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Celebration of everyday seasonal recipes in book inspired by Dorset

PUBLISHED: 15:07 09 November 2016

Gill cooking on the beach

Gill cooking on the beach

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Gill Meller celebrates everyday seasonal recipes in a new book inspired by the Dorset landscape in which he lives and works

I’ve always been fascinated by the language of our food-producing landscapes through the year. The stop and start of the land’s seasonal output intrigues me, and I feel being part of them has helped to shape and hone the way I cook.

I find spending time in the landscapes of Dorset during the early autumn is particularly inspiring, with the fields, hedgerows, woodlands and gardens at their most productive. And it seems there’s no end of wonderful ingredients on hand – from farm, orchard, seashore, harbour and moor as well.

I remember, one autumn day when I was nine or ten years old, my friend and I picked a couple of handfuls of field mushrooms. We climbed up an old beech tree and made a small fire in the hollow where the big limbs met the trunk. We cooked the mushrooms, smoky and blistered, and we ate them in the branches of the tree. We had no idea whether they were edible! Now when I eat mushrooms I always remember this special moment and the connection with the landscape that I made that day.

Over the last two decades, I’ve discovered that cooking with the seasons is not only the best way to enjoy great ingredients in their prime, but also the most creative way to embrace them. It locks me into the patterns of a year like nothing else. I’ve learned to make the most of what I have in the moment, and to anticipate the new with reverence and desire. In a sense, then, Gather has become a philosophy for a more mindful way to cook and to eat.

The three recipes I’ve chosen (click here and turn to page 69) speak volumes about this wonderful time of year, but they also represent something unique to me. Each dish evokes some kind of memory, reminding me of a specific place, time or person.

That’s what’s so wonderful about knowing where your food comes from, there is always something or someone to connect it with. 


About Gill Meller

Gill Meller is a chef, food writer and cookery teacher. He has been part of the River Cottage team for over a decade, working closely with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Gill teaches at the River Cottage Cookery School and internationally. He lives in Dorset with his family. 


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