Friday, 28 September 2007

The Best Things In Life Are Free

Three lovely things happened to me today. The first happened early this morning as I walked my daughter up the street to nursery. Just before turning the corner, something crunched under my feet. Usually I wouldn't have bothered to look, but a strange force was pulling my head down for a quick peek. And there, smashed to smithereens on the cold damp pavement, was my favourite free product in the whole world - a cob nut.

Now I may have mentioned this before, but when I moved from my old house in Leeds, the one thing that I knew I would miss the most was my cob nut tree that I happened to have in the front garden. Every year I would let battle commence with the squirrels in a strange scrap of nature for a few bags of nuts, me on one branch and a few angry grey squirrels on the other. I often lost. But I did seriously miss that tree. So imagine my happiness to discover a beautiful nut stuffed tree at the top of my otherwise unremarkable terraced street here in sunny East Boldon.

I danced a happy jig on the way back with my pockets stuffed and then made my way up to Alnwick in Northumberland to do a few cookery demonstrations at the farmer's market. Here, in one small square, are some of the most fascinating people selling sublime products with real passion and belief. So when a supplier brings me some of her pear and black pepper bread to try, the very bread she was making with her own hands that very morning, the already present smile on my face just got bigger. Pear and black pepper bread, what a combination!

They say that all of the best things happen in 3's. And as I was packing away, a gentleman from Alnwick started telling me about his own home made blackcurrant vinegar and then produced me a bottle from his pocket. I had to taste it there and then and I can tell you, it was sensational. Sweet and savoury, thick and moreish, it had my head instantly filled full of all kinds of food combinations.

If every day was like this for me, I would never remove the smile from my face and people would avoid me in the street. Food for free, quality food at that, is a rare thing. So no recipe this week. Just a little story of luck and a picture of the bread, cobnuts and blackcurrant vinegar with a couple of slices of creamy melting Coquetdale cheese. It made for a quick and extremely satisfying tea. The best things in life are free.

23 comments:

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Very cool!

Kelly Mahoney said...

Free is one of my favorite words in the English language!

winedeb said...

Isn't it amazing what mother nature will give us for free!
What a great story David! Made me smile:)

Joanna said...

What a good story ... your cup is obviously at least half full

Did you ask the gentleman how he made the blackcurrant vinegar? Sounds fantastic, and we should all be making it next summer!

Let us know what you do with the cobnuts

Joanna
joannasfood.blogspot.com

Pat said...

What a lovely read this morning!!! Thanks for the smile on my face here this morning I am now ready to face the day!!

Cynthia said...

I don't having a recipe one bit. I echo Pat's comments. You brought a smile to my face and added cheer to my day.

Anonymous said...

Hi David - I have just viewed the Masterchef series where you came fourth - congratulations! I just think you are lovely and love your attitude to food (and especially what you say about junk food). Here is New Zealand we have the same problem and it just escapes me why people can't cook more instead of eating such utter rubbish.

Good luck with your future :)

Lynda, New Zealand

Figs Olives Wine said...

The best things indeed!!! Blackcurrant vinegar sounds infinitely more delectable than raspberry (never been one of my favorites - mostly because it was so overused here a while back), and black pepper pear bread sounds out of this world! What a combination. Could be lovely for an ice cream or something too, no? At any rate, the bread with that cheese must have been unbelievable. What a lucky day that was - you should have bought a lottery ticket.

Margot at Coffee & Vanilla said...

Hehe, I'm very happy to hear you like my Apple Pie recipe! It was the first time I have ever made it, before I was only watching my grandmother doing it... It came out really tasty and it disappeared from the table before it get a chance to cool down...
Enjoy your evening!

Valli said...

Glad you had a wonderful day in your neck of the woods! Imagine what the world would be like if we could all be so generous to our neighbours. We would all have perpetual smiles on our faces and the world would always be a happy place!

David Hall said...

So glad that it made a few people's day! Not very often I don;t put a recipe up, but sometimes its just nice to read a bit of good luck isn't it?

Anonymous, thanks for looking me up after seeing my ugly mug on the television. I've heard you have a few issues in NZ, my colleague has just been out there and mentioned that it could be a venture for us one day in our mission.

All the best
David

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment re my post David. You don't have an "ugly mug" by the way... I was listening to your lovely accent and then when I saw where you are from 'Tyne and Wear' I realised I had heard the accent before! My sister lived there for about 10 years and my niece who was born and bred there (and only recently moved to NZ) speaks exactly the same.

Lynda NZ

Lois said...

Dave, try the Isle of Lismore if you are ever in Scotland at this time of year. Hazel trees everywhere......... and not a squirrel on the island!

Was there yesterday and filled my pockets. The biggest, juiciest blackberries are still sitting on the brambles waiting to be scoffed too!

Lois

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