Posts Tagged ‘Devon’

Pitmans Farm Butchery Course

butcher1

I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful butcher on my doorstep, who I count as a friend, Steve and Joyce Greenslade at Pitmans Farm, produce some stunning rare breed meats, including the recently awarded Taste of The West Gold for their Devon Rose Veal.

They hold Butchery and Pig Keeping courses, and I have been able to spend time with Steve learning butchery skills, he’s a true star who is able to share the inner secrets of butchery, and how to get the best out of each cut, he is a true mine of information, but has a great way to make you feel relaxed.

A course would make an ideal present for someone wanting to learn traditional artisan butchery skills.

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Food with a story

prawns

I really love food with a story, a nice surprise find, local characters, and simple wonderful flavours. The beautiful prawns above were happened upon by chance, a fleeting meeting in a fishmongers tucked away in a bucket topped with damp newspaper.

The fisherman lifted the paper to reveal the most beautiful pink and orange flecked Ladram Bay prawns that he had caught and cooked in seawater on the beach. He offered me one to try, and it was the most sweet and succulent prawn I’ve tasted, so I had to have some more really to take home, popping each out of their shells, the only way they could be improved is to be enjoyed while sat on a beach.

I found out the kindly fisherman has a shop on the beach at Ladram Bay….this one I need to investigate.

Exeter Street Food Market

streetfoodkidsStreet Food has finally hit Devon in a big way, there’s a new Street Food Market that has been growing in a quiet square bang in the middle of the city. People stop in their tracks as they smell varied exotic aromas from around the world, from fine dining….Seared Brixham scallops and Spanish chorizo, to delicate Sushi made from the best ingredients from Dorset. Spiced meats, paellas, fragrant Caribbean food, Tacos, and pulled pork. There’s even a van serving stunningly good coffee. I had a chat with the organiser Karen who mentioned there will be more to come, wood fired pizza and game, it looks like street food in Exeter is on it’s way up.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes at the Guildhall Market Square in Exeter, there will be lots of further events throughout the year.

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Outdoor Gourmet Launch Party

og3I’ve found BBQ Nirvana in the rolling hills of South Devon, I was invited to the Launch Party for Outdoor Gourmet, a new outdoor cooking shop that supplies a wide range of outdoor cooking equipment to the discerning outdoor chef, we were entertained and fed by local chef Peter Gorton, who cooked up some treats using fantastic Pipers Farm meat, such as smoked pork belly, and chicken wings, balsamic mushrooms, home smoked salmon, and a moreish chocolate cake warmed in a wood fired oven.

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It was great to be able to get hands on with some of the new gear available to those wanting to expand their BBQ repertoire, the Kamado Joes are simply stunning ceramic BBQ’s, but there were also  Fornetto wood ovens, Bradley smokers and plenty more, BBQ gadget heaven.

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Riverford Field Kitchen

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I was very fortunate to be invited along with some other lovely South West bloggers to a visit and a meal at Riverford Field Kitchen near Buckfastleigh in Devon. I last visited a couple of years ago, and was blown away with the food cooked there then, so was keen to see whether things were any different with new Head Chef Rob Andrew. I was able to have a good chat with him before the meal, about the wonderful ingredients he gets to cook with, he told me the duck was from a couple of miles down the road, in these days, it is good to know the provenance of the food we are eating.

The duck was simply stunning, and cooked to perfection, as were all the veg from the farm. It’s such a lovely casual way to dine, long benches, large platters of good simply cooked produce.

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The veg really are the stars of the show, and even  this ex vegetarian would have been more than happy with the selection on offer. The curly kale with wild garlic, and celeriac, potato and mushroom gratin were my personal favourites.

The selection of puddings on offer were outstanding, but my eyes were drawn to the sticky toffee pudding with the best custard I’ve ever tasted.

It was a very convivial lunch, with Guy Watson the owner joining us and answering all our questions, and a nice chance to get to know some of the other food bloggers.

Frugal Queen

Grazing Kate

Hungry Hinny

Chocolate Log Blog

I can heartily recommend visiting their blogs, and a visit to the Field Kitchen was a real treat, so thank you to Guy and his team for making us all feel welcome.

 

 

Apples and Pumpkins

As I’ve mentioned previously I love this time of year, one of the great things is that there are always lots of local events celebrating Autumn and the wonderful produce that is available, and as it has been a really tough year for farmers here in the UK, they really ned all the support we can muster, especially the ones doing something a little bit different, so when we saw an Apple and Pumpkin Day at West Town Farm on the outskirts of Exeter advertised, we just had to pay a visit.

An organic farm producing beef, pork and vegetables, they certainly seem to have a good model for diversification, they were very busy, and also very lucky with the weather.

And what a fabulous day we had, we were able to carve pumpkins, and some of the varied squash were available to buy, there was a straw bale den for the kids to clamber in, and we were able to freely explore the farm which we all loved.

We enjoyed an organic burger from the farm BBQ which was really juicy and flavourful, and a slice of flapjack from the Organic Arts cafe there, and with the energy from these treats pushed on up the hill to the Orchard. Here we were shown how they press apples and were treated to some of the juice straight from the press, there were also stories around a campfire and stewed apple cooked in a dutch oven. There were lots of activities for the kids, and a wonderful atmosphere.

Our little treasures also enjoyed a ride on a pony and cart that ambled down the grassy lanes, all in all a fab day, get out there and find out what events are on in your area, before you know it winter will be here.

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A warming autumnal salad of duck breast and black pudding.

I love this time of year, the wonderful russet colours, the scent turns from freshness to a lovely earthy smell. Also love that the rugby season starts back up, and after a brutal local derby, I just craved something warming but not too heavy, but with a hearty protein kick to soothe tired muscles, and I wanted something quick.

I knocked this warming autumnal salad up with a crispy pan fried duck breast from Pipers Farm served pink and juicy of course, a few slices of black pudding fried off in the duck fat, some crumbly feta cheese, crisp  cos lettuce, some crunchy croutons, some crunchy slices of crystal lemon cucumber from my greenhouse, a few caper berries and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic glaze.

The flavours worked really well together, balancing out the richness of the crisp skinned duck and black pudding, and it was washed down with a much needed glass of Pinot Noir.

 

Wine Safari

My very thoughtful wife recently booked me on a Wine Safari from Darts Farm as a treat. I knew the various safaris Darts put on had a great reputation so I was really looking forward to this. The Safari was to Pebblebed Vineyards a miles walk down Devons country lanes from Darts.

We were given a refreshing glass of Elderflower Fizz on arrival, and then from this point on the drinks flowed. We walked up to the vines and the instantly recognizable Pebblebed van, and were handed a glass of the sparkling rose, which was outstanding.

The host for the day Geoff Bowen introduced himself, and it was very interesting to hear he was a fellow geologist. we received a very informative explanation of how they grow the grapes and produce the wine using grapes that do best in the South West, Seyval Blanc, Rondo, Madeline Angevine and Pinot Noir.

The vines are beautiful, and it is great to see them flourishing in the rolling Devon hills. Though some of the difficulties with this very wet summer were discussed, but it’s great to hear how flexible they are in making their wines with the best crop they have.

We wandered back to the new winery which had a beautifully laid out long table in the middle, and we worked our way through a glass of Sparkling 2009, White  2011, Rose 2010 and finally the Red 2011, which for me was a particular favourite, as it reminded me of the Pinot Noirs I tasted when I was out in New Zealands South Island for my honeymoon.

There was a sumptuous spread of westcountry food put on by Darts Farm which went well with the wines, and we were further entertained with some fascinating stories from Geoff.

All in all a great value for £25, entertaining, informative, fun and most of all celebrating the wonderful produce of Devon.

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Cafe-ODE Sand Eels and Pulled Pork

In a break in the rain, we had a wonderful meal sat outside at Cafe-ODE recommended by Grazing Kate recently, down in sunny South Devon near Shaldon. It sounded right up our street for a catch up with some lovely friends.

We’re always looking for fab foodie places that welcome kids, and this is certainly one of those places. I’d heard that they do a mean sand eel dish, that I was really looking forward to trying, as I’ve always felt it was a bit of a waste to use these solely as fishing bait.

The little fish were stunning, deep fried in a fine crumb, served with a cinnamon topped mayo and I had them with some really good chips. My wife and the kids had pulled pork rolls, I did sneak a taste, and they were sooo good, moist rich meat, slaw, with a side of potato salad and crunchy crackling toothpicks.

We ended the meal with a walk down to through the smugglers tunnel to Ness Beach, and an ice cream.

 

Smoked Chilli Chocolate Cake

Clandestine Cake Club Entry

Smoke, Chilli and Chocolate a great combination

I’m always looking for an opportunity to push my culinary experience, and when I heard on the grapevine (from Grazing Kate) that there was to be a Clandestine Cake Club meeting in Devon, I had to get involved.

As I’ve admitted previously I tend to get stressed out when baking cakes, I struggle that it’s best to follow a recipe, still for this event I knew I had to come up with something that was a tad unusual, and tied in to my smoking.

So here’s my recipe for the cake I took along.

Smoked Chilli Chocolate Cake

200g unsalted butter cut into small cubes

200g 70%+ quality dark chocolate broken into squares

50g plain flour

50g ground almonds

5 eggs separeted into yolks and whites

75g light soft brown sugar

100g golden caster sugar

1 dried ancho chilli (I smoked mine) available from South Devon Chilli Farm  blitzed in a spice grinder until fine.

Smoked Chocolate Icing

100g 70%+dark chocolate

50g smoked unsalted butter

Preheat your oven to 180 degC. Set up a bain marie of a heatproof bowl over simmering water, and add the butter and chocolate, ensure the water does not touch the bowl. Gently stir until the chocolate and butter are melted and combined, and remove from heat.

Sift the flour intro a bowl , add the almonds.

In a separate bowl add the brown sugar to the yolks and whisk until creamy. Fold in the chocolate mix until fully combined and then the chilli.

In another bowl whisk the egg whites and caster sugar to a soft peak, and then gently fold in the flour and almonds, followed by the whites until combined without knocking the air out of the mix.

Pour into a 20cm springform cake tin that has been greased and lined with baking parchment and bake for 40 minutes until still slightly sticky in the middle. Leave to cool in the tin before lifting onto a wire rack.

Using the bain marie again for the chocolate icing, melt the chocolate and butter (use regular unsalted if you can’t get any smoked, or cold smoke your own, I used beech home smoked butter), stir and leave to cool until it thickens and spread on the cake.

Garnish the cake with chocolate truffles and a chilli, and enjoy with good company and lashings of clotted cream.

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Making simple food great, and great food right.

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A Blog About Food (Mostly BBQ and Grill): Trying everything once and telling you all about it. Good or bad! Blogging from areas around Newport and Cardiff, South Wales.

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