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We recently caught up with the talented Imogen Davis, co-founder of Native restaurant, situated in London’s Mayfair. As previously noted in our article; In Conversation with Imogen Davis, Native is a zero-waste eatery with a strong focus on ingredients being foraged and sourced locally.

Within this article, Imogen gets creative in making a deliciously good punch made with mushrooms! (Yes, really mushrooms!). Being a non-alcoholic beverage, this drink is perfect for Dry January – to be enjoyed over ice to infuse the wintery, warming notes of the forest and freshly ground coffee. Additionally, we also managed to sit down and share a few details with the creator herself, where we get to know her tips for making a low/no alcohol tipple to understanding her own personal inspirations.

Mushroom Milk Punch

Imogen’s clarified milk punch with mushroom coffee takes a little advance preparation, but is 100% worth the effort for a showstopper of a silky smooth, slightly earthy non-alcoholic beverage – enhanced by a sprinkle of our Maldon Salt. The reason you add a pinch of Maldon to this drink is to enhance the sweetness and counteract the bitter notes of the ground and mushroom coffee.

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Brew the coffee, sugar and mushroom powder with 200ml boiling water, leave to infuse for a minimum 12 hours and then filter. As the mushroom powder is very fine, leave plenty of time to drip through.
  2. Bring the milk to a slow boil in a saucepan over low-medium heat.
  3. Once boiling, add the lemon juice and remove from heat, slowly stirring as the curds separate from the whey. Leave for 30 minutes until cool.
  4. Strain the curdled milk through a fine cheesecloth into a large jug and watch the clear liquid slowly separate from the solid curds – have patience!
  5. Once it has fully filtered and you have a clear liquid, stir the mushroom coffee cold brew into the whey, remove the curds from your filter and set aside to enjoy as a snack or to make a salted lassi.
  6. Now reuse the cheesecloth to filter the mushroom-whey mix. You should see a very clear, golden liquid. Filter until you have the desired finish – it took Imogen three trips of drips.
  7. Now to reap your rewards! Add a pinch of Maldon Salt (subbing in Smoked Salt will give a more wintery, rich notes) and 150ml of the punch mix you have made to a highball glass. Stir over ice.

Notes:

Tips, Tricks and More with Imogen Davis

Once the making this delectable punch was done, we were able to sit down and have a chat with Imogen, getting to know her tips on creating a low/no alcohol tipple, the benefits of Dry January and what motivates her being the co-founder of a restaurant with a zero-waste ethos and foraging fanatic!

What are your tips for creating no/low alcohol cocktail creations?

Just like all of our drinks, we look at classics and try and give them a native twist, I try not to define a drink by specifying that it contains alcohol or not, but create something that is inspired by the seasons, or a special ingredient we’d like to spotlight.

What are the benefits of Dry January?

January is a great time to reset and refocus for the year ahead. I tend to steer clear of demanding a whole dry month upon myself, but it’s definitely welcomed after an indulgent festive period – especially with the no/lo options that are now out there! 

Name 3 things in your kitchen that you can’t live without.

  1. A multi-tool! It’s so versatile- it’s a knife, I can take it foraging as well as the kitchen and even use it to fix broken things.  
  2. Kilner jars  – kilners are perfect for organising everything from spices to my daily kombucha, as well as ensuring my freezer is prepared for all eventualities! It makes the mission of having no single use plastic a joy. 
  3. Maldon salt, of course!

What inspires/motivate you?

Bringing joy to people through food and drink – it really is as simple as that! (the process of getting there is often less-so!)

Still Wanting More?

If you are interested in creating more low/no alcoholic beverages during the month of Dry January, we have many delicious recipes to choose from! Our delicious Paloma mocktail using Feragaia is perfect to replicate a warming, wintery spice in the dark evenings.

Make sure you have your Maldon Salt ready for these recipes! If you are running out, please feel free to browse on our Where to Buy Page to find your nearest store in which stocks our beloved Maldon Salt.

Lastly, we LOVE seeing your creations – please tag us on Instagram using the #maldonsalt so we can share your cocktail masterpieces on our socials.

For this Shakshuka dish, I’m using eggs from my hens, and cooking it over live fire, but this can just as easily be made on the hob at home.

  1. Finely slice a white onion, add a pinch of Maldon Salt and cook until softened.
  2. Add chopped garlic, cloves, smoked paprika, tinned tomatoes, sherry vinegar, pepper and another sprinkle of Maldon Salt.
  3. Reduce the tomatoes slightly. At this point you could also add other veg like chestnut mushrooms or finely chopped courgettes but on this occasion, I’m keeping it simple.
  4. Using the back of a spoon, make small divots in the tomato sauce for the eggs, cover, and leave to cook on the coals or place into the oven until the eggs are cooked.

This sweet and sour chutney is made with a variety of home-grown tomatoes – I’m using un-ripened tomatoes, which are left behind at the end of the harvest but are delicious when fried or used in chutneys.  

  1. Start by slicing the onions and dicing your tomatoes. Put both in a pan on a low heat along with cloves, star anise, sugar, wine, pepper and a good sprinkle of Maldon Salt.
  2. Slowly cook the ingredients on a medium heat, stirring regularly.
  3. The chutney is ready when it has reduced by about 3 quarters and the texture has turned jammy.
  4. Serve on fresh toast with a poached egg, add pepper, a final pinch of Maldon Salt and enjoy!

Homemade jam using foraged fruit is a labour of love. This delicious, sweet spread is made with blackberries that I foraged during the summer and stored in the freezer.

This method of foraging and freezing means that you can enjoy making jam all throughout winter.

  1. Simply mix together your berries, sugar, and lemon juice – pips and all, for a healthy dose of pectin, which will help to bind the jam. Add a pinch of Maldon Salt to enhance the flavour and temper any bitterness. Cook on a low heat, stirring regularly.
  2. Once the fruit has thickened and turned jammy, remove from the heat and add to a sterilized jar.
  3. There’s nothing better than warm jam on toast, so make sure you try a bit before sealing. Delicious.

This is salad is fresh and delicious. It can be casual and it looks amazing on a plate. This salad has all of Olia’s favourite flavours in it. The pickled beetroot and sweet orange, salty olives and fresh bitter chicory. Also if there are any leftover, it keeps beautifully overnight in the fridge!

  1. To boil the beetroot, simply put it whole, skin on into a pan of cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes or until a knife can pierce them quite easily.
  2. Cut the chicory into thin wedges. Segment the oranges (do watch a quick video online if you don’t know how to do it).
  3. Put the vinegar, honey and the 1 tsp Maldon Salt into a large bowl, mix it well, the vinegar will help dissolve the honey and salt. When the beetroot is ready, rub off its skin and cut into thin wedges.
  4. Drop the wedges into the seasoned vinegar. You can leave it there to pickle for as quick as 15 minutes or do this in advance and leave them macerate in vinegar overnight
  5. Then add the chicory, orange segments, olives and onion. Give it all a good mix. Arrange on a serving plate, drizzle over the oil and add the dill.

Fermented food is great for your gut and this organic sauerkraut is such a treat to make and eat.

  1. Chop the cabbage or put it through a mandolin, adding the spices or herbs of your choice. Put the cabbage into a mixing bowl and add Maldon Salt.
  2. Massage the cabbage for about 3-5 minutes until moist. You should see liquid start to appear when you squeeze it. Salt plays a key role in the fermentation process, encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria whilst also killing off any bad bacteria.
  3. Sterilize a jar with boiling water and then fill the jar with the cabbage, pushing it down so that the sauerkraut has no air bubbles in it. Ideally you want the cabbage to be fully submerged in the liquid.
  4. Leave in your kitchen for at least 5 days. You can leave it for longer if you prefer a tangier flavour, but once open, be sure to store in the fridge.

A Premium Alternative to An Alcoholic Drink

We are delighted to team up Feragaia, the first ever working alcohol-free distillery in Scotland! Co-founders Bill Garnock and Jamie Wild combine traditional distillery methods with a bountiful of 14 botanicals from both land and sea, including seaweed, bay leaf and chamomile.

It is this reason that makes Feragaia so unique, as the brand does not rely on alcohol to carry it’s flavours unlike other alcohol-free spirits; they use natural flavours and qualities to transform the spirit into having a complex yet clean taste which is making powerful movements within the drinking scene.

Traditionally distilled and bottled in the beautiful Scottish Lowlands, the natural flavours go through distillation runs, which are then blended with fresh, Scottish water to create a perfect balance of earthy, spice notes.

In Conversation with Feragaia

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Feragaia and explore the inspirations behind the brand, from Bill and Jamie’s story to them letting us know the perfect food pairings that go well with the spirit. Make sure to have a tea and biscuit in hand as this makes a perfect read!

Feragaia

We are BIG fans of your drinks! Tell us, what inspired you to make an alcohol-free spirit?

We love to hear it, thank you! We’re huge admirers of the heritage and quality of Maldon. For me, Feragaia started with a question that I kept on coming back to. It was ‘why do I feel so trapped by alcohol?’ Working in spirits gave me a high exposure to alcohol, combined with a traditional English drinking habit – I found it relentless and restricting. I concluded that confidence could answer my question and so I set about developing a premium, unapologetic and confident alternative. So people can have a equal choice – very democratic!

How would you describe the taste of Feragaia?

It’s an original and unique taste, with a refreshing depth of flavour. 14 carefully selected botanicals create a layered and wild journey through land~sea~spice.

We’ve done some research and found that ‘Feragaia’ translates to ‘wild earth’. Is there a correlation behind your name and your drinks?

You got me! In a small way perhaps, but Wild fortunately evokes so much more than just me. Like so many, Earth’s wild places are places that Bill and I greatly value and crave connection to. It was this shared core belief that established the Wild/Fera seed!

Brewery Feragaia
Courier – Food & Drink – Julia Bryce – Feragaia Distillery story – CR0038565 – Glenrothes – Picture Shows: Bill Garnock (31) and Jamie Wild (31) at Feragaia Distillery, Scotland’s First Alcohol Free Spirit Distillery – Tuesday 27th September 2022 – Steve Brown / DC Thomson

What an accomplishment in becoming the first working alcohol-free distillery in Scotland! We would love to know Jamie and Bill’s story on how Feragaia was born to where it is now.

Thank you. It is something we are incredibly proud of. We’ve always wanted to set the benchmark for transparency and quality in this category, there is too much ‘smoke and mirrors’ and it’s hurting the reputation of alcohol-free spirits. Bill is the Scottish one in Feragaia and was the driving force behind our provenance and process, out of which was born Feragaia’s respecting of Scotland’s rich heritage of premium spirits and progressive nature.

Would you say the alcohol-free movement is becoming more popular as the years go on?

Absolutely! Since launching Feragaia in 2019 we have sampled thousands of people.  I can confidently say people’s curiosity and confidence in alcohol alternatives has and continues to grow. I expect this to be the case for some time.

Feragaia Group Shot

We’ve seen you make many delicious cocktails, what would you say your top 3 favourites are?

In order of simplicity. I love our perfect serve ‘Wild Ginger’ 50ml Feragaia, Ginger ale and a slice of lime. Next up, our most popular cocktail serve – ‘Paloma’ 50ml Feragaia, Pinch of Maldon salt, squeeze of pink grapefruit and topped with tonic. Finally, it took me months to perfect this one, but the ‘Smokey Old Fashioned’ with a large ice block brings me great joy. Lapsang Souchung tea, ginger syrup, lime and Feragaia. It really redefines in my mind what an alcohol-free drink can be.  

How would you try and convince someone who has never purchased an alcohol-free spirit to give it a try?

“I still drink alcohol, but sometimes I can’t or I’d rather not. In which case why should I sacrifice my experience, and feel left out?” Feragaia, is the original-free spirit that is redefining alcohol-free through its refreshing depth of flavour that’s distilled at our very own distillery in Fife, Scotland. It allows you to have a sophisticated and delicious drink to savour and enjoy during those moments where alcohol is to be avoided – how about a taste?”

Feragaia

What food would you say pairs well with Feragaia?

We talk about depth and length of flavour as this is what slows you down and makes Feragaia ‘a drink’ apart from a soft drink, juice, tea etc.  The long finish is very complimentary when eating as there isn’t too much of a clash on the top of the pallet. I’ve always liked the combination of some savoury appetisers like roasted nuts and Feragaia in that aperitif moment. If I’m really pushing the boat out then the link between our land & sea botanicals and oysters are quite special!

Your bottle and cap are both 100% recyclable and the botanicals used are composted after distillation. Is this a topic in which you are passionate about?

We tried to register ourselves on B Corp before we registered on companies house! Then we realised we needed to have a registered business to apply for B Corp. At the core of our business lies a belief that truth, authenticity and purpose are ‘must haves’ today.  We have developed a sustainable foundation on which Feragaia can grow and meaningfully support the changes that we need to make together in the world.

Now…we are very much excited to announce that Maldon Salt is in the Paloma recipe. What is your favourite way to enjoy Maldon Salt in a drink?

I love the story of land and sea, which could be more apt for Maldon Salt. Salinity when used in drinks correctly is really effective. You just can’t better the Paloma, bitter citrus, saline complexity and the defining depth of Feragaia – It is complete! Sláinte

Feragaia x Maldon Salt Cocktail

In celebration of Dry January, Feragaia and Maldon have come together to create a ‘Paloma Cocktail’.

This cocktail has a beautiful, fresh taste of citrus from the courtesy of Feragaia’s blackcurrant leaf and lemon verbena and Two Keys Pink Grapefruit Soda. Being naturally sweet, the flavour is hightended from a generous sprinkle of Maldon Salt on top to emphasise the sweet notes and counteract the bitterness…delicious!

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Add 50ml Feragaia, 15ml Two Keys Pink Grapefruit Soda and a pinch of Maldon salt to a highball glass.

2.Stir until dissolved, add ice cubes and garnish with pink grapefruit.

Win a Bundle of Goodies!

You could be in the chance of winning one of our limited edition bundle packs, which includes a bottle of Feragaia, Two Keys Grapefruit Soda and an exclusive Maldon Salt Pinch Tin…the perfect combination to create our deliciously good Paloma cocktail!

Head over to our Instagram Giveaway now to enter… But be quick! There are only a number of limited bundles to win.

Lastly, we LOVE seeing your creations – please tag us on Instagram using the #maldonsalt so we can share your cocktail masterpieces on our socials.

This month we are exploring the talented Meliz Berg and her debut cookbook, Meliz’s Kitchen: Simple Turkish-Cypriot Comfort Food and Fresh Family Feasts.

Influenced through her Turkish-Cypriot heritage, Meliz shares a melting pot of unique cuisines from across the Mediterranean to the Middle East, showing readers how to create easy-to-follow recipes that pack a punch full of flavour and spices.

One thing Meliz is passionate about within her writing is how to create flavoursome meals for a busy family life. You don’t need to stick to the same-old dishes that you cook everyday when you have this book in your hands…simply adding a few spices influenced from her heritage will elevate a dish in seconds and creates dinner time to be exciting again!

Meatball & Chickpea Stew (Kofteli Nohut Yemegi)

Meliz Kitchen

This delicious stew is a perfect to warm you up during the cold winter months! The meatballs (kofte) are coated in breadcrumbs to keep the meat beautifully soft and tender when fried to keep the meat succulent. The meaty oils then coat and infuse the onions while they slowly caramelise with the buttery roux, which will thicken the delicious tomato and sweet red pepper sauce.

Serves: 4-6 people

Ingredients:

To Serve:

Method:

  1. In a heatproof jug, dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water and leave to one side.
  2. Place the minced beef in a large bowl. and add the breadcrumbs, paprika, dried mint, oregano, pul biber, parsley, garlic, Maldon Salt and pepper. Mix everything together well with clean hands. Shape the mixture into around 40-50 mini meatballs.
  3. Add the olive oil to a large pan over a medium heat and brown the meatballs, in batches, then remove to a plate.
  4. Add the onion to the oil and soften for 12-15 minutes until translucent and slightly caramelised.
  5. Add the tomato puree and sweet red pepper paste, coating the onion and allowing the red pastes to full release their oils for a minute or two. Add the butter to the pan, str through until it melts, then add the flour and whisk to form a thick roux (paste).
  6. Slowly pour in the stock, whisking the bottom of the pan consistently so that the roux dissolves into the liquid, and then add the chickpeas and ,eatballs to the pan. Stir everything very gently to avoid breaking the meatballs, and bring the stew to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer, place the lid on the pan and leave to cook for 20-25 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened a little.
  8. Serve with an extra sprinkling of Maldon Salt, dried mint, pul biber, cracked pepper and fresh parsley. Raw onion wedges, pickles, olives and fresh bread are also delicious to serve on the side.
Meliz Kitchen

In Conversation with Meliz Berg

We were lucky enough to sit down and talk with Meliz in getting to understand where her inspiration to release a cookbook came from. We also explore in ways to elevate family dishes and also revealing her own personal favourite recipe from her book.

Meliz, firstly we wanted to congratulate you on your debut cookbook recently: Meliz’s Kitchen! Where did the inspiration come from for you to finally collate your delicious recipes into a book?

Thank you so much! I honestly wanted to write this cookbook for as long as I can remember. Oral tradition has played a huge part in passing down these recipes for my family; I watched my grandmothers, mum and aunties cook these recipes instinctively, over and over again, yet when I first moved out into my own home, I would regularly call my mum so she could talk me through cooking the recipes myself; even though I’d watched her for so many years, I took for granted how easy and instinctive she would make it all look. These recipes are so special to me, and I wanted to preserve them; by writing them down and collating them into Meliz’s Kitchen, I have now preserved them indefinitely, not just for my own family, but for others who share the same culture and traditions as my own, and have also exposed them, including the ingredients and cooking methods used, to unfamiliar audiences too.

In the book you showcase a melting-pot of beautiful, different cuisines. Is this something you feel passionate about sharing with your readers?

Absolutely. Cyprus is a melting-pot of influences, that centre between East and West, yet there has always been this misconception that Cypriot food is just Turkish and/or Greek food. Although the influences from both these cuisines is undeniable, the infiltration of so many other cultures, empires, cuisines and ingredients (Byzantine, Ottoman, Venetian, Arabic, Levantine, Mediterranean Asian, I could go on and on) over centuries has inevitably resulted in a separate, unique Cypriot cuisine in itself. Even though the umbrella of Cypriot cuisine covers recipes cooked generally by both Turkish and Greek Cypriots, some of the dishes and flavour-combinations utilised by the Turkish Cypriot community differ from those cooked by our Greek-Cypriot neighbours and vice-versa and can even differ from village to village, and family to family; the recipes that came from my family’s Turkish-Cypriot kitchen are the ones I grew up with, which I have highlighted with personal stories and anecdotes throughout the book.  

You must have a favourite recipe in the book! Can you share with us?

Oh goodness, I have so many, for various reasons; some for the nostalgia, some for the triumph of not giving up on a challenging recipe until it was “perfect”, but I think, for its simplicity, layers of flavour, and popularity since releasing the book, it has to be “Kıymalı Garavolli” (One Pot Lamb Mince & Conchiglie Pasta).

What would a normal day-in-the-life be for you Meliz?

Once my children are at school, I’ll either start the day with an hour’s admin to catch up on emails before recipe testing, or, if I have more than one recipe test to do then I’ll go shopping first to pick up any last minute ingredients and start testing as soon as I get back home. If I’m working on a tried and tested recipe, then I’ll film the recipe to have some content to create reels with, and that recipe, or part of it at least, will also serve as the evening’s dinner. I usually schedule (online) meetings at the start and end of the day so that I can have a full, interrupted run of cooking and filming and try to clear and tidy the kitchen away before picking the children up from school. Then it’s after-school activities, homework, dinner, baths, and once we’ve listened to them read, I turn the laptop back on to start working again, haha! I work most evenings, either writing up recipes or editing videos and recipe reels.

Family meal recipes always seem to get a ‘bad-rep’ of being dull and boring…what are some easy ways people can elevate a dish and turn it into something deliciously new!

Have a well-stocked store cupboard with spices, condiments and pulses that will help to add flavour and umph to any dish. I love dried herbs such as dried mint and oregano, spices such as pul biber, paprika and smoked paprika, and always have extra virgin olive oil, pomegranate molasses, vinegars and honey on hand to create dressings and marinades. Stock cubes are also so underrated and I always use them to cook rice, pasta and pulses with, as well as adding them to sauces, soups and oven baked dishes too. And a sprinkling of Maldon Salt never goes amiss either!

Name 3 things in the kitchen that you can’t live without?

Grater (to grate hellim with – I cover everything in blanket of grated hellim), a pot of spoons (to taste my recipes as I cook), my trusted baking trays (I found some baking trays online that I swear by).

A little birdy told us you were a qualified music teacher before you started your recipe blog…would you say music and food are connected in a way?

I was – I taught secondary and A Level music, for 8 years, and studied music at university to Masters level; my university friends would regularly come over to my mum and dad’s house for some home-cooked Turkish-Cypriot food. I have such a deep connection with both food and music, and a song can automatically transport me back to a familiar place or time, in the same way as a bite of one of my favourite dishes can. Music, food, the arts in general, have this never-ending capacity to constantly develop, excite and satisfy.    

 After a busy day, what are some things you like to do to relax?

Sit at the piano and have a good old sing. I find it so cathartic.

Meliz’s Kitchen Cookbook

You can find where to purchase Meliz’s cookbook here and start creating your perfect family feast!

Make sure you have your Maldon Salt ready for these recipes! If you are running out, please feel free to browse on our Where to Buy Page to find your nearest store in which stocks our beloved Maldon Salt.

Lastly, we LOVE seeing your creations – please tag us on Instagram using the #maldonsalt so we can share your own take on Meliz’s recipes!

Squash is one of the most exciting vegetables to grow as they come in so many shapes and sizes. One of my favourite autumn recipes is squash soup, seasoned with fresh herbs, Maldon Salt and topped with crispy mushrooms.

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Start by taking the skins off the squash. The best way to do this is with a knife rather than a peeler.
  2. Chop up the squash into cubes and place on a baking tray with red onions and garlic cloves in their skins. Add thyme, a drizzle of olive oil and plenty of Maldon Salt and pepper.
  3. Once the vegetables are soft, take the skins off the garlic and add to a pan with the squash, vegetable stock, a tin of chopped tomatoes and a pinch of Maldon Salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes and then blitz with a hand blender or food processor.
  4. Place the mushrooms on a lined baking tray with olive oil, season with Maldon Salt and roast them until crispy.
  5. To serve, spoon the soup into bowls, add the crispy mushrooms, pepper and a final sprinkle of Maldon. Delicious

Xanthe Gladstone is a chef and seasonal food advocate based in the beautiful countryside of the Hawarden Estate, North Wales. Being a strong activist for food sustainability, we delve into the importance of eating healthier, sustainable foods and Xanthe’s tips on how you can join in.

Could you tell us where your passion for nature and food sustainability first begun?

I think it’s been a very long time coming – if that makes sense. I was very lucky to grow up surrounded by nature and so I think I had a long appreciation and understanding of it. I lost this a little bit in my teens but it slowly started to come back towards the end of my time at University. After I graduated and was a little lost on what to do next, I started getting really interested in food sustainability and cooking, that interest turned into a bit of an obsession. I became fascinated with the work of Dan Barber and that led me into lots of different avenues like growing your own food, mushroom foraging, cooking seasonally, and understanding regenerative farming. I had my head in a book about one or other of these topics for the best part of two years and I soon realised that I couldn’t not at least try to turn this passion into a career. 

Xanthe Leaning on Greenhouse

Nailing that work / life balance can be hard, do you have any advice on this and what is your favourite way to relax?

It can be hard for sure, especially when you love what you do, it’s hard to switch off! My work is often very physical and fast paced, especially when I have lots of supper clubs on, so it can be exhausting for my body as well as my mind. For the last few months I’ve really got back into exercise, more specifically hot yoga, which has been an absolute game changer for me. Stretching out and sweating is something I love doing. Exercise is for some people and isn’t for others, but try to find an exercise that really suits you and what you like doing, if you actually enjoy it then you’re more likely to do it consistently. It’s really helped me switch off and as a result had a hugely beneficial effect on my mental health. I also try to spend some time away from my phone when I want to properly switch off too or leave my phone at home and walk the dogs. 

You’re a strong advocate for Food and Sustainability, how can you become more sustainable when it comes to food?

It is a huge issue and one that has many different avenues but I think having a better understanding of where our food comes from is a good place to start. Luckily for us, the supermarkets make this very easy by having to display the country of origin of their fresh produce. So, when you are in the supermarket, have a look at the label and maybe try to stick to produce that comes from the UK, or maybe in winter Europe. It’s such an easy way to really get to know a bit more about seasonal eating, and you’ll realise that the UK actually has a lot to offer, especially in summer. 

Xanthe with Roasted Squash

People perceive moving to the countryside is when you want to settle down and relax at an older age. You proved this wrong by returning back from the corporate life to focus on growing fresh produce and cookery, is this something you want to influence more of for the younger generation?

I think yes, but more generally I would like to be able to influence younger generations to have a bit more confidence in a pursuing a career that they truly love! If that involves moving to the countryside, then I hope seeing my journey will inspire them to do something similar. I am very aware that I was very lucky to have a home in the countryside to go back to as I didn’t grow up in London, before I moved into my own cottage, so moving back in with my parents gave me some time to test the waters and figure out whether this was definitely what I wanted to do, not everyone has the opportunity. I hope that younger generations realise that there are so many different options when starting your career, and that city life isn’t for everyone. 

What would you recommend for people living in the city who still want to grow fresh produce with limited space?

There so much you can grow indoors or on a really small balcony. Tomato or chilli plants are such a fun thing to grow because they are Mediterranean plants anyway so like the heat of a home (to an extent). I always recommend growing herbs on a windowsill or balcony because some herbs are very hardy (like rosemary, thyme, sage) and others like parsley and basil will grow really well in summer. I use multiple herbs every single day so they are something that’s really worth growing for me. 

Top 3 things you can’t live without whilst your baking/cooking?

  1. A good non-stick pan and chopping board
  2. Olive oil
  3. And of course, Maldon Salt!

What does a typical working day look like for you at the Hawarden Estate?

My days are very varied so it’s hard to say what a typical day is like but I will attempt. I’ll start by walking my dogs and while I’m walking them check on the hens, and water the garden if it’s been very dry. There are a team of three of us in the garden so I’ll usually try to catch up with them around 9am and talk through jobs for the day/week. Then I may spend a couple of hours in the garden first thing followed by meetings with the kitchen team at Hawarden Estate Farm Shop or the events team at The Good Life Society, our office is in the middle of the gardens. Usually at lunch I go home and try to film a recipe video for Instagram, I kill two birds with one stone by cooking/eating lunch and creating content as I don’t really have time otherwise to do so. Then in the afternoon I’ll probably work from home catching up on emails, on Zooms, and organising logistics of events I’ve got coming up. In the evening I do hot yoga at Hot Pod in Chester, and then eat, watch tv and chill. 

Your favourite plant-based recipe to make?

Lots of pasta sauces I make are accidentally plant-based, and they’re a great thing to make to to get lots of veg in but also cook something delicious. My go to at the moment is a Slow Cooked Aubergine and Tomato Sauce. Not to be this person but there’s a recipe for it on my Instagram if you wanted to check it out.

Psst…Keep your eyes peeled on both our socials in the New Year, as Maldon Salt and Xanthe Gladstone are teaming up to celebrate all things veg and sustainability ahead of the upcoming Veganuary Month!