Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bear with me

Please bear with me while I engage in a little self indulgence. It's my birthday today and that is my excuse.

I'm sure some of you have heard of River Cottage but if not then just ignore my post altogether, roll your eyes or maybe follow the link to check it out. I am a fan obviously so when we made plans to go to the UK it was on the must-do list and thankfully a Summer Luncheon fit in with our schedule. I also had breakfast and a dinner at the Canteen in Axminster. I said I was a fan. And I would definitely go back.

River Cottage HQ is set in a truly stunning part of England. Well most of England is pretty stunning actually but it was a perfect summers day in the perfect setting for me. I love gardens and I love farms and looking around them and taking inspiration and ideas to use at home.

I have to say I wasn't keen on the tractor ride down to the farmhouse (we walked back to the car) but I am someone who doesn't go on any amusement rides. The closest I come to that kind of thing is sitting on the ride on lawn mower. Perhaps that might give you some indication as to what a big deal it was for me to go on a plane. Once the scary (to me) tractor ride was over, apertifs were served in the yurt and a little talk about the day and the property and such. And then it was time to explore and enjoy before lunch.

The farmhouse is lovely. And the staff friendly and welcoming. They took time to talk and answer any questions. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble.

Our day at River Cottage came at the end of our trip and I was quite eager to get back home to see my pets and farm animals. I missed them whether they missed me or not. So it was really nice to spend some time in the company of cats, ducks, chickens, sheep, bees and pigs. Oh yes, I still haven't got my pigs and I still would love to give some a home. A friend recently said he can imagine me with a couple of pigs. I'm going to take that as a compliment.

The kitchen garden is large and produce is used in the kitchens but still supplies have to brought in.

 Before the meal, the chef chatted about the menu and where everything came from . Local, organic and very much seasonal. Delicious too which matters an awful lot. The kitchen was also quite open and guests were welcome to have a look around but warned they might be put to work.

Sorry, I am a rubbish food photographer

Vegetarians weren't overlooked and the food was delicious.

Shared starters- a bean salad, cucumber salad and a split pea hummus with grilled courgette . Meat eaters had grilled liver in place of the zucchini. I think a few people found the liver a bit confronting. The beans too for some. I'm surprised by how many vegetable shirkers there are out there. I'll confess, I wanted to try the liver.

The main meal was a beetroot tarte tatin with wilted greens and grilled tomatoes. meat eaters had a huge plate of food with roasted beef, bubble and squeak ( a posh version from the looks) and beans. I would have tried the beef too if I had the chance.

Dessert- bay leaf ice cream with a biscuit crumble and blueberries. Yum. Tim's favourite. My favourite was the split pea hummus and courgette. Non-vegetarians had a bay leaf panna cotta. I might try that at home using vegetarian gelatin substitiute.

All this followed by tea/ coffee and petit fours. I needed the walk back up to the car park.

I'm now in search of sticks and twigs to support my peas and beans.

It was truly a lovely experience and I would recommend a visit. Fan or not.

I've also been indulging in a bit of plant buying. My seedlings are so far behind because we were away. That's my excuse this time. There are worse vices I could have.

I've had a rather nice day at home today with just my animals for company. Drinking tea, reading a book and working just a bit. Presents tonight after dinner.

Thanks for visiting today


River said...

Happy Birthday!
I've seen a few episodes of River Cottage, well, parts of episodes, it isn't the sort of thing I usually watch.

simplelife said...

Happy Birthday Tracy, it's my birthday today too....and I love River Cottage and Hugh so thank you so much for this post, it was a gift to me. I don't think I will ever get to England but if I did I would be making sure I got a visit in to HQ as well.

cheers Kate

FlashinScissors said...

Happy Birthday Tracey!

Lovely to hear about your visit to River cottage.

The food sounded absolutely delicious, and I think the vegetarians probably had the best deal!

Hope you've had a great day!

Barbara xx

Lilbitbrit said...

That does look a wonderful day out. Food sound delicious, I will have to look up some of their recipes. I've only seen one or two show so will have to look them up too. I do love those old cottages with the gardens and animals all around. That's pretty much how my grandparents place was and how we took it all for granted as children and would have such a different view now. But you live surrounded by gardens and animals, I'm sure hard work, but soothing to the soul. So glad you had a wonderful time.

Debbie said...

Happy Birthday Tracy...I hope you have had a wonderful day. Your trip to River Cottage looked fabulous. Debbie xx

Lisa said...

Happy Birthday, Tracy! (but I suppose it isn't your birthday anymore) I'm glad you had such an enjoyable time at River Cottage. xoxo

Joolz said...

Happy birthday! What a fun thing to do!
As it turns out, on Friday Gus and I are
dining at Matthew Evan's Fat Pig Farm in Tasmania. I found out on line that they had started
doing Friday Feasts and it fit perfectly into our schedule. Excited!!!
Glad you had a nice birthday, sounds perfect!
Xxx Joolz

Jeanette said...

Thanks for sharing your day out at River Cottage. Would so love to visit there myself. Hugs,xx

Louise Lougher said...

Happy birthday hope you had a great day. . I'd like to visit River Cottage to.

Janice said...

Happy Birthday! It is so nice to treat yourselves to something that you will always remember when on a holiday. It must have been a very special day. Thanks for sharing with those of us who probably won't get to visit.

Deb R said...

Ohh I'm a big river cottage fan too!!! I met Hugh when he was in Sydney to launch River Cottage Australia. Must have been a dream come true. Love all your pics, glad you had a relaxing birthday...we found our pigs a new home on the weekend..

Summer said...

The critters are so beautiful ♥

Kimberley said...

what an amazing experience all round!I'd love to visit there one day.Hope your birthday was fabulous.

kiwikid said...

Belated happy birthday!! I am catching up on blogs here! Thank you for sharing your visit, it looked wonderful and the food sounded great.