When you’re asked to visit your favourite food people, what do you do? Well I jumped (actually jumped) for joy. I did an crazy jig too. You know the sort of thing. I was invited to River Cottage for the day with other writers and bloggers by Foodies 100 and I couldn’t have been happier.
On arrival, we were taken by tractor down to the farm where we soon split up into groups to take part in various courses: Food Photography and Styling by the wonder that is Lucy Heath of Capture with Lucy, Tour of the Garden and Farm by Head Gardener Will Livingstone and finally Cooking by Chef Gill Meller. The Cooking involved making butter from scratch and using the buttermilk from the butter making process plus some foraging to make soda bread.
As we walked around I was so taken with how lovely the venue is because that’s what it is, a venue which not only does foraging and cookery courses amongst others but can be hired for weddings, Christmas parties and of course their own food and music evenings. Also what stopped in my tracks often throughout the day was just how lovely the people that worked there were not only with us but with each other. They oozed camaraderie and genuine respect for one other. It was a joy to watch.
River Cottage for me is one of the places that you would want to revisit and share with others on repeat. I don’t think I could ever tire of the place. I loved their positively, their view on sustainability and general all round love of life. A good life.
How to Make Butter
300ml double cream
Whip the cream until it goes past nicely whipped like you have to go with a pudding and past over whipped but still ok to serve amongst friends to totally split and grainy. Then start to beat with a spoon to make the solid part of the split to come together.
Pour of the buttermilk and keep this to make the soda bread. With your hands bring together the butter and squeeze out the remaining buttermilk. Place in the fridge for a about 5-10 minutes to harden a bit.
Lay the butter on a piece of greaseproof paper into an oblong and season with salt if wanted and add herbs or edible flowers to taste. Roll up, smooth, and put back into the fridge to firm up.
Autumn Soda Bread
(makes one loaf enough for four)
250g wholemeal plain flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate sod
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
50g goats cheese, grated
Small handful of blackberries
1 small apple, cubed
Set oven to 220/Gas Mark 8 and grease a baking sheet.
Add the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the fruit and cheese and mix again. Add the buttermilk and bring together with your hands.
Form into a round and place on the baking sheet. Make a cross on the top and sprinkle with more flour. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes.
Here’s a review of my visit to River Cottage at Christmas time.