Saturday, 28 March 2015

Spring has sprung

Whether spring has sprung or not, its wonderful to see all the new buds popping up, a wonderful array of daffodils lining the roadsides and the gently waft of wild garlic in the air. The valley road between Tiverton and Bampton is stunning at this time of the year, with glimpses of the river twinkling below and the birds busily flying around. Some people might now take this opportunity   to start a bit of spring-cleaning, especially with the sun shining; we have been at it since January, with two of our bedrooms being totally refurbished, (one to go, but I’m working on a theme) 90% of the pub inside re-painted and a new look for the toilets, well us ladies like a nice looking loo!  It’s not the easiest of challenges when you’re open 6 1/2 days a week; maybe that’s why it feels like it’s taken forever. But it’s nice to have a change and freshen things up, not only in the decoration department, but the kitchen too. As always the menu is ever evolving, with new dishes and tweaks happening all of the time.
Talking of change, it appears that many of our fellow publicans have changed just recently, with new people at both The Exeter Inn and The Anchor and rumors of the re opening of The White Horse and new management at The Red Lion, it seems an exciting time for the pub goer.  Good luck and best wishes to you all.

Paul and I did attend The Devon Chefs Club dinner earlier in the month and I would say that if you ever find yourself in Plymouth near the Barbican and fancy a treat, you couldn’t go wrong in trying out The Greedy Goose, as the group of 16 or so of us would testify. Not having been to one of these events before, we were definitely the new guys, but we were soon made to feel very welcome and as the courses arrived the common interest of food soon had everyone talking, there was a mixture of chefs, suppliers, media guys and a chef lecturer from the local college. Our food was a selection of items from their menu, I definitely tried things I never would have ordered, and it certainly opens up your mind. Ben and Francesca not only have a stunning food offering they can also boast of a beautiful building steeped in history. They took over towards the end of last year and are already a big hit. We will be hosting one in the near future, showcasing our menu favorites and local suppliers, lets hope our peers think favorably of our food offerings and surroundings.

With a wonderful Mothers Day behind us and Easter fast approaching, one of our new tasty dishes uses a really lovely vegetable pickle, at present it is used with our starter mackerel dish, but would go well with almost any pan fried fish or possibly one in a light batter, potted meats or just on top of a mixed salad to give it an extra wow. It’s very light and slightly sweet with a bit of a zing.

(Don’t let the title put you off)

2 carrots, peeled
2 red onions
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 red chilli
2 celery sticks (optional, I personally don’t)

(pickle mix)
2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (crush down in pan with a spoon or the end of a rolling pin, just to open the flavour)
100ml white wine
100ml white vinegar
100ml water
100g castor sugar
pinch salt and pepper

1.          Prepare the vegetables, de-seed peppers  and finely slice all, as fine as you can, a good trick is to use a peeler to get very thin strips on the carrot and then slice, slice the peppers from the inside it’s easier than cutting through the skin side
2.          Put all pickle mix ingredients into a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute
3.          Pour over vegetables, stir in gently, leave to cool
4.          Place into clean jars or airtight containers. Will keep for a good 2 to 3 months in a cool place.

This is so simple but really tasty and goes with so many things, I’m sure that when you get a taste of it you will be eating it with a lot more things than I’ve suggested.

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