I bought 'Time' back in September when it came out, but there were a lot of really good cookbooks coming out last autumn, and for most of this year my kitchen has been more or less unusable because of the drain situation.*
Cooking is one of the things I like to do to cope with stress, but the inconvenience of having to use the bathroom sink for washing up is off putting. I'm eating a lot of sandwiches and takeaway, and not feeling great on it. Fortunately salad season is getting closer and whilst I'm not wild about washing lettuce in the bathroom either, it seems more manageable than pots and pans.
Meanwhile when my mother picked up the latest lot of washing from me (this is an upside, and she irons EVERYTHING, even tea towels) she bought me some rhubarb from the garden. It reminded me of the rhubarb with rose geranium leaves recipe in 'Time' (a baking tray lined with foil is easy to deal with) and thought I'd give it a go.
I bought a rose geranium about 5 years ago specifically to cook with, and never did (it's currently looking a bit sorry for itself and obviously needs a bigger pot) so this really was the perfect recipe. My rhubarb hasn't been forced so the finished result doesn't look anything like as pretty as the one in the book, but it tastes good, so I'm happy with it.
Rhubarb baked in an oven with light brown sugar, honey, and rose geranium leaves isn't precisely the healthy take on fruit and veg I'm craving, but it's delicious. I've never sweetened it with honey either and I like the flavour it brings - it makes the whole thing a little bit more complex and interesting.
Now that 'Time' is off the shelf I might keep it on the kitchen table for a while and try and use it more. I like Mellers food and philosophy, and I like the way the recipes in this book are arranged first by the time of day, and then by season, for the way it makes me think about food, although it would probably be easier to navigate if it was the other way around. Or at least, I'm used to navigating by season first and then meal - so this feels a bit like being in a supermarket that's had a re-arrange to make you look at everything afresh.
I also think this is a slightly more challenging book than 'Gather' was. I really loved 'Gather', specifically the way it was rooted in the landscape that Meller inhabits. It had a real sense of terroir. 'Time' is more about kitchens (which tell their own stories about how their users cook) and the mood is different. Maybe it's the difference between a guide and a host, I can't yet quite put my finger on it - another reason to spend more time actually making the food.
*Yep, the drain is still blocked. I'm currently waiting for a disclaimer form to arrive in the post so I can promise I won't get to upset about any damage to the floorboards that apparently need to come up for the current round of investigations to be finished. The problem is pressing for me, less so for my neighbour who is being evasive about the whole thing so I'm a bit worried that he might not sign.