...

Spiced butters – I am convinced they are the way forward…

Tuesday morning we had a slice of my freshly baked rye loaf (yes – the Bread Ahead starter is doing a fab job at helping me create superb bread) with some of that Tayberry jam we made the other week and we were ready. Mr M was sous chef to me for the days which I took full advantage of. He weighed, chopped, zested and prepped so all I had to do was combine and cook. You have to wait for the book to see the recipes, but what I will say is that I am absolutely sure that they are going to double my usual repertoire, if not triple. It is so lovely to find recipes that work and result in tasty yummy food.

Over the days we were cooking, I encouraged friends to pop in and try. Everyone was suitably impressed taking home pots and tubs, foil wrapped gifts and jars of our creations. Some are still sitting in my fridge this weekend for me to enjoy and other random bits of chicken, stock etc. are in my freezer.

So thank you Mr and Mr M for trusting me with your recipes. I had so much fun and look forward to loads more if at all possible. The only downside was all the washing up – next time we need a potwash in the team!

photo 2