CRUMBS DEVON NO.20 NOvember 2017
COSYCLUB A little slice of foodie heaven C O U N T RY PUBs FOR CHILLY DAYs!
NO.20 NOvember 2017
7 What has w a long tail ings, wears a boand w?
A birthd pheasa ay nt!
REVIEWED! SCHOOL HOUSE
MMYWARMING RECIPES FR
! E M A G PASCHOE HOUSE THE KITCHEN
OM TH REGION’s BEEST CHEFs
It’s the new café at The Donkey Sanctuary!
£3 where sold
RIENDs F R U O F R OM BOUT A D L I W RE WHY WET’HE ’WE ED!
FOR DINNER,YOU SAY? JUST OUR PLUCK!
HOW EXETER’s KNOW YOUR ONIONS! BECOME WE CHAT WITTHH CHRIS FROM
bsm ag. com
MUCh ADO ABOUT PLUCKING
P L KE W
Y W E GET BIT T L E IT H A L
OLD DAAIIRRYY KITCH HEENN
ALL OF A FLutter A lot of people take issue with eating pheasant. Some are put off by the gamey meat which, if not cooked properly, has a tendency to be tough as old boots. Others are less than taken by its association with the shooting industry, and the fact that many are reared by gamekeepers purely to satisfy hunters prepared to pay hundreds of pounds for a day’s amusement. While we’re not here to judge anyone, we certainly take no issue with genuinely harvesting pheasant from the wild and cooking it in the pot. After all, we’ve made it this month’s Hero Ingredient. Someone we came across recently who’s very much an advocate of ethical and sustainable food is Geetie Singh-Watson. Geetie founded the UK’s first (and only) organic pub in London back in the late ’90s, and is now happily married to Guy Watson of Riverford fame. (Surely a professional and personal match made in heaven!) We had the pleasure of meeting her in her new home, a rambling farm in south Devon, to talk all things organic. Also this month, we literally rambled our way across the county to scout out some of Devon’s best cosy country inns. You’ll find some must-visits here, though we must apologise to all the great landlords and pub owners whose boozers haven’t made the list – the thing is, there are just too many! In fact, Devon is so blessed with charming country pubs that we could write a book about it. Now, there’s an idea…
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Table of Contents D EVON
NO. 20 NOVEMBER 2017
MELISSA STEWART email@example.com DEVELOPMENT EDITOR
MATT BIELBY firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR
TREVOR GILHAM ADVERTISING MANAGER
JOSS PHILLIPS email@example.com SENIOR SALES EXECUTIVE
CRAIG WALLBERG firstname.lastname@example.org ACCOUNT MANAGER
PAULA MILLER email@example.com PRODUCTION MANAGER
SARAH KINGSTON firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION DESIGNER
MATT GYNN email@example.com CHIEF EXECUTIVES
JANE INGHAM firstname.lastname@example.org GREG INGHAM email@example.com large version
MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW; 01225 475800; www.mediaclash.co.uk © 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 got to meet a fluffy white chicken called Beyoncé. Like her namesake, she had sass. She even shaked a tail feather!
STARTERS 08 HERO INGREDIENT We em-brace the pheasant 10 OPENINGS ETC The latest foodie findings 12 ASK THE EXPERT A healthy kind of weed 14 LOCAVORE Getting crafty with the newest Devon gin
24 Rock cakes, by Lynmouth Bay Café 26 Campfire cheese chop, by Ben Quinn
46 GARDEN FEAST Eating, drinking and chatting with Chris Onions at The Old Dairy Kitchen
30 HOUSE CALL Down on the farm with Geetie Singh-Watson 36 THE WANT LIST Pretty finds for drinking wine
52 Paschoe House 54 School House 56 The Kitchen @ The Donkey Sanctuary
AMAZING REGIONAL RECIPES
20 Slow cooked Asian lamb, by Kirstie Allsopp 22 Khachapuri, by Manna from Devon
42 COSY COUNTRY INNS Our round-up of some of Devon's finest hostelries, and where to find them
NEW & NOTABLE RESTAURANTS, CAFÉS, BARS
PLUS! 58 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Darts Farm’s Michael Dart on his top Devon hangouts
START E RS INNOVATIONS, REVELATIONS AND TASTY AMUSE-BOUCHES
PH OTOS : NI C K HO OK
MITCH TONKS has expanded his foodie offering in Dartmouth with the opening of The Cantina, a private dining room behind Joe’s Bar at The Seahorse. This intimate cellar seats up to 14 guests and has its own kitchen, where chefs (including Mitch, when he’s on shift) prepare your meal in front of you. You even have your own private waiter, ensuring that your glass is never empty; no struggle, perhaps, considering the wide range of vino on offer, with over 150 bins to choose from. The food served is Italian, with a seasonal range of antipasti, pasta and risottos on offer. And, of course, it being a Mitch Tonk’s venue there’s also plenty of fresh seafood, like the scrummy-sounding whole roasted turbot and sea bass in ocean salt and Cacciucco. “The building was originally an estate agent,” Mitch says, “but we saw the opportunity to turn it into a wine room, where we’d store all our wines. But then we decided to put a dining room table in there too, and turn it into an eating space. As well as private dinners, we’ll be hosting guest chefs, holding wine tastings, and running lots of other fun events.” There’s no hire charge for The Cantina, but they do ask for a minimum spend of £600; a bit of a bargain if there’s around a dozen of you, we reckon. seahorserestaurant.co.uk/cantina
e’re talking the common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) here, of course, so familiar from Land Rover Discovery radiator grills. Though not native to Britain, it’s been around so long now that it feels like it is. Originally from Asia, pheasant has been the world’s best-known game bird for centuries. (Thank their willingness to breed in captivity, and vast adaptability.) Certainly, we (as a species) have been hunting them since the Stone Age – no wonder they scram on hearing people! – and, as Brits, since around the 10th century, with Romans and Normans introducing them. They’ve been on the run ever since, of course, save for a 200-year period from the early 17th century on when they largely died out, only to be ‘rediscovered’ as a game bird around 1830. (Hurrah for the Victorians, with their love of a romantic landscape – in particular the Scottish Highlands, so perfect for hunting estates.)
Since then, most have been reared by gamekeepers and released into shooting estates, where they don’t last too long. Pheasant shooting is a ritualised business, mostly comprised of large ‘driven shoots’ (where beaters scare the birds over a row of maybe ten guns) or smaller ‘rough shoots’, where shooters roam an estate in small numbers. The open season runs four months from the start of October, making it a little later than for most game birds we cook – but then pheasant is worth the wait. Many British pheasants today are actually a hybrid of Chinese Ringneck and Green Pheasant, breeds extensively used for re-wilding. Drive through the South West's wilder places in season and you’ll rarely see a field without a pheasant or two, gorgeous creatures both in the air and on the ground, and even better when roasting away in a moderately hot oven for a little over half an hour or so. (One of the joys of the pheasant is that smaller birds are usefully quick to cook.)
PH EASA NT FROM GEORGIA, THEY CAME: FAST-FLYING, HIGHLY ADAPTABLE, AND DELICIOUS EATING. AND NOW WE’RE IN MID-SEASON; BAD TIMES FOR THE INDIVIDUAL BIRD, BUT GREAT NEWS FOR THE SPECIES...
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Healthy, plentiful, packed with protein and utterly delicious, you'd think pheasant would be a major part of our autumn and winter diets, but no; most of us are a little scared of them, you see, and so get very conventional in the way we cook them. The problem, of course, is that pheasant lives a very different life to your average chicken, dodging shotguns and Discos both; it leaves them with little fat, lots of muscle, and – if you get cooking them wrong – results that are not much cop. So, what to do with the dead beast? Traditionally, carcasses hang for some time, the slight decomposition tenderising the heavily-muscled meat – a good time to pluck is after about a week, when you can easily pull out a tail feather, but the longer you leave it the more ‘gamey’ the flavour. (Skinning is less messy, of course, but now the bird will need a cloak of bacon or pork fat to prevent it drying out. Or, if you feel bacon – delicious though it is – detracts from the sweet pheasant flavour, try a well-buttered fig leaf or two instead.) Though male pheasant (reddy-gold plumage, greeny-blue head) are more spectacular, the smaller brown females are better eating; one bird should feed about three, with the younger ones (check the feet if you can – if they’re soft it’s not an old animal) best for fast roasting, and older, tastier birds for the game pie or similarly slow-cooked casserole. It takes care to get it right, but cooking pheasant is basically a low-key battle against an end result that's too dry, too stringy, and mildly disappointing. The problem with game birds, of course, is that they're rarely cheap – though pheasant is cheaper than most. That, and that there's not much eating on them. (Remember how we said a pheasant will feed three? Perhaps safest to dial that down to two.) Because of this, you want to make the most of what you’ve got, perhaps teaming the meat with brown rice or roast spuds to eek it out. With little fat on them, pheasants don't have particularly crisp, interesting skin, but the flavour is rich and a little can be made to go along way. Perhaps eat yours as a roast first – all seasonal vegetables go well with it, as, perhaps surprisingly, does apple – then, the next day, as a soup. (How far you go with this is up to you, but you can get an excellent simple broth by boiling, then simmering, the bones with onion, thyme, carrot and a bay leaf or two.)
Minced, the meat works well in pheasant burgers or (for the more ambitious) homemade pheasant sausages, while Mexicanstyle pheasant fajitas make a surprisingly successful hybrid. Pheasant-based picnic treats also work – we’re thinking sausage rolls, or even game-based Scotch eggs, with pheasant mince wrapped around quail eggs – and we’ve even heard of Coronation pheasant, like the chicken version but, you know, posher. The thing about pheasant, though, is it’s surprisingly accessible and affordable, if you give it a chance. In one week in 1913 King George V apparently shot over 1,000 pheasants – he still lost his bet against an even-more-bloodthirsty pal! – and back then the resulting carcasses were only sometimes used for food. Don’t make the same mistake, for the pheasant not only lives one of the healthiest, happiest lives of anything we eat, but is surprisingly easy to make a success of, too.
WILD PHEASANT WITH BACON AND CIDER SERVES 4
Here’s a cool way to cook pheasant, thanks to the folk at Eversfield Organic, the Okehampton-based organic meat people. INGREDIENTS 4 wild pheasant breasts 8 rashers Roam & Relish unsmoked streaky bacon, chopped 3 cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced 2 onions, peeled and sliced 50g butter 300ml strong, dry cider 200ml crème fraiche 200ml chicken stock 3 tbsp plain flour salt and pepper METHOD 1 Dust the pheasant breasts with 2 tbsp of flour and seasoning. Melt the butter in a large, heavy based casserole dish and add the pheasant to brown and seal the meat. Remove the pheasant from the dish and set aside. 2 Add the chopped streaky bacon and fry until crisp, then lower the heat and add the apples and onions. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until soft and golden. 3 Add 1 tbsp plain flour, stir well and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the cider and stock. Bring to the boil to start to thicken. 4 Add back the pheasant breasts, lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. The pheasant should be tender and the sauce silky. 5 Just before serving, stir through the crème fraiche. Serve with creamy mashed potato or rice and seasonal green veg. eversfieldorganic.co.uk
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@pipersfarm welcome autumn with this slow cooked, free-range chicken and puy lentil casserole
LET’S GET DIGITAL
We’ve got some pretty big news coming from Crumbs HQ – our shiny new website is now live! There’s all the stuff that we had before (just packaged up much better so it’s easier to navigate your way around, and so find what you’re looking for), as well as a bunch of extra features and new content for your delight and delectation. The address is still the same (crumbsmag.com), so head on over and take a look, why don’t cha, and tell us what you think…
Following on from the opening of its Exeter restaurant last year, Plymouth can expect a slice of Turtle Bay’s ‘island life’ this autumn, as the Caribbean restaurant and bar chain opens a new branch on 15 October. The brand will be bringing their trademark jerk spices, sunshine-inspired cocktails, and tropical spirit to the city at St Andrew’s Cross in Plymouth. Turtle Bay’s menu includes jerk BBQ pit dishes – including Mo’ Bay chicken, jerk sirloin steak and jerk lamb – as well as curry one pots (slowly simmered and unique Caribbean curries), as well as a range of veggie and gluten-free options. turtlebay.co.uk/Plymouth
A new app has launched in Exeter to help people locate the best in independent restaurants and bars in the city, based on their personal tastes. Called KOMPAS, it works by using your current location, as well as your digital footprint – such as the things you like on Facebook, the places you’ve visited previously, and your lifestyle habits and behaviours – to find the best places to suit you. KOMPAS is the brainchild of two former Exeter University students, Olivia Higgs and Tom Charman, and has already been rolled out successfully in five other UK cities. Tom said: “Exeter became an important city for us to move into, because we wanted to choose somewhere in the South West that’s seeing a thriving culture grow around independent businesses. More and more people are putting a preference on how important it is to ‘eat local’, and that’s exactly what KOMPAS is all about.” kompasapp.com
@kukuplymouth offering up some rather delish Japanese-style veggies
IN THE DIARY... (21-29 October) HALLOWEEN WEEK AT QUINCE HONEY FARM Keep the kids busy this half term with a visit to the Quince Honey Farm in South Molton. Activities include beekeeping demos, honey tasting, and the chance to cuddle some creepy crawlies – if, of course, you dare! quincehoneyfarm.co.uk (25 October) SOUTH WEST CHEF OF THE YEAR AWARDS DINNER Michael Caines, James Mason and Jamie Coleman prepare this year’s dinner, celebrating the region’s exceptional hospitality industry and the winner of the 2017 South West Chef of the Year. Tickets are £85 per person and open to all. southwestchef.co.uk (18 November) CLOVELLY HERRING FESTIVAL The picturesque North Devon village of Clovelly celebrates its herring fishing heritage. Quay kitchens will be serving a variety of local specialities, plus chef demonstrations, beer tastings and food and craft stalls. clovelly.co.uk
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Ask the Winee Merchant Who knows the wine list best? What are the latest trends in wine production? We quiz a real oenophile!
over the years and said they were truly fed up with ‘the same old wines’ that they found in supermarkets and big chain stores. They were falling into wine ruts: always buying New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or Argentinian Malbec, because at least they knew what they were getting with those. I wanted to have a business which showcased some of the more unheralded wine regions – and helped introduce them to those with, yes, ‘jaded palates’!
FAR FROM JADED, WE FELT POSITIVELY PERKY WHEN WE MET IAN RENWICK FROM CHAGFORD’S WINE EMPORIUM, JADED PALATES Hi, Ian. Great to meet you! Give us a heads-up on why you’re one of Devon’s go-to wine gurus… I’ve been interested in wine since I went to school in Bordeaux as a teenager. Hey, how could you not have your curiosity at least piqued when living in that home of great wines? But the first 20 years of my working life were spent in the corporate world, primarily sales and HR. The wine bug kept on nibbling at me, though – like one of those sores that are painful but you can’t help itching – until I couldn’t ignore it any more. I’d already taken a few wine courses, but now I really wanted to get under the skin of how a great wine is made. So, I took my wife and son (who was just two at the time) off to France to work in the vineyards. There, I qualified with a wine-making diploma before we returned to the UK to start Jaded Palates. It’s been a huge change going from big, global corporations to running your own small business in Dartmoor, but I couldn’t be happier. And where did the idea for Jaded Palates come from? There are two parts to this story: firstly, Jaded Palates was conceived whilst I was working in Hong Kong. That’s still a big part of my background, and I liked the play on words with ‘jade’. But, really, it’s about the people who’ve spoken to me
So, how do you choose which wines to stock? This is a huge part of our business. We purposely don’t have an enormous selection, as we think it’s pretty intimidating trying to choose from 25 different types of Burgundy. Therefore, we really take our time to whittle down the choices to just those that really stand out: either the producer is doing something a little different; or they are perfect examples of that particular grape or region; or the wine is made from very unusual and interesting grape types. For every wine we stock on the shelf, we try at least 10-15 others that may be just fine, but don’t quite do enough to make a difference. It sounds glamorous, but it can get tiring pretty quickly – especially when the wines are no good! We just want to make sure that each wine on our shelf is fantastic. What are the current trends in wine? Interesting question. I think it really depends on where you are. In London or other big cities, there’s a huge trend towards more ‘natural’ wines, although there’s disagreement over what that actually means. Mostly, we are talking about unfiltered, unfined, or low or no-sulphur wines, which is part of the general move towards lower intervention in all agricultural products. While I admire the sentiment, my personal opinion is that there is a little bit of media hype at play here. These interventions are often critical to making sure that, when you open your bottle, it is still actually wine and not something a little less palatable! The good producers are the ones who focus on great quality grapes, first and foremost. This tends to mean they don’t need to intervene much, anyway. It’s really only the lower end of the market which has
no choice but to add things in, as the grapes themselves aren’t up to scratch. The UK seems to be really upping its wine production game. What are your thoughts? I’ve been lucky enough to spend a few days working in a winery here too, and quite honestly, we are now producing some of the best sparkling wines in the world. Easily on a par with everyday Champagne, and – for the most part – better. Whites are getting better all the time too, especially on the lighter, seafood-friendly styles. Reds? Well, we may have to wait for a few more years of global warming before we are able to produce consistently good reds… Are there any new wines from the UK we should be particularly excited about? There are loads of new wineries starting up all the time. Honestly, though, like good wines themselves, vineyards get better with age. You’re best sticking with those producers who have been doing it for a long time and have perfected what they are doing. Camel Valley, Ridgeview, Gusborne, Nyetimber; these wines are, in my opinion, some of the best we produce. What’s your current favourite wine? I find these questions really hard! It’s like being asked to choose your favourite child. It’s also so dependent on what I am eating. Right now, though, with the less-thanglorious summer we’ve had, I’m really enjoying our organic red from Navarra in Spain, called Cartan Seleccion. It’s got plenty of gorgeous fruit and spice, and just enough oak to smooth out the edges. It’s also only £11.30, so a real steal. What three things should someone consider before buying a bottle of wine? Region, producer, price. Don’t pay £20 for something just because of where it comes from – there may be a smaller, less-well known region just a few kilometres away which does almost exactly the same thing for less. And don’t ever be scared to try something new! Jaded Palates, Chagford, TQ13 8AH; jadedpalates.com
Ask the Expert
the need fOr weed SEAWEED – YES, THE STUFF THAT’S SLIPPERY AND MAKES US FALL OVER ON ROCKS – IS INCREASINGLY BECOMING A POPULAR FOODSTUFF HERE IN THE UK. WE CAUGHT UP WITH TONY COULSON, FOUNDER OF EBB TIDES IN EAST DEVON, TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ITS APPEAL…
Seaweed isn’t a sexy foodstuff, we reckon, so sell it to us. Why do you think we should indulge? First off, the UK’s shores are surrounded by seaweed. Eating-wise, there are five or six different types that are interesting. There’s the brown stuff we most commonly associate with British beaches – these are the kelps. They grow mainly underwater, and you harvest them at low tide. Then, further up the shore, you get the red seaweeds, and further still, with the sunlight, you get sea lettuce.
Kelps are renowned for their savoury qualities, that beautifully earthy flavour we’ve learned to call the fifth taste: umami. The Japanese have been using them for centuries to make miso stock, soaking and boiling the kelp with noodles or fish. Then there’s red seaweed, the main one being dulse, which has a rich and smoky depth to it, with a hint of spice. I grind and put it into a Moroccan blend or marinade. It’s known as Irish seaweed because the Irish baked with it a lot, particularly during the potato famine, as it’s rich in protein. In the US, it’s been commercialised as an alternative to bacon. You can fry it for a few seconds and use it in a BLT. (Or, as I call it, a DLT.) Green seaweed, or sea lettuce, has a delicate flavour with a hint of pepper. Mixed in with these you’ll find laver (also known as slake) and nori (which has a liquorice type taste). These seaweeds are really versatile to cook with. Sounds surprisingly good! So, how do you go about collecting and preparing it? It’s very simple; that’s why I like it. My business is dictated by the moon, tide and weather. Kelp relies on spring tides. I sustainably harvest it by taking just half of the plants – plus I rotate the areas where I harvest, giving them plenty of chance to regenerate. I have stipulations set by the Crown Estate and Natural England which dictate where I can and can’t forage. I dry the seaweeds using dehydrators, the same way you’d dry fruit. It dries reasonably quickly and retains its nutrients. Some of the seaweed I keep in whole form, so my customers can put it in salads and recipes, and others I flake and put in grinders, so people can add them as seasoning to their food. In today’s fast-moving society people want to live more healthily, but don’t necessarily have the time to source and prepare meals – so the grinders are a handy solution. I want to demystify seaweed, and encourage people to throw their salt away and use seaweed to enhance their food instead. To the food, then. What can we cook with seaweed? There are so many options! Dulse is high in protein, so it works great in smoothies. Go for a run and then have a recovery drink, made with dulse, yoghurt and banana. Or, add it to pasta – it’s yummy, as it has a tuna-like taste. With ground kelp, you can add it to beans on toast, or use it as a pizza topping – it tastes particularly great with anchovies. Kelp can also be used as an alternative to pasta, in lasagna-like sheets. Curries made with it are also really nice. Or follow the Japanese, and use kelp as a base to make miso soups. Sea salad goes very well with fish and chips, or serve it with shellfish for a real taste of the ocean. What would you say to people who are put off by seaweed’s slimy reputation? I’m trying to change perceptions! And nobody’s died from eating seaweed yet, to the best of my knowledge. What’s really hit me is how positive people have been to what
I’m doing here at Ebb Tides. I do lots of food festivals, and always find that people really like the taste of our products – once they’ve crossed that queasiness barrier. Give it a go! It’s not for everybody, but people are often surprised at how delicious it is. Eating seaweed isn’t a new phenomenon, is it? Haven’t our ancestors been chomping on it for donkey’s years? Yes, that’s right. There’s evidence that when humans lived in caves by the seashore, they were living on shellfish and seaweed. The earliest evidence of that is in Chile. Japan, Korea and China also have a long history of eating it. In fact, 10 years ago seaweed provided about a quarter of the daily intake of food in Japan. And it was found that people who ate seaweed lived the longest! In north Devon, there’s a history of laver harvesting, and in Wales they harvested larver in the Pembrokeshire area. In Scotland, there’s a history of eating kelp. They also feed it to their sheep, which flavours the meat. Ireland’s west coast also has a long history of eating seaweed, as does Iceland and Scandinavia. It’s sounding ever-more appealing. Finally, win us over by telling us about a few more health benefits… Seaweeds are detoxifying and are said to have anti-aging properties, so they’re good for the skin. In Ireland, there’s a tradition of having seaweed baths, which allows your body to absorb the minerals. It’s also probiotic, so it feeds a lot of good bacteria into the gut. It supplies roughage, fibre and is low in salt. It’s also packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to give healthy cholesterol levels. In fact, it’s said to be the healthiest plant on the planet! No other plant is so dense in minerals, because it absorbs them from the sea. ebbtides.co.uk
Tony (opposite page) forages along the East Devon coast for a mix of seaweeds, which he then dries, packages and sells online and at farmer’s markets
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SIMPLY GIN-IUS! YUP, GIN IS STILL VERY MUCH THE DRINK DU JOUR, AND NOW THEREâ€™S A NEW KID IN TOWN: EXETER GIN. WE MEET THE BRAINS BEHIND THE BRAND
t doesn’t seem so long ago that the only people seen to be drinking gin were the Sloane Ranger set – and Pat Butcher off EastEnders. My, how times have changed. In the past year alone, gin sales have grown by over 12%, with a total of 43 million bottles being shifted across the UK, according to stats from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. And the specialist craft gin movement is very much alive and kicking, and nowhere more so than in Devon. The newest kid on the block is Exeter Gin, launched this summer by those clever peeps behind Exeter Street Food and Bath Street Food. Having launched Granny Garbutt’s Gin Palace – a pop-up mobile gin emporium in 2016, which sells over 100 different types of gin – they found there was a demand for a more locally-made product. “Even though people loved the fact we had loads of gins to try, they wanted to buy something home-grown and by the bottle. We looked around the Exeter area for a supplier but kept coming up against a brick wall, so the natural thing for us to do was make it ourselves,” explains Karen Skerratt, who runs the company, alongside hubby Mick, who is head distiller, and daughter Lyndsey, who is head of marketing. The gin draws inspiration from Exeter’s Roman heritage and the botanicals used to flavour it are drawn from that period. “We did a lot of research, mood boards and talking to the people of Exeter, and came up with some amazing facts,” says Karen. “What was vitally important to us as a team was to produce a quality product, and to understand what we were doing and how to do it well. Part of this process was to look at what botanicals would have been used in Roman times. So, we took a structured approached and then experimented with the amount of each botanical to get the taste just perfect.” Aside from juniper, which is sourced from a supplier in Macedonia, Exeter Gin includes coriander and orris root. The botanical that gives the gin its distinctive taste is baked and air-dried oranges, which are complemented by cinnamon and all spice berries. The Roman influence is drawn from the addition of tarragon, basil and marigolds, which are combined with goji berries, cubeb berries and barberries to provide some sweetness. Finally, pink and black peppercorns bring a bit of spice to the finish. “The oils from both the juniper and the orange deliver a really smooth taste, combined with the effect from baking and air-drying the oranges, leaving a wonderfully subtle citrus note on the palette,” explains Karen. To make the gin, the botanicals are steeped in the alcohol overnight in a traditional alembic pot still, which is then lit early the next morning. Once the ‘heads’ (the first output from the distillation) are removed, the distillation process takes around 10 to 12 hours. The resultant ‘hearts’ (the gin) of the process are then diluted with purified Devon water to the required strength. The ‘tails’, the last of the alcohol to be extracted, are reserved and used again in the next batch of gin to add to its distinct flavour. The gin is currently distilled just outside Exeter, in Teignmouth, but the team are looking for premises in
Exeter Gin takes its inspiration and flavour notes from the city’s rich Roman heritage
the city. “We’ve got great support from the City Council, local businesses and Exeter residents – people like our Gin Palace customers – who are wholeheartedly behind us, and can’t wait for us to have a central location,” says Karen. “When we have the premises finalised, we are looking to do distillery tours to expand the operation, creating a local attraction which we feel will enhance Exeter’s current tourism offerings.” Could Exeter Gin be to Exeter what Guinness is to Dublin, drawing tourists from worldwide? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, we’re more than happy to sample a wee taster of this latest gin sensation. But, might we ask, how best to enjoy it? “Our preference is a regular Fevertree or Luscombe tonic with a little orange peel,” says Karen, “but it also goes well with lime. It’s always good to experiment with flavours to suit your own individual palette.”
Exeter Gin is available priced £38 for 70cl. For a full list of stockists, visit exetergin.com
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THERE’S DINNER PARTY INSPO APLENTY IN THE VOLUMES THAT MARK TAYLOR’S BEEN DEVOURING THIS MONTH…
DINNER & PARTY Rose Prince Seven Dials, £25
With so many cookbooks trying to reinvent the culinary wheel, how refreshing to find one that concentrates on practical and simple dishes for the family without relying on smoke and mirrors. There is nothing cutting edge or flashy about Rose Prince’s Dinner & Party, but then this award-winning food writer has been around for the past two decades and practicality and commonsense have always come before fads and trends. Prince’s sound stance on entertaining is that the cook shouldn’t be banished to the kitchen during a dinner party and the trick is to prepare as much as possible in advance. With a useful seasonal menu planner for guidance, the book is packed with classics (coq au vin, cassoulet, chocolate mousse) but also deliciously modern ideas like lemon risotto with rocket, and fishcakes with lemongrass and coriander.
CLAFOUTIS WITH PEARS SERVES 6-8
The lightest baked creamy custard with soft fruit. I make clafoutis with pears, apricots, plums or figs but very rarely, although faithful to its origins, with cherries – because I am lazy about pitting (stoning) small fruit. Make the clafoutis an hour before serving. It only takes 20 minutes to prepare and can be made with slightly unripe fruit, which softens during cooking. INGREDIENTS
30g butter, for greasing 120g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting 100ml whole milk 150ml whipping cream ½ vanilla pod, seeds only (or ¼ tsp vanilla extract) 4 eggs 20g plain flour 500g perfectly ripe pears, cut lengthways into eighths
1 Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. 2 Butter an ovenproof metal pan or ceramic dish and then dust it with caster sugar. Put the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan and heat to boiling point, then remove from the heat. 3 Put the eggs in a bowl with the sugar and whisk them together. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, then pour the milk mixture in slowly, whisking all the time. 4 Scatter the pears over the base of the pan – you can arrange them neatly in a circle, if you wish. Pour the batter around them, not over the top, and then put the pan in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the custard has puffed and coloured gold in places. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 hour. Dust with caster sugar and serve. TIP You can also make it ‘boozy’, soaking the fruit in a tablespoon of corresponding liqueur – Poire Williams for the pears, plum brandy for plums, and so on.
A N D I N A: T H E HEART OF PERUVIAN FOOD Martin Morales Quadrille, £27
The follow-up to Martin Morales’ debut, Ceviche, Andina explores the innovative dishes, ingredients and food culture of the relatively unknown Andes region of Peru, an area where so-called ‘superfoods’ like avocado and quinoa are essential in traditional dishes. Recipes from the key areas of La Libertad, Ayacucho, Cusco, Arequipa, Puno, Hauncayo and Cajamarca give a taste of the sheer variety and scope of the indigenous dishes. With sections including breakfasts, snacks, ceviche, salads, protein-packed stews, grills and roasts, soups, desserts, and drinks, Andina is a vibrant and tantalising glimpse into a cuisine full of fresh flavours and colours, with over 120 original recipes including pumpkin casserole; tuna, pickled pineapple and black quinoa ceviche; and confit figs with vanilla cream.
KAUKASIS: THE COOKBOOK Olia Hercules Mitchell Beazley, £25
Ukraine-born Olia Hercules won the Fortnum & Mason Debut Food Book Award 2016 for her groundbreaking debut book, Mamushka, and the former Ottolenghi chef is sure to pick up further accolades with this wonderful follow-up. A personal culinary journey through Georgia, Azerbaijan and beyond, this beautifully illustrated and evocative book features more than 100 recipes for earthy and, sometimes, surprising dishes from her travels. Each has a fascinating story attached, the author having met the home cooks of the Caucasus area bridging Europe and Asia. Divided into amusingly named chapters (among them ‘roots, shoots, leaves and all’ and ‘beasts from land, sea and air’), dishes worth bookmarking include cauliflower steak gratin; quince stuffed with lamb and caramelised shallots; and the decadent recipe for Armenian brandy profiteroles.
Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh Ebury Press, £27
Sabrina Ghayour Mitchell Beazley, £20
A new release from Yotam Ottolenghi is always cause for celebration, and his longawaited baking and desserts book is the one his legions of fans have been holding out for. They won’t be disappointed. A collaboration with Helen Goh, who has worked with Ottolenghi for the past ten years, this book features over 110 recipes for cakes, tarts, puddings, cheesecakes and ice cream. Lavishly illustrated with photographs by award-winning New York team Peden + Munk, this is a book that is sure to end up on as many coffee tables as kitchen counters. From blackberry and star anise friands and flourless chocolate layer cake to Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread and coconut, almond and blueberry cake, this is a classic book that truly hits the sweet spot.
Sabrina Ghayour has become one of the leading voices on Middle Eastern food thanks to her best-selling books Persiana and Sirocco. In her third book, Feasts, Ghayour shows how to create dishes for every occasion, from quick-fix weekday evenings to weekend feasts and large gatherings. With her usual emphasis on simple ingredients and punchy flavours, the book features tailored menus and dozens of recipes for celebrations. Among the highlights are lamb, plum and preserved lemon stew; smoked mackerel and quinoa salad with charred asparagus and cannellini beans; and white chocolate, cardamom and macadamia squares. Ghayour set the bar pretty high with her first two books, but Feasts happily surpasses them both when it comes to inspiration for home cooks.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org For cookery course information email@example.com 178 High St, Honiton, Devon EX141LA www.theholt-honiton.com
THE JUBILEE INN Reservations 01398 341401
Enjoy the taste of autumn, combining the finest seasonal West Country produce with our fine dining, gastropub and light menus. Our luxury rooms include the use of a private guest terrace where you can bask in glorious Devon sunshine during your visit. For table reservations and best room rates, please telephone Sam or Claire. Showcasing exquisite and flavoursome dining, with a classic French twist, prepared by Head Chef Sam Salway, see our website for details of all special offers and upcoming events. Booking essential ~ DINING TUESDAY TO SUNDAYS ~ See website for further details.
firstname.lastname@example.org www.thejubileeinn.co.uk West Anstey, South Molton, Devon, EX36 3PH
We reckon afternoon tea demands vintage crockery, particularly when enjoyed with Aunty Sheila’s rock cakes on page 24
CH E F !
WHAT TO MAKE AND HOW TO MAKE IT – DIRECT FROM THE KITCHENS OF OUR FAVOURITE FOODIES
H I G H L I G H T S
TV’s Kirstie Allsopp shares a family favourite Page 20
Eggy delights from Manna from Devon Page 22 P L U S
TEATIME TREATS An old favourite from Lynmouth Bay Café
Campfire comfort food Page 26 CRUMBSMAG.COM
C H E F !
ALLSOPP’S ASIAN dELIGhT
She’s advised the nation on property, interior design and crafts, and now TV’s Kirstie Allsopp (who has a family home in Devon) is sharing her family’s favourite recipes. This slow-cooked lamb dish from her new book, Kirstie’s Real Kitchen, is a proper winter warmer, really simple to pull together, but impressive too – ideal if you’re entertaining friends and family. She says: “Although we have an AGA and could do this recipe in the slow or simmering oven, I like the result you get from using a crockpot or slow-cooker. The texture of the lamb is just like that of pulled pork (and of course you could do a joint of pork in exactly the same way). I have suggested adding some star anise, as this deepens the spiciness, but it’s up to you.”
R I TA P L AT T S © H O D D E R & S TO U G H TO N
HOMEMAKER EXTRAORDINAIRE KIRSTIE ALLSOPP SHARES A SLOW-COOKED SUPPER FROM HER NEW COOKBOOK…
SLOW-COOKED ASIAN LAMB
Kirstie's Real Kitchen by Kirstie Allsopp is published by Hodder & Stoughton, £25; hodder.co.uk
INGREDIENTS 1 x 1.8kg shoulder of lamb, on the bone, or 1 x 2kg leg of lamb 2 tbsp vegetable oil 7.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or grated 2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped 4 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp clear honey or maple syrup 1 large onion, peeled and halved 1 lemon, halved 3 star anise (optional) 500ml light chicken or vegetable stock (a stock cube is fine)
and star anise (if using) around the joint, then pour the stock around it – you don’t want to disturb that sticky topping. 4 Set the slow-cooker to low, put the lid on and leave the lamb to cook for around 6-7 hours. In the AGA, or a conventional oven preheated (see step 1), it will take about 2½-3 hours (the longer the better, to be honest). Keep an eye on it throughout the cooking time, and add a little more water or stock if it looks too dry. You want to have a liquid sauce at the end. 5 Test by using a fork to pull a little bit of meat from the joint. If it comes away very easily, it’s done. If not, continue to cook in the oven until it does. When ready, the meat will be very tender, actually falling off the bone, so be careful when moving it from pot to plate. 6 Serve these tender strands of meat with their juices, some quick stir-fried greens and rice or noodles.
METHOD 1 If using a slow-cooker, make sure your joint of lamb will fit in it. If using a conventional oven, preheat it to 170C/340F/gas mark 3. 2 Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the lamb on all sides. Place in the slow-cooker or a roasting pan. (If using an AGA, brown the lamb in the roasting oven for about 20 minutes, then do the rest in the simmering oven.) 3 Mix the ginger, garlic, chillies, soy sauce, Worcester sauce and honey in a bowl. Smear all over the lamb. Tuck the onion halves, lemon halves
C H E F !
MAN O MAN! BY GEORGE! THIS GEORGIAN KHACHAPURI RECIPE FROM MANNA FROM DEVON MAKES A HELLA GOOD BRUNCH IDEA
P H OTO S : N I C K H O O K
Holly and David Jones of Manna from Devon in Kingswear specialise in wood-fired cooking, bread making and fish cooking, with students coming to them from all over the world. This is one of their favourite recipes from their latest cookbook, and they love cooking it in their wood fired oven; but don’t worry if you haven’t got one, as it can easily be recreated in a conventional oven. Khachapuri is a flat bread from Georgia, stuffed full of eggs and cheese – great for a weekend brunch. Holly and David’s book – Wood Fired Flat Breads & Pancakes – is packed full of similarly gorgeous recipes, and is available on Amazon.
KHACHAPURI SERVES 6
INGREDIENTS 500g strong white flour 10g fine seasalt 5g fast acting yeast 330ml room temperature water 120g mozzarella, ripped into little pieces 120g grated mature Cheddar 120g crumbled feta 3 medium eggs olive oil 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme METHOD 1 Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in a large bowl. Add the water and mix well. Knead the dough on a clean work surface until smooth and springy. It will be quite sticky at first, so try not to add any more flour as it will dry out the finished flatbreads. 2 Put the dough back in a clean bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for two hours, until well risen and puffy.
3 Mix the three cheeses with the thyme and oil and leave in the fridge. 4 Heat the oven to 220C/428F/gas mark 7. 5 Divide the dough into three even pieces. Shape into balls, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes. This relaxes the dough and will make shaping the breads much easier. 6 Take one of the balls of dough and place it on a lightly-floured work surface. Sprinkle a little flour on top. Use your fingertips to press the dough out to make a rounded rectangle, about 30cm x 15cm. 7 Take two corners at one of the ends and cross one over the other. Press down to create the bow of your boat-shaped khachapuri. Repeat at the other end to make the stern. 8 Roll the edges in and press down to make the sides of your boat. You should now have a nice, deep pocket to fill with cheese. Repeat the shaping process with the other two dough balls. Put the khachapuri on to two baking sheets lined with baking parchment. 9 Divide the cheese mixture between the three khachapuri and crack an egg into the centre of each one. Brush the dough with a little milk or beaten egg. 10 Put the baking sheets in the oven and bake the khachapuri for about 12-15 minutes. The sides and ends should be well risen, golden brown and puffy and the cheeses bubbly and browned. Cut each one in two and serve warm between six people (half per person), with the egg still runny. mannafromdevon.com
C H E F !
GET YOUR ROCKS ON
BRIGHTEN UP DREARY AUTUMN DAYS WITH A SPOT OF HOME BAKING. THIS ROCK CAKE RECIPE FROM LYNMOUTH BAY CAFÉ DOES JUST THE JOB It was just 18 months ago that good friends Kathryn Seaton and Aileen Todd took up residence at Lynmouth Bay Café. Since then, their crab sandwiches and Devon cream teas (with award-winning scones) have had bus-loads of tourists and Lynmouth residents raving. “Although our backgrounds were very different, we’d both decided that it was time for a complete change in our lives, and a tearoom seemed a good idea,” explains Kathryn. “We make our own cakes, scones, soups and savouries and, where we can, we use local suppliers. “Some of our recipes are old family favourites, typed on old ribbon typewriters or handwritten on scraps of paper, which we found years later hidden in old cookery books. It’s these recipes that our customers love and reminisce about, which is why we are sharing Aunty Sheila’s Rock Cake recipe. We hope you enjoy it!”
AUNTY SHEILA’S ROCK CAKES SERVES 12
INGREDIENTS 226g self-raising flour ½ tsp baking powder 85g demerara sugar 112g soft margarine 200g mixed dried fruit 1 medium sized egg 1 tbsp milk METHOD 1 Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. 2 Lightly grease and line a baking tray with butter. 3 Mix all of your ingredients together in a bowl. Then, using a dessert spoon, make 12 rough mounds on the greased baking sheet. 4 Cook in the oven for 15-18 minutes, until the cakes are lightly brown. 5 Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Note: these rock cakes freeze well, and can be defrosted and warmed very quickly for those unexpected guests! facebook.com/LynmouthBayCafe
GET AT ONE WITH NATURE WITH THIS CHEESY CHOP FROM WOODFIRED CANTEENâ€™S BEN QUINN
C H E F !
P H OTO S : L I Z S E A B R O O K
We’re mad for cheese here at Crumbs, so when we heard that Devon’s award-winning cheesemaker Quicke’s had teamed up with Cornish chef Ben Quinn to create a collection of recipes, we couldn’t wait to hear what was in store. Known for his ability to coolly marshal flaming grills, Ben’s career has seen him work with the likes of Honey & Co, Jamie Oliver and Meatopia. Now settled in Cornwall, Ben runs Woodfired Canteen, a catering company with a difference. The ethos around Woodfired Canteen is all about sharing stories through good food and cooking over a wood fire. “Sharing food with friends brings us great pleasure, and what we love more than anything is surprising our guests with simple and delicious recipes,” says Ben. “Take the traditional pork chop: we’ve turned it on its head with a special touch that is guaranteed to blow your guests’ minds.”
CAMPFIRE CHEESE CHOP SERVES 4
INGREDIENTS 4 thick pork chops on the bone 300g of Quicke’s Extra Mature Cheddar 50g of rosemary pinch of Cornish Sea Salt 2 firm eating apples
METHOD 1 Place the chops on a secure chopping board and cut a small pocket in the loin part of the chop. Go in about an inch and wiggle the knife around. Be careful not to cut all the way through the chop. 2 Now take a quarter of the Cheddar and crumble it up. Loosely stuff it into the pocket and press down on the chop to reshape it ready for the grill. 3 Your grill should be around six inches above a nice bed of hot coals. When you hold a hand a couple of inches above the grill it should take at least five seconds before it becomes uncomfortable. Don’t try and be tough with this; if your grill is too hot, it will burn the chop and cause big flare ups, which just aren’t cool. Be patient, and wait for your fire to cool to a medium heat. 4 Now you’re ready to cook. Start by placing the chops on the grill and allowing them to seal. Cook with your ears, so listen for the first drip of fat onto the coals. Wait for around 30 seconds, then turn. The cooked side should start to show the signs of deliciousness: light brown fat and grill marks. 5 This process may be repeated up to six times, or until the loin feels just firm to the touch. 6 The next stage is resting the chop. Grate the apples coarsely onto the plate you’re planning to serve the chops on, then add the rosemary and a good pinch of Cornish Sea Salt. Now add the cooked chops and let them rest for at least three minutes. Turn them over once, and feel free to heap the apple on top. 7 Now the eating. Don’t tell your guests about the melt in the middle there. Just let them bite into salty, smoky pork, sweet apple and find that surprise of rich, buttery Cheddar. For more Quicke's recipes from Ben Quinn, visit quickes.co.uk
Choose your weapons
MATT BIELBY CAN’T HELP WAXING LYRICAL OVER THESE NIFTY NEW BEESWAX WRAPS. IN FACT, HE RATHER THINKS THEY’RE THE BEE’S KNEES… What are these, posh napkins? We’ve fallen quite a way from the fancy kit you’re usually trying to push on this page, haven’t we? Well, yes – and no. You see, this month’s object of desire might not cost much, and might not have lots of chrome and fancy functions, but in its own way it’s just as exciting. And, most likely, you’ll use it a lot more often, too. What we have here is no more or less than an eco-friendly alternative to cling film and tinfoil. Made from 100 percent cotton, which is coated in pine resin, jojoba oil and beeswax, the whole idea is that each wrap is reusable and biodegradable.
or something. If you want to imagine them doing it, they say they make up crazy songs to sing as they do so...
So no-more throwing away a stretch of cling film after a single use? (And no more nicking my hands on those metal teeth you get along the side of the pack either?) Hopefully not! Even better, this stuff is made somewhat locally, by Stroud crafting pals Carly and Fran. They source their beeswax from a friendly local beekeeper, then make them all by hand, probably on a kitchen table
And the point is? The point is, these wraps do most of the jobs cling film will do, but in a more natural way. Beeswax and pine resin have natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and the use of cotton means your food gets to breathe, too. Meanwhile, the pine resin gives the wraps a natural adhesive, the warmth from your hands creating a strong seal on
The whole look is a bit Cath Kidston, isn’t it? It is, though a little funkier, I’d say. And although you can’t specifically pick from the many different patterns they do, their selections are designed to appeal to different types: bright colours in the children’s lunch pack set, slightly edgier patterns in the teenager’s pack, serious hanky-style solid block colours and restrained dots in the pack designed for men, and so on.
bowls and dishes. The best thing, though, is you don’t throw them away afterwards, but instead wash ’em in cold water and soap, then they’re ready to go again. I like it, except I have one worry. You said cheap, didn’t you…? A single large beeswax wrap (about 40x40cm, big enough to cover a casserole dish) will set you back a tenner; packs of four smaller wraps (for sealing jars and wrapping sandwiches) are £20; and then there are packs for kitchen use, the most expensive being the family pack (two large, four medium, four small) at £60. Since each wrap will last a year, and a roll of cling film is a quid or so, these things probably won’t save you money – but they’ll not cost you much, either. And, as they’re cooler, and way more eco-friendly, they’re a no-brainer, I reckon.
Bees Wax Wraps can be bought online at beeswaxwraps.co.uk
THIS MONTH • FARMYARD FEELS • WINE O’CLOCK
H O U S E
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ORGaniC attraCtiOn RESTAURATEUR, ENVIRONMENTALIST, FEMINIST AND NOW FARM OWNER… WE MEET THE UNSTOPPABLE GEETIE SINGH-WATSON (AND BEYONCÉ THE CHICKEN!) AT HER NEWLY-RENOVATED DEVON HOME WORDS BY MELISSA STEWART PHOTOS BY BECKY JOINER
e’ve got to admit it, we’re a little bit in love with Geetie Singh-Watson. Not only is she super-intelligent with stonkingly good ethics and values – having founded London’s first organic pub, The Duke of Cambridge in Islington, some 20 years ago – she’s also strikingly beautiful and has the house of our dreams. Yup, we’ve got a bit of a crush. She also just so happens be married to Guy Watson from Riverford Organic Farmers, hence her relocation to Devon. We meet Geetie at her and Guy’s new home, a farmhouse on the outskirts of Ashburton. The couple and family moved in last year, having bought the property two years ago. They’ve been busy renovating, knocking through walls to make a more contemporary, open plan living space (as well as getting rid of the damp) and putting their own unique stamp on the property. It’s a gorgeous place. Chickens roam freely on the driveway, a feathery willow tree on the lawn sways gently in the breeze, and a babbling brook flows at the bottom of the garden. Look out of any window and you see rolling hills and fields of cows. It’s also blissfully quiet, despite being only a few minutes away from the busy A38. “When Guy and I first got together and he was driving me around and showing me the area, he brought me down here,” says Geetie. “It’s not on the road to anywhere, so there’s no through traffic, but he brought me here and said it was the most beautiful valley in this area – and it was. We then spent ages looking for somewhere to buy in the Totnes area, where we had been living, but then this came on the market and it was like destiny that we should end up here.” Indeed, the farm couldn’t be in a more perfect location. Not only is it stunning and peaceful, but its farmland backs onto Riverford land. “It’s a half hour walk to the Riverford
offices, which is ideal. We had 250 acres of land and sold 100 of them to Guy’s brother Oli, keeping 150 acres for ourselves. It’s a way of farming together – of being near work, but also away from it. I really wanted to be in the country. If I was going to move away from London, I wanted to be in the countryside.” Geetie welcomes us into her new kitchen, which somehow manages to be spacious yet remarkably warm and cosy, thanks to newly insulated walls and an Esse wood burner. The interior is traditional country farmhouse with a contemporary edge. A rustic wooden dining table and chairs and a Welsh dresser merge comfortably with industrial-style lighting, petrol blue painted cupboards and a brick red kitchen island. As expected, the kitchen island is cluttered with an assortment of fresh fruit, flowers and veg from Riverford. “Guy and I are always bringing home produce from the farm,” she smiles. As we sit down to a freshly brewed coffee and a plate of delectable Portuguese-style custard tarts, fresh from The Almond Thief in Dartington (which Geetie confides she feels no guilt whatsoever in eating, as she’s just been to a Pilates), she tells us about the shared values which brought her and Guy together. “I grew up in a commune in the ’70s, which absolutely shaped my philosophies and how I live my life today. There were 30 of us, and we were as self-sufficient as we could be – growing our own food and making our own clothes. At supper times, the adults would cook in rotation (so once every 15-20 days) and we’d all sit down together, so there were always political conversations in some way or another. I was really politically active from a young age, and really conscious of my responsibilities as a member of society – and I took that with me as I grew up.” After leaving school, Geetie, a gifted vocalist, dabbled with the idea of becoming an opera singer, attending the Birmingham Conservatoire, but left after a short time and moved to London. “When I left the commune, I went to live with my dad in London,” she says. “He was quite a successful entrepreneur, and my stepmother was a very successful civil servant – so they were quite wealthy, and it was almost like a finishing school living with them. My stepmother taught me how to lay a table and how to taste wine. They used to take my brother and I out to really good restaurants in London too, and talk us through the menu.” It was this insight into the bustling London food scene, as well as her field to fork upbringing, that inspired Geetie to go into the restaurant trade. “I moved from the land of growing food to seeing what it could be at the end. I loved those sort of restaurants – really high-end places – so when I started working for them I just couldn’t believe the terrible ingredients they were using, and all the effort they had to put in to make them work. The problem was, the core ingredients weren’t good.” Following six years of hard graft, learning the ins and outs of the restaurant trade, Geetie opened The Duke of Cambridge in Islington in 1998. It was London’s first (and only) wholly organic gastropub, and ground-breaking at the time. “I watched people like Anita Roddick [founder of The Body Shop] be so effective in changing the way we all thought about how we could do things – and that’s what I wanted to do with the pub,” she says. “I wanted people to come in and eat fantastic food and drink and then find out it was all organic, and underpinning it was all these great values.”
H O U S E
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KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL Name: Geetie Singh-Watson Hometown: Totnes. (Or London.) (Or it could be Malvern, where I grew up!) Occupation: Restaurateur You choose to live in Devon because: I fell deeply in love with a gorgeous Devon farmer You love the taste of: All things bitter and all things chilli hot
She shakes her head when she recalls some people’s initial reaction to The Duke: “Twenty years ago, organic was still a bit of a dirty word. I remember one journalist coming in and writing about how none of the women were wearing lipstick and that the men were wearing sandals with socks, and it just wasn’t true. They made it sound such a cliché.” Thankfully, since then, the organic movement has grown and eating organic is desirable to the point of being the norm across many UK dinner tables. Geetie is rightfully proud of the role she has played being at the forefront of the movement, particularly in the restaurant trade. “When I recruited my staff, I had to teach them about what organic meant, what sustainability meant, what a fish policy meant; it was a huge education for them. Since that time, we’ve come so far – people are really engaged with these things now. So, in lots of ways, I feel like The Duke has had a really positive effect on the restaurant industry and the people who work in it. So many people who worked with us have gone off and opened their own places with similar ethics – not as staunch, perhaps, as ours, but the impact has been huge.” In fact, the success of The Duke of Cambridge, and its vision and values, led to a plethora of awards for both the pub and Geetie, including an MBE in 2009 for ‘Services to the Organic Pub Trade’.
Coffee or tea? Depends! Really good tea leaves (otherwise I’d rather not), first thing or afternoon. And coffee midmorning. (Again, only really good stuff or why bother?) The look of your home in three words: Reclaimed, cosy, bold Your home is your haven because: I live there with my loves, and all my mementos from life now and past If you could change one thing about it: The westerly winds that bring the drone of the A38 Must-have kitchen item: Guy – who is a wonderful cook! Most prized kitchen item: Salad bowls, in all different shapes, patterns and sizes Most unexpected item in your larder: Mice! Go-to recipe if hosting family and friends: Walnut oil and vinegar dressed salad Secret skills: Delegation! You can’t live without: Lettuce leaves, olive oil, good tea, chilli, nuts, yogurt. (Blimey, I sound healthy!) Favourite condiment: Walnut oil or chilli sauce If your home could talk it would say: Ow! (As it’s had a facelift, and some internal works too – poor old thing! But it’s starting to feel better with some loving, and the scars will doubtless heal!)
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It seems little wonder, then, that the queen of London’s organic restaurant scene would end up with the king of organic veg – a personal and professional match made in heaven. “I first met Guy in around 2005, when he came to talk to me about opening a pub in London. I treated him like he was a complete threat, and was really hostile to him,” she recalls, laughing. “He had been interested in having a restaurant in London for ages so, when it came to me making the decision to sell The Duke, it made sense for me to sell to Riverford. I couldn’t have made a better decision. There’s no way that any other business could have continued my values in the way that Riverford has. We are just completely aligned with each other.” Today, Geetie runs the Riverford restaurant business, overseeing both The Duke of Cambridge and Riverford Field Kitchen, as well as the school dinners supplied to nearby Landscove Primary School. She’s also a trustee of Dartington Hall, where she lends her expertise in food and catering, as well as on ethical and socially responsible trading. Looking to the future, she and Guy are considering how they’re going to manage their newly-acquired farmland. “We’ve got to work out what to do with the farm, and how much of our lives will be committed to working the land. Currently, we rent the land to an organic beef farmer, but Guy is passionate about growing vegetables. Also, in the commune that I grew up in as a child we were always really self-sufficient, and that’s something I’d like to get back to.”
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SqUASh ANd BLACK BEAN ChILLI SERVES 4
While she may not be the biggest fan of cooking, Geetie adores seasonal veg and spicy food. Here’s a recent recipe from Riverford she’ll be indulging in this autumn… Either stuff a whole squash with the chilli, or dice and roast the squash and add it to the chilli. The latter opens up a whole variety of serving suggestions: eat it with rice or in a baked potato; top it with a dollop of soured cream, some spicy tomato salsa or some guacamole; stuff it in a taco with some grated cheese; or spread it over a tortilla. If you are stuffing the squash you will need to use one that is a suitable size and will hold its shape when cooked, such as onion squash. INGREDIENTS 1 medium butternut, large onion or smallish crown prince squash 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for roasting 1 large onion, chopped 4 celery sticks, finely chopped 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped 3 large garlic cloves, crushed 1-2 tsp crushed chipotle chillies (or substitute for another fresh or dried red chilli) 1 tsp dried marjoram, or handful of fresh oregano 2 bay leaves 2 tsp ground cumin 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes 2 x 400g cans black beans, rinsed and drained juice of 1 lime (approx. 2 tbsp) small bunch of coriander, finely chopped salt and black pepper grated cheese and/or soured cream, to serve (optional)
While growing food might be on the agenda, one thing Geetie, rather ironically, confesses is that she’s not a great cook. “I really like eating, but I don’t like cooking very much. Guy is an incredible cook. We have the perfect relationship like that. I come home, he asks me what I want to eat, and he cooks it! I know exactly where the ingredients have come from and I have my own chef. We also have very similar tastes – we like things that are bitter, and we’re both very into simple food led by great ingredients.” While Guy may be the culinary whizz, Geetie quite happily takes up the role of commis chef and confesses, rather surprisingly, to a love of cleaning. “I follow around after Guy in the kitchen clearing up, and he gets really frustrated because I’ve put all the ingredients away,” she laughs. “Going to live with my stepmum in my late teens was a revelation, because I learnt you could be a feminist, intelligent, motivated and enjoy housework. It wasn’t allowed in the commune. As a woman, you had to fix cars! My mum could strip an engine and put it back together in a day.” It’s this ‘can-do’ attitude and sense of social responsibility that have shaped who Geetie is today, and while she may have been inspired by her upbringing, she’s the one who has gone on to be an inspiration to so many. We can’t wait to see what she does next.
METHOD 1 Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. If stuffing a whole squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and stuff each half; or roast it in chunks. 2 Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the peppers and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently. 3 Stir in the garlic, and cook for another minute. Add the chilli, 1-2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, the herbs and cumin. Give everything a good mix, then add the tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. 4 Stir in the beans and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, stir in the lime juice and coriander and adjust the seasoning to taste. 5 If using roast squash, add it now, heat through, and then serve. If stuffing a whole squash, fill each roasted squash half with the filling mixture. Top with grated cheese or soured cream (or both!), if you like. riverford.co.uk/recipes
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The Want List WITH PARTY SEASON ALMOST UPON US, JAZZ UP YOUR DINING TABLE WITH SOME LUXE DRINKWARE… 1 SHARON WINE DECANTER £130 Dartington Crystal runs the UK’s only remaining glass factory in Great Torrington, and we reckon this handmade wine decanter will add a touch of sophistication to any dinner table this winter. dartington.co.uk
2 3 1 4 5
2 SAGAFORM ICE STONES £13.50 These stone cubes are made from Swedish glacial rock, and can be used to chill cold drinks or keep hot ones warm. Perfect for ensuring our mulled wine is hot this winter… Available from The Salcombe Trading Company. salcombetrading.co.uk 3 RETREAT WINE GLASSES £25 for 4 These pressed wine glasses are a great shape for casual dining and a bit different from your standard wine glass. The ribbed detail helps the soft grey lustre finish catch the light. Available from M&S. marksandspencer.com 4 MENU COOL BREATHER CARAFE £48 It’s not just red wines that need room to breathe, as many white wines benefit from access to the air too. This carafe allows you to both aerate and cool the wine, plus its slick design means you can put it straight on the table. salcombetrading.co.uk 5 WINE HOLDER £9.99 We’re in love with this classy silver wine holder from TK Maxx – so much so that we’re styling our tableware around it. Not only does it look good, but it will protect tablecloths and furniture from unwanted wine stains. Available from TK Maxx in Exeter or Barnstaple. tkmaxx.com
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Meet the barista we get the caffeine buzz from some of Devon’s hottest coffee makers
Alex & Amy
What’s your favourite coffee? Alex - Flat white
What’s your favourite coffee brewing method? At home I tend to keep things simple and brew my coffee using a cafetiere or my trusted clever dripper! I’m not a fan of large quantities of milk, you get a far nicer coffee experience without it. At work I tend to like it short and strong, an espresso or cortado is perfect for me and sets me up for the day!
What makes a good barista? A good barista is someone who has passion. They are passionate about their job and their customers and about attention to detail. A good barista remembers their customers and remembers what they drink and how they like their coffee – extra hot, not too hot, black, weak, extra shot… A great barista gives great customer service, interacting with people but still working and delivering perfect coffees. They also stay calm under pressure. They remain cheerful, positive and are genuinely sympathetic and helpful if a customer is upset.
Cafe Alf Resco, Dartmouth; 01803 835880; cafealfresco.co.uk
What are the best coffee beans to use? Alex - Quality and fresh coffee beans are essential; beans should be brewed within an hour of being ground. I prefer a medium roast that retains the full flavour and sweetness of the beans. Our beans are roasted locally each week for us. How long have you been a barista? Amy - Just over two years and I’ve seen a real change in the way I look at coffee. It’s no longer ‘just a coffee’. Being a barista’s opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed! What is the best thing about being a barista? Amy - I enjoy the fun atmosphere. You can chat to customers, which in turn makes their experience more enjoyable. But I really enjoy how you’re able to create a drink from scratch. Every barista starts with coffee beans, but the way you’re able to make a coffee your own is what I enjoy the most.
Owens Coffee, Ivybridge; 0800 879 9791; owenscoffee.com
PerryLicious, Teignmouth; perryliciouscoffeeandcake rooms.co.uk
Is there a secret to a good cup of coffee? Coffee is fresh produce. Always look for a roast date and try to buy coffee that has been roasted within four weeks of that date. There’s no problem using beans older than that but the good flavours will deteriorate over time. Also, if possible, invest in a good burr grinder and buy whole beans that you can grind to your requirements.
What’s the best thing about being a barista? Having a good cup of coffee first thing, and our regulars who know us by name and feel comfortable in my cafe and love our coffee.
Is there a coffee you would recommend for us to try? We have a delicious single estate Peruvian coffee called Finca La Lima. The coffee is grown among lemon trees. Try it black in order to taste the hints of vanilla and lemongrass.
Is there a coffee you’d recommend? Resolute, our house blend of Colombian, Nicaraguan and El Salvador beans. Flavour profiles are chocolate, caramel and berries. Our coffee is from Origin Coffee Roasters in Helston.
Voyager Coffee, Buckfastleigh; 01364 644440; voyagercoffee.co.uk What makes a good coffee? Great question! There are so many varied answers to this question and there are many ways of roasting, brewing and serving. I believe that freshly roasted coffees are a must, as they are packed with flavour. The freshest coffee will give the coffee lover the unique flavours they are looking for in a cup of coffee. Skill is also important as the barista needs to be highly trained to understand what makes a good coffee. What’s your favourite coffee? It has to be the flat white, a smaller and more concentrated double espresso with smooth, velvety milk. The flat white is the perfect coffee for me early in the morning and sets me up for the day. What’s your signature latte art finish? For me it’s the tulip. The tulip is a beautiful latte art design and takes coordination. I like how there are many variations to the pattern. It’s fun testing myself each time to see how many layers I can fit into the cup.
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Cocktails and ice cream?! Come visit our brand new bar area for cocktails, beers, cider and crazy flavoured shots at Caramello Gelato
Christmas bookings now being taken Concord House, 70 South St, Exeter EX1 1EG Tel: 01392 433856
BEER CAN NOW BE ORDERED THROUGH OUR ONLINE SHOP! Estuary View, Ledstone, Kingsbridge, Devon, TQ7 4BL | 01548 854888 | www.salcombebrewery.com
M AI N S TOP CULINARY CAUSES, FAB FOOD DESTINATIONS, AND PEOPLE THAT MATTER H I G H L I G H T S
It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it! Sampling Devon’s cosy country inns Page 42
INDIAN SUMMER Garden feasting at The Old Dairy Kitchen Page 46
Yes, we did actually dine al fresco at the tail end of summer. No thermals required!
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HALF PINTS of local ale consumed, in the name of research
LET’S GET COSY IF THERE’S ONE THING THAT DEVON DOES RATHER WELL, IT’S COUNTRY INNS. WE TRAVELLED ACROSS THE REGION, SIPPING ONE TOO MANY PINTS (HIC!), TO GIVE YOU A RUNDOWN OF 25 OF OUR FAVOURITE SNUG PUBS…
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Comfy as you like: The Five Bells Inn at Clyst Hydon (opposite) and The Blue Ball Inn, Countisbury
THE BLACK VENUS INN Challacombe An ideal place to stop off after a long walk and a bit of deer spotting on Exmoor, this quaint 16th century country inn boasts low ceilings and original beams. There are always at least two local cask ales on tap, and they also do a scrummy Sunday lunch. blackvenusinn.co.uk THE LONDON INN Molland
This cute, dog-friendly village inn sits on the Molland Estate and boasts two fireplaces to keep punters warm. A favourite with the shooting and hunting crowd during the winter months, it has a real sense of community spirit, with locals always happy to stop for a chat over a local ale. londoninnmolland.co.uk
THE BLUE BALL INN Countisbury This traditional coaching inn is a real favourite with walkers visiting Exmoor and traversing the South West Coastal Path. In close proximity to Lynmouth and Porlock, it really is a sweet spot if you’re hiking and after a pint and a good plate of food. There’s also a good range of craft gins, if you’re after something stronger. You can stay here too, with six rooms available to rent. blueballinn.com THE SWAN Bampton We reviewed the food at The Swan recently and, as pub grub goes, it can’t be faulted. It’s also a rather cosy place. Bar stools, an open fire, local characters to spin a yarn with… definitely a place to make a detour to if you’re travelling on the North Devon Link Road. theswan.co THE KING’S ARMS Georgeham Under new management since the summer, the King’s Arms in Georgeham is a favourite with both locals and visitors to north Devon. It’s a particular hit with the surf crowd, who head there to warm themselves by the open fire after catching waves at Croyde and Putsborough. There’s live music most Friday nights, and open mic on Sunday nights. kingsarmsgeorgeham.co.uk
THE GRAMPUS Lee Another favourite with walkers looking to warm the cockles after a day’s walking on the South West Coastal Path, The Grampus (much like the village its based in) is full of character. It’s got a bit of a laidback, hippy vibe, with a wine list provided by the owner of the Rhône vineyard Château Saint Cosme, who just so happens to have a home in the village. thegrampus-inn.co.uk THE BEER ENGINE Newton St Cyres If you like your beer with a bit of history then head to The Beer Engine, Devon’s oldest working brew pub. As well as supping on one of five railway-themed ales on tap, such as Sleeper Heavy or a Luggage Porter, you can also head downstairs and watch the brewers in action crafting the ale. thebeerengine.co.uk THE LAMB INN Crediton A great place to enjoy a cheeky glass of whatever-takesyour-fancy by the roaring fire, this place gets the thumbs up from us for its busy atmosphere and friendly staff. There’s a good range of cask ales on offer too, and some quality wines at very decent prices. The Lamb Inn also offers boutique accommodation, should you need a place to lay your head after all that wine. lambinnsandford.co.uk THE RING OF BELLS Cheriton Fitzpaine This place is something of a hidden gem, tucked in a small village between Crediton and Exeter. It looks like your typical, thatched English inn and has an unpretentious pubby vibe which we love, plus it gets extra points for the cosy woodburning stove, but what sets it apart is the food. The menu is inventive, fun and definitely worth sampling if you get the chance. theringofbells.com THE DUKE OF YORK Iddesleigh Famous for its association with War Horse – the author, Michael Morpurgo was inspired to write the book 35 years ago, after talking to WW1 veteran Wilfred Ellis
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by The Duke’s fireside – this 15th century inn, overlooking Dartmoor and built of cob and stone, is as cosy as it gets. A traditional pub selling good food and beer, it was also apparently the poet Ted Hughes’ local. dukeofyorkdevon.co.uk
MASON’S ARMS Branscombe
If you’re a fan of exploring East Devon’s Jurassic Coast, then this village pub in Branscombe is just the place to rest weary legs before a roaring open fire. Owned by Cornwall’s St Austell Brewery, there’s a selection of the brewery’s ales on tap, and a pretty decent pub menu too. masonsarms.co.uk
THE HARBOUR Axmouth One of the oldest pubs on our list, The Harbour dates back to the 12th century, and is as quaint and cosy as a pub gets. Check out the huge stone fireplace in the main bar where the tradition of making and burning a faggot each Christmas Eve dates back hundreds of years, and still happens to this day. theharbour-axmouth.co.uk THE FIVE BELLS INN Clyst Hydon
Grade II listed and full of character, The Five Bells is a cosy, thatched village inn buried deep in the heart of rolling Devon countryside, yet just a stone’s throw from Exeter. There are four local ales on the pumps, a local cider and a superb selection of wines from Christopher Piper. Ian Webber – previously head chef at Gidleigh Park – delivers pub classics done well. fivebells.uk.com
The Chagford Inn (top) and The Five Bells Inn at Clyst Hydon
everything in between. It’s packed out during the summer months with coastal holidaymakers, but we prefer it in the winter when we can snuggle up by the fire on one of the comfy sofas. thethatchedtaverndevon.co.uk
CHURCH HOUSE INN Marldon This is a proper pub and proud of it too, as the landlord declares on the website: “While food is important to us, we never forget the origins of our business. There has been an inn on this site since 1362, and the pub has always been a focal point for the village. The Public Bar continues this tradition, where dogs and their owners still meet to put the world to rights.” Having paid a recent visit, we’ll certainly drink to that! churchousemarldon.com
THE THATCHED TAVERN
Maidencombe Five minutes from Maidencombe Beach, this (funnily enough) thatched tavern welcomes families, dogs and
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THE CHAGFORD INN Chagford It might be known for its exquisite food, but we also rate The Chagford Inn as a top place to stop off for a cheeky drink after a pootle around the ancient stannary town of Chagford. There’s an extensive wine list and a good range of beers, with two local ales on tap. thechagfordinn.com THE GEORGE IN HATHERLEIGH
Hatherleigh Situated in Devon’s smallest town, The George is a bit more polished than some of our beloved country pubs, and that’s because the original 15th century boozer was badly devastated by a fire back in 2008. But it has been sympathetically restored, and offers guests a chic pub and restaurant, while sleepy visitors can take advantage of the beautifully-furnished guest rooms. thegeorgeinhatherleigh.com
WARREN HOUSE INN Postbridge THE JOURNEY’S END INN
Ringmore We very much like to end a journey with a warming glass of red, and there’s no finer place to find one than this cosy inn near Kingsbridge. There’s a loyal base of regulars who visit purely for the selection of real ales available, and there’s great pub fodder available to satisfy hungry bellies. thejourneysendinn.co.uk
Top-notch pub fare from The Swan (above), and a proper country bar at The Blue Ball Inn (below)
Situated 434 metres above sea level, this pub is said to be the highest in southern England. Originally built to provide refreshment to local tin miners, it is now a free house owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. Ask for a famous Warreners Pie – a rabbit feast made to the inn’s own recipe – to chow down on with your pint. warrenhouseinn.co.uk
DRAKE MANOR INN
Buckland Monachorum Located a short distance from Yelverton, this is another hostelry with a history. It was part of the Buckland Abbey Estate, which was bought in 1581 by Sir Francis Drake (hence the name). It’s said that some of the beams and timbers inside came from old sailing boats. It has a well-stocked bar and cosy woodburning stoves. drakemanorinn.co.uk
THE ELIZABETHAN INN Luton
Nestled in the small hamlet of Luton, between Newton Abbot and Teignmouth, The Elizabethan Inn is, from the outside, your quintessential country pub. Inside, however, it has a more contemporary feel, albeit still cosy thanks to the classic wood burning stove. While we only had time for a swift half, foodie sources tell us the menu is top-notch. elizabethaninn.co.uk
NOBODY INN Doddiscombsleigh
THE OXENHAM ARMS South Zeal
This award-winning inn is famous for its well-stocked spirits, beers and wines. We’re particularly impressed by their warming range of whiskies! Immerse yourself in the Inn’s drinks bible or, if you’re feeling lazy like us, ask the friendly bar staff to help you decide. nobodyinn.co.uk
The outside of The Oxenham Arms is pretty impressive, and in good shape too, given that it’s over 800 years old and was once a medieval monastery and manor house. Inside it’s like stepping back in time, with solid oak beams and a good old-fashioned bar. If you drink here you’ll be in good company, joining the likes of previous visitors like Charles Dickens, Sir Francis Drake and David Bowie. theoxenhamarms.com
BEARSLAKE INN Sourton
This Alaskan-sounding inn sadly houses no bears, but it does allow for remarkable views across Dartmoor. It’s a perfect resting spot for those fit enough to hike Sourton Tor, Corn Ridge and Great Links Tor. We adore the aptly named Snug Bar, where you can enjoy a pint from Otter Brewery in Honiton or Teignworthy Brewery in Newton Abbot. bearslakeinn.com
THE ELEPHANT’S NEST INN Mary Tavy An interestingly named place, given that we don’t have any wild elephants in England and that this pub is about as English as you can get. Super cosy, and set within the glorious Dartmoor National Park, it’s the perfect place to stop off after a long dog walk. elephantsnest.co.uk
A SOCIABLE ENTERPRISE WE ENJOY THE LAST DAYS OF SUMMER WITH CHEF CHRIS ONIONS AND HIS TEAM AT THE OLD DAIRY KITCHEN, AN ENTERPRISE COMMITTED TO EDUCATING PEOPLE ABOUT THE PROVENANCE OF FOOD
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inding our way down a pot hole ridden farm track, our bumper skimming the road, we come upon the most idyllic of places: Trill Farm. Next door to River Cottage in Axminster, Trill is a 300-acre mixed organic farm, owned by Romy Fraser, founder of Neal’s Yard Remedies. Romy bought the farm back in 2014, and since then has welcomed a community of like-minded people who run their own small businesses, engaging people with the land and learning practical skills such as farming, beekeeping, cooking and carpentry. One such business is The Old Dairy Kitchen, run by Scottish chef Chris Onions. Part restaurant, part cookery school, part community education project, Chris is on a mission to reconnect people with the land and to enjoy food from the farm’s cultivated and wild larder. Which bring us to why we’re here in the first place – to attend one of The Old Dairy Kitchen’s monthly feasts. We couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions. After a day of dreary gloom, the clouds part and the sun appears, setting a warm glow over the trestle tables, elegantly laid next to the farm’s vegetable garden, run by Chris’s friends and neighbours Kate and Ash. Chris, cooking alfresco alongside Bristolbased chef Joe Fox, is full of good humour, even as he prepares a six-course extravaganza for 40 guests. There’s not a sweaty brow or a swear word in sight. “There’s nothing I enjoy more than cooking for people here on the farm, where they can come and see what we’re growing, and taste the produce fresh from the ground,” he says.
As we leave him to his craft, we plant our bums smack-bang in the middle of the table, in order to meet fellow guests and soak up the atmosphere. We’re greeted with a mind-blowing assortment of dishes, all fresh as can be and grown at Trill Farm or, in the case of some of the herbs and edible flowers, from nearby Hayes Farm (where Chris’ girlfriend, Anna, works). Air-dried ham, blackberries and sweet marjoram are followed by a selection of antipasti, including a tartare sauce made using the farm’s snails that we find surprisingly moreish. As the sun begins to dip and the temperature cools, we’re warmed by a broth of borlotti beans, cockles and clams then, for the showpiece, sharing platters of Trill lamb that’s been quietly cooking in hay in the fire for most of the day. We end with grilled curds, with poached plums and an apple and fennel sorbet. The menu is inventive, seasonal and pretty much faultless. The shared feast concept is at the heart of The Old Dairy Kitchen, which seeks to connect people directly with the food they eat, as well as educate and inspire them to use food grown seasonally, and locally to where they live. As well "WHAT WE as hosting garden feasts and catering events, Chris PUSH HERE runs cookery courses, open to the public, and IS THAT PEOPLE CAN workshops in conjunction with the community groups Lyme Forward and Rethink Mental Illness. TASTE THE “I really didn’t have a philosophy for the FARM" business when I first took it on, but I’d come from River Cottage and, prior to that, I’d been running a social enterprise in Scandinavia for four years, with another chef and two farmers, working with vulnerable people,” he explains. “That, tied up with my background working in very full-on, high-end restaurants, made me want to give customers an experience where they could come and eat in a restaurant knowing that all the ingredients were well sourced, and most of the produce was as organic as possible. It’s also about making the customers part of a bigger thing – seeing the food being made and participating in it – rather than just sitting in a restaurant, paying loads of money and having no connection.” Of course, having a base at Trill Farm is the perfect setting, and sourcing most of his produce directly from here gives people the rare experience of seeing exactly where their food comes from. “What we push here is that people can taste the farm,” continues Chris. “There really is no better flavour than walking into the greenhouse and
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taking a tomato off the vine and eating it. And even more so if you’ve planted the seed and sown the tomato and then you eat that tomato – there’s a whole other flavour there that’s magical. “That’s why I’ve loved food ever since I was a little boy, growing up in a rural location and being connected with the land. I want to create that experience for people.” The challenge, of course – as many a chef knows – is running a sustainable, ethical business while also turning a profit. Luckily for Chris, he can barter with Ash and Kate at Trill Farm Garden and the farmers at Hayes to buy their less-than"I WANT TO BUILD UP perfect fruit and veg. Plus, in exchange A REALLY HEALTHY, for his butchery skills, he can keep a pig AFFORDABLE from the farm, which will last most of LOCAL FOOD PLACE the year. Lamb and beef are supplied by FOR THE WHOLE Trill’s tenant farmer Jake Hancock, who COMMUNITY TO runs Wessex Conservation Grazing. All ENJOY" of which means he can sell his food to customers at a reasonable price. Lunches, served on Wednesdays and Saturdays, are £15, while the garden feasts are usually around the £30 mark. You’d be stretched to find anywhere else you can get food of this quality at such a reasonable price point. “I think that for a restaurant to be sustainable financially today, you need to think of new ways to make money,” says Chris. “So, it’s not just a case of buying in ingredients, cooking them and charging X amount for it. The ingredients we use are expensive, but I’m happy to pay for them because I know how hard people work to produce them. It’s up to me to bring people into the kitchen, and the way I do that is through our educational projects.” Chatting with Chris, it’s clear that the teaching aspect of what he does is what drives him forward. In fact, he’s currently in the process of setting up a social enterprise where he will train vulnerable groups in kitchen skills, with a view to getting them into employment.
“My background is in high-end restaurants,” he says, “where everything is controlled and you constantly seek perfection. What my time working in Scandinavia taught me is that it doesn’t all have to be about the end result. The journey, the collaborative process of working together to produce something, is just as important. I have an open kitchen, and it makes sense to get people in there. I enjoy the cooking aspect, but I also enjoy learning from the different people who come into the kitchen. I want to build up a really healthy, affordable local food place for the whole community to enjoy.” With autumn now very much in full swing, Chris is taking inspiration from the changing season as he plans his next feast menu and cookery courses. “It’s colder and darker, so I’m inspired to make the food warmer. I see oranges and yellows, so I think about squash, sweetcorn and venison. Nature and the farm are definitely the biggest inspirations for my cooking.” olddairykitchen.co.uk
Dog friendly Cosy 16th century thatched Devon Inn serving superb food and drink. Good Food Guide & Michelin Recommended. A warm welcome awaits.
CHRISTMAS MENU NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE
Book now before itâ€™s too late!
Clyst Hydon, Cullompton, Devon, EX15 2NT Tel: 01884 277288 | www.fivebells.uk.com Just 10 mins from the M5 at Junction 28 (Cullompton) & 20 mins from Exeter.
Church Rd, Lympstone, Exmouth EX8 5JT Telephone: 01395 222156
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NEW RESTAURANTS DEVOURED, NEW CAFÉS FREQUENTED, NEW BARS CRAWLED, AND THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT WE THOUGHT OF THEM
Check this cute chalkboard we spied at The Donkey Sanctuary, detailing its local suppliers
H I G H L I G H T S
The inside scoop on Devon’s newest hotel Page 52
BACK TO SCHOOL
Getting our seafood on in Mothecombe Page 54
DONKEYING AROUND Hee haw! We visit The Kitchen Page 56
( N E W R E S TA U R A N T S )
PASCHOE HOUSE LAUREN HEATH EXPLORES WHAT DEVON’S NEWEST COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL HAS TO OFFER
est of Exeter lies a handsome building with a warm glow that welcomes you into its bosom. You have arrived at Paschoe House, Devon’s newest luxury retreat. The original building, built in the 13th century, was sadly torn down in early 1800s due to subsidence. Rebuilt in 1850, it has been home to the Amador family since 2000. In 2012, though, Tabitha Amador-Christie and her father decided to turn the Grade II listed building into a hotel and wedding venue. It officially opened this September. Think hunting lodge with a feminine touch; deer heads and other such taxidermy adorn the corridors and stairway, while soft pink tones and soft grey geometric and floral-patterned floor tiles welcome you into the heart of this nine-bedroom country house hotel. Duck egg blue in the library bar, and steely blue geometric wallpaper in the high-ceilinged dining room, offer a more masculine feel to warm you up for your foodie endeavours. In control of the kitchen is a former Royal Clarence and Abode Exeter chef, Alex Gibbs. Here, he has found a role where he can spread his culinary wings, including the opportunity to nurture a kitchen garden for his daily menu pickings. A few of his trusted team have migrated with him, which enables a well-oiled machine right from the start. Evening menu choices include an excellent three-course a la carte menu (£50), with six tricky-to-choose choices for each course. Or, you can opt for the
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tantalising six-course taster menu (£65), where no decisions are needed. Starters of salmon mi-cuit with beetroot, horseradish, lemon and mustard, and Devon scallops with pea, bacon, black pudding and shallot, were first up. Sharing is caring, as they say, so we happily switched plates at half time on this course. The salmon was perfectly tender and well-seasoned with a crispy skin, accompanied by well-balanced dollops of smooth and creamy individual accents of lemon, mustard and horseradish – all there to liven and excite, but not overtake, the fish. The scallops were a classic combo, with the best black pudding we’ve ever eaten. Spiced Creedy Carver duck breast with heritage carrot, confit leg and duck sauce, as well as lightly salted hake, clam, broad bean, sweet pea and beurre blanc, were next up. The second was another spot-on example of fish cookery, which won the approval of a man who doesn’t like his fish messed about with. Across the table, a divine piece of duck, cooked to perfection with a soft and meaty yet crunchy confit leg bon-bon, was enjoyed. Pudding was described simply as milk chocolate, banana and hazelnut – delicate and crispy mille-feuille pastry layered with silken milk chocolate, crowned with marshmallow shards. The caramelised banana brought a deep sweetness to the dish, the crunchy hazelnut crumb, saucy caramel nuggets and creamy milk chocolate ice cream just tying it all up – decadent and satisfying, it took all our restraint not to lick the plate.
For a newly opened establishment, service was unobtrusive, efficient and natural. Staff were warm, passionate and genuinely well-briefed on the food, building on Paschoe House’s vision. All we found to be missing was a little background music during dinner, but all that would have done was drown out our oohs and aahs. Paschoe House is definitely one to watch. It’s a nicely wrapped parcel full of pleasing surprises; a rather fitting description we reckon, as it’s situated in the aptly-named village of Bow. Paschoe House, Bow, Crediton EX17 6JT; paschoehouse.co.uk
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SCHOOL HOUSE SCRUMMY SEAFOOD AND SEASIDE VIEWS ARE WORTH GOING BACK TO SCHOOL FOR, RECKONS MELISSA STEWART
his summer, The Times food critic Giles Coren whipped up something of a storm when he was less than kind about the residents of Plymouth. Naturally nosey, we had to search out his full article. And, while his perception of our Plymouth friends was unwarranted, he was much more glowing about the restaurant he and his family chose to dine at during their Devon stay – School House in Mothecombe. Situated, funnily enough, in an old village schoolhouse, with majestic views over Mothecombe Beach, it was opened earlier this summer as a new venture by Tamara Costin. Tamara operates the popular Beachhouse at South Milton Sands, as well as the Whitehouse, a boutique B&B in Kingsbridge. Now she’s brought her creative flair and charm to this quaint little seaside gem. Rolling up at the end of September we fully expected howling gales and rain, but were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by warm sunshine, meaning we could dine al fresco. (Note: we were so warm we didn’t even have to wear a jacket. Result!) We were immediately taken by the eclectic charm of the décor. Befitting its schoolhouse setting, there are vintage desks, lampshades and wallpaper evoking natural science lessons, maps of the world, and even skipping ropes to flush the loos. Nice touch. The menu, presented on a blackboard in white chalk (obvs), offers a good selection. Breakfast options for early beach walkers include a full English (£8.50) and bacon
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ciabattas (£5.50) and, for veggies, eggs, spinach and avocado on sourdough (£8.50). The lunch menu includes a nice variety of sandwiches, such as the Po Boy – crispy kimchi prawn, fennel pickles, celeriac slaw and lemon miso dressing, served in a brioche bun (£10.50). We decided to choose from the main menu, starting with a selection of antipasti. Mistakenly we ordered two boards rather than one, resulting in rather a lot of food, but it did not disappoint. Highlights included an Ottolenghi-inspired dukkha, adding a fragrant, nutty twist to proceedings. Delicious when mopped up with bread and oil. We were also taken with a crunchy celeriac remoulade paired, naturally, with charcuterie meat. Seafood is the star of the show on the mains menu, with a scallop gratin with coriander and hazelnut butter (£12.50) and Scottish langoustines (£16) catching the eye. We plumped for the day’s special – a curried seafood chowder, incorporating prawns, clams and trout served in a laksastyle broth. The seafood couldn’t be faulted, and was so fresh it evoked memories of dining on freshly-landed fish in Croatia, earlier this summer. The prawns were sweet and juicy, while the wild sea trout was delicately pink and meaty. The only gripe was that the sauce lacked a bit of heat, understandable if it is to have wide appeal. Across the table, grilled prawns with a fennel salsa was the order of the day. Again, the prawns were fabulous. The downside was the seasoning, with added salt tending to overwhelm the sweetness of the prawns and the fragrant fennel salsa.
After a plethora of antipasti, plus two very generously portioned mains, we were too full for pud, but the options were certainly fitting for the seaside locale. Salcombe Dairy ice cream, affocato, and meringue were on all offer, as well as a selection of homemade cakes and a rather tempting cheeseboard. School House is open for lunch and dinner, with opening times varying depending on the time of year, so check the website to avoid disappointment. It’s also open for private event hire too, comfortably seating 35 people indoors.
As it was an unexpectedly busy day thanks to the appearance of the sun, service was slightly chaotic – our mains arriving while we were still eating our starters – but the politeness and attentiveness of the service staff could not be faulted. The quality of the seafood really is topnotch, and on that alone this place is worth a visit. Add to that the stunning views of the sea and the creative and quirky setting, and we will most definitely be back. School House, Mothecombe, Holbeton PL8 1LB; schoolhouse-devon.com
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THE KITCHEN SIDMOUTH’S DONKEY SANCTUARY HAS SWAPPED ITS OLD CAFÉ FOR A SLICK NEW CANTEEN, AS MELISSA STEWART FINDS OUT
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he last time we ventured to The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth was a good 10 years ago. A then flatmate’s parents had decided to adopt a donkey for her for Christmas (yes, we did find this bizarre as mid-20-somethings, especially as our idea of a great gift back then was a bottle of Hugo Boss!), thus we went on a pilgrimage to visit the curiouslynamed Daniel P. We remember it as being a sweet place, with lots of happy, healthy donkeys living out their last years in peace. We also vaguely remember having a cuppa and perhaps a slice of cake in their draughty old café. It was perfectly adequate, but not particularly memorable. So, when we heard that this year they’d opened a swanky new café-restaurant on-site, and rebranded it as The Kitchen, we thought we’d revisit to see how much had changed. We gotta say, the new building is impressive. Situated in a big old renovated barn, it has floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing rolling fields of rescued donkeys and views out over the ocean. It’s also big, comfortably seating 200 people, with wooden tables and chairs, painted various hues of blue and green. It’s got a trendy, industrial canteen feel to it, and we were pleased to see that business was thriving. As The Donkey Sanctuary offers free admission and parking, it attracts all sorts of visitors – families with kids, donors who’ve travelled from far and wide to see the donkeys, as well as locals who just want to have a quick lunch in pleasant surroundings. Open daily from 9am till 3pm it serves breakfasts and lunches, with a delectable selection of homebakes and cakes for those after a warming coffee following their stroll across the fields. As befits its clientele, there’s also a decent kids’ menu (from £3.95), serving up the usual fodder of fish fingers, burgers and pasta. Admittedly, the lunch menu isn’t the most creative but, as it has to appeal to a
mass market, it probably can’t afford to be. Pleasingly, however, there is an emphasis on locally-sourced, fresh produce, which presents itself in a selection of sandwiches, paninis, salads and jacket potatoes. There is also a list of mains to choose from, including homemade smoky baked beans on sourdough toast with poached eggs, and a hand-crafted burger, made using local free-range beef and pork, served on a brioche bun. The prices are decent too, with nothing over £7.95. On this cold autumn day, we opted for the macaroni and cauliflower cheese, served with garlic ciabatta (£6.95). We were given a generous helping, beautifully presented with Parmesan shavings and a garnish of leaves. The cauliflower had the perfect amount of bite, while the macaroni was the right side of al dente. The garlic bread was fingerlickingly buttery and perfectly toasted, which made the lack of cheese sauce to mop up a tad disappointing. Indeed, the only thing lacking in this dish (although some might argue it’s the essential component) was a punchy cheese sauce. It was just a bit
bland, relying on a good shake of salt and pepper from the table to liven it up. (We also missed a crispy grilled cheese topping, but perhaps we are just being fussy!) After a nice saunter across the site to see the donkeys and look for Daniel P (who, we were sad to hear, had departed to the donkey sanctuary in the sky, at the grand old age of 28), we headed back to The Kitchen for a warming latte and a slice of their homemade millionaire’s shortbread – one of the best we’ve tasted, with not too heavy a biscuit and plenty of gooey caramel. Is The Kitchen going to set Devon’s foodie crowd’s pulses racing? Probably not. But it has warmth; spot-on staff full of smiles (and useful information about the donkeys); and a decent café menu catering for a variety of tastes. We were quite taken by its rural charm. Certainly worth dropping into if you’re down Sidmouth way, and after a quick lunch or cuppa in a picturesque setting. The Kitchen @ The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth EX10 0NU; thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk
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AS THE DIRECTOR OF THE AWARD-WINNING DART’S FARM IN TOPSHAM, MICHAEL IS PRETTY DARN SAVVY ABOUT ALL THINGS FOOD AND DRINK. HERE ARE SOME OF HIS DEVON FAVES…
Breakfast? Darts Farm Full English Breakfast once a week, with Stornaway black pudding, Darts Farm smoked bacon, sausages and Black Dog’s free range eggs.
Sunday lunch? Darts Farm-reared Ruby Red, dry aged roast beef, horseradish with Yorkshire puddings, seasonal vegetables, crispy roast potatoes and gravy.
Best brew? Half English breakfast tea and half Earl Grey loose leaf from Brew Tea. My mother’s favourite blend.
Food on the go? You can’t beat a pork, apple and scrumpy Squealer Pie from Chunk of Devon.
Favourite grocery shop? It has to be Harrods – but it’s not local! Best wine merchant? Christopher Piper Wines supplies amazing small vineyard wines from passionate family producers. Quick pint? A Branscombe Vale Branoc at The Bridge Inn, Topsham – unbeatable. Cheeky cocktail? Dr Ink’s Curiosities on The Quay in Exeter. Posh nosh? It has to be Michael Caines at Lympstone Manor. World-class cuisine on the banks of the River Exe.
Al fresco feasting? Taking the boat down to Dawlish Warren sand spit for a feast of salami, honey roast ham, olives, cherry vine tomatoes and Vicky’s sourdough bread with smoked salmon paté. Hidden gem? The Pig and Pallet in Topsham; real people making real food with no fuss, and all local suppliers too. One to watch? The local artisan gin revolution. My favourites are Salcombe Gin, Exeter Gin, and Wicked Wolf, served with Luscombe tonics. With friends? River Exe Café – so unique, whatever the weather.
Comfort food? Got to be a homemade shepherd’s pie. With the family? The Turf on the River Exe. You have to reach it by boat, bike or by foot, so it’s always a well-earned meal. Best curry? Denley’s in Topsham is fantastic, and (for me) it’s only a short walk home. Best atmosphere? With the Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on match day celebrating being Premiership Champions, and back to Steeno’s ‘Stand Off’ garage bar for a bit of reflection. Something sweet? Charbonnel et Walker’s salted caramel truffles are incredible. Top street food? A bison burger at the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink. Pre-theatre feed? I love going to Harry's Restaurant in Exeter before heading over to The Bike Shed Theatre.
QUICK! Add this little lot to your contacts book... • Darts Farm, Topsham, Exeter EX3 0QH; dartsfarm.co.uk • Brew Tea Company, brewteacompany.co.uk • Christopher Piper Wines, Ottery St. Mary EX11 1DB; christopherpiperwines.co.uk • The Bridge Inn, Topsham EX3 0QQ; cheffers.co.uk/bridge.html • Dr Ink’s Curiosities, Exeter EX2 4AN; doctorinks.com • Lympstone Manor, Exmouth EX8 3NZ; lympstonemanor.co.uk • Vicky’s Bread, Helston TR13 0QD; vickysbread.co.uk • The Pig and Pallet, Topsham EX3 0JB; pigandpallet.co.uk • River Exe Café via Water Taxi outside The Point Bar, EX8 1XA; riverexecafe.com • The Turf, Exeter EX6 8EE; turfpub.net • Denley’s, Topsham EX3 0DY; denleysessenceofindia.co.uk • Sandy Park, Exeter EX2 7NN; sandypark.co.uk • Harry’s Restaurant, Exeter EX4 6AP; harrysrestaurants.co.uk