What’s Happening Here in 2014?

I suppose to write the title, “What’s Happening Here in 2014” may confuse you – it confuses me at times.  But like a lot of you, we have hopes and dreams.  Therefore I’ve decided to write a sort of ‘What we hope to do this year, but if we don’t manage it all, we’ll survive’ type of blog.  Maybe a few lists, maybe not.  What’s the best way to plan it?  In the words of the song we all pretend we’re too young to know, ‘Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start ……’

Recipes, Recipes and even more Recipes!

Recipe taken from Loose Birds & Game
Recipe taken from Loose Birds & Game
Face Publications

In our front room, which masquerades in bad colours as a library/spare bedroom but is really shelved out in shiny metal as a temple to Cookbook Heaven, there are also five or six big multi-coloured boxes stuffed to the gunnels with years of pages of recipes, either torn out or photocopied from journals or books or even handwritten my me  – (doesn’t your handwriting alter as you get old!)  And then in our upstairs office, which I share with our cat, there are tatty box files and more plastic boxes, overflowing with raggy recipes which one day (I promise) will all be scanned, cooked, photographed and typed up on this blog.  Thousands and thousands, and after years of Erik asking me “Why?”, even he doesn’t really notice them anymore, thank goodness.  Unless he trips over the boxes!

Recipe from Black Pudding & Foie Gras
Recipe taken from Black Pudding & Foie Gras
Face Publications

Both these photos of recipes are taken from the award-winning cookbooks written by Andrew Pern of The Star Inn at Harome, and designed by my designer son, Anthony Hodgson of Face Publications.  These two books, and On The Menu by James Mackenzie  of The Pipe and Glass Inn at South Dalton (another award winner) and Too Many Chiefs Only One Indian by Sat Bains, of Restaurant Sat Bains, voted the Best Designed Chef Book in the World by the Gourmand World Book Awards, all have pride of place on our bookshelves, as you can imagine.  I wish all my cookbooks were so informative, so full of superb photographs and would help me conjure up such mouth-watering food.

Our Garden Room extension.

Hopefully this is going to begin in April/May, and will be added to the back of the house.  The wall behind the cream garden umbrella will be partly taken out and the new Garden Room will come out into the garden by just under 8 metres.  Facing directly south, it will have a pitched roof and big glass doors looking down the garden.

Our extension will be here
The site of our Garden Room

So I will be looking for everything to do with this large room, from the paint colours, the flooring, the general style – creamy Long Island is the favourite of the moment – the fabrics, the furniture, the log burner, (yes, another one), and how to link this room to the garden.  Out of the big doors we will step onto a patio, and, in time, beyond the patio will be an under-cover Outdoor Kitchen, maybe in time for my next ‘big’ birthday.

Thatched Outdoor Kitchen
Thatched Roof for Outdoor Kitchen

Well, a girl’s got to dream, hasn’t she?

And no doubt I will be writing up my dreams on the blog – hope you don’t mind.  And sharing my research into everything with you, good or bad.  Plus the rest of the house will gradually be renovated, but that will take some years.

The Kitchen.

Now this next one depends on how much money we have left when the extension is finished, or even if it is finished!  This next one is the one closest to my heart and soul – the kitchen. Below is a picture of how I would like my next kitchen to be.  A mixture of traditional and modern, loads and loads of storage space and very carefully chosen cooking elements.

my dream kitchen

My dream kitchen

Our dream is to knock down part of the wall between what is now a small kitchen, and add that to what is now the dining room.  Are you still with me?  There is a big chimney breast between these two rooms, and our idea is to keep the two outside columns of the chimney breast, put a supporting beam in the middle and make a feature of the columns.  If we can do this, our new kitchen will be approximately 5.5 metres (about 18 foot) long by about 3.5 metres (about 11ft  6inches) – not a bad size.  Plus we have an area in the present kitchen with 2 cupboards and a decent space, which we hope to knock into one utility room off the kitchen.  I’m researching and scouring the internet, magazines, word of mouth etc. for cookers, hobs, kitchens, chopping blocks etc – to some it may seem a boring exercise, to me it’s just pure heaven. Should it be this one …… ?

Bocuse range cooker
Bocuse TRADIS range cooker

…… or this one ……?

Mercury range cooker
Mercury MCY 1200 DFSS range cooker

So …… watch this space for all about kitchens over the next year or two.  This will probably be my last chance to get my dream kitchen, so I aim to get it right. And, let’s face it, Erik and I need a lot of shelves and cupboards for all the cookware we have accumulated over the years.

A New Kitchen Garden.

Can you get withdrawal symptons from not growing your own vegetables?  After being lucky enough to have designed and made a brilliant raised-bed kitchen garden, and then worked hard sowing and planting and harvesting every manner of fruit and vegetable I could think of, I have had to put it almost on hold in our new garden.  True, I created my own new Asparagus bed from scratch last spring, just so that I could plant my Asparagus Crowns. But we will have to wait another 2 years before we can fully enjoy that luscious vegetable.  I suppose that’s a start.  And I mustn’t forget that we grew runner beans, and strawberries.

Our Asparagus Bed

Our Asparagus Bed, built March 2013

But how I miss the wonderful Kitchen Garden we designed and made at our last house.  For five years I devoured advice, planned and planted and then ate the wonderful rewards of all that hard work.  I planted seeds and plants that gave us fresh, tasty salads, varieties of lettuce that grew perfectly in the raised beds, radishes of all shapes and colours, mustardy leaves, lemon sorrel and spinach with tiny dart-shaped leaves edged in a ruby colour – and that was just a tiny part of it.

Our fabulous Kitchen Garden we left behind.
The fabulous Kitchen Garden we had to leave behind.

This year, after a year of living in Hornsea, now I know where the sun shines most in our great garden so I can work out a proper plan for the more shade-loving fruit and salad leaves, giving the sun-loving plants the wide-open space to soak up the rays and produce sweet tasting tomatoes, all types of beans and weird and wonderful vegetables to enjoy.  Erik and I have talked a lot about this, and we realise that because we now have the space, we can create a kitchen garden that will supply us (and our family when they visit) with a good deal of our own fresh fruit and vegetable needs.  So out will come the graph paper, and I will also use the brilliant Kitchen Garden planner from Dobies.  I reckon I’m going to be busy this year!

And let’s not forget the rest of the garden – the garden near the house in summer overflowing with colourful flowers, bulbs and shrubs, the next part more architectural with interesting autumn colour and unusual shrubs (must have an Acer Griseum and a couple of Twisted Hazel (great for flower arrangements and Christmas twiggy decorations.  Then there’s the wild-flower meadow and mini-orchard …… the list goes on and on.

So, hopefully, I’ve given you the answers to ‘What’s Happening Here in 2014.”  It’s been almost cathartic, writing down our dreams, and it will be interesting to see how much of it we can achieve in the next couple of years, before we reach a ripe old age.  But one thing I’m sure of is it’s going to be a very busy and enjoyable few years ahead of us!!

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