There’s something special about cooking the way your mum did. Country cooking in my family has a long history of hearty, comforting dishes perfect for sharing with family and friends. In this blog, I will explore the joys of home cooking and what I have learnt over the years, from fabulous home cooking to working for over 15 years at the iconic Lobster Cave restaurant and perfecting signature dishes. The combination is powerful and takes cooking to new heights. I will share some of my favourite recipes, tips and inside secrets to becoming a wonderful cook that will leave your friends speechless!
Firstly, where it began;
Growing up in a small town, my mum learned to cook from her own mother and grandmother. She used simple, wholesome ingredients and the best her money could afford at the time, and my Mum never skimped when it came to good quality produce or butter and cream and could make magic with any ingredient. Coming from a large family, you had to be creative and use the ingredients wisely, as there was no room for waste. I have learnt this in a commercial kitchen, which has been a big part of the success of owner Bill Ferg and Executive Krispy.
Mums’ dishes were always filling, satisfying and downright delicious. My love of food and being around the table was a tradition that all our family and our boyfriends at the time (now husbands) looked forward to every Sunday. Being around the kitchen table, sharing stories, laughs, and company and enjoying the produce and wine is having the best time in your life. To have someone prepare you a meal that they have slaved over the hot stove, sourced the best products and set the table for you is the greatest privilege and honour.
So many of my Mums dishes had been unique when she prepared them. Mum loved to entertain and still could throw a mean dinner party. My love for wining and dining people stems from my childhood. One of my favourite recipes that my mum made was her Oyster vol-u-vents. You could never stop at one of these tasty appetisers, but when she would prepare these, I had to as they were lovingly made and prepared for the guests she would frequently host. The pastry case, the creamy filling with the briny oysters, hot out of the oven, resulted in mouth-watering flavours and a perfect starter to any dinner party.
Another dish that always reminds me of my Mum’s dinner parties or luncheons is Mum’s scallop quiche. She would start by sautéing the scallops, leek, zucchini, garlic, good quality white wine and butter. Then she would set it aside whilst preparing the pastry with love. The aroma of the flavours wafting through the house was always a welcome sign that a dinner party was in full swing. I always hoped and prayed there would be leftovers, yet that was a rarity with Mum cooking as it was so insanely good.
Of course, country cooking isn’t just about hearty stews and dumplings or cakes and shortbreads. It’s cooking with produce that is in season; it’s supporting local farmers and making the most of what you can afford or have access to. When you have grown up with a cook, it can be anything from the above to restaurant quality. My Mum is a cook and one of the very best I know.
So, my love affair with seafood and cooking began young. Who would have thought all these years later that I would be part of the Management team at the Lobster Cave?
Stay tuned SuzieQ