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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.
Dinner tonight was in a hurry – thankfully just the making part, the eating was a little more relaxed. We made a trout, pea and chive pasta with a silky coating of creme fraiche.
First I steamed the trout fillets and then used the pan of water to cook the pasta and peas together. The pasta we used was a small-ish tube cross shell – perfect for scooping up the peas!
Once the pasta was cooked and drained, I used some of the reserved cooking water to thin out the creme fraiche into a nice sauce. Into this went the chopped chives, then the peas and pasta. The final step was to season with salt and pepper and stir through the flakes of trout.
It tasted even better than I hoped, definitely one to make again. Is anyone else suffering from work and life overload and struggling to feed themselves well? I feel like I’m living on bread and dairy at the moment, and I long for the salads and fresh dinners of summer sat on the patio.
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?
My laptop power cable broke – think sparks and spitting sounds! Thankfully, I live with a super resourceful man, who minutes later had ordered a new lead on ebay.
However, since the end of last week my laptop power supply has been diminishing so quickly there was only time to briefly check my emails. I do have some lovely bits to share in the coming days if I can just catch up.
Here’s a sneaky peak of our Flammkuchen we made this week…it was scrumptious…
I am behind on sharing the good meals that we’ve been eating this week – mainly thanks to an inspiration visit to Bath Farmer’s Market last weekend.
This type of meal – nibbly bits, antipasto, food to share – is one of my favourites. It always starts off feeling like a bit boring, eating up leftovers, making something out of odd bits in the fridge, but then it usually turns out wonderful.
We had melting delicious Coppa, Homewood Old Demdike ewe’s cheese and a candy stripe beetroot salad all from Bath Farmer’s Market. The beetroot I sliced thinly, spread on a plate and lightly drizzled with olive oil, a spritz of lemon juice and some black pepper.
There was tiny slithers of garlic salami from Abbey Leys Farmer’s Market, and a tomato salad with quick-pickled shallot, black olives and capers. You can quickly take the tang out of raw onions in a salad, by chopping them finely and soaking them in vinegar for 10-15 minutes before you need to use them.
Accompanied by the flowerpot loaf from Bath Farmer’s Market and some good quality salty butter, it was a quick but tasty dinner. Not at all boring.
This afternoon I have been making Chilli Con Carne. It’s a slow cooked chilli using chunks of stewing steak rather than mince – it appeals to me more.
I’ve taken a recipe from Sarah Raven’s Food For Friends and Family and as always tweaked it a little. We’ve been eating lots of variations on my Roasted Summer Vegetables recently and had some left over – so they have been added, hopefully bringing an extra delicious taste to the chilli.
After four hours gently bubbling on the stove it is finally ready. All we need to do now is cook some rice, reheat the chilli and eat it with generous amounts of soured cream and grated cheese.
I do like it when dinner is made in advance – although it took me a good half an hour to prepare and many more hours to cook, it feels like an easy dinner.
Please excuse the bad camera phone photos – I’m dying without a real camera!!
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!
There is something so lovely and comforting about being able to wander to the bottom of your own garden and pick something for dinner. Last night I decided to pick some of the yellow sunburst squash that I have growing in my vegetable patch.
These UFO shaped squash are so pretty – although mine are looking a bit sorry for themselves. They’ve started to rot a bit where the flower blossomed with all this rain we’ve had recently. Also, the ones I usually see in my local grocery are much more yellow – mine are a bit pallid!
None-the-less they taste lovely. So I picked a few and brought them inside to be eaten within half an hour of picking – now that’s pretty special. Beat that supermarket giants!
For tea we had scrambled eggs on toasted bagel with garlic fried squash, oregano flowers and Gruyère. Fresh flavours and very tasty – and I love the yellow from the eggs and squash flecked with the purple from the oregano flowers.
Scrambled eggs on toasted bagel with garlic fried squash, oregano flowers and Gruyère
A couple of small yellow sunburst squash
2-3 cloves of garlic
5 medium eggs
Handful of oregano flowers and leaves
Heat a frying pan with some olive oil. Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan – softening it gently.
Thinly slice the squash and add to the garlic. Fry until soft and starting to turn a little golden and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, make your scrambled eggs – here’s how I make mine.
Put your bagels on to toast and butter them once they’re ready.
Add the oregano leaves to the scrambled eggs, mix together, then spoon over the bagels.
Take your fried squash and place on top of the eggs and grate over some Gruyère cheese.
Finally, sprinkle over some oregano flowers and eat!