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QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • I am beyond excited to finally share some huge news with you today! Announcing my much anticipated collaboration on the
  • Barefoot in the grass @biltmoreestate, finding dragons in the clouds with my tiny guy.
  • This place, today, with my fellas=pure magic. @biltmoreestate
  • Sowing the seeds of love, with @forvillagers.
  • It's go time. @forvillagers brought ALL the seeds!
  • There is thunder in our hearts. || New post up on small measure. Happy Monday, friends!
  • I'm only 30 pages into @tea_austen's new book
  • This tuna-mack (mackerel!) casserole puts a divine spin on the tired old classic. It took every ounce of willpower not to go back for thirds! It was egg noodles cooked with tuna and mackerel in a white sauce with eggs from our hens, flavored with tarragon, black pepper, cornichons, then mixed with bread crumbs and aged cheddar, and topped with both as well. Before it was served, it was topped with kalamata olives, capers, sour pickles, and cilantro. So good!
  • Sometimes being Huxley's mom means dressing up as Wonder Woman (to his tiny Batman) while feeding the wood stove, locking up the chickens, and helping @glennbenglish make dinner. Because, #mom.
  • I'll admit that it's pretty, but we three Englishes (and our feathered friends!) are SO very ready to be done with snow and frost and chill.
  • It's always a good day when @joythebaker stops by. Thanks for sharing food stories, sipping tea, strolling the property, and playing with our Wild child. Safe travels on your southern road trip, and beyond!!!
  • Was weeding the patio and looked up to find this little gnome picking daffodils.

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A Holiday Toast, with Wassail

Happy Christmas Eve, friends! Can you believe it’s already here?! I know one little 4 year-old that’s enormously excited about what will occur this evening. So much so, in fact, that we presently have zero presents under the tree. He just can’t handle the waiting. I get it. All that wrapped up temptation. Better to just hold out and see nothing. But, man, I can’t wait to see his face in the morning! It’s entirely likely that I’ll cry, because I’m a complete and total sponge when it comes to other people’s emotional states.

What I want to share with you, though, before you, like me, move on with your merriment and gift-wrapping and fellowship and conviviality, is a little bit of holiday cheer. Our dear friends Rich and Jen Orris are golden. They have supported my career and been such solid, trusted friends and confidants since we met nearly 4 years ago. Not only do we share interests and pursuits and seriously goofy senses of humor, we’re now working on a project together.

With their ace help, Jen and Rich via their cheekily-titled business “What the Farm” created the first of what we aspire to be monthly “Small Measure” videos. Each will introduce a simple DIY project to do at home, based around food or crafting or homemaking/homesteading. Since it’s the holidays, a time when libations and laughter abound, our debut video is about making wassail.

The recipe comes from my book Quench, and was graciously provided by local Folklore expert Byron Ballard. I’m offering the recipe here for you, for creating your own holiday cheer this season. Thank you to Byron for the recipe, and massive thanks to Rich and Jen for, well, just being their wonderful selves (not to mention allowing me to use their home and property for the shoot!). From our home to yours, sincerest wishes for the happiest of holidays!

 

Wassail (excerpted from Quench: Handcrafted Beverages to Satisfy Every Taste & Occasion, Roost Books, 2014). 
At once a wish for good health, a hot beverage, and a traditional British ceremony that blesses apple trees for a fruitful harvest the following year, wassail covers many bases. This recipe comes from Byron Ballard, a writer, scholar, and expert on nature-based traditions and folklore. Don’t forget to wassail your trees, per her suggestion, by offering them the very first cup!
Makes: 10-11 cups.

You Will Need
-½ gallon fresh apple cider
-1 cup orange juice
-1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
-½ cup honey
-6-8 cinnamon sticks
-Whole cloves (a handful)
-Several chunks of fresh ginger
-Rum, to taste

To Make
Combine all of the ingredients except for the rum in a deep pot or Dutch oven. Whisk gently to combine.

Simmer the mixture over the lowest setting at least 3 hours, stirring periodically.

When you feel the flavors have all come together to your liking, remove the pot from the heat. If desired, stir in rum in an amount to your inclination and taste preference.

Malaprops Book Signing

Malaprops
Friends! Let’s meet and greet and sip something, real-time!

If you’re in the area this coming Saturday, December 6th, stop into Malaprops Bookstore & Cafe. It’s a day of author signings at Asheville’s much-loved independent bookstore. I’ll be there signing copies of “Quench” and offering samples of a warm beverage from the book from 4-5 p.m..

Come say hi! Have a drink! Get a hug (I’m a hugger)! Cheers, and happy holidays!

Ashley English Week at Rhubarb!!!

Rhubarb-asheville
If I had to sum up my overarching life mantra in one sentence, it would likely be “Follow the Golden Rule.” That is, treat other people the way you want to be treated. Glenn and I truly believe this and we say it to Huxley all time. Every day, almost, it seems. Let your behavior towards other people reflect the way you ultimately want to be treated. It is why I let other people merge into traffic in front of me, why Glenn and I try to be as generous with our time and resources as we can, and why we both promote businesses and enterprises when neither of us has anything direct to gain from them.

Sometimes, what you put out is returned. What goes around truly comes around. That recently happened for me with Rhubarb. Imagine your favorite restaurant. Your special place, the one you go to for big occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. THE place you turn to, time and again, because the food is sensational, the service is stellar, and the mission is one you’re on board with. That’s Rhubarb for Glenn and I. I’ve mentioned here before how much we love the place. Well, a few weeks ago, I received an email from Rhubarb, turning the love back in my direction.

I cannot begin to tell you how ecstatic I am to announce Rhubarb‘s offer of an “Ashley English Week.” That’s right. Week! It’ll start with a Sunday Supper December 14th featuring recipes from my books (I gifted the restaurant with all 7 of them this past Saturday). I’ll also be doing a book signing that night. Then, on December 18th, R Bar, Rhubarb’s lovely bar situated directly beside the dining rooms, will feature a list of beverages curated by me from Quench. They’ll be offering their “Tot-Tine” that night as well, which is a tater tot version of the famous Canadian dish poutine (essentially fried potatoes, gravy, and cheese).

Come join us, won’t you? I’ll be meeting with chef John Fleer and Ellie Wigodsky at the restaurant next week, to hammer out the menus. In the meantime, go ahead and put it on your planner! Hire a babysitter (or better, yet, bring the little ones with you to Sunday Supper!)! If you’ve been wanting to try out Rhubarb but haven’t, now is the time.

I mean, c’mon. How amazing is this?!!! Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine that a restaurant that I adore, that just celebrated its 1-year anniversary, that is being touted in the pages of Southern Living and Garden & Gun, would love me and what I do in exchange. That the recipes that Glenn and I developed and tested and re-tested and tweaked in our home kitchen would be served in a restaurant run by a chef named one of the “Rising Stars of the 21st Century” by the James Beard Foundation and listed as a three-time finalist for the James Beard “Best Chef in the Southeast” award? Who would’ve ever guessed that my patronage of a restaurant so seriously deserving of every accolade would want to celebrate me, too? The Golden Rule, y’all. It’s the only way to fly.

Details
What: Sunday Supper, featuring recipes from my books.
Where: Rhubarb, Asheville, NC.
When: December 14th, 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $26/adults and $13/children under 12 for multiple courses of a shared, passed dish meal.
Reservations: Required, call 828/785-1503.

What: Tot-Tine and a curated drink menu featuring recipes from Quench.
Where: R Bar, located inside Rhubarb, Asheville, NC.
When: December 18th, beginning at 6 p.m.
Cost: $9.50 for tot-tine, plus the price of the cocktails (prices will vary).
Reservations: Not required, first come, first served.

 

Wild Child

The wind is barreling through the cove right now like it’s got a bone to pick with the entirety of Hominy Valley, the specific area of Candler in which we live. At the same time, it’s registering right around 68 on the outdoor thermostat. This autumn/winter mash-up is equal parts exhilarating and vexing. I mean, how am I supposed to finalize my Thanksgiving plans when it feels like early spring outside?!

Weather abnormalities aside, I’m pretty pumped about turkey day this year. We’ve decided to borrow a page, as it were, from my book Handmade Gatherings, by turning the meal into a potluck. Today’s count is for 20 adults and 6 kids. Our bungalow is “cozy”, to use the euphemism for small, so it’ll be comfy and close together, to be sure. More conducive to merry-making, right? Right!

In thinking about potlucks and Handmade Gatherings, I remembered a video our friend Ian put together for us. It was a montage of “cutting room floor” bits of Huxley, parts gleaned from all the footage he assembled when filming the book’s trailer. Last year, he and his wife Kristina surprised us with the video, which serves as a visual time capsule of our little guy, from around 20 months to 2 1/2 years old. How fun to see him so wee, frolicking, tottering around, clearly sporting the mullet Glenn insisted he had and I totally denied the existence of. What a beautiful time in all of our lives.

Thank you, Ian! And happy Thanksgiving planning, friends, whether you’re intending to potluck it up with loved ones or pull off the entire feast yourself.

Let’s Raise Glasses Together! Beverage-Making Class!

Homemade Holiday Beverages Class

We are seriously moving into the holiday stretch of days, friends. I know that people have strong feelings about this time of year, many of them negative. As for the English household, though, we are all in. The three of us look forward to the stretch from Halloween to New Year’s Day with giddy anticipation and enthusiasm. From trick-or-treating to turkey carving, from winter solstice walks to cookie-baking, from selecting a tree to swilling eggnog, our household loves the holiday season. Clearly.

Our saving grace, I think, is that we do things simply. Our gifts are humble, our decor all-natural. When the trees drop their leaves, and the riot of color fades from the forested cove surrounding our mountain home, the landscape gets bleak, for months. To stave off a tandem dip in disposition and attitude, we bring nature and merriment indoors. From flickering votives to hot mugs of cocoa, we curl up inside (often in flannel p.j.’s), make things cozy, and get through the frostiest time of year by taking the abundance made manifest outdoors during the three other seasons inside.

Clearly, beverages factor into this time of year for us. I mentioned them twice above, and posted a photo on Instagram over the weekend of a Douglas fir needle, bourbon, lemon peel & juice, sorghum molasses, and nutmeg hot toddy we enjoyed at home Friday evening. We need to consume fluids all year, but during colder weather, when the air is dry and the humidity is low, we need them even more. If you’d like to learn a bit about making homemade holiday beverages, both for entertaining and for gifting, come out to Villagers in west Asheville this Sunday. The details for my class are above. We’ll sip, chat, and smile, together. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, if you let it be!