GET READY FOR A TASTE OF THE CARIBBEAN EXETER, AS TURTLE BAY ARRIVES IN DEVON

Exeter’s Met Office should be forecasting for sunny times ahead as Turtle Bay Caribbean restaurant and bar prepares to roll into it’s first city in Devon! It’s all about rum, reggae and jerk this summer! 

Turtle Bay is set to open its doors to Exeter on the 23rd August, bringing a new, vibrant and delicious Caribbean dining and drinking experience to the city.

The 215 seat, £800K, 4015 sqft Exeter restaurant will be located in Guildhall Shopping and Dining Centre.

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The new venture is to create over 50 local jobs. Team Turtle Bay is still recruiting; so local hopefuls should visit https://turtlebayjobs.clickandhire.net to register interest.

Turtle Bay is all about celebrating the lively, colourful, soulful and, above all, delicious experiences that the Caribbean has to offer  – from rich and explosive flavours to laid back ‘liming’. Their mission is to capture the spirit of celebration that the Caribbean is famed for around the globe – making customers happy by delivering a hedonistic combination of joyous food, wicked drinks and a fun, laidback atmosphere. It’s a welcoming and sociable destination.

The restaurant is designed to create the perfect atmosphere for enjoying bold, spicy food and drink, and its ‘look’ is as vibrant and lively as you might expect, with each restaurant designed bespoke for its location.

The Exeter restaurant will be no exception. In fact the team have pulled out all the stops for their first restaurant in Devon, which will be a beach-shack-inspired ray of sunshine. The bold, bright, joyful interior will be designed to transport Exeter guests to sunnier climes, but will feature a smart, urban edge befitting the city’s status as a cosmopolitan, innovative city.

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As well as the stunning ‘island hut’ bar, there’ll be a special veranda dining areas, plus a vibrant, open ‘street kitchen’.

High-impact colour schemes and bespoke wall murals will be in abundance, as well as Turtle Bay’s trademark use of reclaimed materials. Exeter customers can expect to see repurposed shipping containers, oil drum lampshades, reclaimed wood and chequer-plate and disused speakers… all making up one totally unique restaurant.

Food is at the heart of the Turtle Bay experience – just as it’s central to the heart and soul of Caribbean culture. An eclectic cuisine that is influenced by a rich tapestry of ethnicities, the food at Turtle Bay offers a vast choice of bold flavours and rustic dishes, all inspired by the laid back, social outlook of the Caribbean. The menu is meticulously researched and lovingly created.

Dishes are brimming with zesty flavours and spicy hues – there’s plenty to share or dig into alone.

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The offering includes ‘Cutters’ (inspired by Beach Shacks and Street Hawkers of the Caribbean Islands  – perfect for sharing over cocktails); the Jerk BBQ Pit (which is exactly as fiery as it sounds); ‘One Pots’ (rich, slowly simmered and uniquely Caribbean) and Lunch and Light (a briefer encounter with the Caribbean). Signature dishes include their famous Jerk Chicken and Curry Goat.

This is fuss-free soul food for individuals that love, and live, to eat!

The bar offering is something to behold with a menu of more than 40 Caribbean rums to choose from, all used to create a cocktail list that’s as cool and credible as you’d expect from a culture that brought us Bob Marley.

Turtle Bay’s happy hour lasts from 11.30am – 7pm and then starts up again at 10pm! This makes it the happiest happy hour in town with ALL of their cocktails available at 241 during that time – it’s a must for cocktail lovers and rum enthusiasts all week long.

Visit the website www.turtlebay.co.uk/exeter

Send them an email! exeter@turtlebay.co.uk

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The Rum and Crab Shack – by Lauren Heath

The Rum and Crab Shack, 15 Catherine Street, Exeter, EX1 1EU
http://rumandcrabshack.com/  @rum_shackexeter

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So the city’s newest addition is a welcome one I’d say. You can find many types of restaurants in Exeter – French, English, Italian, Spanish, Asian – mostly varieties of either meat or vegetarian, but very few restaurants specialise in seafood.  Enter The Rum and Crab shack! With ‘crab from here and rum from over there’, this St Ives born restaurant is the brain child of Chris McGuire and Neythan Hayes who have had their Cornwall shack established since 2012. Like any good idea, it was decided over a drink – rum, funnily enough! In the midst of the St Ives building work, and not quite being ready over the New Year, they instead opened a pop-up rum bar over the long weekend – and a ‘marriage’ was born.

Exeter’s The Rum and Crab Shack can be found at the rear of House of Fraser, by the Almshouse ruins, in place of The Milkmaid.

I was invited along in their first week to try out some dishes at lunch time. I will admit, I am picky with crab but the menu boasts prawn and lobster items so I was happy to oblige.  Of course, the test with anything you are a bit fussy about is to try it and if it is good they must be doing something right.

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The building is essentilly of two halves, almost identical in layout to their St Ives first-born, so Chris and Neythan knew it was the right building for them. It is naturally split into a restaurant area, with a few tables outside and then the bar area. The decor is industrial seaside. Not in your face or full of nautical stripes, boats and seagulls (we have enough of those blighters in the city thanks) but nice leather seated booths with dark wooden tables,  a mix of colourful metal and wooden chairs, heavy seafaring rope lighting, exposed brick walls and metal bar frontage. All that is missing is the sea view – but you can’t have it all!

I spoke with co-owner Chris, who is currently overseeing their 2nd baby here in Exeter. He was really passionate about their business and aims and, once settled, would be looking to source the seafood from Devon suppliers for the Exeter branch if possible.

The rums on offer have origins including Venezuela, Canary Islands, Mauritius, Cuba and Australia to name a few. One rum out of their huge selection is made by them – Dead Man’s Fingers; using an imported base rum, they distill it fairly quickly and store it for a few months before it is ready to serve and it boasts flavours of orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. They are already supplying Eden Project with their small batch house rum and St Austell are in the process of stocking it in some of their bars. The Dead Man’s Finger cocktail was recommended to me as a must-try so I ‘bit their fingers off’ and said let’s go for it!  I must admit, it was delicious and I would definitely have it again; it was smooth with all the flavours singing in harmony.

So…a menu full of seafood options put in front of an indecisive seafood lover who struggles to decide even at the sandwich counter (I can’t help it, I love ALL food)! In the end I opted for the Rum and Crab Soup – fresh crab and tomato bisque finished with their favourite rum (£4.95), the Popcorn Shrimp served with a Creole dipping sauce (£5.95) and then a Crab Taco served with a coriander salsa (£9.95).

The soup was smooth, a deep maroon colour and tasted sweet and rich, almost with a marzipan hue (odd as that sounds, it’s the only flavour I could think of that described what I was tasting; it was delicious!).  It was served with some lovely fresh bread and was a great size.

The prawns were clearly breadcrumbed in house in what looked like panko style breadcrumbs, scattered with herbs and deep fried. They were the plumpest prawns I have had in a while. I added a little tobasco to the dip to liven it up even more as I do love a bit of heat.

The crab taco was a great size serving. If, like me, you were struggling to decide what to have, you could certainly share this dish. The taco’s were sat on a clever taco rack, and on top of the lettuce base it was filled with beautifully sweet crab meat laced with coriander, topped with chilli’s, spring onion, cucumber, rasish and sweetcorn and some sort of dressing. It was very fresh, with plenty of crunch. I ate it as a whole, as well as forking some of the crab out to enjoy it on its own – it was so soft and sweet, as it should be and I felt the quantity of crab was certainly fair.

ee-recommendsA great first impression; I look forward to returning en famille for the rest of my seafood loving clan to put the menu to the test. Other options include soft shell crab burger, crab or lobster mac ‘n cheese, steamed mussels and jambalaya. For meat fans, there are Dead Man’s Finger coated ribs, spatchcock chicken and fillet steak. There are childrens options and some gluten free options too.

And if you are not a seafood fan then perhaps pop in for an evening drink from their wine, mocktail, cocktail or rum menu. Even with the great options already in the city, The Rum and Crab Shack has added another string to city’s bow – look at all those rums…taxi!

BLT & Chorizo Club Sandwich

#projectcrispsandwich continues and this time we present one of our own creations.  Head over to Twitter and search under the hashtag #UltimateCrispSandwich and you’ll see lots of people either making some of the sandwiches that were suggested by Chef Dean Edwards who is working with Devon based Burts Crisps for this summer campaign.

So we thought we could do one better.  The BLT & Chirizo Club Sandwich, a simple addition to the classic BLT that you can pick up in shops, but with the added layer of Burts Spicy Chorizo Crisps and Fried Chorizo.

This is based on the Spicy Chorizo Club sandwich that we made last week, replacing the Chicken Breast and Mayo with Bacon so can’t really take a huge amount of credit.


So what do you need for this crisp sandwich?

Handfuls of Burts Sea Salt or Spicy Chorizo Crisps

1 Large tomato

Lettuce, depends on personal preference for quantity

Mayo – 2 tbsp

6 Slices of bacon – preferably Pipers Farm Smoked Back

Fried chorizo – preferably Good Game, but if you must cheat then 14 slices for two

6 slices of white bread.
Method:

Cut the bread.  This is important as you won’t be able to do much else with it.

Build the sandwich from the bottom up – start with tomato, lettuce then bacon.

Then add the extra layer of bread, smother with the Mayo…

Add Burts Spicy Chorizo Crisps and finally add the chorizo.

Deviously simple but very tasty!

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The hunt for Exeter’s best veggie breakie (part deux) by Stephanie Darkes

84 Queen St, Exeter, EX4 3RP – 01392 201 181

Last week it was my birthday and post-party night I was desperate for a top drawer veggie breakfast. So I turned to the oracle that is Twitter for some suggestions and plenty came back including: The Cosy Club, Tea on the Green and Bills, all of which have been added to my ‘Breakfast List’ – which is a bit like a ‘Bucket List’ but is made up purely of vegetarian breakfast eateries!

After some post-Prosecco faffing and website hopping we opted for Boston Tea Party, an eatery that was also recommended to me in my early days of moving to Exeter but I had never made it to.

BTP seem to be part of the new wave of indie eatery chains that recognise the need to act local and think Global. On their site, they describe themselves as a Funky cafe chain serving up breakfast, burgers, salads and baked goods with sustainable ingredients, they also say that they recognise bigger isn’t better and that they design each cafe to be a one off cherished local – a return to the tradition of the UK cafe as a social hub, and what a great ethos that is!

Downstairs is a bit like Pret takeaway, with places to eat, a quick grab fridge and busy tills to buy coffee and order. But that is where the Pret similarities end, BTP doesn’t feel generic and plasticised, it’s organic, wooden and wholesome.

That morning BTP was bustling, seemingly a favourite haunt for students, it was graduation weekend and all the students in town seem to be here with their parents. We hustled in, chose our food and ordered very quickly at the bar. Sweetcorn hash for me, with a soya milk cappuccino and a green vegetable juice smoothie. Espresso and stacked pancakes with bacon and maple syrup for the hubby. I headed upstairs to get a table and they were almost all taken!

Upstairs, the room was vast and very blue with mis-matched wooden furniture ranging from – what looked like – wallpaper pasting tables to little wooden chairs from church. There were some comfy padded chairs all of which are very brown.

I like the ‘reclaimed’ look and I love seeing venues that promote recycling and reuse, I also like an eatery with soul and BTP’s values – never compromising on quality, honouring collective social responsibilities and dreaming of a better world – sing to me in a big way.

I sat down and people watched and felt very at home.

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Cutlery, water and condiments are all self served and hubby returned with our table number and bits and bobs and sat down to read one of the cafe’s papers. On one of the walls there is a massive notice board where people are allowed to pin posters for events around Exeter, this was full to the brim. As someone who has previously run a local music venue, this is that kind of thing that really appeals to me, I’m very into giving local artist, groups and events exposure – keeping it local, supporting the community. The drinks came quite promptly and I drank my green veg smoothie in one go, it was a delicious combination of spinach, cucumber, banana, chia seeds, apple juice and lime, simple and refreshing. The soya cappuccino was also yummy and gave me the caffeine kick I needed. About 10 minutes later the food arrived, I was starving and not really sure what to expect, but the presentation was brilliant and world away from a bog standard, heavily greased cafe breakfast (not that the occasional greasy spoon fry-up is a bad thing mind).

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On my plate I had small balls of fried sweetcorn hash, slices of nicely grilled Halloumi, and two perfectly poached eggs placed lovingly on a mound of avocado smash with tomato salsa, drizzled in what I think was maple syrup and sprinkled with coriander and fresh mild red chill (not too much of the latter), it looked and smelt delicious.

I have to admit I was a bit concerned at the idea of Halloumi for breakfast and how it would taste with eggs but tucking in I revelled in the various flavours and textures, it was delicious, the softness of the eggs, the crunch of the hash and the chew of the halloumi combined with the sweetness of the syrup and the kick from the chillis was a taste sensation. I ate it as slowly as possible so that I could make it last for as long as possible and when I’d finished I wanted to eat it all over again!

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At this stage I’d like to point out that I am not exaggerating or being paid to write this, this was a seriously divine vegetarian breakfast! Hubby’s stacked pancakes and bacon also went down well but – on this breakfasting occasion – I had no bacon hankering and actually, I think he wanted to eat my food instead of his. It was that good. My breakfast verdict: This one will be hard to beat, it’s a great, imaginative, tasty and healthy vegetarian breakfast that a lot of thought has been put into (not a Quorn sausage in sight).

Boston Tea Party is a lovely eatery, with great staff and a great atmosphere, I was very, very impressed!

You can find Exeter’s very own BTP here and check out their website here.

Boston Tea Party also have restaurants in Barnstable, Bath, Birmingham, Briston, Cheltenham, Harbone, Honiton, Plymouth, Ringwood, Salisbury, Stratford-Upon- Avon and Worcester.

You can also read about my first veggie breakie in Exeter at Base & Barley here

10 Questions for Tim Maddams

One of the reasons why I started the 10 Questions posts was to highlight and showcase some of the foodie heroes that we in Devon have in our midst.  I first met Ex-River Cottage Chef Tim Maddams at a Pop-up dining event held by Jonny Does Dinner in a polytunnel at Trill Farm.  I  found him an affable and approachable chap who was happy talking to a socially awkward food blogger at the end of the table.

He speaks passionately about sustainable cooking and making it accessible to a wider audience.  Not only is he a food hero here in Devon and the South West, but on a national level too.

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Cutting the mustard under culinary greats such as Fergus Henderson, Alistair Little, Marco Pierre White and Mark Hix, Tim was VIP Head Chef for the Ferrari F1 Team.  Returning to the West Country he became Head Chef at River Cottage Axminster.  During his tenure at RC, he became a spokesperson for sustainable ethical cooking as well as starting a successful media career.

Tim is a regular on television, a writer, a forager, a chef and educator.  Last year he published his first book and can be found writing regularly for notable national publications.

He is a much sought after instructor and educator, sharing his knowledge at Exeter Cookery School, Vale Kitchens and Essential Lifestyle Group to name a few and also a Private Chef.  Please make sure you check out Tim’s website for all the details on how to book this fantastic chap.

Thanks to Lauren for organising these 10 Questions!

1. Many people will know you from River Cottage so in a snapshot, what are you up to at the moment? What gets you out if bed in the morning?

Ha! Well, my 4 year old Daughter is the one who tends to het me out of bed, but I get your meaning. I’m working a lot as a private chef for various individuals all over the country, Europe and beyond.

I am also busy writing for various publications such as Devon Life, West Magazine, Rifle Shooter, Sporting Shooter, Shooting Times and a few others. What really gets me going is the writing; I love to share my foodie, hunting and foraging stories tips and ideas with others I am also planning a new book and doing a few guest slots on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch program.

2. You hold pop-up dinners in village halls under your umbrella business Hall and Hearty – have you got any more planned this year?

There are a few in the pipeline, to be honest I am getting a little busy for Hall and Hearty, which is a shame as it is a great idea.  Myself and Robin Rea are thinking of selling it, but only to the right person.  It takes a certain amount of flair and care to pull off these events.

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3. Your book most recent book Game: River Cottage Handbook No.15 
was based on game – what would you say is the easiest game meat to cook that people should try at home?

Pigeon. Probably one of the best too.

4. What is your favourite fruit/vegetable in season at the moment, or about to come into season?

Come on! Its mid-summer and ALL the good stuff is on, that is like asking to choose a favourite child!. When you commit to eating seasonally, and really stick to it, each new veg, fruit, meat, fish and Fungi hold a certain exciting mystery and the sense of anticipation is immense. I have been enjoying this years tomatoes a lot though…

5. When we spoke you were up in Lancashire at the Great Eccleston Show, what delights did you cook up for them?

Well, each demo was a 5 course tasting menu,

  • Cider and Elderflower fizz – which is a drink, clearly
  • Cauliflower Bahjis, garlic yoghurt, anise hyssop.
  • Slow cooked mutton, chilli, mustard leaves, fresh coriander seeds, rape seed oil, lemon verbena.
  • Slow cooked courgettes, fresh pasta, mature cheddar, wild water mint.
  • Pan roasted pigeon, tomatoes, basil, puff ball, garlic.
  • Honey and geranium frozen yoghurt, strawberries, crumble.
  1. I’m sure you’re a busy man with business and family, what do you do to relax? 

I cook, I hunt, I gather and I enjoy my family. I find getting outside, involving yourself with nature is a great way to keep the stress of modern life at bay.

7. You’ve had the privilege of working with many great chefs, is there anyone on your wish list or someone you’d love to work with again?

Alistair Little, I’d love to work with him again, or Furgus Henderson

8. You’re known for, amongst other things, educating foodies about foraging and finding food in the wild. What tips would you have for those who want to start foraging and cooking their finds?

Be certain of what you are picking, be prepared to go on a few courses and buy a few books, it is a wonderful thing to do, but some of those plants and fungi are deadly poisonous; its worth bearing that in mind. That said, its easy to stay safe, with things like blackberries, elderflowers, crab apples and nettles. Just start at the beginning and aim to add a couple of new things to your list for every season. Foraging with others that know more than you is a great way to extend your knowledge.

9. Some of our readers might have seen you on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s programme Fish Fight which succeeded in highlighting the fishing industry amongst other achievements . Which sustainable fish would you like to see more widely adopted in restaurants and pubs in the UK?

Crikey, that is a big question. Rather than looking at that end, lets look to the other. Lets get everyone to stop eating Tuna and farmed Salmon, that will make the biggest difference, then we can look at whats left and decide how best to use this resource sustainably – if you think of oceanic fish as a mine of food its simple. If you mine just a little bit every year, there will always be plenty more in the mine, but if you delve too deeply, too greedily into the mine, it will cave in and become barren. Infinite resource or temporary profit, the choice is yours.

10. Finally; what is your home brewed wine of choice? Fancy sending me a bottle?

I dont brew much to be honest, but I do make a rather tasty crab apple vodka…….. I dont think there is any left though!

Catch Tim on social media – TwitterFacebookInstagram

Photo credit – www.timmaddams.com

Slow Roasted Lamb by Tori

A few weeks ago we received a massive bumper package from Julia and Bela at Veg In A Box, based out at Clyst St Mary.  One of the items within that box was a monster shoulder of lamb from The Devon Meatbox Company.

Lamb is quite unforgiving.  Cheap lamb can be greasy and taste terrible, it is also quite easy to over cook it too, and for a long time was my least favourite meat.  But over the years I’ve warmed to it, and this slow cook recipe that Tori came up with really brings out the best in this traditional Sunday meat.

I was very impressed with the quality of the meat – DMBC source it from local smallholders and The Naked Farmer at Bruford.  It was clearly a cut way above the vacuum packed supermarket stuff.  With this recipe we used a bottle of Quiet Waters Farm Chimichurri which is available from The Devon Meatbox Company Local Larder section.


We also used podded peas and vegetables from The Veg In A Box company, read our 10 Questions for Julie and Bela from earlier in the year for more info about this excellent company.

Ingredients:

Lamb shoulder
2 onions
1 cup of red (or white) wine
1/2 bottle of that rubbing sauce (will look for the name in a moment)
Fresh rosemary and chives cut from the garden

Method:

Heat a frying pan and sear the meet on both sides, make sure it’s nice and hot when you add the meat so it instantly seals in the juices. Do both sides for about 2 minutes, they will be lightly browned.

Transfer the meat to a roasting pan. Rub a generous amount of Quiet Water’s Chimichurri over the top of the meat (fat side up). Halve the onions and pop around and under the meat and then pour the wine into the pan.

Add your rosemary and chive around the meat. Add a little water if there isn’t enough liquid to fill the bottom of the dish. Cover the whole dish with tinfoil and pop in a pre-heated oven at 150° for 4-5 hours. Baste a couple of times during the cooking.

Once the meat is tender, put the oven up to 200°, remove the foil an put back in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the fat has crisped up on the top. Let it rest out if the oven for another 15minutes or so before pulling apart.

The meat should easily pull apart.

The juices can be saved to make a rich gravy but be aware that it will be high in fat. If you let the juices cool for a while the fat should time to the top making it easier to scoop off the fat. I added a touch more wine and a little cornflour to thicken the gravy once if poured it off into another pan and served on a bed of mashed potato with steamed carrots.

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The Great Artisan Feast Festival – Southernhay Gardens

The team behind Exeter Street Food will be transforming Southernhay Gardens for The Great Artisan Feast Festival on Saturday 15th October 2016, 10:00am to 8:00pm.

Now a familiar sight on Exeter’s elegant Southernhay Gardens the Exeter Street Food team are launching their new food and drink experience for all, called The Great Artisan Feast Festival.

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The all-day festival features local artisan producers, street food, deli stands, ‘Granny Garbutt’s ‘Gin Palace’, ale bar, guest brewers and other beverages. There will also be guest food speakers, cooking demonstrations from Exeter Cookery School, sponsor stands plus live entertainment.

There will be large undercover marquee with a bar & seating from which to enjoy the unique atmosphere right at the heart of Exeter city centre. Entry is free.

In addition to a wide selection of producers selling delicious food from Exeter and the South West, visitors can also enjoy Granny Garbutt’s ‘Gin Palace’, serving a wide selection of specialist gins, whiskies from the Whisky Wagon and local ales and beers. There will also be a variation of botanical drinks available.

There will be cookery demonstrations from Exeter Cookery School, who have been exploring opportunities to work with Exeter Street Food for some time. Live music will also add to the ambience of the event in the picturesque Southernhay Gardens.

Quality and Variety

As with all the Exeter Street Food events, The Great Artisan Feast Festival will also focus on quality and variety celebrating the best food and drink from across the South West.

Visitors will be able to choose from designated food and drink areas including Very Veggie, Meaty Mouthfuls, Tantalising Tipples, Relax & Natter, Sweet Sensations, Delicious Deli and World Flavours. There will be plenty of vegetarian and gluten free choices too.

Karen Skerratt, Managing Director of the Hubb Group, the company behind Exeter Street Food and The Great Artisan Feast Festival said:

We can’t wait to bring The Great Artisan Feast Festival to Southernhay on October the 17th. Our Exeter customers are very adventurous and the festival affords them a chance to meet the producers, ask questions and give direct feedback.

The Festival, which is free to enter, will feature our extremely popular Gin Palace, which alongside the live entertainment and demonstrations will make the event a truly unique experience to city folk and visitors of all ages.

The Artisan Festival reflects how we at the Hubb Group are learning and developing our offer all the time. We take pride in responding to both our customers and our stall holders and working hard to not only meet their needs but also exceeding their expectations.”

The Hubb Group created, organise and run Exeter Street Food, Bath Street Food and a variety of bespoke pop-up festivals, markets and other unique and award winning experiences. The Group is currently undergoing a period of sustained growth and company expansion. With a hard earned reputation for quality and variety, the Hubb team are skilled in planning and delivering events designed to meet their company mission ‘Be Inspired, Be Unique’.

Jim Fisher, co-owner of Exeter Cookery School who will be running cookery demonstrations at The Great Artisan Feast Festival said: “We have watched with eager anticipation the development of Exeter Street Food Market and are delighted to be involved in their inaugural Awards and Great Artisan Feast Festival in Exeter. We will be tempting visitors with some more unusual ice cream flavours, such as Margarita ice cream and caramelised rum-infused pineapple with a Pina Colada ice cream.”

The Great Artisan Feast Festival is on Saturday 15th October 2016 10:00am – 8:00pm at Southernhay Gardens for more information visit www.streetfoodexeter.co.uk or on Facebook at facebook.com/exeterstreetfood

Cockt-Ale Festival: Drinks & Entertainment Take Centre Stage at Exeter’s Piazza Terracina

Photography: Faydit Photography

Building upon the success and popularity of the Exeter Street Food brand, the team from the Hubb Group are launching their Cockt-Ale Festival.
Celebrating distillers and brewers from the South West, this brand new event is at Exeter’sPiazza Terracina on Saturday 24th September 2016 (11:00am – 8:00pm).

The Cockt-Ale Festival puts the mighty beverage right at the heart of the action, combining the best in local and international drinks, fun and informative food and drink pairing demonstrations, live entertainment and the option to carry home your favourite tipples plus a vibrant ‘street food village’ too! Entry is free.

The Bar’s the Star!

Visitors to the Quayside’s Piazza Terracina can enjoy a wide range of cocktails and real ales, with guest distillers and brewers and a wide selection of specialist gins on offer at ‘Granny Garbutt’s Gin Palace’. The ‘street food village’ will consist a wide variety of stalls, with food and drink pairing demonstrations courtesy of Exeter Cookery School.

There will be live music on the demonstration stage in the evening with acoustic performances throughout the day from local artists including Sadie Horler and many more. Visitors can also take home drinks they have sampled to enjoy at home too!

Karen Skerratt, Managing Director of the Hubb Group, the company behind Exeter Street Food and the Cockt-Ale Festival said:

We are really proud to be able to launch our Cockt-Ale Festival in Exeter. The Festival brings together all the key ingredients to create a wonderful experience. Our customers can expect a remarkable range of cocktails, real ales and gins to explore twinned with the variety and quality of Exeter Street Food.

Our Cockt-Ale Festival aims to give a platform to local distillers and brewers who are rarely given this kind of exposure. We are blessed with some great independent businesses emerging from the South West which play a large part in our local economy, creating new jobs and encouraging innovation and collaboration in the sector.

We are also delighted that Exeter Cookery School will be joining to us for their food and drink pairing demonstration, bringing a new fun and informative element to the event. There is of course, plenty of opportunities to meet the distillers, brewers and food producers too!”

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The Hubb Group created, organise and run Exeter Street Food, Bath Street Food and a variety of bespoke pop-up festivals, markets and other unique and award winning experiences. The Group is currently undergoing a period of sustained growth and company expansion. With a hard earned reputation for quality and variety, the Hubb team are skilled in planning and delivering events designed to meet their company mission ‘Be Inspired, Be Unique’.

The Cockt-Ale Festival will be at Exeter’s Piazza Terracina on Saturday 24th September 2016 (11:00am – 8:00pm). Entry is Free.

For the latest information visit www.streetfoodexeter.co.uk or on Facebook atfacebook.com/exeterstreetfood

Spaghetti Carbonara from Chef Tom Allbrook

dish of the day  (1)This has to be one of my favourite dishes and if done well, is truly a great dish that can be whipped up quickly for an evening meal, or for a bit of comfort food.

This dish is a favourite at Hornbrook HQ, I’ve played around with a few different ways of making it and it is so simple and quick, I know you’ll love it.

Ingredients:

4x egg yolks

4 slices prosciutto

2 tbsp. of smoked lardons

100g spaghetti (preferably good quality)

Small handful of lemon thyme. I find this helps cuts through the dish and really adds a little zip.

Method: Place a pan of salted water on the hob and bring it to the boil, once boiling add the pasta and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Remember to stir the pasta so that it doesn’t stick together – I find tongs are the best for this job.

In a hot frying pan cook off the lardons, garlic, thyme and prosciutto until crisp. You won’t need any oil for this as there is a lot of fat in the meat that will render out whilst cooking.

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After cooking the meat leave it to stand off the heat. Once the pasta is cooked put it into the frying pan removing it from the water with a pair of tongs; this way you keep some of the cooking liquor in your pan which will make up the sauce. Let this stand for about a minute before adding black pepper, egg yolks, and a tiny knob of unsalted butter if you have some to hand, as I find it adds a little more flavour and richness. Mix it all together and serve in a nice pasta bowl with a healthy grating of Parmesan, a pinch more pepper and some good quality extra virgin olive oil.

For more information follow HornBrook Kitchen on Twitter and Instagram.  And keep posted for a 10 Questions from Tom soon too.

You can also follow Tom’s personal accounts on Twitter and Instagram too.

Eating Exeter Update – Summer

So far 2016 has been EE’s busiest year yet.  The feeling that sometimes I am actually running a magazine led me to change the wording slightly in the blog description, dubbing EE a ‘magazine style blog’ and crowning myself (like some sort of dictatorial warlord) Editor.  Lauren is Assistant Editor and my guinea pigs are taking job share as interns. But essentially we’re all interns, as we do it for the love of the food and the city/county that we live in.

We’ve been doing all sorts; from foraging in East Devon, making crisp sandwiches, slow roasting lamb shoulders to trying out Ales at The Samuel Jones, experiencing amazing fusion cooking at The Samosa Lady in Ottery St Mary, (featured image) testing out Marco’s at Exeter Airport amongst just a few places that we’ve visited.

Our 10 Questions Interviews have been a stonking success with interviews from Beer Sommelier Ben Richards, Privateer Jerky, Susy Atkins, Julia and Bela from Veg In A Box and Gabriella from The Devon Foodie

The Queen St. Dining quarter is slowly emerging in front of our eyes, and soon it will open with eight amazing restaurants to add to a plethora of eating places to choose from in Exeter and soon it will be an annual highlight for me in September with the Beer and Bacon Festival on Topsham Quay, and Powderham Food Festival shortly after that.

In our immediate midsts, we have a visit to Hanlon’s Brewery bar, further Burts Crisp sandwiches, the public tasting events for the Find A Foodie competition in August, more recipes from Tom Allbrook, a visit to a few new openings in Exeter and whatever else lands in our inbox!

Remember if you have an event that you wish to show off to myself or Lauren, drop us a line on the contact page!

Carluccio’s – Cheese and Wine, Deli and Dine – by Lauren Heath

Carluccio’s, Princesshay, Bedford Street, Exeter, EX1 1GJ

Tel: 01392 410492, @carluccios, www.carluccios.com

I was recently invited to Carluccio’s in Exeter’s Princesshay for a cheese and wine evening; I like cheese and wine a lot, but this really had my husband’s name all over it – and he was even more delighted than usual…I hoped it wouldn’t disappoint.

On arrival we were warmly greeted by a member of staff and then we were introduced to our tutor for the evening, Stefanie. It turns out Stefanie is no ordinary employee; she has enjoyed being Exeter’s deli manager for the past 3 ½  years and, having studied both Italian and food, loves that she can bring her two passions together in this role.
She has visited Italy twice thanks to Carluccio’s, and has met and seen where a lot of the products in the deli come from. She also teaches other regional staff from a base near Bristol so she clearly knows her stuff.

If she isn’t available to serve you, don’t worry as Carluccio’s also ensure all their staff are trained well enough to be able to help deli customers, and of course the restaurant customers too as you would expect.

We settled down to a table near the kitchen; it has a lovely large opening so you can see what the chefs are up to, to some degree. We each chose a wine off the menu, both going for the Carluccio’s exclusive but in red for Steve and white for myself. Both were very nice wines; we shared a 3rd glass of their special red which was a delight – full of flavour, but light. Sweet on the nose with flavours of honey, black pepper and cherry.

For a Thursday evening, I noted how busy the restaurant was (they say Thursday is the new Friday right?) but it had a great ambience to it, with staff moving around without fuss and everything seemed to be happening smoothly around us. It’s larger than you think actually, and had perfect level of lighting, low enough for cosiness but not too low you couldn’t see what was on your plate.

Then a beautiful cheese board was presented. …Steve’s eyes lit up. He had to wait a tiny bit longer whilst Stefanie explained her background and the fact that Carluccio’s used to do taster events but this went on the back burner a little. With the current foodie buzz that is happening everywhere and people becoming even more aware of provenance, quality and impressing at home, Carluccio’s are planning to do mini events again whereby you can come along and try a selection of cheeses and possibly wines or olives in a relaxed atmosphere and chat with fellow attendees as well as learning about the products.

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Along with our tasters, we had a useful info sheet that was only partly filled in, leaving room for your own notes as well as a map of the region so Stefanie could point out where they were from.

Right…time to dive into the cheese fest. Amongst the 5 cows cheeses on the board we tried creamy Taleggio from the Lombardy region, which has an edible skin, is square in shape, melts well and is ‘young’ (less than 40 days old). Then a Fontina from the Valle D’Aosta region; this is a protected cheese and only 70 or so dairies can make it. It had a lovely nutty flavour and becomes stretchy when warmed so it is good for fondues and delicious with speck ham. The most interesting and unusual cheese was Ubriaco (meaning drunk); this special cheese has a washed rind using skins and seeds of the prosecco grape which is an excellent use of a by-product. I found this totally different; it gripped the tongue and then exuded a hue or aroma in the mouth – certainly one to impress guests!

We were also served some fresh foccacias topped with speck and then some taleggio and fontina. Their foccacia is made in house every day, it was soft, airy and not too oily as some can be. I threw in a curve ball too and asked Stefanie if I could have mozzarella as it is one of my favourites and I do tend to buy the cheaper supermarket versions as well as treating myself to the finer ones so wanted to see how theirs compared. She was very obliging; it was so soft and a bit sweet and melted in the mouth – heavenly. All of the above were served with honey that had a few drops of truffle oil added, balsamic vinegar and some fig jam. All were absolutely delicious and complimented the various cheeses well.

After eating we were shown the deli area; we did not realise the vast selection the deli held. I know we champion local food but, if you want Italian food done right, this looks like the place to come. A wall of jars of wonderful pesto’s, pasta sauces and pastes. A wine fridge for takeaway wines that are not on the menu, and if you do want to drink it with a meal, they charge the shelf price plus a little corkage. Meringues, cakes and breads, a cheese fridge to make any cheese-a-holic jealous.

There is a ‘breakfast bar’ you can perch yourself at, on a stool, order coffee and just chill surrounded by all these goodies. Of course, if you haven’t got time of an evening or can’t get babysitter for one of the future events, then you are most welcome to just pop in to the store and ask to try some cheeses. There is no obligation to buy, it is all about service and sharing their love of all things Italian.

A few little facts for you:

  • Cheese making was done all over Europe as, due to the preserving nature of cheese, it was easy to keep in a time before fridges
  • Forma (of formaggio) actually means ‘shape’. Cheese was traditionally shaped in wicker baskets
  • Cheese ‘skin’ is edible and ‘rind’ is not
  • The biggest cheese festival is held every other year in a city called Bra
  • Grana Padano is suitable for vegetarians whereas Parmesan is not

We had a very enjoyable evening which didn’t disappoint and we will certainly be back to the deli again; it really is an Italian treasure trove. They say animals are not just for Christmas, well neither is Carluccio’s deli. Keep an eye out on their website for upcoming events.

A buzzing event at ‘EATS! at Princesshay’ Launch Party

Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to join Princesshay at their launch of EATS! – an event showcasing the shopping centres restaurants in the run up to some August tasting events for the public.

To start with, we were taken through a secret doorway and rode the lift up to the rooftops of the shopping centre to see the city’s bees. A lovely and sunny rooftop terrace, with a variety of plants specifically chosen to ensure the plants flower throughout the year providing continuous pollination for the bees.

Jason Wallis, head beekeeper, showed us a calmer hive with the queen bee identified by a spot they have placed on her back.  He explained how a queen is born due to how the bees lay a hanging egg as opposed to a horizontal egg! He then showed us, from a safe distance, the main hives.

Harvest takes place mid August to first week September, any later and the honey would be bitter due to the flowers they would be pollinating at the time. Approximately 200 jars worth will be harvested and sold in Chandos deli early September – if you want some you’ll have to act fast! We were all given a little pot to take home (which I have since indulged in) and it is really delicious.

On returning to ground level, we were then treated to drinks from Giraffe and off we went to be seated in the square in front of Jamie’s Italian and Coal. The restaurants put on an array of delights, in turn, to showcase their menus. One of my favourites is Wagamama with their squid and also duck gyozas; I love squid and they do it very well.

They also provided us with some goody bags with a few bits and pieces in; the one that went down very well almost immediately were the funky sunglasses from Tiger…who says the fun has to stop when you grow up?!

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Thank you to Princesshay for an enjoyable time and don’t forget to EATS! your way around Princesshay this Summer.

For further info on EATS! and the events throughout August in Princesshay check out the post here

For further info on the bees project, visit our post here

I’ll leave you with a great collage from the talented Steve Haywood who was capturing the event and whose photos are in the above 2 posts as well:

Eats! Launch Party

Princesshay buzzing with Queen Bee success

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Princesshay buzzing with Queen Bee success

Princesshay’s City Bee project has achieved a massive 90% success rate with its Queen Bee rearing programme with 4 Queen Bees taking to the apiary, situated in the rooftop garden. At the end of May Princesshay bee keeper, Jason Wallis of WeeTree Nurseries will introduce the new queens to the current the hives.

Jason Wallis said, “The aim of the new Queen Bee rearing programme was to introduce new healthy queens to the current hives for the season ahead to ensure the hives were as productive as possible. We are really pleased with how the rearing programme is going so far. It really is a great result.”

Princesshay is also launching a new observation hive this summer, offering visitors and school groups the opportunity to see the activity inside the hive through glass panels. Princesshay regularly encourage visitors to visit the project and get an insight into the busy world of bees. To date, the city bee project has been visited by over 750 school children, students and members of the public.

Princesshay’s City Bee project began in 2012, when a tranquil rooftop garden was created for honey bees high above the shopping centre as part of an environmental initiative which forms part of the company’s wider biodiversity strategy.

Now entering its 4th year, Princesshay’s city bee project continues to grow, with the project now housing 5 hives with approximately 100,000 bees. Honey that is harvested from Princesshay’s city bee project is sold in Chandos Deli, located in Roman Walk with all proceeds donated to Princesshay’s Charity of the Year, Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education.

The initial City Bee’s concept was investigated by Andy Littlejohns, Princesshay’s operations manager after watching a television programme on the decline of the honey bee and the impact on the environment.

Andy said, “It has been brilliant to see the project come to life over the past 4 years and we have loved the opportunity to introduce schools and the public to our wonderful hidden bee garden on the roof. It is an exciting environmental initiative, one which is very close to my heart and it is fantastic to see it go from strength to strength.”

Princesshay welcome and encourage visitors to the project and also if you would like to volunteer to be a Princesshay beekeeper please contact our centre management team on 01392 459838.

 

Burts Spicy Chorizo and Chicken Club Sandwich

Writing Eating Exeter exposes me to a wealth of talented chefs and some of the best food that Devon has to offer.  But unlike many food bloggers, I’m actually a little limited in the kitchen.  Tori is my resident cheffy expert (even though she would never admit it) but recently an opportunity appeared for me to try some recipes that were well within my culinary abilities.

Bristol born TV chef Dean Edwards and Burts Chips, makers of artisan hand-cooked potato crisps, have just announced the search for the Ultimate Crisp Sandwich. I was asked to get involved to see what I thought of some of the recipes and to even come up with my own. For a closer look, have a look at the Burts website!

You’ll probably recognise Dean from Masterchef and his residency on ITV’s Lorraine. He has used Burts’ legendary range of core flavours to create eight big, bold sandwiches and put the crunch back into lunch.  I’m not making all eight, but I have selected a few that really took my fancy.

So armed with a giant box of Burts Crisps, some big bouncy bread and some crack-pot ideas, Eating Exeter presents ‘Gourmet Crisp Sandwiches’ or #projectcrispsandwich.

Crisp Sandwich Number 1 – Spicy Chorizo and Chicken Club Sandwich

I love Chorizo, it has to be one of those foodstuffs that I could eat solely for weeks.  So skimming through the recipes I was sent this one jumped out at me.  Using the ‘Spicy Chorizo’ flavour, Chorizo being provided an Eating Exeter favourite, Good Game of Topsham, we used some of the veg that we had been sent from Veg In A Box to top off this delicious club sandwich.

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Recipe Credit: Burts Chips

Burts Spicy Chorizo and Chicken Club Sandwich (makes 2)

Ingredients:

 2 x 40g packs Burts Spicy Chorizo crisps

 12 thin slices of chorizo (try from The Well Hung Meat co)

 2 small ready cooked chicken breasts shredded

 2 tbs mayonnaise

 ½ baby gem lettuce shredded

 2 tomatoes sliced

 6 slices of bread buttered on one side

Method:

1. In a pre heated pan cook the chorizo for around 30 seconds each side until crispy then set aside

2. Reserve any oil that comes out (if any) to stir through the mayonnaise.

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3. Use the mayonnaise to bind the shredded chicken then build the club by adding a bottom layer of tomato, lettuce and chicken and then a top layer of crisp chorizo and Burts Spicy Chorizo crisps.

 

4. Top with a third round of bread. Secure with two cocktail sticks and slice diagonally.  ….or not in my case.

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The Ultimate Hornbrook Brunch – Ham, eggs and black pudding.

One of my favourite flavour combinations has to be Ham & Egg.  Chef Tom Allbrook has come up with this scrumptious recipe with these two elements and with the added loveliness of Black Pudding.  Another exclusive Recipe Of The Week for Eating Exeter!

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Ingredients:

  • Slices of good quality bread (better if homemade)
  • 2 Slices good quality ham (I buy a piece of ham at the butchers and then cook it at home with honey and mustard. This then gives you ham for a couple of dishes and is a great way of doing it.)
  • 4 Pack Black Pudding

Prep time 5 minutes Cook Time 8-10 minutes

Place the black pudding in a bowl and crumble it with your hands, then add it to a frying pan set on a medium heat, to cook through and go crispy and crumbly. Whilst you are doing this put a pan of water on to simmer but not boiling. Slice your bread and place it under the grill. This, when grilled, I brush with half a garlic glove which really adds to the taste, though you can of course use butter.

Stir the water and add a drop of cider vinegar which I find helps the eggs to set and then crack the eggs into the water. Cook for around 4 minutes and you will have the perfect poached egg. For the best results use fresh free range eggs. Assemble the dish, by placing the sliced ham on top of the toast, add the egg and scatter over the black pudding. Season and drizzle with a little oil.

Tantalising tastes of the summer in Princesshay this August

Tantalising tastes of the summer in Princesshay this August

Tasting station dates: 6th, 13th & 20th August 2016

This August, tasting stations will pop up in Princesshay for visitors to sample a taste of summer from Princesshay’s cafes and restaurants*. From pan Asian tastes at Wagamama and Japanese delights from YO! Sushi, modern European dishes from Jamie’s Italian, Café Rouge and Carluccio’s or a proper burger from Byron, Princesshay is the place to dine this summer.

Not only will Princesshay be alive with tastes of the world but buskers will be on hand to entertain visitors throughout the summer creating a hive of activity that will keep visitors of all ages entertained. Along with music, Princesshay will play host to outdoor games, a gorgeous green lawn and go karting, not to mention the vast amount of summer activities planned for the summer months. Activities include an interactive rocking chair, Dancing in the streets in July and Exeter street arts festival, taking place on the 27th August. As well as all this, Silk Estrella, an aerial silk dancer will be performing in Princesshay this summer.

With views of Exeter Cathedral while you dine and the city’s historic Roman wall, Princesshay is the perfect place to visit this summer. With a fantastic range of family friendly restaurants, cuisines from around the world and plenty of alfresco dining, there is something for every taste.

Tasters available while stocks last. For more information on EATS! At Princesshay, visit www.princesshay.co.uk/eats

To make the most of dining out this summer, sign up to EATS! At Princesshay, a fun and informative newsletter packed with discounts, offers and all the latest menu news from all of Princesshay’s fantastic eateries. Being part of EATS! At Princesshay is perfect for any discount diva or foodie fanatic who wants to be in the know when it comes to dining out in Exeter.

Princesshay restaurants and cafes include:

  1. Nandos
  2. Giraffe
  3. Carluccios
  4. Byron
  5. Café Rouge
  6. Jamie’s Italian
  7. Coal Grill & Bar
  8. Wagamama
  9. Yo! Sushi
  10. Coffee #1
  11. Costa
  12. Chandos Deli
  13. LTG’S

Double Dickens at Rusty Pig

Rusty Pig is hosting a comedy night – and it’s all about Dickens!

The ethical restaurant in Ottery St Mary is welcoming Devon’s Adaptable Theatre on Friday 15th July to perform for diners. ‘Double Dickens’ features Ian Pearce and Tim Knight in two one man shows.

In Doctor Marigold Ian plays a Victorian travelling salesman who rescues a poor deaf child from ‘misery and degradation’. In the second show, Tim Knight tells the woeful tale of Mr Pickwick’s trial for breach of promise in The Trial of Pickwick.

Double Dickens opened in October 2012 at New Theatre, Exeter. In January 2012 the show moved to villages in Devon and Dorset. Doctor Marigold has been performed at the Edinburgh Fringe to great reviews.

The evening, which starts at 7pm, will include tapas and pudding at a cost of £25 per person, including the show.

To book, call 01404 815580.

10 Questions for The Poltimore Inn, North Molton

Situated on the edge of Exmoor, The Poltimore Inn has risen from the ashes after a year-long refurbishment.  This cracking independent pub is a definite desitination if you’re visiting Exmoor.

1. How would you describe The Poltimore Inn? What makes it special?

The Poltimore Inn is everything a good village pub should be, with a varied menu of delicious home-cooked food and a wide selection of local beers. It is located in a picturesque village on the edge of Exmoor. You can be sure of a warm welcome here. You can enjoy a bar meal or dine in the lovely spacious restaurant which overlooks a beautiful pub garden and the Exmoor hills beyond.

2. A smoker in your beer garden? What was the inspiration behind this?

Ah, the smoker. This was built by landlord Alan Boddington with help from a local engineer Jack Reed. It is a wonderful contraption, weighing around three quarters of a ton. It is a sort of cross between Stevenson’s Rocket and something from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Alan was keen to offer customers something different, and the smoker is used regularly to smoke our own meat and fish which is then served in the pub and restaurant.

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3. It looks like a spectacular beast, is this a custom build?

Yes, a complete one off! Alan and Jack made it from all sort of bits and pieces, some of them from scrapyards. There’s even parts from a submarine compressed air system and a car axle from an Austin A2. It is quite an impressive machine, and a great talking point among the locals. What’s more, the smoker works really well, and there is loads of space to smoke a wide variety of food.

4. Your pub has been on quite a journey. What have been some of the challenges?

The pub was closed for a year before Alan took it on, in August 2013. He completely refurbished the building and added a large new restaurant, and created several guest rooms. It involved a lot of hard work, but Alan and his team have done a fabulous job. Alan is a great foodie, and wanted the pub to be known for its good food. He and his staff have worked tirelessly to build up the pub’s reputation for delicious home-cooked meals, and were rewarded in 2015 with a Gold Taste of the West Award in 2015.

5. Pubs are often the heart of the community, have you found that the pub is once again becoming the heart of the community?

This has been Alan’s mission – to put The Poltimore Inn at the heart of village life. The pub is situated in the centre of the village, by the main square, and is involved in all sorts of community events. For example the pub runs an annual competition, Boots in Bloom, to encourage local residents to plant flowers in boots. So in the summer time the whole village is full of flowers which is a lovely sight. There is a very active skittles team at the pub, and also magic evenings and regular folk and jazz evenings. The Poltimore also gets involved in a lot of charity fund raising events.

6. I love real ales, what sort of offerings have you got for the real ale drinkers?

A wide selection of great real ales from the South West, including Otter Ale, Exmoor Ale and St Austell Tribute.

7. What is your food philosophy at The Poltimore Inn?

We aim to offer our visitors the very best home-cooked food, which includes tasty traditional pub meals and some more adventurous dishes, and smoked foods, meat, fish and cheese. One of our specialities is the popular ‘Poltimore Inn Platters’ or PIPs, sumptuous selections of smoked fish, sausage, salami and vegetarian treats. Our menus change seasonally and there are daily specials, with vegetarian and gluten-free options. The pub uses locally sourced foods whenever possible.

8. I heard on the grapevine that you like to offer some international foods too?

We do enjoy providing something a little different for our guests. So we often have weekends with themed food from a particular country. For example this year we have had a Spanish tapas weekend, with some authentic dishes such as nachos con carnie, chorizo and tomato and potato bravas. Our highly experienced chef, Lynda Festa, was lucky enough to spend some time working alongside a well-known Spanish chef, Pedro Gomez, and she likes to recreate some of the meals she learnt from him. Another weekend this year, to coincide with American Independence Day in July, the pub hosted an American weekend. The menu included seafood chowder, buffalo chicken wings and sweetcorn fritters. Lynda and the catering team, Stephen Newall, Louise Wilson and Shelly Thorne, are always full of ideas for interesting and unusual recipes.

9. …and Gin tasting evenings?

Oh yes, we like our gin too, so we host gin tasting evenings which are always great fun. One of ourfavourite gins is locally produced on Exmoor, called Wicked Wolf.

10. Finally, what sort of attractions are nearby? Yo’re in such a lovely part of the world!

The Poltimore Inn is on the edge of Exmoor, which is wonderful for walking and riding. North Molton is an excellent spot to start your walk from, and then you can treat yourself to a meal at the pub when you return. We are only 45 minutes from some of the best surfing beaches in the South West, including Croyde, Saunton and Woolacombe. North Molton is a good stopping off point for ameal on your journey to the North Devon coast or further on to North Cornwall. North Molton is easily accessible, (less than 3 miles), from the A361 North Devon Link Road, the main road linking

North Devon with the M5 motorway Junction 27. There are signs to the pub from the Link Road. We look forward to welcoming you to The Poltimore Inn!

For more information contact The Poltimore Inn on 01598 740338 or visit

http://www.thepoltimoreinnnorthmolton.co.uk or

www.facebook.com/PoltimoreInn or Twitter @PoltimoreInn

 

Boston Tea Party: Exeter’s very own Tardis – by Lauren Heath

Boston Tea Party – 84 Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3RP, Tel: 01392 201181

Free wifi, open Mon – Sat 7am til 7pm and Sun 8am til 6pm.

Boston Tea Party have 18 cafes from as high as Birmingham all the way down to Barnstaple, with a 19th cafe about to open in Bristol (making the total 6 in and around the city!). I must admit, I haven’t been to a BTP in a few years, since the Salisbury branch we tried when it opened over 4 years ago when I lived there – we weren’t particularly blown away based on the existing offering in the city. I note on their website that 80% of their suppliers are based in the South West and that their eggs and meat are all free range – so this is a good start to reignite my interest.

BTP is based in another prominent building I pass most days, and my particular thoughts have been ‘oh it’s seems a bit small’. I can’t tell you how wrong I was – this is a true example of ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’!

The buildng was originally purpose built as a post office but was only used for this for around 7 years; Exeter’s Boston Tea Party has been in the building since 1998! The ground floor area has 2 small tables along with window seats where you can watch the world go by, along with a few tables out the front. It also houses the takeaway fridge with yummy sandwiches and cold drinks as well as the counter and main hub where it all happens.

This level is very deceiving as I was blown away by the contrast of upstairs which is bright and open, with high ceilings and plenty of tables and could be compared to the tardis – it is even painted blue. The calm colours and lighting work well with the natural light that pours in. There are plenty of adjoining tables as well as separate ones to cope with any size group of people. Some sofa seats line the left side, below a noticeboard encouraging local paraphernalia, leading to a book corner with another sofa.

The fact this is really an upstairs cafe does prove an access problem for those who can’t tackle stairs. Unless you have help I don’t think you could take a pram up but that is the nature of the building and possibly a problem that can’t be fixed even if they wanted to. Once you have found your table after venturing upstairs, you have to go back downstairs to order, remembering your table number – perhaps this is something that needs to be re-thought as, if you were on your own, this would pose the possibility of losing your table unless you left your belongings behind to claim it and similarly if you had a child with you it would be a big inconvenience.

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So as I browsed the menu, I was pleased to have been invited into the old post office to see what BTP has done to put their ‘stamp’ on the coffee/tea/cafe market – the menu has been consistent over time but recently some toasted sandwiches and raw veg smoothie drinks have been added to expand their offering. An additional leaflet attached to the menu told me to ‘Cut the Crappe’…the cheeky yet clever title referred to some new drinks using avocado instead of frappe powder (a mix of unnatural ingredients, high in sugar used to give the smooth texture used by most competitors in their frappes). It is full of vitamins and potassium and they use maple syrup for sweetness.  I instantly decided on the mocha crappe and it was delicious. Not full of ice which tends to dilute it; it was fluffy, creamy and even malty- that could be the coffee flavour.  I would definitly have it again.

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For research purposes I also tried ‘The Red One’ from the new raw veg smoothies – a drink containing beetroot, carrot, apple, cucumber, orange juice, ginger, mint and parsley (£3.35). A large vibrant maroon filled jar arrived equipped with straw – this is definitely not my sort of drink normally but I must say that all the flavours blended well together and with each sip you could still identify the different elements but without anything being overpowering. There were lots of bits in it, so either more blitzing needed or a bigger straw in order to avoid blockages! There is the option of ‘The Green One’ – I’ll let you find out what that is yourself…

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I must say there was plenty to tempt me on their large menu, which consisted of breakfast, brunch, lighter options, mains, toasted sandwiches and salads. All items are served all day so you are not tied to turn up at a certain time to get your favourite. I was very impressed by the tea options (if that’s what you’re into) – I dont think I have ever seen such choice. I counted 25 vegetarian options and 4 vegan items, clearly marked and there is almond and soya milk available for hot drinks too. There is also gluten free bread, which is made especially for them in Bristol. This isn’t something I have to worry about but it’s great that it is obvious and those who are concerned don’t need to feel they have to ask as it’s clear to see. Normally a large menu spells frozen items, and not fresh but I can see that a lot of the ingredients are used in different combinations in various meals across the menu – this instills confidence in a clever use of stock/ingredients and minimising waste – it allows them to offer more when in fact they use less and therefore can use fresh.

The brunch options that stood out for me included Chorizo Hash (£7.75), my favourite Eggs Benedict (£6.75) and then the Sourdough Eggy Bread, Smoked Bacon and Avocado (£7.50). I chose the latter as it sounded very different and right up my street. Delicious oven roasted vine tomatoes sat atop a generous fan of avocado, kept company by lovely smokey bacon all sitting on top of some lovely soft eggy bread. The assumption that you would use the tobasco they provide as part of the meal is a good one, as a few drops here and there really livens this up – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also chose the Chipotle Chicken and Parmesan Toasted Sandwich and went with the half option (£3.50) – it was a good lunch portion and with very nice quality bread. The salad had a vibrant zingy dressing, the sandwich contained tasty chiquito peppers and good chunks of chicken.  The parmesan was subtle and the chipotle was just enough in the background to lift it in flavour with a hint of heat but nothing too spicy.

The room was fairly well filled with around 50 – 60 people, and I noted one or two people querying the delivery of their lunch – I too waited maybe 20 mins for my food. What I will say is,  that although they call themselves a cafe, this is not another coffee chain with just sandwiches in the fridge and you get served your toasted takeway swiftly – it is in fact a cafe-come-restaurant. So appreciate that you are getting a good meal, well cooked and this takes time as it is not fast food. I really enjoyed my visit to this tardis and I will absolutely return to investigate the rest of the brunch menu…whether or not that is actually at brunch time, lunch time or early dinner is up for discussion – but no pressure, they serve it all, all day.

Until next time BTP…TTFN!

www.bostonteaparty.co.uk

 

Veg In A Box

I’m not a very fussy eater, I tend to eat everything and anything that comes my way.  But like many of us, eating greens can be something that slips the mind sometimes.  The healthy lifestyle that many of my friends and colleagues strive to achieve will sometimes be the last thing that crosses my mind.

If it wasn’t for my wonderful wife who is certainly an expert in the kitchen (despite what she might say…) my notion of a balanced diet would have more to do with not falling over after eating too much BBQ, rather than making sure I consume a range of vegetables and fruits with all the nutrients that I need to live.  Thanks Tori!

In recent years consumers have become more aware of healthy eating and with the greater appreciation for food miles, organic farming and supporting local businesses being factors that effect buying decisions.

The need for good quality produce, the convenience of delivery and often a variety of items that might not be available from the supermarkets have opened the door for companies that offer delivered vegetables to your door.

You might remember Lauren’s 10 Question Interview with Veg In A Box a few months ago; last week we received an EPIC delivery of items from Veg In A Box, and I just had to write a little something to publicise what they are doing and sing their praises.

VIAB
Visit the Veg In A Box website

 

Not long ago Julie Corcutt and Bela Dobrovenszk started Veg In A Box, a company that produced pretty much that, fresh veg delivered to customers doors in boxes.  I’ve watched the company grow through social media and its inspiring to see how popular Veg In A Box has become.

And it isn’t just veg…recently they started The Devon Meatbox Company, delivering locally reared, good quality meat to customer’s doors. And, they are incorporating other products within their boxes too!

Having veg delivered to your door takes out the fuss of choosing veg from supermarkets that have most probably been handled by others, it means you get THE best quality veg and you feel valued as a customer by a personal delivery service.

Tori has an excellent recipe for slow roasted lamb, and with some of the ingredients we received from Julie and Bela, we have just had an excellent slow roasted Lamb shoulder this evening.  Come back in a few days and we shall have some photos and a method for you to have a go for yourself.