Crispy rabbit? Sticky shredded ham? Honeycomb creme brulee? Yes, it was a proper foodies feast at River Cottage!
Not much beats an evening of amazing food with friends in a gorgeous setting. And that’s exactly what I got when I travelled down to River Cottage in Devon last week.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage (home of their Cookery and Chefs’ School and unique dining experiences) was holding an event for Food Bloggers, and I was lucky enough to be selected to attend. It’s a bit of a trek from Congleton (around 200 miles), but there was no way I was missing out on visiting the place made famous by Hugh’s channel 4 programme!
If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll have listened to me moaning about the fact that I haven’t got a kitchen at the moment, so the thought of scoffing my way through piles of amazing food (rather than soup & toast or reheated selections of unmarked leftovers found in my freezer) was more than a little appealing.
I shared a ride with Ceri from Natural Kitchen Adventures and Erica from Nine To Three Thirty – who were both staying at my hotel, and we arrived at the River Cottage meeting point, only to be transported to the River Cottage HQ by tractor and trailer!
We started off with a wander around the grounds – which included some blog sessions in the house, a foodie game in the log-burner-warmed yurt and lots of oohing and ahhing over the resident cats.
I think there are three cats that live there, but I only spotted two – this very affectionate fluffy ginger one:
And the like-to-keep-to-myself-by-you-can-admire-me-from-afar, one-eyed black cat.
A warming drink and a few canapes greeted us before a talk on brining and curing.
Right now they’re brining ham ready for their winter feasts, and they’ll soon be brining turkeys too. We all had a taste of the results, and I’ve definitely been persuaded to brine my turkey this year – sooooo juicy and flavourful. They’re also curing venison – making a gamey version of brasaola.
I can’t wait any longer though, I’ve GOT to talk about the meal. Despite the fact that we’d already been spoilt with apple-juice-poached mussels and bruschetta with creamy garlic goats cheese, homegrown beetroot and honey and some really delicious poppy seed spelt bread, we were soon munching our way through an amazing menu.
The menu itself had been made up that day by the chefs – who basically look at what fresh, local, seasonal produce they have available, then set to work on masterminding their yummy creations.
Enough words – let’s go with pictures for this one.
First up – Crispy rabbit and capers on pureed romanesco with parsley:
Next -Celeriac Ravioli with fried sage, wild mushrooms and leaves:
Stilling going! Cider brined ham, shredded and caramelised, served with pureed carrots and fried savoy cabbage:
The pud: Honeycomb Creme brulee with apple puree, apple crisp and treacle crumble –
As stuffed as I was, I still managed a couple of the chocolate orange truffles and homemade chocolate-dipped digestives with coffee (no pics of those unfortunately – I was too full to even lift my camera :-)).
We all pretty much rolled ourselves out after 10pm and caught the tractor back – where we reminisced about the food (can you call it reminiscing if the memory is from the same day?) and headed off back to hotels and home with very satisfied bellies!
If you can get over to River Cottage for their Winter Feast or one of their dining experiences, I thoroughly recommend it. Here’s the site for the River Cottage HQ: www.rivercottage.net
There are also four award-winning River Cottage canteens & delis dotted around the South West of England. Check them out here:
Axminster Canteen & Deli: www.rivercottage.net/axminster
Bristol Canteen: www.rivercottage.net/bristol
Plymouth Canteen & Deli: www.rivercottage.net/plymouth
Winchester Canteen: www.rivercottage.net/winchester
- Although I wasn’t paid to create this post, I did attend the River Cottage event free of charge. All opinions in this post are my own.