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A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to the National Trust’s Fine Farm Produce Awards in London.  Before the evening event I spent the afternoon wandering around Borough Market – a place I’ve heard lots about, always wanted to go, but have never been.

Here’s what I found…


Loving the window full of pickled onions


I could have bought so much cheese home but I would have been unpopular on the train home!


Beautiful breads but with London prices

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This time last week I was enjoying a morning of venison cookery in the stunning old kitchen at Dunham Massey National Trust.  As a volunteer and editor of an internal National Trust newsletter on food I went along to find out what it was all about.

What a wonderful morning.  In my opinion there were several things that set this cookery demonstration apart from others:

Firstly, the setting.  The event was held in the original old kitchen at Dunham Massey, a room that you would normally wander through on your tour of the house.  It is an impressive room, bright with high ceilings, a massive Aga, a beautiful collection of copper pans, and a hefty big wooden workbench.

Secondly, the venison.  The meat used in the cookery demonstration came from the deer park – perhaps if you a regular walker at Dunham Massey you might have even passed that same deer that we got to sample.

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It has been long over due sharing details of this wonderful farm shop – perhaps a big statement to make, but I think St Kew Harvest Farm Shop could be my all time favourite farm shop.

On our last morning in Cornwall we decided to head to the farm shop to stock up on lovely items before we headed north to home.  When we arrived the shop was full of the fragrance of warm cakes straight from the oven.

Sat at a little table looking out to the fields beyond, we ate lemon drizzle cake for breakfast and I had a divine cup of hot chocolate.

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Today I went to Biddulph Grange Garden in North Staffordshire – to write up a piece for the sustainable food newsletter I edit in my volunteer role at the National Trust.  I would highly recommend visiting the gardens here if you are in the area or looking for a day out – they are utterly breathtaking. My photos don’t do it justice.

But what I wanted to share was my discovery of Staffordshire oatcakes.  They are a bit like a pancake or crepe, and I tried them for lunch in the National Trust tearoom, rolled up with cheese inside and heated until piping hot.

All the cheese was oozing out the ends – delicious.  They were really quite tasty, especially with all that melted cheese – I must investigate how else you can use them and what other ingredients you can stuff inside them.  I’m assuming most things, but I wonder if there are traditional ways of eating them. 

Luckily I was able to buy myself a packet of Staffordshire oatcakes from Glebe Farm Shop in Astbury.  I was told they were locally made in Congleton, freezeable, and I can’t wait to try them out at home.

For our final day at the tipi before the long journey north to Manchester we decided to bike from Wadebridge to Padstow along the Camel Trail.  This is something I have happy memories doing as a child with my family, so it was lovely to go back.

We got up quite early and headed into Wadebridge, not having had any breakfast and not hopeful we’d find anywhere open on a Sunday so early.  It turns out there was a bakery open, and selling one of my favourite things (also from my childhood) – saffron buns.

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Our first breakfast at Cornish Tipi Holidays consisted of a Cornish cream tea.  I know, it sounds sinful, but really how different is it to eating bread with butter and jam?  Not too different in my mind.  Anyway, all that matters is that we were on holiday and it was delicious.  Gone too quickly for a photo though.

After breakfast we headed down to the lake in search of a canoe or boat.  Unfortunately all of them were out in the lake, but a lovely kid called Dillon handed Nick a rod and some bread and encouraged him to have a go at fishing.  Although neither of us are into fishing, it was quite fun to have a go.

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Last weekend Mr Rigg and I headed to Cornwall for a long weekend.  In order to break up the 5 hour journey we set off after work on Thursday and made a stop-off in Somerset, staying at a beautiful B&B called Farndon Thatch.

Arriving at about 7pm we decided to stop at a local pub for dinner before checking in.  We came across The Crown Inn at Fivehead, where we were met with a warm welcome and a menu prided on being homecooked by the owners Steve and Jacqui.  Mr Rigg couldn’t resist a curry and I went for a slice of homemade venison pie.

And what a slice it was – huge, stuffed full of flavoursome meat, and possibly the best pastry I’ve ever had.  It wasn’t cheffy or fancy food, but just really nice homecooked meals, just what we needed.  We were also entertained by a stunning fish tank with living rocks and a host of unusual creatures.

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Now this is how I like my meat – slow cooked, full of moisture and soft enough you can pull it apart with a fork.  But up until now we haven’t really cooked meat like this, but after spotting a rather good-looking piece of pork belly at Davenports Farm Shop this was the moment.

We followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Pork Belly Roast and it didn’t let us down – not that any Jamie recipe ever has, I don’t think.  On top there was a layer of golden, crispy crackling, and beneath the meat was flavourful and soft.

We ate it drenched in gravy, with a pile of fluffy and super buttery mashed potato, and peas and broad beans.  De-lish!  Definitely one to make for friends.

Last week we had incredible fish and chips from a place in Didsbury called Frankie’s Fish Bar, but it left me feeling guilty that all I’d eaten for dinner was deep-fried fish and potatoes. 

So I was determined the following night to fill us full of vegetables, and this is what I came up with…

All the vegetables were English, although not grown by me.  There were new potatoes, boiled and tossed in lots of salty butter and black better.  Pink and white radishes sliced in half, asparagus spears and baby carrots blanched and sliced.

Broad beans and fresh peas shelled and briefly cooked in simmering water.  Lots of seasonal salad leaves, crispy bacon shards, and those gorgeous nasturtium flowers (bought from Waitrose, so delighted they’re selling edible flowers).

Not a lot of complicated stuff, just a lot of shelling broad beans and slicing.  But really delicious – I want to eat more of this sort of food over the summer.

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.

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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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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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