Rucksack Foodie

Eat good – Live well – Enjoy life !

Feast by Fire

“Fire is elemental and primitive; the most miserable situation clears up when somebody gets the fire going.” – Dorothy Hartley, Food In England 1954

Above Yarleton Farm at May Hill looking towards the River Wye in Gloucester County.

Above Yarleton Farm at May Hill looking towards the River Wye in Gloucester County.

The Gloucestershire hillside fields were covered with a morning frost, reflecting beautiful colors only seen when the Sun is kissing the  Earth good morning and good night. The colors reminded me of a Bryan Haynes painting, you wanted to be wrapped inside those colors, to reach out and taste the beauty seen.

Frank's "secret garden" yurt that houses an amazing earth oven

Frank’s “secret garden” yurt that houses an amazing earth oven

I was quick to rise this very frosty Sunday morning, for on Sunday mornings at the Yarleton Farm a fire must be lit early for the days feast. Sunday in oven day !

Hidden in the midst of high stone garden walls, terraced vegetable beds, and thick trellis’ of hibernating roses you’ll discover a small yurt housing the most primitive and most beautiful of all cooking tools – an earth oven. And what is most special about this oven is not the delicious foods born from its firey belly, but the people surrounding it. It was the creation of Frank’s farm tenant, Danny. A tranquil man of the world, that had spent his life leading expeditions to the remotest corners of the earth empowering those less fortunate with skills to better their lives and

Danny using only a silica stone and water to repair cracks in the clay oven in preparation for Sunday's gathering.

Danny using only a silica stone and water to repair cracks in the clay oven in preparation for Sunday’s gathering.

communities. In his journeys he was touched by a visit to a poor district in Budapest, where he witnessed one cool hazy morning in a hidden away garden area, women quietly emerging from streets and alleys, their arms bundled with fresh dough, coming to bake their loaves. This moment in time was ingrained in him, the importance of the fire and community, the basic things in life that are the most essential. Now in his sabbatical years he wants to redevelop that basic element of community around a fire that has been lost with our evolution to a modern society. He brings focus to the four elements- earth, water, fire and air. Danny leads earth oven building weekends for families and communities, making the task an event with the group “harvesting” the materials from the land the oven will be sitting upon. A group effort that everyone has hand in building.

Frank’s oven is a beautiful example of how a simple tool can work magic with little effort. Every Sunday since its completion, Frank’s children &

Frank firing up the oven early every Sunday morning

Frank firing up the oven early every Sunday morning

grandchildren have gathered together to spend the day stoking the fire, preparing culinary delights, and feasting from laps while perched on benches around the huts interior, their feet kept warm by propping them against the ovens side walls. It was a magical day of really just simple pleasures that our everyday lives should have – laughing, sharing, learning, thinking, enjoying company of friends and strangers…and a fabulous meal for all to enjoy. I felt very privileged today to be a part of something so special.

Primitive methods, exquisite results !

Primitive methods, exquisite results !

Feast by  Fire to say the least: Garlic roasted Leg of lamb, potatoes, carrots, butternut squash

Feast by Fire to say the least: Garlic roasted Leg of lamb, potatoes, carrots, butternut squash

Best plate of the journey so far!

Best plate of the journey so far!

...and for dessert Treacle Tart with double cream prepared by Frank's 15 yr old grandson

…and for dessert Treacle Tart with double cream prepared by Frank’s 15 yr old grandson

You too can have Danny come and lead and instruct your family or community in building your own earth oven, email danny@earthovenproject.com

4 comments on “Feast by Fire

  1. Petra Haynes
    January 13, 2013

    Sounds fantastic! What is treacle pie?

    • Rucksack Foodie
      January 14, 2013

      It’s gooey deliciousness!!…lol..ill post recipe later this week

  2. Anonymous
    January 17, 2013

    Love your writing and subject matter!!!

    • Rucksack Foodie
      January 17, 2013

      Thank you!!! I’m kinda new at all this writing, Jane Austen or Oscar Wilde I’m not but least I’m giving it a go!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Archives

%d bloggers like this: