Summer Lamb – Recipe from Jamie Coleman, Overall South West Chef of the Year & SW Professional Chef of the Year 2016

Earlier this month, Jamie took up the position of head chef at the prestigious Michelin-starred Masons Arms at Knowstone, near South Molton, working under highly respected chef and South West Chef of the Year judge, Mark Dodson.

At the time of entry into South West Chef of the Year, Jamie was head chef at the Saunton Sands Hotel in North Devon.  Twice a finalist, Jamie took the title of South West Professional Chef of the Year in his final, going on to win the overall title of ‘South West Chef of the Year 2016′.

Jamie says that this recipe is “A great crowd pleaser, excellent for a summer version of a Sunday roast with family and friends.  Just plate on a platter, to be enjoyed with a good bottle of wine or a G ‘n T, with lots of mint and cucumber. Let everyone dive in. mmm yummy!!!!”

Slow-Cooked Lamb with Caeser Salad
(serves 4)

Caesar dressing

2 anchovy fillets

1/3 tsp English mustard

1 1/4 tsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped

1 egg yolk

1 1/4 tsp lemon juice

10g of Parmesan, grated

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of black pepper

120ml of vegetable oil
Slow-cooked lamb

1 leg of lamb

2tbsp mustard

1tbsp honey

1 bulb garlic crushed

1 lemon

2 sticks of rosemary
To serve

2 gem lettuce

30g parmesan shavings

6 anchovy fillets

crispy streaky bacon

croutons

4 boiled eggs
For the lamb

Rub all the ingredients over the lamb. Marinade over night. Pre-heat oven to 160c.

Place lamb on a tray, cover with foil and cook for around 4 hours until tender.

On a preheated BBQ place some Applewood smoking chips.  Once it is smoking, place the lamb leg on the BBQ and colour until well roasted and falling off the bone – it is then ready for serving!

For the Caeser dressing

In a blender add all the ingredients except the oil, turn on blender and blitz until smooth, then add the oil slowly until emulsified.

To finish, dress the leaves in the Caeser dressing and place on a serving platter with the other ingredients.

Serve with a cold glass of white wine.

Enjoy!

Don’t forget! Entries for this year’s South West Chef of the Year close Monday 31st July – read more about it here and get entering! There are amateur and professional categories!

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The Swan at Bampton – by Lauren Heath

You know those days, between the seasons, where there’s just enough warmth yet still a chill in the air? There’s the lure of a country walk to inhale fresh air and appreciate nature as she removes her winter layer or gets ready to batten down the hatches.

That feeling seems to envoke the need to find a resting place so as to reward yourself for said walk, or cosy up to comfort yourself if the rain fell. A perfect place to fulfil any such  need or even just as an excuse to get out of the house if the walk had not been possible at all, is The Swan at Bampton.

Situated just outside Tiverton, The Swan at Bampton is owned and run by Paul and Donna for what is now their 10th anniversary year, it has been rewarded with many accolades including Top 50 Gastro Pubs and 2 AA Rosettes. The website informs you that ‘The Swan, being the oldest pub in Bampton, was originally lodgings to accommodate the masons and other craftsmen who were hired to enlarge the church in 1450. St Michaels church can be seen from the terrace just behind the pub.’

It still holds a sense of history with its beams and stoney walls, but has had a beautifully tasteful and modern refurbishment, whilst still keeping warmth and charm.

Having engaged with Paul on social media for some time due to my drooling over his food images, I finally found the perfect excuse to visit – Mothers Day. I didn’t want anything fancy, just a blimmin’ good roast and with his ethos of local meat, and comforting yet modern food, I had no doubt it would be good.

After enjoying a stroll in the sunshine along the Tiverton Canal, we arrived at 4:30 so as to enjoy Linner or Lupper (somehow not the same ring to it as brunch…I’ll fetch my coat!) We settled down at a table near the bar. There was evidence it had been very busy but nonetheless we were welcomed with smiles and served with ease, even Paul gets involved in ensuring his customers are happy (both Paul and Donna cook as well).  With no official children’s menu, the younger ones are encouraged to choose from the mains and they are happy to serve a smaller portion ensuring the children eat just as well as their parents and none of this chicken nugget malarkey. (Don’t get me wrong, they have their place..but when you eat out, eat fresh).

So both my hubby and I settled quickly on roast beef and my son wanted the roast pork. There were plenty of main menu items nearly seducing us but I hadn’t had a pub roast in forever, and for once this ensured I didn’t dawdle over my choice.

The pub has its bar placed well in the middle of the ground floor with around 10 tables to the front left and right, fireplaces on either side for those colder days, and a small more cosy dining area set back upstairs with 4 or 5 tables.

Locals surrounded the bar area enjoying a catch up, with roast potatoes on deck for a thirst inducing snack. The bar includes the usual suspects with regards to drinks along with some great local beers and ales. We enjoyed a lager called Curious Brew, brewed using the champange method, it was refreshing and slightly fizzy, a clean and refreshing partner for the impending meat feast.

What arrived was fantastic; beautiful meat, on a bed of crispy roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding and a sticky and sweet oven roasted red onion. My son’s child portion arrived looking very similar and he was delighted to see a bit of fat (how he stays skinny, I’ll never know!). What followed was even more pleasing; not just a bountiful offering of vegetables but a jug of meaty gravy and a jug of cheese sauce!  It was all just gorgeous, and these jugs were an extra I wouldn’t expect to receive but it just shows how Paul and The Swan know what their customers want. The veg consisted of leeks, heritage carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and a wonderful pot of sweet potato mash. All this for £11.95, this was a roast with the most and for a greedy gravy guzzler like me, it was nice not to have to ask for more!

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My son completely cleared his plate which was a sure sign of enjoyment as he has a tendency to get distracted, it goes cold and he leaves some aside…but no dithering here. At £6.50 for a child portion, it includes a bowl of ice cream to satisfy the mini-me’s sweet tooth requirements. He gave it a big thumbs up and 100 out of 100!

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For us bigger kids, the normally savoury husband found one of his favourite puds was on the menu, and went for it – treacle tart with vanilla ice cream. I struggled to choose from the great options but the mini egg ice cream that accompanied the chocolate brownie somehow swung it for me…boy it was good. Gooey, cakey, crispy, warm, chocolatey,  bitter chocolate balanced with sweet with honeycomb bits for extra texture….delicious indeed. Hubby was super happy and impressed with his choice – a crisp pastry bottom, with a gooey layer then tasty treacle top, best he has had in a long time.

Well it was time to go, and be drawn out into the evening with the church bells a ringing amid the clear skies.

Want great pub food, that surpasses your expectations but doesn’t break the bank, best flap your wings and swan over to Bampton. If you’re too full to leave, there are some tastefully appointed rooms above to sleep it off.

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The Swan, Station Road, Bampton, Devon EX16 9NG. Telephone: 01398 332248.

Email: info@theswan.co

Web: www.theswan.co

Instagram: theswanbampton

Twitter: @theswanbampton

Facebook: @theswanbampton

*I’d like to add that there is good access and enough room for those with accessibility needs as well as parents with pushchairs.

Tuesday to Saturday
Midday – 2.00 pm
6.00 pm – 9.30 pm

Sunday
Midday – 2.30 pm
6.30 pm – 8.45 pm

Monday – 5.00 pm – 11.00 pm
Tuesday to Thursday
Open all day until 11.00 pm

Friday & Saturday
Midday – Midnight
Sunday – Midday – 10.30 pm

 

 

 

 

Kupp, Queen St. – The Bottomless Brunch by Chris Gower

Kupp has taken on the dubious mantle of being ‘one of my favourite places’ in the Queen St Dining quarter.  As a food blogger in Exeter I feel it is wrong to have favourites as one must be objective, but I am starting to realise that actually it is perfectly OK to have favourites.  I fell in love with KuPP after their launch evening, this is one of the more aesthetically pleasing restaurants currently in Exeter.  After being invited along to review their Bottomless Brunch offering, and after sampling this offering, I’m firmly in the fanclub!

KuPP is a fresh take on Scandi themed casual dining and with this interpretation comes a gorgeously designed restaurant and friendly staff.  The concept behind the restaurant is “to create a quality casual, all day, food & drink concept with a strong focus on speciality coffee that would be attractive in both the Scandinavian & UK markets” (http://www.kupp.co/about/).

The coffee is Bristol roasted by Extract and you can pop in and pick up a coffee to-go with one of their lovely pastries as a perfect accompaniment.  As prices go, it would be ‘mid-range’; it isn’t dirt cheap but  you get the entire KuPP experience including really friendly staff.

We’ve now visited a few times to have coffee and work.  The WiFi is reliable and the seats are comfy.  If you want to just visit for coffee or a more substantial meal then you are able to do whatever you wish. It is one of those rare places which transcends just being a restaurant, but can multi-task as a stylish cafe as well.

One of their current offerings is their Bottomless Brunch deals which is currently only offered in Exeter.  For £30pp you have 90 minutes to eat and drink as much as you like, as many Pilsners and boards as you can stomach!

So what makes up The Bottomless Brunch?  The Bords available cater for many tastes.

“The KuPP. Bord
Our Special house smoked pork meatballs, potted rabbit, chorizo sausage roll, Västerbotten cheese, KuPP potato salad, pickled vegetables, sourdough & Leksands Knacker crispbread.

The Veggie. Bord
Wild mushroom & tarragon tart, oven baked quinoa, kale & butternut bites, chilli lemon & goats curd dip, smashed avocado & Dukkah, soft boiled egg, Danish Blue, roast beetroot & smoked red onions, Västerbotten cheese, pickled vegetables, Leksands Knacker crispbread & toasted sourdough. 

The Smokin’ Roast. Bord
Smoked fore rib of beef, chive buttered smoked onion, honey smoked beetroot, roasted new potatoes & butternut squash, lingonberry jam & red wine gravy.

Drinks
Bottomless Czech Pilsner Krusovice or a choice of two of KuPP’s signature cocktails ‘Aquavit Bloody Mary’ or ‘Scandi Collins’.”

Lauren and myself tried The KuPP Bord and The Smokin’ Roast Bord, and  The Fiske Bord with a couple of pints of Czech Pilsner.

The Kupp Board

This was packed with lots of pickled veg, peashoots and breads including Potted Rabbit which was a strange yet delightful taste.  I really liked the Chorizo Sausage Roll and the meatballs were smokey & dense.  Each forkful gave a complex range of flavours loaded with fresh ingredients and lots of savoury items, it was nibble-heaven.

The Smoked Meat Board

This was like a small roast dinner on one board.  There were sweetly roasted butternut squash, honey roasted beetroot and the most tender smoked meat.  Everything had this wonderful smokiness infused through it, especially the roast new potatoes.  Although pouring the gravy was interesting (it did tend to dribble off the side) it was definitely an enjoyable combination of flavours.

Lauren’s thoughts and The Fiske Board

I asked EE Assitant Editor Lauren to write a few words about her thoughts on KuPP.

“I find KuPP is not crowded, is nice spacing. I was impressed with the service on the VIP night, and same again this time.

I think it’s a great deal if you are hungry and can drink. Possibly less so with a small appetite. So a lot for 2 courses essentially. But I thought it was all absolutely delicious.

The Fiske Board was fantastic. I thought you had to choose a board and you would keep eating that one so I was pleased to be able to have them all. And unlike a buffet, you get served and you don’t have to leave your guests.

It’s all served warm and fresh; this food offering is different to other places in Exeter!”

At £30pp but the value is really good.  We managed to pack in two and a half boards each (each board is £25 for two normally) and two pints of Czech Pilsner (per pint normally it is nearly £5).  After the meal it was clear that the food would have cost much more had we wanted the same items at any other time.

The offer runs from Midday to 5PM each Sunday and you have 90 minutes to cram as much as you can.  Perfect for those who have a big appetite.

Sunday Lunch at Hotel du Vin, Exeter – by Lauren Heath

Hotel Du Vin, Magdalen Street , Exeter, EX2 4HY – 01392 790120 – www.hotelduvin.com

Back in September, as a late birthday surprise, I was treated to Sunday lunch at Hotel Du Vin, Exeter. Previously called The Magdalen Chapter, the building that was originally an Eye Infirmary was taken over by the luxury chain earlier this year.

Along with rooms, a spa, walled garden and guest areas, it also has a bistro which welcomes both residents and non-residents. Having seen a post on Twitter politely boasting a table full of seafood and following further menu investigation, I was pleased that my retweet and subtle suggestion to my husband worked wonders.

Due to limited parking, we parked in the very nearby in Magdalen Street Car Park and walked over. On entering the hotel and meandering to the rear of the property, I was pleasantly surprised at how large and light the Bistro was, overlooking the private and well kept garden, containing a few al-fresco tables.

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Having seen the menu and the price, at a not-so-eye-watering price of £22.95 per person for 4 courses, I was slightly dubious at what would really be on offer. To my delight, there was the ‘French Market Table’ area covered in seafood, pates, a leg of ham, continental meats, potted shrimp, breads, olives et al.

As we were seated and served drinks by our friendly waiter, we were told there was no hurry. No hurry to eat, no hurry to order the soup or our mains, just enjoy your Sunday – this felt nice. The real hurry was the urge felt by my food mad son, and his desperation to get to the buffet offering and help himself. There is a childrens menu consisting of 3 courses for £10 which had some good items on, but actually I would have been happy to pay the child money and just let him eat once course – as much buffet as he could muster.

So after eating our soup, helping ourselves (quite a few times) to the market table, eating our main of beautifully tender Pipers Farm roast beef with homemade yorkshire puddings and oodles of gravy (a request fulfilled without any disapproval – I do love gravy!), we somehow found room for pudding…

I enjoyed a sweet and sticky apple tartin whilst the boys devoured the ice cream. The ice cream alone is worth a mention; all homemade on the premises, it consisted of the creamiest vanilla, chocolatiest and not too sweet chocolate, and the best pistachio ice cream we have ever tasted – fantastic ‘eye-scream’, we nearly fought over it!

Overall, a lovely setting, tasty and plentiful food and choice, good service and incredible value. It would be a great place to not hurry – either as a couple or with a group of friends catching up over a long lunch. You could, quite frankly, eat til your eyes pop…matron!

 

The Nutwell Lodge Hotel, Lympstone (4/5 – Off Season)

I don’t normally do ‘lucky dip dining’ as I call it.  Find a place, look at the menu and go in. Don’t research, don’t investigate or go online and have a look at reviews or anything.  Just have a go.  It can sometimes be fun to see what happens but sometimes it can lead to trouble.

But on the knowledge that I had been here back in 1999 for a friend’s 18th party and couldn’t remember anything negative about the experience, I thought ‘well heck it can’t be that bad…’

The Nutwell Lodge sits on the A376 on the way to Exmouth. We’d just been down to our nearest weird little coastal town on the spur of the moment and faced with a sunny day to ourselves, why the hell not… Generally we go to Exmouth and have a walk followed by some inexpensive grub at The Bath House but given the last time the service was so horrific, I didn’t feel like running the gauntlet again.  Initially we’d decided to have a go at The Saddlers Arms over in Lympstone but we were faced with a sign that said ‘Cash Only’.

Quickly moving on I decided to try The Nutwell Lodge; but knowing it was a bit grim and given the last time it’d been looking quite dated even back in 1999 (that I can remember), I was interested to see what it was looking like in the heady days of the 21st century.

The Nutwell Lodge is a family trough-feed-your-face-let-your-kids-scream kind of place.  Its cheap, there are kids everywhere and to those sorts of people that moan about kids screaming here is a piece of advice. DON’T GO TO THE SORTS OF PLACES THAT MARKET THEMSELVES AT FAMILIES. Sorry I know that was in capital letters, but come on.  I don’t have kids, but I know if I go to a place that has a playground at the back, you’re coming in to the child friendly zone.
A quick scoot through Trip Advisor gives The Nutwell Lodge a very mixed set of reviews, but thankfully not clustering towards the very bad side of things. There are a lot of Excellents as well as a lot of Terribles, and from what we saw today I would be happy to say that it was Very Good.
But be warned if you go here during season/peak times, it might be a different experience.

There are two entrances, the Pub Entrance and the Restaurant Entrance.  This is bad if, like me you are easily confused.  If you go in the Pub Entrance you can get to the Restaurant but you need to go to the Restaurant Entrance so that you can be seated.  Once you are seated you are asked if you want drinks, you say “no can we have a look at the menu first” and they say that they’ll be back in two minutes.  Our waiter did come back in two minutes, which was a positive start given in some restaurants they have a strange tendency of forgetting you until 10 minutes later when you’ve decided what you’re going to drink and order.

I had originally opted for a Burger not being the world’s biggest carvery fan, but our waiter James told us that there was currently a 45 minute wait on normal food (which is odd as they really didn’t seem that busy…) but we could just go up to the carvery as there wasn’t a queue.  He popped back with our carvery tickets and boom, off we went..

I can’t even start to imagine what a Large carvery would look like, most probably with more meat? not sure. But I had some lovely beef and very nice ham and lots of veg including perfectly cooked carrots which is a rarity for a carvery.  I didn’t go for whatever local ales they might have had. In fact the overwhelming need for food overrode this and I ended up having a San Miguel (which was £3.65??) which complemented everything nicely.

The Nutwell Lodge comes under the Great British Carvery brand which is part of Orchid Pubs. Orchid pubs runs a number of sub-brands but is owned by Mitchells & Butler.  This mega-conglomerate owns such brands as Harvester (The Malt House anyone?) and Toby Carvery (Norovirus anyone?? lol), and get this…Vintage Inns too is a Mitchells and Butler owned company; they happen to run The St George and Dragon which is the next pub up the A376. All a little incestuous.

The service was without fault, friendly and attentive and the food for the most part was worth the £5.95 per head. Whole thing came to £18.80 for two adults who went away stuffed and happy.

Address

Nutwell Lodge Hotel
Lympstone
Exeter
EX8 5AJ

Tel01392 873 279

Opening hours

Mon – Sat 8am – 11pm
Sun 8am – 10.30pm

Toby Carvery, Digby, Exeter – (2/5)

ROASTThe great British roast dinner, something that all residents of this peculiar little island hold close to their hearts, and even the picky eaters among us are catered to with the wide variety of elements which compile this classics dish. It became apparent that this strange connection that the British have to the good old roast intensifies at university, and the home cooked roast dinner is glorified beyond belief. Bearing in mind that I had just finished a long term of procrastination chat (with a surprising amount being dedicated to roast dinner dreaming) and not enjoying a Sunday lunch since Christmas, when a friend suggested we meet up at Toby Carvery for dinner I couldn’t say no.

Situated just off Middlemoor roundabout, parallel to the dual carriage way, you definitely wouldn’t be visiting Toby Carvery for the location or the views. The pub, come hotel has a large car park and out door seating, although scenes of the rush hour traffic don’t make for a peaceful ambiance. Arriving at around 7 o’clock on a Tuesday evening we were not expecting the restaurant to be busy, however we were greeted by a long queue once through the doors. I wouldn’t of minded waiting if there was a server there to advise on how long the wait was going to be but the whole service was very unorganised. After a 10 minutes of waiting with no contact from the staff we were seated in a very poky corner of the very crowded pub, by a grumpy looking waitress who I don’t think even grumbled a word to us.
Luckily a polite waitress was assigned to our table and took our drinks order quite swiftly before advising us that we could collect our carvery when it suited us.

Although we planned to wait for our cokes before getting our food, we spotted a lul in the queue and decided to go for it whilst it was quiet (this was a good idea as a couple minutes later we had atleast 10 people waiting behind us.) At the carvery we were greeted by another rude member of staff, the chef who ignored us waiting there for atleast 5 minutes whilst he played around with the food aimlessly, without even acknowledging us. Eventually when he decided to serve us I chose the turkey from the selection of meats ( which also included gammon, pork and beef.) The remainder of the meal was self service and I was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of fresh (looking) vegetables and accompanying sauces and gravy. What’s more we were provided with very large plates, meaning you didn’t have to pile up your food to enjoy everything you fancied.

Arriving back at out table we were glad we didn’t wait for our drinks as 10 minutes on they still had not arrived, so we tucked into our rather large plates of food. In all the roast dinner was nice, and I use this painfully bland adjective as a metaphor. The turkey was extremely dry and was quite hard to chew without swamping it with gravy, luckily the cranberry sauce was really good, so smothering a bit of this on the meat was a solution. The cauliflower cheese was also very disappointing, with not even a hint of cheesey-ness, the bland white slop on my plate tasted as if the cauliflower had simply been boiled in milk. However the roast potatoes were really crisp and tasty, and the gravy was rich and meaty, which really saved the meal.

You can’t argue with the excellent value of Toby Carvery with a huge roast dinner costing only £5.99, although expect the basics, there are no thrills or luxuries here. If you want a simple roast dinner with all the trimmings this is a good pit stop for a quick meal, however if you’ve been dreaming of your perfect roast for a few weeks, Toby’s will leave you feeling disappointed.

Read more from Kathryn at adayinmyshoeskathryn.blogspot.comand follow her on Twitter @kathrynlewis92

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The Half Moon, Clyst St Mary, Exeter

Sunday lunches are quite a British thing, correct me if I am wrong but I don’t know of another culture that will insist on having roast dinners even in the middle of Summer whilst its baking hot outside.  But like many things in the culinary universe, it is very very easy to (excuse the French) f**k up.

For a number of years the legendary Sunday lunch at The Half Moon in Clyst St Mary has been a source of curiosity as more than one person has recommended it to me.  So, given we were invited down for a recent birthday, how could I not give it the Eating Exeter treatment.

Before I go on, I have to say that I am completely biased when writing about The Half Moon simply because I was a resident of Clyst St Mary for about six years, and through the years, the village itself has changed in a lot of ways.  But one constant has been this funny little pub that has sat on the corner in the village for a very long time.

Clyst St Mary is a strange village that suffers from ‘Blink and You Miss It’ Syndrome.  The roundabout is the one feature of this village that most people are familiar with, its not a destination, just a small squirt on an ever encroaching urban landscape.  There is a medieval bridge that crosses the marsh next door which saw a large battle in The Prayer Book Rebellion, and a shop that sells things and and…the Village Hall.  There is also a church but this is conveniently situated a mile away on the other side of the Winslade Park estate.

So where does The Half Moon fit in to all of this? It was here that I tried to out-drink my father when I was newly and managed to fail.  It has been 14 years since I have had a pint of Addlingtons Cider and I won’t be in a rush. Sorry Addlingtons!  As you might imagine, he got in trouble when I returned home and returned the contents of my stomach in a glorious and embarrassing fashion.

It was in this pub I spent a couple of new years and it was in this pub that I gave away a winning meat raffle ticket, only to have found out it would have won a massive joint of pork. So unfortunately this review has turned in to more of a nostalgic ramble…oh well.
One of my best friends worked here for years, and after the demise of The Malster’s Pub which was situated further up the visit, The Half Moon became the only pub.  A sad and inevitable fact of life these days is that pubs are increasingly under threat, but given the popularity of this place and the popularity of the Sunday Lunches here, it would be surprising if The Half Moon faced such a threat.

There are two bars, a drinking bar and the restaurant side.  Both of them are not overly spacious, but I would be happy to say that although it is cosy, the surroundings are definitely not claustrophobic.  The menu at The Half Moon allow large and small portions which makes sense given how much food can end up being wasted by being overly generous with portions.  Specials on the wall, Sunday lunch menu on the table.   I went for the Topside Beef which was £8.95, and a bit cheaper for a smaller portion.  Accompanied by a pint of Hanlon’s Half Moon, which really just had to be done.

Trying to reserve a table for Sunday lunch at The Half Moon is something you really need to do in advance.  The pub was packed and it is easy to see why as I have to fully endorse this as one of the better pub roasts I have had in quite a while.  Crispy Roast potatoes, well cooked Beef (it was so thick I really could have done with a steak knife!) accompanied with home-made horseradish sauce.I have little else to say.  Brilliant roasts, very attentive service and real ales. Village pub atmosphere. What else could you ask for?