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Tonight we had to make something quick as Mr Rigg was heading out for a bike ride with Buddy. So I made our favourite scrambled eggs on delicious Campanou bread (a French country style loaf) from Barbakan.
I boiled some asparagus, fried mushrooms in butter and added some pretty pink thyme flowers, before lightly frying the asparagus in the mushroom pan to give it a bit of glisten! All on top of the scrambled eggs and soft bread it was lovely.
I am so happy to be back in my little blog home – it has been far too long and I have missed sharing my food adventures.
Since getting engaged back in September 2009, we have been steadily planning and preparing for our wedding. As the date drew nearer – 21st May 2011 – I have just had little time to do much else (whilst juggling it along with my job and my website).
Here’s a picture of some of the cakes our family and friends made for our wedding – the big white one in the middle so beautiful decorated was made by my Granny!
To save me rambling on for too long, I’m going to do some bullets of what’s been going on in our lives for the past few months I’ve been missing from here, and then aim to follow with a nice post and recipe for a fab barbecue we had over the weekend:
- Most importantly – we got married! On 21st May 2011, I married Mr Rigg in my home village in Gloucestershire – we had a beautiful, rustic country wedding, with a party in my parent’s garden, lots of local cider and perry, AMAZING food (lots of it local) and just an all round fab day. If you’re at all interested, photos and details will follow on my website.
- We honeymooned in an incredible Canopy & Star’s hideaway for a week and took Buddy with us (more details and hopefully a couple of foodie posts on this to follow).
- Sadly, Mr Rigg’s lovely Granny who was always so interested in what we were doing passed away.
- After spending an exorbitant amount of time and effort getting our allotment covered in manure and getting rid of all the weeds over the winter…we have neglected it and it is now overrun with weeds – we are totally and utterly the worst looking allotment – gutted.
- Although we haven’t got a lot growing (and the radishes all matured as we headed south for our wedding), we have got a couple of healthy pea plants, some small beetroot seedlings, potatoes growing (only just!) and quite a few courgette, squash and pumpkin plants.
I am just so happy to ‘be back’ and can’t wait to get growing and cooking some decent food – and to share it all! I’ll leave you with a picture of my overgrown garden…
This is a fantastic new website with a map tool to help you find ‘real bread’ and locally produced flour near you. Just pop in your postcode and it shows you places nearby that sell high quality bread and local flour.
Here’s my map (click on it for a larger version):
There’s some places I’ve not heard of before that I’d like to go, and there’s some places that I knew baked their own bread, but I didn’t know how good they were at sourcing local ingredients. This website gives you a series of ‘ticks’ for most places next to each of their loaves of bread.
The Smokehouse near us looks like this (click on it for a larger version)…
Perhaps an unconventional Christmas meal, but with only two of us to feed a turkey or goose would be too much, and with some exquisite stewing venison in the freezer from Dunham Massey it seemed only natural to have venison stew.
We bought our venison from Little Heath Farm a few weeks ago when they received a delivery from the National Trust property just down the road. It is nice to know that the main ingredient in our Christmas meal came from within 5 miles and most likely had a lovely life roaming the parkland at Dunham Massey.
With a large part of my University days spent studying Native Americans both in the UK and Canada, it seemed only apt to follow the recipe for venison stew from Jamie’s America book. Based on a Navajo stew, this recipe is incredibly delicious and is the second time we’ve made it.
My only addition was to make some parsley and suet dumpling, which I popped into the stew towards the end of cooking. There is something very moreish about dumplings – I think I could eat a plateful drenched in a couple of spoonfuls of stew liqueur.
Mash potato was made with our allotment grown potatoes, which must be said have been a bit disastrous. Whether it’s the variety, how we’ve grown them, or how we cook them, but the potatoes just disintegrate into soupy glue if not watched carefully.
I have learnt that the trick with them is to watch them carefully in the water, looking for the moment when the outside starts to break down, but leaving them long enough to make sure they are almost cooked through.
This time I put it through my wonderful French mouli that I picked up at the carboot – it was fantastic! With the help of a little cream (maybe a lot…) and butter, and some seasoning, the mash turned out all right.
What did you eat for Christmas dinner?
To reach Stockley Farm you must go down winding country lanes that seem to lead you nowhere. This added to the mystery of the night – we knew when and where to turn up and that the the dinner would be seasonal, local and mostly organic. Otherwise, we we in the dark.
Dinner was held in a field in a large yurt with a smaller yurt attached at the entrance, it’s outside draped with bunting and inside haybales, piles of cushions, pots of summer flowers and boxes of Riverford veg.
Inside the main yurt there were large ash tables with benches and chairs. In the centre of the yurt was a large wood-burning stove gently heating the room.
We took a cushion to sit on and took our seats at our table, said hello to our fellow diners and supped on our drinks (organic larger for Mr Rigg and a Luscombe Scilian lemonade for me).
And so dinner began.
Starters were platters of homemade dips (one of beetroot, another of courgette, a baba ganoush and a hummous), bowls of crisp vegetables (including khol rabi and purple cauliflower!) and a basket of bread.
The main course was all served at the table ‘family’ style – large platters to pass and share. There was…
- slow-roast lamb and perfectly pink leg of lamb served with Puy lentils
- butternut squash and pecan tart for the veggies
- hispi (pointed) cabbage with runner beans
- broccoli with lemon and chilli
- carrots braised in honey and flecked with cumin seeds
- and a salad of watercress, fennel, orange and olives.
Dessert was also served at the table to dig into yourselves – there was…
- a generous bowl of blueberry and custard Eton Mess
- delicate slithers of pear and almond tart
- and dense chunks of chocolate and walnut brownie (possibly the best brownie ever – moist and cakey, dense and fudgy, deep with dark chocolate with only a hint of sweetness, and an earthiness from the nuts.
I haven’t gone into detail on the tastes and flavours of each item, because truly everything was stunning. Most of the dishes are in the Riverford Farm Cookbook (which I own and adore) but last night we both tried dishes I would normally overlook.
For example, I (usually) deteste the idea of fruit in a salad – so one that combined orange and olives just didn’t appeal to me and so I wouldn’t try making it at home.
But with the dish there for you to have as little or as much as you wish, you think ‘oh well, why not!’ and so I tried it … and I enjoyed it. Oranges and olives do go together in this delicious salad.
Our table was a mixture of young and old: a married couple with children who are Riverford customers, a family spanning the generations, and a younger couple like ourselves who’d booked the night as an anniversary treat.
The staff were friendly and polite, the food was fantastic, and the atmosphere in the yurt was happy, relaxed, and full of chatter.
If only eating out was always this pleasurable.
Sorry – no food pictures, was having too much fun and it was too dark!
Image: herebejames on Flickr
I almost forgot – we have signed up to get milk from our local milkman. I know I’m way behind a lot of people in switching to support my local milkman, but the time has final come and we are really enjoying it.
The milk is even delivered early enough for Mr Rigg to have fresh milk on his cereal (he leaves the house for work at 6.30am!). Who could ask for more?
We are a full fat organic milk family, and I’ve been assured that the milk we get is sourced from within a 60 mile radius, which sounds good enough for me.
There’s something so satisfying about a glass bottle of milk and those silver metal tops that you gently push to release. I also like that it’s reducing the amount of plastic we have at home (although we can recycled plastic milk bottles). Happy days.
I love visiting the farm shop and cafe, and I never need an excuse to pop in to pick up a few goodies. And they have lots of goodies! Loads of what they sell is grown or produced by the farm – from eggs and meat, to butter and cheese, and vegetables and flowers.
After driving down their tree-lined lane, past the fields of produce, the first sight we were greeted with outside the shop were buckets of gorgeous seasonal flowers and tubs of seasonal berries. Share with me, for a moment, their beauty…
Here’s the follow up to yesterday’s post – our really local dinner. Our local ingredients can be substituted with local produce from where you live or from your garden or allotment.
Grilled sausages, buttered new potatoes and a homegrown salad
7 Locally reared sausages (3 for girls, 4 for boys)
A bag of earth covered Cheshire new potatoes
A bowl full of homegrown salad leaves
Homegrown Rainbow radishes (or normal!)
Local peas from about 20 pods
A giant spring onion (from Unicorn)
A bunch of parsley from the garden
Extra virgin olive oil
A dash a white wine vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper
Firstly, finely slice the spring onion and add to a large bowl. Sprinkle with a dash of white wine vinegar and salt and leave to ‘pickle’ whilst you get everything else ready.
Preheat the grill. Grill the sausages, turning regularly, until cooked through and a sticky brown colour.
Put a pan of salted water onto boil. Scrub the new potatoes and boil until cooked. Drain, add a generous knob of butter to the hot pan, let it melt then slosh the potatoes around until well coated. Season with salt.
To the spring onion, add finely sliced parsley. Clean and top and tail the radishes, then slice and add to the onion and parsley. Pop the peas from their pods and add to the bowl.
When the potatoes and sausages are ready, add the salad leaves to the onion, radishes and peas and toss all the ingredients together with a glug of extra virgin olive oil.