Barbecue season has started (finally) at Tara’s Busy Kitchen HQ. As always it took a while to light and I ended up fanning it with a wooden chopping board to breath some life into it! It was kicked off in style with some wonderful king prawns, mackerel, veggie kebabs, homemade tzatziki and potato salad using vegetables from my Shillingford Veg Box.fishmonger in Sidmouth, her home town. We created some little foil parcels and placed them on the barbecue to cook. She also brought some amazing homegrown ruby red radishes to go on our salad leaves. Staverton Bridge Nursery for afternoon tea with my friend Chloe and Sarah. The sun was shining and it was truely idyllic sitting outside over looking the River Dart with the steam train chugging along in the distance. At one point the sun was so hot that we had to move into the shade. That almost never happens in this country!
On Sunday night my sister came to visit. Estella is moving all the way to Grand Cayman for a couple of years to be with her boyfriend who has secured a job over there. This was her final visit to Devon before she flies out to the States and then on to Grand Cayman. The weather was good so we decided on some nice salads, cheeses and of course our traditional “get together” drink Aperol spritz! I used some of the salad items from my Shillingford veg box and it was the turn of Sharpham cheeses to get a showcase on the cheeseboard. Sharpham Rustic and Sharpham Brie were left to get nice and squidgy whilst the cocktails were mixed.
Monday night we were joined by Estella’s boyfriend, Gordon. Another barbecue was lit and fresh fish, vegetable kebabs and burgers were cooked up to go alongside homemade tzatziki and flatbreads. I had been given some wonderfully fresh salad leaves from a new friend called Sophie. So I used those to create a salad to sit alongside. She also gave me some fresh winkles that she had collected from the beach at Bigbury. I cooked them according to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s instruction and served them with some cocktail sticks to pick out the flesh. They were absolutely divine and a new experience for me.
My friend Cassie came for lunch on Wednesday. Once again we had pretty good weather so we could take our lunch outside.
I made a yummy salad nicoise of sorts but omitted the green beans as I didn’t have any so added avocado and some toasted sunflower seeds. It was delicious.. I always think food tastes better when you eat outside. Cassie and I caught up on all our news. We hadn’t seen each since before Christmas. We both agreed that was far too long and have vowed to meet once a month. We even planned our Christmas outing to London!
On Thursday my old friends Jemma, Catherine and Rebecca had our annual road trip. Admittedly we didn’t venture too far and there was no overnight stay but it was one of the best days. Full of laughter and love. Cat drove her new camper van complete with picnic to the moors. We found a little spot to park up just beyond Ashburton and the River Dart then set up camp amongst a heard of the cutest cows and their calfs.
After taking a short stroll to walk off our merengue we hopped back in the van and made our way back down the hill towards Ashburton and parked up in the town centre. We fancied a cup of tea so we headed to Taylor’s. A wonderful tea room with the most stunning cakes all served on vintage china. We sat out in the courtyard and even though we had just had dessert up on the moors we decided to share a piece of their famous carrot cake between the four of us. I had a wonderful pot of Assam loose leaf tea to wash it down and it was particularly beautiful being outside.
Thursday night I was lucky enough to have an invite to one of the new restaurants in the Queen Street Dining Complex in the heart of Exeter’s city centre. Turtle Bay is a Caribbean social. Their focus is on “rum, reggae and jerk”. Deliciously spicy Caribbean food served in a buzzing atmosphere with amazing music and fantastically mixed cocktails. I had a blast! A full review of my night at Turtle Bay will go live very soon but in the meantime here are a few photographs to get you itching to try out some amazing Caribbean flavours in a funky setting.Twitter and Instagram for more news on what I have been up to. Have a great week everyone. Let’s hope our summer returns again soon!