CRUMBS Devon No.16 june 2017
A little slice of foodie heaven
SHOULD LD WE STARTT EATING ATING DARTMOOR OOR TAFFETY? ETY?
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inG MuLvLer O n’s e DevO atUr siGbNreW
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What d’you call French beans who fought the Germans?
It may make you feel a little horse!
EM Swap ’’E w O C fOr a h C at w and ’E ’EM GrOw!
whether yOu CaLL EM ’E
brOAd A, Or FAv
ORGANIC OUTFITs THAT JUST WON’T QUIT
Peas de resistance!
iOUs, iC l e d re a s these felrl,aand the verY tende f definitiOn O
frome th 's on e r gis be ts chef
SPRING RECIPES PLUS
s N a E
LUNCHING AT LLYMPSTO YMP NE
ST COOK BOOKs BEST ABSURRD BIRD & THE CHICKEN REVIVAL
Yes, who knew it had even gone away? £3 where sold
L O O C
10 Sto ’ sUppnekrin s!
DIGGIN’ ON YOU
WHAT HAVE FREE breakfasts and Denmark got in common? More than you might first think! June sees the Wake Up To Organic campaign take place and, as part of it, 17 independent shops and restaurants in Devon have signed up to offer free organic meals to kickstart your morning and show you how easy it is to make the switch. The campaign is organised by The Soil Association and the Organic Trade Board, which have just bagged a whopping £9m of EU funding to promote organic food in the country. Denmark will also receive part of the funding, and we’ll be working together to up retail sales and make it easier for farmers to start growing and rearing organic. Why Denmark, you may ask? Haven’t we already had enough of hygge-ing up our homes and watching noir crime dramas? Well, in Denmark organic is seen as a mainstream product; in fact, apparently half the population buys organic products every week – and the Organic Trade Board wants us to do the same. Tell you what, though; there are some amazing institutions and enterprises in Devon that those Scandis could take a leaf from, too. We went to visit one of them – Percy’s Country Hotel & Restaurant, where organic isn’t just a label, it’s a lifestyle, and sustainability is at the top of the agenda for owner Tina BricknellWebb (p40). In fact, when word got out we were running an organic special issue we were inundated with amazing foodie folk across the region wanting to get involved. From recipes and local organic producers to chefs who champion the movement, we hope you enjoy all the juicy, sustainable content this month!
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Trencherman’s Pub of the Year 2016
The Swan is the oldest pub in the charming historic town of Bampton, near Exmoor National Park, an area well known for its hunting, fishing, shooting and popular with ramblers and cyclists. We have a passion for food and with this we like to embrace the use of local produce, keeping menus simple, yet bursting with flavours and imagination. We take pride in our well kept, locally sourced ales and fine wines, to whet the appetites and suit all tastes.
Eat, Drink & Sleep At the Swan, Bampton
DA P PA 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
T. 01398 332248 E. firstname.lastname@example.org www.theswan.co Bampton | Tiverton | Devon | EX16 9NG
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
Table of Contents
NO. 16 JUNE 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 PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION MANAGER
SARAH KINGSTON firstname.lastname@example.org DEPUTY PRODUCTION MANAGER
KIRSTIE HOWE email@example.com CHIEF EXECUTIVE
JANE INGHAM firstname.lastname@example.org CHIEF EXECUTIVE
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STARTERS 08 HERO INGREDIENT Beans means... delicious dinners and lots of vits 10 OPENINGS ETC The word on the foodie street 12 ASK THE EXPERT We all love a pint of easy rider 18 TRIO Shops, lovely farm shops 19 LOCAVORE Crumbs considers a Dartmoor hill pony burger
36 A dreamy indulgent pud, by Bjorn Moen
KITCHEN ARMOURY © 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 chilled out at South Sands Hotel in Salcombe, eating top grub from Allister Bishop – then left tons of possessions in the room, which they kindly posted back. #ThankYou
CHEF! Amazing recipes from the region’s top kitchens 26 Roast cod, by Gill Meller 28 Chicken and wild garlic pie, from Aimee Twigger 30 Amazing summer greens tart, by Naomi Devlin 32 Beautiful lamb stew, from Pipers Farm 34 Kale and spelt salad, from Sharpham’s
40 HOUSE CALL 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
54 FESTIVAL DATES Diaries at the ready: festival fever is hitting the county
New & notable restaurants, cafés, bars 62 Lympstone Manor 64 Absurd Bird
50 OH, ORGANIC! Devon’s running with the movement that's looking after our super soil
66 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Rob Corbett from Castlewood Vineyard loves noshing and swilling at these Devon gaffs
START E RS INNOVATIONS, REVELATIONS AND TASTY AMUSE-BOUCHES
What are Sundays for? Lazing, eating, socialising, smoking... No, we’re not talking about that kind of smoking; we’re talking smoking food here. Gill Meller, aka River Cottage hero and author of super-seasonal cookbook Gather (more on that on p26), believes there’s no finer way of bringing people together than over a fire-cooked roast. He’ll be joining forces with Woodfired Canteen founder Benedict Quinn to put on lazy, smoky family lunches at Windout Farm – a 900-year-old farm at Tedburn St Mary on the edge of Dartmoor – with many of the ingredients being grown and reared by the farm’s owners. The Windout & Friends experience will include a tour of the farm, orchard games, a welcome drink and a meal for £30. Buy tickets from the online shop at canteencornwall.com
We smOKed this OUt…
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s kids, we think beans are born in a can: the baked variety, naturally, but red kidney beans and broad beans, too. Certainly, the broad bean’s summer months season is so short it’s easy to see the appeal of drying, canning or freezing these sweet and creamy delights for year-round noshing, but they’re at their best right now, fresh, smooth, bittersweet and delicious. It’s a bean with many names: field bean, bell bean, tic bean and – most often in the United States – the fava bean, as so enthusiastically enjoyed by Dr Hannibal Lecter, accompanied by a nice Chianti and some protein we can’t quite recall. As a species we’ve been eating Vicia faba for ages – hardy, resistant to cold, able to grow in rubbish conditions, like clay or excessively salty soil, they’re a crop that’s very difficult to screw up. Folk were wolfing down an early version of these things on the shores of the Mediterranean (they’re native to North Africa) around the 6th millennium BC, at least, and, inevitably, we’ve created many cultivars – chief amongst them, the classic broad bean, designed mostly for human consumption, and the smaller, even hardier horse (or field) bean, commonly used in animal feed, but which has its homo sapien fans, too.
Because we’ve been eating them so long – it’s hard to think of much we’ve been growing for longer – broad beans have picked up a rich history of superstition, habit and unusual usages along the way. When we say “not worth a bean”, or vote using white or black markers put into a pot, it’s the broad bean that’s somewhere at the heart of it. In many parts of Italy, a broad bean is carried for good luck – it’s a reminder of some ancient Sicilian crop failure, when the people survived on beans alone. (In fact, they love them in the south of Italy – in Puglia, the heel bit, they purée them with wild chicory.) In parts of Africa they’re associated with religious festivals and times of mourning. All across Europe and North Africa, regions have their own favourite bean feast: with smoked pork in Luxembourg, with winter savory and butter in Holland, in Portuguese Christmas cake. Being native to some parts of Asia, a rich tradition has grown up around them there, too – they’re all over Sichuan cuisine (notably teamed with chilli peppers and soybeans in spicy doubanjiang paste); they’re eaten with onion, garlic, parsley and lemon juice in the popular Egyptian/Sudanese breakfast dish ful medames; they’re teamed with rice or eggs (duck mostly) in Iran; and a flour made from them is key to much of the Ethiopian repertoire, too.
THEY’RE AT THEIR VERY BEST SUPER-FRESH (LIKE, JUST PICKED AN HOUR OR TWO AGO), BUT EVEN FROZEN OR CANNED BROAD BEANS ARE AMONG THE MOST VERSATILE INGREDIENTS AROUND
You can eat your broad beans pod and all (if they’re young, soft and thin enough) or, more usually, with the pods removed; they’re at their best from the end of May until mid-July, when the beans are still small and pale. Cooking is simplicity itself: only a brief steaming, boiling or sautéing is required with these first ones, but even an older shelled bean doesn’t take too long. They work well with a little butter and any number of herbs (try tarragon, basil, mint or dill), and team up delightfully with every meat we can think of (certainly lamb, pork, chicken, fish, ham) either as a side dish, or as part of some stew (the Greeks team them with artichokes – try it). With chorizo in a risotto they’re one of our go-to recipes. Mashed and sharpened with lemon juice, they work well as a dip; frying them, pod and all, works also – just chuck some salt or spice in there to make a crunchy finger food. Health-wise, it’s a mixed bag; for most of us, that broad beans are rich in L-dopa – a chemical useful in the control of Parkinson’s disease – is nothing but good news, but for some they can cause favism, a disorder involving the rupture of red blood cells and the release of their fluid into the plasma. (The followers of Pythagoras in the 5th-century BC avoided beans – possibly to avoid favism, but also because they believed people and beans were made of the same stuff. Of course, they advised that male/female sex should be restricted to the winter months only too, so we can perhaps safely put their views to one side.)
BROAD BEAN BRUSCHETTA (SERVES 2)
INGREDIENTS 2 slices of sourdough (or your favourite loaf) rapeseed oil 150g broad beans, podded 2 tbsp crème fraîche 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped lemon juice 1 garlic clove 75g feta or a salty goat’s cheese (optional) METHOD 1 Roughly crush the beans with a fork and stir through the crème fraîche and chopped mint. Season generously with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. 2 Lightly drizzle the rapeseed oil over the sliced bread and toast under the grill, until golden and crisp on both sides. 3 Quickly blanch the broad beans in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Drain and refresh in cold water immediately. Shell the broad beans to get rid of their tough outer layer. 4 While the toast is still hot, rub briskly with the garlic clove. Top with the bean dip and sprinkle with any remaining mint and the crumbled cheese, if using.
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instA FEED HEY, GOOD LOOKING
Watch out, someone’s had a facelift. The City Gate Hotel in Exeter, loved for its sizeable beer garden, was closed in January and given a whopping £1m refurbishment. After three and a bit months’ hard graft it’s now been reopened with 14 boutique bedrooms and a brand new food focus. There’s a new pub menu plus burger shack with its own bar that serves craft beers and cocktails. The City Gate is part of the pub giant Young’s Group, but we’ve been assured they’re trying hard to do their own thing and support local producers and brands, too. citygatehotel.com
WHAT’S YOUR BEEF?
Torquay’s Meat 59 – the burger restaurant that aims to use as many local ingredients as possible – has opened its second outlet on Magdelen Road, Exeter. The meat will come from Gribble’s butcher and the bespoke buns from Crusty Loaf. The sister and brother-in-law founders promise that this isn’t just another bog standard burger joint, and that their exploration into great meats, plus a brunch and Sunday lunch menu and a top-notch vibe, will make your trip worthwhile. meat59.com
@brownandbean Our incredible new lobster dish #asparagus #wildgarlic #whitechocolate
@crumbsmag Nettle and wild garlic pearl barley risotto with charred baby gem and ewes’ curd on top @rivercottagehq
Had a full-on week and need to de-stress? Yeah, us too! There’s no better destination to head to for healthy nourishment and a zen-like afterglow that new vegan pop-up The Living Room at Station Yard Studios in Ashburton. The once-a-month plant-based feast is held by Bini Sharman, a holistic whole foods chef who steers clear of processed or refined ingredients. The four-course menus are organic, local and seasonal wherever possible. facebook.com/binithechef
@pipersfarm One pan, handmade, all-natural Saddleback pork sausages and fresh herbs, cooked simply over piping hot coals
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Tag your Insta pics with #CrumbsSnaps and yours could be here next month!
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WITH A NEW RESTAURANT NAME AND NEW INTERIORS, NOEL CORSTON AT NC IS LOOKING FORWARD TO COOKING UP A STORM THIS SUMMER Welcome back after the winter, Noel! We’re looking forward to seeing your new and improved restaurant. But first up, take us back to when you first started cooking… I began cooking at 16 years old. I wanted to do it professionally as a way to work by the coast – to surf the daylight hours on my split shift. I’m still doing that, so it turned out alright! And where was the very first restaurant? I was commis at the Pig ’n’ Fish Restaurant in St Ives – it’s a small fish restaurant run by Paul Sellars, who was head chef of the original team at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. What’s the toughest job you’ve tackled so far? Definitely the toughest job has been working for myself! And what’s your proudest career achievement? Building my own successful restaurant at home in North Devon. How would you describe your style of cooking? Natural, respectful and controlled. How many of you are there in the kitchen team? Just one! How have you approached the menu? It’s a multi-course tasting menu, focused on showcasing our immediate environment at a given moment in time. Plus, I basically cook what I like to eat. Which other local restaurants do you like to eat at? Squires Fish and Chips in Braunton is always a winner, and The Stores in Croyde usually have some banging cakes on board; Johns of Instow, too! Aside from that, I tend to BBQ a lot at home with my family.
Got any favourite suppliers you use for the restaurant? If I tell you I’ll have to kill you! Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without? My kamado grill, and my French plancha. What are your top five-a-day? Coffee, work, surf, family, bed! Favourite cookery book? White Heat – it’s still epic.
What makes the local foodie scene so great? There is so much going on now in Devon as a whole. In North Devon, in particular, exciting things are happening all the time. I think local people want to have more access to local, seasonal produce, and businesses in North Devon are finally taking the hint.
Foodie heroes? I don’t have a hero as such, but as a chef I have a lot of respect for Simon Rogan [British chef with restaurants in London and Cumbria]. He’s a true visionary.
What are your favourite ingredients at the moment? Turbot and asparagus.
Fondest foodie memories from your childhood? Mum’s biscuits, hot and fresh out the oven.
Do you grow anything yourself? We are cultivating a five year old and an eight year old, so there’s not much time for anything else!
NC – Noel Corston, South Street, Woolacombe EX34 7BB; 01271 871187; noelcorston.com
Current favourite flavour combination? Scallops with seaweed.
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Ask the Expert
AppLe-y ever after... an
JASON MITCHELL, DIRECTOR OF ASHRIDGE CIDER, KNOWS A THING OR TOO ABOUT THE BREW
Hi Jason! We’ll get onto business in a bit, but first things first (to keep the cidersceptics with us). How can we drink cider without getting steaming hangovers? Cider has always been associated with student excesses and overdoing it, but we have tried to move away from that image. As a company we lean towards responsible drinking, producing lower-strength ciders and going for quality. This does push up the price, but deters binge drinking. The key to a small hangover could be in the percentage alcohol marked on the bottle! So, go for a well-made, medium-strength traditional cider with high apple content – say 6% abv – and have some food, too. Cider is surprisingly good with a nice curry. Try it! Low-alcohol fruit ciders will be a good bet at 4% alcohol, too. Sound advice, thank you! Now, can you give us the lowdown on Ashridge? Ashridge started almost by mistake, back in 1996, when we lived at Ashridge Farm in South Devon. There were many old cider apple trees on the farm, and the apples went to waste most years. I was in between jobs and started making cider as a hobby. The hobby became a serious hobby, and then it developed into a full-time business. And a pretty successful business, we hear. What makes your cider so good? There are some really good ciders out there now, and the general quality is definitely
better than 20 years ago. However, a major factor to making a good-quality cider is the fruit you use, as well as how you use it. The established orchards here have a fantastic mixture of traditional cider apple trees. A major part of the cider maker’s craft is blending the various ciders you have, and I’m a great believer in that the more varieties of apple the better, creating a good depth of flavour. We have a pile of awards, both regional and national, showing we must be doing something right! How do you make your cider, then? Cider making is basically a very simple process: you press apples and manage the subsequent fermentation of the juice. But, as with so many things, the devil is in the detail. It is very easy to follow basic rules and make a perfectly sound cider. However, this will not always work. It’s a bit like being a ship’s captain: you understand the processes involved, and you steer your ship in the direction you want to go, rather than ‘going with the wind’. There is a lot of science in cider making, and I guess if you understand the science you are more likely to be able to ‘steer your ship’. So, has this process changed much since you started in ’96? When I started, I picked the apples by hand, put them in old fertiliser sacks and used an ancient old press, which was hard work. Two of us would pick nearly two tons
of apples a day, and then press them the following day. Now we will often receive a 30-ton load of apples, and one person can press this in three days in our new press. The basic process is still the same, though. What makes Devon such an ace cidermaking region? It’s because of the number of traditional cider apple orchards. Although, sadly, the acreage is vastly reduced from what it was 100 years ago. Cider making was an important activity in the more fertile parts of the country because – years ago, before mechanisation – each farm would need many farm workers. It was the custom to pay part of their wages in cider. The tradition of cider making has been handed down the generations and has kept the knowledge and skills alive. Sadly, though, now there are hundreds of neglected old orchards just being left to fend for themselves. The result is not a pretty sight. That’s sad news. Are we doing anything to save the declining numbers of apple species in Devon? Luckily, there is a growing band of mostly amateur enthusiasts who are busy planting small areas with old traditional Devon varieties. Orchard Link (orchardlink.org.uk) are doing a fantastic job in this respect. We do our bit every year, by planting a few trees in the gaps created by old trees dying and falling over. We have just finished restoring our oldest orchard, which has detailed records of the original plantings right back in 1946. We have sourced all the original varieties of apples and replanted as close as we can to the original plan. So, what kind of apples do you mainly use in your drinks? For the cider we use cider apples, and for the apple juice we use dessert fruit. Cider apples, particularly those from the West Country, are characterised by having high levels of tannin, and a fair bit of acidity, too. The natural sugar in the apples is what eventually produces the alcohol, so we need good summer sunshine to ripen them. This raises the sugar levels. The names of the varieties often give a clue to who bred the apple, or where it originally came from, or what the apple looks like: Tremlett’s Bitter, Sercombe’s Natural, Teign Harvey, Ashton Brown Jersey, Crimson King, Pig’s Nose.
When it comes to organic, how important is that to you? Very important. When customers are choosing whether to buy organic or nonorganic, you often hear the questions: do you think it tastes better? Is it better for you? But my concern is always the environmental impact. To date, there isn’t really much scientific evidence to show that organic fruit and vegetables are better for you, per se, but there is a host of evidence to say that conventional agri-farming harms the environment in terms of things like biodiversity and pollution of water courses. How important do you think ‘organic’ should be to the whole drinks industry? When you know how many herbicide and pesticide sprays are used in commercial fruit production, I think it’s very important. Many vineyards in France are like deserts thanks to excessive use of herbicides. Luckily there are some new growers out there, both in the UK and further afield, who are embracing organic methods. Our range of soft drinks is organic, and extremely low in sugar content, too. Producing organic drinks gives us an inroad ito organic retailers also, like our neighbours, Riverford Organic Farmers, and their organic veg box scheme. Has the weather been kind to your orchards recently? Last year was great for UK apple production, and so far this year it’s been excellent. Last autumn the weather was particularly good for harvesting, and I’ve never known the
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apples to come in so clean and juicy. We’re hoping to have missed the late frosts this year, which destroy the blossom and new apples forming. In the autumn, when the trees are laden with fruit, we can often lose the odd larger tree in a gale. This represents 70 years of growth gone in one night. That is always a sad sight. How big are your orchards? We manage and harvest apples from a number of local orchards, which we have converted to organic. These orchards total about 20 acres. We gladly accept many other apples brought in from the area. Last year we planted a whole new orchard of eight acres, using 2,500 bush trees – this should help secure our apple supply for the years ahead. Last year we made about 400,000 litres.
Are you still battling giants like Bulmers and Magners? There is a still big movement out there to buy local and craft or artisan drinks, and thankfully we will always benefit from this. The big boys are peddling a message that is sometimes a bit hard to believe, so we just need to plug away and be true to our roots. It’s interesting that the big lager and beer companies who now make ‘cider’ are appropriating the craft cider makers’ image – squeaky barn doors and cloudy ciders! They even pick their own apples by hand, apparently… Really?! What about your flavoured ciders? How do you get them tasting great? The flavours are all added at the end of the process, at bottling time. We use blackberry
juice and elderflower cordial in our two flavoured ciders. Although not for the purist, these ciders are very popular as light, refreshing ciders in the summer. We like them, too. I guess some of the current flavoured ciders are getting a bit crazy, though: passion fruit and lime, ginger and rhubarb. I know it’s a broad church, but this seems a wee bit much for my taste. Is Devon cider production on the up? There are many more cider producers in Devon now than when I started. I’d say it was definitely on the up, and long may it continue. (I just hope there are enough apples to go round.) Ashridge Cider, Barkingdon Farm, Staverton TQ9 6AN; ashridgecider.co.uk
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In the Larder 4
The Father’s Day feed
WE’VE BEEN HUNTING OUT TASTY GIFTS FOR DAD THIS MONTH… 1 WHET YOUR WHISTLE Seafood Coast Ale, £3.95/330ml Picture this: a table in the sun, a plate of delicious Devon seafood, an afternoon off work. What’s the one thing missing? You got it, an ice cold beer. And when you’re indulging in fine fish, better to have one that’s tailored specially. Mitch Tonks has teamed up with Salcombe Brewery to create a hoppy thirst quencher that brings out the best in a plate of seafood. It contains lovely fragrant hops, like Citra, Chinook, Amarillo and Challenger, all brewed with fine Devon spring water for a top brew to enjoy this summer. therockfish.co.uk 2 COME ON GIN £9.95 for nine chocolates Know a man who likes his booze as well as his food?
(Yep, us too!) Then check out Chococo’s newest indulgent release – a box of nine chocolate treats all flavoured with artisan gins from distilleries near the three Chococo chocolate houses. Choose from Dorset’s Conker Gin, Twisted Nose from Winchester and, our favourite, Salcombe Gin. The zesty, bright chocolate is a blend of Salcombe Gin with pink grapefruit in cream and chocolate ganache all encased in a dark chocolate dome. Yum! chococo.co.uk 3 GET YOUR GRIND ON Miles Rich & Reviving Coffee, £3.69/227g With all the indulging to be had on Dad’s day, you might need to give your pa a little helping hand to get him going the next
morning. This blend of mostly Central American Arabica coffees, roasted a little bit longer to develop a deep, strong flavour, is the one to do just that. It’s a rich roast from this family firm that has been specialising in coffee roasting and tea blending for over 100 years. djmiles.co.uk 4 TEACH HIM A LESSON Ashburton Cookery School Vouchers, from £50 Here’s a gift that keeps on giving (and will pay for itself if you live at home!). Ashburton Cookery School sells vouchers for their inspiring cookery courses, which cover anything from authentic Indian food to bread making and knife skills. Courses take place at the academy in Ashburton, and range from evening classes
and weekends to three-day and week-long courses. They can send a gift voucher for you to pass on, or deliver directly to Pa. ashburtoncookeryschool.co.uk 5 RAT ON! Jack Ratt Scrumpy, £11.49/3l Did you know that before Lyme Bay got all posh producing award-winning wines, it was renowned for its Jack Ratt cider – in fact, it’s the drink that kickstarted the business. Made using a blend of freshly pressed juice from local apples, including Tramlett’s Bitter, Foxwhelp and Tom Putt, this refreshing cider is available as a vintage dry, scrumpy and a medium sweet. And now you can buy it in a three-litre bag in a box to take out with you on sunny days. lymebaywinery.co.uk
Gluten Free, Full of Flavour. Church Rd, Lympstone, Exmouth EX8 5JT Telephone: 01395 222156
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NO BETTER EXCUSE TO GO SHOPPING THAN THE TEMPTATIONS AT THESE EXQUISITE FARM SHOPS STOKELEY FARM SHOP
AUNE VALLEY FARM SHOP Where: Rake Farm, Loddiswell. USP: From the smallest joint to half a pig, lamb or bullock, Aune source as much stock from local family farms as possible. ● Aune Valley Meat retail farm shop is situated in the heart of the South Hams between Loddiswell and Kingsbridge. It’s a traditionally run family business selling to the retail and catering trade, and sourcing beef, pork and lamb from local farms with full traceability from birth to shop. Their poultry is all from Devon and, when it comes to Christmas, all turkeys and geese are local, too. The everexpanding farm shop also stocks local vegetables, free range eggs, jams, pickles, ice cream and more. The i-store deli is an ideal place to stock up on essential cupboard fillers, whether you’re a local or on holiday. And don’t forget the cool cafe!
Where: Stokeley Barton, Kingsbridge. USP: This isn’t just a farm shop, but deli, butcher, restaurant, cafe and plant shop, too. ● Minimising food miles and carbon footprint is what it’s all about at Stokeley Farm Shop, which is why staff aim to source all that is abundant in the South West. Their selection of veg is tip-top, plus they’re proud to be the outlet for Durrant’s butcher – a family business that has seen seven generations behind the counter. What’s more, they’re home to the award-winning South Hams Brewery. Add to that fresh sea bounty from Salcombe Fish Wife, a garden centre full of fine florals, and a pop-up shop showcasing intriguing suppliers and crafts and you have a super place to while away a whole afternoon! You’ll find it nestling between Kingsbridge and Torcross, just off the A379 near Slapton Ley. Stokeley Farm Shop, Stokeley Barton, Kingsbridge TQ7 2SE; stokeleyfarmshop.co.uk
LIFTON FARM SHOP Where: Lifton, Nr Launceston. USP: Absolutely everything grown and reared on the Lifton Farm land is sold through the shop or used in the restaurant. ● At Lifton they have been growing for over 20 years, and every day they harvest fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables to stock the shop – vegetables that are very often still dripping with earth! Wandering through the shop, the smell of freshly cooked bread hits you, which is a true reminder of the quality of the bakery products, and you can see the bakers and pastry chefs busily producing an array of goodies right in front of your eyes – although they’re never too busy to answer any questions you may have. The butchery is stocked with their home-reared South Devon beef, home-reared lamb and local pork. The friendly butcher is readily available to meet any special requests you have for inventive dishes, and there are free-range hens producing the freshest eggs for a breakfast you won’t forget.
Aune Valley Farm Shop, Rake Farm, Loddiswell, Kingsbridge TQ7 4DA; aunevalleymeat.co.uk
Lifton Farm Shop, Lifton PL16 0DE; liftonfarmshop.co.uk
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hink Dartmoor wildlife and one of the first things that spring to mind are the ponies – hardy, gentle animals with strong bodies and flowing tails and manes. They are now iconic sights on the sparse, rolling land and are pretty much the only wild four-legged horse-like beasts you’ll find in the whole country. They’ve been part of the Dartmoor landscape for thousands of years – since the Bronze Age, in fact – and people travel across the globe to have a gander at their beauty. But there’s something that probably doesn’t usually cross your mind when you look at them, and that’s how bloomin’ tasty they are. That’s what local chef Steve Heath found out recently, anyway, while investigating unusual local meats. (Steve has
a blog: chilliheadchef.blogspot.co.uk.) Not only is the meat tasty – slightly sweet, with a subtle game-like flavour, he reckons – but it’s lower in fat and higher in protein than beef. More importantly, eating ‘taffety’, as it’s called, should be an integral part of wild herd management on Dartmoor, and it’s this that Steve feels most passionately about. “I came across Dartmoor Conservation Meat [a company that manages the production and retail of pony meat] at the Taste of the West Source Trade Show at Westpoint Exeter in February, and had a couple of tasters,” he says. “As a chef it was an ingredient that excited me and, as a food blogger, it was something I felt was deserving of a bit of research and coverage. It’s there I met Charlotte Faulkner [founder of the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association and director of Dartmoor Conservation Meat].”
KICK OFF THE CAMPAIGN
Charlotte is the woman in charge of running the campaign to get us eating more of this wild hill pony meat. And here’s why. “The ponies that go into the food chain from Dartmoor actually benefit Dartmoor,” she says. “They’re part of an important management plan for the herd’s future. After all, how many foods do you eat that help ensure the habitat they come from will be secured for them and many other creatures? These ponies roam free, eating what and when they please, living naturally; they’re never fed any drugs, and there’s complete traceability from the moor to fork.” Charlotte explains that, at the moment, some 400 – and sometimes up to 600 – foals are having to be culled each year, and although there is a strong programme now in place to try and reduce foal
POnY taLes TAFFETY MEAT ON MAINSTREAM MENUS? WE’RE NOT HORSING AROUND…
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numbers, it will be very difficult to stop the cull completely. Dartmoor relies on its herds of ponies to keep its ecological balance. Without the ponies, the moorland would become overgrown, not only preventing the income brought by tourists but also damaging the habitats of insects, birds and other animals. The size of pony herds kept on Dartmoor is recommended by Natural England, the government organisation that helps protect Dartmoor’s biodiversity. Currently there are around 900 breeding mares in 45 herds. Up to 750 foals are born each year, and 300 will be homed – with difficulty, Charlotte says – to become future riding, driving or companion ponies, or go to join conservation grazing herds. 50 foals go back onto the moor with the herds, which leaves around 400 that have to be shot.
THE LAST RESORT
“We will never breed these ponies for meat,” Charlotte reassures us. She is a pony-owner herself, but says she has to put aside her personal feelings and recognise this could be the only answer to conserving the ponies. When it comes to selling the meat, which the company does through retail, online and at farmers’ markets and food shows, she says about 85% of people she meets understand
OUR SEMI-FERAL PONIES ARE NOT DOMESTICATED PETS; THEY ARE FREEROAMING, NEARLY WILD HERDS, AND ARE MORE AKIN TO DEER that meat production is a necessary part of sustaining the herds – when, that is, they are given the facts to consider. And the rest are very open to talking about the issue. “Our semi-feral ponies are not domesticated pets; they are free-roaming, nearly wild herds and are more akin to deer,” she says. “If they were shaped like a giraffe rather than a pony (because we would then not confuse them with our domesticated horses), they would probably be better appreciated for their uniqueness, better appreciated for their contribution to tourism, and better supported in government agrienvironment schemes.” Other ways of reducing foal numbers are being introduced: using contraception on some breeding mares, and keeping younger, non-breeding mares (ponies don’t breed until three years old) rather than mares of all ages. Charlotte explains that “if the market changes to enable all under-three year olds to be sold as riding ponies (which is always going to be the priority), then the need to produce meat diminishes. However, the equestrian world is itself in a slump, and domesticated ponies and horses are expensive to keep. Until this changes, the plan needs to include meat production.” Dartmoor hill ponies are semi-wild, being bred on the moor but owned by a ‘registered
Commoner’, and the varieties are the result of hundreds of years of survival in this diverse wilderness. However, in the last few years local farmers have stopped keeping them, as they’re finding them no longer financially viable. Unless a way can be found to make them profitable the remaining farmers will have to do the same, the Association believes. But what about those fluffy white grazing machines, officially known as sheep? Can’t we use them to control the landscape? Not really, says the Association. The hill ponies are unique, as they alone have adapted to live across the entire moor. They trample down the bracken and brambles like no other animal can, and they are also much more efficient at eating gorse than cattle.
The Association’s plans are to have just 300 foals born each year, with 100 being rehomed, 100 foals being potentially sold for meat, and the rest living on the moor. The Conservation Meat Company uses a small, local abattoir to slaughter the animals. It is sold as mince, in steaks – fillet, sirloin, rump and rib eye – and as burgers and sausages, roasting joints, and cured meats like salami, chorizo and bresola. You can order online, and if it catches on it may be coming to a retailer near you. For more about Dartmoor Hill Pony Association, dartmoorhillpony. com; shop for conservation meat at dartmoorconservationmeat.co.uk; read more about Steve Heath’s culinary ventures at chilliheadchef.blogspot.co.uk
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Ask the Waitress Who knows the menu best? Who makes the greatest impact on your experience? Who knows the menu best? Who is makes the greatest impact on your Front-of-house your friend! experience? Front-of-house is your friend!
Hi, Ema! Can you kick off by telling us how long you’ve worked here? I’ve worked at The Phoenix for just over three years, since it opened in February 2014. I helped to get things ready and organised for the opening night, which was both nerve-wracking and exciting. And where might we have spied you before? Before The Phoenix I worked at Sampsons Farm, which was a restaurant that offered bed and breakfast too. I worked at Sampsons for years, and was involved in all aspects of the day-to-day running of things, from cleaning the rooms to managing the restaurant. So, how are you liking things at The Phoenix now, then? Chudleigh as a town is very friendly and welcoming, with a community spirit that I love. I also like being here because I feel part of a very close team; we’re not only a hard-working bunch, with the same goals and workplace ethics, but we all like to socialise outside of work, too.
hatS Off tO YOU
HERE’S A GAL WITH MANY HATS: MANAGER, WAITRESS, BARMAID… IT’S EMA BECKWITH FROM THE PHOENIX, CHUDLEIGH
And what’s the most challenging part of your job? Being on show at all times can sometimes feel difficult [bloomin’ exhausting, we bet!], but mostly I would say it’s the achy feet at the end of a long shift! What skills have you learnt here? I have learnt how to deal with large party bookings – it takes a lot of confidence, and you have to ensure everything runs smoothly by being prepared and organised. My computer skills have also improved through using our online booking system, and having to manage emails and create things such as ordering forms and posters for various events. Events? You must get a few crowds in then. And who else? We get a wide range of customers – some people like to pop in after work for a quick drink, or we can have intimate tables for two or big birthday table
bookings. A lot of local Chudleigh residents frequent The Phoenix on a regular basis, but we also get a lot of families who come for their evening meals while on holiday. And what do they order? From our spring menu the mussels are always popular, as a starter or side, as is the chicken supreme. And to drink? Gin and tonic is definitely popular at the moment, and customers love trying different gins with different flavoured tonics. If you were a customer today what would you order? I would definitely order the arancini ball to start, followed by the chicken supreme. The obvious choice for dessert would be chef Ian’s signature pud, the chocolate cup. What do you think makes great customer service? I like to be served by someone friendly who looks at me and wants to serve me. Great customer service is having patience and a willingness to serve – this does come across. Where have you visited locally where the customer service was excellent? I recently visited the Eastern Eye in Newton Abbot for a family meal. I find the customer service is always excellent there, and you always feel welcome. Where do you like to eat on your days off? I love to visit and have a great breakfast at the Forest Fungi café in Dawlish Warren. The welcome there is always warm and friendly, too. What do you cook at home ? I like to cook simple, healthy, low-fat meals, and I tend to make them from scratch. The Phoenix Chudleigh, 25 Fore Street, Chudleigh TQ13 0HX; 01626 859005; phoenixchudleigh.co.uk
THIS COULD BE YOU! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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MARK TAYLOR’S TURNED OVER A NEW LEAF THIS MONTH – IN FACT, HE’S TURNED OVER QUITE A FEW, TO GET THROUGH ALL THESE BOOKS...
SYRIA: RECIPES FROM HOME Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi Trapeze, £25
Syria has always been a marketplace for the most delicious ingredients from East and West, a fragrant meeting point for travellers and traders, where spices and sweetness collide. Now based in the UK, British-Iraqi actress Dina Mousawi and Syrian-born filmmaker and theatre producer Itab Azzam met Syrian women in the Middle East and Europe to collect the very best recipes, spending months cooking with them, learning their dishes and listening to their stories. The result is a fascinating and delicious insight into one of the world’s greatest food cultures. From courgettes in tahini sauce, and broad beans with coriander and garlic, to meatballs in tomato and pepper stew, and turmeric cake, this is a wonderful celebration of the taste and culture of Syria.
AUBERGINE FETTEH SERVES 4 AS PART OF A MEZZE
Layering food on toasted bread with a yoghurt sauce is a distinctly Syrian speciality. As far as Syrians are concerned, no flavour has yet been found that can’t be enhanced by the addition of garlicky yoghurt and a bit of crunch. Fetteh – literally ‘breadcrumbs’ – is such a popular dish, and can be made with chickpeas, aubergines, chicken or lamb. Whenever we make aubergine fetteh for friends it is always everyone’s favourite dish on the table. INGREDIENTS
3 aubergines olive oil, for roasting and drizzling 2 flatbreads or pittas 500g plain yoghurt 2 small garlic cloves, crushed 2 tbsp lemon juice handful of parsley, roughly chopped handful of pomegranate seeds 50g pine nuts, toasted
1 Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. 2 Cut the aubergines into quarters, lengthways, and then slice them into 1cm chunks and place in a baking tray. Pour over a generous helping of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, then roast in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until the aubergines are soft. 3 Brush the bread with olive oil and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes until nice and crispy. Then break it up into pieces. 4 In a bowl, combine the yoghurt, garlic and lemon juice. 5 When the aubergines are ready, take them out of the oven and allow to cool. Place them in a shallow bowl then pour the yoghurt mix on top. 6 When ready to serve, sprinkle with the crispy bread, parsley, pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts.
THE SAVVY SHOPPER’S COOKBOOK Amy Sheppard Ebury, £14.99
JUNK FOOD JAPAN Scott Hallsworth Absolute Press, £26
LOLA’S: A CAKE JOURNEY AROUND THE WORLD
LEMONS AND LIMES
Ursula Ferrigno Ryland Peters & Small, £14.99
Lola’s bakers with Julia Head Ryland Peters & Small, £18.99 Since starting her blog last year, Cornwall-based mum of two Amy Sheppard has had over 100,000 page views. Dubbed the ‘budget cooking queen’ because she shops only at discount supermarkets, her blog showcases creative and healthy meals aimed at cooks trying to tighten their belts. This, the follow-up to her best-selling Aldi Lover’s Cookbook, features more than 80 delicious, money-saving recipes including cheese, potato and onion rostis; curried mackerel rice with toasted almonds; Moroccan chickpea curry; and chilli and lime chicken. Featuring simple dishes created from basic ingredients and leftovers, and making good use of frozen and tinned food as well as fresh, this is a smart recipe collection that will save time as well as money.
Having made his name as head chef at legendary London restaurant Nobu before opening another Nobu in Melbourne in his native Australia, Scott Hallsworth has been at the cutting edge of Japanese cuisine for the past 20 years. He now runs Kurobuta in London, and this book brings together 100 recipes from the restaurant, which has become a firm favourite with critics and foodies alike. Hallsworth’s wild and inventive take on Japanese food includes signature dishes like barbecued porky belly, tea-smoked lamb and komburoasted Chilean sea bass. With superb photography from David Loftus (who takes the pictures in the Jamie Oliver books), innovative new dishes include tuna sashimi pizza, Wagyu beef sliders, and iced passion fruit and sake parfait.
Boutique London bakery Lola’s is famous for selling an international range of cakes in all shapes and sizes, and this beautifully designed book brings together 70 examples from all over the world. The mouthwatering selection of recipes has been created by Julia Head alongside the talented team at Lola’s. Detailed, precise and well tested, the recipes are aimed at the more experienced home baker, and range from classics like English Victoria sponge and Welsh bara brith to more exotic offerings such as Cuban coconut rum cake and Indian sesame seed cake. We particularly like the sticky orange and almond cake from Spain; the dairy-free Greek lemon olive oil cake; and the summery Italian Genoise sponge with raspberries.
Ursula Ferrigno might be one of the leading authorities on Italian food, but she looks beyond the Mediterranean in this global collection of citrus recipes. Celebrating the unique sharp and aromatic burst of lemons and limes, the 75 recipes here are interspersed with essays on the history and culture of citrus fruits, their health benefits, and tips on how to grow, preserve and pickle your own. A squeeze of lemon or lime can lift and transform a dish, and this is certainly the case with recipes such as grilled lemon sea bass with roasted red pepper and basil butter, and spiced roasted chicken with chickpeas, carrots and preserved lemon. Peruvian key lime pie and lemon cardamom and raspberry torte bring things to a sweet conclusion.
Quality, fresh seafood, straight from our boats to your door We are a small, friendly wholesale fish business in Exmouth. All our fish is sourced locally with sustainable fishing methods. We also carry an extensive range of frozen goods. Our customers range from retail fishmongers, pubs, cafĂŠs and restaurants. We find a personal service between ourselves and the head chef ensures top quality fish and shellfish at the right price.
Devon Quality Fish
01395 266000 email@example.com www.devonqualityfish.co.uk
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WHAT TO MAKE AND HOW TO MAKE IT, DIRECT FROM OUR FAVOURITE FOODIES Summer basil: coming to a salad, cocktail, even ice cream near you
H I G H L I G H T S
OH MY COD
Gill Meller’s fish dish is a breeze to pull together Page 26
We go all probiotic with Naomi Devlin’s spring tart Page 30
P L U S
STEWING ON IT
calories we will willingly ingest for the taste of this peanutty pud (p36)
Prime lamb makes this Pipers Farm dinner a winner Page 32
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GONe FIshinG AHEAD OF THE RIVER COTTAGE SPRING FESTIVAL, GROUP HEAD CHEF GILL MELLER HAS BEEN TESTING OUT HIS FISH DISHES…
River Cottage hero Gill Meller has been busy thinking up a whole host of recipes to demo at the River Cottage Spring Fair on the last bank holiday in May. He’ll be holding a cookery master class over three sessions, teaching you how to go back to basics with fresh dishes presented in a rustic, stripped-back style. He’ll be concentrating on things like delicious flatbreads with seasonal fillings, but he’s also known for his seasonal feasts that incorporate flavours of the sea. He says: “Roasting a whole fish is so easy – it’s the sort of thing I do when I’m pushed for time. A fish big enough for four or six people won’t take much longer than 30 minutes to prepare and cook, making it an incredibly practical and stress-free way to feed a crowd. I always like to bring the whole fish to the table and let people help themselves, each lifting their favourite bits of flesh from the bone. You can keep roasted fish as simple as you like, but here I’m getting in a handful of cod’s great friends: hot paprika-spiked chorizo, sliced garlic and rosemary. As the fish comes out of the oven, I tumble some purplesprouting broccoli through all that goodness in the tray.” Gill Meller will be appearing at River Cottage Spring Fair, which takes place 27-29 May 2017; rivercottage.net. For more festival listings, turn to p54. This recipe is taken from Gather: Everyday Seasonal Recipes From a Year in Our Landscapes by Gill Meller (Quadrille, £25). Photography by Andrew Montgomery
SLASHED AND ROAST COD WITH CHORIZO SERVES 4-5
INGREDIENTS 1 whole cod (about 1.5-2kg), scaled, gutted and cleaned 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling 250g good-quality, air-dried chorizo sausage juice and zest of 1 lemon 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced 2 or 3 rosemary sprigs 400-500g purple-sprouting broccoli 1 knob of butter salt and freshly ground black pepper METHOD 1 Heat the oven to 200C. Dry the fish well inside and out. Use a sharp knife to slash the fish 3 or 4 times on each side, cutting all the way down to the bone. This will help the heat work into the fish and speed up the cooking time a little. 2 Oil a shallow roasting tray big enough to accommodate your fish. Place the cod on the tray then season it all over with salt and pepper and rub in the olive oil. Place the tray in the oven and cook the fish for an initial 10 minutes. 3 In the meantime, bring a pan of salted water to the boil for the broccoli, but don’t put it in just yet. Peel the papery skin from the chorizo and cut it into 1-2cm rounds. 4 Remove the roasting tray from the oven and scatter over the chorizo, lemon zest and garlic slices, and the rosemary sprigs. Try to wedge a little bit of everything into the slashes in the cod and to tuck a little bit under the fish, too. Return the roasting tray to the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. (If the white meat lifts away from the bone, it’s cooked.) 5 While the fish is cooking, boil the purple-sprouting broccoli for 2-4 minutes, until the stalks are just tender. Drain well then, when the fish is ready, add it to the tray, along with the butter and lemon juice. 6 Turn the broccoli through the oily chorizo and garlic, taking care not to break it up. Bring the tray to the table with a stack of warm plates, some roast or sauté potatoes and a good salad.
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Here’s a spring pie with a difference. Food blogger Aimee Twigger (twiggstudios.com) has created a delish pastry-based dish that not only calls upon the finest spring ingredients to provide heaps of flavour and colour, but naughties them up with some good old Devon dairy. The result? The perfect pie to serve up for Sunday lunch, to slice and use as Saturday snacking, or for a tasty mid-week supper (it’s super-easy to make, too). If you can get your hands on foraged three-corner leeks or wild garlic, super; if not, regular garlic will suffice. The buttermilk sauce can be thickened with egg yolks to make it extra luxurious, should you really want to make an impression.
SPRING CHICKEN, LEEK AND ASPARAGUS PIE SERVES 4
IT AIN’T NO ORDINARY CHICKEN PIE. BUT THEN AIMEE TWIGGER AIN’T NO ORDINARY COOK…
INGREDIENTS For the pastry: 220g unsalted butter 400g plain flour 1 tsp ground pepper 1 tsp salt 1 egg yolk 2 tbsp cold water For the filling: ½ brown onion 2 small leeks 1 bunch of asparagus 5 stems of three-corner leek or wild garlic (or 1 garlic clove, chopped) 400g chicken, cut into small chunks 350ml buttermilk 200g Stilton 100g garden peas splash of balsamic vinegar 3 sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves removed 2 egg yolks METHOD To make the pastry: 1 In a food processor, or in a bowl by hand, rub the butter and flour, salt and pepper together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and mix, then add 1 tbsp of water and mix, then another, until it comes together. Wrap in cling film and let rest for 25 minutes in the fridge. To make the filling: 1 Finely chop the onion, leeks, asparagus and three-corner leek or wild garlic, and sauté with some oil until soft. Add the chicken (and chopped garlic if using, instead of wild garlic or three-corner leek) and cook thoroughly. 2 Add the buttermilk and Stilton and stir to combine, then add the seasoning, balsamic vinegar and thyme. To thicken the mixture, add the egg yolks. Leave to cool. 3 Roll out half the pastry and line a pie dish. Add the filling, then roll out the remaining pastry for the lid and place on top. Crimp the edges together. Brush with a beaten egg and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 40 minutes, until golden. twiggstudios.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
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EAT yOUr GreeNs
TAKE THE TASTE OF SUMMER AND PUT IT IN A TART. THAT’S JUST WHAT NAOMI DEVLIN’S DONE HERE…
“Oat flour makes a crisp, buttery crust – the perfect foil for a smooth, basil-scented pea filling and some cool, creamy probiotic labneh,” says Naom. “When summer is merely a memory, you can conjure this from a bag of good frozen peas and pretend the evenings are long and light again. Everything in the tart is designed to be easily digested, but you could increase the prebiotic value by adding a garlic clove and using the white part of the spring onions, too.”
PEA AND BASIL TART WITH A BUTTERY OAT CRUST SERVES 4
INGREDIENTS For the oat crust: 70g oat flour (or porridge oats ground in a clean coffee grinder) 70g buckwheat flour 70g ground linseed 2 pinches sea salt 70g cold salted butter, diced 80-100g live Greek-style yoghurt For the pea and basil filling: 225g frozen peas 3 large organic eggs 150ml double cream zest of 1 lemon, finely grated, plus juice of ½ lemon large handful of basil, plus extra to dress 3 pinches sea salt 4 spring onions, green parts only, sliced 120g labneh olive oil, for drizzling
METHOD To make the oat crust: 1 Put both flours, the ground linseed and salt into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs, then use a butter knife to stir in half of the yoghurt. Add the remaining yoghurt in teaspoons, until the mixture starts to clump together, then gather into a ball and knead until smooth. Form into a disc, wrap and chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. 2 Preheat the oven to 200C and line the base of a 23cm loose-based tart tin with a circle of baking parchment. 3 Lay a sheet of cling film on the worktop, place the pastry on top and cover with cling film. Roll the pastry into a circle large enough to line the tart tin, peel off the top layer of cling film, invert the pastry over the tart tin and ease it into the corners before you remove the cling film and trim the top edge with a sharp knife. Keep the scraps in case you need to patch the crust. Chill for at least half an hour. 4 Line the tart case with baking parchment, fill with baking beans and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment and beans and bake for another 5 minutes. If there are any cracks, soften a bit of the remaining pastry with water and use it as putty to fill them. Set aside. Turn the oven down to 180C. To make the filling: 1 Blanch the peas in a pan of boiling water until they’re only just cooked, refresh in cold water, then drain and reserve 25g (1oz). Put the remaining peas into a blender with the eggs, cream, lemon zest and juice, basil and salt. Blend until completely smooth and then pour into the tart case. Scatter the spring onions into the tart with the reserved peas. Bake for 30 minutes, until just set and starting to catch gold at the edges. 2 Set the tart aside until just warm, and then scatter with pieces of labneh and extra basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and grind over some black pepper.
PHOTO BY LAURA EDWARDS
This recipe was taken from Food for a Happy Gut, published by Headline Home, Â£20
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PHOTOS BY MATT AUSTIN
HAPPY LAMBS MAKE EXCEPTIONAL DINNERS, AS ZARA WHITFIELD FROM PIPERS FARM CAN VOUCH
Spring may be in full swing, but there’s always a bit of British chill in the evening breeze, which is when Zara Whitfield, marketing manager at Pipers Farm in Cullompton, throws together this easy dish. It’s a Mediterranean twist on a hearty lamb stew that’s full of all the sunshine flavours of Spain. It uses Pipers Farm lamb, which is perfect thanks to its depth of flavour. It’s technically classed as hogget, as they grow all of the lambs to at least eight months to allow them to mature naturally on a pure grass diet. They also hang whole carcasses on the bone for three weeks, meaning when you come to eat it the flavour really packs a punch. The diced lamb, which you can order online, is well suited to slow-cooked casseroles and tagines, and the texture is especially good at absorbing all the flavours in your recipe. Plus, as it’s lean, your gravy won’t be overridden by fattiness. It’s a good partner for rich, robust and spicy accompaniments; keep a few packs of diced lamb in the freezer and you’ll never be stuck for a supper.
MEDITERRANEAN LAMB STEW SERVES 4
INGREDIENTS 3 tbsp vegetable oil 1kg diced lamb 2 medium red onions, sliced 2 red peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced 1 tablespoon smoked paprika ½ tsp chilli flakes 3 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped 400g can of chopped plum tomatoes 250ml full-bodied red wine 375ml chicken stock 2 tbsp sherry vinegar 3 bay leaves METHOD 1 Heat the oven to 140C. 2 Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottom casserole dish over a medium flame. Once the oil is smoky hot, brown the lamb on all sides, in batches, transferring each batch to a plate. 3 Keeping the pan hot, add the onions and peppers and cook until softened. Add the garlic, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, the paprika and chilli flakes and cook briefly. 4 Stir in the chopped tomatoes, wine, chicken stock, vinegar and bay leaves and bring gently to a simmer. 5 Return the browned lamb to the pot and mix through. Cook in the preheated oven for 2 or 3 hours, checking it every so often and adding a splash of water if it’s getting dry. When done, the meat will be tender and soft. 6 Serve with buttery polenta or mashed potato alongside crisp green cabbage. Pipers Farm, Cullompton EX15 1SD; 01392 881380; pipersfarm.com
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speLt up A SALAD THAT’S GOOD ’N’ HEARTY AND BUSTING WITH FLAVOUR? YOU’RE WELCOME
Blimey, is there anything not to like about Sharpham’s spelt grain? It’s high in fibre with no added salt and has a winning nutty flavour. Unlike your regular wheat, this ancient grain has not been hybridised or chemically altered and remains as simple and as hardy as when it was first cultivated (over 9,000 years ago in the Middle East, and from 2,000BC in Britain!). Plus, it’s grown organically in the South West – bonus. It’s just the ticket for adding heartiness to a salad and makes a great lunch or side dish at dinner. Team it, as Kathy Slack has done here, with greens and add flavour with some delicious salty anchovies.
A WARMING SPRING SALAD OF KALE, PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI, SPELT AND ANCHOVIES SERVES 1-2 INGREDIENTS 150g Sharpham Park spelt grain 150g kale ½ tsp chilli flakes sprinkling garlic granules 175g purple sprouting broccoli 1 shallot (or ¼ red onion) splash sherry vinegar 10 tinned anchovy fillets
sharphampark.com; recipe & photography by Kathy Slack from Gluts & Gluttony, @gluts_gluttony
METHOD 1 Rinse the spelt then cover with cold water and boil for 20 minutes until just soft. Drain, rinse again, then set aside until needed. 2 Pre-heat the oven to 170C. 3 Remove the stalks from the kale and tear it into pieces roughly an inch square. Pop the leaves in a bowl with a slug of sunflower oil, salt and pepper, chilli flakes and a few garlic granules. Massage the oil and seasoning into each piece of kale, making sure everything is nicely coated but not swimming in oil. Lay the kale out across two baking trays so the leaves are well spread out, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes, turning half-way through. Remove when crispy, but not brown, and set aside until needed. 4 Drizzle a little sunflower oil over a hot griddle pan and then add the purple sprouting broccoli spears. Griddle until just soft and nicely toasted. You will need to do this in 2-3 batches. 5 Finely slice the shallot and put it in a large bowl together with a splash of sherry vinegar, 4 of the anchovy fillets, finely chopped, and a slug of extra virgin olive oil. Muddle it all together and leave for a few minutes so the shallot can soften. 6 To assemble the salad, toss the spelt in the shallot mixture then add the broccoli and the remaining whole anchovy fillets. Adjust the seasoning and pile onto a plate, adding the crispy kale.
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GOiNG baNaNas PUT YOUR SKILLS TO THE TEST AND IMPRESS TO THE MAX WITH THIS PRO PUDDING FROM BJORN MOEN
Set in a converted milking parlour, Pattard Kitchen is the perfect restaurant to be churning out [ahem] delicious creamy puddings. Here chef-patron Bjorn Moen sometimes chooses a super-sweet banana and peanut butter combo as a dessert to send his guests off with a smile. He’s given away the secret to his indulgent white chocolate ice cream (pimped up by Baileys and sea salt) here too, but if you don’t have an ice cream machine we say cheat and buy that in and concentrate on the mousse. Half Norwegian and half English, but born in South Africa and having lived in West Africa and many other areas of the world for most of his life, Bjorn has taken influences from around the globe to use in his cooking. At Pattard Kitchen he aims to bring a more refined cuisine to a traditionally rustic concept. The restaurant itself reflects this ethos with a blend of old and new; the interiors are a mix of reclaimed pine with contemporary lighting and furnishings.
PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM SERVES 4
INGREDIENTS For the ice cream: 1 vanilla pod 250ml whole milk 125ml double cream 2 egg yolks 88g caster sugar pinch of sea salt 2 tbsp Horlicks 100g white chocolate 2-3 capfuls of Baileys For the peanut butter mousse: 300ml double cream 150g crunchy peanut butter 50g caster sugar For the peanut caramel tuille: 50g peanuts (unsalted) 150g caster sugar 2 tbsp water For the banana purée: 2 bananas 2 tbsp caster sugar
METHOD To make the ice cream: 1 Gently heat the vanilla, cream and milk to no more than 88C. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, salt and Horlicks until pale and fluffy. 2 When the milk and cream reaches temperature, add to the egg mixture, whisking to make sure the egg does not scramble. Return the custard mixture to the pan and heat gently to no more than 88C, whisking continuously until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Sieve and leave to cool. 3 Melt the white chocolate with the Baileys over a pan of boiling water. When melted, whisk into the custard mixture and cool. When cool, place in an ice-cream machine and churn. To make the peanut butter mousse: 1 Leave the peanut butter in a warm place to help loosen it. Whisk the double cream until it reaches soft peaks then add the peanut butter and beat, while slowly adding the sugar until it reaches firm peaks. Set in moulds in the fridge. To make the tuille: 1 Roast the peanuts. Leave to cool and blitz in a food processor, then set aside. 2 To make the caramel, place sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pan and heat gently to 130C until it starts to turn golden brown. Pour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper. Leave to cool. 3 When cool, blitz in a food processor until it reaches a fine dust. Sieve the dust in a fine layer over a greaseproof lined tray, then sprinkle some ground peanuts over this and bake at 180C until it melts. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. To make the banana purée: 1 Put the bananas and sugar into a food processor and blitz to a pulp. (Serve immediately as it will quickly oxidise and discolour.) 2 Assemble the components, to finish.
Pattard Kitchen, Pattard Farm, Hartland EX39 6BY; 01237 441444; pattardkitchen.com
THE HOLT Pub, Restaurant & Smokehouse
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
Choose your weapons What on earth is that? It looks like a weird spare part for some gigantic gizmo I wouldn’t understand. Just the thing if your oil rig has stopped working, but useless on its own. As always, how wrong you are! You know how barbecue season’s in full swing? Well, this is the piece of kit you want in order to make the most of it: the new version of the Uuni wood-fired oven that’s been getting outdoor cooking enthusiasts excited since 2012. No slouches, the Uuni guys soon introduced an improved model, and now it’s time for the Uuni 3, another upgrade with exciting new features.
have never been glamour-pusses so much as laymanfriendly, go-anywhere workhorses: fast, portable, easy to use and pretty damn cheap. (Even the wood pellets it runs on cost next to nowt, and soon there’ll be a bolt-on option to run it on gas too, if you prefer.) And anyway, wouldn’t you rather have something that worked than something that looks good? I’d rather have both. Then let’s concentrate on the beauty of what this thing does. The old Uuni 2S would cook a proper wood-fired pizza in a couple of minutes; this one will do it in just 60 seconds, and only takes 10 minutes to get up to 500C. It has a simpler way of loading the wood pellets; a new insulated body for better temperature regulation; and now stands on three legs, rather than four, with each having extrawide feet. Why, you may ask?
They couldn’t have made ‘sexy styling’ one of those features, I take it…? Come on, be fair. I like the way this thing looks: sort of sturdy and utilitarian, and made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel. The Uuni ovens
I do! Why? Because this way it’s easier to set up in the great outdoors. (Three legs actually give better stability on uneven surfaces.) You know what, I’m kind of over pizza these days. (Such a liar.) But okay, the Uuni 3’s super-short cooking times can be applied to loads of other dishes, too: steaks, salmon, veggies, flatbreads, whatever. You said it’s cheap, but I don’t believe you. Nothing you show me ever is… Not true! And this thing’s under £200, would you believe? The whole idea has always been to reduce the weight, size, cost and hassle of owning a real wood-fired oven, and the Uuni 3 does that better than ever. Job done, I reckon.
OUTDOOR WOOD-FIRED PIZZA OVENS ARE COOL BUT A FAFF – AND EXPENSIVE TOO, RIGHT? NOT SO FAST, SAYS MATT BIELBY
The Uuni 3 costs £199; find it at cuckooland.com, or check it out at uk.uuni.net
THIS MONTH •SHEEP TALKING •PESTO NOMS •YOU SAY TOMATO
here’s LOOkinG at ewe!
FROM RUNNING BETTING SHOPS TO FIELD-TO-FORK SHEEP FARMING, IT’S BEEN A WINDING CAREER PATH FOR PERCY’S TINA BRICKNELL-WEBB, BUT ONE THAT’S LANDED HER WITH AN AWARDWINNING RESTAURANT, HOTEL AND COUNTRY ESTATE THAT WE JUST HAD TO NOSE AROUND… WORDS BY CHARLIE LYON PHOTOS BY BECKY JOINER
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heep: they’re little woolly powerhouses that keep Britain’s farming industry rolling; even if it’s only as four-legged, self-propelling lawnmowers. But to Tina Bricknell Webb, co-proprietor of Percy’s Country Hotel and Restaurant, they’re a passion that she’s hoping to turn into a profitable business. They give her wool to spin into Percy’s Organic Yarn; they give her skins to turn into luxury rugs; and they give her meat that she uses in the restaurant that forms part of this inspiring organic enterprise in Virginstow, just north of the Cornish border. It all began not long after she bought, with husband Tony, what is now Percy’s, then a dilapidated 17th century Devon longhouse and dairy. That was back in 1990, and they soon decided to let out some of their 37 acres (they now have 50) to a local farmer for sheep grazing. However, either this was a mischievous flock or the farmer wasn’t watchful enough, because the sheep managed to escape, eating the hedgerows, damaging the new orchard and generally running riot. Tina decided, right then, that if they were going to have sheep they’d have to be their own, so she went out and bought six Jacob ewes and one Jacob lamb. A few years later she had a count of about 400. “It was a steep but very rewarding and enjoyable learning curve,” she says of those initial years. “I’ve a lady down the road who told me a lot, but the rest is self-taught.” This year, she says she is proud to have only lost two lambs, but she still seems moved by not being able to save them. “One of the lambs ran off from the mother for a few hours, and she rejected it,” she says. “I put them back together, but it was the wrong call and overnight she killed it.” At the same time as growing the sheep flock, Tina also started a pig enterprise, having bought two Large Blacks from Cornwall with the winnings from a race horse they own (we’ll come to that later). Between the two pigs they soon had 26 piglets, and Tina and Tony started suppling Whole Foods with pork and lamb, but soon became disenchanted with the company. “We were Whole Foods’ highest welfare customer,” she explains, “but then that came to an end and we scaled back. Whole Foods had taken us on when they’d first opened, along with lots of other little suppliers, but after a while they wanted a larger amount from a bigger supplier. It was very
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unfair. I learnt a lot and I vowed never to supply a chain again.”
THE HOSPITALITY GAME Tina and Tony had moved from north-west London, where they’d been running a wine bar and restaurant. Despite the multitude of four-legged friends at their new Devon home, they felt the solitude – and anyway, didn’t want to give up hospitality completely. So they set about extending and renovating their home, turning it into a county house hotel with seven rooms, a restaurant and a cookery school. In 2003 they went 100% organic for the higher animal welfare standards it brings, Tina says. With the move to organic came lots of publicity, and ensuing accolades for their organic and sustainable business, including last year’s Observer Food Monthly Awards runner-up gong in the ‘Best Restaurant’ category. Running the estate pretty much single-handedly, the couple serve dinner and breakfast for overnight guests only (there’s no time for lunch when they’re out in the fields). In the evening, Tina serves up dishes like ham hock terrine caper berry vinaigrette and beetroot pickle; oven-roast lamb with rosemary jus; and lemon tart with lavender ice cream and raspberries. A good deal of the veg, berries and herbs used come from their kitchen garden.
WOOLLY BUSINESS Currently the business revenue is split 80/20 – 80% from the hospitality side and 20% from the animals, Tina reckons, but she has a goal of upping this to 60/40, as it’s the animal side that she finds most fascinating. Tina takes us on a tour across the fields to a space she wants to turn into a tannery. Currently about eight skins are piled in the middle of the stable.
“I select the sheep that are due to go to slaughter,” she explains, “I take a photograph of them before we load them up, then we go down to the abattoir to get there at 6.30am. Then I then go down the line and tell the person responsible for taking the skins off that I’m having the skins back, and paying for them, and they will bring the skins to me after, knuckled off. We wash out the trailer and the skins go straight in there, then I have some of the carcasses back or I sell them on. When I come back, I let the skins cool down by hanging them over the doors in the stables, then I go out with a Stanley knife and trim them and salt them and stack them. Then, over the next few days, I’ll salt them a second and a third time.” Finally it’s off to Devonia, a tannery in Buckfastleigh, while the wool gets spun at The Natural Fibre Company in Launceton. Tina really isn’t one for waste, and is trying to come up with ideas for the ‘fifth quarter’ of the animal – all the parts that humans don’t usually directly consume. (“The skins, the tongues, the offal and everything else,” she says.) To be honest, she’s doing a stirling job already of minimising waste. Opening a big chest in the huge larder back at the house, there are bags of offal that she’s using up in the restaurant. And, next door, are seven hanging hogget carcasses. They’ve been hanging since slaughter, three and a half weeks ago, and she’ll leave them hanging for another week and a half before butchering them down herself. “I need to find a way to make the animals a bit more profitable,” Tina says. “If I’m lucky, I break even. Lamb prices fluctuate, and a lot of people try to get their lambs early – they’ll put the ram in now, for example, to get an October crop to beat the market, and then they command high prices because there aren’t many about. But, in order to do that,
you need to feed them over winter, so the input costs are more. “Farmers need to make more money. There’s a huge move towards pasture-fed animals and mob grazing. We’re trying to create species-rich grassland with wild flowers so that we can go back to nature as much as possible, and don’t need to provide organic hard feed. Last year we spent £4,000 on it: the price went up 20% in a year!”
OVERCOMING HURDLES One thing the Bricknell-Webbs are making money on, though, is their prized racehorse, Go Amber Go (one of a few horses they own, but the only one racing). In previous years they were more immersed in the horse racing world, running a London betting shop, but when Tina’s sister had a riding accident, with life-changing consequences, they sold up and that’s when they moved into the hospitality business. Tina only took up a role in the kitchen, though – she’d previously worked front of house – after waitressing one day, and overhearing a diner complaining that not only was her red mullet not scaled properly, it was not gutted either. She issued the chef his P45 and started cooking herself. Tina credits Go Amber Go’s recent success partly to the female jockey who rides her, and the way she can empathise with the animals better than male jockeys they’ve used in the past. Watching Tina on the estate, bottle-feeding lambs and coaxing a wayward Large Black back onto the muck pile, we wonder if the same goes for the success of Percy’s. Thanks to Devon-based food and lifestyle photographer Becky Joiner for these beautiful images; see more of Becky’s work at beckyjoinerphotography.co.uk
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TINa’S waTERCress PesTO There are a few things Crumbs learnt during a trip to Percy’s: pigs are suspicious of DSLR cameras, and will charge down electric fences to investigate further if you snap away too furiously; lambs who are privileged enough to be bottle fed with organic milk will still find the laces of your Stan Smiths tasty; and getting stung to buggery in a nettle-infested ditch harvesting watercress is totally worth it when you dish up your verdant organic pesto later. And hey, here’s the recipe for that very pesto… INGREDIENTS 200g watercress, coarse stems removed 100g flat leaf parsley, leaves only 120g pine nuts, cashew nuts or blanched toasted hazelnuts 6 large garlic cloves, crushed 120g organic olive oil 120g Parmesan cheese or Pecorino, grated freshly ground white pepper sea salt METHOD 1 Place the herbs, nuts and garlic in a food processor. 2 Blend thoroughly and, while the machine is running, drizzle in the olive oil. 3 Add the cheese and lightly combine using the pulse button. 4 Add salt and pepper to taste. 5 To store, place in an airtight container with a thin layer of olive oil on the top. Store in a fridge. The pesto will keep for six months, providing it is kept covered with a little oil when used.
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The Want List COME ON, KETCHUP – THESE JUICY, FRUITY TOMATO DESIGNS MAKE COOL KITCHEN BUYS FOR SS17…
1 2 3 4
1 FRIDGE FOOD SAVER £4.29 Got a half-used tomato that you don’t want to chuck? This is airtight to keep things fresh, and it works with other non-tomatoshaped fruit and veg too). Buy from Lakeland in Taunton. lakeland.co.uk 2 TOMATOES TIN £3.99 Use as a mini planter or to tidy up your utensils; this retro tin looks cool whatever you store in it. oakroomshop.co.uk 3 EMMA BRIDGEWATER PASTA BOWL £22.95 This is the only dish to serve up your steaming, tomatoey linguine on during a balmy summer’s evening. Buy from Eclectique in Exeter. eclectique.co.uk 4 TOMATO WORKTOP SAVER £15 We’re so over plain chopping boards. Choose something fun and fruity to save your worktops. Buy from John Lewis, Exeter. josephjoseph.com 5 CHLOE CHEESE TOMATOES PRINT from £22 The Exeter Athena may have closed, but you can still buy the punchy artwork online, including this Chloe Cheese print. athenaart.com
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Organic’s a go-go as Devon joins the rest of the UK in celebrating sustainable noshing Page 50
WHERE IT’S AT
Ain’t no party like a food fest party, and there are tons to enjoy this summer Page 54
Come ear often? We’ve got once-ayear food fests wrapped up on p54
places to get a free breakfast!
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WITH A WHOLE HEAP OF FUNDING AND SOME FUN INITIATIVES, THE GOVERNMENT IS HOPING TO GET THE UK TO LOVE ORGANIC. THING IS, HERE IN DEVON WE’RE ONE STEP AHEAD, AS CHARLIE LYON FINDS OUT…
Guy Watson of Riverford Organic says one day we’ll probably see an all-organic UK
BEST SET YOUR ALARM EARLY on 14 June, as Devon is taking part in the national Wake Up To Organic campaign. At the time of writing, 17 independent retailers and restaurants have signed up to join in the fun, committing to offer free organic breakfasts to those who turn up. It’s a campaign that’s designed to create a bit of a buzz around the organic movement, and show just how easy it can be to make the switch. Across the UK, over 200 organisations have signed up to take part this year, and in Devon the scheme has been received exceptionally well, as Catherine Fookes, campaign manager at the Organic Trade Board, reveals. “Devon is a very environmentally aware county, with towns like Totnes and Chagford flying the flag for local organic produce, which benefits the biodiversity of the environment,” she says. “With so many wonderful organic farms in Devon, there’s a great supply of fresh produce. Showcasing these and inviting customers in to chat and try organic breakfast samples is a great way for retailers to support the diversity of independent shops in the region. “We are thrilled to have trailblazing retailers like Riverford, Ben’s Farm Shops and Marshford Organics highlighting the fantastic range of seasonal and organic fresh fruit and vegetables available in the county. We also have some great health stores, like Seasons in Exeter and Greenlife in Totnes, showcasing their organic ranges as part of a healthy lifestyle. Plus, there are wonderful cafes that use organic ingredients who’ll serve breakfasts, like The Plant Cafe and Rabbit Cafe (both in Exeter) and Riverford Field Kitchen (in Buckfastleigh).” The UK’s appetite for organic food is growing, with 30% of all organic sales now through independent retailers, as consumers become more aware of the health, taste and environmental benefits of organic food, reckons Catherine. What’s more, The Organic Trade Board has been awarded ¤10.4 million by the EU to run a three-year campaign to promote organic food in the UK and Denmark. Organic is already going mainstream in Denmark, and we’re seeing the start of that growth in the UK. “Retailers tell us demand for organic is at its highest, and the popularity of organic is spreading from fruit and veg to other groceries as they see more young shoppers looking to buy organic food,” says Catherine.
TALKING ABOUT TRAILBLAZERS… One of the leading figures in the national organic movement has been Guy Watson, founder of Riverford. With his veg box scheme, delivering organic produce from local farms directly to the door of buyers, he’s helped make organic more easily accessible.
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Loving life: the Eversfield family crew, with new charcuterie range (inset)
Quick, add these to your contacts list Wake Up To Organic participators: Bangors Organic B&B, Bude EX23 0DP Ben’s Farm Shop, Plymouth PL8 2LT Ben’s Farm Shop, Totnes TQ9 5RY Ben’s Wine & Tapas, Totnes TQ9 5SQ Bude Health Store, Bude EX23 8BH Churston Traditional Farm Shop, Brixham TQ5 0LL Green Life, Totnes TQ9 5SG Marshford Organic, Northam EX39 1NS Mother Earth, Exmouth EX8 1BY Oats Healthy Living Store, Brixham TQ5 9BZ The Plant Café, Exeter EX1 1HJ The Rabbit Café, Exeter EX4 6QR Real Food Store, Exeter EX1 2JB Reapers, Tiverton EX16 6AA Riverford Field Kitchen, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0JU Seasons, Exeter EX4 6QR The Seed, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0AA And the rest: Eversfield Organic, Okehampton EX20 4LB, 01837 871400; eversfieldorganic.co.uk Good Game, 07920 527691; good-game.co.uk Wake up to Organic; wakeuptoorganic.co.uk
He says it’s not just about the advantages of sustainable farming (although this is a huge thing), but about flavour too. “Our organic veg is left to grow at its natural rate, in the soil (i.e. not hydroponically), which results in the best flavour,” he explains. “We do a lot of veg experimenting on the farm in order to find the best-tasting varieties – it always comes down to flavour rather than yield or cosmetic perfection.” The company is now hugely successful, delivering around 47,000 boxes a week. But it hasn’t been a journey without its challenges, Guy reveals. “Communicating the true benefits of organic food is one. There is a lot of misinformation out there – but organically produced food really is different. The whys and hows are complex, though, and that’s a tricky message to get across. In a nutshell, however, organic means the highest animal welfare standards, looking after the environment and looking after wildlife. It also means producing the tastiest food in tune with nature, and sustainably too – so no dependence on mined minerals for fertilisers, or agrochemical giants. “It is not about price tags and exclusivity,” he continues. “Farming organically has never been about doing things the easy way, but about doing things the right way and working towards a sustainable food system. Without the use of herbicides and artificial pesticides we have to find other ways to tackle pests and crop disease. We do this by embracing nature. It’s all one big learning curve, and after 30 years experience we consider ourselves pretty good at it. Examples include encouraging native ladybirds, lacewings and wasps that predate pests, and trialling many different varieties to find the most disease-resistant ones.” So it’s a sensible campaign for food security as well as quality of life for us all, but does Guy think that one day we’ll see an all-organic UK? “I believe it’s absolutely possible,” he says. “Innovation is everywhere in organic farming; we cannot and would not turn to a chemical container to solve every problem we face. These are sticking plasters, not real solutions, and so often come at a huge price, both sociologically and environmentally. History has told this story again and again – so-called ‘safe’ pesticides are later banned. To be organic sometimes feels extreme, even provocative to chemical-using neighbouring farmers. Yet we are confident that time will reveal the ‘extremists’ are not the organic farmers, but those who use mind-bogglingly toxic chemicals with such abandon.”
FOLLOW MY LEADER Eversfield Organic, a family-run organic farm on the outskirts of Dartmoor, has been organic since 2004. They made the change because director Mark Bury wanted the best meat to feed
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THE GOOD FIGHT When it comes to charcuterie, Good Game know that organic is an important step in their company’s development. They launched a Crowd Funder campaign to help raise the funds, and after 56 days of campaigning had raised £5,381 towards creating a new site for the business in Topsham, near Darts Farm. Co-owner Steve Williams, says: “It’s great to feel support from the community, but what really touched us was coming into work one day and the staff surprising us with an envelope containing £500 from their tips this year. That’s so nice, and we love them for that. I think there are loads of non organic producers who make products using the organic method and values,” he continues, “but having the stamp gives the buyer the confidence to be sure. If buyers don’t know us, at least they know what the organic stamp is all about.” It seems the organic movement is picking up momentum, so don’t forget to be there at the beginning of the next stage, by picking up your free breakfast!
Riverford Savoy cabbages growing good ’n’ strong without the chems
his family. “We don’t believe in any of the nasties,” says daughter Anna Bury, who’s heavily involved in the business. “Organic food is known to come from trusted sources, and we wanted our produce to be available to everyone, not just our family. My dad went into computers in the late ’70s, before many people had realised the potential, which means he’s the sort of man who thinks ahead and, although I hate to admit it, he normally gets it right. Mark Bury and his daughter, Anna, and son, Hamish, started out in grass-fed organic beef and lamb after they converted the farm 15 years ago. They now offer an organic grocery box scheme offering a taste of Devon, delivered across the UK. They work with other South West producers to offer organic and grass-fed meat, organic Jersey dairy, fruit and vegetables, wild fish (from a fish supplier in St Ives) and their latest project – a range of organic charcuterie. It’s been a tough slog, but Anna believes they are inspiring other farmers to get certified and work with them too. “We hope other farms will follow in our footsteps,” she says, “and we actively encourage more organic farmers to come on board. We are currently looking for more organic and pasture-fed-for-life farms to work with. We believe that farming in this way allows native breeds and naturally fantastic produce to shine. In many countries this is the norm, not the exception, and we only hope that the organic education drive in the UK sees that this becomes the case here, too. The consumer organic movement is growing every year, although this is not necessarily being matched by the number of organic farmers. This would indicate a need for education. They will benefit from a lower input cost and higher selling price. It is financially viable, but requires commitment to more sustainable farming, which often means a change of old habits.” As a way to create more revenue and promote its organic products the family launched Roam & Relish last year, which includes organic pastrami, salt beef, streaky and back bacons and dry-cured hams. And it seems they’re not the only company in Devon to do this...
BROAD BEAN FRITTERS SERVES 4
Recipe by Kirsty Hale, Riverford cook; riverford.co.uk/recipes These simple fritters make a good vegetarian main course, but you could also serve smaller ones as starters or canapés for a summer party (they can be made in advance and gently warmed through in a low oven). Kids generally love them, particularly the dinkysized ones. INGREDIENTS 300g podded broad beans (approximately 900g in their pods) 125g self-raising flour 2 large eggs 2 tbsp crème fraîche 125ml milk 200g soft, mild sheeps’ or goats’ cheese, crumbled small handful of mint leaves, chopped small handful of chives, snipped or chopped a little sunflower or olive oil and a knob of butter, for frying sweet chilli sauce, to serve (optional) 1 Cook the beans in a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and refresh in cold water. Peel off the outer skins and discard, leaving the bright green inner bean. 2 In a large bowl, whisk the flour, eggs, crème fraîche and milk until you have a smooth, thick batter. Crumble in the cheese. Stir in the broad beans, mint and chives and season with salt and pepper. 3 Melt a little oil and butter in a large frying pan. Add spoonfuls of the mixture (you’ll need to cook in two or three batches) and cook on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom (you’ll see small bubbles appearing from underneath as they get ready). Flip and cook for 2 mins on the other side, until cooked through. 4 Serve with sweet chilli sauce for dipping, if you like.
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SUMMER’S HERE, SO IT’S TIME TO DON YOUR HAT, SHADES AND ELASTICATED PANTS! DEVON’S GONE MAD FOR FOOD FESTIVALS, AND YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS A BITE, SAYS CHARLIE LYON
BE ON YOUR FEST BEHAVIOUR
Below: wine columnist Susy Atkins talks crab pairings with The Millbrook Inn’s JP Bidart at Dartington Food Fair (photo by Jack Gorman); Right: nibbles from the launch of Flavour Fest
Nothing quite says summer like sunshine, food stalls, pop-up bars, music and tons and tons of delicious grub. Heck, even in the rain these food
festivals are good, with everyone gathering together undercover to watch cookery demos and inspiring talks. (And hey, there’s no better festival than a food festival to find yourself forced into the bar, these days stocked with artisan gins, local ales and fine English wines.) Take a look at our run down below and book your tickets pronto…!
DARTINGTON FOOD FAIR Shops at Dartington, Totnes
Best for: Exploring produce from Devon only, while also wandering the grounds of magnificent Dartington Hall It’s all about top-quality food and a friendly, local vibe at the seventh annual Food Fair at Dartington this year. At this rural setting on the edge of the estate, managing director Barbara King is proud of the work they do promoting local producers. She says: “Working in conjunction with Food & Drink Devon, the main point of difference is that all of the participants in the marquee and food court are from Devon – so we’re really showcasing the region. The variety of produce is incredible, with an international feel, despite it all being local. We showcase the fact that our food industry supports the local economy and brings job opportunities to the region.” New for this year, she reveals, is their own limited-edition Elmhurst Gin, named after the founders of the Dartington Hall Trust. “For beer lovers there’s a taste trail, and learning experiences, too – like pasta making classes and foraging on Sunday.” dartington.org
FLAVOUR FEST Plymouth
Best for: Supporting exciting new Plymouth business We’re big fans of Plymouth here at Crumbs, with its awesome waterfront, great community and burgeoning food scene. So it’s
brilliant to see Flavour Fest back for its 14th year. It’s billed as ‘the South West’s largest free food festival’ and lays on foodie fun for all the family, including a chef stage, continental market and special children’s programme. The event is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the city over three days, and sees over 100 regional food and drink producers transform the city centre into a bustling hub full of tempting treats to try and buy. Among those confirmed in the chef line-up are Chris and James Tanner, Mitch Tonks, and Bake Off winner Candice Brown. Local chefs too, such as Dan Maddocks, Paul Doidge and Sean Mott, have also been confirmed. Chris Tanner, co-owner of Plymouth brasserie Barbican Kitchen, says: “The 2017 event will see Plymouth’s Piazza transformed, with stalls brimming with local delicacies, live music and a marquee bar. With more than 100 traders showcasing the best regional produce, as well as cookery demonstrations from talented local and celebrity chefs, it’s going to be an unmissable event this year, and, once again, organisers are hoping to attract more than 100,000 food lovers from across the region.” plymouth.gov.uk
KINGSBRIDGE FOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL Kingsbridge
Best for: Those who like to keep things low-key with a local vibe, and who want to go home with their shopping bags full Sharpham Wine & Cheese, Salcombe Dairy, Heron Valley cider, Rose Farm, South Devon Chilli Farm – all the famous flavours of Devon will be at this laid-back festival that’s well loved by locals and visitors alike. The festival is described as a simple party thrown for everyone to celebrate the eclectic mix of incredible tastes and sounds that originate from the area. It’s organised by a small group of volunteers driven by a desire to unite the local community. This is a non-profit, free festival with a commitment to sustainability – food and drink providers have vowed to use compostable packaging instead of single-use plastic so that the event creates less waste. kingsbridgefoodandmusic.org
CREDITON FOOD FESTIVAL Crediton, Nr Exeter
Best for: Those who want to save money, save food miles and who want to eat healthily Food festivals are all about indulgence – although, when you keep it local and buy from producers who use whole, natural ingredients, then we say indulgence is just fine. That’s the ethos at Crediton Food Festival, where you’ll find the cream of the crop of vendors: lined up for this year are Cobley Farm Eggs, Higher Hacknell, Shute Fruit, Bread of Devon and Gardeners Delight Nursery, among lots more. There’ll be demos, stalls and music over the two days. On Saturday the fun continues into the evening, with a great selection of food and drink on offer and excellent live music between 8pm and 11pm. Spend Sunday buying produce from the stalls to make up a perfect picnic and, once you’ve got everything you need for a feast, you can take a seat at one of the many available tables and enjoy live music and entertainment throughout the day. Entry is free. creditonfoodfestival.co.uk
DARTMOUTH FOOD FESTIVAL Dartmouth
Best for: Everyone! It’s a landmark event not to be missed, and with some top-name celebs involved too Over 25,000 visitors hot-footed it to Dartmouth Food Festival last year, and that’s not surprising, as there’s something for everyone: a mix of local and celebrity chefs, parties, street food markets, tasting shacks and demonstrations. 2017 should bring over 120 hand-picked exhibitors showcasing the absolute best of the South West, and they never fail to impress. Mitch Tonks, the festival ambassador, will be there, and they’ll also be welcoming back old favourites such as Mark Hix, Matt Tebbutt, Romy Gill, and Orlando Murrin. On the festival team is Lynsey Sizer, who names a couple of her highlights for this year: “As the festival takes place on the banks of the River Dart, which flows into one of the busiest waterways of the world, and we are trying to play our part in tackling the growing environmental crisis caused by unwanted plastics, 2017 sees the
festival reducing single-use plastics and moving towards compostable cutlery, cups, plates and packaging. We will also be encouraging visitors to be greener by offering free water refills. We are a non-profit organisation supporting the local community in a variety of ways, but as a mum I always get particularly excited by the Children’s Day. It sees all the local schools get inspired with food, and the kids get to learn about local produce and, of course, sample it – all for free… I have never heard of that being done elsewhere, and it’s something everyone at the festival is very proud of.” dartmouthfoodfestival.com
SOUTH WEST COFFEE FESTIVAL
Powderham Castle, Exeter Best for: Joe junkies who are ever on the look out for a smoother, richer (and possibly more obscure) caffeine hit Check out this newest kid on the festival block: 2017 marks the inaugural South West Coffee Festival, which is essentially a round-up of all that’s best in coffee and café culture. This festival is both a trade and a consumer show (the first of its kind in the South West of England) and means you get not just the best of what’s available to Joe Public, but also get see what’s going on in the expert barista world – think specialty coffee, high tech equipment, world-class cafés and fabulous baked goods. It’s all set within the beautiful backdrop of Powderham Castle, and there’ll be a programme of workshops and talks too, plus activities for little ones. You can learn brewing skills, meet authors, and quiz the people who have inspired dozens of local businesses. And if you’re in the business yourself, it’s a networking haven. swcoffeefest.com
ILFRACOMBE STREET FOOD FESTIVAL Ilfracombe centre
Best for: Those who like a really laid-back, north Devon vibe Only in its second year, but already a highlight on north Devonians’ calendars, Ilfracombe Street Food Festival, which runs for three days, showcases a range of traders with food from all over the world. There’s a licensed bar (with mocktails for the drivers) ensuring
M A I N S
Far left: Don’t miss Exeter’s first ever coffee festival; Left: Seafood aficionado Mitch Tonks talks cooking with fish at Dartmouth Food Fest; This page: expect laid-back luxe at The Pig’s Smoked & Uncut festival
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Sunshine definitely included in the price of a ticket at The Pig at Combe’s Smoked & Uncut festival
everyone enjoys the food and music to the max. Everyone’s welcome, including bairns and four-legged friends. The boss of these events, Tudor Barber, says: “We’ve worked on a lot of street food festivals over the past couple of years, but this is the one the team are most excited about! The location is amazing, the variety of food vendors is mouthwatering, and the time of year is ideal! Entry is free, and the food on offer will cater for everyone, from vegan and vegetarian to gluten free.” fatsoma.com/street-food-warehouse
RIVER COTTAGE FESTIVAL River Cottage, Axminster
Best for: Organitarians who want to really immerse themselves in the whole River Cottage experience This one’s has been held over the bank holiday for eight years, with a recent commitment to bigger live music acts and activities for the family. The River Cottage home team work their socks off, while guest chefs, stall holders, performers and speakers make for a uniquely warm atmosphere. At the centre of it all is the pop-up restaurant in the farmhouse (yes, the one off the River Cottage TV series). But there are dozens of other food and drinks stalls doing all kinds of amazing stuff. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall says: “For me the highlight is meeting people who come from near and far to be at the festival. River Cottage seems to have created a huge extended family, who all enjoy celebrating the good things in life, especially great food and music. And the festival is our big family get together. Every year we seem to have more people coming from far away – Scandinavia, Australia, even Malaysia. There are always great talks and food demos, and I’ll be hosting several myself. I’m particularly looking forward to Philip Lymbery and Satish Kumar, two inspiring speakers whose visions of a better, more compassionate and sustainable world have been a big influence over the years.” rivercottage.net
SMOKED & UNCUT
The Pig at Combe, Honiton Best for: Stylish foodies who love fine food and glamping No need to rough it at this boutique fest that is more modish than muddy. The street food stalls will be dishing up everything from
scorching wood-fired pizzas to succulent char-grilled and slow-cooked meats, plus home-grown garden salads, nostalgic puds, cakes, ice cream and more. Mark Hix will also be serving up a ‘Heavy Metal Meat Feast VIP lunch’. It costs from £110, and includes a VIP day ticket and threecourse lunch with nibbles and wine. It's your chance to get stuck into some serious flavour and enjoy BBQ cult classics served with a side of rock ’n’ roll! And don’t forget to raise a glass, as there’ll be more than a nod to British booze here too, with drinks including local ales from regional breweries, cocktails from Chase Distillery, and English sparkling wine from Hambledon. Music-wise there are multiple stages featuring with a whole heap of talent, ranging from local musicians and up-and-coming artists to established stars including Toploader, Wildwood Kin and Winter Mountain. Tickets start from £45. smokedanduncut.com
25 SEPTEMBER-1 OCTOBER
TASTE OF THE TEIGN Teign River Estuary
Best for: East Devonians or visitors with a passion for super-local food. And we’re talking so local, even Dawlish is too far out! This fun festival isn’t confined to one place. It sprawls along the banks of the estuary with local restaurants and cafes putting on special menus based on foods available from the Teign and its environs. Demonstrations include everything from shelling and dressing crab, to pressing your own apples to make juice or cider. Lori Reich, festival director, says: “Unlike other food festivals this one is really local and limited to a very specific geographical area: all businesses taking part – producers, cafés, restaurants, and farms – produce food from the Teign Estuary area, which includes everything between Newton Abbot and Teignmouth/Shaldon and the surrounding villages. But the bounty of the estuary is amazing: sea foods including crabs, sprats and mackerel that are landed at the new Fish Quay; mussels and oysters from the estuary beds of the River Teign; beef and lamb from the lush rolling pastures; and juices and cider from the Milltop Orchards, Old Walls Vineyard, and at least three not-so-micro breweries – Teignworthy, Red Rock and Two Beaches.” This is a festival where you can watch eight tons of sprats being landed at the quay, they tell us, then within minutes be handed a hot bun full of them freshly fried right there on the quayside. tasteoftheteign.org.uk
From freshly caught mussels to our popular Fisherman’s platter, seafood is at the heart of our new menu here at The Passage House Inn. But if cuisine de la mer isn’t for you, we’ve also a mouthwatering selection of burgers, chicken and vegetarian dishes so that whatever you choose, you’re guaranteed a delicious dining experience with us on the banks of the River Exe in Topsham.
The Passage House Inn, Ferry Road, Topsham, EX3 0JN | 01392 873 653 | www.passagehouseinntopsham.co.uk
Reach the best in the west Affluent, active and influential and just a call away
Joss Phillips 01225 475800
A F T E RS
NEW RESTAURANTS DEVOURED, NEW CAFÉS FREQUENTED, NEW BARS CRAWLED, AND THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT WE THOUGHT OF THEM
H I G H L I G H T S
We had to be dragged out of Michael Caines’ exclusive country pad Page 62
Giant chicken wings and other dirty Deep South delights at Absurd Bird, Exeter Page 64
FINE WINES at Lympstone we failed to mention in the review. [Hic]
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LYMPSTONE MANOR IF YOU’VE GOT CASH TO SPLASH THEN HERE’S THE PLACE TO DO IT, RECKONS A WOWED CHARLIE LYON
espite having the thirdlongest coast line in the UK (508.9m to be precise, according to Ordnance Survey), it’s a right challenge to bag yourself a bit of prime sea view retail estate in Devon. Especially if you’re a hotelier with a dream of a luxury lodge and vineyard. So Devon darling Michael Caines got lucky when he stumbled across Courtlands Estate at Lympstone back in July 2014. With 28 acres of land and jawdropping views across the Exe Estuary, it was the perfect setting in which to start building his luxury country establishment.
He had time. He’d handed his notice in at two Michelin-starred Gidleigh Park a few months before, but with a 24-month notice period to work out, planning, gutting, renovating and extending could be done at Courtlands before he’d even left Gidleigh. Michael had cut his teeth in hotel design and development while working with an architect to design the ground floor of The Royal Clarence some years back, but Lympstone was something else entirely. Here he’s not just a majority shareholder, but the brain behind the whole project. Indeed, he’s nothing short of patriarch of a new luxury empire, controlling everything
from bedroom paint hues to the varieties of grape grown in the vineyard. (We dug around, and it’s Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.) The vineyard isn’t done yet, but on a warm April afternoon we sup Michael Caines Blanc de Blanc and gaze across manicured greens to the estuary, envisaging it. In the distance we spy labourers, who’re joining a cycle path from the manor to the Exe trail, but by bike isn’t how many of the guests will be arriving, we’d imagine. We didn’t spot a helipad, but with Michael marketing to “discerning travellers” from the US and Europe as well as the UK, and rooms starting at £350 a night, we imagine there’s probably one somewhere. Lympstone’s style doesn’t follow the recent trend of country hotels in terms of design – it’s not earthy, with herb gardens and eclectic interiors. No, this is far more consciously elegant, a smart restored Georgian mansion encircled by verdant lawns, picket fences and raked gravel. Inside, chandeliers and gold accessories add glamour to cream rooms with thick pile carpets. So far, so sumptuous. The food is princely, too. Canapés to wash down the Champers come in the form of mini mouthfuls of tuna tartare topped with cavier and micro herbs, all precisely presented on bespoke silver spoons. Seated in one of three dining rooms (far better than one oversized room that risks ambiance dispersing into the vast space during quieter lunch services), our starter seemed equally perfectly formed: a geometrically perfect cuboid of terrine of juicy Pipers Farm chicken – it’s dark and tasty, made earthier still by globules of truffle dressing and perfectly miniature mushrooms. It’s the first dish from a special five-course tasting menu that we’re trying today. Regular services offer a signature tasting menu (£140pp), a three-course à la carte (£115pp) and a special seafood-centric ‘estuary’ tasting menu (£130pp). The next dish to be placed before us, perfectly positioned on a gleaming white plate, is a baby-pink nugget of lobster, exquisitely tender and dressed to impress with a light and fragrant curried mayonnaise and teamed with mini cubes of mango jelly. Again, balls of caviar hark back to an era of finery that Michael is obviously keen to reignite – apparently his devotees would be up in arms if this particular dish disappeared from one of his menus. Then comes a main that demonstrates the chef’s
ability to create beautiful plates that still sustain and nourish. It’s an admirable portion of beef fillet (Darts Farm, of course), complemented by some great British flavour favourites: celeriac, horseradish, shallot and red wine. Unbelievably moist cubes of braised cheek flank the fillet, and miniature morels and other forest fineries ride atop it. Vegetarians are well-catered for here, too, with my neighbour ecstatic about her fivecourse tasting menu – a journey through spring’s finest larder, taking in dishes like slow-cooked duck egg with Jersey Royals, asparagus and black truffle. We’re braced for pudding with the help of a crisp apple teaser – a zingy, layered apple mousse teamed with apple sorbet and sweetened (though not too much) with vanilla foam. It’s a fine celebration of one of Devon’s most prolific fruits. The dessert is a rhubarb affair, one that you see echoed in restaurants across the county, carried forth by Michael’s previous protégés. With a name like Michael’s above the door, this hotel and restaurant will be loved in Devon as much as internationally, we’re sure. If your chopper pilot’s on hols and you’re saving to do up the Courchevel pad before next season, hop on your bike and whizz down to take advantage of the £55 three-course lunch menu. Just remember to pack your heels in your panniers. LYMPSTONE MANOR, Courtlands Lane, Exmouth EX8 3NZ; 01395 202042; lympstonemanor.co.uk
( N E W R E S TA U R A N T S )
ABSURD BIRD TAKE NOTE, NANDOS. THIS NEWISH ROOST IS HARBOURING SOME MIGHTY TASTY CHICKEN THAT MAY DIVERT EVEN THE MOST DEVOTED PERI-PERI JUNKIE, SAYS CHARLIE LYON
es, Exeter has got some fine gastro pubs, top restaurants serving up seafood from Devon’s famous coast, and a rich history in cream teas, but where do the crew of Mississippi men (who are apparently opening a shop nearby) head straight to when they’re hungry? Absurd Bird every time, promises deputy manager Russell Courtney. “It’s the only place we can get chicken and waffles that taste like the ones back home,” the guys tell him. The reason the recipe for this unsavourysounding dish is so authentic, and why these Americans are regular customers, Russell continues, is because Absurd Bird’s owners have teamed up with a chef who flies over from the Deep South, USA to create and update menus, perfect recipes, and generally inject a ton of American magic into all proceedings. And while some of the flavours on the menu might be odd to some, the interiors
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are familiar and welcoming. Along the same lines as Turtle Bay and Wahaca, but moodier, it’s a riot of hanging lighting and quirky accessories. Birdcage lampshade encase filament bulbs, fairy lights add fun to dark walls, metro tiles and a bar boasting bottles of colourful liquor add urban edge, while a large hatch provides an insight into the boisterous kitchen. And it’s obvious that it’s not just the US tourists who are gobbling up with gusto the deep-fried American flavours at this eatery, the third after Soho and Spittlefields in London, with one more outlet since in Bath. Today, on a Wednesday lunchtime, there are a healthy number of shoppers – couples and celebrating groups – taking a pit stop to refuel on wings and Dr Pepper before they
hit the high street again, presumably high on life, sugar and chicken. The chicken wings, which make up a good quarter of the menu, are a popular choice. Four will set you back £6.50, and the prices are staggered up to £25 for 24. But we’re not talking any old puny wing here. They’re monsters, made up of the whole three bones then coated and double-fried. Two will probably do you for lunch. For extra dirt, the frying involves buttermilk, and if you want them coated they’ll be fried first and then slathered in the sauce. There’s no denying they’re good, though – the chicken is moist, thanks to a 12-hour brining process, and the coating is super-crisp with a warming kick of spice. If you’re not watching your waistline then kick off with the creamy spinach and artichoke dip (£6.80), served up with whopping fried tortilla chips (these aren’t your insipid supermarket snacks). You’ll have to dig around for the greens in this cheesy pot, but they’re perfect for a postshop munch teamed with a Stateside Brooklyn or Bud beer. Main burgers, wraps and salads (try the feta and watermelon, £7.50, for something different) fill up the menu, and there’s a new pick ’n’ mix section of dirty buns and sliders (ranging from one for £3.80 to five for £15). But I always came here to try the chicken and waffles (£11). Apparently, it’s been met by mixed reactions: diners expecting a traditional British meat juice rather than the thin, sweet broth they get, says Russell.
I reckon it’s a winner of a dish, though: tender chicken breast with that signature golden coating, drenched in a caramelised gravy on light, fluffy waffles. It’s a crashing of sweet, salty, fatty flavours that override the brain’s good sense to tell you this is a dish you need more of in your life. Addictive, too, is apparently the ‘crack pie’ dessert, which we decline, instead taking our sugar hit in the form of a baked peanut butter cheesecake (£5.50). ‘The diet starts tomorrow,’ it says on the menu. We don’t think it will; we’ll be back. ABSURD BIRD, Unit 22, Guildhall, Queens Street Dining, Exeter EX4 3HP; 01392 401000; absurdbird.com
L I T T L E
B L A C K
B O O K
WHEN HE’S NOT PRODUCING TOP-NOTCH SPARKLING WINES AT CASTLEWOOD VINEYARD YOU’LL FIND ROB HERE... Breakfast? The Rousdon Bakery – it’s within cycling distance of the vineyard. They serve an ‘eggy stack’ to die for. Best brew? A cup using The Coffee Factory beans – they’re located right next door to our good friends Lyme Bay Winery at Seaton Junction. A flat white or macchiato from their own roasted beans is the perfect midharvest pick-me-up. Favourite grocery shop? Millers Farm Shop, Kilmington. There’s an amazing array of local produce, and good French stuff too.
across Lyme Bay, and some dangerously attentive staff! Sunday lunch? The NoBody Inn, Doddiscombleigh. Persevere, you will find it! Posh nosh? As above. If you start the evening with cocktails, you may as well stay for dinner, too. Food on the go? Complete Meats – they are traditional Devon butchers found in Axminster and Honiton. Their Homity pies are my weakness.
Best wine merchant? It has to be The Seriously Good Wine Company in Lyme Regis – a tiny outlet tucked at the end of Drakes Way. Blink and you’ll miss it. It’s stocked to the gunnels with some really interesting wines with great stories. They stock a healthy array of English wines, too – including ours!
Alfresco feasting? The Winking Prawn in Salcombe. They do the best BBQ nights.
Quick pint? The Golden Hind in Musbury – it’s so laid back. (You can never be too late for supper, either.)
One to watch? The Old Dairy Kitchen at Trill Farm, Musbury. It’s run by Chris Onions, a classically trained chef from Islay. Booking is essential, and Chris offers both bespoke dining events and his regular Wednesday and Saturday lunches.
Cheeky cocktail? HIX Oyster and Fish House, Lyme Regis. It has unrivalled views
Hidden gem? The Fountain Head, Branscombe. Found right at the end of England’s longest village (not one for those unfamiliar with Devon lanes!), it’s worth it when you get there.
With friends? The Folly at The Pig at Combe, Gittisham. It’s a great for a pint or for feasting on flat breads all evening long. Comfort food? Tuckers Arms, tucked away in the sleepy village of Dalwood. Good friends of ours, Dalwood Vineyard, provide the house wines for this very traditional Devon thatched watering hole. With the family? River Cottage Canteen, Axminster. It’s a great meeting point when no-one wants to stay home and cook! Child friendly? The Hive Beach Cafe at Burton Bradstock. It’s right on the beach, so children have miles of shoreline to amuse themselves on. Best atmosphere? The Harbour Inn, Lyme Regis. Jump on the Park & Ride and head down for Lifeboat Week (which this year takes place 22-29 July). The atmosphere here is just fantastic. Something sweet? Otter Valley Dairy, Monkton. All the small-batch ice cream is made from their own cows’ milk and sold at the end of their farm track. The food miles are non-existent!
QUICK! Add this little lot to your contacts book... The Rousdon Village Bakery, Rousdon DT7 3XW; 01297 444357 • The Coffee Factory, Axminster EX13 7PW; thecoffeefactory.co.uk • Millers Farm Shop, Axminster EX13 7RA; millersfarmshop.com • The Seriously Good Wine Company, Lyme Regis DT7 3QP; seriouslygoodwineco.com • The Golden Hind, Musbury EX13 8AU; thegoldenhindmusbury.co.uk • The NoBody Inn, Doddiscombleigh, EX6 7PS; nobodyinn.co.uk • HIX Oyster and Fish House, Lyme Regis DT7 3JP; hixrestaurants.co.uk • Complete Meats, shops in Axminster and Honiton; completemeats.co.uk • The Winking Prawn, Salcombe TQ8 8LD; winkingprawngroup.co.uk • The Fountain Head Inn, Branscombe EX12 3BG; fountainheadinn.com • The Old Dairy Kitchen, Musbury EX13 8TU; olddairykitchen.co.uk • The Pig at Combe, Gittisham EX14 3AD; thepighotel.com • The Tuckers Arms, Dalwood EX13 7EG; 01404 881342 • River Cottage Canteen, Axminster EX13 5AN; rivercottage.net • Hive Beach Cafe, Burton Bradstock DT6 4RF; hivebeachcafe.co.uk • Harbour Inn, Lyme Regis DT7 3JF; harbourinnlymeregis.co.uk • Otter Valley Dairy, Monkton EX14 9QN; ottervalleydairy.co.uk