You miiiiiiiight have guessed it by now, but I love cooking with fresh ingredients. Growing up, my family hardly ever cooked with pre-packed seasoning, or e-number-happy-all-purpose powders. I was encouraged to use my hands to create my own marinades from scratch, using scent and taste to identify key differences between each herb and spice. Getting touchy feely with ingredients (particularly my first love garlic) taught me that once you master your flavour combinations, you can make anything taste incredible. I think that’s what I love about Portuguese food; its simplicity in composition but complexity in flavour. Less is always more.
So naturally, as a family in love with fresh ingredients, we dabble in growing a selection of fresh herbs, fruit, vegetables, and all the good stuff that this beautiful world has to offer. Reading this you might be thinking, ‘lol I don’t have time for that’. Trust me, I know that it’s not possible for everyone to grow a forrest of cabbage, and if I lived alone then there is about a 99.9% chance that the garden would be a ghost town…BUT do as I say, not as I do.
I think that growing your own is just the perfect way to really learn about the art of cooking. You quite literally get to know ingredients from the ground up, at which point you’ll begin to question life as you notice that supermarkets are selling shadows of real food. You could grow anything from a small pot of chilli by your window sill (if you eat at Wahaca they give you free seeds #justsayin) or buy a basil plant from the supermarket and embark on the great challenge of keeping it alive, or even go crazy and plant some strawberries. Whatever you decide, it’s the start of a great journey with food…real food.
Here are just a few of our babies…