A rare summer supper with friends is a special time. It is made all the more special when the spread is all grown and prepared into salads, breads, chutneys, relishes, cordials, jams and jellies to compliment an incredible selection of homemade barbecued chilli sausages and cured meats. Even the table flowers were grown and arranged by Rachel and Martin on their small holding near Ripon. The fizz was garnished with home dried strawberries and the company was as effervescent. Sitting in their back garden, surrounded by so many signs of their self sufficiency – borders bursting with flowers, raised beds of soft fruits, orchard trees showing signs of a rewarding harvest to come, all brought such a sense of comfort and simple peace in the evening sun.

Martin and Rachel have lived this homely, independent life using their own produce to fuel their lifestyle for as long as I have known them.  Their passion and commitment to the environment and to the preparation of simple foods, beautifully combined, have now been rewarded as they and a few of their recipes have been included in the cookery book, ‘The Really Quite Good British Cookbook’. My pleasure was further enhanced when they presented  us with a copy. They join some very famous chefs (Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson to name but two) in a book celebrating the contributors’ love of food and they way food is grown and cooked.

As I have poured over the recipes I delight that they hold true to the ingredients, not over complicating or detracting from the freshly gathered natural tastes. The book carries a series of photographs which make it possible to sense the love and respect of the contributors for the food they prepare.

My view from here today is that these lovely people deserve such acknowledgment and celebration of their dedication and commitment to living a peaceful, environmentally considerate lifestyle that focuses on the simple pleasures of eating local organically raised ingredients – and they know how to host a spectacular Saturday night summer feast too! Oh happy time!

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