Cooking and eating has always played a big part in Lucinda Notley’s life.

'My love of food very much stems from family,' says the founder of the north Norfolk-based seasonal preserves and catering company Ginger and Juice.

'We live to eat, we’re foodies through and through. We come together to cook together and we all bring something different to the table.’

But, she says, there have been ‘lots of ups and downs and twists and turns’ when it came to turning that love of cooking into a career.

‘My passion has always been present, throughout my upbringing and into adulthood. But I actually resisted going into food because I was worried that I would lose the passion, that it would become a chore, rather than a treat,’ she says.

So, Lucinda went to university to study history of art. But during the summer of her second year she did a short course at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London and it set her on a different, albeit rather winding, path.

'I did two weeks there and I can honestly say I enjoyed those two weeks more than I did my entire degree, I was just so enthralled and loved every minute of it,’ she says.

Great British Life: Ginger and Juice founder Lucinda Notley. Photo: contributedGinger and Juice founder Lucinda Notley. Photo: contributed

She did summer internships at food magazines and when she graduated interned at Sainsbury’s magazine and then into interiors when she got a position at Period Living magazine.

Lucinda branched out into food marketing, working for a company which looked after the restaurants and cafes at iconic London venues including the Royal Academy, the National Gallery and Kew Gardens.

Then, in her late 20s, she decided to take a career break and did a ski season as a chalet girl.

‘I was cooking week in week out for families, the same menu for 20 weeks. At the end of that I thought if I can cook that same thing over and over and over again and still really enjoy the whole process, then I should really get into food and cook,’ she says.

When she returned, she did an intensive three-month course at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland and moved into food styling for photo shoots, hosting supper clubs and teaching cookery.

'It was amazing to be at Ballymaloe,’ she says. ‘Their whole ethos is farm to fork and you are living on site, you are harvesting the produce in the morning, you’re taking it in to the kitchen, cooking it and have a fabulous lunch and then there are demonstrations all afternoon.

‘There were so many other extra-curricular things you could do, you could go out fishing, you could go and make cheese, you could help milk the cows, you could go to the bread shed at 6am and make your own sourdough - it really ignited this passion for seasonality and eating what’s around us, what’s local, and really just keeping things simple. You can have really tasty food that doesn’t need to have 101 ingredients, it doesn’t need to be flown in from the other side of the world.’

Great British Life: Lucinda's Blackberry and Bay jam is perfect with scones. Photo: contributedLucinda's Blackberry and Bay jam is perfect with scones. Photo: contributed

Lucinda had started making preserves to use as part of her supper club menus, such as marmalade to glaze pork dishes and accompaniments for cheese boards.

When the pandemic came, and the country went into lockdown she started a website and pivoted to selling her preserves online.

And relocating to north Norfolk was ‘the beginning of Ginger and Juice proper’.

‘My family have always had a very close connection with north Norfolk, because my grandparents lived here for more than 35 years. When they passed away my family took on their little cottage in Great Walsingham and now I’m living there,’ says Lucinda.

‘I knew that I wanted to be in Norfolk and a complete change of lifestyle, and the produce is so amazing around here.’

Lucinda’s small batch jams, chutneys and marmalades are available at delis, markets such as Holt Sunday Market and online.

Up until recently she made the preserves at her cottage, but this summer she moved to an industrial kitchen in a converted shipping container on the Barsham Estate.

And it means that she’s been able to launch Ginger and Juice’s next phase - the Home Cook Collection, a curated collection of dishes that are available for delivery, initially within a half-hour radius of Barsham.

With the exception of Seville oranges for her marmalade and spices all her ingredients are Norfolk sourced and she only makes the preserves when the ingredients are local and in season.

Some of her favourite Norfolk products and produce include spiced rum by the Norfolk Rum Company, Marsh Pig charcuterie, Sharrington strawberries and asparagus and New Barn Farm Market Garden’s Blakeney Leaf salad.

Lucinda’s summer menu included lasagne and late summer vegetable stew bursting with ingredients such as fennel and summer squash, with a rhubarb and stem ginger crumble or chocolate brownie for dessert.

Great British Life: The chutneys are great with a cheeseboard. Photo: contributedThe chutneys are great with a cheeseboard. Photo: contributed

And this month, she’s swapping over to the autumn menu, which will feature slow cooked shoulder of pork casserole with an apple and cider sauce and plum, spiced rum and apple crumble or pear and almond crumble.

She says that she’s really looking forward to cooking with ‘all the delicious stone fruits.’

‘Also the fantastic apples and pears available at that time. Plum and apple chutney will be on the hob.

‘I think there’s something so special about the anticipation of a new season,’ she continues.

‘There’s so many wonderful things that happen that I treasure, and I really do want to impart that love and knowledge to others to show that we definitely can have really tasty food on our doorstep.’

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