I drove to Norfolk last week to find a reclaimed window and stopped in at my friend Claire Halsey’s beautiful home in Suffolk. It’s an 18th century farmhouse and she has the most exquisite taste. Everything is white, cream, apricot, rustic. She’s a potter, a painter, an upholsterer, a recycler of furniture. The furniture is all chippy paint and pale wood. There are vintage linen and lace curtains, and all of her chairs have loose linen covers that she’s made. It’s beautiful. Every corner is a delight.
Her pottery and paintings are thick and rustic, in clotted cream colours and pastels. She’s made every lampshade. She has an electric aga, converted from gas, upon which she makes endless cups of tea, which we drink from large terracotta cups in slip shades of ivory and white. It’s very House and Garden but better than that because the style is not bought, it’s made.
Together we made a warming thick soup full of vegetables, fish and cream. It was just the ticket and I’ve made it again now I’m home. Here is the recipe and also some pictures of Claire’s beautiful home.
You can rent her house on airbnb.
Her pottery can be bought at her ‘honesty shop’ in Suffolk, and at various local shops and fairs. Check out her instagram @clairebelljar
Here are a selection of pictures from her house and the recipe at the end of the post.
Chunky smoked haddock chowder
- big knob butter
- 50 ml olive oil
- 1 or 2 large leeks or 5 baby leeks, cleaned and chopped
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 2 cobs fresh sweet corn, removed from cob
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 bay leaves, fresh
- pinch saffron
- 2 veg stock cubes in 1 litre of boiling water.
- 200 g smoked haddock, skinned, torn into small chunks
- 200 ml creme fraiche
- sea salt and plenty of pepper
- handful chopped parsley
- Heat up the butter/oil in a deep wide pan. Once sizzling gently, add leaks and spring onions. Soften.
- Add the sweet corn, cook for a few minutes.
- Add garlic, bay leaves, saffron.
- Add 2 veg stock cubes and 1 litre of hot water.
- After 15 minutes or so, add the fish.
- After 10 minutes, add the cream salt and pepper.
- Garnish with parsley and serve hot.