Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Fantastic Taste of the Teign Food Festival - 19-25 Sept 2016

We had the really enjoyable opening do for the Taste of the Teign Festival yesterday evening in Teignmouth at the Fish Quay.  The BBC Spotlight team were there and many members of Teignbridge Council, Teignmouth Council as well as the organisers, photographers and members of the public.  The atmosphere was really good and the Newquay Pub joined in wholeheartedly.  It was a good way to spend the late afternoon.  Friends, visitors, and foodies alike all had a good experience.

The 'Girl Rhona' boat landed many tons of sprats at 430 and the whole crowd watched them being unloaded.  I'm sure the men weren't used to such an audience! Most of the sprats get exported - what a shame that we don't use them more in the UK.

We all enjoyed a tasty and seriously fresh sprat barbeque with fresh lemon wedges and various
Shute Fruit pickles and hot dogs from Westaways and the East Cliff Cafe.   The sprats I had were totally delicious.

 There were also tasters provided of crazy milkshakes, summer fruit and ice cream from our lovely local ice cream parlour, Cherry on the Top, 

and there were tasters of much-needed and refreshing elderflower cordial from Shute Fruit.

There are many other tasty events being held this week with Taste of the Teign.

Personally, I'm going to watch the classic film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner today at 2:30 at Teignmouth Pavillions; then I'm going to see the Kitchen Cart Cookery Demo, Thurs at 10am in Teignmouth triangle, then I'm going to enjoy the Fry Up Friday at 10am at Westaways, Newton Abbot on Friday, I'm going to take my children along to Shakes, Flakes and Double Takes at Cherry on the Top, Teignmouth on Fri at 5, and then I'm going to visit the extended Farmer's Market, the craft market and see the blessing of the boats on Saturday.  All these events are free of charge (apart from the film!).

Whooh, I'm going to have a foodie overload - but I'm looking forward to it!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Nourish Festival at Bovey Tracey September 2016

I think this Nourish Food and Art fair, Bovey Tracey was popular for a couple of reasons - the main one being that the craft fair held in the town in June is really high quality, and this is hosted by the same organisers.  So it was a good indicator of a high standard, plus the event would be well organised and fun to attend.

It was really busy - the main street had all the food and drink stalls and the art/craft was in the methodist hall.

Considering the weather was showery and looked a bit damp and grey, there were as many members of the public there as I would have expected on a sunny day.  It was actually quite difficult to get at many of the stalls as there were so many people looking (and hopefully buying) the attractive wares on offer.

I bought my Vietnamese Pho lunch from the lovely people at The Teign Canteen:

 I ate it quickly when I got home - it was delicious - nice and umami with a fresh lime wedge.  Plenty of chicken, noodles and broth - all served in an eco-friendly recyclable pot.

 I also bought a lemon-scented geranium - a Pelargonium Cy's Sunburst (pictured above - the yellowy one on the far left.) from the nice man from Laurel Farm Herbs (Whiddon Down).  This has yellow, crinkly, variegated leaves and can be used in salads.  Sounds good.

 Outside the Methodist Hall, where the crafts were, Hay Mambo coffee stall seemed to be getting in a few orders!

 I spent over an hour at the festival (at least 40 minutes admiring the food, 20 minutes at the Methodist Hall looking at the crafts).  Plus a quick 20 minute visit to Devon Guild to see their latest exhibition. I would have spent longer at the festival if the sun was shining.  A band was playing which added to the atmosphere, but I didn't linger.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Taste of the Teign Festival 19-25 Sept 2016

I am really looking forward to Taste of the Teign Food and Drink Festival (19-25 September).  The festival is in its second year and features produce that’s been picked and reared in the local fields, caught in nearby waters or harvested from the hedges and it is held in Teignmouth, Shaldon and Bishopsteignton.  It should be really good.

I hope there will be lots of people there, supporting our local food heroes and heroines!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Burts Crisps - Firecracker Crisp Sandwich - yummy

Burts Crisps are really good - they are made in Devon and I like them a little bit too much.  They always seem to feature somewhere in my lunch.  I really like the sea salt and vinegar ones, and if I am in a meaty mood, I like the Spicy Chorizo and Devon Roast Beef flavours.  The Sea Salt ones are good too, but I prefer the flavours.

Burts want to encourage us this summer to have crisp sandwiches - I do not need any encouragement as I enjoy then anyway.  This is my favourite one using the Firecracker Lobster flavour:

You need the following, this is their 'recipe' but of course I tweaked it a little:

2 bags of Burts Lobster Firecracker crisps
150g cooked prawns
50g chopped sundried tomatoes
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
small squeeze lemon juice
2 handfuls of rocket leaves
10g butter
4 slices soft white bread

I do not like mayo, so I omitted the mayo and ketchup.  I'm guessing that if they were used - they could be utilised as 'butter' on both sides of the bread.

I also had plenty of salad left over from the previous evening (Romaine, cress, cucumber, beansprouts, grated carrot) and used that rather than rocket.

Also I used 1 packet rather than 2 packets of crisps.  But the bread was on the smaller side of things.  I think I would use 2 packets if I was using regular bread.

Here's the bread (only buttered on one side) plus salad and sundried tomatoes:

 Then prawns and some crisps...

....and more crisps....

It was scrumptious and easy to put together and made me and my daughter a very good lunch - I can imagine having this on a beach for a picnic lunch - but we ate them in my back garden

It tasted so good and I had a look at the ingredients and it says that actual 'lobster powder' is used (no unnatural flavours there) and the colourings were just paprika and South Devon Chilli Farm chilli.  The South Devon Chilli Jam is a firm favourite with me and I always keep a pot in my fridge.

  OK so crisps aren't the healthiest of foods, but if they're part of a meal, contain natural ingredients, taste delicious, and come from Devon - fair enough!

Friday, 1 July 2016

Eversfield Organic Pastrami - great for summer sandwiches

The lovely Frankie at RAW sent me some Eversfield Organic pastrami from their Roam and Relish range.

It made a delicious sandwich for lunch for myself and my husband.  I just buttered the bread and put in some lettuce leaves from our garden

We wolfed it all down.  The meat was spicy, fresh and yummy.  We were also grateful to learn that all of Eversfield Organic meat is local (to Devon) and (obviously) organic and they age the cooked meat for the charcuterie range for maximum flavour.  I am on  the verge of vegetarianism (again - I was for 2 years 1993-1995) so that helped me to eat and enjoy it.

The Eversfield Organic range of charcuterie is available from 15 July 2016.  They sell veg boxes and raw meat too.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Exeter Cookery School - Opening Soon - April 2016

 I went along to see Exeter Cookery School, Haven Banks, Exeter.  It is still a 'work in progress' but the space is amazing and although it looks a bit bare - it should be fully functioning in June 2016.  The bare brickwork is going to be a feature of the finished school.  I look forward to seeing it as the finished item - but in the meantime, bookings are being taken.

There will be many work stations with state-of-the-art appliances and equipment.  And this will expand later on.  I love the idea of it - we could do with something like this in Exeter.  I think I will book myself in as the enthusiasm of the owners was infectious.  It might be a good idea for something else to do, whilst other members of the family are at the nearby Clip n Climb or are kayaking around the quay.  It would certainly beat going to TK Maxx....
The genial owners (husband and wife team) previously owned a cookery school in the Dordogne, France.  He is the chef, she is the operations manager.  I really liked their plan for a 'chill-out' lounge with sofas near the back of the kitchen.  It sounds silly as cooking is a great and relaxing pastime, but sometimes we all need to sit down and take a breather.  I have been on four previous taught cooking experiences and have found them all to be useful - even an experienced cook can pick up little tips about techniques or suppliers.

Exeter Food Festival April 2016

As usual this was held in the stunning Spring gardens of Northernhay and Rougemont.  I was there today (Sunday) and the sun was shining brightly.

This was the VIP area where you could get tea, coffee, cream teas and manicures....and yes, I did get a manicure and yes, because I am not used to them, I did smudge several of my fingers.

There were many interesting food producers and sellers there.  There was even a Pickled Egg stand.

I enjoyed the chance to purchase many different types of 'fast food' from the high quality vans that were around.  I could also picnic outside as the sun was shining and it felt quite warm.  Speaking to stall-holders, I think the rainy weather on Friday put off some festival-goers and the warm weather on the Saturday meant it was very crowded.

I noticed there was plenty for children to do: activity tents, facepainting, story-telling, ice-creams, petting animals - there were a couple of girls in dresses chasing each other around a tree on a grassy bank, and a serious looking little boy who was wandering onto the flower beds wearing his yellow all-in-one outfit.  This all added to the overall picturesque scene - happy faces, a wealth of local food, young animals, spring blooms and playing children.

I think the Sunday worked well for me - fewer people than Saturday and beautiful weather. This meant that it was easier to talk to food producers and there were no queues.  I also managed to park nearby, which helps.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Quicke's Tour - How the Famous Devon Cheese is Made

Earlier this month I went to a 'Meet the Makers' day at Quicke's Dairy.  First of all we were able to sample some great local things:Cornish Sea Salt, Lynher Cornish Cheese and Sharpham stuck out in my mind.  They were all delicious.


I was told that the Farm Kitchen was much loved by locals as a cafe and it has been announced that it is shutting down.  It will still be available as a private-hire venue, but will no longer be open to the public on a daily basis.


 The cows lived on adjoining fields to the dairy site - it was great to see that the 'food miles' were very low indeed.

It was all very 'Playschool through the arched window', when we went on a tour around the dairy.  I had visions of the cheese being made in barrels and was a bit surprised by the huge metal vats of the stuff.  It was good to see that manual labour still had its place.   It was very much a mixture of human labour with big metal machines to do the repetitive and very heavy work.  It looked like back breaking work as the employees turned and shaped the cheese.

We saw the whole process: from the cheese arriving as milk, the introduction of the culture, the separation of the curds and whey, the shaping of the cheese, and finally its maturing process.  This guy was blowing off excessive cheese mites from the cheese.  Every cheese has some (that is to be expected), but nobody wants too many of them or the cheese will go mouldy.

 They stored the truckles in a huge warehouse for 2 years to mature within its muslin cloth - each cheese was worth about £400 so I worked out there was probably half a million pounds worth of cheese in there!

We were also told that leaving the cheese for a very long time creates a really delicious cheese but that it just simply isn't financially viable to do that on a large scale.  Apparently Mary Quicke comes around and tastes all the cheeses on a daily basis.  I'm sure I would quite like to be a Chief Cheese Taster!

Thanks to MONKHOUSE Food & Drink for arranging this special, informative and great day.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Source Show, Westpoint Exeter 11 Feb 2016

 Today I visited the Source food and drink show at Westpoint, Exeter.  It felt like a bit of a whirlwind - there were so many great producers and companies there.  I particularly enjoyed chatting to Food Drink Devon and Taste Buds magazine, but there were other great ones too!

 Proper Cornish Pasties

  There were many exhibitors and an enjoyable experience: so many chatty food producers and promoters.  It was also interesting to see produce that came from nearby – sorry Somerset and Dorset - I cannot promote you as I try to stick to Devon and Cornwall – your stuff looks great too.

Tom's Pies - delicious

 Trewithen Dairy
 Plymouth Tea

 Frandie Macaron - loved the Gloop and the Macaroons

The place had plenty of visitors.  It was easy to park, easy to navigate around and the whole thing had a buzz about it.  I really liked the fact that some new exhibitors had a special sign on their stalls.  There was a demo kitchen (which I did not have time to visit).


Monday, 8 February 2016

Ullacombe Farm Shop and Cafe: Review

Ullacombe Farm Shop and Cafe are found on the right hand side going up the hill towards Haytor, Dartmoor from the Bovey Tracey direction.  It can be a really handy place to stop for refreshments either before or after a walk on the moors, and we have found in the past, a useful place to pick up supplies on a Sunday afternoon.  Open 7 days a week from 8:30am - 5pm

A table reservation might not seem essential but on the mid-week lunch time that we were there, a huge party of people were at one long table.

 There is also a cosy lounge area that looked quite tempting.  This has the feel of a Swiss log cabin -  a shelter from the elements on a winter's day, but in the summer there is lots of outdoor seating and the place has quite a different feel.  We've also had breakfast here in the past - of the cooked variety.

 This is a 'pay at till' sort of place (for both farm shop and cafe customers.  But meals are cooked to order.

 This is not an innovative place - it is somewhere to get wholesome food with no huge surprises.  I think the most radical thing was the milk served  in a cute little glass bottle.  The soup was good: smooth and homemade, served with a choice of breads.

 My friend enjoyed her toasted sandwich that was garnished with crisps, salad, coleslaw (yuk, that's just my own personal preference) and a handful of crisps.

We had to wait a little while to pay for goods from the farm shop, but I am guessing the staff were running around with that long table of people that were having lunch.  Apparently, the barn across the yard can be hired out for parties - useful for lots of parking, no neighbours to complain about any noise and good on-site caterers.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Belated Christmas and New Year 2015-2016

This is a bit belated, but never mind.  We had sparklers and an Asda Silver Fountain in our back garden for new year:

This was our tree.  A real tree that had to be watered - as usual.  We placed it in our kitchen this year and it was topped with Woody from This is England for a while and then with Kanye West (would that have anything to do with our teenage son?).  We like to choose something topical as the fairy for the top of the tree and both these men were a good idea.  Oh, I can see that the mince pies made an appearance - they must have been just out of the oven when this photo was taken.

We used white lights.  My husband had to go to Homebase to get another set as ours weren't working - they only have to function once a year.  I also like the multi-coloured ones, but I'm really not keen on those blue ones.

A photo of my father carving the Xmas turkey.  We had a lovely lunch at my parents, near Chagford, cooked by my mother.  All the trimmings and plenty of it.  Just lovely.  And no trouble at all!

I made two batches of mince pies - with one I used my own pastry and shop bought mincemeat and the other I used shop-bought pastry and homemade (by someone else) mincemeat.  They were both good - I think this allayed my fears of pastry a little - I just put all the ingredients in the kitchen blender and then refrigerate for half an hour or so before using, and it was easy and fine - but I know from previous attempts that pastry can be tricky.

Although connossieurs thought the homemade pastry was better - there wasn't a huge difference. I always top mince pies with 'Nigella' stars - they are appreciated more than pie lids, use less pastry and are much less fiddly as they can be 'plonked' on the top rather than carefully sealed and shaped.

The whole festive period was spent in Devon.  I enjoyed many other festive treats, but was too greedy to take any photos of them!

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