Wednesday, July 21, 2010
My fantastic hubby decided to totally spoil me for my birthday and got us tickets to River Cottage. My birthday was a month ago, so I had been waiting excitedly for our trip.
We headed off on our way and sadly the weather started to turn. Just as we arrived it started spitting. We parked in the carpark at the top of the farm and hopped into the trailer being pulled by a big blue tractor to take us down the steep path to the farm (see pic 1 below). The trailer was a bit foggy so it was hard to see out the windows, but I managed to catch a glimpse of River Cottage and the garden (see pic 3 below). It is just as beautiful as in the TV show.
We headed inside, where chairs were setup conference style for the cooking demonstration part of the evening. There was also a handy mirror above the cooking bench (see pic 2 above). Hugh came out and greeted us all. He was just as charming as I imagined he'd be and I think hubby was almost as keen to run away with him as I was. He walked us through the four courses we'd be eating and cooked up a serve of each one.
We then had some time to wander around the gardens while they moved the room around and setup 2 long tables for us to eat our dinner at (see pic 4 above). The garden was beautiful and we tucked into some peas and strawberries straight off the bush. Luckily for the peas, it was raining, so we didn't stay out in the weather too long.
Our entree was a chilled parsley soup (see pic 1 below) with a lettuce boat filled with eggy tartare sauce in it. This was really delicious, but would have been more enjoyable on a balmy evening, rather than the chilly wind and rain we had that night. Because the parsley was added right at the end of cooking, the soup was a brilliant green and had a fresh parsley flavour. In a complete flashback to days on my grandparents farm, there were borage flowers on top of the tartare, which I don't think I've eaten in about 20 years...boy did they bring back memories of the farm. For the fish course we had hot smoked mackerel with smashed new potatoes and sorrel (see pic 2 below). Again, this did not disappoint and I had been looking forward to it since the demonstration, when the smell of the oak smoke had filled the room. This was the first time I had eaten smoked fish since getting pregnant and it was simply mouth watering. I think we will be buying a hot smoker.
For the main course we were cooked moroccan spiced lamb and lamb's liver with tomato salad (see pic 3 below). The lamb was tender and juicy and the liver was very nice, although I only had one small piece (again with the pregnant rules). The salad was so fresh and tasty and had been picked only hours earlier. Finally, we had our dessert. This was a warm white chocolate and poppy seed cookie with vanilla bean icecream and strawberry salad. Hubby and I immediately tucked into this and forgot to take a photo, so pic 4 below is of Hugh cooking this. The cookie was to die for and the poppy seeds just popped in your mouth. This was something I would have never thought to put in a cookie, but will definitely be doing in the future. The strawberries were again straight from the garden.
After dinner I picked up my book that Hugh had signed and we made our way back up to the car in the trailer. It was a fantastic evening and one I certainly will never forget. Fabulous food, perfect company and beautiful surroundings...what more could you ask for! Thanks hubby! xx
Posted by Abby at 2:54 AM