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River Cottage

Living in Cheshire, Devon is a long way away, but the opportunity to meet one of my favourite people and go to River Cottage made the drive worthwhile. We used my parents in the Cotswolds as a base, and travelled down the rest of the way this past Saturday to go to the Autumn Fair held at Park Farm.

River Cottage autumn fair

The whole weekend was scorching hot, both in Devon and the Cotswolds – what a treat!  After parking, we wandered down the track towards River Cottage HQ.  Park Farm is set in the bowl of a very beautiful valley, with rolling hills rising up around it.  A pop-up hotel of bell tents had been set up, and other clusters of cream coloured tipis and tents surrounded the farm house.

River Cottage Devon

Having got up early, not eaten breakfast, and a long drive later (I SO hate those 40mph sections that seem to plague our motorways at the moment!) I was in a bit of “Charlie flap”, as it’s probably known, when we finally arrived.  I am ashamed to admit I’m not that used to, or a huge fan of crowds of people – I live a sheltered life working on my own at home with the dog!  So Mr Rigg quickly steered me towards the BBQ to get something to eat.

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Tonight we tried one of Hugh’s latest recipes – his version of pot noodle with spicy chorizo, spring onions and fennel seeds. 

It’s really simple.  In a bowl you pop dried egg noodles, chopped chorizo, sliced spring onions and crushed fennel seeds.  To make this less pot noodle lunchtime snack and more dinner for two, I lightly fried the chorizo and crushed fennel seeds, and half the spring onions.  Just to soften them a little.

The recipe then tells you to pour enough boiling water over the noodles, and stir in tomato passata that has been well seasoned with salt and pepper.  Then you leave it for 5-6 minutes.  We did this, but found that the noodles didn’t quite cook enough and the sauce was lukewarm by the time we came to eat it.

So we transferred everything to a pan and heated it up.  I added a good-sized spoonful of sundried tomato paste which gave a depth of flavour.  Lastly we stirred through some chopped flat leaf parsley from the garden.

All in all it was a pretty tasty and good dinner with a few little tweaks – really a delicious bowl of soupy noodles, spicy with chorizo and fragrant with fennel.

Spanish style chorizo and spring onion noodles

Feeds 2

2 nests of egg noodles
60g chorizo
8 spring onions
200ml tomato passata
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp sundried tomato paste
salt and pepper
handful of parsley or basil

Chop up the chorizo and spring onions, and crush the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Heat up a small frying pan and gently fry the chorizo, spring onions and fennel seeds for a few minutes.

Mix together the tomato passata, sundried tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste.

In a pan, place the egg noodles, chorizo, spring onions, fennel seeds and tomato passata.  Pour over just enough boiling water to cover.  Put over a medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is hot and the noodles are cooked.

Stir through some chopped parsley or basil and eat.

So following on from my weekend (last week) with my family and then the little sister, this is what we got up to when she came to stay…

We made French toast or eggy bread.  The little sister had hers with cinnamon sugar and I added some crushed (and homegrown!) raspberries to mine…

We made ‘cheats’ wraps – seed flecked tortilla wraps filled with Moroccan style hummous, sweet potato falafel and homegrown lettuce.  Sadly only the salad was homegrown…

We also had a delicious girlie lunch at Tampopo (the little sister’s favourite) – we shared Vietnamese goi cuon, she ate yaki udon noodles and I ate pad Thai.  Sadly we ate it all too quickly and there are no photos to show for these delicious dishes.

However, we also grabbed some lunch from Selfridges which I did snap a few quick photos of before we devoured it.  A selection of Indian delights and a pesto, mushroom and cheese pretzel and a mango smoothie to share…

A vegetarian breakfast for a hungry sister – a fried egg, sunny-side up with diced vegetarian sausage…

As part of her final parting dinner we did a baked Camembert eaten with crusty white bread that we picked up at the Abbey Leys farmer’s market.  Recipe for how to bake Camembert (it’s really easy) here.

We also made to-die-for cookies.  These are Hugh’s 10 minute cookies from his River Cottage Everyday recipe book, and they are everything you want from a cookie.  They are moist in places but crispy in others, chewy, sweet, and bittersweet with dark chocolate…

And finally, just before we left to pop her on a train home, we whipped up a quick quesadilla.  Two tortillas pan fried in a little oil with grated cheddar cheese and chopped cherry tomatoes sandwiched in the middle…

I miss you little sister!

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I am a huge fan of River Cottage and really enjoyed watching the summer series – I especially loved their strawberry fayre.  I would love to organise events like that for my living.  Anyway, before I get off topic…Hugh made blackcurrant ice lollies and they looked so tasty I made a mental note to make them before the summer was out.

On a recent trip to the dreaded supermarket to stock up on a few basics, I discovered they were ‘chucking’ tons of fruit away (common sense would tell you none needed to be reduced) that had reached its sell by date.  There were a couple of punnets of organic peaches from Italy, the peaches soft and furry.  I came away with three punnets and an idea to make a peach versions of Hugh’s lollies.

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So here’s my recipe for Peach and Yoghurt Ice Lollies, but really I’m sure it would work with other combinations of fruit and yoghurt, or just pure fruit if you preferred.

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Peach and Yoghurt Ice Lollies

Makes 8 ice lollies with fruit purée leftover

About 10-12 peaches (less if you don’t want leftover purée)
Something to sweeten it with (honey, caster sugar, icing sugar, agave syrup)
Vanilla yoghurt

Start by skinning and pitting all your peaches.  Discard the skin and stones and place the peach flesh into a bowl.

Blitz the peaches up into a smooth purée and add a sweetener if needed.

Take your ice lolly moulds – now, as I see it there are two (main) options when deciding on how to fill your moulds. 

1)  I chose fill 1/3 of the mould with purée before topping it up with yoghurt.  Using a spoon I slightly swirled the peach mixture into the yoghurt which made it look quite pretty!  Of course, this is not necessary!  I then added a final thin layer of peach purée.  These were popped into the freezer.

2)  The other main option would be to mix the peach purée into the yoghurt before filling the moulds, so you have a peach flavoured yoghurt lolly. 

I suppose you could also do multiple layers – peach, yoghurt, peach, yoghurt and so on.  Have fun! 

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On tasting the lollies, I think next time I would try mixing the peach purée into the yoghurt before adding them to the moulds to create a more consistent flavour.  My lollies were lovely, and great if you fancy a bite of icy cold frozen peach, then a refreshing burst of frozen yoghurt.

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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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