A Kitchen in Hampshire

Friday, February 10, 2017

In the kitchen of Lindsay's tiny cottage in Hampshire. 

In 2015, after years of a fast-paced life in London, Lindsay Radcliffe packed up and moved to a small cottage in Hampshire where she now lives in the peaceful English countryside with her husband, Edward, and their dog Jambo. She spends her days working at West Green House, an exhibition and opera garden, and loves motoring to outlying hamlets and villages in search of charming boutiques, tea rooms and markets. Her tiny kitchen provides the perfect setting to create meals inspired from her mother's recipes and a wide range of cuisine reflecting the travels of her childhood.

In early 2016, her blog, Lindsay's Feast was launched. Here is an excerpt from her first post:

"A few years ago I was lucky enough to stay at an enchanting agriturismo near the medieval town of Radda in Tuscany. As one might expect, the proprietor had a partiality to Italian classical music. He especially loved playing it at full volume while the guests enjoyed their breakfast on the terrace. I have colorful memories of Vivaldi’s “Summer 1” thundering across the valley while we ate our prosciutto and delicious crusty bread. Now anytime I even think of cooking something Italian it has to be accompanied by “The Four Seasons”. Listening to the cogent violins while sipping on Chianti Classsico is enough to transport me to a magical world of Etruscan vineyards and Cypress trees.
Instead, I’m making gnocchi in my English cottage, which I guess could be considered equally as romantic. It’s a glorious March day, which is rare. The windows are flung open and the obligatory Vivaldi playlist is on repeat. I’m getting ready for a weekend visit from some of my favourite London friends.
A lot of people describe themselves as foodies, but I would argue that for most of these people it goes far beyond the food. For me, it’s the people I’m cooking for or the person cooking for me. The kitchen I’m cooking in and the music I’m listening to. It’s the memories of homemade coffee cake during long summer holidays. The old scrapbook filled with my mother’s recipes. It’s my wedding day or a simple Thursday morning breakfast. It’s where you bought your ingredients and who grew them. It’s the story…and the people telling that story."

Lindsay, author of the blog Lindsay's Feast.

Lindsay, give us a glimpse into your childhood. I come from a somewhat nomadic family and my childhood was spent moving around a lot. My mother was born in Zambia, moved to Switzerland, and then Hong Kong. My father was born in Cape Town, moved to England and then Hong Kong, where he met my mom. When I was born, we moved from Hong Kong to Spain to South Africa. I finished high school and went to university in South Africa, so that feels the most like home, but each place has become a little part of who I am.

You're a cook, but also have an interesting day job. Tell us about that. I work for West Green House in Hampshire, which is an exhibition garden with a summer opera season. The house itself was bombed by the IRA in the early nineties and Marylyn Abbot took it over on a long lease from the National Trust with a vision to restore the house and transform the garden. Every year we host a variety of operas in the garden. They are black tie affairs and guests picnic by the lake. We also host supper clubs, literary talks, flower workshops and a Christmas festival. It's a really unique and beautiful place.

How did you come to love cooking and baking? From my mother, without a doubt. She was obsessed with cooking and tested recipes to perfection. Moving around the world meant that we were exposed to some fantastic local foods, which inevitably became family favorites. One night we’d have sukiyaki and the next gazpacho. It made dinnertime in our house a highly anticipated event.

What was your first job? When I first arrived in London (all those years ago), I worked at an advertising agency. It made for an exciting first year in the big city.

What is your favorite spice and why? This changes regularly, but at the moment it’s cardamom. I love its versatility and how beautifully it comes through in baking.

What inspires you? So much! The countryside, the city, the seasons, cookery books, Instagram and my husband. One of my favorite things to do is page through my mother’s old scrapbook. She has recipes and clippings saved since the sixties, and has kept the menus and thank you notes from all her dinner parties.

Have you had any funny experiences while cooking or learning to cook? A few years ago I ran a weekly supper club with one of my best friends. We called it the Penthouse Kitchen and would host it in her tiny top floor flat. All the guests would cram around the same table on mismatching chairs. We had such fun cooking away in the smallest kitchen, learning on the job and giggling through catastrophes. One week we cooked for a whole gang of Hell’s Angels who arrived on their bikes clad head to toe in leather.

Do you have a favorite quote? I don’t really have an all time favorite, but my brother recently reminded me of one by the famous photographer Dorethea Lange: “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” I’m by no means an expert photographer, but have spent the last year experimenting and it’s slowly teaching me to see beauty in simple moments.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? Normally my dog demanding her breakfast!

What is something people would be surprised to know about you? I’m addicted to crisps.

How did you meet your spouse?  I met my husband through an old school friend when I first moved to the UK. We’ve been married for just over two years.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? There are so many places I long to visit, but at the moment I’m particularly obsessed with the Philippines.

Best piece of advice anyone ever gave you? Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Spiced Apple Cake 



Softened butter for greasing the cake tin
750g Bramley cooking apples
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
2 large eggs 100g demerara sugar, plus 2 tbsp
200ml milk
100ml sunflower oil
½ tsp sifted icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 190C. Line and grease a 23cm spring form cake tin.

Peel the apples, remove the cores and cut into thin slices. You should be left with roughly 500g of apple once the skin and cores are discarded. Put the sliced apples into bowl and toss with the lemon juice and zest.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add the cinnamon and mixed spice. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, milk and sunflower oil until fully combined. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and add the sliced apples, mixing until they’re fully coated in the mixture.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle over the 2 tbsp of demerara sugar so that it’s evenly covered. Bake in the middle of the oven for about an hour, until its golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.

Leave the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing it from the tin and gently pulling off the grease proof paper from the base. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche, mascarpone or cream.

Orange Ice Cream 



900ml freshly squeezed orange juice
Juice of two limes
600ml double cream
397g tin of condensed milk

Place the orange and lime juice (making sure there are no pips) into a medium sized saucepan and gently bring to a simmer for roughly an hour, until the juice has reduced to about 150ml. Let it cool completely.

Pour the cream, condensed milk and reduced juice into a bowl, and whip the mixture until its thick and hold its shape. Place the mixture into a freezer proof container and freeze for about five hours.


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