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CRUMBS Devon No.11 December 2016/January 2017





A little slice of foodie heaven

£3 where sold

NO. 11 dec 2016/ JAN 2017


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Crumbs is now an app! You can read all editions of Crumbs – Bath+Bristol, Cotswolds and Devon – on iTunes or Android. Scan the QR codes above, search ‘Crumbs’ or go to

DEER: THEY’RE ON THE RAMPAGE. With no natural predators (apart from us hungry humans), acres of tasty farm crops to scoff, and increasing amounts of forest cover to shelter in, numbers have hit 1,000-year highs, with over 1.5 million of the fourlegged beasts in the UK. But still it’s not enough for us carnivores, it seems: despite producing 3,800 tons of venison every year ourselves, we continue to import a third of what we consume. Still, no wonder we can’t get enough – it’s a meat that’s nutrientrich, high in protein and low in fat, plus it tastes delish. Thank goodness for all the wonderful Devon producers who are bringing this tasty treat to our plates, while lowering the carbon footprint – we give them a shout-out on p9, and hope more of us look to them so we can push down those imports a tad. There’s another meat we need to celebrate this season, though: the trusty turkey. If you’re a stalwart, you need to turn straight to p27 for the ultimate way to prep and cook your Crimbo-Day bird. (Warning: Christmas dinner’s at yours every year from now on.) There’s also a cool cornbread stuffing from The Devon Cook on p29 to give your British lunch a Stateside twist. Oh, and while on the subject of Christmas prep, have you started your SHOPPING? No? Don’t panic. Our gift guide on p45 is full of top pressies for foodies – all local, and independent as you like. From me, your new Devon ed, have a very merry Christmas and a right rollicking new year. I’m looking forward to joining you for a food and drink-filled 2017. Cheers!

Charlie Lyon, Editor



Table of Contents











large version

MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW; 01225 475800; large version

© All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. MediaClash reserves the right to reject any material and to edit such prior to publication. Opinions are those of individual authors. Printed on paper from a well-managed source. Inks are vegetable-based; printer is certified to ISO 14001 environmental management. This month we drank rosemary and thyme gins at the Food and Farming Awards; finished off Mitch Tonk's kebab for him; and joined in with the Food Connections fun, making good use of our Food Cards.

STARTERS 8 HERO INGREDIENT We’ve got an i-deer why venison is so good 10 OPENINGS ETC 14 ASK THE EXPERT Want a foot in the food industry? This lady can help you out 17 KITCHEN LIBRARY

CHEF! Amazing recipes from the region’s top kitchens 22 Pan-fried pigeon, by Darren Jory 24 Mushroom and hazelnut tarts, from Ian Nixon 26 How to brine a turkey, by Steven Lamb 29 Cornbread stuffing, by Orlando Murrin

KITCHEN ARMOURY 34 HOUSE CALL Happy beasts, flourishing veg and some tasty lunches – viva Haye Farm revolution

MAINS 45 PREZZIE DROP Here’s our cut of the best local gifts for foodie friends 55 GRILLED River Cottage superhero Gill Meller talks provenance and publishing

AFTERS New & notable restaurants, cafés, bars 62 The Church House Inn 65 Bayards Cove Inn


66 LITTLE BLACK BOOK The Shops at Dartington’s Barbara King reveals her best places in Devon to nosh


GOOD NEWS! Subscribing to Crumbs Devon is now super-easy, as we’ve launched our online subscription service. To get the full 10 issues a year, delivered right to your door, visit today, click the ‘subscribe’ tab, and fill out the online form. One year’s subscription usually costs £30, and will see a copy of each new issue fly (er, not literally) through your letterbox, hot off the press. However as a special Christmas offer you’ll get 20% off! That means you’ll get the year’s worth of mags for just £24. (Offer available till 1 January 2017.) A great idea for a Christmas prezzie, which won’t even require you to leave the house to buy. Ideal, right? And while we’re here, let us just remind you that you can still subscribe online for the Bath/ Bristol and Cotswolds editions, too. Perfect prezzies for your rellies further north, east, or anywhere really. ✱

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CRUMBS Devon No.11



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Tasty, healthy and as green as red meat gets, venison sales are on the rise – and it’s not difficult to see why. Turns out eating Bambi is total deer prudence

BACK IN THE DAY we were pretty loose in our use of the term ‘venison’ – it was the meat from any biggish animal we hunted, be it a goat, a wild pig, a hare or, yes, a deer. The term came from the Latin ‘venor’ – to hunt or pursue – and came into the language following the Norman Conquest of the 11th century; now Royal Forests were established, and loads of them, areas ideal for deer and boar which only the king or invited aristocracy were allowed to take. This was great for the beasts and certain select noblemen, less so for most locals – especially when something like a third of southern England got covered by these damn forests. Break the rules and all sorts of nastiness could happen to you, often involving missing hands or eyes – though quite how often this actually happened is hard to ascertain. In popular legend King John is the biggest villain of all this – it’s the rare Robin Hood story that doesn’t revolve around poaching his deer in some way, which (the old texts tell us) the Merry Men would then most often eat in a pasty (as, by the way, would Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor). What counts as venison today? Any deer meat, basically. It largely does the same job as beef – seriously, just swap it in for 90% of your recipes – but it’s leaner, redder, lower in fat, higher in flavour and doesn’t shrink on cooking. Venison works beautifully with bacon and beetroot, port and prunes, red onion and red cabbage, red wine and redcurrants – in fact, anything ruddy is a safe bet, pretty much. Quick roasting is ideal for good, lean cuts like fillet or loin, while tougher slabs, like leg or shin, should be minced,

braised or stewed. The long, slowcooking associated with a casserole is ideal – these animals don’t have much fat (and what they do is pretty yucky) which means there’s always a slight danger you’ll dry it out if there’s no extra liquid involved. Alternatively, roasting in an oven bag will keep the juices and flavours in, or you could just pal it up with heaps of bacon or butter. Marinating can make all the difference, too. Since wild deer, park deer and freerange farmed deer all lead largely the same lives, there’s little difference between them in meat quality, though farmed animals will likely be a tad younger, a little fattier, probably slightly less highly flavoured. The wilder the beast is, the older, tougher and more intensely tasty it’s likely to be. We eat different species – mostly roe deer, red deer and fallow deer, though there are three other types bounding around the UK too, and ‘on import’ you can get everything from reindeer to chital, a spotted Indian critter – and since they all have different seasons it’s possible to get wild venison all year round. Still, October through December is the traditional hunting season – choose the small roe deer for a more delicately flavoured meat, red if you fancy it more gamey, with the medium-sized fallow somewhere in between. Despite its posh rep, sales of venison have soared in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why: it’s low in cholesterol, high in protein, immensely sustainable. Against that, even the race memory of having our eyes poked out – and the instinctive sympathy we have for Bambi – stand little chance.


And deer numbers are on the rise too, perhaps twice all the foxes and badgers combined – of which we only shoot (or run over) maybe 400,000 a year. They have just about the best lives of any animal we scoff – romping around their multi-acre estates in big family groups – and consistently body-swerve major food scares with deft hooves and a flash of white tail. What’s not to like? Just that it’s more expensive than beef – but not terribly so; think maybe £70 for half a wild roe deer or £100 for half a fallow. Where are your excuses now?



100g plain flour 600g venison shoulder, cut into large chunks rapeseed oil butter 6 banana shallots, cut into rough chunks 2 cloves of garlic, sliced 2 tbsp plum jam 1 tbsp red-wine vinegar 2 tbsp damson gin (if you have any) 275ml rose wine 2 tsp juniper berries, roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar 2 large sprigs of rosemary 1 chicken stock cube 12 damsons or plums, stoned and halved 300g chanterelle mushrooms

Top local venison stockists Devon Rose, Seaton EX12 3AA; Eversfield, Okehampton EX20 4LB; Pipers Farm, Cullompton EX15 1SD; Riverford, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0JU; The Well Hung Meat Company, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0LY;


– Place the flour on a plate and season. Lightly dust the venison chunks in the flour. – Add a generous glug of rapeseed oil to a hot pan and quickly pan-fry the venison in batches until browned all over. – Remove from the pan and leave to one side. – Add extra oil and a knob of butter to the pan, if needed, with the shallots and garlic, and fry until just coloured before adding the jam, vinegar, gin and wine. Let it all bubble, before returning the meat, crushed juniper berries and rosemary to the pan, stirring to coat. – Add the stock cube and enough boiling water to cover the meat. Turn the heat down low and simmer for at least 1-2 hours. – Half an hour before you are ready to serve, add the damsons and continue to cook on a low heat for a further 30 minutes. – Meanwhile, pan-fry the chanterelles in a drizzle of rapeseed oil and a knob of butter over a medium high heat until the mushrooms are browned. Stir through just before serving.



Openings Etc STAR PUPIL

Huge congratulations to chef proprietor Thomas Carr and the whole team at The Olive Room in Ilfracombe for getting their first Michelin star in the 2017 UK Guide. The restaurant has been praised for its ‘ultra-fresh seafood, with dishes only confirmed once the day boat deliveries come in’. The Guide says the cooking is ‘creative with distinct flavours, and each dish comprises just four or five complementary ingredients’. It’s a stirling result for north Devon. ✱



It’s confirmed: two Michelin star chef Michael Caines will open a brand new country retreat, Lympstone Manor, in spring 2017. It’s a Grade II-listed Georgian mansion set in 28 acres overlooking the Exe Estuary in Lympstone Village, between Exeter and Exmouth. The hotel will have 21 rooms, and when it comes to dining you can expect some of Michael’s renowned signature dishes as well as new and visionary concepts, all created using local and seasonal produce. There are even plans to plant a vineyard on the slopes leading down to the estuary. Michael says: “Everything that I have achieved in my long career has brought me to this point, where I can fully express my vision of contemporary country house hospitality for the 21st century.”

Fun seafood restaurant and takeaway Rockfish is opening a new branch in Exmouth, bringing the total to five in Devon. Owners Mitch Tonks and Mat Prowse have just bought the site and have been putting wheels in motion to open before Christmas – on 15 December, to be precise. It’s a waterfront venue that will feature all the classic favourites, as well as the famous Exmouth mussels and other locally caught fish.



Get in on the #CrumbsSnaps tagging and your pic could be featured next month!

In the diary... (9-11 Dec) RIVER COTTAGE HQ FESTIVE FEASTS There’ll be festive drinks, canapés, a three-course meal and live music at the four special Christmas feasts. From £55. ✱ (7-8 Jan) Start 2016 as you mean to go on – by cooking good grub. You’ll need this beginner’s cookery weekend course to kick you off. £315 ✱ (Feb 2017) RHS Garden Rosemoor is once again looking for 10 keen gardeners to take part in its practical nine-month allotment course (applications close 28 Nov). £50. ✱

Half-term treats for photographer @matt_inwood and his gals


@quickescheese moreish cheese and walnut biccies


New Kid kid on on the the Block block New What was your very first job in the industry? I worked as a kitchen assistant in my hometown in a beautiful modern Irish gastropub, Hartes of Kildare. Barry Liscombe, head chef, was a great mentor who introduced me to the basics of balanced, hearty cooking. After a few years I moved to London and started at Duck and Waffle – that’s where my real training as chef de partie began.

RUNNING THE PLAICE Hiya, Jon Barrett. You’re the new head chef at Rockfish Torquay, no? Let’s kick off with fond foodie memories from your childhood. Fried white pudding on toast on my birthday. My mam still cooks me fried white pudding on soda bread every year – it’s a tradition! What first inspired you to cook? Having played in bands and taught guitar for years in Ireland, I wanted a change of career so I could have more ‘normal’ hours and regular income. I applied for work in the best restaurant in town, where I began to see chefs as a strange breed of elite super humans! They appeared capable of artistic and technical wizardry. Nothing phased them, and I wanted in.

What’s your proudest career achievement? I ran a small pop-up restaurant in Torquay last summer for some local businessmen. Technically speaking it was my first kitchen management position. I learnt more about business and the restaurant game in those three months than I ever thought possible.

How would you describe your style of cooking? At Rockfish we cook fish really simply, but to an incredibly high standard. This goes perfectly with my own style. For example, when you choose to have your fish fried, we ensure that the frying oil is pristine, the batter perfectly light. And if you choose grilled, we cook it hot and fast, finishing with a punchy garlic butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Simple, sustainable and perfect is our goal, every day. Big fresh flavours interest me more than overly technical, overly processed cooking, which is why I enjoy what we do at the restaurant. What do you love most about the job? What I love the most is that we have the opportunity to buy different species of fish every day. We try to vary our offering of one or two locally caught whole fish and a filleted option, dependant on the availability at that morning’s market. We find Torquay people love mackerel; lemon sole is also really popular.


Which other local restaurants do you like to eat in? On the Rocks is my favourite local restaurant – really great cooking, awesome seafood, location and vibe. They do a mean Torbay crab gratin with pickles. Crab gratin – yum! What other seafood do you love right now? Monkfish is amazing at the moment, grilled. We also get the sweetest queen scallops shipped from the Isle of Man, which we quickly fry in our batter. I’m a sriracha [red chilli and garlic spicy sauce] addict, and thankfully we use it a lot at the restaurant, laden on our fried seafood rolls or as an ingredient in our Singapore-style chilli sauce. Do you grow anything yourself? I recommend to anyone growing pumpkins. They’re massive, hardy and have cool flowers! Who are your favourite suppliers you use for the restaurant? The fish that Josh Perkes and co. at Brixham Seafish deliver to us seven days a week is some of the best being landed in the world right now. It’s caught locally and traded in Brixham fish market that morning – it’s a chefs dream to work so close to such a historic fishing harbour. Favourite cookery book? Fish: The Complete Fish and Seafood Companion by Mitch Tonks – there’s always a copy near the pass. Foodie heroes? I've been lucky enough to work with some amazing people, in both London and Devon, but my foodie hero would have to be my mam. She taught me how to slow cook stews and bake scones as a child. These are memories I will treasure forever. Current favourite flavour combination? Crab with avocado and jalapeño. ✱


Asktheyour waiter Ask Recruiter

Who knows the menu best? Who makes the greatest impact on your experience? Front-of-house is your friend!

fully qualified chef; I have been the proprietor of pubs and nightclubs in Plymouth; my brother Steve, who works alongside us, was a catering manager; and our other team mates have experience in the industry. It made sense for us to specialise in food. Sounds like you know your stuff. You must have some good advice for any young readers thinking of going into food and drink? Show passion in your work, whether cooking in a school or at a rosette standard restaurant. And learn, learn, learn! None of us are too big to learn. Also, bear in mind that the hours are long, the kitchen is hot, and not all jobs will bring a celebrity status. Can you spot a star of the future as soon as they walk in to your office? No! I no longer prejudge anyone who walks in my door. I have put my faith in someone who looks and sounds the business, who then has turned out to be the total opposite – and vice versa. I never judge a book by its cover.


Meet Jane Brumby – she’s moving all the right cooks to all the right places

Hi, Jane! So, tell us about your job… I’m managing director for Apple Appointments (SW). We specialise in recruitment for all things food. The bulk of our business is supplying temporary chefs to the hospitality industry. And what makes you so good at this? We are all from a catering background: Tom, my husband and co-director, is a

Got any tips for a budding chef preparing for an interview? Make sure that you have researched the establishment properly before the interview. An interview is not just about selling yourself, it is also about finding whether the kitchen is right for both parties. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions – it shows an interest in the prospective employer and their business. What are the most common mistakes a chef might make when he or she turns up for an interview? To be unprepared. It’s as simple as that. The chef should show willingness to learn and a flexible approach to work. How much of an influence do all the TV cooking and baking shows on at the moment have? We see that many young chefs have unrealistic ideas about the industry. I’m afraid that all roads do not lead to Rome.


We are suffering the worst drought of chefs that we have ever seen. Chefs are leaving the industry feeling disillusioned that they have not made celebrity status within the first few years. Regrettably, the salaries in this part of the world do not compare with those offered outside of our region, too. Oh dear. But we hear that things are on the up for your agency? Yes, we’ve really changed the values of the company. For too long agencies have carried a poor reputation. We have worked to change the misconception that our staff are of poor quality and are the “unemployable”. People work for us for a number of reasons, anything from flexibility of hours to a top up of their regular income. In your job you must come across some top gaffs to eat in. Let us in on your favourites… The Turtley Cornmill, Avonwick is one. I recently held my 50th birthday meal there. My gift from the management was a white chocolate cheesecake – it was to die for. The setting is gorgeous too, with a lake and beautiful grounds. In winter or summer I can’t think of a better place to spend a Sunday afternoon. I also love the Barbican Pasta Bar in Plymouth; once again, the standard of food is amazing. We are constantly made to feel welcome, and eat there regularly. They have recently had an excellent review in The Times. Then there’s Nibana Indian Restaurant in Crownhill, Plymouth. We frequently travel to Mauritius, where there’s mainly Indian cuisine. We love to eat at Nibana, as the standard of food is top class and the service is amazing. It reminds us of our time away. ✱

THIS COULD BE YOU! Contact us at

67 Howell Road, Exeter 01392 214440 /RustyBikeExeter

Eat our food. Drink our beer. Be merry. BREWERY

AN DISTILLERY SE D S M O KE H O U E X E TE R 2 John Street, Exeter 01392 437217 /TheFatPigExeter


The freshest, most inspirational cookbooks of the month

GENNARO’S ITALIAN BAKERY Gennaro Contaldo Pavilion, £20

Best known as Jamie Oliver’s mentor, Gennaro Contaldo has always had a passion for baking. This beautifully illustrated book features 120 recipes for classic Italian breads and baked goods, from focaccia to crostate, savoury to sweet. In the book, Contaldo gives away his secret tips on making the perfect dough to create wonderful Italian breads for all occasions, including his famous focaccia recipe, pizzette, biscuits and cakes. There are recipes for Italian savoury pies that use seasonal ingredients, a section of rustic pane dolce (sweet breads) in addition to delicious crostate (sweet pastry tarts), biscuits and traditional cakes. As well as the foolproof pizza dough, we particularly liked the chocolate chip and ricotta loaf cake, and the chocolate-covered Christmas biscuits.




This year marks the 50th since Shaun Hill started cooking professionally, and he’s still rattling the pots and pans at the highest level at The Walnut Tree near Abergavenny. Hill is one of Britain’s true food heroes, a culinary giant who avoids TV shows and celebrity, preferring to simply cook for his loyal army of customers. In this book, Hill shares his decades of expertise, revisiting old classics such as coq au vin, roast goose with red cabbage and fish soup, rump of lamb with potato and olive cakes, and pheasant pudding with sage and bacon, plus his legendary chocolate cake. Hill’s as opinionated and humorous as ever here, and this is a book packed with sound cooking techniques and wisdom. It really is an instant classic from a true master.

Architect Rachel Maylor got the idea for this quirky but brilliant little book when she moved to London and found herself in need of office lunch inspiration. Bored of grabbing sandwiches from her local supermarket or eating sugar-laden granola bars, she started to make her own simple, healthy meals in the office kitchen. Not only was it much cheaper and healthier, Maylor’s energy levels improved. This book features 70 quick and healthy dishes you can rustle up during your break with little more than the kettle, toaster and microwave that will invariably form your office kitchen kit. These include turkey and pak choi noodle bowl, toasted berry brioche, and tuna and butterbean salad with lemon dressing. With this book, al desko lunches need never be dreary again.

Shaun Hill Kyle Books, £25

Rachel Maylor Frances Lincoln, £12.99

Meze Publishing, £14.95

The 15th in a series of regional guides by Sheffield’s Meze Publishing, The Bristol Cook Book brings together recipes from some of the best restaurants, cafés, delis, pubs and producers in the city. With an introduction by Bristol-born MasterChef finalist Dean Edwards, the book features 45 recipes from locally famous places like Lido, Pinkmans Bakery, Prego, Rosemarino and Spicer + Cole, and is a delicious snapshot of Bristol’s currently thriving food and drink scene. Highlights include the overnight lamb shoulder with slow-cooked cauliflower, roasted sweet peppers and salsa verde from Westbury Park restaurant Manna; pork loin with smoked pig’s cheek and clams from Source Food Hall and Café; and the orange and Earl Grey cake from Ahh Toots in St Nicholas Market.



The Bristol Cook Book (Meze Publishing, £14.95)

BRINDISA: THE TRUE FOOD OF SPAIN Monika Linton 4th Estate, £29.95

Clocking in at more than 540 pages, this hefty tome from Monika Linton is one of the most definitive books on Spanish food for years. Linton founded and still runs the food importing business Brindisa, which supplies artisan Spanish products to most of the UK’s best restaurants. What she doesn’t know about Spain, its food and its culture probably isn’t worth knowing. The book covers classic regional recipes and tapas dishes, and provides invaluable information and tips about sourcing the very best ingredients from the finest food producers. The recipes are more home cooking than restaurant in style – think rice with chicken, rabbit and paprika; chickpeas with chorizo; slowcooked oxtail in red wine and chocolate; and orange and almond cake. It's a mouthwatering celebration of all things Spanish.


THIS IS A very popular dish on our breakfast menu. We think the flavours and colours combine beautifully here, although the cornbread is a wonderfully versatile partner, also combining well with eggs, bacon and making delicious savoury muffins to be eaten on their own. We bake the cornbread in loaf tins and slice it, but, for home cooking, we have amended it here to make six 100g muffins, as muffin tins and cases are more common in the home kitchen. The cornbread can be baked the day before and refreshed in the oven, or the mix can be made in advance and baked off in the morning. INGREDIENTS

For the cornbread: 150g plain flour 1 tbsp baking powder 1 tbsp caster sugar 4g salt 110g fine polenta 70g mature Cheddar, grated

4 spring onions, finely chopped 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped 2 large eggs 60ml olive oil 80ml honey 250g buttermilk For the avocado salsa: 1 ripe avocado 1 tomato, deseeded and finely chopped red onion, finely chopped (to taste) parsley, finely chopped (to taste) lemon, juice and zest (to taste) virgin olive oil (to taste) To serve: smoked salmon crème fraîche METHOD

– Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5 and lightly grease 6 muffin cases. – Start the cornbread: combine the dry ingredients with the


grated cheese, onion and chilli. In another bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and combine with the olive oil, honey and buttermilk. Then, using a whisk, incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix to a smooth paste. Chill for at least an hour to let the polenta absorb some of the moisture. – Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. – Meanwhile, make the salsa. Dice the avocado and combine it with the finely chopped tomato, red onion, parsley, lemon zest, juice, a few drops of virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. – To serve, cut the cornbread muffin on a slant and pile on the avocado salsa. Top with smoked salmon (the best you can afford), and serve with a side of crème fraîche.

We are a seafood fish and chip restaurant selling local in-season Brixham fish and shellfish for lunch and dinner with an option to take away if you wish.

Two Course Lunch Special Local fish and chips with a choice of starter or dessert – £14.99 Offer runs until April 2017 (please mention the website special when you are seated) We run extra specials most days depending on what's landed that morning!

We cater for & food allergies es nc ra le into

t our Please ask abou r gluten free batte

All fish can be grilled to order

Ask chef

“If you’re not su re what fish to ch oose, why not ask the chef what’s best”

All fish supplied by:

The Nation’s Favourite Local Brixham Fish & Chips

Simply Fish

72-74 Fore Street, Brixham, Devon Tel:01803 883858

Fresh Brixham fish

Based in rural Devon (near Exeter), Ashgrove Kitchens Ltd has gained a reputation across the UK as one of the very best bespoke kitchen designers, kitchen planners and kitchen furnishers, providing quality handmade and lovingly crafted bespoke kitchens, bedrooms and studies at aordable prices.

ASHGROVE KITCHENS 3 Marsh Lane, Lords Meadow Ind Est., Crediton, Devon EX17 1ES 01363 773533 •



Highlights AIMING HIGH A pigeon dish to impress the most deserving Page 22


Creamy mushroom tarts that are moreishly good Page 24

This season mushrooms are your friend

IT’S CORNY Stuffing gets cool when you give it a cornbread twist Page 29



1 bird scrubbing up in the bath (p26)


IntO the WOODS Wow! Here’s a meaty, earthy recipe with tons of flavour for a special feast, from Darren Jory


Darren Jory is the executive chef at the brilliant Rusty Bike in Exeter. He is a nose-to-tail man, involved in the selection of rare breed meats. At the Rusty Bike the team pride themselves on using whole beasts and, what’s more, they forage for wild herbs, seaweed, mushrooms, berries, and select and shoot wild game in season. They are the complete opposite of a chain restaurant or bar. All of their products are developed in-house, and they choose quality produce with low food miles. The Rusty Bike is part of the Fat Pig Group, a small independent Exeter pub company with its own brewery and distillery. ✱ THE RUSTY BIKE, 67 Howell Road, Exeter EX4 4LZ; 01392 214440;



300g mixed local wild mushrooms 2 cloves garlic 2 white onions 4 sprigs thyme 300ml double cream 100g black pudding 8 banana shallots 50g green pistachios 50g toasted hazelnuts 100ml white balsamic vinegar 50g redcurrants 20g cranberries 4 sprigs rosemary 5g dried juniper berries 8 wood pigeon breasts 300g mixed local wild mushrooms borage flowers and rosemary flowers 50ml hazelnut oil red veined wood sorrel leaves METHOD

For the mushroom purée – In a pot, melt some butter and sweat down the field mushrooms with 1 garlic clove sliced and half a sliced white onion until soft and tender. Add 100ml water, then reduce until it glazes the mix. Add two stalks of chopped thyme and 150ml of double cream. Bring to the boil and reduce slightly. Blend in a food processor until smooth. Season and keep warm. For the black pudding mud – Fry the black pudding in a little olive oil until crisp on both sides, then place in the base of the oven and cook until completely crisp. Allow to cool then pulse blitz in a food processor until a mud-like consistency is reached. Season with salt and set aside. For the roasted shallots – Peel the banana shallots and roast in the oven at 180C/356F/gas mark 4 with olive oil, thyme sprigs, salt and pepper until golden and cooked through. They should take around 30 minutes to cook. Give the tray a shake every 10 minutes to make sure the shallots are evenly coloured and coated. When cooked, transfer to a clean dish and keep warm.


For the white onion purée – Take the whole white onion that you have left and slice finely with the second clove of garlic. Sweat in a pot with a little butter and olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the remaining 150ml of double cream, boil and reduce slightly. Blend in a food processor until smooth and silky. Keep warm. For the toasted nuts – Lightly toast the pistachios and hazelnuts in a pan. Season with sea salt. Cool and crush with a rolling pin. For the pickled cranberries and redcurrants – Warm the white balsamic vinegar gently, then pour over the berries in a bowl. Cling film the bowl tightly and allow the berries to cool in the vinegar. For the onion and thyme oil – Finely dice the remaining half of white onion and place in a pot with a stalk of rosemary, crushed juniper berries and a pinch of sea salt. Cover the mix with olive oil. Over a low heat, gently cook until the onions are translucent, then cover and keep warm. For the wood pigeon breasts – In a heated frying pan, cook the wood pigeon breasts on the skin side until golden (about 1 minute). Add the remaining wild mushrooms and cook for another 30 seconds. Add a good tablespoon of butter and turn over the pigeons and baste with frothing butter for another 30 seconds. Transfer the mushrooms and pigeon breasts to a plate and allow to sit for 1 minute to rest. Cut the breasts in half and season with sea salt and black pepper. To plate up – Place 2 mounds of the mushroom purée on a warm plate. Place 2 roasted shallots between the purée. Slice the pigeon breasts lengthways and season the meat. Scatter the rest of the ingredients around the plate while keeping in mind a woodland scene. To finish Decorate with cranberries, redcurrants, chopped thyme, rosemary stalks, borage flowers, rosemary flowers and wood sorrel leaves.


tarT iT uP


There’s lashings of gluten-free goodness in these extremely moreish tarts from Ian Nixon of the Phoenix, Chudleigh

Mmm, mushrooms – a most excellent staple that are in great supply at the moment. Here at Crumbs we like to pack ’em in at breakfast, lunch and dinner, especially as it’s wintertime and we're all craving savoury, earthy flavours. Ian Nixon likes them too, and he’s teamed them with a creamy ‘custard’ to make compact pies that are filled with flavour. At the Phoenix, Ian uses as much local produce as possible, and caters for all allergens. He runs his kitchen with operational precision, but when it comes to creativity it’s all hands on deck, and he loves his team putting forward ideas for new recipes and menus. We’re not sure if the team had a hand in this recipe, but we do know it tastes pretty good. ✱ PHOENIX CHUDLEIGH, 25 Fore Street, Chudleigh TQ13 0HX; 01626 859005;



For the herb pastry 350g gluten-free plain flour 175g salted butter 1 egg bunch mixed herbs (parsley, basil, sage) For the filling 450g forest fungi wild mushrooms 2-3 shallots or 1 red onion 75g hazelnuts 125g milk 125g double cream 2-3 eggs For the squash purée 1-2 winter squash, depending on size 25g butter 1 small white onion 1-2 cloves garlic splash of cream



– Heat oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. – For the pastry, in a blender add the flour, butter, herbs and seasoning. Blend until all ingredients are mixed and look green. Add the egg and continue to blend until the mixture rolls itself into a ball. Wrap the mixture in cling film and refrigerate for 10 minutes. – Grease and line tart cases, roll out pastry and bake blind until they start to turn golden. Allow to cool. – Roast the squash until soft, as well as the onion and garlic; allow to cool. Peel the squash and blend with the onion, garlic and butter, add the cream and pass through a sieve. Season. – For the filling, roast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes, and then finely dice the onion. Pan-fry the onions with the mixed wild mushrooms until slightly caramelised. Slightly crush the hazelnuts and add to mushrooms. For the savoury custard, in a bowl mix the milk, cream and the eggs. Season. – To finish, place some of the mushroom mixture into the cases, then pour the custard mix in so it just covers the mushrooms. – Bake in the oven until just set. Serve with the squash purée on the side.


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Worth his sAlt Want to plump up your festive bird, as well as pimp up the flavour? This River Cottage talent shares his saline secret


rowing up in Manchester, Christmas dinner was all about jeopardy. Would the turkey defrost in time? Would it even fit in the oven if it did? It was always cooked in the same way for the same amount of time, irrespective of its weight. It was cooked (along with the sprouts) from the time my brother and I were allowed to get up and open presents until my dad returned from the pub with Uncle Roy. Both of these times varied greatly each year. When it eventually arrived on the table it seemed huge and celebratory, presented with a real sense of achievement as if to suggest ‘it survived all that!’. For the next week it would make several encores, and still never lost its magic to me. The truth about those turkey meals is that I loved them, but from an adult perspective, now that my taste buds have graduated beyond their selection-box infancy, I realise that our Christmas centrepiece was pretty tasteless, and dry. Now that I have a family of my own I want to replicate the joy of cooking and presenting a whole turkey to the table, but improve a bit on the delivery. So, in the recent past, I have opted for an organic high welfare bird from my butcher, who could pinpoint with GPSaccuracy its provenance. But even with the modicum of talent for cooking I have absorbed vicariously from working with real chefs, each year I have still only managed to deliver the dry bastard son equivalent of the roast of Christmas past. I have even tried removing the legs and cooking them slowly and then cooking the crown separately, but then you lose the aesthetic of delivering the bird to the table whole. For the last few years, turkey has been shelved from our festive thoughts and has been replaced either with a slow-roast lamb or fore rib of beef. With lamb you can pop it in the oven and allow it to cook without any fear of it drying out – this


dish also has the benefit of buying you time to do all the other prep and hosting. The beef needs less time, but can be done in advance of everything else so that it can rest. The pressure of getting everything across the finishing line at the same time is alleviated when the main component is already there.


However, I have discovered a foolproof way of getting turkey to the table on Christmas Day that will keep it moist and full of flavour. Last year, and again this year, we will be bringing turkey back in from the cold by submerging our turkey in a brine bath for a couple of days prior to cooking. A brine is just a simple combination of liquid and salt – it could even be just water and salt, but that would be an Ebenezer Scrooge version of what it could be. Think of flavours you like that would work together. My brine has combinations of water, apple juice and gin, which is further flavoured with lemons, tarragon and garlic. The gin might seem excessive, but all of its spicy botanical magic tenderises the meat as well as adds flavour. The flavour of the brine is deposited into the flesh of the bird by the action of the salt, which via a process of osmosis penetrates into the turkey so that it plumps it up.


The only instructions for making a brine is to make sure that there is enough liquid (whether it is water, Champagne, cider, beer, gin or a combination of all of those) to fully cover the turkey, which might mean having to find a big container, such as a clean plastic storage box with lid. The only other measurement is dissolving 3% salt to the volume of liquid to make the perfect brine with the minimum salinity. It’s the equivalent of adding 30g of salt per litre of liquid. Even if you put the turkey in the brine for a day it will improve, but I put mine in for 48 hours prior to cooking and it sits in a brewer’s bucket with the lid on outside my back door and is the first present I open on Christmas morning.




1 free-range turkey, 4.5-5.5kg For the brine 25 litres water 2.5kg PDV salt 500g demerara sugar 60g black peppercorns, cracked 2 heads of garlic, halved horizontally 2 onions, peeled and sliced bunch of tarragon and parsley 10 torn bay leaves 1 bottle of vermouth (optional, but helps to tenderise) METHOD

– Place all the ingredients for the brine, including the herbs, lemon halves and vermouth, if using, in a stockpot and bring to the boil, stirring often, to encourage the salt and sugar to dissolve. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely; leave it overnight, if possible. – Put the turkey into a foodstandard brine tub, pour on the brine and place a plate or something similar on top to keep the turkey submerged. If you can get the tub in your fridge, do so. If not, put it in a cool place, such as a pantry. Keep your turkey in the brine for 24-36 hours. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse it well under cold water, then pat dry. Let it rest, uncovered, in the fridge for at least 3 hours. – Cook the turkey as per your instructions. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 220C/430F/gas mark 7 and roast the turkey for 40 minutes (this initial blast is to get the heat right into the bird), then lower the oven setting to 170C/338F/gas mark 3 and cook for a further 3½ hours or until the internal temperature reaches 70C. Check by placing a meat temperature probe in the thickest part of a thigh. To be really fancy, you could cure some of your own bacon and then wrap the turkey breast in it.


✱ This recipe is taken from The River Cottage Curing & Smoking Handbook, published by Bloomsbury; image by Gavin Kingcome


Devon cook

All the trimmings This month Devon Cook Orlando Murrin shares his all-time favourite recipes for the little extras that make Christmas dinner super-special

As the season of goodwill approaches, the last thing I wish to do is send anyone on a guilt trip. It is easier than ever to buy satisfactory versions of Christmas stuffings and sauces, and as long as you hide any packaging under the inevitable mountain of discarded gift wrap, you can even pretend you made it all yourself. On the other hand… if you’re donning your Santa apron and spending half the day angsting about the turkey, why not give the trimmings that personal touch too? For me, stuffing is my favourite item on the Christmas plate. I have tried countless recipes over the years but always come back to this one, for several reasons. First of all, it is quintessentially homemade, and tastes it. I love that it gives me an excuse to make cornbread – offcuts are gorgeous for breakfast, toasted with butter. And it is great being able to set the whole thing up on Christmas Eve, knowing it is waiting patiently in the fridge, to emerge on the big day for its moment of crunchy golden glory. Another accompaniment best made ahead is cranberry sauce. As long as you can bag your cranberries – fresh or frozen, it makes very little difference – it is ridiculously simple (and infinitely better

than the jammy stuff you buy in jars). Simply simmer 250g cranberries with 100g sugar (muscovado if you have it) and 100ml orange or apple juice for 5-10 minutes until the cranberries go tender and begin to pop. (If you have a bottle of port to hand, replace half the juice with port.) The sauce will thicken as it cools. Make this two or three days ahead and keep it in the fridge. Best served in a glass dish, so you can enjoy the jewelled colour. My mother, from whom I learnt to cook, had been instructed by her own mother that bread sauce cannot be made in advance, because it turns sour. Not so – but it does go amazingly thick, and will need letting down with a few tbsp milk, or better still, cream, clotted cream or mascarpone, when you reheat it. I like making this the old fashioned way, infusing a pint of milk (600ml if you insist) with a small-skinned onion, a couple of garlic cloves, bruised, and a couple of bay leaves. In the mid-’60s a cookery writer called Robin McDouall advised against the addition of what he called ‘those beastly cloves’, but I like the flavour, and stud the onion with half a dozen. Simmer covered for a good half hour, then fish out


the flavourings and stir in 100g fresh white breadcrumbs, with plenty of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Never fear if it seems runny – it will thicken, particularly if you make it ahead. Christmas gravy is something of a conundrum. To make lovely turkey gravy, you need turkey stock made by long simmering the carcase of a turkey, which doesn’t become available until, well, after Christmas dinner. If you have an obliging butcher you will probably have giblets supplied with your turkey. I simmer these in chicken stock, either homemade or those extortionate ‘pochettes’ you see in the meat chillers of upmarket supermarkets, to give it an authentic turkey flavour, then strain. This stock can be reduced, to enrich and darken it, which avoids having to add alien additives such as cubes and powders, and you can use it if you wish to make the gravy entirely ahead. An obligatory touch in the Devon Cook household is a splash of Cognac, added at the very end. If stove space is at a premium, you can reheat the bread sauce and the gravy in the microwave. The stuffing, however, is one for the oven.

( the devon cook )


GLORIOUS GOLDEN CHRISTMAS STUFFING This recipe makes a 20cm square loaf of cornbread, which is twice as much as you need for the stuffing recipe. Either freeze the remainder for another time, or serve for breakfast or brunch, toasted under the grill (it may crumble in your toaster). I love it plain, spread generously with salted butter. On the subject of butter, a reader recently wrote to me to ask why I sometimes specify using unsalted butter in a recipe that includes salt in the ingredients! It is not snobbishness, but because in many recipes, the amount of salt is very important. And if you use salted butter you are never quite sure how much you are adding. Eggs are a similar story. If a recipe depends on a very exact quantity of egg, then it is a food writer’s job to specify whether to use medium or large. That being said, the difference between the two is on average only 6%, so in many recipes it is safe to use whichever comes to hand. (By the way, judged by weight, large eggs are a slightly better buy than medium, not the extravagance some cooks believe.)


50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled 2 eggs (medium or large, whatever you have) 284ml pot of buttermilk made up to 475ml with milk 260g yellow cornmeal 190g plain flour 3 tsp baking powder ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 1½ tbsp sugar ¾ tsp salt



– Heat oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Line the base of a 20cm square tin (for instance, a brownie tin) with baking paper and grease the sides with butter. – Whisk together the dry ingredients thoroughly. – Beat eggs, buttermilk and milk in a jug, then pour into the flour mixture and stir till nearly combined; fold in the butter, stopping the moment there are no longer any dry bits. – Pour into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden and the sides have pulled away from the tin slightly. – Leave to cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from tin, peel away the paper and cool completely.


half the cornbread recipe above (about 550g cornbread), cut into 2cm cubes, left uncovered to dry overnight, or gently dried in a low oven for about an hour 275ml chicken or turkey stock, at room temperature INGREDIENTS

300ml single cream 1 egg, beaten 50g unsalted butter 350g sausages, slipped out of the skins and cut or broken into 2cm chunks (either twist or use a wet knife) 2 medium onions, chopped finely 2 sticks celery, chopped finely 2 cloves of garlic, minced small handful of chopped thyme leaves, and of chopped sage leaves 1 ½ tsp salt 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 100g dried cherries or dried cranberries (optional) handful of chopped parsley


– When you have dried the cornbread, whisk together the stock, cream and egg in a large bowl, then turn in the cornbread cubes and any crumbs and fold together to coat, bringing the liquid up and over the cornbread and trying to keep the cubes roughly intact. Set aside – Heat half the butter in a large, deep frying pan and fry the sausage till lightly browned (about 5 minutes); transfer to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the remaining butter, onions and celery to the pan and fry till soft (5 minutes). Stir in the garlic, thyme and sage and fry till aromatic (about 30 seconds), then add salt and pepper, dried cherries (if using) and parsley. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage, add the cornbread mixture and use a spatula to fold gently together – again, trying to keep the mixture chunky. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight. – To bake the stuffing, you will need an oven heated to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Line a baking tin about 30x20cm with baking paper, or butter a dish of similar size. Either gently transfer the stuffing to the tin, levelling gently, or take handfuls, 12 in total, and place in the tin, side by side. If you have extra liquid in the bowl, drizzle this over the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, till golden. ✱ ORLANDO MURRIN

is a food writer and chef. He wrote daily recipes for the Express newspaper before becoming editor of BBC Good Food and founder of Olive magazine. He has written five cookbooks, including the No Cook Cookbook and A Table in the Tarn, and lives in Exeter.

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EORGE Hotel c.1450 Rebuilt 2010



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Roaring log fires, mulled wine, hearty soups... We take care of winter blues here at The George.

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THE JUBILEE INN Christmas Menu 2 Courses £22, 3 Courses £26 Complimentary Amuse-bouche


Game Terrine of Exmoor Venison and Pheasant Celeriac, Apple and Chestnut Soup Duo of Salmon Seared Brixham Scallops (*£2)


John May’s Home reared Turkey Ballontine with all the trimmings Aged Fillet of Beef (*£4) Carrot and Cashew Nut Roast Oven Poached Brixham Hake Local Pork Wellington (*£2)



Grannie’s Flaming Christmas Pudding Chocolate Roulade Tropical Bombe Alaska flamed with Exmoor Wicked Wolf Gin Vintage Treacle and Lemon Tart Classic Sticky Toffee Pudding Selection of three West County Cheeses (*£2)


Complimentary Petite Fours Glass of Tawny or Ruby Port (*£3) Glass of Champagne, Kir Royal or Mimosa (*£5) Items marked with an asterisk are supplemented. We require pre-orders for parties of 8 or more. We cannot guarantee table availability at peak times without a reservation. Festive Food service available 12-2:30pm, 6-9:30pm Tues-Sat. Sunday Lunch service noon-3pm.

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25k-27k, live in available, plus tronc - Sidmouth, Devon With two AA Rosettes and counting, the luxury four star Rivera Hotel, located in the stunning coastal town of Sidmouth, Devon is looking to recruit a Sous Chef to further strengthen their acclaimed restaurant team. The salary range for this role is £25,000 - £27,000 per annum, plus a share of the Hotel Tronc. Additional benefits include: Good quality live in accommodation (fantastic coastal location), paid holiday, meals on duty, uniform provided. Work for one of the South Coast's highest rated independent hotels and apply today. Send your CV to or call 01395 515201 for more information.



DREAM STEAM Water your oven, and it will thank you, says Matt Bielby. At least, it will if it’s one of these clever contraptions from Miele… What’s this crazy lady doing? Giving her oven a nice little drink? Or filling her glass from the weirdest of taps? (I just don’t get it.) What she’s doing, my friend, is taking full advantage of Miele’s new Moisture Plus oven, which allows for extra-excellent baking and roasting, thanks to the steam that’s injected into the oven cavity each time you cook. Just tell the oven what you’re doing, add the required amount of water through the intake pipe, as seen – it’s usually between 150-300ml – and then select the type of steam enhancement you want: automatic bursts, manual bursts if you want to be really hands-on, or time-controlled for total precision. (Turns out she’s not crazy after all.) Well, okay – I suppose. I still don’t get what the steam is meant to do, though. It makes cooking better. With meat, it helps it brown while remaining succulent and tender. And with croissants or bread rolls, they apparently look and taste like they’re fresh from the bakery – thanks to one blast of steam at the start to help with the rise, and another at the end to help them brown.


If it’s so great, why don’t all ovens do it? Maybe one day they will, but right now this tech is exclusive to Miele, the familyrun outfit who’ve been making highend appliances in German’s industrial Westphalia region since 1899. (They’ve won Which? magazine’s Best Domestic Appliance Brand award loads of times, including 2015 and 2016.) Even without the Moisture Plus function this would be a great oven – well built, precise (you can cook at everything from 30-300C, with less than one degree variance), roomy, and even self-cleaning, thanks to an automatic process that reduces any residue in the oven to ash.




Not that I ever clean my oven anyway, but I like the sound of that. Yep! Miele ovens are available all over, including John Lewis, but one cool way to find out more is to visit the Miele Experience Centre at Abingdon, just off the A34 in Oxfordshire, where you can get really hands on with the kit – including, yes, feed one with a glass of water.

✱ This Miele Moisture Plus oven costs £1,069. Find it at John Lewis in Exeter, or CR Wood of Newton Abbot;



House call

THE YOUNG ONES Tucked away, in a little village near Axminster, is Haye Farm – a small hubbub of rural enterprise where fresh farming talent is dreaming big





unchtime – it’s a bit of a dying ritual, isn’t it? With white-collar workers grazing aldesko, pubs and restaurants increasingly serving all day, and a 5:2-type diets on the up, many of us rarely get a proper lunch. Not at Haye Farm in Musbury, though. Here, at the 66-acre, newly certified organic farm, everything stops for lunch – machine engines quieten as farm workers, woofers, the owners and their little ones gather in the kitchen every day at 1pm. They’re getting the feed they rightly deserve after a morning’s hard work on the land. And when lunch tastes this good, you can see why they wouldn’t miss it. Today, on a sunny November afternoon, being served up is an Ottolenghi squash tarte tatin made with rosemary and goat’s cheese. Emma, who looks after the vegetable garden and the sheep, has stepped up to the role of chef. She’s created a simple caramel in a heavy, non-stick pan, then arranged slices of squash coated in oil and seasoned with rosemary and garlic in the pan. She’s then added blobs of goat’s cheese and covered it with puff pastry. After baking for almost an hour in the enviable blue AGA, it’s time for the big reveal. As we arrive (great timing!) she passes the job of flipping the tart to owner Harry, who executes the turnover with perfection. There are cheers of admiration – this dish is definitely a crowd pleaser.


Everyone pulls up chairs around the table: partners Harry Boglione and Emily Perry, who own the farm; their two little ones, Raffi, who’s four, and baby Alegra, who’s eight months; plus farm workers Aaron, Nick and Emma. All are extremely passionate about modern agriculture; all are 30 or under. Harry and Emily have lived here for two years, relocating to the site because of the “farming community in the area, which is young and exciting,”


Quality, fresh seafood, straight from our boats to your door We are a small, friendly wholesale fish business in Exmouth. All our fish is sourced locally with sustainable fishing methods. We also carry an extensive range of frozen goods. Our customers range from retail fishmongers, pubs, cafĂŠs and restaurants. We find a personal service between ourselves and the head chef ensures top quality fish and shellfish at the right price.

Devon Quality Fish

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01395 266000

( house call )

explains Emily. They have three employees, plus occasional volunteers who want to learn the basics of farming. To earn a bit of extra cash they’ve created two AirBnB holiday lets from the property, too. We kick off lunch with some of Emma’s delishiously moreish brined sloes, “done like olives but with a lot more herbs”. Then it’s on to the main, served with a salad of bitter leaves and nasturtium flowers, plus roasted veg, some good, local cheeses, and a slug of homemade apple juice. Talk comes round to the impressive squash on the centrepiece tart. “It’s zucca violina, which translates from Italian as violin squash, because of the shape,” explains Harry. “It looks like a violin. It’s my favourite, and the one with the most flavour.” Harry is half Italian, and with family still living outside Turin, the couple travel back twice a year. A lot of what they grow on the farm is Italian influenced.

“We take pride in growing vegetables that others don’t necessarily grow,” he explains. “For the squash, we get seed from a biodynamic seed company in Italy. I don’t think there are many people growing it in the UK – not on a commercial scale. We also grow Italian things like different chicories, agretti (monk’s beard) and caveolo nero. Supplying a few of the high end restaurants in London with their organic produce, as well as places like The Pig at Combe, River Cottage HQ and other local farm shops, they like to give chefs something different to play with. “We’ve grown flower sprouts this year,” says Emma. “Chefs love them, and they look beautiful – they’re like a Brussels sprout crossed with a kale plant, and look like a little flower on the plate.”


So where did Harry get his love of farming come from? “My parents own a garden centre,” he explains, “so I’ve always grown up around plants and been interested in growing.” It later transpires that said garden centre is no ordinary plant shop, but internationally renowned Petersham Nurseries, Richmond, which used to boast a Michelin restaurant and is known for its celebrity clientele. His father, an astute businessman, has perhaps inspired Harry’s great sense of ambition – he has grand plans to make sure the farm is not only organic, but completely sustainable too. “It’s really important to have all the different processing facilities on a farm, so all the waste products and externalities can be fed back into the business


( house call )

as a positive,” Harry says. “For example, whey for making cheese can feed pigs, or if waste isn’t getting fed to an animal it can get put back into the land. The only way for a farm to achieve true sustainability is to have all these little industries on the farm. “It’s not important for the farmer to do it himself, but it is important for him to be able to go out there and find the people who want to run these little elements of the farm, and structure a cooperative working environment. They’re then just shifting their waste product into a different stream. You end up with a zero-waste system that produces a high variety of products that are all integrated into one another. That’s the end goal – to have someone brewing here, someone making juice, someone making cheese, and someone growing artisan grains, milling them into flours and baking great loaves of bread.”


Harry isn’t wasting time getting started. Today, outside, two builders are working hard, cementing walls of a brand new processing and packing plant, which the whole team are hugely excited about. “It means we can start making end products,” says Emily. “Processing all our

produce into jams, chutneys, preserves, maybe meals for people – we can use up all those wonky veg.” Harry and Emily have been able to afford it with funding help from the EU. They were one of the last applicants to be accepted into the Making it Local Scheme, which works with local people and businesses to develop opportunities for improving the rural economy. When it comes to the EU, Harry is disappointed the UK is leaving, but still has a sense of hope. “The outcome will all depend on who’s lobbying the government,” he believes. “There’ll be a whole new restructuring and new subsidies – if agricultural companies get in there and sway the government in one direction it could be very detrimental to small-scale farmers. But then if all the small-scale agroecological farmers get involved in the process, we might end up with a better system – though it’s too early to say.” Without any formal farming training or quailfications, Harry says he learns a lot from the internet, and also from co-workers, family and friends. Currently he’s playing with ideas for agro-forestry. “It means planting up your pastures with trees,” he explains. “They’ve changed the law in the EU, so you can


now have 200 trees per hectare and still claim your agricultural subsidies, whereas in previous years your fields had to be bare of trees. Now they’re realising the exponential benefits of having trees on your land. We’re trialling a field of 10 acres, and we’d really like to get that planted up and get rows of nut trees and fruit trees, so it gives diversification on your farm and creates a lot more ecosystem for nature.” All too soon the hour is up, and it’s back to work for everyone: the boys to plastic board over the wooden chicken houses to stop mites; Emma to harvest beetroot. We don our wellies, and Emily, Raffi and Alegra give me a tour of the farm. “I love the countryside, and we wanted really to give the kids this great upbringing,” Emily explains, as we wonder round the fields of Devon Ruby cattle, sheep, pig, goats, hundreds of chickens and plots of robust-looking veg. As Raffi runs through the geese, splashing merrily in the mud, and little Alegra holds her face up to the low but warm sun, we can see the next generation being inspired already. ✱ Haye Farm, Musbury, Devon EX13 8ST; search for The Hayrick at Haye Farm at

( advertising feature )


So, think cider’s just for summer, eh? Here’s where we introduce you to your new fave winter tipple...


he harvest is in full swing now. People always want to know the names of our cider apples and we can see why – there are so many different varieties. Dabinett, Tom Putt, Brown’s Apple, varieties. Tremlett’s Bitter, Hangy Down, Slack Ma Girdle, Fair Maid of Devon, Ellis Bitter – you name them, we pick them! We can’t see the moment both ground for these apples at the moment, in the orchards and the yard. Which is great news – this suggests it’s going to be a really good harvest this year, with nice juicy apples, and lots of them. Not only are we picking them ourselves, but we’re getting them in thick and fast from surrounding old orchards too, meaning lots of cider is promised for this coming year. But you needn’t wait until summer to slurp on a good apple-based brew – this is a drink to be enjoyed all year round. During these chillier months, try our Mulled and Spicy Ashridge Artisan Cider. This warming, spicy, mulled cider will hit the spot on a cold winter’s night. To make it, we’ve added festive spices (cloves, cinnamon, star anise and ginger) to our Devon Gold Cider, with the result being a fruity, comforting and very drinkable tipple. Heat gently and serve straight away by a log fire with the back door closed and your feet up.; @AshridgeCider; 01364 654749

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CELEBRATE the festive season with us. We’re open Christmas day, Boxing day and new years day lunch.

Please call 01363 860111 For details

W W W. T H E R I N G O F B E L L S . C O M C h e r i ton F i t z pa i n e , C r e di ton , D e von E X 1 7 4 J G



Want this in your life? There’s just a book purchase standing between you and one-pot nirvana (see p55)



We’ve got Christmas sorted, with top local present buys for foodies to keep you well in favour

Nothing, as it happens! The River Cottage chef is stoked after the launch of his first book

Page 45

Page 55




HAMPERS that say no to wicker

79 South Street, South Molton, North Devon, EX36 4AG 01769 572664

SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST CHEESE! As well as stocking around 100 cheeses at any one time, we also stock a wide variety of other produce such as crackers, chutneys and jams, charcuterie, sweet treats, west country ales and cider, hampers and plenty more... Pop in to see us or visit our website for more information!

It’s a wrap! Christmas shopping? Job done, with these fine local buys for foodies that will make their year







Under a fiver!

GOOD FOR GUYS 1 SPLURGE TIME Fully automated system? Check. Heated cup rack? Check. Perfect frothy milk every time? Yep. Two cups in one? Sure. This luxe machine is for those who’ve been very, very good. Miele Counter-Top Coffee Machine (CM6310), £1,299; 2 CHOC A BLOCK With flavours like chilli, ginger and hemp seed, this is chocolate with extra bite. Doisy & Dam, £3.50 for 100g, from; 3 CHEESE, PLEASE Some cheeses are so good they’re sinful. There’s Eve, Wenslade, Temptation’s Felicien and Wigmore, all in this gift box. Wicked Gift Box, £35, The Fine Cheese Company in Bath (delivery to Devon);

4 CURDS AND WEY-HEY! Keep him busy in the kitchen with a brilliant cheese-making kit. Choose from Italian or goat’s cheese. The Cheese Maker’s Choice Cheese Making Kits, £22.99, The Cheese Larder in South Molton; 7 HOLD THE BOOZE Don’t know what to drink when you’re not drinking? Rocktails are fuss-free, nonalcoholic, bar-quality cocktails that are low in cals and high in taste. The gift pack includes a coupe glass. Rocktails gift sets, £16.99, Devon Drinks at The Shops at Dartington;

5 PORK UP The Sausage Shed Christmas Survival Pack is the perfect gift for the foodie in your life, and can be delivered directly to their door. Sausage Shed Christmas Survival Pack, £39.50;


8 GIN, CHIN, CHIN Released in summer 2016 from a new Salcombe distillery, this gin is citrus led with balanced spice, ideal for your seasonal gin and tonic. Salcombe Gin Start Point, £35, 70cl, Salcombe Gin;

6 GET YOUR COOK ON Spur on a budding home chef to enhance their skills with a cookery course. Can be delivered by post or email. Cookery course vouchers, £75 for a half day. Ashburton Cookery School;



8 7

t uc od ds Pr war on A pi est am e W Ch f th 16 e o 20 Tast We Ham offer a per s for g ervic ifts e Get i & picnics n tou ! c detai h for ls.

n Luxury Devo k n ri D Food & d u ing Hampers incl as Afternoon Te

FREE Christmas Pudding Flavoured Fudge included in hampers bought before 25 Dec 16 with code: FREECHRISTMASFUDGE Tel: 01626 683575

01364 652 277 16 North Street, Ashburton 9am - 5pm Monday - Saturday

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9 H2-OH! Kick start new year healthy living with a stylish water pourer and glass. These ones are mouth-blown, hand-stamped and truly beautiful. H2O carafe and glass set, £37, Dartington Crystal; 10 SNUFFLING GOOD Ditch floral prints and bring a bit of quirk into the kitchen with a cool hedgehog pinny. Dexham Apron, £24.99, Steamer Trading in Dorchester; 11 PUP STUFF Dogs in specs and cool hues? What’s not to love about these awesome mugs? Cuppa Mugs, £9.95 each, Joules in Sidmouth;


15 JUST A THOUGHT Catching up with mates for dinner? Take along these colourful crackers to kick off the meal with a bang. La Sorpresa Crackers, £1.95, Carluccio’s in Exeter;

12 A TABLE! Hold on to those jewel-like colours of autumn with this ceramic tableware made of natural terracotta that’s been fired twice for amazing hues. Collectively Artisan 12 Piece Dinner Set, £144, The Shops at Dartington;

16 COPPER WHOPPER We all know copper is the new black when it comes to the kitchen, and there ain’t nothing cooler in this chic shade than this smart KitchenAid. KitchenAid Artisan Mixer, £449, The Cook’s Shop in Exeter;

13 LOVE COFFEE New couples want more time in the bedroom, less time in the kitchen, and so here’s the perfect little brewer that makes two perfect espressos at the same time. Bialetti Mini Express Gift Set, £34.95, Steamer Trading;

17 NEW YEAR EATS Treat your nearest and dearest to a bit of downtime with a spa voucher from Woodbury Park Golf and Country Cub. Woodbury Park Spa vouchers, from £10;

For a great mate


14 KICKING BACK Packed full of lean cuts of organic meat and exclusive recipes to help kick start a healthier new year. Healthy Start Box, £80, Well Hung Meat Company;





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21 21



Under a fiver!


23 24

18 GINGER BITES The wonderful Pinnacle Icing of Honiton has created these delicately flavoured spiced gingerbread biscuits to decorate your tree. Edible Tree Decorations, £20, West Country Hampers; 19 HAMMED UP Slow-grown and cooked low and slow for many hours, a ham is the perfect gift for grandparents who like to have something tasty in the fridge to return to again and again. Cooked ham, £19.97 per kg, Pipers Farm, Cullompton; 20 FAB FIZZ Perfect for any festive occasion, this international awardwinning sparkling wine is traditionally and locally made. Sharpham Sparkling Blanc 2013, £40.50; 21 NO PLACE LIKE HOME Who doesn’t like a bit of cartography? Especially when they feature all your favourite Devon locations. Custom map napkins, £38;


22 A GOOD BREW This seasonal selection includes four blends, collated in one pack for Christmas: Classic Breakfast, Earl Grey, Delightful Afternoon, and Assam Origin. Festive selection, £2.95, Devonshire Teas in Axminster;




23 FEELING JAMMY These locally made jellies (Cullompton to be precise) are available in quince, cranberry with port, redcurrant and more. Otter Vale Jellies, £2 each;

FOR THE KIDS 24 LINE UP Fun tubes filled with white, milk and dark chocolate snowmen, Santas and Christmas trees. Nutcracker and Sugar Plum Fairy Tubes, £5.95, from Chococo in Exeter; 25 BISCUIT TIME Big kids will keep these cool cutters with them for a lifetime. Alessi Progitotti Cookie Cutters, £28, from Lawsons in Plymouth; 26 GET COOKING Got a mini Jamie O in the making? Order this personalised cookbook by 1 December and make them the hero in a foodie adventure. Mission Cookpossible, £19.99;


The Perfect 'Drop'

1 Silver Street, Ottery St Mary, Devon, EX11 1DB / 01404 814139


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28 32 31


33 27 BE GREEN Kids might not like eating their sprouts, but they’ll most probably be all over these comedy glasses on the big day. Adults too. There are six in the pack, so enough to share round the dinner table. Sprout Festive Glasses, £3.99 for six, Lakeland in Taunton; 28 POTTY FOR CHRISTMAS Hand-painter colourful dinosaurs or dancing micethemed mini mug and bowl sets make dinnertime fun for the little ones. Emma Bridgewater Pottery Sets, £29.95; 29 THE COUNTDOWN’S ON Order this calendar quickly to start counting down the days to Christmas in Italian style. Uno, due, tre! Advent Calendar, £9.95, from Carluccio’s in Exeter;


is a best seller (show us a Devonian who can resist a cream tea!), featuring their own bakes and locally sourced produce. Afternoon Cream Tea, from £23 (readers get 10% off with the online code CM11011);

30 ULTIMATE PAIRINGS Cheese and wine hampers are firm favourites at Christmas, especially if the goodies are sourced 100% from our region, like with the brilliant Devon Hampers. Devon Christmas cheese and wine hamper, £75, Devon Hampers;

33 FREE FUDGE! This Best of Devon hamper contains some of Devon’s top food and drink. Best of Devon Hamper, £36 (free delivery and free Christmas Pudding flavoured fudge included with code: FREECHRISTMASFUDGE);

31 NEWBIE ON THE BLOCK Welcome Letter Box Hamper onto the Devon scene with their beautifully wrapped packages that are filled with the finest south west produce, yet still fit through the letter box. Hampers from £24.95 (inc delivery), Letter Box Hamper;

34 EAT MEAT Choose from a selection of festive set boxes or design your own seasonal selection. Awardwinning organic Devonshire meat, traditionally prepared. Turkey box (from £135), Goosey box (from £195), Beefy box (from £120), The Well Hung

32 TEA ME UP The award-winning Afternoon Cream Tea hamper


Great for cooks! 35 Meat Company, Buckfastleight; 35 BAKER’S TREAT The shop at this wonderful working watermill is selling brilliant hampers for keen bakers and cooks with their own stoneground flour. Flour hampers, from £15.99, Otterton Mill; 36 DELI GOOD The award-winning Ashburton Deli has a sumptuous range of delicious goodies which that be beautifully gift wrapped to make an extra-special present. From Ashburton Deli Hampers in Ashburton, from £25; ashburtondelicatessen.


DE V O N H AMP E RS BRINGING DEVON TO YOU Our Christmas hampers stocked full of 100% Devon-sourced produce are now ready to order. We deliver all over the UK to any address on a date of your choice... and can even add a personalised message! 01566 784318


( adverti sing feature )

The oyster Shack Time to cosy up this winter and enjoy the cracking menu offers, events and masterclasses at award winning restaurant The Oyster Shack in Bigbury…


estled into the Avon Valley, The Oyster Shack – aka ‘Seafood Paradise’ – will be as warming and cosy as ever this winter. Serving an array of mouth-watering Catch of the Day seafood and shellfish, depending on what’s landed daily and what’s in season, it’s a mustvisit for any seafood lover. Shack Sunday Roasts have just launched (hey, Sundays are for feasting). There’ll be seafood roasts served with all the trimmings, alongside a meat option. And, of course, a cosy fire, fine wines and heaps of soul come as standard. The depths of winter demand comfort food, so the shack has launched just that – a Winter Classics menu (alongside the Daily Catch menu). Think herb-crusted fish pie, grilled lobster thermidor, baked oysters, creamy mash, crab soup with melted parmesan toast and hot puddings. Yum! On Saturday 3 December, The Shack will be turned into a winter wonderland for a magical Christmas Barrow Market, a great family day out with 30 stalls, cookery demos, open grills, Christmas trees and much more… And if you’re looking for a unique setting to host your Christmas party, there are bespoke menus, seasonal set menus at a great price and private cookery classes too. Surely it’s time to book?

MENU OFFERS and EVENTS Mussel Mondays Mussels of your choice, served with skinny fries, £10 all day Seasonal Set Menu Daily until 16 December; includes meat and vegetarian options; two courses £14 / three courses £16 Seafood Sharing Feast Daily until 16 December; a three tiered array of seafood, served with Prosecco; £19.50 per person Christmas Cookery Demo 26 November, 9.30-12noon; Christmas canapés, seasonal nibbles, cocktail making; £45 per person (including three course lunch and wine) Christmas Barrow Market Saturday 3 December, 10.30am-5.30pm Christmas Gifts Choose from tea towels, aprons, gift vouchers and 2017 cookery masterclasses for a unique gift The Oyster Shack, Stakes Hill, Bigbury TQ7 4BE; 01548 810 876;

Crumbs Reader Offer: quote Crumbs when booking to receive a free glass of wine or bubbly


‘A great place to dine or stay a while’ New evening menu now available EVENING OFFER Receive 10% off your food bill when booking Mon-Thurs between 5-6pm LUNCH OFFER Two course lunch, large glass of wine and a hot beverage for only £25 in low season And... we have just been Michelin recommended, what are you waiting for? BOOK TODAY!

We are now taking bookings for Christmas and New Year South St, Dolton EX19 8QS T: 01805 804255


We chat to this chef, author, cookery teacher, food stylist [inhale] and TV figure about provenance, habitats and his brand new book. By Jessica Carter


s a mainstay of River Cottage (he’s been working with Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall since 2003), Gill’s had a hand in the publication of a pretty decent number of books; think the last eight major River Cottage volumes, as well as River Cottage A-Z and Pigs & Pork in the handbook series. Now, though, he’s gone lone wolf and penned the first recipe book of his very own: Gather. “I thought it would be a lovely idea to build a cookbook around a collection of food-producing landscapes,” he tells us. “Visually, I knew it would be exciting, and I felt I could connect with these places and the ingredients we get from them. It’s good to remember the connection we have with our landscapes, and how important they are to us.” Thus, the book is made up of chapters such as Garden, Harbour, Woodland and Moor, each focusing on the unique bounty that can be gathered from its own environment. In this way, the book feels primitive, the dishes refreshingly pared down. And this is exactly the way Gill likes his cookery. “Lots of the recipes are very simple,” he says. “I like paring things back. Some of the simplest combinations are often the best, and I hope this comes across in Gather. Some of my favourite recipes in the book are no more than considered assemblies, consisting of just three or four different things that complement each other in the best ways. “My food is fairly simple, and it’s fresh. I also believe it’s generous and honest – I always want it to feel honest. I don’t like hiding behind the unnecessary.” So, despite all the knowledge and skill this chef has built up over his long career – he started cooking when he was 18 – you can put all thoughts of fancy techniques and faffery out of your head. These elegant but assertively no-nonsense recipes are rooted in nature and its seasons, and have no interest in the complicated or high maintenance. After all, that’s how Gill himself cooks.



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“I’m inspired by the ingredients I use, and influenced by the people who produce them,” he says. “Seasonality defines how I cook; it gives my food reason. I find it helps to be reactive too, so when I cook I like to think on the spot, and quite often I will come up with new combinations I hadn’t thought of before. I find creating something without any preconceived ideas very rewarding and satisfying, and with seasonal cooking sometimes you have to be like that. “It’s important to me to source good ingredients, produced, farmed, picked or caught by people who really care about what they do and the environment around them. “I think, as a society, we should try and eat a healthier, more sustainable diet. We consume far too much processed meat, wheat and sugar, and it really is having a massive impact.” Responsibly chosen and unprocessed ingredients, along with an emphasis on plant-based foods, is the way forward, reckons Gill. But that definitely doesn’t mean the book is a meat-free zone. There are recipes using all kinds of meats, from rabbit to partridge, wild boar to squirrel, as well as the usual butcher and fishmonger staples. What matters most to this conscientious chef is our understanding of that food – the responsible choices will then follow. This is precisely why it’s 12 years and counting that he’s been a part of River Cottage’s endeavours – they share the same ethos. “River Cottage is an educational business,” he says. “We teach people about food. I believe the more we know about food and the ingredients we cook, the more informed our decisions will be about what we eat – which will ultimately be good for our health and wellbeing.” And this collaboration that’s proved so successful and valuable for both River Cottage and its followers came about by total chance, would you believe...? “I first met Hugh in 2003 at a party; he was sat next to me on a hay bale in a yurt. I introduced myself, and we talked about food and cooking. Several weeks later he called me and asked if I would be interested in helping him out with a few things. That was the beginning.” As a fellow local resident, Gill is particularly enthusiastic about the landscapes we have in this fine patch of the country, and the ingredients they proffer – an excitement that’s


Trencherman’s Pub of the Year 2016

The Swan is the oldest pub in the charming historic town of Bampton, near Exmoor National Park, an area well known for its hunting, fishing, shooting and popular with ramblers and cyclists. We have a passion for food and with this we like to embrace the use of local produce, keeping menus simple, yet bursting with flavours and imagination. We take pride in our well kept, locally sourced ales and fine wines, to whet the appetites and suit all tastes.

Eat, Drink & Sleep At the Swan, Bampton

The NoBody Inn Doddiscombsleigh Devon • 01647 252 394

Open 7 days a week for lunch & evening bar food Restaurant Open Tuesday - Saturday evenings inclusive GO O D HOTEL GU ID E IN N O F TH E Y E A R 201 7 L ET THE N O B O DY IN N WR AP ITS ELF A ROUND YOU THIS WIN TER

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WI NE D I NE & STAY Over 250 Fine Wines Lovely Garden

Over 240 Malt Whiskies Whisky Pub of the Year

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Private Function Room

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clearly evident in his writing in Gather. The South West is a particularly lucky area, because of the wide range of produce in its natural larder, he thinks. “The food producing landscapes are diverse and varied here. Agriculture is important in the South West; crops and livestock are central to the economy, so big areas of the landscape are given over to this. There are lots of fruit and vegetables grown in the area, too – the weather and soil must be partly to thank for this. “The coast stretches the length of the South West, and there are wonderful beaches and healthy fisheries. We have some of the finest seafood I know. We also have swathes of moorland and woodland – these managed habitats are full of promise. “What’s more, there’s a whole host of wild foods to be found in all of these places. I find that particularly exciting.” So what about right now? What local wild foods should we be getting all hyped up about for this autumn and winter? “I love damsons; I make jam, ice cream and tarts with them. I love leeks, pumpkins and mushrooms, too – in fact, I could use all three of these in a big barley salad and be very content. “Last year I made lots of warming split pea dal. I’d quite often serve it with poached eggs, fresh chilli, yoghurt, coriander and spring onions.” In Gather, Gill has put all such inspiration on paper, meaning that we can cook in time with the seasons, getting the most out of what’s readily and ethically available, not to mention at its best-tasting. And, as home cooks, that makes our job a heck of a lot easier, no? Gill reckons so. “Cooking isn’t the most important thing about being a chef: understanding food is. The cooking is simply the last thing we do before we eat it.” ✱


THIS IS A very simple recipe for one of the most enjoyable pasta sauces I’ve ever eaten. Cook the rabbit slowly with smoked bacon, vegetables and herbs until it’s tender enough to come away from the bone with ease. Flake the meat, then return it to the sauce. It’s as rustic as you like, and perfect for a cold winter’s night. INGREDIENTS

400g type ‘00’ flour, plus extra for dusting good pinch of fine sea salt 4 eggs 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 6 thick rashers of smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons 2 celery sticks, trimmed and very finely diced 1 onion, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced 2 bay leaves 6 sprigs thyme 1 sprig rosemary 1 wild rabbit, jointed 500ml chicken or vegetable stock METHOD

✱ Gather by Gill Meller (Quadrille, £25); photography by Andrew Montgomery

Rabbit with pappardelle

– First make the pasta. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the salt. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. Use a fork to whisk the eggs and slowly start to incorporate the flour, a little at a time. When you have a soft dough, tip it out, along with any loose flour, onto a clean surface. Work the dough, stretching and folding it across your work surface for 8-10 minutes, until it is smooth and silky. Wrap in cling film and rest it in the fridge for 30-40 minutes. – Divide the dough in half and work each


into a flattish rectangle in your hands. You can roll out the pasta using a large rolling pin (it’s hard work, but you’ll get there – go as thin as you can), but it’s easier using a pasta machine. Take one rectangle and pass it through the machine on its thickest setting a couple of times. Fold the dough into three, as if folding a letter and, still on the thickest setting, pass it through twice more (this gives the dough structure). Now, run the dough half through all the settings on the machine, from its thickest to its thinnest. Dust both sides of the pasta lightly with flour each time you roll. When you’ve got down to the thinnest setting, cut the pasta into long ribbons to make the pappardelle. I hang the lengths over the back of a chair while I roll and cut the remaining dough, as before. The pasta will dry quite quickly so, if you don’t intend to cook it straight away, layer it up between sheets of cling film and keep it covered in the fridge. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the other dough half. – Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium casserole over a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the lardons and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the bacon has given up a little fat. Add the celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme and rosemary sprigs. – Cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and just beginning to colour. – Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a mediumhigh heat. When hot, add the rabbit pieces and season them all over with salt and pepper. Fry the rabbit for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until lovely and golden all over. Transfer the rabbit and any pan juices to the casserole of softening vegetables. Pour over the stock and bring up to a very gentle simmer. Place a lid on the casserole, leaving it just ajar, then cook on a low heat for 1-2 hours, or until the meat is completely tender and comes easily away from the bone. If the pan looks a little dry during cooking, add a splash more stock or water. – When the rabbit is ready, remove the casserole from the heat and use a pair of tongs to transfer the rabbit pieces to a large plate. When the meat is cool enough to handle, pick it off the bone in shards and shreds and add it back to the pan. Stir everything well, and return the pan to the heat. Bring the sauce back up to a simmer and continue simmering until it has reached a consistency you’re happy with (I usually leave it bubbling away for about 15-20 minutes). When it’s ready, season to taste with salt and pepper. – Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water for 3-6 minutes, until cooked to your liking. Drain, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Place equal amounts of pasta on each of four plates, then spoon over generous amounts of the rabbit sauce. Serve straight away.

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Highlights Fancy something more rustic? Head through to the drinkers’ bar for ales, brasses, and open fires


There’s great reverence for the food at The Church House Inn Page 62


Check out the cosy retreat that is Bayards Cove Inn on Dartmouth’s front Page 65




crab that’s dressed smarter than us for dinner

( G R E AT P U B S )

Af ters

THE CHURCH HOUSE INN Everyone loves this refurbished Rattery pub – the national media, the locals, the tourists, even the resident ghost. Charlie Lyon discovers why 62


ho doesn’t love a good old pub refurb? Out with the sticky carpets and grime, in with much-needed ventilation and sanitation – though I don’t think I can write any more about tongue and groove, heritage shades (always with an eggshell finish) or seagrass rugs, and I’m kinda bored of sitting on reclaimed, mismatched furniture, towering over my dinner date who’s teetering on a stool. I’m looking for something different. So hurrah for father-son outfit Jon and William Edwards, who have given The Church House Inn at Rattery, just on the edge of Dartmoor, a sympathetic overhaul, leaving the 11th century drinking hole traditional while turning the old stable block restaurant into an elegant haven. In the bar area horse brasses adorn the black-painted beams, large leaded windows keep it cosy, big open fires roar during the winter, and the hefty bar looks beautifully hard carved. Apparently even the resident ghost hasn’t been unsettled by the changes, and still roams free – although he’s not about on the sunny Monday afternoon we visit. The Church House Inn is a drinkers’ pub, as recognised in October’s 2016 Observer Food Monthly awards, where it received high praise as runner up in the ‘best place to drink in the west’ category. These guys were praised, amongst other things, for the host of local beverages they offer from four Devon breweries – Otter, Dartmoor, Hanlons and Bays – plus Luscombe Drinks, Thompstones Cider and more. But the pub has not just been winning awards for its beverages. In the new lofty restaurant – with whitewashed walls, wooden beams, sanded-back floors, floor-to-ceiling glass and doors leading to the garden – the chef is serving up great pub dishes done exceptionally well, and this has been recognised in recent local awards, too. Speaking of local, River Exe mussels, meats from Gribbles Butchers and Sharpham Cheeses all appear on today’s lunch menu. I kick off lunch with a ham hock terrine (£6.50), which is meaty


and robust with man-sized chunks of soft and salty pork dotted with whole capers. The piccalilli is sweet with a smooth tartness, the baby veg giving just the right amount of crunch. Griddled sourdough sides and micro herbs in the leaves bring this historic dish up to date. My gal pal was quick to request the sweet potato and goat’s cheese croquettes (£6); they come, fat and oozing, and she’s delighted the chef “has in no way scrimped on the cheese”. When it comes to mains there are a solid 10 options on the menu. My wild mushroom and truffle gnocchi (£10.50) sounds simple but is full of depth, earthy and garlicky with bijou balls of gnocchi, fried to give them texture and bite. Opposite, the ‘catch of the day’ (read: fish and chips) transpires to be a big hunk of white fish in crisp batter with a tower of juicy, seasoned peas and a good helping of perfectly fried fingers of potato – a steal at £11.50. Would we like to see the dessert menu? A few minutes of method acting later, politely pondering the feasibility of pushing down another course, we agree. The blood orange posset (£5.50) is a winner, super sweet and creamy inside, and lidded with a bright layer of tart jelly. It’s an elegant affair, as is our dinner in general in the lofty dining room. But then it’s back to the bar area, where we slump down and loosen our belts in pure comfort.

✱ THE CHURCH HOUSE INN, Rattery, South Brent, Devon TQ10 9LD; 01364 642 220;

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Af ters


It might be cold outside, but there’s the warmest of welcomes at this cosy 14th century inn. Charlie Lyon parks up for a night of prefabbed ‘hygge’


e’re all embracing ‘hygge’ right now, aren’t we? The Danish art of hunkering down for winter, cosying up and doing nice things in our homes to make us feel comfortable and content. It’s a lifestyle craze that’s gathering international momentum, capturing all apart from, I imagine, people like me who live in draughty Victorian houses where no matter how many candles we light and blankets we snuggle into, we still sit rigid with cold. I like to leave my home to get my fix of hygge, and Dartmouth makes the ideal destination. The rest of the world seems to think the best time to visit is summer, but on a dark and frosty night, when the streets are silent and all you can hear from the front is the splash of the waves and all you can see is the twinkle of the Kingswear lights, Dartmouth is wonderful. The amazingly affable staff at Bayards Cove Inn apologise for the quietness in the cosy downstairs bar-cum-restaurant, but for me it’s perfect. And, actually, most of the tables in the bar are be taken anyway. This 14th century inn makes the most perfect of winter retreats, with its low

beams, stone walls and jaunty lines. The rooms are deliciously comfortable and homely, so I get hygge with it and pop on my woolly socks right away. I don’t think anyone would mind here, even if I wore them down to dinner. I don’t, but instead of sitting at the table we take low comfy chairs in an alcove and treat our corner as a homefrom-home snug. When it comes to food at Bayards, breakfast shines: fresh pastries and sourdough, mini terracotta pots of fruit and yoghurt, smoked fish, cured meats, hot baps, and full breakfasts with wholesome, flavoursome ingredients – robust sausages, sunshine-yellow eggs and a blinding cup of coffee. But let’s not jump ahead –we’ve not had dinner yet. On the menu, nibbles (like anchovies and peppellino peppers) are £4, while starters kick off at £7. Our chargrilled halloumi emerges as deepfried on a bed of beetroot salad, but it’s a generous portion and keeps my companion going for yonks as we catch up. After buying, breaking and dressing my first ever crab this summer, I’ll never sigh at the price of a crab starter again. For £9, mine was sweet and meaty with hunks of grained bread and salty butter.


Perfect with the Sharpham’s Dart Valley Reserve (£4.95) we sup on. I step ashore for mains with local venison casserole (£16). It’s a tasty, earthy bowl of meat topped with sweet redcurrant jelly and a scattering of fresh parsley. My pal’s dish is smoked bacon and haddock chowder (£12), suitably rustic with a hunk of bread on the side. Desserts are simple: cheese, ice cream, or any of the homemade cakes that weigh down the bar in the day (if there are any left). We plump for the last option – the churros with chocolate and toffee sauce – then it’s brandy coffees for the ultimate warming end to the snuggest of evenings. ✱ BAYARDS COVE INN, 27 Lower Street, Dartmouth, Devon TQ6 9AN; 01803 839278;

Little black book Barbara King, managing director of The Shops at Dartington, reveals her favourite foodie haunts

FOR BREAKFAST? The Venus Café at

Blackpool Sands for the glorious view and the ‘full Venus breakfast’ – but get there early on a sunny day, even in winter, to bag a shielded balcony outside table.


It has to be The Food Shop at The Shops at Dartington. Particular favourites are Almond Thief’s sourdough breads, Tom’s Pies butternut squash, mixed bean and cheese pie, Eversfield Organic’s bacon, and organic salad from School Farm. SUNDAY LUNCH? Glazebrook House Hotel. It’s not a traditional Sunday lunch, but with chef Anton’s expertise, everything is delicious. There’s also a comfy bar area to chill out in after.


Now add this little lot to your contacts book Venus Café, Blackpool Sands TQ6 0RG; The Food Shop, The Shops at Dartington TQ9 6TQ; Glazebrook House, South Brent TQ10 9JE; The White Hart at Dartington Hall TQ9 6EE; Tigermilk, Plymouth PL1 3LG; The Seahorse, Dartmouth TQ6 9BH; The Oyster Shack, Bigbury TQ7 4BE; Curator Café, Totnes TQ9 5DR; nc@ex34, Woolacombe EX34 7BB; Millbrook Inn, South Pool TQ7 2RW; Number 7 Fish Bistro, Torquay TQ1 2BH; Café Alf Resco, Dartmouth TQ6 9AN; Dartington Dairy, Dartington TQ9 6EA; Goierri Foods, Chudleigh; Wildwood, Plymouth PL1 3QQ;

QUICK PINT? More like a glass of wine,

drunk at The White Hart at Dartington Hall. I love sitting in what was once a medieval vaulted kitchen. CHEEKY COCKTAIL? Tigermilk at

the Duke of Cornwall in Plymouth – hard to find, and hard to leave. Great, interesting cocktails – the voluptuous G&T is a favourite! 

POSH NOSH? Always The Seahorse,

Dartmouth. A friendly, unpretentious restaurant, and a joy to see so much local fish on the menu! I had an aversion to squid until I tried their chilli squid… the rest is history.

FOOD ON THE GO? I prefer to sit down

and enjoy what I am eating, but I have been known to buy a sausage bap from The Venus Cafe takeaway.


Shack in Bigbury, when it’s not too busy, for very fresh fish.

HIDDEN GEM? Curator Café in Totnes. Upstairs is tiny, but what a taste experience! It is Italian, but no towering


mounds of boring spaghetti bolognese here! The food is regional, with interesting things to try. There’s a good wine list, and the team are very friendly and happy to explain the menu. ONE TO WATCH? Well worth a trip to the north Devon coast, the amazing food on offer at nc@ex34 in Woolacombe gets my vote! It’s closed in the depths of winter, so make a booking as soon as it opens again in spring for the taster menu. COMFORT FOOD? Millbrook Inn at South Pool. It’s not everyone’s comfort food, but I love JP’s fish pie when it’s on the menu. His cooking just goes from strength to strength. WITH THE FAMILY? Number 7 Fish

Bistro in Torquay has a great selection of fresh local fish. They have the best oysters I have eaten in a long time, and they are good for small fish dishes.


Dartmouth. It's busy with a lively atmosphere. Children are welcomed – even if they are a little noisy, and make a mess!


up between the most delicious pastry triangles called sfogliatella from Okemoor (who supply many restaurants and delis), and the new Dartington Dairy goats’ milk ice cream.

TOP STREET FOOD? Look for Goierri Foods at local food events and markets, and try their Spanish paella with a difference: tasty, hearty, moreish.

PRE-THEATRE FEED? Wildwood in Royal William Yard, Plymouth. It’s a bit of a trek from the Theatre Royal, but the food is tasty, service fast, and it’s located in an old warehouse with great decor. ✱

Crumbs Devon – issue 11  
Crumbs Devon – issue 11