My Week In Pictures 34/16

I don’t know where this week has gone in all honesty. I feel like I’ve hardly stopped to breath. Someone asked me what I was doing for the bank holiday and it had totally slipped my mind. I normally live for a long weekend!

I popped up to my friend Sophie’s for a cup of tea on Tuesday evening.. She has the most wonderful veggie patch in her back garden. Of course I left with a little bag of homegrown goodies. Runner beans, tomatoes, spring onions, sorrel, rocket and spinach. What a lucky lady I am! It all gets put to good use in Tara’s Busy Kitchen!

On Wednesday evening I tootled along to Artigiano with Steve. We had been invited to a gin event hosted by the charismatic Matt of Bombay Sapphire. We were celebrating the start of Artigiano’s bank holiday weekend gin festival. He talked us through the distilling process at Laverstoke Mill in rural Hampshire right through to the Bombay Sapphire in our glass. Bombay Sapphire is a truly unique gin using ten precious botanicals. Juniper from the hills of Tuscany, lemon peel from Murcia, grains of paradise, a relative of ginger from West Africa, coriander from Eastern Europe, cubeb berries that are part of the pepper family from Java, orris root that is part of the iris flower root from Florence, almonds from Spain, liquorice from China, cassia bark from Indonesia and angelica from Dresdon.

We had great fun watching Matt creating cocktails whilst he taught us about the different methods used in cocktail making. Matt explained that when you take a sip from a glass you use your nose before the flavour hits your taste buds. He suggested that when making a cocktail like a G&T you rub a quarter of a lemon around the rim to give you that initial flavour hit through your nose. It really did make a difference and I will certainly be doing this when I make any cocktails at home.

Once Matt had finished his mixology lesson it was our turn. Each of the guests had the opportunity to recreate a cocktail from Artigiano’s Bombay Sapphire gin festival menu. I chose a pink martini and Steve made the Bombay Bramble. The pink martini had a mixture of a wonderful elderflower liquor called St Germain, Bombay Sapphire, sugar syrup, cranberry and lemon and lime segments all created in a wonderful bowl glass with lots of ice. The Bombay Bramble was a combination of gin, blackberry liqueur, lemon segments, fresh blackberries and soda water.

We had a fantastic time at Artigiano so if you fancy experiencing the gin festival for yourself its on all over the bank holiday weekend.

Steve and I visited The Picturehouse which is our favourite cinema in Exeter. We watched ‘David Brent – A Life On The Road’. I can’t recommend this film enough. It was heart wrenching in places, cringy and laugh out hilarious.

I visited Exeter Cookery School on Friday to attend their full day vegetarian cooking course. I had the best day learning new techniques which included pasta making. We made spaghetti, tagliatelle and the most amazing egg yolk, spinach and ricotta ravioli. I was welcomed with open arms by Jim and Lucy Fisher. I was totally put at ease from the very first moment. I’ll be doing a full post on my day very soon but as a little teaser, here are a few photos.

After the cookery course finished I walked up to Southernhay Gardens to meet Steve. The Exeter Street Food Market was up and running so we sat in the early evening sun having a drink. I was pretty stuffed after my day at the cookery school but Steve got himself a bite to eat.. A Philly cheese steak from Dan’s American Kitchen.

Whilst at Exeter Cookery school I spotted that the Town Mill Bakery‘s sister had opened up next door. I didn’t have time to pop in that day and frankly I didn’t have enough room to fit in any of the wonderful cakes and pastries on offer. So I decided to take Steve down on Saturday. The Canal Bakery opened a few weeks ago and what a great little spot they have. Right by the canal with views back over Piazza Terracina. We ordered and took a seat outside. I had a ginormous pan aux raisins with a cup of builders tea whilst Steve had a slice of carrot cake and a coffee. We sat and watched the world go by before heading off on our actual mission for the afternoon which was blackberry picking. I wanted to stock up the freezer ready for autumnal crumbles and Steve wanted to make blackberry vodka. We managed to pick a fair few considering it’s still pretty early in the season. I now have three tubs in the freezer and Steve has made a batch of blackberry vodka that needs to be left for a few months to let the flavours mingle. It should be perfect by Christmas. 

It’s been a strange old week. It’s really has flashed by. I have one week left of my summer holiday before the teaching starts again which seems nuts. Like I said earlier, where had the time gone! Is that because I am getting older or is it because life is getting more hectic? I guess only time will tell. I’m pretty sure that I have some exciting stuff pencilled in for next week but because life seems to be a bit manic at the moment I haven’t actually stopped to look. In the mean time you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. Have a fabulous bank holiday and I will see you soon. 

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