‘Writing a book is for me an act of faith and folly’, wrote the immortal Jane Grigson in the last year of her life. I would never presume to improve upon the observations of one of my food writing heroes, but if you’ll allow me to tweak them slightly, I might add that ‘writing a book is for me an act of faith and folly, and the reason I haven’t posted on this blog in many months’. That’s right: after many years of thinking it would never happen, I am finally writing my first cookbook. The Botanical Kitchen, an in-depth survey of our passion for all parts of the plant - from rose petals to raspberries, blackcurrants to bergamot, and lavender to lime leaves - will be published by Absolute Press next spring. It combines my love of literature, food culture and history with my passion for experimenting with herbs, spices, fruit and tea, and I hope it will have a place in the heart - and the kitchen - of many a keen cook. Furthermore, last night it was my honour to win (jointly with the fantastic Dan Saladino) the Jane Grigson Trust award for a first book in food/cookery, which has given me a renewed passion for bringing all things botanical to a wider readership. So, I hope you’ll excuse the lack of activity on this blog while I work away at something I’ve been desperate to bring to fruition (pun absolutely intended) for many years now. I’ll be sharing updates occasionally on instagram, if you want to keep track of my recipe testing!
When I started this blog, back in 2010, it was as a sort of outlet to keep me (slightly) sane during my Finals exams at Oxford. I think the turning point came when I went out shopping for some milk and came back with six wood pigeon and a smoothie maker, buzzing with excitement at the prospect of experimenting with this hitherto unknown bird and at the thought of the infinite smoothie combinations that were now possible in my very own kitchen (what was not possible, however, was porridge, as I had obviously forgotten the actual milk in all this). It was this excitement, the thrill of the new, the creative and the edible, that I wanted to document through Nutmegs, seven. As I got more and more involved in the blog, I also greedily devoured the work of other food writers, and became aware of the wonderful community out there on the internet and in print, devoted to capturing that very same passion for food and culinary creativity. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my writing would be recognised and appreciated alongside that illustrious crowd of food and cookery writers whose works I so admired. However, last week I had the honour of being awarded Food Blog of the Year at the Guild of Food Writers Awards 2016, an incredible evening during which I met a warm and wonderful bunch of inspirational food writers, consumed more deep-fried crab canapés than I dare to admit (especially to myself), stumbled awkwardly on stage looking like a rabbit in the headlights (there is photo evidence) and generally had the best evening ever. There was sashimi and I was in bed by 11 - that is my kind of party. So, basically, I am overwhelmed and delighted to have been honoured by this award, and immensely grateful to the judges, the food writing community, and anyone who has ever read and enjoyed Nutmegs, seven. What's more, it has given me a new energy for writing and cooking that I admit had been somewhat lacking in the last few months. Watch this space, and I hope you enjoy what comes next. Thank you.