When is an oat more than an oat? When it’s an oat that’s been transformed into a scrummy organic chocolate truffle of course! Oats are not only healthy but are highly versatile and can be used for all sorts of purposes besides porridge. I’m a big fan of the humble oat, so I was delighted when White’s invited me to the Cotswolds to gen up on this sometimes underrated grain and tour the fields with a bunch of experts.
River Cottage, near Axminster in Devon is a fabulous place and the food is truly wonderful. That has certainly been my experience so far. On Tuesday I was lucky enough to visit for a third time at the invitation of Foodies100. It was a River Cottage Christmas special for food bloggers.
You may have noticed it’s been a bit quiet around here. You may also have noticed a number of photos from Hampshire and Sussex popping up in my sidebar. It doesn’t happen often, but yes we’ve been on holiday. Now I’ve had a few days off, I’m raring to go again and eager to share some of the highlights of our travels. Don’t worry, they’re not too extensive.
There’s nothing like a good day out to revitalise the spirits. And when a day out includes a trip to an organic farm with lunch thrown in for good measure, who am I to resist? On Tuesday I boarded a train and crossed the Tamar once again. I was heading to Yeo Valley to find out from the Soil Association what this year’s Organic September is all about. I had a brilliant day which included a tour of the farm, a cookery demonstration and a reminder of just why I’m so passionate about organic.
Christmas in July? What a strange concept. But it’s a real thing for brands, who need to showcase their Christmas products to the media. Every year London is alive with Christmas in July events and this year I got to go to a couple of them. The main event for me was the Fairtrade Foundation’s press day which not only highlighted some of the Fairtrade products available, but had a cookery demonstration too.
Last week, CT and I were somewhat shocked to find we’d been together for twenty years. How did that happen? To celebrate we both took the day off and went clambering around the Cornish coast. We also called in at the Canteen at Maker Heights. How could we resist the best food in those parts? There, sitting on the counter was a round of almond rye shortbread. Completely intrigued, I had to recreate it.
June is full-on strawberries and cream season. As you may have noticed from my previous posts, it’s also the prime time for roses. So when we were invited to an alfresco lunch at Incredible Vegetables near Ashburton, these three ingredients immediately sprang to mind. I needed something that was portable and easy to eat outside – strawberry cream cakes with a hint of rose it had to be.
Mention the word Cranks to any of my old school mates and they will most likely heave a wistful sigh and start waxing lyrical about cheese baps, homity pie and date slices. It was the 70s and a new and trendy veggie cafe opened its doors in our very rural location and replaced the fusty dusty old fashioned teashop into which visiting parents would usher their offspring for a somewhat formal treat.
Last month a group of food bloggers gathered for a weekend of Dorset food and fun. If you follow me on Twitter, FB or Instagram, you may already have seen several posts tagged #HCBloggerTrip. The large country house almost looked as though it could have been built in the 1930s; it reminded me of an Agatha Christie style venue where the guests are bumped off one after the other. Luckily no bodies were found floating in the pool and the only victim was a vast quantity of Dorset provender.
Well, I’ve only gone and done it! Much to my huge astonishment I found on Monday night that I’d won the Best Food Blogger in the Food Awards 2016. Bowled over is an understatement, I was so convinced I wouldn’t win that it didn’t properly register when Tin and Thyme was announced as the winner.