WHAT FOOD MEANS TO US
The Beach House Kitchen is the heart of our home, where we spend a lot of our time, have much of our fun and where we attempt to put our philosophies of the ‘good life’ and a better future into practice:
Food has heart and soul and cooking can bring out the best qualities in both. Food links us all. Links us to the earth that provides and the cultures where we live, grow and develop as individuals and groups. Good food represents a society, a cook, the seasons and most importantly nature; what is going on around us all the time. If nature thrives, so do we. Good food can only come when we treat nature with respect. A good meal, made with love and good intentions can change everything; lift a mood, make a day, change a life!
What we put into our bodies has never been so important. It has a profound effect on our health and vitality and the health and vitality of the earth and all living beings. Its a complex, symbiotic relationship that ultimately ends on a fork or spoon. The better we eat, not just purely for taste or indulgence but with greater consciousness and responsibility, a feeling grows that the more nutritiously we feed our body and minds the better the world will be. It may be subtle at first, but its there! We will achieve our potential, we’ll live with greater balance and harmony, have more energy, be able to invest more in out relationships with others. Feel lighter, even think with greater clarity, act with greater conviction.
The way we eat can be a huge catalyst for change, not just in own experience, but has deep rooted implications and in the Beach House, our food goes a long way to represent who we are and where we want to be. We have the choice to evolve and look forward, give life and nurture or take life and deplete our earth. Spread peace and compassion or contribute towards violence and suffering. We are imperative links in a vital chain, the chain of life itself. We believe in a bright future and food that makes us and all beings shine!
We are not great believers in recipes as such. We improvise alot and are not very good at following recipes ourselves. At least not measuring things out perfectly and faffing. Good cooking is fluid and recipes constantly evolve, at least they do in the BHK. We rarely cook the same thing twice, always looking at making things better. Always up for a challenge!
Some recipes are sacred, especially when they are handed down the generations, but we believe that there is always room for innovation, whilst sticking to the basic principles of good food that never change. Produce is king (and queen). Then don’t try and mess it up too much! Cooking allows us to express our creative side, in these busy times, an important daily outlet of artistic expression. The kitchen is a sanctuary to focus the mind, be present and forget about the outside world. All that matters is peeling that carrot well or caramelising those onions beautifully. We don’t want you to feel inhibited by stringent recipes or guidelines. Experiment, deviate a bit, take a risk and add your own twist to each recipe, to your own taste. Its how we learnt to cook and bring our own personality to the table. Balance is important of course, your palate is the key to creating brilliant food. After all, if you aren’t enjoying your food, in love with the dishes you serve, how can others be?! If you like garlic, chuck another clove in. If you like chilli, go crazy (sometimes). That’s the fun of it! Our food should always be cooked with love and eaten with gusto and smiles. There is always an element of play in the BHK. It seems that all the meals we have ever eaten or cooked, culminate when we prepare tonight’s dinner. Food is an expression of the richness of our lives.
All of these recipes are created in the B.H.K with what we have available; whats local, what’s from the land, what’s in season, sometimes even what’s growing in our garden. We live in rural Wales, predominately a livestock rearing area, we have to scour the countryside for great fruit and veg. Its a wonderful quest. Some recipes may come from friends of the the B.H.K (which we love!) or occasionally, we may also refer to a cookbook, websites or blogs (in exceptionally tasty circumstances). The Beach House Kitchen is four years old and we have learnt so much from immersing ourselves in the world of blogging, passionate cooks, normally at home, expressing themselves with no strings attached. Its a really refreshing scene, creative and ever changing.
All recipes are broken down into these sections:
The Bits: All the lovely ingredients.
Do It: All the lovely steps in bringing a Beach House creation to life.
Serve: Making the dish look sexy and what to serve it with.
We Love It!: Our favourite part of cooking or eating the dish.
Foodie Fact: Nutritional information about the dish. The science bit!
The Pickled Part/ Boozy Bit: Which drinks will compliment the meal.
You will find our recipes are simple and often quick. We don’t like to mess around with frilly bits, just make it really tasty, with simple presentation. Lee generally works in kitchens and after a long day cooking for others, is looking for simple, nutritious food that soothes and satisfies.
Our food is not what you’d called ‘refined’, it’s all about bold flavours and bright colours. Fresh and vibrant tastes, a wholesome approach. Food that is wild and free, cooked outside in the sun and wind, on the beach….. We are passionate about this!!! From sourcing and buying the ingredients, to tossing them into a pan, oven or juicer; even down to the piles of washing up. We love the entire process.
We will be using terms like pinch, glug and handful. Polite Reminder – Please apply common sense whenever possible. I have big hands and love wine. My handfuls and glugs may be larger than most. Otherwise we try and keep things in British metric, grams and kilograms.
Chopping things. Use sharp knives and please, please, please, watch your fingers! Tuck them in. Another tip from experience, wine and knives do not mix. The recipes suggest cutting into small, medium or large chunks/ slices. Refer to above ‘Polite Reminder’. Normally I’ll chop things into random shapes, just to keep things interesting. They most certainly don’t need to be neat, but things like onions, chilies, garlic, ginger etc, the core ingredients of dishes, mainly need to be chopped evenly and quite fine. We’ll explain things at the time…….
BUY ORGANIC (IF POSS.)
We are superbly lucky to live in rural Wales, where there are so many wonderful farmers doing great things with the land. Most of the year, we have access to organic veggies, but we realise that for many people, it can be hard to source proper veggies and fruit. There are however some great veg box schemes that even deliver to your door. They are a little more expensive, but you get what you pay for (chemical free food packed with nutrients). In fact there is an argument that you need less organic veggies than otherwise because the body appreciates the greater levels of nutrients, vitamins, minerals etc.
We regularly scrub our veg clean of soil but do not peel them (most of the goodness is in the skin). We only ever clean our veg just before preparing them and try to store or preserve as much produce as we can when there are glorious gluts. Glut is not a very appealing word, but when it involves raspberries or apples, we smile. The more nobbles we find on produce, the broader we smile. We like veggies with character, lumps and bumps are a tell tale sign of flavour and integrity. Gifts from the ground and branch.
We would urge you (nicely) to always buy fresh, fresh and organic when you can. Befriend your local farmer and treasure your veg basket. If your house is burning down, grab the leeks!!!! Veg and fruits from most supermarkets have had a torrid time and you will be rewarded with little flavour and even less joy cooking with them. There is also the potential of harmful pesticides and chemicals creeping into your dishes. Buying local and organic will make all the difference to the dish, support your local community and is one of the only points that we are (a little) strict about. Invest in good raw materials.
Salt. We try not to use much. Some sea salt is amazing tasting stuff and not too bad for you, but most cheaper salts are terrible. Full of rubbish. We have found that you get use to food with low salt levels and other flavours are actually accentuated. Try reducing your intake over time. We actually get all the salts we need in natural foods, unless you happen to be sweating profusely for many days.
Pepper we love and spices we adore. Especially when kept fresh and preferably home ground and toasted.
The same as salt really. Anything too white, avoid. Flour also. We tend to use alternatives to sugar like dried fruits, rice syrup, maple syrup, molasses….there are so many. If we use flour or grains, we try to buy the best we an afford. If you bake a loaf with cheap flour, the tale is in your toast!
When baking cakes/reads etc, please pay more attention to the measurements.
If you try a recipe, please leave us some feedback. It would really make our day. Even better, send us your improvements and ideas. We’d love some new recipes to play with.
Cooking is like anything, with some effort and enthusiasm, we can expect great results!
“Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon” HH Dalai Lama.
(We think you could apply this to many more things in life!)
Be free, eat well and enjoy the ritual of cooking, feeding others and being fed.