Category Archives: Food & Drink

HOST A FISH SUPPER AND HELP SAVE LIVES AT SEA

This October, the RNLI is calling on the people of the South West to sink their teeth into a delicious fish dish to raise vital funds, as the lifesaving charity launches its annual Fish Supper fundraiser.

People across the UK and Ireland are being encouraged to host a fish-themed meal for friends and family on the weekend of 13–15 October to help the charity continue saving lives at sea.

The RNLI relies on the generosity of the public to fund its lifesaving services, and the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew members often sacrifice their precious meal times at a moment’s notice, answering the call of their pagers to save lives at sea.

Michael England, the Mechanic and Second Coxswain at Padstow Lifeboat Station, said: “As a crew member, my pager can beep at any time. Whether I’m at work, asleep in bed or about to tuck into my dinner – I’ll stop what I’m doing and get straight to the lifeboat station, ready to save lives.

“Holding a Fish Supper is a great way for people to support the RNLI. It’s easy to sign up for a free fundraising pack and then enjoy hosting a fun evening with your friends and family. If cooking’s not your thing, you could always serve up something simple like a fish finger sandwich or fish and chips.”

Whether it’s a simple fish butty or a more challenging culinary masterpiece, everyone is invited to get involved in this year’s Fish Supper. If in need of a little inspiration, MasterChef champion Jane Devonshire’s Cheesy Fish Pie is a great place to start.

Jane says: “I love cooking for my family, and my cheesy fish pie is always a crowd pleaser – plus, it’s so easy to prepare. I urge anyone who hasn’t tried cooking fish before to give this recipe a try, and impress your friends and family while raising vital funds for the RNLI’s brave lifeboat crews.”

To receive your free Fish Supper fundraising pack, and to see some mouth-watering recipe inspiration, including Jane’s Cheesy Fish Pie, visit RNLI.org/FishSupper.

Last year, RNLI lifeboat crews across the UK and Ireland rescued 8,643 people and saved 431 lives. It costs over £485,000 per day to run the RNLI, and the charity relies on donations from the public to continue its lifesaving service.

PHOTO by Nick Watts

EAT EXMOOR INITIATIVE BEGINS

From mouth-watering ruby red beef to award-winning gin, fresh oysters, high-quality caviar, and whortleberry jam to sparkling cider and flavoursome ales, to mention but a few, Exmoor has an incredible array of delicious produce. Seeking to highlight the bountiful nature of this stunning area, Exmoor National Park and Visit Exmoor are working in partnership, with further support from West Somerset Council, to launch Eat Exmoor.

Eat Exmoor is a comprehensive marketing project aimed at encouraging more visitors to come to the area to enjoy Exmoor’s unique and tasty produce and the landscape it comes from.

“With such an important role in the overall visitor experience, we felt it was time to bring together all the wonderful food and drink related produce, events and experiences that already exist in and around Exmoor and promote them under one umbrella,” said Jennette Baxter, Development Manager for Visit Exmoor.

Included in the initiatives will be a brand-new Eat Exmoor section on www.Visit-Exmoor.co.uk, incorporating listings as well as inspirational content ranging from food trails to local produce stories. It is also planned to produce an Eat Exmoor printed guide as well as run training and networking events to connect local suppliers with hospitality businesses. The project will be supported with additional PR, social media and a number of food-related events planned throughout 2018.

“Cafes, inns, pubs, hotels and restaurants that are truly making the most of the great local offering, as well as retailers and experience providers, will be encouraged to sign up so that we can market ourselves to a much wider audience,“ added Jennette. “We are delighted that we will be working in partnership with Exmoor National Park and with the support of West Somerset Council but we also need to come together as a tourism industry to support and promote our natural assets.”

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager at Exmoor National Park, commented: “The project aims to place the emphasis on food and drink that is grown and produced on Exmoor and inextricably linked in its production to the Exmoor landscape. This is part of the Exmoor story: farming sustains the landscape, the landscape sustains tourism and food sustains visitors!

“Already over £40m a year is spent by visitors to Greater Exmoor on food and drink and a Defra report has highlighted that local food and drink on Exmoor is an important element of the local tourism offer. Working collaboratively we aim to grow this market and further position Exmoor as a great food destination whilst supporting producers to continue to care for the iconic landscape of Exmoor.”

Visit Exmoor and the National Park will be joining local chefs and producers in the Exmoor Live marquee at Dunster Show on 18 August, where local businesses can find out more about Eat Exmoor and discuss their ideas.

PHOTO by Julia Amies-Green, who is part of Wild Exmoor with Claire Lynch. The project is a new and exciting series of unique and inventive short films, featuring exquisite al fresco cuisine in stunning locations across Exmoor.

THE NAUGHTIEST CREAM TEA IN THE WEST COUNTRY?

The cream tea tradition flourished in the West Country following the tourism boom in the 1850s, aided by the opening of railways. Fitting therefore that the Victorian Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway should be at the centre of a cream tea controversy.

The Cliff Top Café, perched 500ft above Lynmouth, is already famous for its amazing views and home baked cream tea scones almost as high as the cliffs themselves. But cream tea etiquette has been well and truly tested recently, with the launch of the Cliff Railway ‘Naughty Cream Tea’.

Café Manager, Jasmine Knowles, launched the ‘Naughty Cream Tea’ as a bit of fun to celebrate the provision of an alcohol licence at the Café but said that, “The twist on tradition has become an instant hit, the visitors seem to love it.”

The Naughty Cream Tea replaces the traditional pot of tea with a Prosecco, a locally Brewed FatBelly Ale or even wine or local cider and provides the perfect accompaniment to that long walk and the stunning views. With huge scones, local clotted cream and spoonfuls of jam, this new twist on the traditional is probably the Naughtiest Cream Tea in the West Country!

However, the Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway believe that some traditions must remain; tea is still available and, whilst in Devon, you don’t cut your scones, simply break them apart with a gentle twist, dollop, don’t spread the clotted cream and always, always put the jam on top!

MILES TEA & COFFEE ROASTERY TOURS

Following the success of roastery tours last year, Miles Tea & Coffee has decided to run some more on selected dates through the summer months in the historic Roastery building in Porlock. Miles has over 120 years’ experience in the tea and coffee industry and a preview behind the scenes is a must for any hot beverage lover!

Tours will last about an hour including coffee tasting, a free pack of coffee, a talk with Mitch, the  Head Roaster, and you will learn about the roasting process and the history of Miles.

Just imagine coffee beans flying through pipes above you, the roaster roaring and the aroma of freshly ground coffee.

Sam Burton, Marketing Manger, said, “Each participant will be provided with full production clothing and will be required to fill out paperwork before arrival to meet our SALSA quality requirements. Tours will be pre-book only as tours will be limited to 10 people and there will be a small charge of £7. Last year we had a waiting list of 20 people so be sure to book your place early.”

To book your place please email sam.burton@djmiles.co.uk the tours are pre-book only and limited to small groups. Morning tours take place on 27 July, 31 August and 28 September.

Join the company for a #TastingTuesday this Summer, find out more online at www.djmiles.co.uk in the news section.

BOOKINGS NOW OPEN FOR THE TENTH NORTH DEVON FOODFEST

North Devon’s biggest celebration of local food and drink is back and exhibitors are being urged to get in quick to secure their place at the event.

Online bookings are now being accepted for Foodfest 2017, which takes place on Sunday 22 October at Barnstaple Pannier Market and will feature over 100 local food and drink exhibitors.

Now in its tenth year, event organisers Barnstaple Town Centre Management and North Devon Council have seen the event increase in popularity and success since it first launched in 2008. With over 10,000 visitors, 100 exhibitors and top chefs from some of North Devon’s best local restaurants at Foodfest last year, the annual event is now a firm favourite in the foodie calendar.

Hannah Harrington from Barnstaple Town Centre Management, says: “This year’s event will be as busy and popular as ever, showcasing and celebrating the best of our local food and drink and will, as it always does, helping promote our area and support our suppliers, growers and traders.”

Executive Member for economic development, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “Foodfest is always a massive boost for the town’s economy, with thousands of visitors enjoying some of the best food and drink our wonderful district has to offer. Foodfest is a great opportunity for local food producers to showcase their business with a guaranteed audience of about 10,000 – get your applications in quick!”

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 1 August. Apply online at www.barnstaple.co.uk/north-devon-foodfest, email foodfest@barnstaple.co.uk or call 01271 321049 for more information.

SOUTH WEST CHEF OF THE YEAR COMPETITION IS OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS

The 2017 prestigious South West Chef of the Year competition is open for applications. The highly anticipated culinary contest is the only one in the UK with the aim of finding the very best regional talent from not one but five categories including professional and young professional chefs, students and apprentices, junior cooks under 16 years and home cooks. The South West’s culinary reputation has long been lauded, shaped by its bountiful lands and coastline that create outstanding produce and in turn inspire an increasingly long list of home-grown, Michelin-starred chefs. The peninsula’s passion for delicious and sustainably sourced food and drink is recognised and nurtured by the South West Chef of the Year as it aims once again to find the region’s hottest talent.

Lead judge, Michael Caines MBE of Lympstone Manor, who has championed the competition since 2004, said: “South West Chef of the Year has always aimed to not only provide a springboard for the region’s emerging chefs but also to inspire home cooks of all ages and to help young people to make cooking a career choice. I have always said that the South West is home to some of the best food in the world but the industry always needs new blood and I invite all those with a passion for cooking, for wonderful ingredients and the produce we have in abundance here in the region to enter South West Chef of the Year. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn, to improve and be challenged.”

Michael added, “Exmoor has an amazing larder ranging from venison, lamb and beef from our North Devon cattle, all the way to seafood from the coastline. This produce enables us to produce high-quality dishes.”

Michael will be joined by an impressive list of judges from the region’s most esteemed venues, including Michael Wignall of Gidleigh Park and Chris and James Tanner of Barbican Kitchen and Kentish Hare. The judges will be looking for competitors who display the highest standards of cooking as well as flair and creativity. The competition is renowned for its mentorship of contestants, with those entering the final rounds receiving invaluable feedback in a supportive environment.

Entry to the first round of the competition opened on 1 June with four of the five categories now taking online applications until 31 July at www.southwestchef.co.uk. Those interested in applying should devise and submit a two-course menu that includes the compulsory ingredients set for their category.

The Professional Chefs category includes those working as a sous chef, pastry chef or above. Menus submitted for this category should include saddle of lamb (on the bone) and pollack and mussels. ‘Young Professional Chefs’ entering the competition includes those working in any position up to and including junior sous chef and aged 19 to 24 years. Their compulsory ingredients are pork tenderloin and red mullet.

‘Student and Apprentice Chefs’ are those at college or in an apprenticeship and aged 16 to 19 years; their menus should include beef sirloin (untrimmed) and John Dory and clams or cockles. Finally, those entering the Home Cooks Class (those who have never worked or trained in the catering industry aged from 16 years) must create a menu that includes a main course of best end of lamb or sea bass and a dessert with fruits of the autumn (apples, pears, quince, berries).

Those selected by the judges to go through to the next round will be asked to recreate their menus at semi-finals and finals taking place in September and October.

Entry is via an online entry form available at www.southwestchef.co.uk/how-to-enter/ by the deadline of Monday 31 July 2017.

EASTER AT BARNSTAPLE PANNIER MARKET

Spring is in the air at Barnstaple Pannier Market with the return of Monday markets and an Easter eggstravaganza.

Monday markets make a return on Monday 3 April, offering even more opportunity to visit the town’s unique indoor market. With a wide variety of stalls, including fresh local produce, books, gifts, clothing, crafts and antiques, the market will be open six days a week from April until Christmas, with many Sunday events throughout the year.

On Saturday 15 April, the Easter bunny will be making a special visit to hand out mini chocolate eggs to our young visitors, and there will be an eggciting Easter Egg hunt around the market. Then, between 11am and 1pm, Borderline morris dancers will be performing and Dave Hendy will be doing magic around the market.

Executive Member for Economic Development, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “Spring has definitely sprung at the market with the return of Monday markets and the annual egg hunt.  Please do come along and support the market and enjoy the free family entertainment on Easter Saturday.”

Local ward member for Barnstaple (central town), Councillor Adam Bradford says, “I am delighted that there are now even more opportunities and reasons for us all to enjoy this lively and unique space. We are all looking forward to Easter!”

To keep up to date with the Pannier Market’s news and events, head over to Facebook and like their page: www.facebook.com/BarnstaplePannierMarket/?fref=ts

 

CLEAN SWEEP AT TOURISM AWARDS FOR KENTISBURY GRANGE

Kentisbury Grange Hotel and The Coach House by Michael Caines took home two gold awards for Restaurant of The Year and Small Hotel of The Year at the 2016/17 South West Tourism Awards.

Over the last two years Kentisbury Grange Hotel and on-site restaurant, The Coach House by Michael Caines, have brought home eight gold awards in the county and regional awards.

In November 2016, the hotel and restaurant were awarded gold for Small Hotel of the Year and Restaurant of the Year in the Devon Tourism Awards for the second year in a row. The South West Tourism Awards in February saw the Devon businesses going head to head with the top businesses in the South West and winning gold in the same categories – also for the second year running.

Peter Farquhar, General Manager at Kentisbury Grange, said of the awards: “WOW – what can I say? We are lost for words. To have won gold again this year, with so many other outstanding businesses entering the awards, is incredible. I’m so very proud of the outstanding team we have here – without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

The team at Kentisbury Grange and The Coach House by Michael Caines are looking forward to the year ahead and have recently welcomed a new Head Chef, James Mason, to the helm. James also has an award or two under his belt, including South West Young Professional Chef of the Year 2015.

Michael Caines said: “We are absolutely delighted that our hard work and investment has been recognised through such prestigious awards. The two gold medals are a great tribute to the hard work of our talented teams lead by Martin Robinson and Tom Hine who was recently replaced by Head Chef James Mason.”

Foodies are eagerly awaiting the launch of Michael Caines’ first country house hotel and restaurant, Lympstone Manor, opening on 3 April 2017. Located between Exeter and Exmouth, the Georgian mansion will be transformed into a 21 bedroom hotel and 60 seat fine dining restaurant.

MILES TEA RANKED SECOND IN UK TEA BRANDS

To be ranked among the top tea brands for four years in a row is quite an achievement for the West Country based family business, Miles Tea & Coffee. ‘Best Brands’ magazine have just issued the 16/17 edition showing that Miles is now ranked as the second most popular brand for independent retailers to stock in the UK. Miles has moved up two places since first being voted in the top five brands.

John Halls, Operations Director, said, “This is a brilliant recognition for Food and Drink producers in Somerset and the West Country. This is just the kind of positive news we need to kick start another season. We have also had a good year with stores such as Tesco seeing an increase of 20% in the sales of Miles Tea and Hot Chocolate. We hope next time we might make the top spot in Best Brands.”

So how has Miles outranked the giant brands in the tea market? John says, “It’s down to our heritage and quality. We’ve got a genuine story to tell of family tradition along with great-tasting blends. A recent survey shows customers try our products and then stay brand loyal, that’s a good indication of our consistent quality. The Somerset coastal location is very important with our secret ingredient being ‘West Country warmth!’”

PHOTO: D J Miles in a photo that was included in our profile article back in the autumn of 2011 and which is reproduced below. Click on each image to expand and read.

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JUBILEE INN CELEBRATING THE BEST OF EXMOOR IN BITE SIZES

Exmoor diners wishing to eat out for less next month (February, 2017) can do so thanks to a scheme designed to help showcase the region’s top chefs, suppliers and producers.

As part of the Exmoor Food Fest, restaurants across the area are offering specially priced menus, on selected days during February, to help encourage people to sample some home-grown talent.

Executive Chef, Sam Salway at The Jubilee Inn at West Anstey near South Molton, which is one of the leading establishments participating in the event, said: “We’re delighted once again to be taking part in the 2017 Exmoor Food Fest, which takes place all over the Moor from 1 to 28 February.

“It’s the third annual event of its kind and a wonderful way of showcasing the very best the region has to offer. It is a celebration of local produce and talent, which we’re very passionate about here at The Jubilee Inn. Exmoor is home to many outstanding local products such as venison and Exmoor Caviar to name just two!”

The Jubilee Inn pub, restaurant and boutique hotel, which Sam co-owns with Claire Sellar-Elliott and family, will be running a special Exmoor Food Festival Menu on Tuesday to Thursday lunchtimes with two courses priced £10 and three courses £15.

Sam added: “We always strive to use as much produce as possible from regional or local suppliers who can provide us with quality local produce, which is fully traceable. We are already taking bookings for the Food Festival Menu and our own special menus for February as our customers have learned that often, we are unable to accommodate those without reservations and we are set for a really busy period!  It’s all hands-on deck, or ‘all hands-on prep’ as we say in the kitchen!”

The Exmoor Food Fest runs throughout February and is organised by Elke Winzer. She said: “The Exmoor Food Fest helps local businesses in the hospitality sector to show off their skills. The festival deal of two courses for £10 tempts many people into restaurants at a time of year when business tends to be slow. Diners can download and print off a voucher to present at their chosen participating restaurant exmoorfoodfest.com/vouchers to qualify for the offer.

“For the first time this year all participating restaurants will also take part in the Taste of Exmoor Awards. Customers will be able to vote online for their best dining experience – the winners will be crowned at an awards ceremony at Butlins in Minehead at the end of March.

Elke added: “Tearooms and village shops are also encouraged to sign up for the Exmoor Food Fest too.”

Information about all the restaurants signed up for the Exmoor Food Fest can be found at www.exmoorfoodfest.com.

The Jubilee Inn was taken on by Claire and her family in 2012. After having spent three years closed, they fully refurbished and re-launched it in 2015 with Sam’s help, and now after extensive renovations they are rejuvenating its fortunes.

She said: “We’ve created a successful restaurant and boutique B&B with an excellent reputation for ambience, customer service and fabulous food.  We’re open throughout the week except Mondays, serving seasonal dishes with ingredients sourced from nearby. We also have six beautiful and individual hotel rooms that are all luxurious and inviting. We wanted to create a real home from home atmosphere, with all the little extra luxuries!”

All the bedrooms are ‘uniquely different’. They have en suite bathrooms with showers and beds with Vi-Spring mattresses and crisp linens.

Claire added: “We provide our guests with luxurious accommodation, fabulous fine dining in our restaurant or classic comfort food in our bar. All our dishes are cooked to perfection, feature local and regional seasonal produce and are accompanied by fine wines and ales.”

“As a family-run inn, we treat all our guests warmly and respect their needs and requirements, whether they are here for a meal, a celebration, a weekend of country pursuits or have come for a quiet, romantic weekend away for two. We’re also exceptionally family-orientated and can cater for babies and young children to order.  As a parent myself, I know how important it is when going out with children to have them prioritised, so everyone has an enjoyable time so there are colouring books, pencils, board games and activities on hand here to keep them happy and contented!”

For further details about The Jubilee Inn, which is on B3227 at West Anstey near South Molton, or the wishing tree, please call 01398 341401 or visit www.thejubileeinn.co.uk.

PHOTO: Executive Chef, Sam Salway at The Jubilee Inn at West Anstey near South Molton, which is participating in the 2017 Exmoor Food Fest, with co-owner Claire Sellar-Elliott.