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Dordogne

Following on from my first post on our June trip to the Dordogne

Every single morning during the holiday we went to a market to buy ingredients for our meals that day.  I know this is probably unsustainable for real everyday life, but gosh I loved it.

I didn’t have to meal plan ahead, I didn’t ever once write a shopping list, we just turned up and made up dinner based on what we fancied.  As you will see the first few days of our holiday the weather was minging – so much rain and grey skies!

Chateau l'Eveque market

This (above) was the little market in nearby Chateau l’Eveque, about 3 or 4 stalls, we went to the veg man and bought amongst other things some incredible wrinkly tomatoes (sorry no pictures – was trying to avoid getting soaked – lots more food pictures to come later though I promise!), a punnet of fragrant strawberries and a melon.

I’m not a melon fan, but in France I adore melons they are so much tastier – our experience in the Loire was when you went to buy a melon from a market stall they would ask you if it was to eat today or later, and find you the best one.

Pain au chocolat

We also went to the bakery for breakfast and got croissants (for me) and pain au chocolat (for Mr Rigg) – these rated quite highly in the taste test.  We determined to find out the best bakery in the area for breakfast goodies and we found our favourite – details below.

French boulangerie

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Aspen House B&B real food breakfast

A couple of week’s ago I mentioned having one of the best breakfast’s ever at Aspen House B&B in Herefordshire – well, quite by accident Mr Rigg and I ended up back at Aspen House for a night on Saturday.  This was Mr Rigg’s first visit but he’d already heard lots about the breakfast and how lovely Sally and Rob were – but going back again so soon has allowed me to remedy the lack of photos of the breakfast from last time.

Sally and Rob are passionate about real food, running their B&B and cottage with green principles at their heart.  The bedroom we stayed in is so pretty, painted a lovely dove grey with a soft coloured patchwork quilt on the bed and a big window with built-in seat.  But what I’m hear to tell you about in more detail is the breakfast.

Aspen House B&B Herefordshire

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Huntstile Organic Farm

For me, Hunstile Organic Farm in Somerset is pretty close to heaven on earth. Not only is it a stunning ancient farmhouse set on organically managed land, not only is surrounded by goats and chickens and pigs and other animals, but it is run by a generous and friendly family.

Huntstile Organic Farm

In my other life running a natural wedding business, I have got to know Lizzie from Hunstile Organic Farm as they host a number of weddings throughout the year and I promote them as one of the wedding venues on my directory.

Mr Rigg and I had a wedding in Cornwall last weekend (more on that to come) and wanted to break up the long journey south – we had tried once before to stay at Hunstile on our way to Cornwall but they were fully booked, this time we were in luck.

Hunstile Farm B&B Somerset

We stayed in the beautiful Panelled Room in a massive bed, so wide that we argued over who had all the duvet because we were so far away from each other.

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The Priory Cottages Forest of Dean

I’m not even going to look at how long ago it was that I last wrote a post. March has been a mega month business-wise for me, and I’m quite looking forward to a calmer April.

Last weekend we (Mr Rigg, myself and the dog) spent a long weekend down on the River Severn, just near the Forest of Dean. We stayed at the most lovely wooden clapboard cottage called The Priory Cottages, with an outlook across an orchard and past the owners house views of the river.  I’ve been determined to share some pictures of our holiday before another month passes, so I’m going to write less and try and mainly post pictures.  They are a mixture of my phone and camera pictures.

On arrival we were greeted with a loaf of homemade (and still warm) bread, local farmhouse butter, a jar of homemade plum jelly, eggs from the owners hens, local cider, and garden grown flowers.  You don’t get much of a better welcome in my books.

homemade bread and garden flowers

So immediately we tucked in…

Warm bread and plum jelly

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I was inspired this morning by one of my favourite food blogs Country Woodsmoke to share a snippet of our Christmas feasting – this was our Christmas meal yesterday snapped briefly before it all disappeared.

We had a roasted turkey thigh (perfect for two, and all delicious dark juicy meat), roasted carrots, parsnips and shallots, goose fat potatoes, and finely sliced sprouts tossed with crispy bacon.  I also had a good dollop of homemade bread sauce.

This was by far the tastiest and most enjoyable Christmas dinner we’ve ever made.  Happy Christmas everyone!

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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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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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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Today (unexpectedly!) I am part of a feature in the Independent newspaper on the 50 best farm shops.  I say unexpectedly as it was supposed to be going in next week – but it’s come out a week early.

I just wanted to correct a mistake as well, in the paper it says that this blog, Eat the Earth, is the sustainable food newsletter of the National Trust.  It’s not.  This is my own, personal blog about the food I enjoy growing, eating, cooking, and discovering.

There seems to have been a bit of a muddle and they’ve combined two elements of what I do.  I am a volunteer editor of an internal sustainable food newsletter for the National Trust, but it’s not anything to do with this blog.  I also just write this blog in my free time.  So apologies for any confusion.

So following on from yesterday’s post about my much shortened trip to London, I went to the National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards on Thursday evening.  The awards are given to National Trust farms, orchards or gardens who produce products of the very highest standards – environmental, welfare, and taste.

The awards have been running since 2006 and this year’s panel of judges included Tom Kerridge (winner of the Great British Menu this year) and Henrietta Green (FoodLoversBritain).

There were incredible displays of the winning produce and productscider and apple juice from Barrington Court Estate, golden beetroot from Wimpole Walled Garden, late season honey from Lyveden New Bield, golden hot chilli sauce from Gringley Gringo

steak and ale pie from F Conisbee & Son Farming Partnership, flour from Clyston Mill, hogget lamb from Calke Abbey, and rhubarb jam from the Brockhampton Estate – to name just a few!

We sipped delicious drinks all of which were made from the awards winning products – Apple Bellini’s, incredible apple cocktails some with mint some with cinnamon, cider, ale and beer.  The Apple Bellini (exquisite fresh apple juice with champagne) is one for my wedding drinks list next year I think!

We ate delicious canapes til we could eat no longer – tiny beef pies, mini hamburgers, spoonfuls of golden beetroot and garlic risotto, bite-sized tarts with blue cheese and chutney, rice pudding with honey, and miniature scones with cream and rhubarb jam.

The producers were recognised with a short film and speech from the National Trust and judges, and this year’s Overall Winner – rhubarb jam from Brockhampton Estate – was awarded their prize. 

I watched Richard McGeown (the Executive Head Chef from Couch’s in Polperro, Cornwall) give a demonstration on how to cook the perfect steak.  He had been giving cooking demonstrations throughout the evening, and as I watched I snacked on my first ever piece of hogget lamb. 

Tips I picked up on how to cook the perfect steak? 

  • Make sure the pan is really hot (if you have asbestos fingers like Richard test it with your fingers…!!). 
  • Only add a tiny drop of oil to the pan before adding your steak. 
  • Season with salt but not black pepper at this point – it will burn and taste bitter. 
  • Cook for about 15-20 seconds on each side to seal. 
  • Season with black pepper then finish off in a hot oven (220°C) for about 6 1/2 minutes if you like it rare, 7 minutes for medium rare.

The evening was finished off with more networking and nibbling on delicious canapes, before heading off with a goodie bag

…included was a bag of flour from Clyston Mill, a small bottle of the incredibly fiery Gringley Gringo gold hot chilli sauce, some of the new National Trust ‘Lancashire lemon curd’ biscuits, apple chutney from the Killerton Estate, and a treasured jar of the award winning rhubarb jam.

Friday morning breakfast: a soft chewy slice of Kaiserbrot from Barbakan, spread with goat’s butter and Brockhampton Estate rhubarb jam.  Yum.

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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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