I can’t believe I am saying this, but Christmas is less than a month away. November is flying by in a flash and seems like a distant memory already. I feel like I haven’t done much but work, work, work. In fact, when I start recounting my month I have managed to squeeze in some rather wonderful experiences. On top of that, I have created a couple of new seasonal recipes and discovered some rather delicious new products that are well worth trying out.
Southwest Wine School
At the beginning of the month, I was invited to the launch of the brand new Southwest Wine School. Situated on the grounds of Kenton Park Estate, it is a mere stones throw from Exeter. The founders Jonathon and Hayley Reynolds aim to provide first-rate wine education across the region using the best wine educators available. They already have courses, tastings and events lined up within the stunning vineyard surroundings and beyond. Click here for details.
The launch night was amazing. I had so much fun catching up with my friends from Dalwood, Brickhouse and Sharpham Vineyards as well as the boys from Emerging Vines. Of course, the wine was flowing and the addition of “speed wine tasting” enhanced the evening no end. You can imagine what fun we had tasting numerous wines from around the globe.
Once a month my chums Angel, Gemma, Caro and I get together and get creative. We make delicious food, photograph products for each of our businesses and generally just hang out brainstorming ideas. It’s one of the highlights of my month. I always leave feeling uplifted and raring to go. The girls inspire me to push on with my blog and create more diverse and interesting content. I am so lucky to have them in my life.
This month I created two new recipes for taste testing. Truffled Mushroom Spaghetti for our main course and Affogato made with Roastworks coffee and served with Copperpots Original Christmas Pudding Fudge alongside. We had created a beautiful festive table with a Caribbean vibe. A hybrid of festive greenery and laid back Colonial styling. It was truly beautiful. I will definitely be recreating this look for my festive Christmas dining table at home.
We finished photographing images for Gemma’s new website. I was on modelling duty so once again I was lucky enough to get dressed up in beautiful clothing and wear Cabinet Jewellery jewels. Lucky, lucky me.
Our next date is in the diary for December. We are planning on making Christmas wreaths as well as eating and drinking our way through a couple more recipes. I can’t wait!
Discoveries For Christmas
I have two wonderful discoveries this month for you. The first this deliciously spiced tea from Steenbergs. An organic black tea with cinnamon, ginger, clove and cardamom traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards. I tried it both with and without milk and it is delightful drunk either way. With milk it feels more like an evening “snuggle up with a mug of tea” kind of drink and without it’s perfect throughout the day. I loved it and would highly recommend checking it out. You can find it here.
The second discovery was in Christmas Pudding form. I adore Christmas Pudding; I could seriously eat it all year round. I would love to be able to make my own Christmas pudding but just don’t have the time this year. I am working right up to Christmas Eve so buying a good quality, local pudding is my only option this year and this is the best one on the market in my opinion. Figgy’s is aartisan company in Devon run by husband and wife team, Richie and Jo Evans. They make all of their indulgent Christmas Puddings by hand to an old family recipe, so they taste as good as you’d make yourself. Seriously moist with plump, juicy fruit and a lovely warming flavour from Port in Hanlon’s Port Stout, and the delicate flavour of the Somerset Cider Brandy. It’s truly a wonderful pudding and comes highly recommended. The perfect finale to your Christmas dinner. To purchase click here.
South Street Standard
Its been a while since I have visited South Street Standard in Exeter. I had a couple of disappointing trips when it first opened so it had been off my radar ever since. I popped along one Sunday lunchtime with Steve to see what was on offer. I had heard that there was a brand new menu so wanted to check it out.
I opted for the vegan roast with a side of creamed leeks and a Yorkshire pudding (I’m not vegan) and Steve the ribs with sweet potato fries and coleslaw. I can categorically say that my head has been turned. Chef Ben Corcutt and his team cooked up a storm for us. I can’t wait to return to see what the truffle Mac ‘n’ cheese is like!
No 1 Polsloe
I love this independent cafe! It’s always buzzing and has a fabulous brunch menu. I popped up to celebrate my friend Angel’s birthday earlier this month. You have to go if you haven’t been already.
InExeter Gift Card
I was given the opportunity to try out the brand new InExeter Gift Card. Used like a debit card you load the card with the desired amount that you can use in many of Exeter’s independent shops, cafes, restaurants, beauticians and hairdressers. A great gift for your friend or loved one who you find difficult to buy for. A full post is on its way but in the meantime here are a few photos of my day.
December looks busy! Nothing new there! It’s been a full on few months and I promised myself a week off before all the Christmas festivities kick in. I have a trip to London on the cards to visit an old friend and my sister, Estella. I hope to find some yummy places to visit whilst there. I am keen to try Farm Girl Cafe. Does anyone know it? Do you have any other recommendations? I also have a trip to St Ives booked with Steve. We are staying in an Air B&B right in the town centre. I very much look forward to exploring this picturesque Cornish town
On top of my trips away I have an evening in Topsham planned. A visit to their Christmas market culminating with dinner at Denley’s Indian restaurant. They have just launched their Christmas menu which intrigues me. I wonder what will be on offer?
Another restaurant that has a brand new Christmas recipe on offer is Comptoir Libonais. Again, I am intrigued by what a Lebanese Christmas menu might look like considering most of the population there is Muslim.
Southwest Wine School photographs given with kind permission by my chum Nick Hook.
Additional photos by Angel Wade.