CRUMBS Devon NO.15 MAY 2017
INCREEDY IBLE JOURN
AMAZING STAYs FR YOU AND YOUR PET
A little slice of foodie heaven PLUS!
THE TRMESBY AR THE FIIVNEN BELLS BRWNN & BEA
NO.15 MAY 2017
WHY THERE’S A CHEF SHRTAGE
c r u m bs m a g . c
S U C R MA N D W BA ING OF GRIlLS DEVON’s
TOM e G d I keNrS r rTY The pa OD
(AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT)
JOI XETER FO ST FE aT E
T WE ENROGLIAN SCHOOL SALCOMBE ’s
RECIPE OVERLOAD! WE BELIEVE IN YOU!
YOU’RE DELICIOUS, NOT UGLY!
SPRING STUNNERs FROM
MARC NATHAN NAE OLMINI PIERRE OUTLAW DANDVMORE WHIT E
se Why thneu y t t , y l e v lO O O ms mushrv deser e
WE LOVE YOU!
STARTOM RO U M SHMING… R FA R UNDER …FO0 QUID! 10
PERFECT LENPO PO STY V ETIAN
L e R O m SuppORT Why do you hunt for mushrooms?
Because I have no morels!
TA SMALL PLATEs AT EXETER’s BEST BACARO
£3 where sold
BOOm! ShaKE The ’ShrOOm
MORELS, WHAT THE HEY? These intriguing little organisms defy the main mushroom season (generally September to November) by raising their knobbly heads in springtime, feeding from the nutrients in soil and wood that other plants shun. Find them in wasteland, woodland, even in your back garden, but take care if you’re a have-a-go forager, because for every funghi friend there’s a foe lurking right behind it (you’ve heard of Christopher McCandless, right?). We’ve more on toxic ‘false morels’ on p8. Morels aren’t the only season-flouting ’shrooms we’ve found this month, either. In Exeter there’s a trio of urban farmers cultivating exotic oyster mushrooms purely in coffee grounds. They grow them all year round, and reckon their sustainable methods are a darned sight better for us (and the planet) than our conventional mushroom farming ways – read more on p18. As well as celebrating these capped fungal growths for their flavour and versatility, we should be looking forward to them helping us stay slim, too – apparently. Last month we heard US scientists created a mushroom extract that stops taste buds from detecting bitter flavours. This means we won’t have to load up treats like coffee and chocolate with sugar to mask their naturally occurring bitterness – we can pop mushers in, instead. Fat-free Easter eggs next year? We’ll keep you posted. Elsewhere, have you noticed Devon’s gone into full-on party mode? Not only is Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink happening on 29 April-1 May, there’s the River Cottage Spring Food Fair on 27-29 May and Salcombe Crab Festival on 30 April, with man of the moment (AKA Saturday Kitchen new host) Matt Tebbutt. Enjoy!
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 crumbsmag.com
Charlie Lyon, Editor email@example.com
Table of Contents
NO. 15 MAY 2017
CHARLIE LYON firstname.lastname@example.org DEVELOPMENT EDITOR
MATT BIELBY email@example.com ART DIRECTOR
TREVOR GILHAM ADVERTISING MANAGER
JOSS PHILLIPS Joss.Phillips@mediaclash.co.uk BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
SIMON HAWKINS firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION MANAGER
SARAH KINGSTON email@example.com PRODUCTION DESIGNER
CHARLIE PINDER firstname.lastname@example.org CHIEF EXECUTIVE
JANE INGHAM email@example.com CHIEF EXECUTIVE
GREG INGHAM firstname.lastname@example.org
MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW; 01225 475800; www.mediaclash.co.uk 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 whipped up pots and pots of wild garlic pesto, then spent ages wondering why no one wanted to hang out with us at lunch #garlicbreath
30 Easter main and pud, from Marco Pierre White 32 Salted caramel brownies, by Nathan Outlaw 34 Rose and pistachio cake, by Naomi Devlin 36 Vegan St Clement’s cake, by Paola Royal
08 HERO INGREDIENT If you go down to the woods today... look out for morels! 10 OPENINGS ETC The word on the foodie street 14 ASK THE EXPERT *Head scratch* So, what actually is gin? 18 LOCAVORE There’s a whole lot more to learn about mushrooms 20 TRIO Scone, jam, cream. Bosh
KITCHEN ARMOURY 40 COOKS WITH Getting fired up with grill king Marcus Bawdon in his back yard-cum-BBQ school 46 THE WANT LIST It’s all about the pastry and everything pink
CHEF! Amazing recipes from the region’s top kitchens 26 Stuffed sweet potatoes, by Jane Baxter 28 Herb-crusted Devon lamb, from Darrin Hosegrove
MAINS 50 PUBS & POOCHES Rat-a-tat-tat. These fine establishments welcome in both man and beast
54 CHEF SOS Devon needs new recruits to dish up all that amazing grub 57 GRILLED Tom Kerridge is on his way to Devon, and here’s what he’s got to say about it
New & notable restaurants, cafés, bars 62 Polpo 64 The Five Bells Inn PLUS
66 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Aimee Twigger takes a break from baking to tell us about her fave food haunts
START E RS INNOVATIONS, REVELATIONS AND TASTY AMUSE-BOUCHES
fULL Of beaNs ANTON PIOTROWSKI is the former head chef of The Treby Arms, the pub in Plympton when he won a Michelin star and kept it for three years. He had a great time there by all accounts – “I didn’t really want to go”, he said on leaving – but now seems to have landed on his feet, having opened a new restaurant in Plymouth, Brown & Bean, with two friends. Paul Brown and Ben McBean had taken over the site on Ebrington Street and, while still “figuring out what to do with it”, asked Anton to join the business and help develop the concept. It’s now an intimate, trendy restaurant that serves an à la carte lunch
menu and two-course deal, plus a ninecourse evening taster menu at just £45. “The boys had a feel for what they wanted, then I put my touch on it,” says Anton. “It’s now really chic and relaxed, but massively big on flavour. Make no mistake, though: this is my food, and I’m not copying any of the big boys. So if you want to have a meal cooked by a Michelin chef who’s gone out of his way to actually do something different – and not just try and follow everyone else – get your arse down to Brown & Bean!” ✱ Follow the restaurant on Twitter @BrownAndBean
S T A R T E R S
mOReLs HAPPILY, THE FIRST WILD MUSHROOM OF THE SEASON IS NOT ONLY ONE OF THE BEST, ITâ€™S ALSO JUST ABOUT THE EASIEST TO IDENTIFY
icking wild mushrooms is, of course, not for everybody. They can be mighty elusive, for one thing; there’s the danger of not knowing quite what you’ve got (a good field guide is essential for most of us); and then there’s the question of what to do with them. The thing about the morel, though, is not just that it’s delicious – a real delicacy, and a star of Provençal cooking among other cuisines – but how anatomically crazy it is too, the conical upper part a complicated brown network of ridges and pits not unlike a honeycomb, while the centre’s empty. They’re a real visual delight, like some alien plant – the vanguard of a Triffid invasion – that’s somehow popped out of nowhere in a run-down orchard or your flower bed bark chippings. Weird though they might seem, however, morels are not rare in the British Isles – indeed, they can be found all over, though they favour dryer, sandier soil – and can be foraged for, or simply bought, either fresh or tinned. Raw, they’re a disaster (mildly toxic, in fact) but, once dusted clean – all those nooks and crannies seem to suck up the grit and provide homes for insects, so take a moment – their robust flavour suits cooking any which way, from in omelettes, sauces, casseroles, risottos and stews to just fried in butter or olive oil and served on toast. (They work especially well in a posh fry-up breakfast.) And, since the hollow body acts as a natural dish when cut in half, you can fill them with savoury stuffing then oven cook them, too. In terms of flavour partners, chicken’s the obvious thing – a morel sauce and roast chuck combo is a total win – but try them with steak, duck, venison or rabbit, or more robust swimmers like salmon, skate, pollock or monkfish. Perhaps unsurprising for something so odd-looking, the nicknames the morel gets are, rather brilliantly, hilarious – especially those first coined in the American South. In Kentucky they’re ‘hickory chickens’; in West Virginia they’re ‘molly moochers’. Elsewhere they’re ‘miracles’ (apparently named for the way some hillbilly clan was saved from starvation by this free food suddenly popping up out of nowhere), or ‘dryland fish’ (sliced lengthways and fried they look a bit like sardines).
The big question, of course, is knowing exactly what you’ve got, because there are lots of different versions that all – despite the basic honeycomb thing – look different to each other. Some think there are as few as three main species, others up to 50, and the most common varieties are usually referred to by their colours: the yellow (or common) morel, the white morel and the black morel are best known, though each can come in a variety of shades. Over the years, we’ve always felt quite sorry for those animals whose common name basically just points out that they’re not what you’d hoped they were – the false killer whale (a friendly enough beast that’s been known to offer freshly caught fish to divers), or the false gharial (a 13-foot croc that suffers the ignominy of being a notquite-good-enough version of an animal you’d never heard of in the first place) – but we’ve no such affection for the false morel. This fungi looks much like the real thing – if the real thing had starred in a John Carpenter film – and though even the genuine morel is slightly toxic when raw, this thing’s a potential killer. (Bizarrely, it’s also considered a delicacy in some northern climes, though plucky Finns avoid diarrhoea, delirium and even death by drying and boiling extensively to remove all the nasty gyromitrin, a mighty carcinogen.) Perhaps luckily, these larger, darker, more wrinkled and ‘brainy’ looking forest dwellers – beware of folds, flaps and lobes, instead of pits and ridges, and a solid (rather than hollow) interior – are rarely spotted in mainland Britain. So how do we find the real morels? They grow in the same sort of places as other wild mushrooms – think under trees, by hedges or in grassy clearings, and appear from late March through to June. Old orchards are a good place to look, or around dead or dying elms; others suggest wasteland, building sites, river banks, old railway lines, or in – a great tip! – recently laid wood or bark chipping flower beds in your garden. After rain’s a good time to search, as they need moisture to start showing. (Indeed, you only have a small window with these things – they tend to pop up and disappear within days – so, once you’ve found a likely spot, keep on checking it.) Freshly-picked morels are a thrilling spring treat, but to enjoy them you’ll need perseverance – and a bit of luck.
WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO ( SERVES 4 )
handful dried porcini mushrooms ½ onion, finely diced 75g unsalted butter 50ml olive oil 300g arborio rice 750ml hot chicken or vegetable stock 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced handful of morels handful of chestnut mushrooms 200g mascarpone handful finely grated hard Cheddar METHOD
– Pour 250ml of boiling water over the dried porcini and allow them to soak until soft. Strain, reserving the liquor, and finely chop the porcini. – Add the finely diced onion to a pan with 25g of the butter and 1 tbsp of the olive oil and fry over a medium heat. Cook until the onions turn translucent but don’t colour. Add the arborio rice and chopped porcini and stir until the grains are thoroughly coated in the oil. – Add a ladle of the stock and stir into the rice until absorbed. Repeat, a ladle at a time, until the stock and hot porcini soaking water has been absorbed and the rice is al dente (it should be firm, but with no chalky centre). – Meanwhile, roughly chop the morels and chestnut mushrooms and fry over a medium high heat with the remaining 50g butter and sliced garlic, until they’re tender and caramelised. – Stir the mascarpone, remaining olive oil, cheese and fried mushrooms into the risotto – it should be loose in consistency. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
S T A R T E R S
It’s the Devon business that seems unstoppable – Rockfish has just lodged plans to open its sixth site, at Exeter Quay’s Piazza Terracina. If the plans are approved by the council they will build a single-storey pavilion restaurant ready to open in early 2018, and creating 40 jobs. Founder Mitch Tonks says: “The site on the quay suits us perfectly, as it is overlooking the water. Exeter is still only a short drive from Brixham, so we can stick to our golden rule of serving local fish on the day it was landed.” ✱ therockfish.co.uk
NEW NAME, SAME GOOD GAME
Family fun & food!
Don’t miss this food calendar highlight that takes place 27-29 May. River Cottage Spring Food Fair sees the team put on a brilliant weekend with free farm tours, workshops, a street food market, plus new for 2017, a pop-up restaurant in the famous farmhouse itself. There’s tons for kids too, plus music and bars serving local bevvies. ✱ rivercottage.net/springfoodfair
Tucked away from Woolacombe’s windy front on South Street is Noel Corston, which has reopened for the 2017 season with a reconfigured dining space and new name (previously it was NC@EX34). It’s still Noel in the kitchen, with wife Nora looking after service, but tables have been moved so now all diners can have the kitchen counter experience. There will be one sitting per evening, with room for 10 diners, at 7pm Weds-Sat. Food-wise, think two tasting menus at £75 and £95, and an optional wine flight. As before, food will reflect the immediate environment. ✱ noelcorston.com
One of the pigs at The Pig at Combe enjoying off-cuts from the kitchen. Oink! @thepig_hotel
Just another Tuesday morning at Otter HQ @otterbrewery
IN THE DIARY... (28 April - 1 May) EXETER FESTIVAL OF SOUTH WEST FOOD AND DRINK The annual foodie event returns to Exeter Castle. Tickets from £6. ✱ exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk (30 April) SALCOMBE CRABFEST Celebrate crab, seafood and local tourism in style. This year’s celebrity guest will be new Saturday Kitchen permanent host, Matt Tebbutt. ✱ salcombecrabfest.co.uk (5 May) A TASTE OF TORBAY There’s a seven-course dining experience at The Grand Hotel, celebrating the very best of Devonshire produce with selected wines from local Totnes vineyards. Tickets cost £50pp, plus £25 for the optional wine pairing. ✱ grandtorquay.co.uk
S STTA A RRT E T RS E R S
New kid on the block now, and we are united in defining our new style. Well, sounds like you have it all in hand. What first attracted you to The Treby Arms? I was recommended to The Treby through a friend, and meeting with Anton I recognised another Devonian chef with the same values in food and same passion to succeed.
oN iT like SOniC
MEET LUKE FEARON. HE’S STEPPING UP INTO THE HEAD CHEF ROLE AT THE TREBY ARMS, PLYMPTON. BIG SHOES TO FILL, BUT HE’S GOT BIG FEET* *We haven’t had this verified, we must confess; we’ve just heard his cooking is spot on
Hi Luke! The renowned Chef Anton has flown the nest, and you’re taking up the challenge of helming this famed gastropub. Is she in safe hands? I have been with The Treby now for just over nine months, as the sous and development chef. I’ve had a big impact on the food style already, and I’m retaining a relatively unchanged team that I have worked closely with now for a good amount of time. We know what makes each other tick, and we have a very close bond. The team is behind me
Are you hoping to retain the Michelin accolade? We are hoping to retain the star, of course; we are almost exactly the same team that retained the star last year. However, Michelin works in a very guarded way, so we won’t even try to predict what will happen – we just have to ensure that every day we cook happy food that tastes and looks great. How many are in the team? We are a team of nine chefs and two kitchen porters. And where might we know you from? The truth is that you probably won’t know me. I have worked as a career sous chef. I work hard behind the scenes, pushing the teams forward.
Will you be changing the menu at all? The menu is a constant work in progress. Even when we are happy with a dish we will find a new technique or ingredient to give the plate or the process that little boost. Going forward, we will be working closely with our habitat and seasons to develop new and exciting flavours for our customers. How would you describe your style of cooking? My style is quite classical in flavour and very clean on the plate but it has a strong grounding in the countryside, using the best ingredients we can get hold of.
What’s been your proudest career achievement so far? Working alongside Scott Paton at The Horn of Plenty and achieving our three AA rosettes. We worked hard for that. It wasn’t an easy kitchen to work in. What are your favourite ingredients at the moment? Right now, I am very hung up on Asian ingredients. We are playing with koji [rice or soya beans that have been fermented with a particular fungus] at the restaurant, and we haven’t unlocked the right way to use it yet, but I have high hopes for our koji/shitake vinegar. Have you got any current favourite flavour combinations? For me it’s a simple one: vanilla anything. It’s not going to break any culinary boundaries, but sometimes it’s the simple things done right that deliver the most satisfaction to diners. Favourite cookery book? My favourite cook book is Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook. It’s a complete restaurant anthology, and a must for any young chef. Any foodie heroes? I have a lot of foodie inspirations. I am loving the work of Gareth Ward (Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms), Lee Westcott (Typing Room), Isaac McHale (The Clove Club) and the team behind restaurant STUD!O in Copenhagen. Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without? I could not live without our Rational oven. It is such a versatile machine. Finally, got any favourite suppliers you use for The Treby Arms? We have a lot of suppliers, and they're all my favourites. If I picked just one I would risk getting lynched every time I answered the phone! ✱ The Treby Arms, Sparkwell, Plympton PL7 5DD; 01752 837363; thetrebyarms.co.uk
Ask the Expert
leT The aFFaIr Be GIN! 14
SALCOMBE GIN – THE LATEST LUXURY BRAND FROM DEVON – HAS NOT ONLY LAUNCHED A MAGNIFICENT NEW BAR OVERLOOKING THE KINGSBRIDGE ESTUARY, BUT A GIN SCHOOL TOO. WE LEARNT SOME TRADE SECRETS, WHILE TAKING A LESSON IN GIN ENJOYMENT – YES, REALLY – FROM CO-OWNER HOWARD DAVIES… It’s only the second school day that Salcombe Gin have put on, and we’re there keen and eager, armed with pencil, paper, questions – and lined stomachs. “But it’s not all an educational experience,” says Howard Davies, who set up the business three years ago with long-term friend Angus Lugsdin. “There’s fun to be had, too.” We’re given a tour of the premises, introduced to the still, then it’s on to the classroom, where we start creating our own bespoke distillation. While most of the pupils are hard at work, we couldn’t help piping up with a few questions… Great set-up you’ve got here, Howard. How did it all come about? Angus and I have been friends for years, and used to sail together in Salcombe. At the end of each day we’d congregate at the yacht club, where they’ve got a lovely terrace overlooking the estuary, and we’d have a gin and tonic while reminiscing about the events of the day. That’s where the seed of the idea behind was planted. Over the years we kept in touch, then about three years ago we took the plunge. But you can’t turn into master distillers overnight, surely? Did you do any prep? (Don’t tell us you’re just winging it!) Angus and I both worked in distilleries up in Scotland for a while, at Springbank [in Campbeltown], then we went to Islay together – it inspires your passion when you go there. We went to Bruichladdich Distillery, where they make The Botanist Gin, and Kilchoman Distillery. We worked doing anything from sweeping up maltings to carting about the end product. Then, when we got back, we teamed up with an old friend who was a global brand manager at Grey Goose Vodka and Bombay Samphire gin – he was fantastically useful. We then spent the next 18 months developing a nice little gin and launched it in July 2016, so it took us quite a while to get there. We heard gin and Salcombe go together like, er, gin and tonic… In the 19th century, 80% of the vessels used
to import fruits and spices from the West Indies, the Azores and the Mediterranean were made here in Salcombe, and crewed by local men. They were called the Salcombe Fruiters, and were built rakishly for speed, the point being they needed to get back to the UK – to London, Liverpool, Bristol and Southampton – fast, before the fruit perished on the journey. They all had copper bottoms, and used to sail across the Atlantic with the hatch covers open to get airflow through to keep the fruit really fresh – but that made it really dangerous, because if there was a storm you’d get water in the hold of the boat. A lot of sailors lost their lives. When we found this out, we went back and looked at the old manifest lists and took inspiration for some of the botanicals we now use in making our gin. And copper’s a theme you’ve continued with too, which we like to see. But let’s get down to the nitty gritty: what exactly is gin? We use a neutral-grain base spirit, made from wheat – and made here in the UK – that we buy in, then we distill it. What you’re trying to do in the distillation process is heat up botanicals in the alcohol, so the flavours mix and meld, then you take that and condense it. The key botanicals are juniper berries, coriander seeds and orris root – the orris root acts as a fixative to bring all the flavours together. Then, in Salcombe Gin, there are about 13 botanicals, including cardamom, liquorice, cubeb and ruby red grapefruit zest.
IN The 19TH CENTURY, 80% OF THE VESSELS USED TO IMPORT FRUITS AND SPICES wERE madE IN SALCOMBE AND CREWED BY LOCAL MEN 15
And what about the distilling process, then? Can you give us a run-down? Our big copper 450l still is called Provident, and is from Germany. In it we put about 200l of base spirit, 200l water, 60l of tails – we’ll come on to that later – and all of the fresh botanicals, then slowly heat it to about 80C. The vapour goes up the column, starts to condense, and it runs back down the inside of the column. The copper helps take out any impurities and helps make it smooth. Then it goes up again and through a condenser, and it starts coming out at 88% ABV. Okay, that sounds fairly simple. Can you kick back with a G&T in the bar while it does its own thing? Not really. You have to take tiny tasters along the way because, as the run progresses, the flavour progresses as well. Some of the botanicals dissolve, or the flavours are absorbed more quickly, particularly the citrus or the sweeter flavours like liquorice, whereas with some of the harder botanicals – like juniper or the cubeb berries – it takes longer for the flavour to leach out. The first thing that comes out is the ‘heads’, which can contain impurities, or flavours you don’t want, so the first 10l we discard. The next lot is called ‘hearts’, though, and this is what we want – it’s what goes into our bottles. The strength will be about 81% at this point. The ‘tails’, which come out last, have a bit more of a deeper, darker, more earthy flavour. It’s still quite nice, but not what we want to go in our bottles. So we take the ‘hearts’ and we blend it with Dartmoor
I WANT TO SAIL MY YACHT INTO ENGLISH HARBOUR IN ANTIGUA, WALK INTO A BAR AND ORDER A SALCOMBE GIN water till we get to our bottling strength, which is 44%. Dartmoor water, eh? Keeping it local. Yes, part of the reason we reckon our gin is so smooth – why you can drink it easily just neat over ice – is the fact that we use natural Dartmoor spring water. So, how long does the whole process take in total? We start at 8am in the morning, and we finish about 5pm. Really, from start of production to shop shelf, it’s a week. Once we’ve blended the gin we don’t bottle it immediately, but, unlike whisky, you don’t need to keep it for three years in a cask. With gin you can sell it immediately, but we find that after two or three days the flavours meld together nicely and even out, so we bottle it after that. You’ve just one gin at the moment, but is one really enough in this insatiable gin market? A lot of the new craft distilleries are producing something a little bit leftfield to be different, and it’s easy to go down that route. The problem is, often the gin isn’t that palatable. Our objective was to create an exceptional London Dry Gin, and,
fingers crossed, I think we’ve achieved that. However, we are developing others and we have some in the pipeline… You launched just less than a year ago, but it seems like you’re already flying. How much help do you think it’s been that Salcombe itself is a cool brand that everyone wants to be associated with? Yes, Salcombe really is – but we haven’t wanted to rely on that, or use it as a crutch. Everything we do has to be the best, and the gin has to stand on its own legs. By next year we want to be exporting, and we’ve got a few areas we’re looking at. We don’t want to scale up massively, or lose that handcrafted element; we just want to be in really cool places. I want to sail my yacht into English Harbour in Antigua, walk into a bar and order a Salcombe Gin! The day draws to a close and, despite our initial lack of education when it came to distilling, everyone in the class has created professional-looking (and – amazingly – great-tasting) 70cl bottles of gin. We’ve named our gins, created custom labels and housed them in beautiful wooden gift boxes. Despite knocking back a number of drinks in the process (plus those allimportant tasters) we’re still keen to try a couple of cocktails in the beautiful Salcombe gin bar, which – come summer – will have the hottest seats in town. ✱ The school costs £100 for the day, or £125 for two to share. Salcombe Gin Distillery, Shop and Bar, The Boathouse, 28 Island Street, Salcombe TQ8 8DP; 01548 288180; salcombegin.com
S T A R T E R S LOCAVORE – Someone interested in locally produced food, not moved long distances to market
spawN fRee FROM THEIR URBAN FARM IN THE HEART OF EXETER, THE GROCYCLE GUYS ARE HELPING A GENERATION PRODUCE EXOTIC MUSHROOMS FROM COFFEE GROUNDS
PHOTOS BY MATT AUSTIN
ity farming: it’s come a long way from the modest yards of chicken and pigs that we knew in the ’80s. Now there are aquaponic units growing baby leaf salad from trout poop, and places like this one, GroCycle, where Adam Sayer and Eric Jong (above) grow oyster mushrooms from coffee grounds. In fact, if you’ve eaten out at the likes of Lloyds Kitchen in Exeter recently, or shopped in The Real Food Store, you’re very likely to have tasted them too – although you wouldn’t know it. They taste nothing like coffee. And if you live in Exeter, you may have seen one of their guys, urban farmer Ian Burton, on his rounds. Every morning he pedals his bike truck around the city’s biggest coffee producers – Costa, Starbucks, Boston Tea Party and Artigiano – collecting the waste buckets of grounds, between 250 and 500 kilos a week.
Is it a monster? Is it a germ? No, it’s your next meal…
He takes them back to the unit in Princesshay and mixes them with mushroom spawn, which kicks off a sixweek cycle of growing. So, are you sure the mushrooms don’t have a hint of flat white in them, we ask co-director, Adam? “Not at all,” he insists, “although some people want them to! Mushrooms just take the nutrients they need from the coffee – the carbon and nitrogen – but they taste exactly the same as if they had been grown on wood.” Adam describes the whole process as a win-win situation for both the coffee shops and GroCycle. “The grounds were often just going to landfill, and the staff were having to lug heavy bags to the bins every night. Now we dispose of them for them.”
Having studied ecology at uni, while also developing a keen interest in foraging, Adam became passionate about sustainable farming, and after graduating moved to the Totnes area of Devon to start a mushroom farm. But he was dismayed at how energy-intensive the process was. “Normally these mushrooms are grown on straw and wood chip and sawdust,” he explains. “But you have to put the substrate through a pasteurisation process first to kill off the other organisms, so they don’t compete with the mushrooms. I had five of these huge pressure cookers, and had to load the substrate into bags then heat them for two hours at 120C. It was quite laborious, quite expensive and very energy intensive.
“The thing I like about the coffee grounds is that all that substrate is already pasteurised in the coffee-making process, so it cuts out a large bit of the work. “You are also making use of this great waste resource. Especially when you think of the energy that goes into growing the original coffee: the transporting of the beans, the roasting, the milling, the packaging. When making a cup you extract less than 1% of the biomass of the plant – the bulk of what’s been grown is thrown way. It’s an incredible waste.” So, it’s oyster mushrooms that work best with coffee, but the team are now producing shiitake mushrooms too, which can be grown in a mix of coffee and straw. The overall production isn’t entirely carbon-neutral, though. The mushrooms are kept in fridge-like units – an incubation room and a fruiting room – where conditions are controlled, after all. Still, it’s a lot more efficient than how mushrooms are usually grown, says Adam. “Most mushrooms are likely to have come from the Netherlands or Poland, where they’re grown with a lot of machinery and intensive heating of bulk substrate. Sometimes UK producers buy in ready-colonised substrate from overseas, often from China. They open the bag and put it in a fruiting room for the final stage. That’s a very environmentally damaging way of doing it. It’s a bit of a grey area in the law too, as they say they’re Britishgrown, when they’re not really. Ours is a lower energy, more localised product.” So, it’s a great idea – but where did the initial spark for it come from? “When we started there were only about two other businesses in the world doing it,” says Adam. “There was one in America for
sure, but years ago I’d also read that you could grow mushrooms in coffee in a book, and decided to have a go.” Adam teamed up with Eric – this was while he was farming, and Eric was studying on the Dartington Estate – and they soon moved production to Exeter, to be closer to the coffee shops. GroCycle is a not-for-profit organisation, meaning any profits are ploughed back into the business to help it reach its environmental and social goals. And because of this, they’ve had a bit of help along the way – the use of free city centre premises, and a Kickstarter campaign that generated £16,000. Now they reckon there are over 50 businesses worldwide that are farming like this, and most of them have been schooled by GroCycle. Indeed, as well as selling £17 grow-yourown kits – around 10,000 a year – GroCycle also runs online courses that over 700 people from 42 different countries have completed. This summer they’re also launching follow-up courses for those who want to go into larger-scale production. “Our focus is increasingly on education,” reveals Adam. “We’ve developed a really good method, and we can teach it. The first course is for small-scale home production, but the course we launch in July is about how to set up your own growing room and make it into a part-time business. As with many other food businesses, it’s quite difficult to make money just producing one thing, but it works well as sideline or as an addition to an existing food project or supported agriculture scheme.” So if you’ve got room for ’shrooms in your abode, check out the website below – and get growing! ✱ grocycle.com
CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP ( SERVES 2 )
3 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp butter 3 shallots, diced 2 cloves garlic, sliced 200g oyster mushrooms 100g chestnut mushrooms 10g dried wild mushrooms 1 glass white wine 750ml good veg (or chicken) stock 200ml double cream or creme fraiche handful of chives or parsley, chopped METHOD
– Pour 250ml of hot water over your dried mushrooms in a bowl and allow to soak for 15 mins. Drain, adding the liquid to your stock, and cut up the mushrooms. – Heat a heavy saucepan on a medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 of butter and fry the mushrooms in batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan, removing them and setting aside on a plate when brown at the edges. – Add another tablespoon of oil to the same pan and fry the shallots on a low-medium heat for 6 or 7 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. – Add the wine and boil down for 2 minutes to a glaze, then add 300ml of the stock and boil down again for another 3-4 minutes. Add all the mushrooms back in with the rest of the stock and simmer for 5 or so minutes, until they are nice and tender. – Purée the mixture in a blender, leaving just the odd chunk or two of mushroom intact. Return to the pan, add the cream and simmer for 5 minutes before seasoning and sprinkling the chives or chopped parsley in.
S T A R T E R S
PUmp Up the jaM WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU HAVEN’T HAD A CREAM TEA YET THIS YEAR? TIME TO FIX THAT…
TAKING THE SALUTE
TEA WITH A VIEW
JAM, THEN CREAM?
What’s so spesh about The Salutation Inn’s afternoon teas, then? Nikoletta Patkos, patissiere at this historic inn, is renowned for his ‘macarons of kings’ – as well as his freshly baked scones.
What’s so spesh about Cottage Hotel teas, we ask you? West Country butter, a generous portion of strawberry jam and lashings of clotted cream make The Cottage Hotel’s teas taste so good. Plus, the fact they’re served up with fine coastal views.
What’s so spesh about Fistral Beach Hotel cream teas, then? If you’re heading south of the Devon border for sun, sea and sand, then be prepared to load up your scone with jam first, then cream! The best place to do it is at this ultimate surfside setting, The Bay Bar – a contemporary space dedicated to carefree chilling – at Fistral Beach Hotel.
What else should we know? This cool, restored, grade II-listed building, with its glazed atrium and courtyard that acts as a sun trap, is a chic setting to get stuck into one of the finest cream teas in Devon. Feeling proper peckish? Go for the full afternoon tea with finger sandwiches as well as a scone and patisserie. More of a savoury character? Choose the cheese scone with Devon Cheddar, homemade chutney, grapes and celery (plus tea, of course). Special celebration? Go all out with the ‘bubbly’ menu that comes with a cool glass of Pinot Rosé or Champagne. ✱ The Salutation Inn, 68 Fore Street, Topsham, Exeter EX3 0HL; 01392 873060; salutationtopsham.co.uk
What else should we know? A cream tea at Hope Cove is the ideal way to refuel if you’ve walked the coastal footpath (but, really, you don’t need an excuse to indulge in this foodie finery). Each one’s made up of crumbly scones, strawberry jam, lashings of clotted cream and perfectly brewed tea. Choose to sit alfresco on the terrace, with views of the coast and the beach and harbour below, or still enjoy the views in the refurbished bar lounge, with floor-to-ceiling windows. Alternatively, cosy up in the oak-panelled main lounge or small lounge, which was part of the original 1890s cottage.
What else should we know? The Bay Bar is a relaxed escape from the hubbub of Newquay: in the winter it’s a friendly place to cosy up and watch the stormy seas; in the summer it boasts the ultimate beachside bar. Whatever the weather, it’s a fine spot to indulge in fresh homemade scones, juicy preserves and lashes of Cornish clotted cream, accompanied by traditional English tea. ✱ Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa, Esplanade Road, Newquay TR7 1PT; 01637 852221; fistralbeachhotel.co.uk
✱ Cottage Hotel, Hope Cove, Kingsbridge TQ7 3HJ; 01548 561555; hopecove.com
Gluten Free, Full of Flavour. Church Rd, Lympstone, Exmouth EX8 5JT Telephone: 01395 222156
S T A R T E R S
The freshest, most inspirational cookbooks of the month
I LOVE INDIA Anjum Anand Quadrille, £20
Anjum Anand’s quest to bring Indian food to home kitchens on our shores continues with this personal collection of family recipes, dishes discovered on her travels, and the Londonbased cook’s own fresh and light interpretations of regional Indian creations. Sprinkled with stories and history, alongside some stunning photography by Martin Poole, these vibrant recipes include a number of vegetarian dishes, such as four seed-spiced okra with tomatoes, and Tamil-style lentil and vegetable curry. Not that meat-eaters will be disappointed – try the Mughlai-style braised lamb shanks laced with julienned root ginger, or the Gujarati chicken biryani. The desserts are no less enticing, as chilled mango, coconut and tapioca pearl pudding, and fennel and cardamom-spiced mini pancakes, demonstrate.
Mina Holland Orion, £20
Catherine Phipps Quadrille, £20
It is often said that childhood meals form the foundations of our taste buds and how we cook later in life, and Mina Holland’s new book is all about taking food back to basics, which invariably means going home and recreating the dishes we ate as children. For most of us, that means mother’s cooking, and this collection of stories about childhood food memories sees Holland interview significant food figures such as Claudia Roden, Yotam Ottolenghi, Jamie Oliver and Anna del Conte, as well as actor Stanley Tucci and noted psychotherapist Susie Orbach. There are some fantastic recipes, too – new and old dishes that should be in the repertoire of all self-respecting home cooks, whether you are a Mamma yourself or not.
Having written about pressure cookers and chicken in her previous two cookbooks, Guardian writer (and regular on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme) Catherine Phipps turns her attention to all things citrus in this zesty collection of recipes. From the moment you peel open the bright, grapefruit-yellow, clothbound cover and dive inside, this book zings with sweet and sour dishes from around the world. With over 170 recipes, Phipps celebrates Middle Eastern salads, Asian broths, fragrant curries, punchy salsas, classic curds, decadent desserts and cooling sorbets, utilising every conceivable citrus fruit along the way. Must-have recipes include sprouting broccoli with blood orange hollandaise; salmon with mandarin and ginger; and rum and orange bread and butter pudding.
HEALTHY BAKING Jordan Bourke Orion, £20
As a nation we’ve gone bonkers for baking, thanks to the likes of Paul and Mary, and there still seem to be a slew of new books about bread and cakes. Ballymaloetrained Jordan Bourke worked in Michelin-star restaurants before writing award-winning books like Our Korean Kitchen, so he brings an added level of expertise to his home baking. In this book, the Irish chef looks at nourishing breads, savoury tarts and bakes, which are wholesome as well as delicious. Using ancient grains and ferments, as well as alternatives to refined sugar, Bourke also finds plenty of options to make recipes gluten- and dairyfree. Recipes to bookmark include the sourdough blueberry pancakes, and the Italian strawberry and chocolate chunk cake.
S T A R T E R S
HOME KITCHEN Nathan Outlaw Quadrille, £20
Cornish seafood chef Nathan Outlaw is becoming as prolific at writing books (this is his fourth) as he is gaining Michelin stars (he has two for his place in Rock) or opening restaurants (he now has five). Outlaw’s previous books have concentrated more on restaurant-style dishes, but his latest looks at some of the meals he cooks for his family at home. Although the recipes still require the best ingredients you can afford – especially when it comes to his beloved seafood – these are fuss-free and often easy enough for your kids to cook. From a hearty breakfast dish like devilled kidneys and bacon on toast to chicken and leek pie for after-school supper, it’s a book packed with comforting classics. Now, why not turn to page 32 for Nathan’s fudge and sea salt brownie recipe?
Taken from: CITRUS BY CATHERINE PHIPPS (Quadrille £20)
SPICED SEA BASS WITH CITRUS BUTTER SAUCE PHOTOGRAPHY BY MOWIE KAY
The spicing here is fragrant rather than hot and has a vaguely Middle Eastern feel to it, so you could simply serve it with rice or couscous instead of the chickpeas and greens. (SERVES 4)
For the rub: 1 tsp flaky sea salt, pounded ½ tsp ground cardamom ¼ tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp ground ginger ¼ tsp ground white pepper ¼ tsp garlic powder ¼ tsp ground turmeric
4 sea bass fillets, skin on 350g spring greens, very finely shredded 1 tbsp olive oil 30g butter 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 lemons, zest and juice 1 large orange, juice only 100ml water 350g cooked chickpeas
– Blot the sea bass fillets and lie them skin-side down on kitchen paper. Combine all the rub ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the fillets. Press lightly. – Before you start frying the fish, cook the spring greens. Wash thoroughly, then put in a large lidded saucepan without shaking off too much water. Cover and heat gently until the greens have wilted down and are just al dente.
– Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. When hot, add the sea bass fillets, skin side down, and fry for a couple of minutes. Flip over and cook for a further 30 seconds, then remove from the frying pan and keep warm. – Add the butter, garlic, lemon zest and juice and orange juice to the pan. Turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble until you have a glossy, syrupy sauce. Pour into a jug. – Deglaze the pan with the water. Add the chickpeas and spring greens and stir to pick up any flavour residue. Season with salt and pepper. – Serve the fish with the chickpeas and greens, and the sauce spooned over.
DA P PA
Reach the best in the west Affluent, active and influential and just a call away
The UK’s first and only version of grappa. Award winning and produced in South Devon
BRAND NEW VINTAGE UNIQUE GIFT SETS AVAILABLE
“Deep and mellow flavours. A clean distillation. Packed with fruit” Great Taste judges “A drink to sip and savour” IWSC judges
D E V ON
D I S T I L L E R Y
f /DevonDistillery T @devondistillery Tel: 01803 812 509 Email: email@example.com www.devondistillery.com
To advertise call 01225 475800
WHAT TO MAKE, AND HOW TO MAKE IT – DIRECT FROM THE KITCHENS OF OUR FAVOURITE FOODIES
Highlights POTS OF GOLD
Spice up sweet potatoes for summer with Mexicaninspired flavours Page 26
BAA-BAA IN MY BELLY!
Herb-crust your best end for the perfect Easter lamb dish Page 28
RICE TO EAT YOU
Apricot purée don’t half turn rice pud into something spesh, says MP White Page 30
Think you can’t get anything better than choc? How’s about adding sea salt, fudge, and caramel sauce? Plus
34 BEST OF THE BUNCH How roses can spruce up your bakes
the SweeT sTUFF A KICK SASS UP SWEET POTATOES WITH AKY OF CHILLI AND SOME SALTY, STRE BACON, RECKONS JANE BAXTER
Devon cook Jane Baxter is famed for her work on the stunning Leon range of cook books, Happy Salads, Fast Vegetarian and Fast & Free. Before that she wrote recipes for Riverford Farm cookbooks, and was actually responsible for setting up the Riverford staff canteen and then the Field Kitchen. She now runs food business Wild Artichokes, which regularly serves up tasty lunches and dinners at the Kingsbridge HQ, as well as assorted restaurant pop-ups in fab locations around Devon.
STUFFED SWEET POTATOES (SERVES 4- 6)
M A I N I M AG E : TA M I N J O N E S
4 sweet potatoes 2 tbsp olive oil 6 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped 1 red onion, chopped 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves ½ tsp ground cumin 2 cobs of corn, kernels removed 1 red pepper, diced 2 red chillies, chopped 1 clove of garlic, crushed 50ml white wine To serve 1 avocado, chopped juice of 1 lime 1 tbsp coriander, chopped 2 tbsp mayonnaise (with no added sugar) 1 tsp chipotle paste
– Heat oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. – Place the sweet potatoes directly on the rack of the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until tender. – While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a large pan and cook the bacon for 5 minutes. Add the onion, thyme, cumin and corn. Cook over a high heat for 5 minutes to lightly brown the corn, stirring well. – Add the red pepper, chillies and garlic. Cook for a minute, then add the wine. Stir well and cook for another 10 minutes. If the ingredients start to catch on the bottom of the pan, add a little water. – Mix the chopped avocado with lime juice and coriander. Blend the mayonnaise with the chipotle paste. – Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. Cut in half lengthways and fluff up the flesh with a fork. Spoon some of the corn mix onto each potato, scatter with the avocado and drizzle with the chipotle mayonnaise, to serve.
✱ This recipe was taken from Leon Fast & Free by Jane Baxter and John Vincent, published by Conran Octopus, £25; wildartichokes.co.uk
OVE OF CHEF DIRECTOR DARRIN HOSEGRHAS PUT THE FINEST ASHBURTON COOKERY SCHOOL TO GOOD USE CREATURE OF THE SPRING SEASON
Where’s wOOLLy? The best end is where some of the most tender cuts of lamb come from, so be sure to serve your meat medium-rare to let your guests experience the full flavour. It’s moist and tender, and – when cut from Dartmoor lamb – absolutely unbeatable. Serve these ribs with pomme Anna, pea purée and a Madeira sauce to round off this mind-blowing Sunday lunch.
– Place a frying pan over a high heat. – Drizzle the lamb with a little rapeseed oil and season with salt. Place into the hot frying pan, fat-side down. – Allow the fat to colour and become golden over a moderate flame. – Turn the lamb over and seal quickly. – Place the lamb in an oven at 220C/ 425F/gas mark 7 so it’s resting on the fat side, and cook for 10-15 minutes. – Take it out of the oven and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes before adding the crust.
BEST ENDS OF LAMB (SERVES 2)
For the crust: – Blend together the parsley, thyme, rosemary, garlic and the breadcrumbs in a food processor until the breadcrumbs have turned a vibrant green colour and all the herbs are chopped finely. – Slowly trickle in the olive oil to moisten the mix, then season. – When the lamb is cooked and rested, brush the presentation side with Dijon mustard and press into the herb crust. – Just before serving, flash the lamb through a hot oven to warm the crust.
best end of Dartmoor lamb (trimmed with clean bones) rapeseed oil sea salt For the herb crust: 50g fresh white breadcrumbs 3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped 1 tsp rosemary, chopped 1 tsp thyme, chopped 1 clove garlic olive oil Dijon mustard
THESE COMFORTING EASTERâ€™S WRAPPED UP THANKS TO PIERRE WHITE COURSES, COURTESY OF MARCO
There’s change afoot in Plymouth town, with the Holiday Inn on Armada Way soon to be rebranded as a Crowne Plaza. Not only that, but opening its doors on the top floor is a spanking new Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill – and it’s got a pretty cool location, with views as you dine over to the Hoe and Cornwall. The 160-capacity restaurant is open to guests and visitors alike, who’ll be served up premium steaks alongside English and French classics. These two recipes have been on the menu before, and are failsafe crowd pleasers for Sunday lunch or indulgent dinner gatherings. Team the lamb with potatoes and seasonal veg, then follow with this creamy rice pud.
LAMB DIJONNAISE (SERVES 2)
2 rumps of lamb, each weighing approx 280g Dijon mustard to your taste handful of fresh chives, diced to the size of small beads more chives for garnish METHOD
– Heat oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. – Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan and caramelise the lamb for a couple of minutes on each side, turning it once. – Transfer the lamb to a roasting tin, skin side down. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes. – Remove the lamb from the oven and allow the meat to rest for at least five minutes. Keep the roasting juices. – Cover the lamb with the mustard, then the diced chives – they’ll stick to the Dijon. Give it a drizzle of olive oil. – On a chopping board, slice each piece of rested rump into two. – Plate and scatter with long strips of chive. – Serve with your choice of potatoes and vegetables.
RICE PUDDING with APRICOTS (SERVES 6)
50g unsalted butter 200g pudding rice 200g sugar 800ml double cream 400ml whole milk 2 vanilla pods, split in two lengthways 12 tinned apricot halves METHOD
– Heat oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. – In a pan, melt the butter on a medium heat. Add the rice and stir. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. – Add the cream, milk and one vanilla pod. Stir well. Bring to a gentle simmer. Remove the pod and scrape out the seeds, returning them to the pudding.
– Bake the pudding for about an hour in the pre-heated oven. – While the pudding bakes, use a stick blender to make a purée from six of the apricot halves. Put to one side. – Place the remaining apricot halves into a saucepan and add the remaining vanilla pod. Pour in the syrup from the tin and very gently bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse. – When the pudding is ready, pour the purée into the centre. Arrange the apricots on top of the purée and place a section of vanilla pod on top of the apricots. Serve up while the pudding is still warm. ✱ MARCO PIERRE WHITE STEAKHOUSE BAR & GRILL, Armada Way, Plymouth PL1 2HJ; 01752 639988; mpwrestaurants.co.uk
BROwNIe POINTS E: T, FUDG ASES L A S A E B ,S COLATE’S GOT ALL THERE… O H C K E DAR N OUTLAW ERED H V O A C H S T S A N IOUSNE OF DELIC
With the aim of giving us cook-at-home recipes that we can genuinely use every day, Nathan Outlaw has put together this great new book, Home Kitchen. It’s a mashup of all his favourite recipes he cooks with the family, which you can use as regular inspiration – think failsafe pancakes and hog’s pudding for breakfast, crispy duck leg salad and crab and chilli omelette for lunch, and easy suppers like bacon and onion quiche and roast quail. There are tempting puddings, too; so tempting, in fact, that we had to ask to share this amazing brownie recipe. “This brownie is served in all of my restaurants,” Nathan says, “and in the pub too, so if you’ve been to one of my places you may well have had it before. The nice thing about this dish is that you can alter it and add different fillings, like some nuts or dried fruit in place of the fudge, and it will still work. Super, simple and naughty!”
BITTER CHOCOLATE, FUDGE and SEA SALT BROWNIE ( SERVES 6-8 )
225g unsalted butter 275g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) 400g golden caster sugar 6 large free-range eggs 200g plain flour 10g flaky sea salt 150g vanilla fudge, chopped For the salted caramel sauce: 125g caster sugar 80ml double cream 45g unsalted butter a good pinch of sea salt flaky sea salt to sprinkle
✱ This recipe was taken from new book Nathan Outlaw’s Home Kitchen (Quadrille, £20); photography by David Loftus
– Preheat the oven to 165C/150C fan/330F/gas mark 3. Line a 20x30cm baking tin with baking parchment. – Put the butter, chocolate and sugar into a bain-marie or a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (making sure the base of the bowl isn’t touching the water), and leave to melt. – In another bowl, whisk the eggs until light and fluffy. When the chocolate mixture is melted, remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool slightly, if necessary, until warm (not hot), then carefully fold it into the eggs. – Sift the flour over the chocolate mixture and fold in, then add the sea salt and chopped fudge and fold gently to distribute evenly. – Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the brownie is set but still slightly soft in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. – While the chocolate brownie is cooling, make the salted caramel sauce. Melt the sugar in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and cook to a golden brown caramel. Immediately take off the heat and pour in the cream (the caramel will bubble and splutter as you pour, so be careful). Whisk in the butter and salt, then leave to cool. – Once cooled, cut the brownie into squares using a sharp knife and drizzle over the salted caramel sauce. Finish with a tiny sprinkling of flaky salt.
UPCOMING BAKE-OFF? GOT YOUR EYE ON A PRIZE AT AN WILL SCOOP THE WIN NAOMI DEVLIN’S SUMMER MAKE
Nutrition expert Naomi Devlin is an unashamed foodie who says she was blessed with a coeliac diagnosis. After studying native diets around the world, she now believes that the key to health and happiness is to cook from scratch wherever possible. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be tasty and satisfying. Using gluten-free wholegrains and sourdough cultures she teaches people about the possibilities and rich flavours of gluten-free grains at the River Cottage Cookery School. About this beautiful-looking cake, she says: “A few teaspoonfuls of rosewater, a handful of pistachios and a scattering of rose petals elevate this simple creamfilled sponge to something exotically redolent of a Persian flower garden. Some sugared rose petals are always gorgeous on any cake flavoured with rosewater: just paint the petals with egg white, toss them in a bowl of caster sugar and lay to dry on kitchen paper in a warm, dry place for 6-24 hours, until crisp.”
Recipe taken from River Cottage Gluten Free, published by Bloomsbury, £20, hardback; photography by Laura Edwards
ROSE and PISTACHIO CAKE ( SERVES 8-10 ) INGREDIENTS
230g salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 180g light muscovado sugar 4 tsp rosewater 2 tsp vanilla extract 4 large eggs, beaten 160g potato starch 3 tsp gluten-free baking powder 160g ground almonds For the filling and topping: 450ml double cream 50g pistachio nuts, finely chopped fresh or crystallised rose petals (optional) METHOD
– Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/356F/gas mark 4. Line the base of two 20cm sandwich tins with discs of baking parchment and butter the sides. – Cream the butter, sugar, rosewater and vanilla extract together in a bowl with an electric hand whisk or balloon whisk until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well between each addition. If it looks like the mixture is starting to curdle, add a couple of tablespoonfuls of the potato starch and beat again – it should come right. – Sift the potato starch, baking powder and ground almonds together over the mixture and fold into the mix. Do it gently but thoroughly. – Scrape into the prepared tins and gently level the surface. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden, springy to the touch
and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. – Leave in the tins for 10-15 minutes, then run a thin-bladed knife around the inside of the tins. Turn out the cakes and place right-side up on a wire rack to cool. – When the cakes are completely cold, whip the cream until thick, but not grainy. Put one of the cakes onto a plate and spread the cream almost to the edge. Place the other cake gently on top and twist it back and forth a little, but only until the cream is peeking out between the layers. – Pipe or spread the rest of the cream over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and scatter over a few fresh or crystallised rose petals, if you have them. ✱ Enjoy 15% off Naomi Devlin’s courses at River Cottage from 1 April through to 30 June using the code CRUMBS15. Visit rivercottage.net/nutrition and use the code CRUMBS15 when you reach payment stage. This offer is valid on Naomi’s Gluten Free, Advanced Gluten Free, Seasonal Nutrition and Happy Digestion courses.
NUTâ€™IN Bad IN here
HERE’S A VEGAN CAKE THAT’S SWEETENED NATURALLY WITH JUST MEDJOOL DATES AND FRUIT JUICE, FROM PAOLA ROYAL Paola Royal is a therapist who is passionate about empowering people to achieve health and wellbeing through body, mind and nutrition. She is continually asked for quick and healthy meals, the type of thing she would prepare herself at home. Because of this, she set up a cookery school called Fit Food, and her classes are held in Bradburys’ rather special kitchen showroom in Exeter. The dish Paola has whipped up for us is named Fynn’s Cake, and was inspired by her son, Fynn. It takes just 15 minutes to make, and it’s not got the lot: it’s vegan, gluten- and sugar-free.
FYNN’S CAKE ( SERVES 4- 6 ) INGREDIENTS
For the base: 200g almonds 100g hazelnuts 10 Medjool dates
For the base: – Put the almonds, hazelnuts and Medjool dates into the blender and blend together. – Grease a round 20cm cake tin with coconut oil. – Put the blended mixture into the tin and gently press down. For the topping: – Put the previously soaked cashew nuts, coconut oil, mandarin juice and lemon juice into a blender. – Blend until smooth and put it on top of the base in the cake tin. – Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. – When the cake is chilled, serve with the berries. ✱ Bradburys Exeter and Fit Food Cookery School, Denbury Court, Matford Park, Exeter EX2 8NB; 01392 825940; bradburysltd.co.uk
For the topping: 200g cashew nuts, soaked for 10-20 min 2 tbsp coconut oil juice of 3 mandarins juice of 1 lemon
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS
MICROPLANE’S BLADES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT AS GOOD AS YOU CAN GET, SAYS MATT BIELBY, BUT NOW THEY DISMEMBER FOODSTUFFS WITH ADDITIONAL ELEGANCE Graters are rarely the most glamorous kitchen items, are they? Most of them are cheap, blunt and generally hopeless. And, I’m guessing, this will be equally as bad – just much, much more expensive. Whoa there, grumpy! This grater’s from Microplane, the Arkansas, USA woodwork company. It first expanded into kitchen utensils when a ’90s Canadian housewife found her husband’s carpentry tools worked far better than her rubbishy kitchen graters, and the company found its focus switch virtually overnight. Microplane stuff isn’t the cheapest, but it’s almost always the sharpest – thank ‘photo-etching’ technology, which means each cutting edge is like a tiny razor. Don’t use it to exfoliate, then! Probably best not to. Even the bog-standard Microplane graters are handsome tools, but the new, high-end Master Series – with stainless steel graters, loops at the end for easy hanging, and elegant oiled walnut handles – are particularly lovely looking, while the wood element is a nice reference to Microplane’s history, too. There are five graters in the
THIS MONTH crumbsmag.com
set, each coming in at £30-35: a long, narrow Master Zester, for zesting citrus fruit and grating anything from hard cheese to garlic; and four paddle-shaped versions with fine, coarse, ribbon and extra-coarse blades. Do I really need so many? That’d be – does quick calculation – about £170 for the set! Perhaps not, but it’s easy enough to pick the ones you’ll really use. The fine one’s great for spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, and hard cheese like Parmesan; the coarse one’s really versatile, and perfect for carrots and coconut; the ribbon one creates elegant strips of everything from apple to chocolate; and the extra-coarse loves spuds, onions, and grating cold butter for pastry. I’d suggest just buying one or two to start, and seeing how you get on. Sounds grate! You’ve been pushing it for years, but congratulations: you just earned your P45. ✱ Microplane graters are available at branches of Lakeland, John Lewis and Steamer Trading; microplaneintl.com
THE COAL FACE
MAKING YOU WINK: PINK
Crumbs cooks with
ITâ€™s a sTeaK-OUT WORDS: CHARLIE LYON PHOTOS: MATT AUSTIN
IN DEVON AND SMELL A BARBECUE? THEN THIS GUY PROBABLY HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT: MARCUS BAWDON WILL GRILL COME RAIN OR SHINE, HELL OR HIGH WATER*. WELL, AFTER 14 YEARS OF VEGETARIANISM, HE’S MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME…
* This claim has not been proven
fficially it’s not the first day of spring, but the blossom on the Mirabelle plum tree at CountryWoodSmoke HQ in Cullompton (aka Marcus Bawdon’s back garden) is definitely pointing to the season; so are the first properly warm sun rays of 2017, and Marcus Bawdon’s signature tropical shirt, emblazoned with big colour and repeat pattern. “I run at a high temperature,” he explains, eyeing our thick jumpers and scarves. To be honest, a lot of the time there isn’t a need for warm layers in Marcus’s backyard. Well, not around his cooking area, at any rate – a decked and covered section of the whopping garden furnished with sofas and pretty much every kind of grill, smoker and fire pit you can imagine. There’s always some cooking device being fired up – whether that’s the ProQ smoker or the Roccbox pizza oven, and they’re all good to huddle round. Despite his barbecue business only just getting going full-time – until recently Marcus worked on off-shore oil rigs – he’s got to the point where companies are sending him gadgets. He’s like a kid in the proverbial sweet shop.
Marcus originally built his outdoor cooking area to bring the family together, following a holiday to New Zealand where they enjoyed the outdoor, social lifestyle. It’s the perfect retreat for him and his wife – plus their three bairns: Louis, three; Elsie, six; and Rory, eight – to gather together outside. But the space’s use has moved on, and now it’s an office, of a sort, too – a place where Marcus can experiment with recipes, YouTube videos and put new equipment through its paces, all to create content for his UK BBQ Review website and digital magazine, UK BBQ Mag. Business is starting to roll, with regular appearances at food festivals and local Devon events, plus the launch of his new barbecue school. He’s also just finished working on a collaboration with I.O. Shen to create a pair of brisket knives, one serrated and one straight. They’re big enough to take on the largest of hunks of meat, with the serrated version tearing through the thickest of crackling.
Today Marcus is keeping it simple and using lump-wood charcoal on a small fire pit to cook Crumbs a couple of sirloins and a big, juicy T-bone steak. He slaps the meat on the deck, explaining how
you spot a good steak. “It needs to have a nice dark reddish colour, with good fat marbling throughout – then you know it’s going to be juicy. The fat around the edge won’t affect the steak, it’s the fat through it that matters.” And today, how will he be preparing our steaks for the grill? “That’s it, they’re done,” he says, pointing at the raw meat. “That’s the nice thing about steak – it’s a package. My favourite way to cook a steak is dirty, straight on the coals, so you don’t use anything on it. So no pre-marinade, and you don’t need to add any salt – you just put it straight onto the fire. Cooking it in the ashes? Isn’t that a recipe for grit in your teeth? “When you cook steak on a grill you’ve got a gap between the meat and the coals, and as the fat starts to render out from the edges it drops down, catches fire, and you get the flare-ups that incinerate the outside,” he explains. “So if you put it straight on the coals you get the most amazing smokiness and fantastic flavour.” Marcus fires up the lump-wood charcoal and silver birch wood – his favourite wood to cook with, thanks to its perfumed flavour and the fact it’s cheap – in the fire pit. (He’s using something like the hot air brush we’ve spied in salons to add volume to a hairdo.) Apparently it’s much the same, but a bit more high powered: a Looftlighter. Anyway, once the flames are going, he moves it to under a blossom tree that’s surrounded by logs for seats. We start a game of unspoken musical chairs, shifting as the breeze does to avoid getting as smoked as the steaks. As Marcus scurries back and forth from his prep area it becomes apparent
(( crumbs crumbs ( crumbs cooks drinks cooks with with with ) ))
“BARBECUE ENDED UP BECOMING A NAFF THING YOU DO IN THE GARDEN – HAVE A FEW FRIENDS ROUND FOR SAUSAGES AND BURGERS THEN GET DRUNK AND FALL OVER”
that there is something going on the steak after all. It’s his favourite ‘dirty baste’, which actually sounds quite good and healthy – a Mediterranean-inspired blend of olive oil, fresh rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon, sea salt and anchovy, all blitzed up. Moving any flaming fuel to one side, he places the first steak on the coals, explaining, “You can’t put salt and pepper on first, as it draws the moisture out of the meat and you get a wet surface, and then that steams. I like to get the meat nice and hot, get a crust up, then flip it. Then I put the herb baste on the cooked side.” And even though this is the ‘dirty’ way of cooking, the steaks are looking pretty clean. In fact, they’re perfectly cooked with minimal charring. “Most people think they will get all ashy, but actually the charcoal just sears the meat and you get a beautiful crust.” And how true that is. Initially a couple of lumps stick, but they fall off easily, leaving a clean steak. “If I was to baste it first, it burns and smokes,” he says. “But you can’t use briquettes or lava rock, just good-quality lump wood charcoal.”
( crumbs cooks with )
ended up becoming a naff thing you do in the garden – have a few friends ’round for sausages and burgers, then get drunk and fall over. But what better thing to do, when you have got a fair few people around, than to cook something big? Then you’re not stuck in front of the barbecue, tossing burgers all night.”
MEAT OVER MATTER
Is it not a bit of a funny time to start pushing a barbecue business, though, we wonder? You know, with soy-chai-yogi movement in full swing? “Not at all,” Marcus reckons. “It’s probably pushed it the other way, in fact. I think with the movement of people taking care of what they eat and drink, barbecue has changed because of that. Throughout history we’ve got together with big joints of meat in front of a fire, but we lost it somewhere in the ’70s or ’80s with convenience cooking. Barbecue
“I WENT TO PLYMOUTH, TO UNI. I HAD A FEW QUID IN MY POCKET AND LOOKED AT THE CHICKEN I COULD AFFORD AND THOUGHT NO, I’M NOT EATING THAT” crumbsmag.com
When it comes to vegetarianism, Marcus is the rare meat fan who can actually talk. After all, he was vegetarian for 14 years. “My dad is passionate about organic veg, homegrown stuff, nice quality local food,” he says. “I grew up with this attitude in Somerset, then I went to Plymouth, to uni. I had a few quid in my pocket and looked at the chicken I could afford and thought no, I’m not eating that. So I bought some nice vegetables instead. Fourteen years later I moved back to the country, though, and thought I could afford to start eating quality meat again, so I went for it, in a big way!” But it’s not all meat, meat, meat. Marcus insists he and his family have quite a balanced diet, actually, with a lot of vegetarian meals. In fact, he proves his worth as a baker as well as a griller by emerging from his house with a handmade foccacia. It’s got a vibrant yellow hue to it, because of the local rapeseed oil he’s used, “cos it’s good and nutty,” he says. But barbecuing doesn’t have to be expensive – even if you’re using goodquality meat – he goes on to say. “You can barbecue cheaply, absolutely,” Marcus reckons. “In essence, barbecuing in the States is about using cheaper cuts – the ribs, the brisket, the pork shoulder. You’re cooking thriftily and making something amazing. I like the hanger because it’s intense – a really beefy flavour. And it’s cheap too, as hanger steak is classed as offal. It comes from the inside of the rib cage – it’s the diaphragm.” And with that, it seems like we’re ready. The steaks are cooked and rested. The loaf is sliced. All that’s left is to grab hunks of juicy, smoky meat and thrust them into our greedy mouths. There were plans for a salad, but today this seems enough. We scoff in the still of the country garden while the sun still shines down and the breeze rustles the trees. Then we leave Marcus in peace, perhaps with an hour or two to relax before he fires up a grill again for the arrival home of his family at the end of the day.
( SERVES 6 )
What crazed individual would dream up something so filthy as a Battenberg made of meat? Well there have been a few going around recently, and this is my dirty version, says Marcus. INGREDIENTS
16 slices streaky bacon 15cm black pudding chubb 15cm sausage meat chubb
– Make a flat weave by overlaying the rashers of bacon in opposite directions. – Cut the black pudding into quarters, lengthways. – Cut the sausage meat into quarters, lengthways. – Arrange two slices of sausage meat and two slices of black pudding into a Battenberg pattern. Wrap tightly in the bacon, then in foil like a cracker, then chill in the fridge for an hour. – Dust the result with a dry barbecue rub of your choice. – Cook on a smoker, indirectly, at 120C for two hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 72C. – Brush with barbecue sauce, then put back in the smoker for the last 10 minutes of cooking. – Cut into slices and serve with more barbecue sauce, or fry slices until crisp and serve with barbecue beans and an oozy fried egg. ✱ See more at countrywoodsmoke.com, ukbbqreview.com and ukbbqmag.com; sign up for Marcus’s barbecue school at ukbbqschool.com
T H E WA N T LI S T WHAT DO WE THINK? IT’S TIME FOR ALL THINGS BAKING AND ALL THINGS PINK
1 FIVE COOKIE CUTTERS £4.99 More of a biscuit baker than a cake maker? These springthemed cookie cutters will keep your buttery bakes on fleek for the season! Buy from Lakeland in Exeter. ✱ lakeland.co.uk 2 JOSEPH JOSEPH ICE CREAM SCOOP £10 We’ve got the scoop on this device! It has a handy drip catcher, and stands upright when set down to avoid surfaces or hands getting sticky. Done deal. Buy from John Lewis, Exeter. ✱ josephjoseph.com 3 KENWOOD CHEF SENSE £499 Got some baking goals to nail this season? Then you knead this machine in your life. It comes with a dough hook, balloon whisk and beater for the perfect mix every time. Not sold by the baby pink? There are three other pastel shades available. Buy at Argos in Torquay or Plymouth. ✱ kenwoodworld.com 4 SEASALT TEA TOWEL £7 This tea towel will bring a touch of colour and pizazz to your kitchen, as well as proving a luxury dry – it’s printed on 100% cotton. Buy from The Shops at Dartington. ✱ shopsatdartington.co.uk 5 HEART SPOONS £6 Love baking? Celebrate your passion with these three wooden-handled silicone spoons. From the South West’s Sisters Guild. ✱ sistersguild.co.uk
( advertising feature )
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, cafés 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
01395 266000 firstname.lastname@example.org www.devonqualityfish.co.uk
We Ham oﬀer a per s for g ervic ifts e Get i & picnics n tou ! c detai h for ls.
01364 652 277 16 North Street, Ashburton 9am - 5pm Monday - Saturday www.ashburtondelicatessen.co.uk
ELDERFLOWER POWER It’s not just refreshing pressés that elderflower’s good for.....it also makes a rather splendid cider!
nything to do with elderflower seems to be increasingly popular these days. Indeed, some of the Ashridge team are out and about busily picking tray after tray of the flowers: you can’t miss their huge, frothy, creamy blooms in the hedges. We are often asked we where gather them – we have to be fussy and only harvest from certified organic farms, well away from any sprays or traffic fumes. We’ve had adventures with curious pigs and pushy cows and the hedges are prickly and full of nettles. Mainly we pick when the sun is shining so you get the full fragrance, and we’re out in the peace and quiet of the fields and hedgerows, so it’s a welcome break from the usual day-to-day business. We make tanks full of cordial with organic lemons and a wee bit of sugar added. This is then diluted with water and some Ashridge sparkle added to make our delicious Sparkling Elderflower Pressé. It’s good in gin or vodka too and is definitely our most popular soft drink. Catching up fast on the cider front though is the Artisan Elderflower Cider we have recently brought out. At this time of year it’s flying off the shelves: a must-try summer cider.
ashridgecider.co.uk; @AshridgeCider; 01364 654749
A contemporary farm to fork restaurant
THE HOLT Pub, Restaurant & Smokehouse
Open: Tuesday-Saturday | 6pm - late **subject to seasonal variation**
Available for weddings, functions & private hire. Please contact for details. Pattard Farm, Hartland, Devon EX39 6BY Tel: 01237 441444
Try o one of out cooker ur coursesy See our web si for detai te ls
Eat · Drink · Learn · Share For all restaurant bookings and enquiries call 01404 47707 or email email@example.com For cookery course information firstname.lastname@example.org
178 High St, Honiton, Devon EX141LA www.theholt-honiton.com
MAINS TOP CULINARY CAUSES, FAB FOOD DESTINATIONS, AND PEOPLE THAT MATTER
Highlights DOGGONE IT!
The best foodie spots to hang with your pooch Page 50
JOB’S A GOOD ’UN
Cheffing in Devon: on the up, or a hard slog? Page 54
VIP CHEF joining Exeter Food Fest
BONE appeTITe THE TIDE IS TURNING AND RESTAURATEURS AND HOTEL OWNERS ARE REALISING WE DEVONIANS AND OUR DOGS LIKE TO STICK TOGETHER, WHETHER WEâ€™RE DRINKING, LUNCHING OR EVEN KIPPING OVER... 50
emember the days when you’d struggle to find a gaff that would welcome you and Fido with open arms? Unless your fourlegged friend was a service dog, or the proprietor was particularly soft, you’d be left out in the cold with the smokers. Strangely enough, there’s never actually been a law that restricts four-legged guests from entering food establishments; instead, it’s always been down to the owner’s discretion, putting the onus on them to prevent contamination. And these days, more and more restaurants are realising that pets – okay, it is mainly dogs – are good for business. Amongst the establishments throwing their doors open to both twoand four-legged custom are this little lot – and they all promise a top feed, too.
(Plymouth) There’s a free doggy treat on arrival at this friendly cafe on Plymouth’s historic waterfront. You can’t beat the views over to Mount Batten, and your pooch will enjoy pattering around the outdoor grassy space. The menu boasts home-cooked favourites like Devon crab sardines, French onion soup, seafood chowder and Devon burgers. ✱ duttonsplymouth.co.uk
SOUTH SANDS HOTEL
(near Salcombe) With the South Sands beach, which is on this hotel’s doorstep, open to dogs from November to April, plus some good country walks on the rolling hills behind and a network of coastal paths that you can roam free upon, this chic retreat is a good choice to check into with your pooch. They can join you in the bar, lounge and terrace, where you can sup on local Lyme Bay sparkling wine and nosh on small plates like peppered squid with spring onion and dill or honey-glazed hog’s pudding. The hotel is coastal chic, “but it’s relaxed,” they tell us. “You can come in straight from the beach covered in sand and that’s okay.” ✱ southsands.com
SALCOMBE HARBOUR HOTEL & SPA
THE KINGS ARMS
(Salcombe) While dogs of all kinds can check in at this waterfront spa hotel in Salcombe, as long as you call ahead and book one of their special dog-friendly rooms, management draws a firm line when it comes to other animals. “One Christmas someone tried to check in with a pair of budgerigars,” says GM Jason Parry. “We wouldn’t let him.”
(Otterton) You’ll want a couple of days to relax at this East Devon rural idyll, so check in with your pooch to the dog-friendly accommodation and take time to explore the walks around the English Channel and the River Otter. Grab a table for a steak, pie or honey roast ham and enjoy the grub with the dog in tow. Check out the website below for maps of local walks and bike rides.
THE VENUS CAFÉ
THE KINGS ARMS
(Bigbury on Sea) While all of the Venus Cafés allow dogs on their premises – even at their inland spot at The Shops at Dartington – some of the beaches restrict them at certain times of the year. At Bigbury, the hound can run from 1 May to 30 Sept. Check out the website below for special café offers, like free dog treats when you spend over £10. ✱ lovingthebeach.co.uk
(Exeter & Plymouth) It’s not just the new lunch menu that’ll draw you into this brilliant pizza house – it’s chilled out with a great vibe, and the new £6.50 wraps sound a steal – but the fact that your mutt can meander through the lofty space and join you at your table (well, the floor by your feet). Just try not to let the beast share your feast. ✱ stablepizza.com
(Georgeham) This cool village pub welcomes both twoand four-legged walkers who’ve run out of steam and need to recharge. It’s in the quiet setting of Georgesham – a village steeped in history, where writer Henry Williamson penned novel Tarka the Otter. For the upright guests there’s homemade sandwiches and soup in the daytime, or good pub grub done well at lunch and dinner, all washed down with fine South West ales and lagers. For the hound there are treats and water bowls, and the promise of plenty of fuss and attention. ✱ kingsarmsgeorgeham.co.uk
THE ARTICHOKE INN
(Christow) Who knows whether – when this beautiful pub first opened, back in 1165 (it was apparently used as a recruitment outpost for the Crusades!) – dogs
I M AGE : MAT T AU STIN
( feature )
were allowed in? (Perhaps back then they were more welcoming to horses?) Woofers are most definitely welcome now, though. Bring yours along while you sample their excellent pub grub, and sup on real ales or gins from the extensive range. But your first job is to work up an appetite on one of the many amazing Dartmoor walks on the doorstep. ✱ theartichokeinn.co.uk
THE PIG ON THE HILL
(Bideford) With easy routes up to Kipling Tor – giving great views of Bideford Bay – that start and end at the pub, your four-legged friend will be ready for a chill out when you’re done. And, if he’s not, there’s always the big beer garden for him to burn off that last bit of energy. If he’s on a lead he can sidle into the bar too, where there’s amazing grub on offer. At this outof-the-way eatery in Westward Ho! they do sharing boards loaded with things like roasted pork loin, sticky pork ribs, and pork cheeks braised in bacon and local honey. Other menu highlights include truffled mac ’n’ cheese, smoked trout sandwiches and buttermilk pannacotta.
THE PUFFING BILLY
(Exton) At this stylish country pub your pooch is welcome in the bar, the garden and outside the front, where benches on the country road mean you can sit and watch the world go by. On hand are dog -friendly treats, dog bowls, dog bones and even Snuffle dog beer. The inn is located on the Exe Estuary Trail and easily accessible foot, bike, train, car or bus. The menus change regularly, and there’s a damn fine Sunday roast to boot. ✱ thepuffingbilly.co.uk
THE ROYAL SEVEN STARS HOTEL (Totnes) AND THE ROYAL CASTLE HOTEL (Dartmouth)
Whether you’re a day visitor looking for a bite to eat or a drink with friends, or someone wanting somewhere special for you and a furry friend to stay the night, these sister hotels welcome dogs all year round. Situated in some of the most picturesque places in the South West, both The Royal Seven Stars and The Royal Castle have plenty of dog-friendly bedrooms. There is even room service breakfast for canine customers! Furry
residents are provided with a bed, a ball, a treat, plenty of fuss, and the option of a ‘doggie sausage’ at breakfast time! The cosy bar areas welcome dogs, with water bowls and ample biscuits. Owners with dogs can also take advantage of the large selection of OS walking maps and tips, both available from the reception teams. ✱ royalsevenstars.co.uk; royalcastle.co.uk
THE SPRINGER SPANIEL
(Launceston) There’s no mistaking that this pub is dog friendly (the name might give it away!). There are signs, treats and drinking bowls, as well as an outside beer garden, should the weather permit. The Springer Spaniel is a cosy, 18th-century pub set in beautiful countryside in the pretty hamlet of Treburley. Renowned for its fine food and ales, the bar is the perfect place to relax with your canine friend after a walk in the nearby countryside. ✱ thespringerspaniel.co.uk
ARTICHOKE INN CHARMING VILLAGE PUB GOOD FOOD We provide quality food sourced locally and expertly prepared with ingredients that are freshly delivered every day. COUNTRYSIDE WALKS
Georgeham v North Devon
Satisfy Your Hunger For Lifeâ€™s Little...
The Artichoke is ideally placed for many lovely walks in the surrounding area. GIN
We are famous for our specialist gin collection and confident that we have the largest selection around.
Village Road, Christow, Exeter, Devon EX6 7NF 01647 252387 www.theartichokeinn.co.uk
Genuine Freehouse Pub v Award-Winning Food, Drink & Hospitality v Live Music v Bespoke Menus & Functions v Local Produce & Provenance v Pet Friendly
Chapel Street, Georgeham EX33 1JJ 01271 890240 www.kingsarmsgeorgeham.com
LONG HOURS, REMOTE LOCATIONS, HUMBLE WAGES – AND, MOST OF ALL, MORE JOBS THAN PEOPLE QUALIFIED TO FILL THEM. NO WONDER THERE’S A SHORTAGE OF CHEFS THESE DAYS. BUT IF DEVON CAN’T FILL ITS KITCHENS, WON’T WE GO HUNGRY? TIME TO TAKE ACTION…
n the surface, there’s tons to celebrate on the Devon food scene – splendiferous new hotels and restaurants, pubs upping the ante, more artisan producers than ever packing out local markets… Ace! Everything’s in place to make this region a booming food destination – and it is. But there’s one fly in the ointment: a real shortage of chefs. And it’s not just a problem here, but nationally and internationally too. We regularly get people coming to us at Crumbs, asking us to post job ads and connect chefs with vacancies, so we thought we’d look closer at things. Hey, we need to be fed.
SO, WHAT’S CHANGING?
“It’s harder to recruit now than 10 years ago,” admits executive head chef of Gidleigh Park, Michael Wignal (gidleigh.co.uk). “There are more restaurants with fewer chefs. A lot of places used to have waiting lists to work there, which is mad, but the fact that few do now just shows how much the industry has grown.” Angus McCaig, chef and co-founder of The Holt at Honiton, agrees that’s it’s harder to recruit nowadays. But, he says, the problem is down to the changing face of the industry. “The hospitality sector in general is suffering from lower standards in both food and service, due to the rise of the uber branded, centrally produced food units,” he reckons. “They offer exciting-sounding food built by food operatives with little skill, but it’s ultimately dull, and is served by staff who understandably have no passion for it, because there is no passion in the overall production.” Matthew Mason, head chef at The Jack in the Green in Rockbeare (jackinthegreen.uk.com), agrees. “There are a huge number of big chain restaurants that appear to be enjoying a resurgence currently. It means chefs who would normally be working hard to improve a cv or learn a trade can actually run a kitchen (of sorts) and earn a good wage, with a lot less stress! As a young professional, it’s probably not too difficult a choice to make: work longer hours for less money, or take the easy option.”
SHAKING THE REP
The cheffing life is, notoriously, a tough one, often involving long, unsociable hours and high pressure. Jane Brumby from recruitment company Apple Appointments (appleappointments.com) admits that the standard wage for a chef, working in a team, isn’t competitive. “Typically, we pay £9 or £10 an hour, but then the hourly rate increases with responsibility. It’s not the fairest of wages for this type of work, but, regrettably, clients just don’t have the budget to pay more,” she says. But it’s a reputation that the industry is trying
to fight against. “Working in a high quality, ambitious kitchen will provide a platform from which you can grow a lifelong passion: we have supported many a chef who has gone on to earn good money, and cook food of an excellent standard,” says Matthew. He hasn't found retention as much of a problem as others in Devon, either. “Staff retention is not an issue for us, because we look after our staff with a good wage and healthy working atmosphere,” he believes.
THE YOUNG ONES
Every chef we spoke to about the ongoing shortage suggested a single clear answer to it: get more young people excited about it, and into the hospitality industry. Catherine Farinha founded The Chefs’ Forum (thechefsforum.co.uk) in 2010 to try and bridge the gap she saw between between education and industry. “In Devon, the chef shortage is caused by geographical positioning of restaurants in relation to where people live,” she says. “Unless restaurants have live-in accommodation, it is really hard for them to fill the more junior positions, as young people are often without their own transport. Apprenticeships for small businesses are too expensive, and generate a lot of admin. We work with South Devon College and with HIT Training, a work-based training provider which is perfect for the more remote locations, as chefs and apprentices can study on the job and gain further qualifications while working. We have also launched The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation, which is a pot of money to help young people from tougher backgrounds access work experience through the provision of travel expenses and essential equipment.”
THE TRAINING TABLE
Catherine also recognises that young chefs need lots of support to keep them committed. “Employers need to nurture, develop and retain the young people in their teams,” she says. “They should do this through meeting the families of young people in their care, introducing themselves as a good employer.” Michael Wignall agrees that contact between manager and junior chef should be close throughout their career, to ensure ongoing motivation and retention. “I say one thing to all the staff – ‘If you put in 100%, I will put in 110%’ – and this is because I truly believe the more you put into anything, the more you get out. This is why, no matter what the level of experience, I encourage each member of the team to get involved in every process when developing dishes. Keep them motivated, and show each member of the team the respect they should expect from you. Believe in your team and support them by spending time with everyone, no matter what their position – or yours.”
QUICK-FIRE IDEAS TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN “THE INDUSTRY NEEDS A DEDICATED APPRENTICESHIP SCHEME WITH A REALISTIC, MODERN CURRICULUM AND A WELL-SUPPORTED INFRASTRUCTURE.” MICHAEL WIGNALL
“HOURS NEED TO BE ADDRESSED AND SPLIT SHIFTS NEED TO BE PHASED OUT.” JANE BRUMBY
“A FAIR APPROACH TO THE WORKING DAY, WITH A BALANCE TO ALLOW CHEFS TO EXPERIENCE THE WORLD AROUND THEM, NOT JUST FOUR WALLS.” ANGUS MCCAIG
“A GOOD WAGE, HEALTHY WORKING ATMOSPHERE AND OVERTIME, IF EARNT.” MATTHEW MASON
Arguably the best recruitment specialists to the catering trade Apple Appointments are specialists in supplying temporary and permanent catering staff to hotels, restaurants, pubs, nursing homes, schools and more. We can provide cover at short notice for holidays and sickness or we can seek a full time permanent member of a team. To ensure we cover most of the county, we have an offices in both Plymouth and Exeter. We offer an out of hours emergency line which is manned 365 days a year.
s f e h C s r e r e t Ca s f e h C Sous s Cook
Apple Appointments (SW) Ltd are currently recruiting chefs, cooks and catering assistants to join our extremely busy relief team. Weekly pay and good working conditions.
Apple Appointments Recruitment Specialist to the Catering Trade. For your temporary or permanent needs.
Tel: (01392) 667120
We have now moved to: Unit 64, Basepoint Business Centre, Yeoford Way, Matford, Exeter EX2 8LB
We are proud to be associated with Dart Fresh Produce, suppliers of quality fresh fruit and veg to Devon. (01392) 873036
G RILLE D
tOM kerrIdGe DESPITE HAVING TWO RESTAURANTS ON THE GO AND BEING ELBOW-DEEP IN THE OPENING OF A THIRD, WEST COUNTRY BOY TOM KERRIDGE IS STILL FINDING TIME TO JOIN THIS MONTH’S BIG PARTY, AT EXETER FESTIVAL OF SOUTH WEST FOOD & DRINK
Hi, Tom! You were a late addition to the Exeter Festival line-up, but we’re glad you’re here. What enticed you to take part, then? Most of all? The opportunity to hang out with all my friends in the West Country. After all, it’s where I’m from! Have you been to the Festival before? I’ve been to Exeter before, of course, but never to the Food Festival, so I’m looking forward to it very much. And what will you be demonstrating? Something seasonal – but I’m waiting to see what best produce comes in from the suppliers. Will you be hanging around for a bit after? Absolutely! I’m looking forward to seeing other chefs demoing, to meeting food producers, and to enjoying the great West Country hospitality. What do you think of Devon’s food scene? The West Country has some of the finest producers around. The produce always used to come straight up to London, but now – because there are so many great restaurants and pubs – the South East is having to wait to get their produce, as the West Country is getting the first pick! The whole food scene here is fantastic right now, whether it’s cheesemakers, butchers, or the growing of arable produce. If you had to choose one, which do you like best: food from the land, or from the sea? From the land, every time. If you had a day to while away in Devon, where would you head to? To be honest, I’m very excited about the idea of hanging out at Michael Caines’ new hotel, Lympstone Manor – this is a great addition to the area. Michael’s cooking has a far-reaching reputation. Also, you can’t go wrong with a stay at Gidleigh Park – Michael Wignall’s cooking is some of the best in the country at the moment. You’re doing lots of TV these days. How was your last show, Best of British Takeaways, received? Any plans in the pipeline to do a few more? To be honest, I pay no attention to my TV projects after they’ve been shown. I don’t even watch them, as I’m not a big fan of watching myself. I think it’s gone okay, though, and if they ask us to do another series I’m all ears! Finally, any other exciting projects we should know about? We are opening in London later this year, which is taking up a lot of our time. Very exciting! ✱ exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk
( advertising feature )
Meet the publicist So, you’ve got a great business – but do you have the customers? These guys can help…
Formedia 01752 764222 formedia.co.uk
In The Right Order PR 07850 642102 intherightorder.co.uk
One Voice Media & PR 01392 278801 onevoicemedia.co.uk
McQueenie Mulholland 01392 423060 mcmu.co.uk
Which clients are you working with at the moment, Anna? Amongst other great hospitality clients, we work with Chris and James Tanner, providing support for the Tanner brothers as a brand, as well as their restaurants, Plymouth-based Barbican Kitchen and awardwinning gastropub The Kentish Hare. From running their PR and social media, to handling digital newsletters and websites, as an integrated marketing agency we take care of it all – delivering an uplift in custom as a result of our work. As a team, we’re also avid foodies, so bringing our expertise to clients in this sector gives us the best of both worlds.
So, Sue, what is one piece of advice you would give to a new business starting out? Don’t be shy! You can gain coverage yourself by contacting magazine editors and taking part in food festivals. Talk to established foodie businesses for advice – there’s a lot of generosity in the Devon food and drink scene. Get tweeting – @DevonFoodHour and @Devon_Hour are very supportive Twitter accounts.
Right, Lisa, which clients are you working with at the mo? We’re just days away from the 14th Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink – our client for 13 years! We are also pleased to be working with a new client, River Cottage, to promote its Spring Food Fair and Summer Festival 2017. We love working with the great restaurants and cafés in Princesshay, Exeter, and with South West Chef of the Year, a fantastic competition championing the most talented chefs in the region.
Hi, Eleanor! Which clients are you working with right now? We’ve really developed our food and hospitality clients in the last six months. We’ve got farm shops, wine merchants, food suppliers and we’ve worked with the beautiful Rockbeare Manor since it opened. Our newest food client is one of our quirkiest – La Petite Bouchée, a French bistro in a vintage Citroen camper! They also run a supper club; it’s been a great campaign, and we’ve had a fabulous response.
Why is PR so important in the food industry? We are passionate about communicating the amazing quality of our region’s food, drink and hospitality. PR is a powerful tool for telling the stories of the amazing people working in the South West food and drink industry and demonstrating, with honesty, their brand values.
What is the oddest thing you’ve done in your job? We’re always ready to jump in when clients need us. We’ve shuttled hundreds of coffees uphill from a restaurant to a conference venue when the water boiler stopped working; we’ve flipped burgers on a client’s stand at the Exeter Food Festival; and one of our team even laid in a pigsty to get some great piglet photos.
How has PR and marketing changed in the past decade? The explosion of all things digital revolutionised everything about PR and marketing. It’s created an era where microbreweries can become cult international traders, and food bloggers can become superstars. It is both tougher and more vital than ever to stand out from the crowd – and the right professional help can make that happen. Done well, a combination of compelling PR, decent digital content and engaging social media can help your business thrive, creating stronger connections with loyal customers, and helping you reach countless more.
Why should a business use PR? While you can make a bit of a splash when you launch your business, it takes experience – and determination – to make sure you stay in the public eye for the long term. My job is to be strategic, keep an eye out for opportunities, build and maintain media relationships and chat up the right people on your behalf – while you get on with what you’re best at. Whatever you do, partner with a PR agency or independent practitioner who believes in you and your product.
What has been the most interesting project you have worked on so far? Our client, Cake International, is the world’s largest cake decorating show. Every year we unearth interesting cake stories, from edible wedding dresses made of cake to a life sized (and entirely made of sugar) Johnny Depp and baby Prince George. PR gold!
What’s been your favourite foodie trend of late? Without a doubt, Devon’s ongoing commitment to locallysourced, seasonal ingredients. It’s not a new trend, but you can’t beat supporting local growers and using food in synch with nature.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new business starting out? We tell clients to build a brand that consistently informs every facet of their business. The look, the customer experience, the channels, the tone of voice and vocabulary – consistency matters.
( adverti sing feature )
KOR Communications 01392 466733 korcommunications.co.uk Hello, Annette. Why is PR so important in the food, drink and hospitality industry? Since the arrival of TripAdvisor and other, similar sites that give consumers a platform to rank their experiences and become powerful influencers, it’s become increasingly important to have a robust communications plan in place; one that maximises every opportunity to showcase excellent food, drink and service – and, equally, one that’s very clear about what to do when things go wrong. How, in your experience, has food PR and marketing changed in the past decade? Digital marketing has created the opportunity for highly targeted and cost-effective online campaigns, while social media has provided numerous platforms for people to share their experiences in pictures and videos – the quality of which can definitely make or break a reputation. Why should a new or growing food business use a public relations agency? A professional PR consultant will help you to plan and deliver a fully integrated publicity campaign with a combination of words, pictures, video and graphics that can be used online and in print to really engage your target audience and grow your business. He or she will also be there to advise and support you if a reputational issue arises.
Glen King PR 01392 426984 glenkingmarketing.co.uk
The Oxygen Agency 01884 255999 oxygenagency.co.uk
Hi, Glen! Tell us about some of the cool clients you are working with at the moment… We’ve got a diverse portfolio across a range of sectors, including the food industry. Think people like: Lloyd’s Kitchen; Purity Spa (Skin Angels); Southern Healthcare; Minus7; Haines Watts; Brewin Dolphin; NPS South West; Hilton Barnfield; Low Carbon Exchange; McLaughlin and Harvey; Ken White Signs; Queenstreet Carpets and Furnishings; and Cottonsafe® Natural Mattress Company.
Hello there, Sophie. So, why is good PR so important for the food, drink and hospitality industry? It has never been more important for restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels to market themselves. With new establishments opening each week, the competition can be fierce – and, sadly, failure rates are high, too. PR is a great way to get your proposition out there – to position yourself well, and then influence a customer’s meal decision.
What is the oddest thing you’ve done in your job? Probably being arrested by CHSW to raise funds for Jail Bail, and pleading my innocence at Exeter Castle... Our dog Shadow, a Cocker Spaniel who ‘works’ with us in the office, wore an official ‘Sniffer Dog’ high-vis vest and was bundled into the police van with me! I was so grateful to Ben Bradshaw MP for turning up to support me on the day!
Has PR and marketing changed very much in the past decade? I think social media and easy access to information through the web has required PR and marketing to become much more reactive. Being proactive isn’t enough anymore – you need to feel the pulse of what’s going on, so you can act quickly and position your brand to the right people at the right time. We’re absorbed by our clients’ needs 24-7.
What’s been your most interesting project so far? Southern Healthcare specialises in complex nursing, dementia and residential care, and has brought the ‘outside in’ for residents as a part of their developing care programme at Exeter and Dawlish. Within the homes, they have created a country-style pub/ beer garden, offering beer and spirits – unsurprisingly, they’re popular for pub lunches!
What’s been your favourite foodie trend of late? I love food, so for me the most exciting thing is when you can get a good balance between eating brilliant meals and staying healthy. I’m a big fan of Joe Wicks, and my blender and spiralizer are permanent features on my kitchen worktop. (Who knew courgettes could be so tasty?) I’m still trying to convince myself that avocados taste nice, though…
RAW PR & Marketing 07887 474104 rawprandmarketing.co.uk So, Hayley, tell us about the clients you’re working with at the moment… They include Food & Drink Devon, Luscombe Drinks, The Venus Company, South Sands Hotel, Salcombe Gin, Dartington Hall, The Shops at Dartington, Lyme Bay Winery, Manna from Devon Cooking School, Warrens Bakery and The Vineyard Kitchen. And why is PR so important for the food, drink and hospitality industry? Devon is increasingly innovative and creative with its food and drink offering. It is important to shout about all the fantastic things happening here to help drive sales, increase tourism and generally bring greater prosperity to the county as a whole, creating more jobs and a stronger local economy. What should we be looking out for this year? Even more incredible Devon produce. Luscombe Drinks has introduced a new range of tonic waters, so you’ll now be able to make a purely Devon G&T. All the ingredients you’ll need are available in ‘Devon Drinks’ at The Shops at Dartington. What’s been your favourite foodie trend of late? Cooking outside with a wood fired oven. I love going over to Manna from Devon Cooking School and learning the various different tricks needed to cook well with wood.
GREAT FOOD GREAT ATMOSPHERE Enjoy our dynamic, seasonal menu of locally sourced produce inside our recently revamped cosy, stylish interior. Join us for a beverage in the bar area or, on sunny days venture out into our secluded rear garden to watch the world go by.
Dogs ar e welcom e
in the ba r area of th and timber e restau rant, the gard en and outside.
01392 877888 For more information please visit our website
WWW.THEPUFFINGBILLY.CO.UK Station Road, Exton, EX3 0PR
AF T E RS NEW RESTAURANTS DEVOURED, NEW CAFÉS FREQUENTED, NEW BARS CRAWLED, AND THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT WE THOUGHT OF THEM
Behind these 16th century walls lie plates of cuttingedge grub
Highlights POLPOS APART
Small plates and delicious drinks up the ante of Exeter’s Guildhall development Page 62
UN-BELL-IEVABLE Not just your average pub dinners at this Clyst Hydon country gem Page 64
OCTOPUSES that came all the way from Venice
( N E W R E S TA U R A N T S )
POLPO EXETER’S GUILDHALL DINING QUARTER HAS SERIOUSLY UPPED ITS GAME WITH ITS LATEST (AND FINAL) ADDITION, POLPO, RECKONS CHARLIE LYON
efreshing, isn’t it, when things turn out better than expected? Hopes were always high for the Guildhall Dining development, which saw the historical market building, more recently used as a shopping centre, regenerated into a light-filled space with original features unearthed. Although not as ‘artisan’ as originally predicted, London brands like Turtle Bay, Absurd Bird and Comptoir Libanais moved in and were welcomed with open arms by Exonians. Good to see South West-born brand The Stable in the mix too. The last space was originally promised to MeatLiquor, but apparently ‘financial troubles’ put paid to that. Within a few minutes of receiving a call about the vacant lot, Polpo founder Russell Norman, who’d had an interest in the location from the off, booked a train ticket from London to have a look; 24 hours later the deal was done, and the team started working on the opening.
“I love the city, and feel it has that perfect balance of culture, sophistication, beauty and energy,” Norman says. And its these qualities that Polpo brings to the development that MeatLiquor, and its dirty dude food, could not have done. “For everyone at Polpo, it’s very important that we contribute to the culinary life of Exeter, too,” reckons Norman. And this is one thing that sets Polpo apart from its neighbours. Norman is committed to staff development, and the chefs here are given a chance to shine. From cheese-making trips in Italy to in-house training in London, the guys here are fed inspiration constantly. Nothing comes from a central kitchen, and chefs are trained to produce each exquisite plate perfectly on site. They’re given their deserved limelight in the restaurant too, which has a central open kitchen. There’s at-counter seating, plus a mix of booths and tables around. This place really is a thing of beauty, modelled on the backstreet bacaros, or wine bars, of Venice, with red leather banquettes, salvaged oak timber and Victorian glazed tiles. The ceiling is forged from painted tin tiles, imported from America as was traditional in the 19th century; these things were popular due to their fire-retardant qualities. When it comes to food, the team are still busy setting up new local suppliers, and some of the typically Venetian specialities are imported. The marinated baby octopuses (£4.20), for example – from the cicheti (or Venetian snacks) menu, which we begin with – are one of these imports. They’re tender and
moreish, unbelievably fresh despite the shipping, with onion and white wine vinegar adding zing but allowing their sweetness to shine through. We wash them down with a Bellini (£6.50) that’s flavoured with just a hint of fresh peach. Panzanella (£4.40) is next, the plate piled high with colourful heritage toms, huge basil leaves and bread juicy with fruity oil, yet still retaining a good bite. As well as appetisers, breads, salads and veg dishes, the menu has hearty plates too. The roasted sea bream (£8.40) comes with the crispiest skin, salted perfectly so there’s no need to consider scraping it aside. The white flakes are juicy and full of flavour, as are the brown shrimp, served up perfectly pink, that ride atop it. The oil is Mediterranean and light, and there’s a supersonic citrus zing that cuts through everything to leave the palette clean. The fennel underneath is rich with fishy flavours. A pork chop (£8) is huge and tender, cut easily by a knife in one swift motion.
It sits proudly on a bed of white beans, perhaps overly salted for some, but savoury and moreish all the same. A hint of wild garlic from two verdant leaves runs through the dish. Red chicory, served with nutty Grana Padano, is slowroasted to bring out the agrodolce (bittersweet) flavours that Venetians adore. This is peasant food elevated to something worthy of a royal table. Desserts are traditional and refined – a fresh Aperol sorbet (£4); a small glass of light and creamy tiramisu (£4.80) – as well as tantalisingly modest, to ensure you’ll return for more. And return we shall, whether it’s for aperitifs and cicheti, a drawn-out dinner, or to take advantage of the all-day set menu. This is the venue to head for that promises elegance and refined dining, plus unbeatable value. ✱ Polpo Exeter, 18 Higher Market Guildhall, Queen Street, Exeter EX4 3FB; 01392 422439; polpo.co.uk
( feature )
( G R E AT P U B S )
THE FIVE BELLS INN
THERE’S NEW MANAGEMENT HERE, BUT DON’T PANIC: THE KITCHEN IS STILL KICKING OUT DELICIOUS FODDER, THANKS TO AN EXCEPTIONAL HEAD CHEF, SAYS CHARLIE LYON
ou may feel like you’re a million miles from anywhere at this picture-perfect 16th-century pub in Clyst Hydon, but really you’re just a 30-minute drive from Exeter. Maybe the fact it’s so accessible is why it’s filling up unexpectedly fast tonight, on a sunny Wednesday evening in March. There were only a few bookings originally, apparently, but the restaurant and bar area are both starting to buzz. It’s all hands on deck for new manager Gary Tubb, who recently returned from Australia to take over from the team behind Rockbeare’s Jack in the Green, with wife Graciela. As another group of eight – the Piper’s Farm management team, it looks like from their branded gilets (no flies on us) – waltz up to a big table in the restaurant, Gary joins the waitresses in running out meals as well as pulling pints. Still, despite the busyness, the pub has a right relaxed feel to it, with its exposed brick, log burners, beamed ceiling and slate-flagged floor – all the markings of a first-rate country inn. The exterior boasts a thatch roof, a big garden with views across rolling countryside, and a typical windy lane approach, but
the premises are properly preened, too – no windswept grounds or muddy footprints here. The lawns are mowed to perfection, the thatch boasts immaculate lines, the staff are smart and the pub itself is gleamingly clean. We guess it has to be like this, really, to act as the perfect backdrop for the food, which is local produce done exceptionally well and immaculately presented. The kitchen here is the powerhouse, run by Ian Webber who was head chef at Gidleigh Park for six years. With him he’s brought innovation and perfectionism to home-cooked plates. There’s a decent set dinner menu – two courses for £16, three for £21, with pub classics elevated by thoughtful twists (crispy battered herring, duck-fat chips, smoked cod mayo and apple and fennel salad, for example). But really, for just a few extra pounds, you can order from the à la carte and get blown away. Tonight’s spherical galantines of quail (£8.75) are juicy and tender, wrapped with Dorset guanciale (no shame in looking that up, it’s a “fat-rich cured bacon from pig jowls”). Pickled Jerusalem artichoke cuts through the earthy meat while juicy golden raisins add a hint of sweetness. There are other top talking points to the dish, too – dehydrated kale, artichoke crisps, an artichoke purée. So much so, in fact, that they’ll keep you chattering all night. I mop up leftovers with an unforgettable dark sourdough laden with allspice. Five proud mains make up the à la carte tonight, including Crediton duck with wood-fired leeks (£19) and sirloin
and braise of Dartmoor Dexter (£22). The roast Skrei cod – not just any old fish, but a lean and clean migrating kind – is cooked to perfection, the bright white flesh full of flavour and moisture. The rest of the plate is a pure voyage of discovery – mini fried onion rings on
onion shells filled with smoked roe and buttermilk and pea purée; fragrant cubes of fennel and an elderflower broth. According to the menu, brown crab is lurking on my plate. I’m not too sure where; nor are the staff; and nor is Gary. (Is it with the roe? Perhaps, they think.) Despite me dispatching them to the kitchen to find out, we never do. Sadly, it’s not the first question I’ve asked tonight that’s been met with perplexion. Pudding is a deliciously pink and white mix of poached rhubarb, rhubarb crisp and the most amazing rhubarb sorbet, all sweetened with a white chocolate mousse and white chocolate crumb. Gary’s hoping to bring in more weeknight custom by introducing a few more lower-priced pub meals to the menu. But, by the look of things, it’s ticking along just dandy already. With just a little more front of house training, an evening at The Five Bells could be faultless. ✱ THE FIVE BELLS INN, Clyst Hydon, Cullompton EX15 2NT; 01884 277288; fivebells.uk.com
Little black book
WHEN SHE’S NOT CREATING INCREDIBLE EATS FOR HER BLOG, YOU’LL FIND TORQUAY’S AIMEE TWIGGER IN THESE DEVON JOINTS…
I love going for Brody’s all-you-can-eat breakfast on Union Street in Torquay. They have every different spread and sauce you can think of, and loads of different types of bread. I really love the sausages, too.
Maido Japanese noodle bar is at the top of town at Castle Circus, and does amazing food. I always order the teriyaki soba, gyoza and tuna sushi.
Now add this little lot to your contacts book Brody’s, Torquay TQ1 3DW; brodysbistro.com Three Degrees West, Oddicombe Beach TQ1 3LX; oddicombebeach.co.uk Annie’s, Totnes TQ9 5EJ; 01803 867265 Hare & Hounds, Kingskerswell TQ12 5HH; thehareandhounds.co.uk Appleby’s, Torquay; applebystorquay.co.uk Crusty Loaf Bakery, Plainmoor TQ1 3HW; crusty-loaf.co.uk Pier Point, Torquay TQ2 5HA; pier-point.co.uk Maido, Torquay TQ2 5QW; facebook. com/MaidoJapaneseNoodleBar The Orange Tree Restaurant, Torquay TQ1 2AL; orangetreerestaurant.co.uk The King William VI, Totnes TQ9 5HN; king-williampub.com Meat 59, 59 Abbey Road, Torquay TQ2 5NQ; meat59.com The Drum Inn, Cockington TQ2 6XA; vintageinn.co.uk The Wighton, Torquay TQ2 7JA; wightonpubtorquay.co.uk Angels Tea Rooms, Torquay TQ1 3LP; 01803 324477
For a brew with a view there is a lovely café, called Three Degrees West, on Oddicombe Beach. I love walking the dog there and sitting to watch the resident seal popping its head up every few minutes.
ONE TO WATCH?
The Orange Tree on Park Hill Road in Torquay is a really nice restaurant. WITH FRIENDS?
I love the King William IV pub in Totnes. It has friendly staff, and I love the posh mac ’n’ cheese and the open sandwiches.
FAVOURITE GROCERY SHOP?
As a food blogger, I like to have fresh, seasonal ingredients, so I go to Annie’s in Totnes. It has lots of organic food, and a selection of other great produce.
Meat 59 burger restaurant on Abbey Road does amazing burgers.
BEST WINE MERCHANT?
I’m not a big wine drinker but I do like to cook with it, so Waitrose is where I go!
WITH THE OTHER HALF?
The Drum Inn at Cockington. It’s a really old pub in the picturesque Cockington village. I normally have the pie. BEST CURRY?
The Hare & Hounds on the Newton Road does the most amazing Sunday carvery. It gets really busy, so I would suggest booking. QUICK PINT?
Appleby’s bar in Torquay, especially on a Sunday afternoon in the summer.
To eat in I love the curry at The Wighton, a pub in Torquay, as the chicken is cooked on a rotisserie so it’s really tender. SOMETHING SWEET?
Angels on the Babbacombe Downs does really great cakes and cream teas. TOP STREET FOOD?
The Crusty Loaf Bakery in Plainmoor, or in Barton. They have the best sandwiches – we always get them when we are out on a dog walk or a picnic.
In the summer there are some really great street food vendors that open on Torquay seafront. Last year they had a brilliant gyro place and a great churros stall – the churros coated in cinnamon sugar were so, so tasty.
FOOD ON THE GO?
Pier Point restaurant on the seafront in Torquay. On a nice day it’s a lovely place to sit, with a view across the bay.