To mark the launch of our ‘My Best British Hamper’ series, we caught up with Bridgerton star Ruth Gemmell to hear her fondest food memories…
Even with a hangover I don’t think I could bring myself to have Raw Eggs and Garlic! I’m not much of a morning person, so breakfast for me is quick. Builders Tea and toast. Followed, of course, with lots and lots of coffee.
We love Jams and preservatives. Do you have a favourite flavour or go-to brand?
I really like the sound of Raydale Preserves Gooseberry & Elderflower Jam, both flavours I love. But my go-to would be a Honeycomb on Sourdough toast.
We know the tight corsets worn on Bridgerton mean you might not be able to indulge in contents of a full hamper…so if you could manage just one treat, what would it be?
I learnt very quickly that a full stomach and a corset are not compatible, but treats are very hard to give up, especially when you are in need of some energy. So with a sweet tooth I’d go for Fudge or Chocolate as my indulgence. Something more substantial would have to be Cheese and Biscuits.
Is there anything in particular that stands out from your childhood when it comes to food and drink? If so, what are your fondest memories of it?
My mum would make Fudge and Cinder Toffee as a treat, she would just whip it up in the evening. Also at Christmas she should would make a very strong Ginger beverage, it took me years to realise I was drinking the cordial neat - so I have developed a taste for the strong stuff and am very excited to try out, at some point, your Hot Ginger drink from Jean’s Jams. I also have fond memories of morning tea with my Grandad and his neighbour, he loved a Ginger Snap to dunk in his tea - and I seemed to have carried this tradition on.
We see decadent parties a-plenty on your latest show Bridgerton - what would your idea of a perfect soiree look like?
The natural progression from Sunday tea at my Grandma’s would be an Afternoon Tea. I’m very partial to one. So Cucumber Sandwiches - Beef and Horseradish, Scones with Raspberry Jam and Clotted Cream, a Large pot of Tea and then, rather than cake, perhaps Brandy Snaps and cream - and maybe a glass of two of Champagne.
What are your perfect wind-down tipples, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, when you need to take five and unwind? What would you typically reach for?
These days I like a G&T - it has to be a Dry Gin. I like Silent Pool and am really intrigued by Lussa Gin from Jura - I like the idea of George Orwell somehow being part of its fruition. The best non-alcoholic Gin I have found is Nil from the Salcombe Distilling Company.
Have you been fortunate enough to try a British Wine? If so, can you tell us which it was and what you enjoyed it with?
My husband took me for a Meal when it was my Birthday, I had the Garden Menu, where you taste a different Wine with each course, and we started with an English Sparkling Wine from Kent, Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs - its light, subtle and dry. Beautiful.
How would you spend your perfect day off when you need a little down-time? Could you talk us through your day?
Things feels so very different at the moment so nothing feels like a typical day. I seem to cook a lot or spring clean, especially as the weather forbids me from getting into the garden. When I was working on Bridgerton down-time was very much needed to simply re-charge my batteries. The hours could be long, so sleep was always needed. But usually some form of exercise, like walking the dog. And Gardening, where I am happiest. I can switch off from everything there, work hard, feel the good kind of exhaustion and in the end see the fruits of my labours. Its very satisfying. And should definitely be topped off with a G&T at the end.
What is your staple dish to cook - or order in - when you have company?
I love a good Dahl - otherwise it’s a Shepherds Pie - comfort food. If ordering in it would have to be Indian or Fish & Chips.
Staycations on the rise, more people than ever before are now holidaying at home, be it for a weekend break or a week-long vacation. Where would your ideal break take you, and how would you spend it?
We love Norfolk and discovered it together. I have very fond memories of our trips there - we always seem to discover something new. The coastline is so dramatic, its stunning - in all weathers: brilliant sun - teaming rain - or windswept. Beautiful villages. Pub meals. Long walks through the country side. Picnics on the beach. Boat journeys on the Broads. The best Sausage Rolls are to be found in Cley-next-the-sea. Whats not to love.
Finally, what would make-up the contents of your perfect Best British Produce hamper?
My perfect hamper would comprise…Cartwright & Butler - Café York Blend Coffee Carton, William Whistle - Moroccan Mint Tea, Cartwright & Butler - Fine Cut Three Fruit Marmalade, Cartwright & Butler – Acacia Honey with Comb, Lottie Shaw – Yorkshire Parkin Biscuit, The Canny Candy Gadgies – Dark Chocolate Covered Honeycomb Chunks, Peter’s Yard – Charcoal & Rye Crispbread, Cartwright & Butler – Water Biscuits with Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Fentiman’s – Ginger Beer and Cartwright & Butler – Ginger Preserve
Want to make your Mother feel like this year’s Diamond of the Season? Treat her to a limited edition Mother’s Day hamper and make her feel like the Lady she is!