Q&A with the founder of Rosalind's Larder - Beautiful Escapes
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Q&A with the founder of Rosalind’s Larder

7th May 2020

We love sharing the skills and knowledge of our Yorkshire people so that when you come for your beautiful escape you can truly experience everything that Yorkshire has to offer.

Rosalind is one of our featured Yorkshire suppliers who has put together a bespoke offering for you in your luxury escape. Whether you want a decadent dinner prepared for you or want to get stuck into a cookery lesson with her; Rosalind will bring everything you need to your luxury holiday property for a memorable culinary evening!

Rosalind owns Rosalind’s Larder, which she started up to sell preserves of her delicious fruit and vegetables made with the surplus from her allotment. She creates fantastic flavour combinations as well as the traditional jams and preserves, Mojito lime curd is one of our favourites! She has grown her award winning preserve business and now also offers cookery lessons and fantastic dining experiences. We asked Rosalind a  few questions about herself, her business and where her passion for cookery comes from.

Who or what inspired you to cook?

My mother, Anna, was and is my inspiration. Her style of cooking is known as “cucina povera” which translates as poor kitchen. Her skill at making a tasty meal out what seemed nothing, is my undying memory.

Tell us about your Mamma’s background

Anna lived on a farm with her parents and brothers and sisters. Life was not easy and she had to leave school at the age of 12yrs, and was heartbroken. She had always wanted to be a nurse. Her job, apart from helping wash clothes, in the nearby stream, was to help with the cooking and preserving and also looking after the pigs. However, when it came to the time to slaughter them, she would not take part and would run away crying her heart out. But of course, nothing was wasted in those days.

Where in Italy was she from?

She was born in southern Italy, in Benevento near Naples.

When and how did she come to Middlesbrough?

She married my father, who was in the British army, and came to Middlesbrough when the 2nd world war ended.

What is your earliest memory of her cooking?

Oh before I went to school at the age of 4yrs. I would help her in the kitchen on a Sunday and after lunch I used to watch her baking cakes and pies. She did allow me to do some things, but my favourite thing was licking out the cake bowl!

What is your favourite thing she taught you?

She taught me how to make a good ragu, pasta sauce. How to use herbs to enhance dishes. The sauce was so good, it made tripe taste delicious, especially when we ate it with her homemade bread. I loved watching her make pasta every week. No pasta machine for her. Simply a pure white tablecloth on the table, with an enormous rolling pin. Such a wonderful technique. You don’t really appreciate it when you are young.

What was her favourite recipe?

Pasta as a small starter served with a ragu in which a piece of beef skirt had been cooked. She used to bash it flat and put a filling of breadcrumbs, lots of garlic, parsley, salt & pepper all brought together with a beaten egg. The beef was rolled up, stitched and browned before being dropped into the ragu to cook. It was served afterwards most often with wilted spinach dressed with olive oil, garlic, salt and black pepper.

What are the best things about Italian food and cooking?

Italians are passionate about food. They respect good quality ingredients, not necessarily expensive ones. The marriage of flavours using herbs with meats or fish is so important. Food is a religion to them. They love their “dolce” sweet biscuits or cake, not cupcakes, to go with strong coffee, very often for breakfast. You do not need to buy outrageously expensive ingredients, just cook them with care. The food markets in Italy are an experience that you should not miss. I love to go with my aunt, who lives just outside of Milan. She buys beautiful vegetables and fruit that are seasonal, something that we are not so good at here. However, one time we stopped by a salami stall and I asked what this particular sausage was. I didn’t quite hear what the stallholder was saying, he repeated it and I thought “never”. He was saying cavallo . It was horsemeat salami! I must have turned green, which they all found amusing. So, I don’t like some Italian food.

What do you keep in your larder?

I am always well stocked, just like mamma. Flour, sugar, tinned goods, herbs, spices, dried fruit including figs and apricots, three freezers full of fruit and vegetables to make preserves, different fruit liqueurs made with both gin and vodka, jams, chutneys, pickles. I also have a nine tray dehydrator and I dry fruit and vegetables. I also make my own bread, pizza and pasta and have my own sourdough starter. I am building it up at the moment, to dry . The corono virus lockdown has encouraged people to start baking again and yeast has been in short supply. Oh, before I forget. My larder is stocked with cookery books. I love them.

What are your favourite ingredients?

Tomatoes, peppers, courgette, aubergine, garlic, onions, basil, oregano, bacon, salami, cheese like mozarella, ricotta and mascarpone. Oh and a good Cheddar or Wensleydale. All salads. Various spices for sweet dishes & cakes and some of the hotter ones to make curries etc. , dried fruits such as figs and apricots which can be used in sweet or savoury dishes. All fruits, especially blackberries and tayberries.

Tell us about your allotment and why it’s important you?

I got an allotment before I retired and I used to spend a lot of my time there. I had a ruptured Achilles and then a knee replacement and my husband, Alan, took over the main running of the plot. Mainly because he said I am dangerous down there, falling or tripping over things and into his cabbage bed. Joking aside, I do love being able to have our own fresh produce, not only for us to have in our meals, but also as ingredients in my preserves. However, we do get gluts of vegetables and salads, so the neighbours get bags of produce from time to time.

What is your favourite dish?

Ooh, I can’t choose Hard to say because I love most things. I am going to say

1. My mamma’s pasta dish with beef skirt

2. Lamb chops cooked in the oven on a bed of tomatoes, pepper, onions. garlic. I have it so rarely because Alan does not like lamb.

3. Tiramisu

4. A really good icecream.

Which food couldn’t you live without?

Vegetables, pasta, spices and herbs, lemons, Italian coffee. I am not vegetarian, but I think vegetables are so versatile

What is a common misconception of Italian food/cooking?

That it is all about spaghetti bolognese. In fact the ragu is not the correct sauce to go with spaghetti. You would not see an Italian eat it this way. If anyone wonders why there are so many pasta shapes, it is because they are made to hold different sauces. So, spaghetti and linguine for seafood and pasta that has deep grooves which are there to hold the sauce. There are charts available that tell you which pasta should be used with which sauce. Also, the pasta should always be taken to the ragu and not added on top. By adding the pasta to the sauce, the pasta is coated really well.

What is your favourite place to visit in Yorkshire?

I love the North York Moors, the colours of the heather and the wildness. York, the history, shopping and food. The view of Roseberry Topping at Great Ayton. It’s so hard to choose just one place. North Yorkshire has so many beautiful places.

And we mustn’t forget the people, the ones born and bred in Yorkshire. They will certainly not hold back if they have an opinion and of course they are from God’s own country!

What can guests expect from a cookery lesson with you?
The most important thing is that I hope the the guests will have an enjoyable experience, cooking with me.
My food will be good home cooking, using the best of local produce including,when ever possible what we have harvested from out allotment. Italian dishes will feature predominantly, but also some Turkish dishes and classic English ones. I would like sessions to be interactive and guests to be cooking some dishes along with me. Pizza making I am sure will be popular. We have lots of beautiful local fruit available, so there will be an opportunity to make some jam & then enjoy it with homemade scones. I am happy to share recipes or to give advice if needed. I feel really excited to have this opportunity to cook along with and for guests in the gorgeous properties listed with Beautiful Escapes.

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