Of all the places I've visited, two have made an exceptionally lasting impression on my life. The first was Siberia. My summer on and near Lake Baikal was just this side of heaven and it changed the direction of my life entirely. Interestingly, it is also where I first milked a cow. It was in a tiny, dusty village with exceptionally generous people and the wiliest piglets you can imagine. We drank the milk while it was still warm. A might strange, I'll admit, but fresh as it gets.
The other is England. I am endlessly intrigued by its marriage of modern and traditional, and while all my former visits have been defined by a sense of mobile independence scurrying about on the trains, my most recent visit introduced me to a different side of Britain, and it was just what the doctor ordered. Well, that and a few odd g and ts, of course.
This visit, I stayed with several members of my family in a house in the heart of the Cotswolds. The hills were rolling, we were surrounded by livestock and distant church spires and the local pubs served local, fresh food along with glorious pints of English brew. It was a slow and simple life we led during our two week visit, making short trips to some beautiful manor houses and charming old towns, but most of all, enjoying each other and the occasional strolls through the countryside. And at the start of each new day, we enjoyed fresh eggs and milk from a local farm, and cream so thick it rolled out of the cup like molasses. Now there is a trip to celebrate. And here are a couple of recipes we enjoyed whipping up in our English kitchen:
Mom's recipe for butter:
1 cup fresh, rich milk
a pinch of salt.
Mix with whisk (or in our case, a spoon) until desired thickness
*Mom says the cream she used as a girl took about 15 minutes to whip into butter. I do not tease when I say the double cream we were using in the Cotswolds took less than a minute.
Great Wolford Eggs
1-2 Tbls butter or extra virgin olive oil
2 tomatoes, chopped
1- 2 eggs per person, depending on how hungry you all are
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained (squeeze water out through dish towel)
2 Tbls fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Heat butter or oil in large skillet and add tomatoes. Cook until tender. Meanwhile, mix eggs, spinach, basil, salt and pepper in a large liquid measuring cup and pour into the skillet. Scramble until cooked through. They should be done within 10 minutes or so.