My dear friends Chloe and Sarah joined Steve and myself for dinner on Saturday night. We hadn’t seen each other since before Christmas so it was so lovely to catch up on all the latest news. We all had the job of creating a course to tickle our taste buds. Sarah was in charge of nibbles, Chloe was on salad duty and I was extra main course bits and dessert. Sarah came laden with delicious antipasti. Sundried tomatoes, artichokes, olives and some garlic crostini. I had some butterbean dip left over from the previous evening so we smeared that on the garlic crostini. So good!
Chloe had made a yummy salad of celariac, fennel, red apples and walnuts. I warmed some of my Almond Thief sourdough in the oven and opened a truckle of creamy Godminster cheese. The combination of the fresh appley salad and the creamy cheese was divine. I also opened some chutney that I had been given by Nick at The Blueberry Brothers. The sweetness of the blueberries alongside the Godminster cheese was another winning combination.
Dessert was a new recipe for me. I sort of made it up on the spot but had inspiration from Ella Woodwards first book Deliciously Ella. It was banana and chocolate ice cream. Whizzed up frozen bananas with peanut butter, a bit of almond milk and a spoonful of cocoa powder. It created a rather wonderful rich chocolate ice cream but no refined sugar or dairy in sight. You wouldn’t have known. It was fabulous. I will definately make it again and document the recipe to share with you on the blog. I love it when a throw together recipe works!
We spent the evening eating, laughing and catching up on each other’s news. I do love it when we get together. Once a month just doesn’t seem enough really but I guess life gets in the way. Plus we all live in various locations spread far and wide across Devon so two of us always have to travel. Sarah lives in Holsworthy and Chloe in Ashburton so we either meet up at Tara’s Busy Kitchen HQ (my house!) or Chloe’s as a central point. Sarah has family in Exeter so she often combines a visit with them which works out well. Our next evening is already in the diary for February so I am looking forward to that. I wonder what will be on the menu for that one. Thinking caps on..
On Sunday I woke up pretty early as usual and spent a bit of time on the sofa with Biscotti and Sicily. My two gorgeous girlie cats.. They snuggled up next to me as a had my morning cuppa. I adore it when they get right up close so you can feel them breathing in and out on you. What precious little creatures.
After finally prizing myself away from the girls on the sofa I got myself showered and dressed so I was ready to take the 15 minute walk to Magdalen Road to meet my chum Emma for a cup of tea. The Magdalen Road Bakery was our port of call. A tiny bakery with a few bench tables and chairs. I love it in there. The smell of sourdough bread baking in the oven and coffee fills the room. Plus they do the most amazing eccles cakes. Emma and I chatted about all things “life” related whilst sharing a buttery croissant, raspberry jam and of course an eccles cake! A good catch up on each other’s news.. Work highs and lows, travel plans and future tea dates. On top of that I wanted to run past some styling ideas for my upcoming Tara’s Busy Kitchen Presents Aftetnoon Tea event on 28th February. Emma is so good at styling.. It’s part of her job at Lorna Ruby so she is always on my radar for styling tips.
On Sunday afternoon I hosted a little birthday tea party for my friend Emma Garnet. The vintage china came out alongside my Pip Studios Royal White teapot. There were six of us and we all prepared a dish. I had made scones from a recipe given to me by Edward Watts, chef from Riverford Field kitchen. I’ve made them three times now and they are always consistently good. I should ask him if he would mind if I published the recipe. It’s so easy and consistently makes good crumbly scones. Emma had made a wonderfully rich chocolate roulade, Vicky made cheese scones, Katie had been in charge of finger sandwiches and Tash was on cheese straw duty. Laura had perfected the art of macarons and prepared some beautiful rose flavoured ones for the occasion. Our table was bursting with wonderful home baked goodies. I used the last of my rhubarb, rose and cardamon jam for the scones from Louise’s Larder. A truely wonderful jam packed full of rhubarb with a subtle rose and cardamon flavour. Absolutely beautiful. Everyone had gone to so much trouble which I think Emma really appreciated plus it was lovely to get the girls all together. A perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in my opinion.
On Tuesday Steve and I popped along to a local restaurant called Harrys. They have recently rekindled their breakfast menu after a long break. We had a rather lovely time relaxing over some rather yummy breakfast. I had the most amazing avocado smash. Wonderfully ripe avocado piled high on chargrilled sourdough toast. Steve had “The Works”.. A full English. Both totally scrummy.. A full review will follow next week on the blog.
On Thursday my friend Amber picked me up and we drove the 30 minutes or so down to Buckfastleigh where you can find the Riverford Field Kitchen. A restaurant nestled between Riverford Farm and the rolling hills of South Devon. The menu is set and created out of what is seasonal and fresh from the farm. You sit at long tables with fellow diners and all dig into the big serving platters placed in the middle of the table. It’s just how I would host a lunch or dinner party at my house. Lots of scrummy dishes to help yourself too. I have posted a few pictures here for you to see what I have been up to but I will do a full post on my experience at Riverford Field kitchen very soon.
What a fabulously foodie week I have had. I love spending time with my friends on my days off and I can’t think of a better way than socialising over some good food. Absolute perfection in my book. I have lots of blog posts lined up and ready to go for next week so look out for those! Obviously Valentine’s Day is approaching so I have a couple of valentines posts coming your way complete with ideas of places to go and recipe ideas for a Sunday valentines brunch with your loved one. Look out for those!
In the meantime have a wonderful week wherever you are in the world and happy reading.