Exmouth’s Brand-New Food Festival Launches This Weekend

Foodies rejoice; there’s a brand-new food festival coming to Exmouth on Saturday 16 September from 10am until 11.00pm. With live music from Barefoot Bandit, street food stalls and an evening mussel banquet, it’s shaping up to be a delicious day out.

An array of artisanal producers from across the region will be coming to the stunning Manor Gardens in the heart of Exmouth for the event. Together, they will showcase a range of mouth-watering products from traditional cheeses, meats, preserves and ales to modern twists on gins, charcuterie, ice-cream, coffee and much more.

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There will be a licensed bar from Powderkeg Brewery, food-themed interactive workshops and activities including a Beat the Heat chilli eating competition. A family day out wouldn’t be complete without a bouncy castle and face painter for the kids.

The festival will also include The Great Mussel Hustle – a sit down mussel banquet at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15, which will include a glass of wine.

The vibrant event is a collaboration between owner of award-winning local café Bumble and Bee, Debra Quine and Pop-up Events.

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Debra says, ‘We’re so excited to host Exmouth’s Food Festival here in the beautiful setting of Manor Gardens. Enjoying live music while feasting with family and friends is a winning formula – I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday!’

Local food heroes include Exmouth’s own brewery Crossed Anchors, Pebblebed, Quicks Gin distilled in Exmouth, Little Pod, Exmouth Mussels, Fish on the Quay, Eat the Smoke, Devon Chilli Farm and Ottervale Chutneys.

Entry fee is £1, which will be donated to Hospicecare. Tickets will be available on the gate at Manor Gardens, near Exmouth sea front.

To book a place at The Great Mussel Hustle, please call Bumble and Bee on 07791229741. For more information about the day and to keep up with the latest news, visit Exmouth Food Festival event on Facebook.

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Beer and Burger Bonanza at The Bridge Inn, Topsham – by Lauren Heath

The road between Clyst St George and Topsham holds many talented local businesses – Naturalmat, Sapphire Spaces, Amos Lighting and now even the operations for Good Game. Two more of these is the successful Darts Farm and the unique and historic The Bridge Inn pub.

On the back of some playground chat whilst dropping the kids off at school, the business minded ladies at both The Butchers at Darts and The Bridge Inn decided they should do a joint event, especially considering they are so close together. The Bridge Inn already holds ticket-only USA banjo infused music evenings and occasional evenings with Darts Farm providing the fish and chips for customers within their beautiful long brewhouse.

So on a lovely weekday summer’s eve in July, we ventured down to our favourite local pub for The Butchers at Darts Farm and The Bridge inn’s Burger and Beer evening.

It was a community feeling affair; it’s an incredible space filled with treasure, trinkets and furniture and all customers sitting together with friends as well as strangers (you know the saying – ‘arrive as strangers, leave as friends’), all chatting and wondering of the foodie delights ahead.

Caroline, the current owner, told us a bit about the history of this beautiful end of their pink pub. Their history page states:

It is thought there was a dwelling on this site as early as 1086, in the time of the Domesday Book. The stonemasons responsible for the construction of Exeter Cathedral may have lodged here.

The present building you see is substantially 16th Century, but the actual date of the different parts varies considerably. Unlike today, much building in the past was piecemeal, with new rooms added as necessary. Most of the fabric is local stone, but the old brewhouse at the rear is traditional Devon cob. This has the remains of the hop drying floor, and is adjacent to a large brewing chimney.

Great-grandfather was William John Gibbings from Clyst St. George. He moved into the Inn in 1897, and our family has been there ever since. The current licensee is Caroline Cheffers-Heard, his Great Grand-daughter. She is the fourth generation, her daughter Riannon will be the fifth, and Amelia, born in April 2008, will be the sixth generation.

Outside The Butchers at Darts were cooking up a storm on the Big Green Egg, with burgers galore; thankfully the weather was kind, gifting us a glorious Thursday evening.

Beers and burgers were paired up, with Caroline explaining each pairing as we went along and Alastair telling us about the meat and their flavours. We were served sizeable ‘mini’ burgers with generous servings of local ales:

  • Pork burger with Clyst St Mary’s very own Powderkeg Speakeasy
  • Duck burger with Jollyboat’s Thunder
  • Lamb burger with Branscombe Vale’s Summa That

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The big finale was a steak burger with Exmoor’s Beast. This mouthful was served with delightfully fresh salads, and we ventured outside at this point to sit on a bench and enjoy the end of the evening al-fresco.

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The burgers were absolutely delicious, juicy and flavoursome and of course the meat is all locally reared or sourced and expertly prepared by the Butchers at Darts.

The business is family run and based within Darts Farm; brothers Philip and Alastair are Master Butchers, which is not a common title and it means they can choose the right animal by feeling and handling it live on the farm – they even judge competitions. ‘Their knowledge and expertise of breeding, rearing, sourcing, maturing and butchering the best livestock enables us to provide you with the highest quality meat which you can trust.’ Becky, wife to Alastair, takes care of marketing side of the business and was delighted to be able to organise this event and there are plans for more so keep an eye out!

Here’s a peek inside the pub; there are two rooms indoors and both well behaved dogs and children are welcome, but noisy mobile phones are not. Don’t come here if you’re expecting lagers – this pub serves some wines and spirits but are very well known and loved for their fantastic local ales straight from the barrel with an ever changing beer menu being updated on their Facebook page each week. Food-wise they simply serve Chunk’s pasties or ploughmans with local cheese or meats.

If the weather is beautiful enough, you can be served out of the hatch (pictured top left) and sit on the benches enjoying the view!

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So keep an eye out for more joint ventures with these two brilliant examples of what makes local businesses special. If you can’t wait for an event, pop to the pub for a pint and make sure you drop in at the butchers for your burgers to cook at home!

La Petite Bouchée Wins Gold

JUST months after arriving in its new mid Devon home, French restaurant La Petite Bouchée, has won one of the region’s most prestigious dining awards.

The bistro, which began life in south east London as a vintage French Camper van seating just four people, has been awarded the gold Taste of the West gold award for Best Restaurant in the South West.

Following their move to Devon, owners Anita-Clare and Caroline Field, opened up a 20 cover supper club in the dining room of their beautiful home in Witheridge in May.

Anita-Clare, who is also the restaurant’s chef, said they were thrilled to have won such a prestigious award.

She added: ‘To have won the Taste of the West gold award is just fantastic. It’s still sinking in. We have worked so hard since moving to Devon and we’re very proud to have won this.’

‘This is very much a team award. There are so many people involved in making sure that La Petite Bouchée runs like clockwork. From our amazing in house team Linzi, Nigel and Daniel and to our PR team Eleanor and Sue, and not forgetting all of our amazing suppliers who have all made this possible by providing us with some of Devon’s finest ingredients’

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The restaurant, which had previously won the Time Out award for Best Restaurant in Sydenham, serves traditional French cuisine, with all produce sourced from within a 25-mile radius.

The move from south east London, was something that Anita-Clare and Caroline had dreamed of doing for some time.

Anita-Clare said: ‘We had built up a very loyal following in London since we started in 2014. But we’d always longed to move to the west country, and so far, it’s been everything that we hoped it would be. This really is the icing on the cake.’

For further information about La Petite Bouchée’s mailing list, contact Eleanor Yeo on eleanor@mcmu.co.uk.

*Photography courtesy of Nick Hook

La Petite Bouchee – by Lauren Heath

*Header image courtesy of Nick Hook Photography

Bonjour mes amis, bienvenue a La Petite Bouchee! Hello my friends and welcome to La Petite Bouchee! La Petite Bouchee you say, what does that mean? Well translation equals The Small Bite but small bites we did not have. In fact this hearty English venture with a full on French twist fed us good and proper.

What once started out in London as this 4 seater bijou mobile dining room in a beautiful Citroen HY van with maximum tantalising turquoise, parked up in various public areas has now moved to the village of Witheridge, Devon and found a beautiful old butchery building for its owners to live in. So now, not only do you get to enjoy a boutique banquet in the van, they can host 20 more diners inside their pop up restaurant too.

Said owners are Anita-Clare and Caroline; Anita-Clare enjoyed childhood adventures in France and this is where her passion lies.

A lucky bunch of us food bloggers/influencers/very hungry people got to escape to the old butchery one very drizzly Friday evening and see what was on offer.

A charming trail of twinkling lights guided us to the door, and we were greeted by very welcoming front of house team who made us feel right at home, whilst Anita was hard a work behind the scenes.

So on to the cuisine! We were going to be trying a mix of items on this occasion so we could get a good feel of their food offering.

We started of with moules gratinees, ham hock terrine with pickles, smoked goats cheese and tapenade tartine. The mussels were covered in sandy like breadcrumb topping and were delicious. The ham hock was well cooked, tender and full of fresh flavours thanks to the herbage.

For mains we were treated to Cote de boeuf, salade nicoise, vegetable cassoulet and confit duck leg with lentils. The beef was melt in the mouth and so tasty, and the duck and lentils were delicious with the creamy lentils working well with the gamey meat.

We also enjoyed amuse bouche of gazpacho provencal and roasted red pepper soup with fines herbes oil, dessert of tarte au framboise and creme fraiche served with apple and calvado sorbet and then followed by a delightful regional cheeseboard which included fromage fort – made by mixing different cubes of cheese with white wine, garlic and herbs. The tart was delicious with an incredibly fresh full on apple punch, and the fromage fort was a revelation of its own!

Thanks to the casual, personable and well humoured serving staff, you really are made to feel welcome. We had a chat with Anita after dinner, and she was incredibly passionate and charming with a great sense of humour and this definitely translates into her food.

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening, so for a different type of night out, do give them a try! If you are travelling far and want to make a night of it, they have already made friends with the local accommodation so they can recommend a boudoir for the night too.

Cheers to you Anita-Clare and Caroline! Wishing your pop-up and turquoise 4 wheels a jolly adventure here in Devon. Au Revoir et Bonne Chance!

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Open Fridays and Saturdays for bookings only; visit them on their Website, Facebook, or Email them hello@lapetiteboucheebrasserie.co.uk – they are already proving very popular!

La Petite Bouchee, Witheridge, EX16 8AE   –   Tel: 01884 860654  –   Mob: 07738 703450

 

 

Exeter Food Festival: A quick round-up by Chris Gower

The Exeter Food Festival is a massive part of the culinary calendar for foodies in this wonderful city.  Each year Eating Exeter has written about it and attended dutifully, watched the demos, tweeted and blogged about the experience enjoying the wealth of talented producers and chefs that our region produce.

This year myself and Steve Heath (Chilli Head Chef) had the honour of being part of the action in more ways than one.  Not only was I part of the Question and Answer panel in the BBC Radio Devon Tent, but I was an ‘official’ (ish) photographer and Steve took co-hosted a demo with South Devon Chilli Farm in the Dart’s Farm Teepee.

The festival started off with a photo-call where we were able to snap some newspaper worthy photos in the presence of the great MC himself.

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It was a very informal meeting, where Michael proved that having an Otter Valley ice-cream for breakfast was part of living the dream!

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Neither Lauren or I could make the Saturday, but we definitely had Sunday and Monday covered!  This wasn’t the only thing that was covered, because it was a good thing the majority of the food festival was covered as it rained pretty much solidly on both these days.

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But across the board, this was the only dampener on a fantastic event that constantly draws a large and eclectic array of people from across the region.  The Northernhay Gardens is Britain’s oldest public space having been laid out originally in 1612, the gardens curve around the base of Exeter Castle which makes this the ideal space for holding an event like this, and with the inclusion of the Castle as part of the Festival too, not only can festival-goers experience the best food and drink, they are treated to a walk through history at the same time.

I genuinely love this festival.  The structured program of events, the vast range of activities and goings on, the producers, the after-dark parties and the sheer number of organisations and businesses make me proud to be in a county that takes as much pride in its food & drink as ours does.

Now know that this post is completely bias.  It is also mostly made up of photos so please scroll down for more images of the Sunday that I attended.

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The first stop for us was the Beer Tent.  I had pre-radio nerves and needed some liquid assistance.  As usual I go for Otter Brewery Otter Bright and Tori went for her Dartmoor Ale favourite Jail Ale which was very much needed.

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Being invited to speak on the radio was a great honour.  I was lucky enough to share the stage with my foodie friends Tara (Tara’s Busy Kitchen) and Harry who was standing in for Nick Hook who is Mr Devon Food Hour.

Thirty minutes passed like five, and before you know it, its over.  We had a blast talking about writing a food blog and the fun that it can be, also how easy it is just to start writing.

In no-time at all we were sat waiting for the highlight of the day in the Question Tent, Paul Ainsworth, Michael Caines, Tom Kerridge and Michael Wignall answering questions.

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It was fascinating to see into the minds of these great chefs, what a rare opportunity to have four of the UK’s best in one place!

Then it was time to hot-foot it down to the Cookery Theatre to see the mighty Tom Kerridge demo a classic British favourite.

But before that, we were lucky to catch Michael Caines and Adam Little’s demo.  Adam is a fantastic chef and is Head Chef at the Exeter Golf and Country Club that we reviewed a while back; it was great to see Adam taking the stage even though he was going back later for evening service!

After Adam and Michael’s demonstration finished, the crowd swelled in readiness for the main event.  Tom Kerridge, chef-owner of the Hands and Flowers which has two Michelin Stars demonstrated essentially Steak and Chips, a perfect accompaniment to the Otter Ale that was being served at the VIP guest table.

It was quite awe-inspiring to see the master at work, and even more of an honour given the photos that I ended up taking were some of the best (imho) of my dubious photography career.

I was also thrilled see the legendary Paul Ainsworth’s demo towards the end of the day as well, I have never seen a man handle a lime with so much ease and grace!  Joking aside, I really enjoyed his demonstration – he explained everything carefully and really engaged the room.

The come-down from seeing these demos needed food and by the time we had got our fill of chefs doing magical things with meat, we needed food badly.

I had my eye on a couple of vendors but I was particularly taken with The Guildable Manor, a fresh import from Borough Market in London and we met the lovely affable Dan who introduced us to his lovely sausage-kebab creations with his scratch made sauces and fresh baguettes.

By the end of the day we had run out of time, so we didn’t really get to look at the producers this year.  We did enjoy a small glass of Crispy Pig before we left, but our day was tiring and it was definitely time to go home.

Had we made it to Monday as well we would have seen one of my favourite food bloggers, who coincidentally happens to also be the husband of Co-Editor Lauren, the Chilli Head Chef Steve Heath take part in a demo with South Devon Chilli Farm along with another one of my favourite food bloggers, Mr Marcus Bawdon (in the Hawaiian shirt)!

Steve co-hosted with Phil of SDCF and answered questions from the public.  Steve also helped out with the chilli sauce eating competition with James Dart of Dart’s Farm compering, and Marcus cooked some meat in one of SDCF’s newest sauces.

Exeter Food Festival will always be my favourite food festival.  We are lucky enough to live in a county with a reputation for exquisite and epic food producers and culinary creators, and the festival is a gleaming example of how to celebrate this.  Next year the fun repeats with big names and awesome events  – Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink returns for its 15th year on 5th, 6th and 7th May – the early May Bank Holiday 2018.

http://www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk/ 

Foodie Fundraising Feast by Lauren Heath

Recently the wonderfully charming Andy Cooper, Editor of Devon Life magazine, lost his darling Zena warrior princess to that awful disease Cancer. Obviously nothing can bring her back or heal the wound fully but as in life one must find the good within the bad.

So apart from deciding to run the Taunton half marathon in her honour to raise funds towards his chosen charities, Bowel Cancer UK and St Mary’s Hospice, he also enlisted the help of ex-River Cottage chef and fellow Devonian, Tim Maddams.

It was to be held the same evening of the half marathon in Andy’s local village hall, with 100 seats available. So Andy would have certainly earned a feed! Tim is no stranger to pop up dinners so apart from knowing the food would be great, we thought this seemed a wonderful idea to raise funds through a foodie feast, so Stephanie of Exploring Exeter and I decided this was a worthy ticket to purchase.

There were many wonderful raffle prizes to be won on the evening thanks to many incredible businesses in Devon and Cornwall who gave generously including afternoon tea for 12, jewellery, spa days and so on.

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The hall was filled with locals and business connections, tables of friends and some tables of ‘strangers’, as ours was, but conversation soon flowed. Many of us were armed with a bottle or two of something to celebrate Zena’s memory with Andy as well as his efforts.

It wasn’t just Tim Maddams in the kitchen in the end; Robin Rea of The Rusty Pig was also there to make up a dynamic foodie duo. Not content with exceeding his steps for the day, Andy had his waiter hat on for the evening and served the guests too.

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The menu consisted of:

Starter – root vegetable and wild garlic pottage, nettle and water mint pesto.

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Meat main – slow roasted mutton, smoke rooted loin, spring greens, barley, rooting juices

Vegetarian main – Saffron polenta, purple broccoli, romesco sauce

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Pudding – rhubarb upside down cake, honey and raw milk custard.

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It was just so incredibly delicious, local hearty fare. We had a great evening.

The main reason I am writing this is not to shout about my experience but now that I have your attention, if anyone out there with a few pounds to spare, please can you donate to this very worthy cause.

So don’t delay; visit the #TeamZena fundraising page now. Let’s help stop this awful disease in its tracks or at least help those currently suffering. He has already managed just shy of £6,000!

Well done to everyone involved in #TeamZena’s memory.

Lloyd’s Kitchen: ensuring excellence through a feedback evening

For any restaurant or café, quality of output is incredibly important.  British diners are a very picky lot, and because we’re not very good at complaining restaurants don’t often get to read about a bad burger or an over-cooked steak until they see it on TripAdvisor.

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One of Exeter’s best loved restaurants is Lloyd’s Kitchen in Catherine Street, in the dominating shadow of the House of Fraser building.  We were invited along to one of their feedback evenings which are held before a new menu is rolled out.  At this point, the new menu isn’t completely public and it gives those attending a sneak preview to what the new menu might look like; it gives the chefs a chance to refine, tweak and adjust.

As Lauren and myself were both invited along to this event, we’ll both give our two cents about what we had and the evening itself.

Chris:

Lloyd’s Kitchen is another indie restaurant that has gone from strength to strength on the back of a firm reputation for quality and attention to detail.  There is a strong local ethos with ingredients and an eye for detail with each dish that has seen them excel despite fierce competition from local chain restaurants; despite the devastating fire that ripped the beating heart out of our beloved city taking place just a matter of metres away from their door, they are one of the top names on our dining scene.

This feedback evening was a chance for us to gather together with Lloyd and his family and a few other foodies/bloggers and sample the epic delights of their new menu.

I had opted for a ‘no preference’ option which meant I was going to be treated to some unknown dishes.  The element of surprise was enticing.

Unfortunately the evening seemed to start earlier than planned so I missed the starter.

I was lucky to be sampling the

Chargrilled Lamb Rump – Lamb Kofta, Pomegranate & Mint Cous Cous, Red Pepper Jam, Confit Tomato & Shallot Sauce.

and

White Chocolate & Blueberry Cheesecake

The lamb was beautifully cooked.  I will start off by saying that I am not the biggest fan of lamb at the best of times, but I am always impressed at how succulent and tender it can be if it is cooked and treated properly.

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The balance of flavours worked together wonderfully. It felt like a Moroccan inspired dish with a flavour palette that was homely and sensible, the sweetness of the pomegranet and the sharpness of the Red Pepper Jam worked well with the Kofta and the lamb itself.

Then we had the cheesecake.   The cheesecake. Oh my!!

British restaurants are terrible at desserts in my opinion.  Often relying too heavily on pre-packaged stuff out of a freezer, or dressing up ice-cream beyond what it really is. But Lloyd’s Kitchen and their White Chocolate and Blueberry Cheesecake is one thing that would change my mind if every restaurant did something like this.

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Creamy, sour, sweet, colourful and delightful – I was blown away by this dish. My only criticism is that there wasn’t more of it.  I know that is a cliched thing to say but, damn it was good.

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Lauren:

Settling into Lloyd’s for this very organised set-up, I initially felt it a bit staged at first but the family were there as well and were incredibly welcoming. They insisted on wanting honest feedback in order to improve dishes and know what to choose for the upcoming menu change. Lloyd himself, still young in the eyes of restaurant ownership ensured he greeted all his guests and made us comfortable right from the off.

Even with only a dozen of us in the space on this evening, this lovely restaurant did not feel empty and exuded a cosy glow; the lighting and decor is stylish yet warm, hanging lights, white wall tiles for said light to bounce off and even a patio heater to enjoy the glass front area, that can be opened to enable an al fresco option in the summer and allow plenty of people watching!

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So down to business. I had already chosen my food choices earlier in the week to ensure that all the potential menu items were going to be tasted by the group.

Starter:

Tempura Monkfish Cheeks, Mango, Chilli & Avocado, Harissa Sauce – a meaty yet light starter in an even lighter crispy batter!

Main:

Confit Duck Leg & Rare Breast, Potato & Rosemary Rosti, Seasonal Greens, & Honey Grazed Baby Carrots – the meat just pulled away on this dish and as a rosti connoisseur at home I can’t put into words how good theirs was! Seasoned to perfection too.

Pudding:

Lemon Tart with Raspberry Sorbet – a good tart but I tell you that sorbet sang!

The food, overall, was delicious; well balanced in flavours and textures and equally well presented. It’s not flashy; it’s just stylish and comforting – exactly like the decor. My scoring and feedback will remain confidential of course but a few constructive comments were thrown in, otherwise the purpose of the event would not have been fulfilled. Plenty of good comments were given too – they are certainly doing something right as I only ever hear good things about Lloyds Kitchen.

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I found the idea totally refreshing and I look forward to seeing what is chosen for the upcoming menu and how our comments have affected the final product, enabling you – the paying customer – to enjoy your dinner and a positive experience whilst spending your hard earned cash on tasty food in one of Exeter’s great independents.

Michelin-Starred Chef Line-Up Announced for the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink

Tom Kerridge confirmed in chef line up!
Early May bank holiday weekend – Saturday 29 April – Monday 1 May

 An all-star line-up of chefs has been confirmed for this year’s Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink including Tom Kerridge who will join festival co-founder Michael Caines MBE in the cookery theatre on the Sunday.

Seven Michelin-starred chefs are among the line-up this year, including Tom Kerridge, Michael Caines MBE, Simon Hulstone, Paul Ainsworth, Michael Wignall, Mark Dodson and Josh Eggleton, alongside a further 30 talented chefs demonstrating. The seven award-winning chefs will be performing live demos across Sunday 30th April and Monday 1st May in the Festival Cookery Theatre.

The three-day Festival is a celebration of the South West’s Food and Drink producers and top chefs, taking place over the early May bank holiday weekend (Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May 2017) at Exeter Castle and the surrounding Northernhay Gardens.

Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge said: “I was really pleased when Michael asked me to be part of the festival. I’m looking forward to coming down to Exeter for the bank holiday and demonstrating on the Sunday as well as sampling the amazing local produce.”

Tom Kerridge at EFF 2017

Visitors to the Festival can enjoy demonstrations in the Festival cookery theatre from Saturday morning to Monday afternoon, with demos, head-to-head competitions and the school competition taking place across the weekend.

Alongside the fantastic line-up of top chefs from the region, the 14th Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink will feature more than 90 producers, as well as BBC Radio Devon’s Festival Question Time, the Dart’s Farm ‘Food is Fun’ Teepees and demonstrations of tasty recipes in the West Country Bakery Theatre.

Throughout the weekend local musicians will entertain visitors in the Exeter Castle Courtyard. The three After Dark Music Festivals will take place on Friday 28th April (Headliner: The Locked Horns, supported by Stephens Scown’s Choir and Loose Cannons Band), Saturday 29th April (Headliner: Leigh Coleman Band, supported by Yazzy, Joanna Cooke and Celine Dos Santos) and Sunday 30th April (Headliner: Bill Ding and the Skyscrapers, supported by Alex Dobson and Roger Styles).

The Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink is supported by Exeter City Council. The festival is a not for profit event. Tickets can be booked in advance and are available online.

For more information or to buy tickets visit: www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk.

The chef line up, with 6 Michelin stars between them, includes;

  • Michelin starred chef, Michael Caines, Lympstone Manor
  • Mitch Tonks, Rockfish
  • Matt Mason, The Jack in the Green
  • Matthew Peryer, Lewtrenchard Manor
  • Dez Turland, Saunton Sands
  • Darrin Hosegrove, Ashburton Cookery School
  • Peter Gorton
  • Harrison Brockington, South West Chef of the Year Winner Student/Apprentice
  • Daniel Gavriilidis, The PIG-at Combe
  • Guy Owen, The Idle Rocks
  • Michelin starred chef, Simon Hulstone, The Elephant
  • Michelin starred chef, Michael Wignall, Gidleigh Park
  • Thomas Hine, Lympstone Manor
  • Adam Little, Exeter Golf and Country Club
  • Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge, The Hand and Flowers
  • Michelin starred chef Paul Ainsworth, at No6
  • Elly Wentworth, Lucknam Park
  • Sue Stoneman, South West Winner Home Cook
  • Neil Haydock, Watergate Bay
  • James Mason, Kentisbury Grange
  • Angus McCaig, The Holt at Honiton
  • Liam Finnegan, The Castle Hotel
  • Emily Scott, The St Trudy Inn
  • Scott Paton, Borringdon Hall
  • Ian Webber, The Five Bells Inn
  • Rob Spencer, Ashburton Cookery School
  • Jamie Coleman, South West Winner Overall & Professional
  • Timothy Kendall, South West Winner Young Professional
  • Michelin starred chef Josh Eggleton, The Pony & Trap
  • Tom Williams-Hawkes, The Salutation Inn
  • Ethan Macdonald, South West Winner Junior Category
  • Bini Ludlow, Sweet Cumin
  • Ashley Wright, The Horn of Plenty
  • Michelin starred chef Mark Dodson, The Mason Arms
  • Jean-Phillippe Bidart, The Millbrook Inn

Private Dining at The Pig at Combe – by Lauren Heath

The Pig at Combe is far from the dusty, muddy, snorty (but intelligent) animal it is named after, it does however embody the essence of countryside. As you drive towards it from the a30 and through the villages, you see this warm glow illuminating in the distance, calling you into its warm belly.

I have heard many many things about the Pig at Combe- all positive; and having seen plenty of lovely pictures, have wandered what it would be like to dine there. Editor Chris visited late last year and thoroughly enjoyed himself with their 25 mile ethos, you can read his write up here.

On this occasion I was invited to enjoy their private dining option along with some other press. I was really looking forward to it and had not just my foodie/social hat on but also my corporate hat – as in my day job as a PA, it is good to have places to book for meetings or events as well as to add to my pool of knowledge to recommend to others.

To start the evening, I was led underground to the cellar. I was immediately taken aback by the cosy yet elegant atmosphere; white brick walls, stone flooring, wood, and loads of candles creating a sense of warmth. We enjoyed bubbly and canapés whilst chatting with other guests. Canapés included mushroom samosas, scotch eggs, pork crackling, lamb koftas, and fried kale with prawn salt. Everything was just delicious – little taste sensations.

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We were then led up to the Georgian Kitchen; a hunting lodge type kitchen (could almost be in a National Trust house) with large aga/wood burning stove across the back wall and a scullery off the back left. A grand wooden table surround by 12 chairs awaited us, with more ambient lighting and candles. A few stags heads adorned the walls along with a dresser of country house crockery – nothing forced or kitch, just everything naturally belonging.

Rather than having a menu of individual dishes to choose from, the ethos is about sharing –  an option I loved. I struggle to choose from a menu when I could quite frankly eat it all – so to have a bit of everything is right up my piggin’ street!

Don’t for one minute think this is buffet style…it is banquet dinner style.  Wooden boards arrived adorned with starters of smoked organic salmon, cured meats, toast topped with mussels, crab and exmoor caviar as well as garden leek and blue cheese tarts.

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For mains we enjoyed a whole cod with foraged sea veg, roasted and slow braised Dartmoor lamb and hay smoked BBQ Pipers Farm chicken – all meaty, succulent and cooked to perfection. Big knives landed into them, ready for serving the troops. On the side, our mighty feast was compimented by creamy layered potato, roast celeriac and lemon thyme, glasshouse leaves, foraged herbs and garden greens.

The pudding offering sent us all into ‘kids in a sweet shop’ mode. The most comforting and delicious rice pudding I’ve ever had, clear and wobbly gin and tonic jelly with tongue tingling lemon sorbet, a smooth ice cream parfait, sticky toffee pudding, apple and blackberry crumble and a trifle that would put your grandmother’s to shame.

 

For coffee we wandered across the path to the Folly. This was a lovely outhouse restaurant, candlelit once more, giant wicker woven lampshades hanging down, it had an African/ethnic feel for me. Coffee and ‘piggy fours’ were served whilst we admired the pizza oven and outside seating, complimented by firepits. This space is open, serving more casual food and dining and can be hired for private parties. Ceiling height sash windows can be opened to let the outside in if the weather permits.

We had enjoyed the evening thoroughly and all the spaces we had been in worked well for their purpose. The Pig at Combe really is a flexible venue, and I can assure you they will be able to cater for your private dining or casual party needs.

It was hunting lodge elegance..big food, beautifully cooked, subtle service. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed such casual, comfortable yet sophisticated dining, with professional and effortless hosting. I look forward to returning, and sending everyone I know!

Check your diary and find an excuse now – you’d be a silly little piggy not to; pigs are one of my favourite animals and this beauty is no different. A great venue for family dining, a couples treat, corporate entertaining or getting down to serious business – you still gotta eat, a deal can’t be done on an empty stomach right?! As a restaurant with rooms you could of course stay over and be happy as a pig in…well, bed.

Time for this little piggy to go wee wee wee all the way home.

Find them on wheels: The Pig at Combe, Gittisham, Honiton, Devon, EX14 3AD

Find them online:Facebook, Twitter or on their website

*Dinner in the Georgian Kitchen can be for up to 14 people,

priced at £32 each for a 3 course family-style sharing menu.*

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Seahorse Guest Chefs Big Line-Up For 2017

Every year Mitch Tonks and Mat Prowse, who run the award-winning Seahorse in Dartmouth, invite a few great friends in the restaurant world to cook and host the restaurant with them. This year’s stella line up kicks off with Richard Turner from Hawksmoor followed by Spanish Legend Jose Pizarro, Angela Hartnett & Neil Borthwick, seafood superstar Nathan Outlaw and legendary Tuscan butcher Dario Cecchini.  Dates for further great names including Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver, Mark Hix, Nieves Barragan-Mohaco & TV presenter Matt Tebbut will be announced shortly.

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Mitch Tonks, Angela Hartnett, Mat Prowse

Events this year will start in the newly opened Joe’s Bar at the Seahorse before a fantastic night of food, wine and great spirit. Sommelier Tim McLaughlin-Green will run the room on these evenings matching special wines to every menu. The full line up will be added to our website and bookings can be made direct with the restaurant as they are released.

Mitch Said “The Seahorse has a wonderful spirit and we love having our friends join us and bring their own special magic to the restaurant.  I’m convinced they leave a little of their magic behind which is one of the reasons the room is so special to us and to many of our guests. We all do these events for the enjoyment of it, every one of them is like a dinner party with everyone just chatting away and enjoying great food, wine and great company, what could be better!”

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The Seahorse, Dartmouth

In addition to these events the Seahorse head chef, Jake Bridgwood, has opened the doors on the last Sunday of each month for lunch with a menu specially created for each one. Aperitivos will be served at 1230 in Joe’s bar followed by lunch at 1 – wonderful family occasions and guests are invited to bring their own wines to enjoy with just £10 corkage.

Full event listings can be found at www.seahorserestaurant.co.uk

Experience Valentine’s Day at South Sands Hotel

Salcombe’s South Sands Hotel is offering guests an exclusive dinner experience this Valentine’s Day as Head Chef Allister Bishop has prepared a romantic six course feast for lovers on this special night. Wherever possible, Allister uses local ingredients and integrates foraged food as demonstrated in this mouthwatering menu:

Beetroot soup

Liquorice & peppermint cured salmon, liquorice gel, soft herbs
or
Heritage tomato textures, Devon goat’s cheese mousse

Steamed local lemon sole fillet, hazelnut crust, wilted baby spinach
or
Sautéed gurnard, salsify purée, sprouting broccoli

8 hour slow cooked Dartmoor reared beef cheeks, heritage carrots & purée, soft mash
or
Pan fried guinea fowl, red quinoa, roasted shallot purée, grilled baby leeks

Sharing chocolate assiette plate
or
Oven roasted compressed rum scented pineapple tart tatin, lemon grass ice cream

or
Selection of West Country cheeses

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Encouraged by the knowing lure of fresh beach side produce and divine country living, Allister brings with him decades of experience having been based in London, working at some of the most reputable establishments the city has to offer – Harrods, Le Meridien and Hilton to name but a few.

Head chef Allister Bishop comments on the Valentines menu: “We look forward to welcoming our Valentine’s diners who are looking for something extra special – not just with the tasting menu but also with the wine, cocktails and surroundings. Wherever possible at South Sands we use local ingredients and integrate foraged food into both the food and the drinks menu. We’ve tried to create a sensational and ultimately romantic dining experience combined with the unparalleled views overlooking the Salcombe Estuary.”

The Valetine’s Dinner menu is complimented by a wine flight curated by sommelier Richard Coulson who recently joined the hotel from Gidleigh Park bringing with him 24 years of knowledge of the wine business.

Bar Manager Will Neal has created two Valentines cocktails, both are based on a warming and seasonal blend of white rum and honey with a sparkling splash of Lyme Bay Brut. The ‘Stupid Cupid’ includes beetroot powder and a touch of lemon juice and ‘Cold Black Heart’ incorporates activated charcoal.

The team are also hosting a South Sands Lunch Club from Monday to Saturday, 12-14.30, offering two courses for £14.95 or three courses for £19.95. This ends March 31st so don’t miss out on this sumptuous Winter treat!

The Valentine’s Day Dinner costs £65 pp or £95 pp with wine pairing and is bookable here or by calling 01548 845 900.

Whether it’s a first-rate dining experience, a romantic escape, a wedding or a corporate event space required, South Sands Hotel is the destination to treat your loved ones in 2017. Doubles cost from £170.

A River Cottage Christmas – by Lauren Heath

Recently I was over the moon to be invited to join a host of other foodie, family and lifestyle bloggers at River Cottage HQ, to experience their facilities and offering. The event was being hosted blogger groups Foodies100 and HIBS100.

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Me..’over the moon’!

I have been to HQ before for one of the annual Summer Fairs but it has been some years now. Most of you would know of River Cottage I’m sure, and the fantastic Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who has lovingly developed the farm, his book collection as well as using his knowledge and power for good.

If you don’t know much about River Cottage and Hugh, here’s a little snippet:

‘River Cottage HQ, found on the Devon and Dorset border, is home to everything they do and is the base for their Cookery and Chefs’ School, unique dining experiences and memorable events.

There are four Canteens, the award-winning restaurants and delis based in the South West where they combine their philosophy with the finest producers in Axminster, Bristol, Plymouth and – most recently – Winchester.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a multi-award-winning writer and broadcaster widely known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food.

He has earned a huge following through his River Cottage TV series and books, as well as campaigns such as Hugh’s Fish Fight and the most recent- Saving Africa’s Elephants: Hugh and the Ivory War

Hugh’s early smallholding experiences were shown in the Channel 4 River Cottage series and led to the publication of The River Cottage Cookbook (2001) which won the Glenfiddich Trophy and the André Simon Food Book of the Year award (and was republished in an expanded 10-year-anniversary edition in 2011). Ten more books have followed, including the acclaimed River Cottage Meat Book and the hugely successful River Cottage Veg Everyday and the most recent A-Z of Ingredients.’

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The famous River Cottage HQ Kitchen used for filming

So on a very damp Tuesday afternoon, I ventured out to Axminster, along with Tara of Tara’s Busy Kitchen and Stephanie of Exploring Exeter.

As we arrived in the unassuming car park, we gathered in the wooden hut along with other bloggers who had already arrived and waited patiently for more to trickle in with the final count being 55 I believe. We were all like children knowing we would inevitably have a tractor ride down to the farm – we weren’t disappointed, although what a bouncy journey!

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Tractor riding and posing (L-R  Steph of Exploring Exeter, Me, Tara of Tara’s Busy Kitchen & Claire of Flip Flops or Wellies

After being welcomed into the twinkling barn with drinks and delightful drop scones, topped with yogurt and honey, we settled in for a demo. This demo was all about enhancing your Christmas meats including making your own ham, how to brine a chicken or turkey and how to make venison bresaola. All three sounded so simple and I will certainly be looking to give one or two a go! Of course the tasters were delicious.

After indulging in said tasters, the group split into two with half networking and talking all things blog and social media in the famous River Cottage HQ main house where lots of filming has taken place and the other half piling into the yurt, warmed by the beautiful log burner in order to take on a Guess What’s in the Box challenge. The challenge involved putting your hand in said box and feeling around and guessing what the items were, with some being unexpectedly sticky such as candied ginger and a bit daunting at first.

Now for the main event! We gathered inside the barn again, now transformed for our dinner. I say dinner, it was a grazing fest – we were fed for almost three and a half hours. It started off with a lovely warming apple liqueur, along with canapes of Devon mussels with cider apples and diced red onion, leg of pork croquettes with a bechamel sauce inside, as well as bruschetta of goats cheese, beetroot, cider vinegar and fennel. Every morsel a delight.

We were then treated to a pre-starter of pulled rabbit, and romanesco puree followed by a starter of celeriac ravioli with wild mushrooms and leaves. The main was River Cottage cider brined ham, carrot puree, fried savoy cabbage and braised beans. Full yet? Maybe a little…but then what followed was the most beautiful honeycomb creme brulee with apple puree and apple crisps – it was heavenly, every morsel eaten with my eyes shut, I wish I could have had more!

Everything was absolutely gorgeous, flavoursome and texturally well thought out but then what would you expect of such high calibre chefs and environment.

During courses we were welcomed by chef Sam Lomas (below far left) to wander round and even be nosy in the kitchen. The chefs kindly showed us the cookery school, where they hold the usual courses including fish, meat and baking to the more unusual of beekeeping, wild food cookery and even foraging courses.

Did you know you could get married here? Well you do now…and in the lovely veg patch I believe!  It’s a really charming environment with charming staff to boot.

Around 10pm or so it was time to go, our carriage (I mean tractor) awaited to return us to our cars. We left with quite a smile on our faces, bellies very full. It certainly was a culinary experience.

So if you are struggling to think of that ideal gift for a friend or loved one, think of #RiverCottageChristmas or any time of the year for that matter – remember cookery skills are for life, and not just for Christmas!

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For further info on courses, restaurants and events visit the River Cottage website.

The Rusty Pig Spicy Pop-up Evening by Chris Gower

I love it when a two great things come together.  The Exploding Bakery and their fantastic new cafe space, coupled with The Rusty Pig and Ex River Cottage chef Robin Rea with his mobile oven made Friday night’s Pop-up event in Queen Street a really excellent evening.

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From Robin’s bistro kitchen situated just outside on the pavement, punters were treated to an array of spicy flat breads and other Rusty Pig specials cooked to order to either take-away or eat in.

This is the first event that Exploding Baker owners Ollie and Tom have put on since their extension to the original bakery a few months ago and from what I’ve gathered it won’t be the last sort of event that will be taking place.

Tonight’s menu was going to be a spicy feast with lots of warmth, much needed on the first wet evening in ages.

I’m a big spice fan, but I wasn’t feeling that brave so I went for the Game On flatbread. Smoked Spicy Phesant, Home-made Tabasco Sauce and Gaucamole cooked on a fresh flatbread dough.

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With pheasant smoked in Robin’s very own smoker at the back of the Rusty Pig restaurant in Ottery St Mary, this was a beautiful combination which worked so well together.  I savoured the whole thing and ate it very slowly.


To dip, I opted for a side of home-made Tzatiki which brought the temperature down, a pleasing combination which went down far too quickly washed along with a bottle of Wild Beer Co. ‘Fresh’, a slightly sour beer which is one of their more quaffable tipples.


Even though I was on my own, Pop-up events like this are a great way to meet people.  I met so many great people, including Tor, Whitney, Toby from Occasional Brewery, John from Powderkeg Brewery and my good blogger friend Tara with her lovely other half Steve who were also there to take in the spicy flatbread magic of this event.

It would be great to Robin here again, and given it was so close to my place of work, I felt absolutely spoilt to have food like this on, literally, my work door step.  Robin’s mobile kitchen is out and about, and is also available for private events and weddings.

Eating Exeter visits Country Wood Smoke HQ

How do you introduce Marcus Bawdon? BBQ blogging master, nationally recognised BBQ personality (he judges at the Grillstock festival) and generally nice chap.  He is also incredibly modest when it comes to what he does when he is not being a father, wife or geologist.  I have a huge amount of respect for his knowledge and his infectious passion for all things BBQ.

The foodie scene in Exeter and Devon is bubbling and boiling hot; full of awesome local producers doing excellent things with ingredients; restaurants opening left right and centre.  In the middle of this, a small army of foodies who share their passion through writing, photography and exuberant cheering on social media – I was lucky enough to share my visit with a few members of this army; food photographer Nick Hook, Exeter GCC Chef Ben Gordon.and  the multi-talented food writer/PR guru Harriet Wild.

We were invited to Marcus’s BBQ HQ, somewhere deep in East Devon to experience BBQ how it should be experienced.  Slowly cooked and smoked.

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After arguing with my sat-nav, I eventually landed in a piece of East Devon that I have frequently driven through but not really stepped back to admire, it was beautiful and so quiet, only the faint hum of the motorway could be heard if you really strained to listen.

Waking through a large circular archway CWS HQ was everythuing I imagined it to be.  A large garden and off to the side was a large BBQ area filled with equipment, gizmos and other bits, all designed to create awesome food.

Earlier in the day Marcus had been live on Facebook creating his Mac & Cheese Fatty, so the anticipation was right on the ceiling.  What else were we going to be having?

A beautiful smoked  Mocha Beef Brisket..

Mac & Cheese Chilli Fatty…

and Cherry Smoked Pork along with a big dish of CWS Mac & Cheese.

The part that I had anticipated as much as eating the food was watching Marcus carve the meat.  Clustering around him like bees with cameras, and a particularly large bee with a vast appetite being me, Nick and myself both caught the essence of the meat and its texture.

We sat and chatted for a while, eating the tender meats that Marcus had prepared and sharing laughs.  The rain started to spitter, tapping on the roof of CWS HQ which was shortly followed by a windfall applr banging like a gun as it hit corregrated steel and rolled down.

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For dessert with had pecan smoked peaches, cooked briefly in one of Marcus’s smaller machines.  The gentle smokiness really worked and with the creaminess of the double cream, sprinkled with a few pecans, it rounded off a truly BBQ’d dinner.

If you want to catch more of Marcus’s creations follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Subscribe to Country Wood Smoke and check out the magazine.

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

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

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

Meat Mastery with Pipers Farm & Exeter Cookery School

Set to open in mid-July on Exeter’s historic Quayside, Exeter Cookery School has announced an exciting collaboration with the award-winning Pipers Farm, with the first in a series of butchery and meat cookery courses taking place on 9 th August, leading foodies on a fascinating journey from field to plate.

Local food hero Peter Greig of Pipers Farm will join forces with Jim Fisher, head chef and co-owner of Exeter Cookery School, to teach participants all about the various cuts of meat,

butchery techniques and preparation, through to how to cook the meat using a variety of methods such as searing, braising, poaching, roasting and stir-frying. Participants will also learn how to make stocks and sauces, as well as how to enhance the flavour by the varied use of seasoning, charring, larding and marinating.

Jim Fisher says: “We are very excited about this new collaboration with Pipers Farm. We couldn’t think of a better partner to help us teach people about animal husbandry and why it’s more important than ever before. We’ll take participants through how to break down a whole lamb carcass into a range of popular cuts and portion a free range chicken.

“As with all our courses, it’s totally hands-on, with only a few essential demos by Peter and myself before letting everyone get stuck in themselves. Lunch will be what our guests have prepared and cooked that morning, and at the end of the day, they’ll get to take home the fruits of their labours together with a recipe pack so they can recreate the dishes for loved Peter and Henri Greig and their team produce some of the finest meat in the UK, reared using time-honoured methods that hark back to the days of good old-fashioned animal husbandry.

Fed as nature intended, Pipers Farm cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens are lovingly nurtured on the Greig’s idyllic farm near Cullompton in Devon and on their network of 25 small family farms. Peter & Henri passionately believe that these are essential to the fabric of a truly sustainable rural landscape.

Peter Greig says: “We knew quite quickly after meeting and chatting to Jim and Lucy that they shared our values and we are excited to work with them on what we hope is the first of many joint events at Exeter Cookery School. We also hope to welcome Exeter Cookery School participants to Pipers Farm for future collaborative events – so watch this space.” Exeter Cookery School is now firmly on track to open in mid-July, combining a Sapphire Spaces-designed Bulthaup kitchen, featuring state-of- the-art Gaggenau appliances, with a super cool interior.

As well as the butchery and meat cookery course on 9 th August, they have a full calendar of exciting evening, day and half-day cookery courses planned, from how to make classic sauces to taking you into the realms of the professional pastry chef with their one-day advanced desserts course.

For the full list of cookery courses or more information, please visit
www.exetercookeryschool.co.uk or call 07415 783759.

Photos courtesy of Zara Whitfield / Pipers Farm

Back for 2016: South West Chef of The Year

Non watermarked images courtesy of South West Chef Of The Year.

The prestigious South West Chef of the Year competition is back and open for entries.  Last year I had the honour of being invited to watch some of the region’s finest chefs produce some staggeringly wonderful food in the heat of the kitchens state-of-the-art facilities at Exeter College.  More details are available here on their website if you are considering entering.

Attracting the south west’s best culinary talent with professional and home cooks taking part,the competition is hotly contested in each of its five categories and continues to be one of the most exciting demonstrations of imagination, skill and proficiency in the region. Semi-finals and finals take place at catering colleges throughout the south west and the competition culminates in a glittering awards presentation evening in the autumn.

Judged by exceptional chefs of the region, the panel is led by 2 Michelin starred Michael Caines MBE who also co-founded the competition with the aim of both recognising excellence in the south west hospitality industry and nurturing the next generation of chefs and budding young cooks. The competition provides a launch pad for contestants and winners alike with many going on to exciting careers at restaurants around the UK.

Michael Caines, Judge and co-founder of the competition says, “Taking part in South West Chef of the Year can provide a fantastic platform to further your career, even if you don’t win. It’s a chance to demonstrate your skills to some of the South West’s top chefs and gain valuable publicity for your talents. The competition also promotes the exceptional produce we enjoy in the south west. I feel very proud to champion this.”

Previous winners of South West Chef of the Year include the award winning chef Simon
Hulstone of The Elephant who has since gone on to represent the UK in the 2011 Bocuse d’Or; Ian Webber of The Five Bells in Devon recently awarded its first Michelin Bib Gourmand; Matt Mason of the multi-award winning The Jack in the Green, recommended by Alastair Sawday and Matt Downing of the acclaimed River Cottage. Joining Michael on the judging panel are Chris and James Tanner of Barbican Kitchen and Kentish Hare, Neil Haydock of Watergate Bay Hotel and Mark Dodson of The Masons Arms as well as Matt Mason, Ian Webber and many more highly accomplished chefs.

The categories are: Professional, Young Professional, Student Chef, Home Cook and Junior.
Entry is now open for all categories except the Junior category which has now closed.
Applications should be made online at http://www.southwestchef.co.uk/how-to- enter/ by 1 st August.

The Professional category has been designed to challenge those of any age working in the
industry at sous or pastry chef level, or above. To enter, Professional chefs must submit recipes for a starter and main; the menu must include whole pheasant in one course and scallops and razor clams in the other.

Successful menus will go through to the semi-finals at Exeter College
on 8th October. Chefs aged 19 to 24 years and working in any kitchen role within the industry up to and including junior sous chef, may apply to the Young Professional category which has the same entry requirements. Young Professional chefs must cook with whole partridge, smoked back bacon and whole sea trout.

For those aged 16 – 19 years, the Student/Apprentice category is for full-time students and
apprentice chefs and has two possible entry routes. Regional catering colleges are invited to nominate a student to the semi-final while a number of places are reserved for individual entries made directly by students and apprentices. Those applying directly will be appraised by the judging panel. Again, the entry requirement is to submit a two course menu comprising a starter and main that use whole guinea fowl, monkfish tails and mussels. Those menus selected will go through to semi-finals to be held at Exeter College on 8 th October.

The Junior category is for young cooks at school and aged between 11 and 16 years. Entries for this category have already closed and selected entrants have been invited to prepare one main course dish of their choice at a catering college during the first county-based round to be held in June and July.

Michael Caines continues: ‘We are really pleased to offer finalists in the Junior category first rate mentoring to help them progress. The aim of this category is to help young cooks develop their skills and their interest in a career in catering. For this reason, each finalist is mentored by one of the county judges who invites them into their kitchen to help them improve their skills, widen their understanding of various processes and gain valuable experience of a working, commercial kitchen. It’s an exceptional opportunity for young people with a passion for cooking.’

The judges also recognise the fantastic talent of home cooks and invite those aged 16 years or above with no formal training in or work experience of the catering industry to enter the competition. Those interested in applying for the Home Cook category must devise a two course menu for two people; with a main that includes either pork tenderloin or whole sea trout and a dessert which uses one or more from the following list of ingredients: apples, pears, autumn berries, quinces and vanilla paste. Successful entrants will be invited to cook their menu at the final taking place at Ashburton Cookery School on 15 th October.

A celebratory and lavish awards presentation will take place on 24 th October at Exeter Golf and Country Club who also sponsor the event. As well as winners in each of the main categories there will also be presentations for Best Dish, Best Presentation, Best Use of Regional Produce and Best Menu. The ceremony concludes with the awarding of the prestigious overall South West Chef of the Year 2016 title to one of this year’s entrants. Tickets will be available for all who wish to enjoy an evening of food and celebration!#

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Cooking on blood; Rusty Pig turns into test kitchen

The team at Rusty Pig in Ottery St Mary has been busy testing traditional English recipes to help a food writer with her research for an Oxford Food and Cookery Symposium.

Dr Jan Davison is presenting a paper looking at how offal was not always viewed as food for the poor, but was instead served up for the very wealthy, including the royal court.

“Although the principal ingredients in black pudding are seemingly modest, the expensive seasonings used as flavourings indicate it was held in high regard,” Jan explained.

She asked chef Robin Rea to make up the recipes as he is one of the few cooks in the country to still use fresh blood in his own black puddings.

Robin said: “I’ve always used fresh blood as an ingredient; I know some people recoil from the idea but blood is a natural animal product, and as always we only use animals that have been raised in the very best natural conditions, with high levels of welfare.”

As well as Robin, the black pudding ‘team’ included Rusty Pig’s Fran Lea who researched and put together the ingredients, and Steve Williams from Good Game in Topsham. They tested eight recipes using lamb, pig and cow’s blood. Amongst the stranger ingredients were rosewater and strawberry leaves.

“One recipe called for ambergris, which is an excretion from the intestines of a sperm whale, pretty rare – and it proved a little expensive at around £11,000,” explained Robin.

“Another required porpoise as the main ingredient – but we decided not to attempt that one!”

Recipes included one from the 18th century, ‘Blood –Puddings, The English Way’ that Jan found in a cookery book by Patrick Lamb, ‘Royal Cookery or, the complete court-cook’.

Jan, who has also written ‘English Sausages’, a book telling the history of English sausages from the Roman conquest to the present day, said: “It was great fun putting all the recipes to the test and seeing how they turned out.

“My research turns current thinking on its head; we have always thought of offal as the scraps of an animal carcass, and it was clearly a far more respected ingredient in earlier times,” added Jan.

As a result of the tests and a celebration of black pudding, Rusty Pig is holding a ‘Bourbon and Black’ evening on May 13. Guests will have the chance to try different types of Bourbon with the various black puddings – with no porpoise included. To find out more call 01404 815580