Heart Kitchen with a splash of Heart Intelligence joins Jamie’s Food Revolution – Launch Event Story
Heart Kitchen Celebrates Jamie’s Food Revolution
The big day has arrived! Though how many times I can get away with saying that is your guess – everyday in Heart Kitchen is a BIG DAY! Much preparation has been done – Sue has been weeding her little shoots, Simon has been buying up the catering supplier companies, looking for the sharpest knives, most eco-friendly chopping board and the prettiest aprons…..
Participants begin to arrive at 10, the day is overcast, it is cold, and we are cooking outside in a tent! (well actually it is a ‘floating marquee’ which is similar to a Bedouin tent without the sides and is really rather special, as essentially you have your kitchen in the open air, in a lush green, bluebell sprinkled field in fact, bordering on a beech wood which has just burst into vibrant colour) Oh well, someone has to do it!
Firstly though, we go to the Mongolian Wedding Yurt which is a circular structure lined with canvas and up on stilts which is also set in the grounds, surrounded by fields and trees. It is set up for 12 participants – chairs in a circle with a recipe pack on each chair, bright red apron and tiny tasting spoon.
Simon welcomed everyone to the launch day, followed by setting up some simple agreements to ensure that everyone felt safe and got as much as possible from the experience. He outlined what everyone would be doing throughout the day, and introduced the team. Anita was to run the practice side of things, and we started off introducing ourselves and stating what we wanted from the day. We ‘checked-in’, and by that I mean we recognised how we were feeling about what we were about to do. It would be fair to say that there was a lot of excitement mixed with anticipation and nervous energy bouncing around the yurt! Then simple exercises to demonstrate how to get still with yourself (GETTING STILL), get clear and move forward, demonstrated ably with Simon’s jars of muddy water, something we then continued to practice throughout the day. (if you want a deeper understanding and experience of ‘getting still’ check out the Heart Intelligence section under Heart Musings)
Time for a quick cuppa, and it was into the marquee, for the start of our lunch preparation. We had a short talk on provenance, locally sourcing and supporting small organic producers, and then it was a stomp around the kitchen garden. Unfortunately, all the lovingly tended salad and vegetables were far too tiny for us to harvest for our lunch, but Sue gave us a very knowledgeable talk about what she had planted, where and why. We finished up picking armfuls of fresh pink rhubarb and some unusual herbs – sure we can put them to very good use!
Back to the marquee, for a quick demo on sour dough, how to make a starter, or blag one from a friend; and a lesson on kneading. The women were all very quick to try this as it is guaranteed to eliminate the ‘bingo wings’ but Chris stole the show by pummelling the dough like a true masseur! Many calories were burnt, and far more enjoyable than swinging a dumbbell! A group of us made a chocolate and Guinness cake for tea and some healthy bars; then it was on to preparing the lunch. We had bought lots of different locally grown salad vegetables and fruit, either from our own local suppliers or some from Riverford Farm and even Waitrose who have a nice organic section and are keen to share where their produce comes from; and everyone set to producing something tasty and making unusual dressings to accompany their salad. During this time Anita took a couple of people through ‘in the moment’ tracking – mind, body, emotion, energy, intuition, to really experience what was moving in that moment, right there, right then – Wow! We sat down to a feast of apple and beetroot salad, with local rapeseed oil and balsamic dressing; grape, celery, cherry tomato, cucumber and parsley salad with a fresh tarragon, orange and garlic dressing, beautiful green and purple leaves, glistening with lemon and olive oil. My first thought was……what? no bread, no eggs, no meat? But the simple truth was that after finishing my plateful, i was totally replete and satisfied, most probably because everything was so amazingly tasty!
After lunch and a stroll through the fragrant bluebells it was time for round two in the Yurt, and Anita was fired up to do a simple movement exercise. The sun was streaming through the central clear panel of the Yurt’s roof, and Anita invited us to move into the centre of the floor space and, with eyes closed, complete some simple movements to the music. First thoughts were of course…..hmm, perhaps I will squint my eyes up so that I can peak at what everyone else is doing, that will be funny………but actually, speaking for myself, I totally engaged with the music and was able to go off into my own little world, stretching and moving to the music, whilst the sun flowed in through the roof. (It felt a bit like I was absorbing the power of the sun into my body as i moved). We were then invited to move around and begin to make connections with others in the room; so from feeling completely alone, it was fascinating to experience the feeling of closeness and connection with the other participants.
By now I was feeling very energetic, and there was more to come….. Anita’s four-legged stool –four simple steps….listen, follow, open, speak from the heart, and ask for what you want…….and boy did we experience that! and then a deeper experience of tracking (GETTING CLEAR) how you are feeling, asking for something for someone else in the room – possibly to take all the participants out of their comfort zone, and further still, some of the group connected deeply with how they were feeling, and the afternoon, for me went into overdrive, with power, vitality and energy flowing round the room bouncing off the walls, which sounds really strange to me now as I write, but I can still feel that coiled spring in my stomach, quivering with the anticipation of what was going to happen next. Next a short break to enjoy the Chocolate Indulgence Guinness Cake and Healthy Bars we had all made together earlier…..delicious. Simon opened the following Yurt session by demonstrating with garlic his experience of being smashed in life (check out this story in the Heart Intelligence section under Heart Musings)
Finally at around 5.15, we left the Yurt and the backstage team (Simons and Sue’s son Robson and his mates) came flying in to start to transform it into a magical twinkly sparkly candlelit dining zone for our fantastical feast which we were all itching to prepare. Chris in fact had been tingling all afternoon, and he was about to explode with tingliness. A perfect example of building a really S.M.A.R.T. vision (GETTING INSPIRED).
Feeling inspired, we set to, (GETTING MOVING), making fresh broccoli soup from some wonderful local purple sprouting we had sourced at the market; everyone was encouraged to try blending different flavours with the soup, constantly checking in with themselves and others to feel what was best – and we tried orange (not quite), lemon (better), but we decided to leave it as plain simple broccoli, onion and seasoning (keep it simple)– quite delicious as it was. We macerated spatchcocked chicken breast – lovingly prepared earlier that morning by local butcher, Joe Gleeson, with fresh bay picked from Heart Kitchen’s own tree, oregano, olive oil and whole fresh garlic heads; we poached succulent pieces of cod in a fusion of peppercorns, lemon juice, bay and onion; steeped it in a creamy tarragon sauce (made with a basic roux) and topped it with lashings of celeriac and potatoes grated together and baked it so it crisped up; we baked luscious pink farmed Scottish salmon with a freshly made teriyaki sauce and topped with sesame seeds; all accompanied by the sourdough bread, now baked in a steam bath oven to give it that soft, warm interior and crunch crust; English asparagus, baby carrots roasted with chives; English mozzarella ripped up and mixed with breadcrumbs, smashed garlic, olive oil and tiny cherry tomatoes; not to mention the light green salad with lemon, grape and balsamic dressing, and the finale of the freshest rhubarb fool with fresh ginger, orange zest, thick local organic Greek style yoghurt and cream, served with mint sprigs and crunchy ginger biscuits.
Some of us had set the table whilst others were cooking, and it looked fantastic as we were ready to eat at twilight. We took the food across to the Yurt, along with a beautiful English cheeseboard, skilfully decorated with bluebells, blackberries, oranges, apple and even dandelions, which Kami felt would make the finishing touch! and they did!
The food was accompanied by some zingy English sparkling cider; some Kings Fume, a light chardonnay based white from local vineyards in Twyford; and a deep burgundy red also from the Luscombe vineyard. Everyone launched into the food with gay abandon, everyone was in awe of the fact that they had made the whole feast happen, and we took some time to honour the food that we had dedicated our day to. We connected with the food and with each other, we shared, we found our joy…….It felt great! Simon shared his vision ….’Now get this….…..to truly cement our day together, what Heart Kitchen with a splash of Heart Intelligence and Jamie’s Food Revolution means to me……. Simply, in the next 12 months I will bring together around this table 3 people who have inspired me Christian Pankhurst, Jamie Oliver and Carlo Pettrini,’ Wow! now that’s a date you wouldn’t want to miss!
Sadly we had to close the procedure after a few more hours of jollity, everyone saying whether they felt complete or incomplete, for their day not their life! and to share one thing that they were grateful for or felt that they had got from the day and Wow! were we grateful. The Heart Kitchen staff relaxed in the yurt for a little longer to ‘debrief’ on the day (and finish the wine), and were sad to finally leave to go in the wee small hours.
I enjoyed this day as much as any I can remember. It was awesome to be in the company of so many people who were totally passionate about food, living simply and open heartedly and being nourished in the best possible way. I feel that I have made new friends, become even closer to old friends and cannot wait to repeat the experience sometime very soon.
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.