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

 

 

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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.

Eating Exeter does Powderham Food Festival

Both of us visited Powderham Food Festival independently, and wandered round in our groups enjoying many facets of the festival. Now in it’s 5th year, it hosts food producers, food stalls, children’s activities, a cookery theatre and it’s USP is the Fire and Smoke Tent; most events with BBQ events are mainly for BBQ enthusiasts, this drops it right in the middle of mainstream. With the extensive landscape, dotted with deer, a background of the castle and the estuary in the distance – the setting is a beautiful one. There is something for everyone, here are our best bits:

Lauren:

Last year we experienced this festival on a misty autumn day and this year, it was a glorious sunny day. I love how the festival is well spread out inside and outside the grounds, on different levels.

You pass though the initial courtyard filled with suppliers – too many to mention. There are also even more placed throughout the castle’s beautiful lower ground floor.

One of the first activities we came across was Fun Kitchen, who were there to keep the children entertained, learning to cook whilst having fun. Joe Mann does an incredible job of commanding every little persons attention and they end with something edible, made by their own little fair hands, to take home at the end of it.

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I loved the Theatre of Fire and Smoke; a huge teepee like tent,  filled with benches surrounding a large fire. Local oracle Marcus Bawdon of Devon Wood Smoke and UK BBQ mag put on a very interesting itinerary with 2015 BBQ champ Simon Dyer and other guest cooks. Plenty of demo’s, q&a and the all important tasters with plenty for everyone.

There was a larger range of food and drink stalls this year, with gin and cocktails an obvious trend.

Quirky vehicles converted into food and drink delights also included Dolly Mixers, Lolas Wings and Gourmet Cheesy Delights

We were hungry fairly early on and, where usually I struggle to choose food (through sheer reason of wanting to eat it all) I easily settled on the cool Grandpa Franks and their reuben dog – a firm hot diggety dawg smothered in beef brisket, monteray jack cheese and some jalapeno’s thrown in for good measure – mouth wateringly good. My son chose a fantastic super-fast-oven-baked pizza from Pizza Buona, and it was delicious.

The Exeter Cookery School cookery theatre included demo’s from Richard of Angelas Restaurant, ex River Cottage chef Tim Maddams, and of course the host, ECS director and chef Jim Fisher. Tim cooked 4 courses, one of which I was delighted to be a selected diner due to the speed I put my hands up like antlers! (A fun and fair selection process). I enjoyed pigeon with mushrooms and blackberries all foraged by Tim himself, it was delicious! He was incredbly entertaining, full of anecdotes and clearly passionate about food and its origins, with uncomplicated dishes.

We purchased some lovely fudge from Devon Fudge, Steve was delighted to find a fantastic Indian naga chili pickle from India In A Jar, and my son loves beetroot and apple juice so he chose to buy some with his pocket money. I couldn’t leave without grabbing a caramel chocolate tart from Te Cake and coffee from Crankhouse – I consumed these two together so swiftly in joyous celebration of a good day out, I didn’t even take a photo!

An affordable and lovely day out full of local suppliers and food producers and all the demo’s included. If you haven’t visited it yet, you best put it in the diary for next year, and hot foot it towards the smoke and fire tent early on – it gets busy. Sit a while until hunger and curiosity lure you out, and enjoy everything this dynamic festival has to offer for yourself.

Chris:

Summer’s final death knell fell on the weekend of The Powderham Food Festival.  A gloriously sunny Sunday made up for a wet Saturday, and with this final surge, we close the doors on Summer with a superb send-off.

The festival is a relative new-comer to the foodie calendar, but it has been booming in popularity each year.  I finally got the chance to visit and experience the clustering bustle of culinary craziness takes over the home of the Earl of Devon.  This year has been particularly successful for the festival, firmly embedding it in the region’s foodie calendar.

Tori has been poorly for quite a few weeks now, so I took my lovely mum.  The car parking was logical and well laid out, a little walk up to the castle with an optional tractor service for the less mobile.  We we gently pottered along some of the Powderham’s magnificent stags casually laid themselves out by the fence, drawing much attention from the snappers and onlookers.

The first section of exhibitors were local producers in the courtyard.  This was the entry point that all punters walked through on their way to the rest of the festival on the other side of the castle.  Here we found Bell & Loxton with their lovely cold-pressed rapeseed oil, which I bought two bottles of including a Garlic oil that I have since used to cover everything edible in.

Also Shaldon Bakery, my favourite bakers I might add, was there in force with some delicious looking breads including the infamous and delicious Uglibun.

We took a trip around to the other side of the castle and there were street-food stalls, more producers, even a mobile gin bar!  The highlight for me was the Theatre of Fire and Smoke which was MC’d by one of my favourite bloggers Marcus Bawdon and his pal Simon, who is also a legend in the BBQ world.

It was great to wander around taking in surroundings, to watch some of the demos at the Fire and Smoke tent and even get to taste some samples from the demo too!

Our last stop was the Exeter Cookery School Demo tent where we watched chef-maestro-and-nice-chap Jim Fisher and friends, including foodie hero Tim Maddams, share their extensive knowledge and skills to eager foodies.

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Before we headed home we were able to walk back through the castle itself which was home to even more local producers.

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Including a Pork Pie cake!!

This has to be one of my favourite food festivals.  The exquisite surroundings of the castle, the reasonable entry fee, the choice and above all else the celebration of some of the fantastic local producers and street food stalls makes you realise just how amazing we are when it comes to producing good things with great ingredients, grown and created on our front door.

www.powderhamfoodfestival.com

Continue reading “Eating Exeter does Powderham Food Festival”

The Carless Foodie: foot-friendly foodie destinations near Exeter

Exeter Food Festival is just around the corner, and it is easy to see that our region has become a shining beacon for food lovers over the last ten years, and us Exonians are in the middle of the party. But for those of us reliant on public transport, getting out to visit some of the best foodie destinations can be tricky.

So, here are a few choice foodie destinations that are easily accessible by bus or train. All of these destinations are on reliable major routes. If you’re in Exeter visiting the Food Festival, why not pay these lovely places a visit and say hello, even if you do have a car.

Darts Farm – http://www.dartsfarm.co.uk/- 6 miles from Exeter

Bus: Stagecoach Route 57 –
Cycle: Sustrans Exeter-Topsham cycle path.
Train: Exeter to Topsham on the Avocet Line, (20 minute walk).

There has been a farm shop on this site for a number of years. It’s heritage only goes to strengthen the fact that Dart’s Farm Shopping Village is one of the best in the country, and handily it is also accessible by bus, train and cycle path.

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Home to Green Valley Cider (Taste Of The West Gold 2014), The Butchers at Dart’s Farm, The Fish Shed and a range of other lifestyle, kitchen and luxury gift retailers, the Dart Brothers have crafted a unique niche among the foodies in the South West.

This was recognised recently when the shop picked up FARMA Best Farm Shop of The Year 2015; Food Magazine also recognised the shop in the prestigious Food Magazine Reader Awards when it was voted Best Farm Shop 2015.

There is a bus stop outside of the farm with regular buses passing. The nearest train station is Topsham which is a twenty minute walk away. Passing ‘The Bridge Inn’ before crossing the bridge over the River Clyst which is a definite pub recommendation, especially needed if walking back up the hill from the river.

Quicke’s Cheese Farm Shop – https://www.quickes.co.uk/- 5 miles from ExeterBus: Stagecoach 5, 5a, 5b, 5c, 155
Train: Exeter to Newton St Cyres on the Tarka Line (24 minute walk)

Quicke’s Cheese has a long legacy for cheese-making which is just a small part of a heritage that stretches back to the 1500’s. From their own herd, they produce cheese that has won countless awards and can be found in many supermarkets and delicatessens across the UK.

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At the heart of the Quickes Cheese universe is Quicke’s Farm in Newton St Cyres. This is not just home to the cows, but also to their wonderful Farm Shop. The farm shop has been listed on

The Daily Telegraph’s 50 Best Food Shops outside London. And whilst you’re visiting, why not book a tour of their cheese making facility?

Their Farm Kitchen is housed in a permanent safari tent and is available for hire for private functions and events.

Getting to Quicke’s Farm is easy enough on the bus as there is a bus stop right outside. If you’re travelling by train, it is 24 minutes by foot. Alternatively there is a farm track from Station Rd. to the Farm, but be careful as this can be muddy underfoot in wet weather.

Greendale Farm Shop – http://www.greendalefarmshop.co.uk/- 7 miles from Exeter
Bus: 52A, 52B, X53

Near Farringdon and Clyst St Mary, on the A3052 can be found Greendale Farm Shop, a very valid alternative to going to the supermarket. Open from 8am – 8pm every day apart from Sunday when they shut at 4pm, it has a resident master butcher, a fishmonger with their very own fleet of fishing boats that haul in and deliver to the shop every day. Lobster and crabs are available from saltwater tanks ensuring they are fresh from the moment customers purchase them and a vast fish counter with every sort of fish imaginable including shellfish.

Housing their own Deli and Cafe, this farm shop has grown and expanded over the last few years. Starting from a small building (I remember this one too), it has grown to encompass a vast array of goods with a specialty for locally grown seasonal produce and specialty produce that you’re unlikely to find in a standard supermarket.

The Cafe serves a particularly nice breakfast from 8am – 12pm for £6.95 and lunch from 12pm – 6pm. They use eggs produced on site by their friendly flock of hens.

Although there is car parking available, foodies relying on public transport can use the handily placed bus stops next to the road to catch the regular Sidmouth-Exeter bus service using either Stagecoach or First services.  We had a closer look at Greendale Farm Shop recently!

And don’t forget…

The Real Food Store – A matter of metres away from Exeter’s Paris Street Bus Station. The Real Food Store has won numerous awards most recently Best Food Store in the Food Magazine Reader Awards 2016. It houses Emma’s Bread and the Real Food Cafe, which serves a seasonal changing menu.

Bon Gout Deli Magdalen Road is a hidden gem for lovers of indy businesses, and one of its longest standing residents is Bon Gout Deli. With an extensive range of cheeses and meats, this deli also offers a Cheese Wedding Cake service and outside catering, using the best local ingredients on offer. Magdalen Road is a 15 minute walk away from the Exeter High Street, and about 18 minutes from the main Paris Street bus station.

Top 10 Foodie Gift Ideas – There is still time!

Foodies are really very easy to buy for.  In fact, this might be a cloaked excuse to post some stuff up here with the hope someone might buy one for me!

A Foody Christmas Gift list is inevtably filled with stuff that will take up space in your kitchen.  Either a thing that prepares food or an ingredient!  All items here are available through Amazon, like pretty much everything else in the universe.

1. Andrew James Ice Cream, Sorbet and Frozen Yoghurt Maker Machine 1.45 Litre + 128 Page Recipe Book – As voted “Best Buy” Ice Cream Maker By Which Magazine

51bpRMcvjmLIf I had this item I would not be seen for days.  This is a customer photo, rather than the photo that Amazon produce. It has received 4.5 stars out of 5 and is priced £19.99.

  • The Ice Cream Maker was recently voted by The Independent Newspaper as being in The Top Ten Best Ice Cream Makers
  • The Andrew James ice cream machine makes delicious homemade ice cream in only 20-30 minutes.
  • Includes 128 page recipe book packed with delicious recipes , written by Annette Yates
  • Fast freezing insulated bowl with a large 1.45 litre capacity
  • Makes ice cream, sorbet and frozen yoghurt. extra large ingredient funnel

2. Morphy Richards 48822 Soup Maker – Black

Winter is perfect soup weather, and this Soup Maker is the perfect item for the Foody that loves soup.  Boil a ham or a chicken carcass to make the best stock for a nice wintery soup.
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  • Large 1.6 litre capacity, serving up to 6 people
  • Smooth and chunky soup settings
  • Makes soup in less than 25 minutes
  • Simple, one-step operation
  • Easy-clean design

Price: £54.99

 

 

 

 

 

3. Breville VST025 Sandwich Press

I am genuinely thankful for the sandwich press for keeping me alive for the three years I was at university, and indeed beyond.  Being the proud owner of a George Foreman Grill that drains the fat off everything and deposits it in a handy tray (alright if you don’t lose it, messy if you do!), I can appreciate the highly useful nature of this product, especially to students and those who just sometimes like a nice toasted sandwich.  Priced £24.99

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  • Stainless steel sandwich press
  • Makes three Panini–suitable for Ciabatta and Focaccia breads and also wraps
  • Hinged lid accommodates different bread thicknesses
  • Flat non-stick-coated aluminium plates for easy cleaning
  • Power-on and ready-to-cook indicator lights, cool-touch handle, non-slip feet and cord storage

4. Philips HR1861 Whole Fruit Juicer – Aluminium

No matter what anyone says, when they get a juicer they are ABSOLUTELY DETERMINED to live off it to get its moneys-worth.  Strangely enough some people do, and they live happily off juiced everything for the entire year.  They lose weight and become a shiney person who is remarkably healthy.  That is what the manual says anyhow! Price: £70

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  • Enjoy fast juicing with multiple speed controls for soft and hard fruits, get fresh juices at speed with the powerful 700 watt motor
  • Make more juice with continuous juicing thanks to extra large capacity, micro mesh-filter made of stainless steel
  • No pre-cutting needed as the extra large tube swallows even bigger fruits and vegetables
  • All parts are dishwasher safe so this juicer is quick and easy to clean

5. Bosch TAS4011GB Tassimo Coffee Maker, Silver

There is nothing worse in this life than shit coffee.  And despite the efforts of even the best Baristas, you’ll find that the best coffee made is coffee that is consistently good.  The Tassimo Coffee Maker is another stab at consistency, and to be fair, its not actually that bad despite what you might think! Price: £59.99

  • Automatically prepares freshly brewed drinks at the push of a button
  • An intelligent bar code system ensures a perfect drink every time
  • Flow heater technology means virtually no heat up time
  • 12 varieties including filter coffee, caffe crema, cappuccino, latte macchiato, espresso, hot chocolate and tea
  • Bosch 2 year guarantee

 

6. Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker 

In contrast to number 5, there is nothing better than getting up on a Sunday/Saturday morning to the smell of fresh coffee being spooned in to a French Press.  And this takes it one step further. Price: £25.20

  • Now you can enjoy real fresh coffee in the same time it takes to make instant coffee!
  • The AeroPress takes just one minute to make smooth perfect coffee every time
  • Actual press time is just 20 seconds
  • Simple and quick to clean; there’s no washing-up of fiddly parts
  • The AeroPress is everything you need to make professional coffee at home

7. Russell Hobbs 18980 Desire 3-in-1 Hand Blender

Every oody will know how useful a decent hand blender is.  These need to be durable, comfortable to use and practical.  Not to mention easy to wash.  Being the proud owner of a Russell Hobbs brand hand blender, they are generally very good and much better than any of the cheaper brand.  Unfortunately it seems that a good hand blender is an investment, it will last you a while if you spend the money. Price £24.99

  • 400W at max load (300w rated)
  • 2 speeds
  • Detachable stainless steel shaft with stainless steel blade
  • 0.5L capacity beaker
  • 0.5L capacity chopping attachment with stainless steel blade
  • Additional whisk attachment
  • Matt black with red accents

8. Morphy Richards Accents 48702 Searing Slow Cooker – Red

Slow cookers are a brilliant way to have food ready and waiting for you when you get home after a hard days work.  Chop and prepare everything the night before, then before you leave the house turn on your cooker and then by the time you get home it’ll be ready and waiting for you.  These are under valued and often get shoved in to the back of the cupboard until winter comes, but they are just as good throughout the year if you’re willing to adapt your tastes and try out new recipes. Price £24.99

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  • Large 3.5l capacity, serving 3-4 people
  • Sear, stew or slow cook in the same pot
  • Lightweight and durable, dishawasher-safe aluminium cooking pot
  • Low, medium and high cooking settings
  • Transparent, toughened glass lid for monintoring cooking

9. Tefal ActiFry Low Fat Fryer

My mother-in-law bought one of these 6 months ago in a bid to curb my father-in-law’s preference for eating chips with every meal.  Although he doesn’t, when they do have chips they have to deep fry them so to keep the moist tastiness.  Oven chips are far too dry, so here is the alternative.

Using a miniscule amount of oil, you can cook your chips efficiently and much healthier then you would in a normal deep fat fryer.  This seems to work, and has been a good investment.  So in turn, I’d love one!! Price £89.99

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  • Healthy: 1 spoon of oil for 1kg of real crispy chips.
  • Nutritious: new oil each time you cook, preserving nutritional quality.
  • Versatile: cook chips, curries, stews, stir-fries… and more
  • Digital timer and audible alert at end of cooking period
  • Paddle automatically rotates food, cooking evenly with no need to shake or stir

 

10. WINNER! UKayed ® Mini Power POPCORN Maker 1200W Healthier POPCORN + Bags & Popping Corn (Red) 

This has to be the best thing to have in your kitchen.  If like me, you’re a total movie buff, then there is nothing better than home-made popcorn.  The novelty value is going to last when you can promise your friends fresh buttered popcorn when they come over for movie night! Price £24.99

  • UKayed ® Popcron Maker With Butter Melting Cup, 5 Popcorn bags & 500g Popping Corn
  • Easy to clean Mains operated, Healthier popcorn no oil needed
  • Solid Powerful construction 1200W, FUN & Easy to Use, Available In Red Or Pink
  • Pops corn in minutes, Perfect for parties, watching movies at home or self indulgence
  • This product comes with the UKayed safe buy guarantee