An Emotional & Spectacular Day In The Curious Kitchen………………………..

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Saturday April 18th 2015, the new Curious Kitchen is launched……Feeling bad can be joyful……With movement…..


Our event today is very exciting. We have a full complement of participants, a wonderful menu to cook, a fabulous weather forecast ordered and bright new space to explore and use, not to mention the sparkling vintage Gaggia coffee machine to tantalise our taste buds and above all, hot running water……. and a dishwasher. (Not just  Kim and Pam!)

The day, we are sure, is going to be the best ever, what could possibly go wrong!?

Well, nothing went wrong at all, just the devastating news that Simon’s Dad passed away the evening before.  Simon agonised over whether or not to cancel the event, – was it disrespectful to carry on when the family was trying to come to terms with this sad, sad news?  Simon shared with his mum, Margaret how he felt about running the event,and asked her what she would like him to do. That felt good to move with the uncertainty Simon was holding….. Simon’s lovely Mum, told Simon in no uncertain terms that it was essential to carry on with the day, Mick would have wanted it. So was our perfectly planned day of food and joy now going to be a day of misery and sadness?

I would have expected there to be a lot of sadness, especially as Simon’s niece, our lovely Lucy had lost her beloved Grampy and she had been looking forward to the day, planning all of the desserts and sweet treats to make.

As the day started, in stillness and nature we lit a candle for Mick; Jan and Ali (two participants) sang a sweet heart blessing to Margaret, Margaret wanted to be here for the start and stayed for our group check in, sharing our names, where we had travelled from and a crazy food fact, and boy did we share some crazy food facts!!!!! These facts give Simon the ideas for creating a personalised recipe dish for everyone, though I’m not sure if Andy’s eel and frog pie will be up there along with Sue’s beef burger Bolognese…….We are all “IN” for the day, and we all promised to support Simon, Sue and Lucy in their sadness, as well as celebrating Mick’s life throughout the day.

Simon wanted to express how we can feel good, feeling bad……   “If our tears want to come today then that is good, today is all about preparing and cooking together with emotion, energy, energy- in-motion, all of our emotional spectrum… Has any one experienced in life, how it actually feels during and after tears of sadness or loss?”  It feels good, joyful, everyone agreed. Remember the old saying – “Have a good cry you will feel better.” This is important for life… Take a moment and remember this….   “It is not the sadness that hurts or its pain, it’s our resistance to move with the sadness, to let the tears flow. Movement is everything.”  If there is only one thing you take away today then this is it.

What a truly amazing day! Sue and I took everyone foraging in the woods; there wasn’t an awful lot of edible leaves, but we found wood sorrel, wild garlic (ramsons) hairy bittercress and chickweed, enough to make a starter and a salad; we had a lesson on identifying hedgerow bounty and what to avoid, as well as finding a  few moments of peace and sanctuary in the beautiful Haleacre woods, where the bluebells are just about to come into full flower, the nettles are tender for picking and the leaves on the trees are beginning to unfurl and give off their lime-green luminescence.

The  curious kitchen had been set up in the courtyard, roofless and open completely to nature and its elements, and whether it was Mick’s influence or not, weather-wise, it was the best day Heart Kitchen has ever had!

We made soft fragrant focaccia for lunch; studded with chorizo and sundried tomatoes on one half; the other half  salty feta, walnuts and olives – it was delicious! We made welsh tea bread, chocolate and vanilla roulades; wild were plants picked, we made pakoras ready to be deeply fried and salads of woodland lemony sorrel, we prepared half a spring lamb to slow slow slow roast, entombing it in herbs and a blanket of bay; we chopped fresh local seasonal vegetables to accompany it along with tiny early asparagus, new potatoes & slow roasted celeriac ; a selection of ice-creams and a myriad of dressings that each participant had created individually. We practised tracking in relation to a particular food, in this instance it was fish, which raised some interesting awareness.   Tracking is zooming out and looking at how we feel on all levels of our body – physically, vitally, emotionally, mind and intuition are all visiited to give us a snap shot of exactly where we are right now so we can discern between what is our heart’s truth and what is our conditioning from life.  In this instance the person who demonstrated the tracking had abstaining from eating fish for the majority of her life because of something that had happened in her childhood.  Simply raising her awareness to this she can change and adapt as she chooses…….she didn’t however rush straight off to the fish and chip shop for a large cod!

The lamb had come from Oxfordshire, he was a Dorset heritage variety, that means he belonged to a breed that lambs all year round, so the little beauty that we were preparing was born in January, had a wonderful few months frolicking in the fields with his playmates and then was humanely dispatched just a week ago to nourish us on this unusual day. We all took a few minutes to honour him and the life he had lived; he had been reared organically and allowed to roam freely on the land so had been given a good life and a good death, with every part of him being used.

Our ice cream was a triumph; we wanted orange and ginger to go with the roulade, so we used zest, juice and flesh of the orange, we also used fresh and stem ginger in syrup, chopped up and stirred through – verdict? Not too sweet and absolutely orgasmic, as was the basil, lemon and honey ice-cream that was created by Joe and was a completely random trial!

The day flew past, all participants had an amazing time, as did the staff and helpers, and the climax was the challenge that Simon set which was for each person to create a personalised lip balm for another group member, by feeling into what the other person needed. Some were traditional, some were quirky, but I am sure the most memorable was the hot lips balm created for Ali, which consisted mostly of beeswax, almond oil and red hot chilli peppers. Perfect for that bee-stung, swollen look every girl craves I’m sure!

Finally dinner time arrives, we rush round laying the table in the studio, set around a huge rustic oak table, candles are in wine bottles, cushions and rugs are scattered and a warming wood stove is lit to set the scene…….. The starter is prepared, the wine is uncorked and the mood is set. Everyone reveals who they would share their last meal with, (check out our latest blog ” A Table For Twelve”); what they are most grateful for, do we feel complete or incomplete with our day, and having declared ourselves “IN”  at the start of the day, so we need to declare ourselves “OUT’ of the experience IT’S LIKE TWO BOOKENDS CREATING A SAFE CONTAINER.  We then settle down for the most enjoyable of evenings with good conversation, much connecting and bonding being carried out, delicious food, English wine and great conviviality.

Our glasses were raised to Mick and his family and the sadness experienced with his passing was celebrated as an emotion that, like all emotions, is better shared. When this can be done in such a supportive, nurturing environment as Heart Kitchen, I think it is incredibly beneficial and brought a definite feeling of closeness and love to the whole group.

It only remains to say, that whilst every day in the Heart Kitchen is an amazing experience; the energies running through the participants on any one day creates a day both unique and unsurpassable!

Author: Celia

The Rambler, AKA Celia Dulieu
Celia has been sharing food, wine, recipes and friendship with Simon and Sue Gale for more than 15 years.
In a former life she was a mass caterer, working for large companies such as Selfridges, London; but after moving to the countryside with husband, 2 kids and dog, she resurrected her love of food, - particularly by entertaining her large extended family to lunches ,sharing informal get togethers with friends, and developing her small but productive kitchen garden. She is passionate about all things to do with food and wine; from where it is produced to how it arrived on her doorstep.
Celia’s love of meeting people, visiting places and trying different things has culminated in being invited to get involve with writing up the experiences of the Heart Kitchen and sharing her love of food with you through her ramblings.