Food for the Soul

There’s something so emotive when hearing a real fire crackle; the feeling of warmth gracing your skin, reminiscing about overnight camping trips, eating nostalgic s’mores. It’s this combination of aroma that brings the adventure home. Cooking in the embers bring your tastebuds to life...

outdoor cooking

Preparing a delicious snack seems like something that is a treat as opposed to the norm. What joy we feel when we allow our imaginations to soar, and try new recipes. The excitement of setting up the dining table is something the whole family can work as a team on. All these things we feel that we should be relishing everyday 🍽

For many, lockdown has meant a chance to take stock, assess and reassess their homes, the way they live their lifestyles within their four walls and ways to change or enhance their spaces. At Mr and Mrs Clarke we champion homes not houses, individual taste and the joys of home. But, lockdown has also opened the eyes of many to the spaces outside their home. Longing for the great outdoors and freedom of space, with renewed enthusiasm is exactly what we’re dreaming of doing. We want to bring order back to the gardens of the UK, making a welcomed change of scenery of the fridge (where we seem to be spending most of our time).

Cooking outdoors in the floral herb-filled air of the garden connects you to where our food comes from. It’s something that can’t be captured in the sterile environment of our homes kitchens.

For our Creative Director Luke and his wife Clare, the garden plays a huge part in their lives. Clare is a keen horticulturist and Luke… well he is a keen outdoor chef (whatever you say Luke 👨‍🍳!) When they recently renovated and extended their home on the Sussex coast, they built an outdoor kitchen so that everyone can really enjoy the garden and give Luke the space to explore his passion.

Luke says “Cooking outdoors is like nothing else, the connection to the elements, the wind, the herbs growing beside you as you cook, and yes, the rain! It makes the whole experience of cooking more enjoyable, more experimental. For so many of us the practice of cooking has become such a sterile affair,  and a far cry from how previous generations cooked, more in tune with the elements of heat, the nature that surrounds them and how cooking used to be – well excluding the meat thermometers!” 🥕

In the UK, outdoor cooking normally means one thing: BBQ! 🌭And with that comes the mental image of the British Summer – man at the BBQ, burnt sausages and burnt faces in the midday sun. Why is that? Why do so many of us reach for the BBQ on the hottest day of the year? Think about it – it’s boiling hot outdoors – so why go and stand next to a fire and get even hotter? It’s a British phenomenon and it needs to stop. For Luke, everyday is a potential outdoor cooking day 🌤

Waking up in the countryside, afternoons jam packed with sea front walks and ending the day cooking with our Gozney, surrounded by friends is what we’re dreaming of.

“I use my outdoor kitchen every month of the year, I even cook a lot of Christmas dinner on the Weber – if you control the heat, don’t open the lid and use a meat thermometer it is a perfect oven. So many of us run out of oven space over the Christmas holidays and our BBQ’s are sitting outside in the cold – so fire them up and use them. I love cooking outdoors in the cold, sitting snuggled by the fire or precariously close to the pizza oven door enjoying the warm air licking against my face as I watch the dough bubble and the cheese sizzle, that juxtaposition between the cold air and the warming fragrant notes of the pizza – there isn’t many places I would rather be.”

Outdoor kitchens used to be for the stately home or the Spanish retreat – one of those ‘one day I would love an outdoor kitchen’ kinda dream that many of us have 💭

But, like all things, times have changed and so have the opportunities that come with them. In recent years the professional oven companies who would normally grace high-end restaurants have taken their technology and learning. We love them. They allow us to cook for friends and family so they can recharge their batteries whilst telling stories 🍳

Dream outdoor cooking spaces

bethnal green home

Durant Street, Bethnal Green

Scuttling inside for those ingredients you forgot about has never been easier 🌮

Hogbrook Farm, Near Leamington Spa

Pre dinner stroll to see the ducks, post dinner soak in the tub 🦆

hogbrook farm
boones road

Boones Road, Blackheath

Pull the doors open and let the BBQ roar 🥩

Park View Road, Woldingham

Dance amongst the flowers or roll down the hill whilst you wait for your burger 🌷

surrey home
moreton paddox

Rooftops, Moreton Paddox

Why not take your plate up onto the sun deck? 🥗

North Barn, Barnsdale

Pizza party amongst the countryside 🍕

oakham barnsdale

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