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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 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.

I’m set on making this meal one of my winter staples.  It was so delicious, and not difficult at all to make. 

Somewhere between mushrooms in a cream and wine sauce and a Stroganoff, this is a vegetarian meal full of flavour – I could have quite happily eaten it straight from the pan.

The mushrooms
Clean and cook the mushrooms in a knob of butter – I used a mixture of tiny button mushrooms (from the market) kept whole, and sliced white and chestnut mushrooms.  Cook them until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender and starting to go golden.  Season with salt and pepper.

The cream and wine sauce
In a separate pan, melt another knob of butter and soften a finely chopped small onion.  Add about 200ml dry white wine to the pan and let it bubble until it’s reduced by about half.  Then add in about 150ml double cream and stir until the mixture begins to thicken. 

Creating the creamy mushrooms
At this point, simply add the cooked mushrooms to the cream sauce and stir in.  I added a glug of milk to loosen my sauce up a bit and give us more of it.  Once the milk was added, I just allowed it to heat through a thicken a little.  Finally, taste and season, and stir through some chopped parsley if you want.

What to eat it with
We ate our creamy mushrooms with a pile of steaming rice and a crisp seasonal leaf salad, but it would also be delicious on toast.  We also added a naughty sprinkling of grated Raclette cheese – not essentially but delicious.

 

Last night was perhaps one of the loveliest evening’s I can remember for a long time.  We had dinner at Riverford’s Travelling Field Kitchen on Stockley Farm in Cheshire.

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!

Sweetcorn fritters are part of my childhood memories.  When I was younger my neighbour’s house was always full of lots of kids and she would often feed us all – sweetcorn fritters, simply made and cooked quickly on her Aga were what I remember her making us.

The making and cooking of them is just one of those childhood memories that will always stick with me, all us kids crowded round a big wooden table digging in to the hot fritters as they came off the stove.  So with sweetcorn season upon us this is what we had for dinner.

With a new but delicious recipe from the Riverford Farm Cookbook we dug into a plateful of hot fritters with a green salad, hot radish sprouts and a simple tomato salsa.  The fritter batter contained polenta and flecks of fresh (and homegrown I might add!) red chilli and fresh herbs from the garden.

No Aga in sight, I used one of my favourite cast iron enamel frying pans and they crisped up to a gorgeous golden brown.

Today for lunch we had our first sweetcorn of the year.  After stripping away the leaves and feathery bits, I popped the sweetcorn into boiling water (not salted I read) and cooked them for about 5 and a half minutes.

The corn was drained and then I added a generous knob of goat’s butter to the pan, popped the lid on then gave it a gentle shake to melt the butter and coat the corn.

Finally all that was needed was a good sprinkle of sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  This is my absolute favourite way to eat corn on the cob – it brings back so many good childhood memories.  If I can find enough good quality locally grown sweetcorn the plan is to eat as much of it as possible (just like asparagus when it’s in season).

We have just had a day away in Hereford for a wedding, and visited some interesting foodie places along the way – I shall try and get something up soon about where we went.  Oh, and our camera is on the blink…which is not good news!

Today as part of our holiday at home, Mr Rigg, Buddy and I drove up into Lancashire for a day of walking and eating.  It was a fantastic sunny day (which is was a welcome surprise!) and we started with a long walk from Hurst Green.  We followed a Tolkien-inspired trail which can be downloaded here.

It was a lovely walk, which took us through lush fields of cows, past the turrets and observatory of Stoneyhurst College, down into damp woods with mossy streams, past fields of sweetcorn and rushing rivers. 

There were lots of cute calves like these ones…

And this sweet one!

Buddy – who it seems has never seen a stream before – slowly built up enough confidence to paddle. 

This walk takes you through a landscape that it said to have inspired Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books and you can definitely seem glimpses as you pass through this countryside.  I am a huge fan of the books so it was exciting to do this walk!

After our long hot walk we rewarded ourselves with lunch at The Three Fishes – one of Nigel Howarth’s country pub’s. 

We have eaten at The Highwayman Inn up near Kirkby Lonsdale which we really enjoyed – I had a ploughman’s platter with scrumptious piccalilli -  so it was easy to decide where to eat on our day out.  Plus there is a huge emphasis on local and seasonal food.

We sat at a table outside so that Buddy could sit with us.  I drank a cool chocolate milkshake and Mr Rigg a pint of ale whilst we waited for our food.  Chocolate milkshake takes me back to my childhood and I still love ordering it now. 

To start Mr Rigg had Three Fishes Fish Soup, Wicked Mayonnaise, Butlers Tasty Lancashire Cheese, and Garlic Croutons.

The soup was rich and fishy with a good kick of spice, the Lancashire cheese was crumbled and served in a tiny terracotta pot, and the ‘wicked mayonnaise’ was blushed red with flecks of fresh chilli.

I chose a dish from their seasonal menu which was a Salad of Cracked Wheat, Sweet & Sour Bank’s Tomatoes, Broad Beans, Garden Peas and a Yoghurt & Cucumber Dressing. 

I wish I could eat this salad everyday for lunch – it was so delicious.  The salad of cracked wheat, broad beans and garden peas was studded with fresh herbs and red onion, and topped with cherry tomatoes that had been cooked just until bursting.  Then drizzled round the edge was this cooling dressing of yoghurt and cucumber.

Mr Rigg’s main was from the seasonal menu – Gazegill Farm Organic Sandy Oxford Black Pork Faggots, Girolle Mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potato, Broad Beans and Garden Peas.

Neither of us had tried faggots before but Mr Rigg enjoyed them and the tiny morsel that I tried was delicious, but probably an acquired taste – very different in texture and flavour to something similar in shape like a meatball or burger.  Mr Rigg said it was coarser and a stronger flavour like that of liver.  It’s always nice to try something a bit different.

And for my main I pigged out with an Elmwood Platter of Local Seafood which included: Port of Lancaster Beech & Juniper Smoked Salmon, Lancaster Smoked Kipper, Hot Smoked Trout, Potted Morecambe Bay Shrimps, Smoked Mackerel Pâté, Picked Cucumber, Beetroot Relish, Horseradish Cream, and Homemade Bread. 

The smoked salmon with speckled with tiny capers and shreds of red onion, the potted shrimp fragrant and warm, the smoked trout went deliciously with the sweet earthy beetroot relish, and the pickled cucumber cut through all those flavours of fish. 

The smoked mackerel pâté was light like a mousse, a tiny mouthful on a toasted circle of bread, topped with micro herbs.

I have never tried kippers before, and although it is a very strong flavour and perhaps not something I would order on its own, as part of a platter like this it was delicious.

We had initially planned to stop eating here…but I was too tempted by Raspberry Jelly with Vanilla Ice Cream

…and Mr Rigg easily gave into the lure of homemade Milk Chocolate Chip and Marshmallow Ice Cream with chocolate sauce.  Not a good shot of the ice cream, Mr Rigg was very protective after I nabbed the first mouthful which got me in a lot of trouble…

Both were absolutely delicious.

Our lunch was finished off with a glimpse of Nigel Haworth himself who arrived at the pub just before we left.  If you’re in Lancashire, do make sure you stop at one of Nigel’s country pubs – we can certainly recommend the food from both The Three Fishes and The Highwayman!

I’m not one for putting photos of myself on here, but I love this picture of Buddy and I out on our walk…

Happy holidays!

I have just created a brand new Recipe Index for the blog to help people find the recipes they want – and hopefully some others you’d like to try! 

I thought it would be a breeze to put it together…but in fact it turns out I’ve added rather a lot of recipes and took me a lot longer than I expected.

Hope you enjoy!

This is what my vegetable patch is looking like at the moment.  All a bit overgrown and jungle-like. 

Last week Mr Rigg and I cleared out some of the raised beds – a row of flowering radish, pea plants that had finished podding, some gangly borage plants growing from the pathways, and lettuce that was beginning to go to seed. 

You can see in the back corner my raspberry bushes…from the photo they look like a huge sagging mess.  Well they are, but they are laden with huge juicy raspberries so I’m not complaing too much – not even about their suckers that are coming up everywhere!

I also had to show off a couple of pictures of my ‘loganberry arch’.  Mr Rigg’s parents have a gorgeous loganberry plant growing over a pergola – so I copied them, just on a smaller scale.  Loganberries are a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry and grow very vigorously. 

Mine is growing up over the arch from our garden into the vegetable patch.  I’m also growing a purple clematis up the otherside – you can see the first flower in the picture below – so exciting!

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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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