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I came across this incredible story today about two donkeys who delivery groceries in a village in Gloucestershire.  It’s apparently been going on since before WWII and has been recently revived.  The is project is run by volunteers and supported by donations from the local community. 

Anyway, I just think it sounds fab and want to start something similar myself, despite living in a very flat town.

We are spending the weekend in the Cotswolds with my family, and popped into The Organic Farm Shop.  On the road in there is a wooden area with a lovely family of piggies rooting about beneath the trees.

After calling to them, two little piglets trotted over to investigate – they reminded me of the two pigs in Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Pigling Bland

They were so gorgeous with their pink snouts smudged with rust coloured earth, their cheerful grunting and inquisitive eyes.

But they soon got bored and pottered off to find good patches of soil to snuffle in.

These two were sat in a dip, one sprawled out, the other on its haunches, enjoying the afternoon sun and licking each other – how I wish I had a better zoom at times like these!

A last parting picture of one of these lovely piggies…

Where has the past week gone?  I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything for a week now – it seems to have flown past.  Mr Rigg and I have just spent the weekend with my family in Gloucestershire, which was lovely. 


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

Although very chilly we had bright blue skies and the autumn colours are started to appear.  On Friday I spent the day working at the National Trust head office in Swindon as part of my volunteer work for them.  I am the Sustainable Food Communication Officer working alongside the Local Food Co-ordinator, and I am really enjoying my work.

So after a great day’s work, my afternoon was made complete by meeting Valentine Warner – who did the fantastic tv show and books called What to Eat Now and What to Eat Now More Please! 

I loved his programmes and the recipe books, so to meet him was just incredible.  He seemed really down-to-earth and interested in the work the National Trust is doing.  What a great man!


Image: Valentine Warner

Saturday morning was spent getting measured for my wedding dress (aah!) which was both exciting and slightly surreal. 

I have already found my wedding dress in a beautiful boutique in Cheltenham but it needs some alterations.  My dress is handmade by an incredible lady who runs the boutique, and is made from 100 year-old handmade lace.  I can’t wait to wear it!


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

In the afternoon my little sister did a photo shoot of Mr Rigg and me picking blackberries – she is going to be taking photographs at our wedding and so she’s practising.  Mr Rigg and I aren’t that comfortable in front of the camera, but she managed to take some lovely shots.


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

Saturday evening we celebrated her 17th birthday with roasted vegetable lasagne and warm apple cake. 

 

Happy Birthday Iz Biz!

The weekend finished with a lovely autumnal walk on Sunday morning with my mom, dad and Alfie the deerhound.  We came across a pear tree that was overhanging the lane, so picked some pears to take home.  Then we discovered a walnut tree! 


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

We gathered pocketfuls of walnuts and once home opened some up to reveal the walnuts inside.  Mom popped one in the oven to roast it slightly and it was delicious!

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The Organic Farm Shop near Cirencester in Gloucestershire was one of my first experiences of a farm shop.  It is my ‘local’ farm shop when visiting my family, and stopping off here on the journey is a sign that we’re nearly there. 

As you turn off the road and down the long tree-lined drive to the farm shop, you pass piggies in a field and a market garden sized field of fruit buses and pollytunnels, before you reach the farm shop nestled amongst a grove of trees.  There is something lovely about seeing the produce growing in the fields before you enter the farm shop, something reassuring – and a great reminder about where a lot of the produce you buy in the shop comes from. 

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In addition to the farm shop (which is stocked with fantastic goodies) there is a cafe serving delicious, home-cooked vegetarian food.  Meat-eaters do not be detered by the veggie menu, it is scrumptious food and you won’t sit there wondering where you steak is.  If N can cope, anyone can.

As it was my birthday weekend, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch in the cafe.  It serves daily specials and have a standard menu which comprises of a variety of baked potatoes and omelettes.  Most meals are served with a selection of salads, which are displayed on the counter. 

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You can pick and choose which salads you want – N and I turned down the mung bean, red cabbage and cauliflower salad, but were really surprised by salad of celery, cucumber, fennel and sunflower seeds.  I was also converted to the true potential of polenta – an ingredient that I have had disastrous-throw-in-the-bin results with – these were crisp, cheesy ‘croutons’ that topped off our salad.  Yum yum.

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So N opted for a selection of salads topped with melt-in-the-mouth goats cheese (he had eaten his before I had a chance to take a snap).  I chose from the specials board and tasted my first asparagus of the season – an asparagus and cheese tart with salads.  This tart was so good and would really like to recreate, or at least try to!

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As you can see it didn’t take us long to finish it all off.  I am also coming to the realisation that I am a bit obsessed by taking photographs of empty plates (those that are empty because the food that previously was on them has all been gobbled up).  I was so tempted to take a photo of the table next to us after the family had left, there was something fascinating about the empty plates, cutlery, cups and crumpled napkins strewn across the table.  N gave me such a look at the suggestion that I quickly put the camera away.

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cheese at Stroud Farmer's Market

cheese at Stroud Farmer's Market

I am visiting my family in the Cotswolds for the weekend.  I have left N with his dissertation research, two naughty bunnies, and the rugby to keep him occupied.  After having a rather blonde moment and ending up four junctions down the motorway too far and nearly in Bristol (I have done this trip a million times so there’s no excuses) I finally made it down on Friday for lunch with my parents. 

Visiting my family in the Cotswolds always feels like I’m coming home, I just feel so relaxed and at ease here.  By the time I was 18 I had lived in over twelve houses, been to about four or five different schools, and lived in the USA, but this is my home, the place I will always come back to. 

home

home

This morning I dragged my mom and little sister (not so little anymore, nearly 16 as she likes to keep reminding us) to Stroud Farmer’s Market.  I visited this renown farmer’s market for the first time last summer and it was fantastic.  It is in the heart of Stroud, set throughout the small ancient streets and offers a huge variety of goods.  I was struck by the choice, which is often so limited at farmer’s market, especially by the stalls selling vegetables. 

extra virgin olive oil from Eleon

extra virgin olive oil from Eleon

Despite being a rather chilly and blustering early Spring day, we had a lovely morning and came home with a basket of goodies.  We weren’t there to do our weekly shop, although I wish I lived close enough to do my weekly shop here, so just bought some ‘treats’.  We also tried some scrumptious olive oil and cheese.  The little sister tried a lot of cheese. 

delicious cheese from Shepton Mallet

delicious cheese from Shepton Mallet

My basket contained: Monmouthshire air dried ham from Trealy Farm

charcuterie from Trealy Farm

charcuterie from Trealy Farm

…a Jammie (like a jammy dodger but made with shortcrust biscuits and homemade blackcurrant jam – I will be trying to recreate these at home) from Hobbs House Bakery

Jammies from Hobbs House Bakery

Jammies from Hobbs House Bakery

…a piece of Morn Dew (cow) cheese and a Little Rachel (goat) cheese made by a man in Shepton Mallet (this is the best cheese I have tasted in a long time); a bottle of organic whole milk from Jess’s Ladies Organic Farm Milk (I dream about this milk when I’m at home in Cheshire – it is to die for and how all milk should be)…

milk and yoghurt from Jess's Ladies

milk and yoghurt from Jess's Ladies

and a Mixed Berry Doughnut (yes I said doughnut) made by Pippin Doughnuts

doughnuts from Pippin Doughnuts

doughnuts from Pippin Doughnuts

Mom’s contained: a bunch of locally grown purple tulips…

locally grown flowers

locally grown flowers

…two Mixed Berry Doughnuts and a Cinnamon and Brown Sugar doughnut from Pippin Doughnuts

cinnamon and brown sugar doughnuts

cinnamon and brown sugar doughnuts

a loaf of bread from a lovely bakers whose name I can’t remember…

lovely bread - bottom left

lovely bread - bottom left

…an Organic Cotswold Brie from Simon Weaver (check out their website for some delicious sounding recipes); a Black Nancy (rolled in charcoal) and a Trickle both from the Shepton Mallet cheese man.  The little sister also polished off a vegetable samosa.

bread, brownies and hot cross buns from Hobbs House Bakery

bread, brownies and hot cross buns from Hobbs House Bakery

The afternoon was spent at the local garden centre where I picked up a couple of small trays of lettuce (oakleaf and red little gem) and some purple sprouting broccoli plug plants.  I will plant them down at the allotment and cross my fingers that the wild bunnies don’t annihilate them. 

All in all I have had a pretty perfect day – food and gardens – and my family thrown in for good measure.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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