This week has been one of surprises and as I watched the spring lambs bounding around the Welsh Countryside I took a new interest in the wonder and joy of new life. As the daffodils waved in the increasingly warmer breeze I was unable to wipe a grin from my face in light of the fact that not only is the promise of better weather hanging in the air, but I had the exciting news that I am expecting a new baby.
With work being hectic and lots of interesting projects on the horizon; I thought my early morning sickness was simply down to be rushing around and an indication to slow down. The discovery of my pregnancy was undoubtedly a pleasant surprise and I was genuinely delighted as was my fiancé Rob. However, when some spotting occurred I must admit that I feared the worst and so an early pregnancy scan was booked. As I sat in the waiting room at the hospital I couldn’t help worrying and perhaps this was with due cause as it turns out that I am not expecting a baby I am expecting two. The news of twins was a real shock to the system and I don’t think the news has quite sunk in yet. Hattie and Libby are delighted at the thought of new brothers or sisters and indeed Hattie has already started making pictures for the ‘bump’.
So with morning sickness, a real liking or should I say craving for pickled onions and two daughters to attend to I have been ploughing through my work as a food historian and writer. I completed an interesting project last week as I researched the changes in housework patterns and domestic duties compared to the 1950’s. It turns out that today we only spend around two hours a week cleaning our homes compared with 57 hours per week back in the 1950’s. You can read more about the research I helped with by following this link http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/649531/Brits-spending-less-time-cleaning-homes-ever-before
I certainly spent more than two hours cleaning my kitchen this week it has been a hive of activity as I prepared a multitude of different types of terrine. I must say that the portabella mushroom and port terrine would be particularly good served as a relaxed lunch dish and so I’ll have to share the recipe with you very soon.
Well it is back to typing up some of my latest articles and of course there is a jar of pickled onions that need my urgent attention. So until next week I bid you a fond farewell from West Wales.
Food has always been of great importance to Seren and despite her being renowned for her historical recipe recreations, her culinary skills were not honed, in the kitchens of top restaurants, but in the home kitchen from the age of being able to hold a wooden spoon.
When Seren was born her mother was taken ill and so she spent her early years being cared for by her grandmother, Minnie. This was to prove instrumental in the development of Seren’s love of cooking, for her grandmother was an accomplished cook, who’s kitchen was always awash with terrine’s, home-made pastry and traditional puddings. Minnie’s love of good food and her zest for life meant Seren’s childhood was filled with days of hedgerow picking, baking, traditional preserving and cooking recipes from the depths of a family copy of, Mrs. Beeton. She learned from an early age how to make Victorian puddings alongside elaborate noble pies and perhaps this explains her love of pastry making and the reason she won an accolade from The Great British Pie Awards this year.
Today Seren has great skill in bringing historical food to life and making it accessible and understandable to the modern cook and diner. Her enthusiasm and love of historical food and British cooking is evident in her presentations and she loves to revive forgotten recipes. She recently took part in ITV1’s Country House Sunday and has given live cookery demonstrations across the country at food festivals, historical houses and castles.
Trained as a herbalist and nutritionist, she has a deep understanding of improving health through food. Her interest in historic remedies and herbal folklore eventually extended to researching British food history, and reignited her early passion for cooking. Fifteen years on and Seren has amassed extensive knowledge and is now renowned for her historical food recreations and interpretations.
Seren’s interest in food history does not just extend to old recipes and cooking techniques, but to ingredients and manufacturers. From the age of fourteen Seren has collected food and drink packaging from early Victorian to the 1960’s. Her collection is now extensive and provides a wonderful snapshot in time that accompanies her vast knowledge of the development of British food and drink companies throughout history. She also has a huge collection of antique kitchenalia and moulds which she uses to replicate historical recipes and portray past eras.
Her training in herbalism and nutrition has not been wasted for despite her merits as a food historian and period cook she also delights in creating British Classic dishes for those with food allergies and intolerances (such as gluten and dairy intolerant). Her botanical knowledge has made her a keen wild food educator and forager that lends unusual as well as historical twists to all her cooking. There are also many points at which food and medicine intertwine throughout history and Seren is able to portray these developments and has also undertaken a lot of research into the British spice trade.
To Seren historical food is not a job, but a way of life.
Visit Seren's blog: Serenity Kitchen