Food, and subsequently food writing and food photography, has been the focus of my working life for well over 20 years now, but in the background has always been a love of the outdoors and a fascination with nature. Not necessarily interests that work well with a career as a chef, but since selling our restaurant the opportunity to indulge these passions on a regular basis has grown.
There are interesting links between cooking and nature. At the end of the day, in some form or other, nature provides most of a cook’s ingredients. If you care about the cooking then you probably should care about nature. The reliance chefs have on farmers, growers, fishermen, beekeepers and so on is undeniable as is the reliance we all have on our natural environment.
I have lived in rural areas for most of my life and my parents had a farm for a number of years when I was growing up so I have always been aware of these close relationships. It was, however, writing Well Seasoned with Jon, my co-author, that made me take another look at things.
I shot all the images for the book and that necessitated getting out and about in the countryside to photograph everything from pheasants to wild mushrooms and wild swimming spots to robins. That combined with a year utterly focused on seasonality really re-awakened my passion for the outdoors, the utter beauty of the British countryside and a fascination with the creatures that inhabit that environment.
We have explored the county of Dorset more fully, holidayed in beautiful spots such as the Isles of Scilly and planned trips to visit particular habitats, whether it is the River Fowey looking for dippers or the salt marshes around Poole harbour watching sika deer. As a result, my collection of images has grown and, after a bit of encouragement, I have launched a new website to showcase my nature, wildlife and landscape photography. You can visit Beguiling Nature here
There are various image galleries to explore, an occasional blog about my adventures and the opportunity to buy prints and wall art. There is also a new Instagram account of the same name @beguilingnature
Do check out the news page on the website or the Instagram account to see how you can win one of five 15” x 10” prints to celebrate the launch of the new site. I hope you enjoy looking around the site but equally I hope it will inspire you to get out and about more, too.
You can also see more of my photography here.
Globe artichokes are something that feature strongly in vegetable gardens and allotments but are rarely found fresh in the supermarkets here in the uk. Is it the fact that they are a bit tricky to prepare that puts the average consumer off? For chefs they are the opportunity to show off some serious knife skills as well as adding unique flavour and texture to dishes. Russells home-grown harvest article in the Caterer magazine explores the subject in depth.
Here are a couple of photographs he took to go with the article which can be found here.
He also appeared in Just About Dorset Magazine with an article on Strawberries as a dessert with a recipe for Strawberry, Elderflower and Prosecco Jellies.
The great summer weather we have had so far this year has certainly made for some fantastic produce even if it is giving growers and farmers problems in other areas. British strawberries have certainly been good and you can read about Russells visit to the New Forest Fruit Company in this post. An elegant strawberry dessert will go down a treat at any time and this strawberry and prosecco jelly is made ahead giving the cook little to do when the time comes to eat.
Here’s pictures he took for the article.
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Whether you have a passion for food, a desire to learn, are an industry professional, the owner of a catering business or a lover of writing and photography I hope my site is somewhere you will want to explore. Creative about Cuisine is a showcase for my consultancy, writing, teaching and photography. It is however much more than that! Diary dates for forthcoming events such as demonstrations and cookery courses, regular blogs not just by me but a fantastic collection of guest bloggers and video all feature. Make yourself a coffee or pour a glass of wine and take a look around, let me know your thoughts and I will do my best to make Creative about Cuisine somewhere to return to time and again.