Those who follow us on Social Media you will know that we’ve just returned from a cookery course at River Cottage in East Devon. Earlier this year Michelle entered a competition via fellow food blog Lavender & Lovage and was excited to see that she won the prize. Michelle had won a hamper of gluten free cereal goods from Nature’s Path. Delighted as she never wins anything, and we all love to win something, we left it at that.
A few days later whilst sitting over a coffee she got really excited as an email came through asking her to confirm her address for the cereals. This email also let her know River Cottage HQ in would be in touch regarding the course … what course? Turns out that as well as the lovely hamper, Michelle had also won a day’s training at River Cottage HQ, a Vegetable Course for 2 people. To say we were both delighted would be understating things! We have talked about going to River Cottage and now we were lucky enough to get the chance to go.
We arrived at River Cottage to be met by the tractor that transported us down to the Cottage itself. Upon arrival we were met by Steve, Front of House and our host for the day. We took our places at a cook station, and were joined by Lynne, a retired teacher from London and Vanessa from The Juice Company. All the way to Devon to meet a foodie from Stonehaven! Introductions over our Chef and Trainer for the day Connor arrived to get our day started.
The Garden at River Cottage:
The day started with a tour of the garden with River Cottage gardener Dave. A keen gardener, I took the opportunity to ask lots of questions, from crop rotation when space is limited, to pruning fruit trees. We learned about organic growing methods, all of it kept simple and achievable regardless of the size of your garden. In particular I loved the extensive herb patch, something we would be allowed to forage in later that day. An hour well spent looking at what the garden is able to produce itself.
Cooking and lots of eating:
After that it was non-stop cooking for the rest of the day, or should I say cooking and a lot of eating! Our next blog, entitled “River Cottage: 3 lunches!” will go into more detail about the food we cooked. The produce we used was amazing, grown on the farm or other farms local to the area. Beautiful, fresh, often mis-shapen vegetables, oh to have the weather and space to grow half of it here.
If you ever get a change to go to River Cottage take it! The whole day had a lovely relaxed vibe, despite getting through a serious amount of cooking. We ate all we cooked and we ate well. Only at the end of the day did Connor point out that all we’d eaten was vegetables. No meat, no dairy and no cereals or pulses. A completely Vegan day that made Vegetables the hero.Every member of staff we met was friendly and helpful, not even breaking a sweat when I set my pan on fire (me and 3 others). A huge thanks to the kitchen staff who cleared away all the dirty dishes we placed on the “magic” table and brought back beautifully clean.
Finally a thank you to the lovely Lynne and Vanessa who we shared a work station with. Meeting both of these interesting and friendly women made a great day even better. We wish you both well as you really made the day for us.
It’s also worth mentioning that Michelle very kindly donated the Gluten Free Nature’s Path hamper to my Mum who is Coeliac. My Mum tried all the goodies, granolas, cereals and cereals bars and reported that they are something she will definitely buy again. Delicious, good quality, gluten free products, she’d recommend them to anyone suffering from Coeliac disease or who has a wheat intolerance.4