We are the B.H.K.
We met on tropical Bohol island, the Philippines, in 2011. Jane had panda bear eyes and I made a fruit salad. The rest is………this.
We are now living happy days together in the Beach House, near Caernarfon, rural North Wales. These are our stories:
I was born in Leicester, but my family have been nomads ever since. We lived in the Philippines when I was a kid and Dad moved around to Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and all over the world. This certainly opened me up to a more global way of thinking. This is reflected in the food I like to cook, I am probably more likely to go for a spicy curry than a pastie or jacket spud.
I went to secondary school and university in sunny Glasgow, I ‘studied’ Hotel and Hospitality Management, but after two years, couldn’t handle being treated like a school child anymore (they made me cut off my hair!) I preferred the real thing anyway and a got a job in a hotel and began working my way up the notches of responsibility and stress.
I did learn somethings at Uni though. I learned how to make a proper cup of coffee, how to appreciate fine wines and how to take abuse from feral chef’s in French. Although working in a traditional French kitchen did trigger something in me, something that only surfaced fully in recent years. I became a chef (focused and paid) although I always considered myself an avid cook (passionately unpaid).
My first jobs were in challenging chain hotels as a young manager of this and that. My love for food and wine naturally drew me to the restaurant side of things. I then managed fine dining places, classic French cuisine, countryside gourmet haunts etc and was not feeling the love. The food was fiddly and not my thing. No one was having any fun!
I fled the stressed out nest and very quickly had a food epiphany in a Mexican street, a fresh taco made with as much precision and skill as any chef I’d worked with. It not only tasted amazing, but had the missing ingredient, it was cooked from the heart. Made with genuine passion and care. That was it, food from then on was very different for me. I would never return to the starched white table cloths of old. I have been on my own personal food odyssey ever since, scouring the world for fresh inspiration and hoarding recipes like a greedy magpie.
I moved to London for a while and worked for Leon Restaurants, which was alot of fun. I then helped to set up a raw food company named ‘RAW’, which unfortunately fell foul of the ‘financial crisis’. So I quit these debt infested grey shores (again) and went to the stunning Costa Calida in Spain to helped to build a restaurant on a beach (using the shell of an ancient stable). Surprisingly its still there, Antipodas Taverna in La Azhoia, on of my favourite spots in the world for a G and T at sunset.
After travelling around India and alot of Asia, I am now back and based in the U.K. I now work most summers at Trigonos Retreat Centre, cooking vegan food for meditators and yogis’s. I have recently been getting myself into the worlds of TV and Book. Making a TV program call ‘Meat vs Veg’ for Fox in 2013 and am just about to release my first cookbook, ‘Peace and Parsnips’ with Penguin.
These are the big seeds that grew into the B.H.K……
When I first got to Wales in ’11, I thought it would be great to get in touch with like minded people via a blog about vegetarian (to start with) and then vegan (a natural progression) food and sustainable living. What we would call ‘the good life!’ (alarmingly similar to the 70’s TV program of the same name). I will share the little that I know and hopefully make a load of new friends along the way (that’s YOU!)
I spend alot of time writing poetry, reading books, doing yoga and playing our selection of beaten guitars. My fingers are also growing increasingly green, not because of all the spinach I eat, but because I have taken to gardening and growing (some) of the veggies we eat. Its a real challenge up here on the hill.
I get excited about good spices, coffee, the ocean, wine and of course Sunderland AFC.
My sweet love is a real shining star. Jane is always smiling and giving me sparkling energy. She is a whizz at raw salads and smoothies and knows much about nutrition, gardening, natural healing and building.
After dangling off bridges on ropes doing safety inspections for big engineering companies for almost a decade, she was inspired to re-train as a menstrual cycle workshop facilitator….quite a transformation. She is now the founder of Woman’s Wheel (website coming soon) and is planning to embark on the first ever ‘Magical Menstrual Tour!’ in early 2016 giving workshops to woman (and even men) round the globe. Jane has also trained me in all aspects of the ‘art of feminine mysteries’. Fully initiated!
Here in the Beach House she is often found kneading a large lump of bread dough or making a tasty morning juice, starting each day with a zingy and vital bang!
She is passionate about picking wild food from hedgerows, coastlines forests and trees and then making all kinds of healthy herbal infusions, natural cordials, and salads with flowers in them.
Tomate con Tostada is her favorite quick bite and never fails to put a smile on her face, as she reminisces about our life in rural Spain.
She is also a washing up star and can clean the kitchen in seconds flat after my pan heavy, experimental vegan escapades.
Jane re-built the Beach House from a mere lump of rubble with much help from her genius dad, Keith. I am thankful every day to have Jane in my life and our beautiful kitchen!
Jane loves eating, reading inspirational stuff, travelling to far off places, her woman’s work, tinkering with her antique motorbike, doing yoga and playing her yellow ukelele.
Jane gets excited about…. erm most things really!!!!
Jane is an almost vegan; 99% tofu and 1 % kefir.
We both love stout.
At the weekends we head for the hills or beaches……….
In a tiny nutshell, that’s us:
and occasionally, Buster (our life coach):