Family Fun at the River Cottage Summer Festival


Under 16s go free when accompanied by an adult

Fun galore awaits children and adults alike as the River Cottage Summer Festival draws near. Taking place across the August bank holiday weekend (26th – 27th August) the Festival offers visitors a packed schedule of family friendly activities and foodie delights. The whole family can enjoy top music acts and great children’s entertainment, all in a beautiful East Devon setting.  Children under 16 go free when accompanied by an adult making the Summer Festival a fantastic, affordable day out for the whole family and a perfect way to celebrate the end of the summer season.

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Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities and entertainment, from watching performances by Swamp Circus and Rainbow Gecko Giant Bubbles, to getting hands on with Play Art Junk Modelling or taking a foraging tour with John Wright. Littles ones can enjoy baby massages, kids yoga, the hands-on mud kitchen, sandpit, felting and flower workshops and the Marine Monster making. Other workshops include pottery, jewellery making and clay modelling. Nature lovers can immerse themselves in the wonders of the stunning countryside with guided geology walks with local butterfly experts as well as star gazing after sunset.

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Take part in one of the masterclasses to find out how to make your own sushi or cook over a wood fire. The little ones can get stuck into pizza making or creating their own ice cream sundae masterpiece with prices starting from just £20.

When thoughts turn to food, visitors can enjoy a veritable feast of tasty homemade dishes on offer throughout the weekend with delectable street food from local artisan producers. Treat yourself to a Farmhouse Feast and immerse yourself in the River Cottage atmosphere. The two-course sit down meal is served in the iconic Farmhouse for just £20 and offers a mouthwatering menu designed using fresh, seasonal and local produce from the farm, garden and local suppliers. There will also be a selection of bars located across the Festival serving a variety of sumptuous drinks from Chase Vodka cocktails and English sparkling wine from neighboring Castlewood Vineyard to locally sourced beers, ciders, wines and seasonal cocktails.

A team of chefs and experts will be on hand to share their culinary tips throughout the two-day weekend on the Garden Stage hosted by Steven Lamb. On the Saturday, visitors can enjoy a mix of chefs, speakers and activists including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, forager John Wright, Bake-Off star Chetna Makan and herbalist Katie from Pukka Teas. On the Sunday, award-winning blogger Ed Smith will take to the stage alongside Satish Kumar, Michelin-starred Adam Byatt and Hugh.

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Festival goers can enjoy music throughout the weekend with a variety of brilliant musicians on the line-up. There is live music from midday until 10pm on both days, with entertainment for the whole family. On the Saturday, Sound of the Sirens will headline alongside The Jack Daniels Band, Them Voices Poor, Sadie Horler, Hungry Bentley, Nicky Swann and DJ Diggz. On the Sunday, visitors can enjoy music from The Travelling Band, Mr Tea and the Minions, Melissa Bel, Mark McCabe, Tori Reed and the Troubadours and DJ Diggz.

For more information and to book tickets, visit the website: River Cottage is running a free park and ride service to and from the Festival or add to the experience with VIP parking onsite available for just £5 per car.


Win a Family Pass to the River Cottage Spring Food Fair!

Taking place over May Bank Holiday, River Cottage Spring Food Fair is the perfect way to celebrate this season’s foodie delights and activities, surrounded by the gorgeous East Devon countryside. Promised to be packed full of fun for all the family to enjoy, enter our competition and you could win a family pass for Monday 29th May 2017.


We’ve rounded up our top 10 things to do at the Spring Food Fair….

  1. Enjoy a cookery masterclass – Get cooking with our adult and child masterclasses and learn the secret behind cookies and doughnuts & pasta and focaccia. If parents want to try their hand at something different then there are a range of other masterclasses to enjoy from Wild Cocktails with John Wright to Outdoor Cookery with Gill Meller
  2. Pottery Workshops – Learn how to make a seedling pot which will be yours to take away at the end of the session
  3. Falconry displays – Marvel at these beautiful birds as they fly around and catch their prey
  4. Food, food and more food! Feast on delicious fare from our local producers, pop up food stalls, try some delicious River Cottage wood fired pizza or dine in our farmhouse pop-up restaurant!
  5. Bee Area – Visit the East Devon Beekeepers and learn all about bees, you will also be able to make and take away your very own candle and take part in a fun bee-related quiz.
  6. Lucet Braiding/Felting workshops – Learn how to make textile jewellery e.g. friendship bracelet using the Lucet & 100% wool fibres or textile waste or you could learn the basic principles of needle-felting to create a delightful bumble bee brooch
  7. Enjoy spectacular large bubble displays/ get face painted
  8. Forest school – Learn how to build a shelter, whittle pegs and light a fire
  9. Animal area – Wonder around the farm and meet the River Cottage animals and other friends. Pigs, sheep, cows, chickens, alpacas, miniature ponies will all be around for you to see.
  10. Natural woodcraft workshops – Use natural resources to make you very own bug box or a beautiful wooden flower

…and if that’s not enough to tempt you, visit the website ( to find out more or buy yourself some tickets.

To be in with the chance of winning a family pass to the Spring Food Fair on Monday 29th May, where you can enjoy all of our favourite spring delights and much more, simply enter the competition below.

Terms & Conditions

  • In order to enter please just retweet the pinned post on Twitter or like, share and comment on the pinned post on Facebook.
  • Closing date Midnight 30.04.2017
  • Prize includes two adult tickets and two child tickets to the River Cottage Spring Food Fair on Monday 29th May 2017
  • Transport is not included
  • Open to residents of the UK aged over 18
  • Prize is non-transferable or amendable
  • No cash alternative
  • Additional costs incurred are payable by the winner


*Featured header image courtesy of Nick Hook Photography

River Cottage announces Spring Food Fair dates – 27th, 28th, 29th May 2017

River Cottage has announced dates for its Spring Food Fair – held across the late May Bank Holiday. This hugely popular event is a real treat for the senses and a must-visit for foodies and gardeners. It’s a chance to get the family down to River Cottage, to explore the farm nestled in gorgeous East Devon and to indulge in the sights, sounds and tastes of spring in the heart of the Devon countryside.


The Fair is packed full of activities and family fun – from chef demos, artisan food stalls, kids’ workshops, talks and live music to garden and foraging tours from River Cottage foraging guru John Wright.

Little ones go free and will be thoroughly entertained throughout with a huge choice of child- friendly activities including falconry displays, donkey rides, felting and lucet braiding workshops, animal area, candle making, demonstrations by local craftsmen, bubble workshops, face painting, skittles and hula hooping – to name but a few.

Grab the chance to take a peek behind the scenes at River Cottage HQ and – new for 2017, visitors can enjoy a sit down meal in the pop up restaurant, located in the famous farmhouse itself. The special Farmhouse Feasts feature a delicious menu designed using fresh, seasonal and local produce. River Cottage street food will join forces with local producers to make sure no-one goes hungry as they enjoy the festivities. As well as delicious dishes from the street food stands, there will also be a fully licensed bar serving local ciders, beers, wines and exciting seasonal cocktails.


A team of experts will be on hand to share their culinary tips and seeds of gardening wisdom throughout the three-day weekend. The Main Stage will be packed with cookery demonstrations from guest chefs, while green-fingered visitors can head to the Garden Stage to listen to expert talks on a huge variety of topics related to horticulture.

River Cottage has confirmed an exciting line-up of chefs. Taking to the Main Stage are Gill Meller, Matthew Fort, Signe Johansen, Tom Hunt, Mark Hix, Louise Gray, Naomi Devlin and Rachel De Thample to name a few. Organic kitchen gardener, chef and writer, Stephanie Hafferty will speak on the Garden Stage with Charles Dowding, market gardener, author, teacher and ‘no dig’ advocate alongside River Cottage’s head Gardener Will Livingstone and many other garden experts. Talks hosted on the Garden Stage will cover all aspects of organic, sustainable and unique horticultural methods including; seed-saving, biodynamics, market gardening, no dig, soil and compost and much more.

Those keen to learn something new can book onto one of the popular masterclasses.


Starting at just £15 these include Bread & Butter from scratch in an hour, Wild Cocktails and Super Salads and Ferments, whilst kids can learn the secrets behind Cookies and Doughnuts.

For more information and to book tickets, visit the website: River Cottage is running a free park and ride service to and from the Fair or add to the experience with VIP parking onsite available for just £5 per car.

Photos courtesy of River Cottage/OneVoice PR

10 Questions for Tim Maddams

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

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


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

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

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

Thanks to Lauren for organising these 10 Questions!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pigeon. Probably one of the best too.

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

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

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

Well, each demo was a 5 course tasting menu,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catch Tim on social media – TwitterFacebookInstagram

Photo credit –

The Rusty Pig, Ottery St Mary

The Rusty Pig, Yonder Street, Ottery St. Mary EX11 1HD 01404 815580

Butchers: open Thursday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday 9.30am to 4pm.
Supper tables: Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Fixed Course only)
Breakfast: Friday and Saturday 10am to 2pm

EE RecommendsIn the last twenty years or so, East Devon has had somewhat of a food renaissance.  Near the Devon-Dorset border lies River Cottage HQ, at the other end will be Michael Caines new flagship hotel and restaurant at Lympstone.  In between are a whole raft of producers and restaurants that are producing something amazing on a daily basis.  Deer Park Hotel, Trill Farm, Axminster River Cottage Canteen, Otter Brewery, Castlewood Vineyard etc. are all giving East Devon that edge.

In this litany of hallowed foodiness, sits The Rusty Pig in Ottery St Mary; a vanguard of good food and seasonal simplicity amongst the fussiness of a la carte and tiny portions. Ingredients are made on site, local or foraged; plucked from trusted local producers and hedgerows to create a palette you’re unlikely to find in other restaurants.

We were invited along to witness one of their supper table nights which tend to happen on a Thursday and Friday night.  Diners are welcome to have a 10 inch hand made pizza, or they can go for the fixed price three course menu.  On Saturday nights, only the fixed course menu is available and it is bookings only!

The Rusty Pig sits on Yonder Street.  When I googled the directions, I said to myself ‘ah I know where that is…’ and didn’t think anything else of it until we entered Ottery St Mary – I drove up to where I thought The Rusty Pig should be.  Of course neither myself or Tori had mobile coverage so there was no GPS to save the day.  About 15 minutes of light swearing, driving around in circles and ‘I’m not going to ask anyone’ ensued until we just happened to come across it in Yonder Street.

It feels like a home.  There is no delineation between the kitchen and the dining area on the ground floor, there are no barriers between customers and the important people who run the business, and throughout the evening it felt like the layout of the kitchen matched the ethos.  There is a shower in the toilet, and lots tables and chairs throughout the upstairs.  Recently having just obtained their alcohol licence, The Rusty Pig has come-of-age and is now looking at new horizons.

Robin Rea is the owner/butcher/head chef/chief smoker.  Devonian by birth, he started cooking in Melbourne during his travels in Italain restaurants which gave him a real spark for cooking, this continued when he returned to the UK, working in numerous restaurants before taking up a position at River Cottage.  His mother owned a shop in Ottery St Mary and when she retired, Robin fulfilled a dream by opening a butchers; producing air-dried and smoked meats in various forms.

An affable friendly chap with an absolutely cracking sense of humour, he was more than happy to chat to us throughout the evening, and we learnt a whole lot about what goes on at The Rusty Pig.  Helping him out on the evening was ex-River Cottage chef Joe Draper.  I first met Joe at the inaugural start of Jonny Does Dinner that took place at Trill Farm a couple of years ago; it was great to be able to catch up with him after the meal.

On Thursday & Friday nights The Rusty Pig serves food in the evenings.  The Butcher-Kitchen area has some seating, but upstairs a hidden world of exposed floorboards, wooden furniture and pig/Ottery St Mary ephemera.  We took our seats, we ordered our drinks and took in our surroundings.

Tonight we would be having the three-course menu (£32 per head).  This fixed price menu was simple but effective, and it can change too depending on ingredients available.

We kicked the evening off with an Onion Soup, sprinkled with Rusty Pig made Black Pudding. I found out afterwards that technically it is an onion milk, but frankly it could be called Mike Onion and it would still be delicious; it was so smooth and the savory kick of the Black Pudding made for a balanced starter that had me rethinking my previous misgiving about Onions in soup form. The starter was accompanied with a Garlic & Fennel Flatbread which looked wonderful and tasted as good.

The main course was a colourful mixture of roasted vegetables, wild garlic gnocci, beetroot relish, Rusty Pig made Cotechinni garnished with a hard ‘mountain cheese’ as Robin described it afterwards.

The dish was a colourful firework of food that I nearly forgot to eat after snapping it from every conceivable angle.  The Gnocci was smooth and the garlic worked well with the beetroot relish, the roasted vegetables (including carrot and parsnip) were perfectly done and as a Cotechinni virgin, I am glad that I was.  It has a bite to it, and the slight chewiness of the Cotechinni contrasted in texture to the creamy smoothness of the Gnocci.

Our dessert was a traditional yet edgy conclusion to what had been a stonking meal.  A Rhubarb and Cardoman Panacotta with Almond crumble.  This played on the different textures and the variation between the sweetness of the crumble and the sourness of the Rhubarb.  I love dishes that go beyond smell, food that looks amazing and uses a different set of tastes beyond sweet and savory – this makes for a memorable plate of food.

Afterwards we got chatting to Robin and Joe. The evening was coming to an end, but the party of fourteen ladies upstairs was still in full swing.  Joe was putting the finishing touches to the next day’s dishes, an event and a fully booked evening meant that the Saturday was going to be a busy day for both Joe and Robin, rafting in help from another chef.

If I was  compiling a ‘foody tour’ of East Devon, The Rusty Pig would be on it.  There are few places in Devon that share the same ethos and passion as this Butcher-Restaurant.  I was already a fan of Robin and brilliant little butchers, but this visit confirmed for me that The Rusty Pig is one of the vanguards of the local-seasonal school of cuisine in East Devon.

There is also the ‘Rusty Pig at Home’ where Robin will come in to your home to cook a private meal in your house.  Fancy a bit of Rusty Pig magic at your wedding? When we first arrived, Robin was talking to a bride & groom for whom he would be cooking for on their big day.  For more information about these other services, best ring the number at the beginning of the post.

River Cottage Summer Fair 2015

In this end of the South West, we are quite lucky really.  We have a number of popular culinary landmarks that any good foodie must visit at least once in their lifetime.  Gidleigh Park, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, River Cottage HQ, The Riverford Field Kitchen in Buckfastleigh are for me, those placecs in the popular food arena which foodies need pay homage to, sacrifice a virginal aubergine, sing the hymn of the organic carrots to.  So, Chris, How many have you visited?   I hear you cry! Well…I’m getting there (slowly) but I have ticked one off my list when I visited River Cottage HQ for their lovely summer festival this weekend.

It is easy to fall in love with this part of the world, the Jurassic Coast has slowly turned itself in to one of the most desirable parts of the UK to live due to its nice climate and frequent appearances on property shows which profess the benefits of the area.  Lying near the sea with lots of beautiful rolling hills, peppered with forests and a patchwork of green fields that literally roll on as far as the eye can see (cliched but true). I would consider myself an apologist for Mid-Devon and the rugged tranquility of Dartmoor, but East Devon is definitely a sapphire on our doorstep.

If you haven’t heard of River Cottage then I can assume you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 20 years.  In a nutshell River Cottage kicked off in 1997 when journalist/chef/ Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall bought a former keepers lodge on the Slape Manor estate in Netherbury called River Cottage.  It featured as part of the renowned TV and book series that showed on Channel 4 in the early noughties. Further series and books followed, and operations were moved from the original location to Park Farm in 2004, where the River Cottage ethos lives on.

Set in 44 acres of farmland, the farm sits on the same hill as Trill Farm (the amazing setting for my Johnny Does Dinner evening in a polytunnel where I met Tim Maddams!) and within spitting distance (pun intended) of Castlewood Vineyard, a boutique vineyard that creates sparkly stuff and has a Wine Festival too which we went to a couple of years ago.

Park Farm plays host to day events, cookery courses and is the base of operations for the River Cottage universe.  You can even book it for a wedding should you wish!  Learn how to forage, how catch fish, butcher and bake on one of their courses and now there is the opportunity to learn a chef apprenticeship at their Chefs School.

And…did I mention? River Cottage also runs a series of successful canteens in Plymouth, Bristol, Axminster and Winchester which brings the River Cottage food ethos to the masses. One might appear in Exeter, but for now I’ll have to settle for a train ride over to Axminster.

One of the many things that go on at River Cottage (here is their calendar) is their Summer Fair which is where I come in.

Our visit to the Summer Fair was an appendage to a longer trip.  We had been to see Polly, co-founder of Eating Exeter and possible future creator or Devouring Dorset (hint hint Pol if you’re reading this) who now resides in glorious Wimborne.  I’ll bash out a post about our culinary adventures in Wimborne after I’ve finished writing this post.  On the way back we decided to pass through and say hello and see what sorts of things were happening at this family friendly event.

Parking is a little way away from Park Farm which is halfway down the hill at the end of a track.  The tractor shuttle service means you’re transported from your car in style and landing safely at the bottom.  But you are allowed to walk the footpath if you feel up to the climb.

The first thing we needed when we arrived was food.  The street food stalls didn’t get much of a look-in with us as we spotted that the River Cottage Kitchen were doing plates of grub for £6.50.  This went down very well (not being a beetroot fan I am now a convert as the Slow-cooked Beetroot with Oregano was superb!  It was accompanied by River Cottage Baked Beans, Potato and Spinach Curry, English Yellow Split Pea Hummus and Pearl Barley Tabbouleh.

After we topped up our energy level, all washed down with a half of River Cottage EPA, it was time to do some exploring.  As we had arrived later then we had planned, its more than likely we missed some bits entirely as we got caught up with watching Falcons and wandering around the River Cottage Kitchen Garden.

Had we been more patient we could have had a garden tour, but for that moment we were happy wandering around this magnificent piece of horticulture.  The highlights for us were the flowering ball artichokes and the sweet pea arch.

Walking around neatly planted patches of vegetables does funny things to someone at a certain stage of their life.  It makes you want to go home and grow things, the inspiration largely washed off by the time we got home and looked at how much of our garden would have to be completely dug-over.  Could I rent an allotment? Only time will tell.  Certainly Tori being the Head Gardener has decided that we simply have to grow Bell Artichokes.

After a meander around the garden we hit the local producer’s tents.  Shaldon Bakery was represented and so was Conker Dry Gin.  Distilled in a copper still, they are Dorset’s only dry gin company and making a name for themselves with their blind optimism and fresh approach to distilling gin.  We’ll definitely be getting a bottle soon…very soon 😀

Further exploring took us up to the demo tent in the Meadow.  We just happened to catch the last part of Good Game’s Steve Williams, I really wanted to go up an say ‘hello’ but we were short on time as it was nearly time for the Falconry display!

Had we been able to come up for the whole day, I might have been tempted to sign up for one of the masterclasses that were running throughout the proceedings.  And it is a credit to the organisers that visitors are literally spoilt for choice in the sort of things that they can get involved with.

River Cottage is such an iconic piece of the food scene in Devon and the Summer Fair was a fantastic way to experience an up-close view of what River Cottage does.  Local producers, activities, large green areas for kids run around in, food to eat, masterclasses to master, things to buy, drink to drink and live music to listen to makes for a fantastic festival atmosphere.

The Pig & Pallet: Good Game’s new Deli Cafe

Exeter has a lot of cafes. It is definitely a hub of cafe culture in Devon, if not the South West, and it doesn’t seem to be relenting any time soon.  The newest, and certainly the most exciting to open for a while, is The Pig & Pallet which opened over the weekend on Topsham’s historic quayside.  The company behind this deli-cafe is Good Game, Exeter’s very own artisan charcuterie.

Good Game has developed a good reputation for some tasty smoked & cured meats over the last few years.  They appear at many of the local farmer’s markets and foody fairs that take place across Exeter and Devon, selling butchered cured meats, chorizo sausages, cooking sausages and a number of other self produced products that are available to buy online via their website or a selected number of suppliers (including Darts Farm). They have recently started supplying meat to River Cottage Canteens which really is a seal of approval for any small-scale producer.

Meat comes from their own drove of rare breed pigs, kept and reared at Powderham. Game comes from other local suppliers. The company are (to quote the blog on their website) “the only commercial charcuterie company in the UK who are completely Nitrate and Additive free…”, which fits in with their ethos of simple and uncomplicated manufacture.

I had the joy of meeting Pete Woodham-Kay and Steve Williams at The Pig & Pallet, brandishing our newly bought mugs (the offer was to bring a mug for the cafe to keep and get a free coffee or tea but we like all our mugs too much) and we met their assistant Jenny who was helping out with serving tea and coffee.  Pete and Steve have had a lot of help on their way to get the business set-up and established, but there we were sat in their own deli cafe at the beginning of what I hope, is going to be a golden mile for this awesome business.  I am completely bias as I love smoked meat, and after tasting some of their pastrami…yup, take my money now!!

The mastermind behind the construction and refitting of this former sail loft (the holes in the flooring are from sail maker’s pins!) was Pete who fabricated and fitted much of the interior from reclaimed pallets and other bits n pieces.  An organic design, the Council is yet to give them planning for the true capacity of the space.  It comes with a fully functioning ‘Pig Map’ and flashing ladybirds, and custom Pete Woodham-Kay ‘Pig Clock’.  The deli-cafe also includes a butchery area and deli counter where, you’ll be able to buy products off the bone for a reasonable price.

Good Game is also behind the hugely successful Topsham Beer & Bacon Festival which is due to happen again this year on Saturday September 12th.  I know this because that is my birthday AND I will be down there getting steadily marinated as the day goes on 🙂

I am intending on writing a product review for their Boar, Smoked Ham and Pastrami that we bought on Sunday afternoon, as it was simply the most delicious thing ever.  I really am bias.  Oh well!

Free Recipe 4 – Dessert: Saffron Doughnuts Filled with Trewithen Clotted Cream AND Orange Custard


Dessert: Saffron Doughnuts Filled with Trewithen Clotted Cream AND Orange Custard

Makes 12 medium sized doughnuts


For the doughnut dough

  • 250g organic white flour
  • 30g caster sugar and loads more

for dredging

  • 5g Cornish sea salt
  • 1 tbsp sourdough starter (optional)
  • 8g fresh OR 4g active dried yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 80ml Trewithen whole milk
  • ¼ tsp saffron strands
  • 65g softened Trewithen butter
  • Sunflower oil for deep frying

For the custard

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 500ml Trewithen whole milk
  • 2 tbsp Trewithen clotted cream
  • 6 free range egg yolks
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 40g plain flour
  • 1 star anise
  • Zest of ½ orange

Caramelised oranges

  • 2 oranges, segmented
  • 2 cloves, ground to a powder
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 20g Trewithen butter, chilled
  • 100g 70% dark chocolate

Doughnut method

  • Infuse your milk over a low heat with the saffron strands. Leave to cool, then add to a mixing bowl with all the dough ingredients except the butter.
  • Knead the dough for about 5 mins then add half of the butter. Your dough may be a little wet, but that’s not a bad thing! Repeat the process. Knead for a further 5 minutes until your dough is elastic and glossy.
  • Place your ball of dough into a big mixing bowl, sprinkle with flour and cover with a tea towel. Leave in the fridge overnight.
  • In the morning, remove the dough from the fridge and put it somewhere warm for approx 3 hours to rise.
  • When the dough has expanded to about double its size, place onto a floured surface and cut it into 12 pieces using a knife.
  • Place on a floured baking tray and leave to rise for a further hour.
  • Fill a pan with oil and heat to 180°C. Deep fry the doughnuts for about 2 minutes on each side in batches of 2 or 3 and drain on kitchen towel.
  • Dredge in sugar and leave to cool.

To make the custard

  • Infuse milk with split vanilla pod, star anise and orange zest. Gently bring to the boil.
  • Whisk eggs, sugar and flour in a bowl and pour infused milk over it, whisking all the time.
  • Return the mixture to a saucepan and whisk until it has boiled and thickened. Cook for 5 mins then strain through a sieve. Cover with baking paper. Refrigerate and once cooled, fold in the Trewithen clotted cream.

Caramelised oranges

  • Place the segments into a frying pan with the sugar, ground cloves and reserved juice. Stir gently until it forms a light brown caramel. Throw in half your knob of chilled butter and remove from the heat. Gently stir in the rest of the butter, avoiding breaking your orange segments.
  • Melt your chocolate over a pan of boiling water then add the butter. Leave to one side.
  • To serve, fill a piping bag with custard and using a knife make a small incision in your doughnut. Fill generously with custard. Spoon the caramelised oranges over the doughnut and drizzle with chocolate.

“I love doughnuts. This is my take on the classic Cornish saffron loaf…but deep-fried, filled with Trewithen clotted cream custard and drizzled with chocolate and caramelised oranges.”

 Hop Store Restaurant Head Chef, Jack Botha

Free Recipe 2 – Starter: Spiced Pumpkin Barley Risotto, with Trewithen Clotted Cream served with Heritage Beetroot Crisps

Clotted_Christmas_Booklet_CoverStarter: Spiced Pumpkin Barley Risotto, with Trewithen Clotted Cream served with Heritage Beetroot Crisps

Serves 4


Barley base

  • 300g organic pearled barley
  • 30g finely diced onion
  • 30g finely diced celery
  • 30g finely diced carrot
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 100ml good quality white wine
  • 1Ltr warm homemade vegetable stock or water

Spiced pumpkin or squash puree

  • 300g peeled pumpkin or squash
  • 25g cold Trewithen butter
  • ½ tsp each: coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, chilli flakes, paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

Heritage beetroot crisps

  • 1 of each candy, golden, red and white beetroot
  • Cornish sea salt
  • Sugar
  • Oil for deep frying

To finish

  • 10g very cold Trewithen butter, cubed
  • 1tsp Trewithen clotted cream
  • 50g strong Cornish cheddar or any strong hard cow’s cheese


  • Chop pumpkin into 1cm cubes, place in a roasting tray with the garlic, seeds and spices. Drizzle with olive oil and mix together by hand. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  • Cover tray with tin foil and roast for 15 mins at 180°C until pumpkin/squash iscooked. Remove foil and roast for a further 5-8 mins until caramelised.
  • Remove and blitz in a food processor with cold butter until a rough paste is achieved, season (if desired). Set aside.
  • Using a very sharp knife, or preferably a Mandolin, thinly slice the beetroot and deep fry on 130°C until crisp. Remove to a tray lined with kitchen towel and sprinkle with sea salt and sugar.
  • In a large saucepan, sweat the onion, celery and carrot in butter for 2 mins, then add the garlic. Cook until the veg is softened but not coloured. Add barley and gently fry for 3 mins.
  • Add white wine and keep stirring until the wine has almost evaporated.
  • Stirring continuously, add the stock to the pan one ladle at a time until all the stock has been absorbed by the barley and is cooked. Stir in your pumpkin puree and heat through.
  • Remove your risotto from the heat and add the cold butter, cheese and clotted cream. Stir once, then place a lid over the
  • top and leave off the heat for one minute.
  • Serve in bowls and garnish with the beetroot crisps.
  • “I like to use barley as a replacement for rice. It’s brilliant as a base for risotto or rice pudding (we make our own spiced pearled barley milk pudding here at The Hop Store). It has a unique texture and slightly nutty flavour. The addition of Trewithen Clotted Cream at the end of this dish really enriches and enhances the lovely creamy texture of the risotto.”

Hop Store Restaurant Head Chef, Jack Botha

Free Recipe 1: Canape – Trewithen Clotted Cream, Cornish cheddar & Parsley Croquetta

Clotted_Christmas_Booklet_CoverCanape : Trewithen Clotted Cream, Cornish cheddar & Parsley Croquetta

Makes 4 Croquetta


  • 200-250ml of whole Trewithen milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 slice of an onion
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • A pinch of ground mace
  • 60g organic flour
  • 30g Trewithen butter
  • 250g Cornish cheddar
  • 100g flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1tbsp Trewithen clotted cream
  • 1tsp English mustard
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a splash of milk
  • 100g porridge oats, ground very finely
  • Cornish sea salt and black pepper
  • Sunflower oil for deep frying


  • In a saucepan, combine milk, thyme, mace, cloves and the bay leaf. Gently simmer then remove from heat and leave to infuse.
  • Gently melt the butter (do not let it colour), add half the flour and beat gently with a wooden spoon until ‘sandy’ in texture. This should take about 5 minutes. Using a sieve, strain into a jugand slowly add half the infused milk, beating constantly. Add the rest of the milk and whisk over a low heat for approx 10 mins until sauce is thick and glossy.
  • Remove pan from the heat and fold in the cheese, parsley, clotted cream and mustard.
  • Season well with black pepper and Cornish sea salt.
  • Place a round piece of baking parchment over the top of the sauce and refrigerate until completely cold.
  • Put the remaining flour, beaten eggs and oats into three separate bowls
  • Remove the now set béchamel sauce and shape with 2 spoons into an oval shape.
  • Dip your ovals of cheesy delight into flour, egg and then your oats.
  • Deep fry in hot oil at 180°C until golden brown, oozy and delicious. Sprinkle with Cornish sea salt and a few chopped parsley leaves.

“A mouthful of rich cheddar sauce is balanced by the peppery note of the English mustard and the freshness of the chopped up parsley. Its unique richness comes from a tablespoon of Trewithen clotted cream in the béchamel sauce.”

Hop Store Restaurant Head Chef, Jack Botha

Green Sauce presents Funghi Night at The Rusty Pig, Ottery St Mary – 24th October

The Rusty Pig in Ottery St Mary is the venue for Tim Maddams’ Green Sauce to set up shop for a Pop-up night.  Tim previously worked as Head Chef at River Cottage, and can still be found teaching, writing for national rags and promoting ethical foods.  The Funghi Night looks like its going to be a spectacular evening, using foraged mushrooms to create a carnival of culinary creativity!

If you wish to book a place on this special evening contact or contact 01404 815580


Johnny Does Dinner – The Polytunnel Dinner at Trill Farm, Axminster

You are unlikely to find many foodies who can say that they have a meal in a horticultural polytunnel and cooked for them by a chef, using ingredients from the very polytunnel being dined in. And to be honest, I never thought I would be able to say I am one of those lucky few. But last week Eating Exeter was lucky enough to be invited to the inaugural meal of Jonny Does Dinner, an exciting new Pop-up Dining venture coming to a stately home or unusual location near you.

The story of Jonny Does Dinner started when Fan met Jonny who had recently escaped from London (as the about page says!).  Bringing his experience from working at Mark Hix, The Groucho Club and Brindisa, Johnny Does Dinner is about bringing gourmet food to foodies in unique and spectacular locations (fancy dinner in The Great Hall at The Great Fulfords in Cheriton Bishop?)  Jonny himself has a natural flamboyance, and the skill of his cooking really shone through the evening.  The dishes were down to earth, the entire menu felt well put together and well thought out.

The event was held in the grounds at Trill Farm which is located just outside of Axminster, less than ten minutes away from the A35.  Forty five minutes from Exeter, but a million miles away from anywhere I had been before.  Trill Farm Garden (in which the polytunnel lives) is ran by Ash and Kate.  It supplies fresh produce to nearby River Cottage HQ and the Axminster River Cottage Canteen too, also some restaurants in Lyme Bay.  Trill Farm runs courses and a festival to name but a few things, I would recommend visiting their website to see what sort of things they do; it is quite a place and definitely worth a visit to their Farm Shop.

Driving up to the Farm, I was greeted by Nicky who gave me directions to where the tunnel was located.  Following the lanterns, I was transfixed by the Trill Farm Herb Garden and the aroma of herbs which hits the nostrils like a herby slap to the olfactory nerve endings.  The polytunnels were hard to miss and it was here that the scene was set for our amazing dinner.

After creeping around the polytunnels and finding the gathering well under way Fan introduced herself and presented me with a Blackberry Mule which included foraged blackberries and a wonderful gingery kick to it from the ginger beer.  This was accompanied by Salsa Verde Crostini’s, a lovely aromatic green sauce, deep in colour with a very intense yet pleasant taste.

With events such as this, you have to be prepared to make some new friends. It is part of the deal with attending Pop-up events, and for anyone who would want to meet other people it is a great way of doing so. Twenty four strangers stood in the middle of a field of vegetables drinking cocktails will ultimately talk to each other, and I started chatting to a charming lady called Tamsin. A city girl at heart, we walked around snapping photos and talking about her time living in London. For me this was what the whole supper club thing was about.

It is a strange thing when you find yourself sat at a table with people who all have a passion for seasonal produce; I learnt a thing or two whilst we enjoyed the food that Jonny was producing from his polytunnel kitchen next door.  The dining table was set over a crop of red basil and backed on to by various varieties of tomatoes. As we sat down, I had the luck of sitting next to Ash at the end of the table and opposite two River Cottage Luminaries, Tim Maddams @timgreensauce and Joe Draper @draperjoe who were both charming and happy to talk to a strangely dressed man who sat quietly on the corner listening and observing occasionally taking photos.  Tim told me about a Pop-up Restaurant venture which he is involved in called Hall and Hearty, bringing Tim’s flair and skills to Village Halls across East Devon and beyond.

The first course was a lovely smoked salmon, it was (excuse the cliché) melt-on-tongue and dissolved like an expensive pillow as I chewed.  Yes I compared it to an expensive pillow, and I stand by that analogy.  Sitting on a bed of beetroot and salad with a sweet dressing.  This was the one time that I had eaten Salmon with total confidence that I would enjoy what I was about to eat, and would you believe it, I did.  Closely following this course was a barbequed Trill reared lamb, marinated with wild garlic, rosemary, mint and marjoram.  This was a beautifully cooked example of what really good meat should taste like.  Handed around with the lamb was a wild rice salad studded with roast squash, radishes, pomegranate and peas and a Greek salad which were absolutely packed with some delightful tasting ingredients.

Fan, Nicky, Alan and even Jonny served the guests with each course and they appeared out of the dark of the polytunnel with head torches announcing their presence.  The courses were moved quickly once everyone had finished, and we were not without food for any long intervals.  The organisation and running of the night was seamless, which for me really stood out.

Next the cheese course landed gently in front of us, a fragrant soft cheese called Francis with crackers and a really nice sweet Apple and Thyme jelly.  Then we were on to the Blackberry and Almond Tart, served with some clotted cream; for me this course was a highlight of the evening.  The sweetness of the almond and the sour of the blackberry worked perfectly and reminded me of the sort of tart that would not go amiss from the distant years of my childhood.

Sitting with a delicious French pressed Costa Rican coffee at the end of the meal, the candle light enshrouded the diners in a warm glow sitting in a place that would unlikely ever house a dining experience like this one ever again.  Restaurants and cafes have many energies around them, different people leaving their print on the surroundings and you know as you get up from the table that your place will be quickly filled by someone else in a matter of minutes.  As I got up from my seat I knew that this seat wasn’t going to be there again, and that feeling was quite special – something I doubt I will feel again for a long time.  In the morning, I knew that this polytunnel would again become a place of work, not a place of dinner and consumption.

The price of the tickets reflect the fact that Jonny Does Dinner is about the experience.  It is gourmet food, served in a magical setting by a skilled and charismatic chef in locations that are unlikely to be dined in again.  There are no re-runs, there are no ‘second servings’.  Once you get up to leave, you’ll find that it is unlikely you’ll repeat the experience.  So remember your camera.

To see where Jonny is doing dinner next head over here.

@jonnydoesdinner on Twitter

Jonny Does Dinner on Facebook