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.
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.
Street 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.
I’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sticky toffee pudding and the best custard ever
A beautiful plate of food
What a cracking menu
Such an amazing selection of puddings
A meal shared
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.
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.