Finca Food

El Huerto “Others say it is organic, permaculture, and a lot of other complicated words; for us it is just good food grown with common sense.” Mediterranean vegetables, fruits and legumes grow alongside traditional Flemish ones at the Finca, allowing for a year round production of an enviable list: Gwen and Bart love tomatoes so … More Finca Food

Pilchards

“Hello … hello? Is that you, Becky?” My elderly neighbour is on the line. Her voice is strong and resonant but carries a chord of concern. “I just don’t know how everyone will cope,” she says, “How long is this going to last, do you think?”  Mary is worried, of course, about the coronavirus crisis … More Pilchards

MilkMate

Down the road from where we are staying sits an unassuming (but pretty) ‘shed’ at the side of a driveway belonging to Ottinge Court Farm. Inside the shed are some eggs and an honesty box, a freezer and two huge vending machines. One is named the MilkMate, and dispenses the day’s milk. A brilliant innovation … More MilkMate

Messages from Malawi

“We are eating mangoes now. The picture I have sent is one of our own trees outside our house.“ I wake to messages like this often. They arrive on my phone all the way from Malawi in the middle of the night, at the latest by 5 o’clock, when most Malawians have been up and … More Messages from Malawi

Margret’s Kitchen

Jon chops onions, I take photos, and Margret is sensational in yellow. We are in Margret’s kitchen, to the rear of the house she shares with Kenneth, her husband, and their son, Jonathan, in rural Malawi. It’s the end of a fascinating trip (more of which later). Clean pots and pans wait as fires hot … More Margret’s Kitchen

The Shop

Right next to the bar is the shop. It sells all the usual staples, like daily bread and cheap local wine, hunks of cheese and carefully cured meats. Great wedges of watermelon are piled high in the fridge, dwarfing imperfect red tomatoes of all shapes and sizes. In charge of it all is a super … More The Shop

A bit about Makis

Nelly tells me that Nikos (her son, who fishes) caught them. They drape over a high metal bar (like the top of an old-fashioned swing) under the burning sun. Yiannis (Nelly’s other son) elaborates: they must hang to dry for about 30 hours before they are ready to grill. Nikos will do it simply with … More A bit about Makis

Incredible Edible

Today I was intrigued to see veg and herbs growing outside my local town’s council offices. What a brilliant way to use up space often inhabited (as Pam Warhurst says with comedic disdain) by unproductive “prickly plants”.  Incredible Edible is a movement that’s growing (globally), and it’s inclusive: “If you eat, you’re in.” The premise is … More Incredible Edible

The Butcher of Bologna

Our meal is a disappointment. Beautifully presented pasta and delicious melanzane parmigiana, yes, but the atmosphere is lacking and the prices are steep. Our waitress rushes around the sleek surroundings in a joyless and harried fashion, which is something of a surprise in foodcentric Bologna. It’s almost a relief to be out on the street, … More The Butcher of Bologna

Ristorante da Enzo

I’m watered as I examine the restaurant menu hanging at street level. I take it to be an invitation of a sort. Ristorante da Enzo in Modena (a first floor establishment) has windows back and front, dressed by a variety of healthy plants. Responsibility for their welfare falls upon a green-fingered older woman who is … More Ristorante da Enzo