Things

Inside Rosamund Young’s Kitchen

5th October 2017

Interview: Sophie Missing
Photographs: Sophie Davidson

The farmer and author on the virtues of beef dripping, her beloved grain mill and a bread book that’s been “read to pieces”

INGREDIENTS

Fresh whole wheat
“That’s grown in the field up there and it’s Maris Widgeon, which is an old variety. It’s got less gluten in it unlike newer varieties which have been bred to create a great big spongy white loaf.” – Rosamund

Beef dripping »
“I’m passionately sure that good fat is good for you. And I cook in dripping because I’m totally convinced it’s better for you than rapeseed oil or even olive oil – maybe not good for an Italian, but good for me, because that’s how I’ve been brought up. I’ve come to the conclusion late in life that it’s sugar that’s the problem, not fat. But also it’s the quality of the fat: if the animal that gives you the fat has been eating lovely grasses and flowers, that fat is going to be good for you. If it’s been stuck on concrete and given cereal, it’s going to be very, very bad for you.”

Milk »
“When I was three months old we were living in a very remote place with a herd of cows. I was given a cup of milk at three months old and I drank it and that was what I was reared on from that day. I drank nothing but milk until I was about 11 – I came to tea late in life. After 58 years of milking our own cow, we’re now buying the delicious Jess’s Ladies milk.”

Mutton ham (from Kite’s nest farm)
“If you hang a leg of mutton for at least weeks and then cure it in salt, it tastes superb – if nobody told you, you’d be certain it was ham. I find it easier to digest and during the second world war apparently it was encouraged – I can only imagine it was because we were short of grain because of rationing, and pigs need a lot of grain.”

OBJECTS

Grain mill »
“My mill is my favourite thing. It’s got lots of gradations – you can do it coarsely or finely and you can grind barley or rye, all sorts of things. You have to pour it in simultaneously with switching it on – you can’t fill the hopper [the chute at the top] up first. Apart from that, it’s straightforward. One of my friends bought a big bag of wheat from me and she was grinding it in her coffee grinder – it was taking so long that she bought an identical mill.”

Rocking knife »
A two-handled knife with a curved blade that gently rocks when used, making easy work of chopping herbs (also known as a mezzaluna). “I just wish I had a bowl. My grandmother used to have a lovely wooden bowl that a rocking knife fitted in. It’s good for parsley. I’m very fond of it.”

Fat basher »
“You get a piece of fat and you put it on a block – a piece of plastic – and you thump the hell out of it and make it flat. When you’ve got a roll of silverside or topside which is totally lean, you tie a piece of fat on it so it self-bastes while it’s roasting and then you can cut the string and take it off when you want to cut it at the table – unless you want to eat the fat, which I would.”

BOOKS

Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, Isabella Beeton »
“I couldn’t live without Mrs Beeton. I just love her. She says here, ‘Go and pick your apples and put them in the apple store.’ Yes, wouldn’t that be lovely!”

The Cook’s Garden, Lynda Brown »
“I’m very fond of Lynda Brown. She’s very modest – whenever I see her, about once every 10 years, I say how much I enjoy her books. You feel as if she’s made each recipe and that they actually do work. This book is done month by month telling you how to grow things and what to do with them in the way of eating, and I frequently dip into it.”

English Bread and Yeast Cookery, Elizabeth David »
“She’s just unbelievable – I mean that’s such a scholarly work. It’s been read to pieces and it’s falling apart. Normally I try to look after books – even paperbacks, I never bend the covers – but I just couldn’t keep this one together because I read it so often.”

The Countryside Cookbook: Recipes and Remedies, Gail Duff »
“I’ve had this for years. Quite fun because it’s all wild things, something for every month. Just weeds and how to use them. And it’s good – it actually tastes lovely. The chickweed gratin is gorgeous.”

Posted 5th October 2017

In Things

 

Interview: Sophie Missing
Photographs: Sophie Davidson

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