I was born and raised in Leabrooks, and I have always been around food. My dad had an allotment, and my sister Sharon and I spent many late afternoons shelling broad beans and peas, picking Brussels sprouts and gooseberries, and enjoying the aroma of vine tomatoes.
So I was quite lucky in that I knew exactly where vegetables came from and how good they should taste. With Owen Taylor and Sons just up the road from where I lived for more than 30 years, I’ve had my fair share of good meat, too.
I’ve always been a fan of simple dishes which I can cook myself. Sometimes, the more exotic dishes made with 20 ingredients don’t taste anywhere near as good as ones with made with five. I use the best produce as much as I can for Taste the Seasons, as I have done since the very first magazine. We are very fortunate to have great markets and producers from all around Derbyshire, so why not support them?
All in all, I’m just a home cook who loves big, robust flavours. I’m forever learning about new techniques in the kitchen, and I love trying new flavours, meats and vegetables. I’m still a firm believer in cheap cuts of meat done nicely, as I think they provide the best flavour – especially belly pork, my all-time favourite!
I hope the readers enjoy the recipes I provide, as I shall continue my ongoing quest to delve into Derbyshire’s producers, and use as many as I can in the seasons to come.
Click here for Darren’s recipes