Monday afternoon… toward the end of winter (at least I hope). The sun lazily making its way toward the horizon, building strength with each return visit but still meagre and meek.
But hope (and spring) cometh. This too shall pass… and braised lamb shanks shall be no more. We will not slow cook. Our vegetables shall not be root. For the days are lengthening, and over yonder, I hear the rumble of a new era. And that era shall be known as SALAD DAYS.
Dust off that cold press juicer. Pluck your lettuce spinner from the furthest reaches of your storage cupboard and tune your tastebuds to the freshest of ingredients. It sounds to me like you need a new kitchen. Straight kitchin’.
Conquer an Island
“I hate my kitchen… there’s just too much preparation space” No-one Ever.
There is a little gastropub near me in Notting Hill that does the most amazing meals. I won’t tell you which one it is because it is busy enough already … busy as in buzzy, but not as in “it will be an hour for a table”. Just how I like it. But I digress…
The meals are amazing for two reasons. The first is the quality of what gets produced. The second is the fact that they do it from a kitchen the size of a closet. And not the walk-in, shoes arranged by colour, high-gloss veneer sort of closet. I mean a student’s rental-sized closet.
But these guys are professionals. And they may enjoy the ‘frisson’ of cooking in a kitchen where you are only ever one false move away from being burnt by your fellow chef. Maybe cooking for them has become too easy and they need this extra excitement.
For everyone else… there’s a surfeit of counter space. For me, my best friend is a ‘great plain of preparation space’. I can find putting together a meal excitement enough without the additional risk of burns.
Worship your oven … Put it on a Pedestal
I love a ‘well, duh’ moment as much as the next person. And the first time I used an oven installed at above counter level, I had one of these. I mean, well duh, of course it should be at that level. That way you can more easily keep the oven tray horizontal (and at the same height) as you move it from your preparation space to the oven.
I mean, were we not thinking before?
I have since tempered my enthusiasm slightly. And sometimes we propose ovens at counter height and sometimes we get good old down and dirty with a range cooker (with the ovens below the hot plate).
But these tend to be our only options now… and I would be lying if said that it wasn’t partly to allow us to install cookers such as these La Cornue bad boys.
It won’t be all-white on the night
I don’t know when kitchens started to turn white. But if I did know, it would be a dark day for me. Not literally obviously because white is fresh and it adds a feeling of space etc. etc..
The thing is, unless it is an eye-wateringly expensive kitchen it often just looks cheap. Because every producer knows they are more likely to sell it if they make it in white. Which means big volumes, lower prices. Cheapness.
So, embrace your dark side. As Lord James Brown would have said… Get Down(ton) with some heritage colours and a feeling of olde worlde charm.
This is from a recent project your HOMYZE did, and that is some Farrow and Ball ‘Down Pipe’ on the cabinets. An oldie but a goodie…