My good friend Chloe joined Steve and myself for dinner on Saturday evening. I had made a dish based on a Hemsley and Hemsley recipe earlier on in the week and had loved it so much that I wanted to make it again. Just a simple dish really but full of wonderful flavours. Lots of lovely veggies roasted in the oven with rosemary, garlic and thyme layered on top of quinoa and spinach leaves. A homemade basil and almond pesto drizzled over the top finished it off to perfection. The flavours were delicious together. I think it might be my “go to” recipe of the moment. Easy, healthy and very tasty. Just what a busy person like me needs in her recipe repertoire. I made a simple green salad to sit alongside for a little bit of crunch and texture.
For our second course we had a selection of cheeses that Chloe had purchased from the award winning Ashburton delicatessen. Sharpham Elmhirst, Harbourne blue (both made near Totnes in Devon) and a local cheddar type cheese that we couldn’t remember the name of! I had purchased some truffle honey in Bath last week and we were eager to try it with the cheeses. It had a really powerful aroma (almost like petrol) but once mixed with the cheeses it was really rather wonderful. We also had some delicious chutney from the Blueberry Bros plus my homemade pear and date chutney. The cheeses were all delicious and made even tastier by the fact that they were all made less than 30 minutes away. We poured ourselves a glass of port to have alongside our cheese course which was a real treat.
On Sunday morning I woke up early and got myself ready to take the train down to Totnes (where our cheeses from the night before were made). Steve and I had wanted to take a trip to Totnes Good Food Market a while back but never managed it so Sunday had been named as the day. We got into Totnes at about 10.45 and made our way straight to the market. It’s a pretty decent sized market with lots of local food producers selling their wares. I purchased some Sharpham Cremet goats and cows cheese from a lovely lady, some smoked trout from Bulldog Fish Farm near Barnstable, some beautiful elderberry cordial from Tom Morrow, some fig and almond wedge that you serve alongside cheeses, ginger fudge from Merryfield foods, some IPA ale from the New Lion Brewary in Totnes, Morrocan pesto from Honest food and some raspberry and violet jam from my friends at Louise’s Larder. A great haul from local suppliers. I find food markets very therapeutic. You learn so much from the producers that it make the whole shopping experience a pleasure. Steve purchased some paella from one of the hot food stalls for his lunch which was full of seafood. I opted for a giant fruit scone! Trust me to go for cake!
Here is my Totnes Good Food market stash plus a couple of cut glass port glasses from a charity shop. After Saturday nights port drinking I felt that we should have some appropriate glasses and I found these on my charity shop snooping!
We also stopped off at the Curator Cafe for a cup of tea to get out of the fine drizzle for a while. A cute little place at the bottom of town that was full to the brim with locals enjoying brunch and a coffee before venturing off to carry on with their days tasks.
We spent about 3 hours or so in Totnes and both said we want to visit again on a weekday to have a look in some of the interesting shops there. Totnes still has an old school approach to Sunday shop opening which I rather like.
I tried my first Matcha latte this week courtesy of Hannah at Plymouth Tea Company. I rather liked it and would definately try again. Don’t you think it looks rather fabulous in my Caravan Trail “Beach Break” mug? The green of the Matcha latte and the red of the mug work really well together.
On Tuesday I went to see the lovely Kate at Cakeadoodledo to choose my cupcake sprinkles! That’s right.. Cupcake sprinkles. I have my second Tara’s Busy Kitchen event coming up on Sunday and I wanted to organise a little cupcake treat to go in the parting goodie bags. There was so much choice. Who would have thought that choosing sprinkles would be so difficult. The choices have been made and I will make sure you get to see the finished article in my event post.
I visited the farmers market as usual this week too. I wanted to pick up a few bits and bobs for my event. My aim is to use as many items and products from local suppliers and artisans. If I don’t make myself then I want to make sure I know where it was made or grown and who by. I have built up some rather nice friendships with a lot of local suppliers now which is great. It gives me confidence in what I will be providing my guests at Tara’s Busy Kitchen Presents. I wanted to get some apples from Shillingford organics to go in my ploughmans scones. I picked up some rather lovely red ones. Can’t wait to give them a try. I also purchased some leeks and rainbow chard. I am a sucker for brightly coloured fruit and veg!
From the farmers market I walked up to the Real Food Store. I wanted to pick up some eggs from Laydilay. They were kind enough to support me in my first event and I in turn try and buy their eggs whenever I can. I purchased a dozen for all my cake making and the egg mayonnaise finger sandwiches. I also picked up some rather delicious seeded sourdough from Emma’s Bread. They have a bakery situated at the back of The Real Food Store. Absolutely no food miles used in buying that bread!
We decided to stay for a cuppa so we climed the short staircase in the store to the cafe upstairs. I had a lovely pot of tea and Steve had an americano. We shared a date slice that had been made just downstairs at Emma’s Bread. The sun was beaming in the windows and it was lovely sitting in the sunshine for a moment or two.
On Thursday evening I met up with my friends Serena and Wanda at Jamie’s Italian. I don’t normally go to many big chain restaurants but this was an exception. I try and support local businesses as much as humanly possible but every once in a while you have to give in. Jamie’s had been Wanda’s choice and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised. I ordered the salmon special of the day. Pan fried salmon with lemon ricotta, roasted beetroot and a fennel salad. It was absolutely delicious. The salmons skin was crispy, the flesh was moist and the flavours of the mild lemon scented ricotta with the saltiness of the fish was pretty outstanding. It exceeded my expectations in every way. Our waiter was jolly, attentive and seemed genuinely to love his job. This is sometimes very rare in the bigger chain restaurants. Serena had the ceaser salad with extra toppings of chicken and feta cheese. She said that it was divine and had put Jamie’s back on her radar. Wanda was a little disappointed with her choice of the stuffed buckwheat pancakes. She said they were a little soggy and there wasn’t any definition in textures. Such a shame as everything else had been very nice.
It was a pleasant way to spend a Thursday night and the atmosphere was perfect for our girlie evening.
Once again there has been plenty going on this week and more planned for the upcoming week ahead. I have Tara’s Busy Kitchen presents on Sunday which is exciting. Then a trip with my friend Amber to Quickes farm kitchen on Thursday. Somewhere I have never been but I have heard good things so I am very much looking forward to that. Plus, it’s where they make the famous Quickes cheese and I love cheese. In fact I am using Quickes cheese in my cheese scones for the event. Hopefully there will be an opportunity to try some cheeses when we visit too.
Have a great week everybody. I look forward to filling you in next week on my event and my trip to Quickes.