So the new term has started and my legs are killing me already!! It makes me laugh because I could limit the aches and pains if I got off my butt and danced in the holidays. BUT time flies by and before you know it it’s the first day back!
Things should be easier for me this term though as I no longer have a part time job on top of my teaching. I am going to concentrate on my ballet and my blogging! I think that sounds like a pretty perfect scenario to me. I should be able to take advantage of more opportunities that come my way which will be such a bonus. Having more free time means I can write about more yummy foodie stuff, create more recipes and then in turn share it all with you guys. It’s exciting times here at Tara’s Busy Kitchen!
So, after getting day one of teaching out of the way and with my aching legs and abs I tootled off into town to meet Emma. We met at The Plant which is a great little cafe situated on Exeter’s Cathedral Green. They specialise in vegetarian/vegan dishes and do delicious cakes that feel very virtuous. Although they probably aren’t!
As it was only 9.30am we both decided to steer clear of the yummy cakes on offer and just stuck with a pot of tea for two. It was just the most perfect start to the day as we managed to sit outside taking advantage of the late summer warmth.
Tuesday night saw me back at Exeter Cookery School but this time in a different frame of mind. It was the turn of Absurd Bird, one of the new restaurants opening in the Queen Street Dining Complex. Absurd Bird Exeter is the first of its kind to open outside London. The first was launched by Splendid Restaurants in East London on Commercial Street in March 2016, followed more recently by Absurd Bird Soho. Their tag “Chicken by Birth, Crazy By Nature!” is certainly true of this brand. There is a real quirky side to Absurd Bird and I like it! Although I am not a meat eater there seems to be plenty of choice in their menu for vegetarians. We were lucky enough to taste a few of their dishes like their beautifully creamy with a hint of heat Jalapeño Mac & Cheese, the garlicky sweet potato fries, the lemony quinoa salad and a wonderfully cheesey artichoke and spinach dip served warm with homemade tortilla chips! For the carnivores in the group they got a taste of the bau buns and the famous chicken wings served with a cheesey, truffle sauce.
Here is a snippet from the press release to get you excited for the opening that is currently scheduled for the 29th September. So, not long to wait to get your fix!
“Absurd Bird is bringing its soul-warming comfort food of the American South to Exeter’s Queen St Dining Quarter at the end of next month. The first Absurd Bird restaurant to open outside the Capital, the new location will bring with it a warm Southern spirit, coupled with a quirky sense of humour that will light up the vibrant Exeter food scene.
With its interior taking inspiration from New Orleans, Bayou and Louisiana, the restaurant is sure to delight as the décor is bursting with interesting details for diners to discover. With features including a mix of reclaimed / worn timber, huge ceiling fans and iron balustrading.
Mark Hall, from Absurd Bird, said: “We were very keen to bring Absurd outside London, where we think there is an opportunity in the market for our brand.
“Exeter was always a city on our radar, with a vibrant heart to the city centre, and a great demographic to enjoy our offer. We were also knocked out by the fantastic development of Queen St Dining, and the opportunity to be part of something brand new.”
With a love for the American Deep-South and their culinary traditions, Absurd Bird features a menu like the ambiance that accompanies it: eclectic, unexpected, improvisational, modern yet nostalgic, sophisticated yet humble, comfortable yet innovative. Look out for signature Waffle Cones with Popcorn Chicken, Buffalo Wings, Sweet Potato Bake, Spinach & Artichoke Dip as well as Jalapeno Mac and Cheese.
Whether fried or grilled, only ethically sourced free-range chickens are used from Fosse Meadows Farm, all of which will be smoked on site at Queen St Dining, marinated in secret recipe sauces and teamed with some irresistible sides. But hey it’s not all about the chicken, Absurd’s famous Crack Pie will leave diners with a sweet taste in their mouth and a strong desire to come back for more.
Meanwhile, the bar will offer Absurd Moonshine and creative cocktail list (All Cocktails £5 every day from 5pm – 7pm), put together by London’s mixology masterminds at Soulshakers. Whether visiting for dinner or drinks, or even hosting a private function upstairs, Absurd Bird will no doubt prove a perfect place for some after work fun.”
I went to Shillingford Organics on Thursday. A slightly slower paced affair compared to The Absurd Bird VIP bloggers event! I caught the bus to the top end of Exeter called Alphington and then walked for twenty minutes or so through Shillingford Abbot and on to the farm. It was a glorious day and perfect to take some photos. I want to document each season at the farm. I last visited back in May and the landscape had changed even since then. The tomato plants that were waist high back then now reach the top of the poly tunnels and are laden with fruit. The fields are full of autumnal vegetables like brassicas, corn, pumpkins and squashes.
I have only visited the farm twice but love it. I vow to come back every season and document all the changes. Plus, it gives me the opportunity to see what is in season. As much as I love the long summer days and the warm summer evenings I am ready to embrace autumn. Judging by all the autumnal veggies ready for picking it’s going to be a bountiful harvest.
To my surprise on Friday I had a knock at the door and it was the Shillingford van. The delivery driver opened the door and presented me with an abundance of tomatoes, corn on the cob and beetroot. Now, I did know that I was to receive some tomatoes but I hadn’t bargained on the amount. There must have been 15kg at least! I have taken it upon myself to make chutneys, sauces and I might even dry a few and preserve them in oil. It will be a great challenge to use them all but I will try my best. I plan to give some to a friend too who on more than one occasion has given me produce from her abundant garden. I know many of her tomato plants failed this year so she will be chuffed to have some. Thank you Shillingford once again for your generosity.
I will be continuing in my tomato preserving quest over the next few days. If anyone has any recipes or suggestions for me, don’t hesitate to contact me!
Have a great week everyone!