Getting back to normality… 3/7/2021

I am not quite sure where the last couple of months have gone but after a bit of a quite period, keeping our heads down and getting some work done we have been back out and about doing a little bit of travelling….

There has been alot of work to do on property which has kept us busy…. it is strange though how you decide to completely renovate something and then think – why didn’t we do this when we were living here?? … admittedly, it was eight years ago…. but wow, that new kitchen looks amazing!!

Anyway, enough of boring day to day life and onto the enjoyment of food, drink and travelling… our three main passions!

Whilst at the farm and since things have started to open up again they have started a local farmers market in Holyport on Saturday mornings… very dangerous! To be fair, there are about 3 stalls that sell brownies, sourdough and other artesanial baked goods – all of which we can also do at home so we tend to avoid… but there are also stalls selling local beer, cider, gin, apple cider vinegar, organic refill bits including tea and nuts etc… and a very varied cheese stall… and on a whim we decided to buy some Vegan cheese. If you thought artisanial cheese was expensive, well think again…. vegan cheese is gold dust! To be fair, the one we bought was delicious. It was pretty much pure cashew nut with some spices thrown in but still, for roughly £50 a kilo its not something you’d buy very often and although good, I don’t think worth the money when there are so many other alternatives that we make. I do think I could make it myself though, I just need to dedicate a little time to it!

We have had a couple of trips away in the last couple of months, firstly an 8 day tour taking in Lutterworth, Stenson and Melton Mowbray back in May, where it rained so much for the first 4 days the campsite at Stenson actually had to cancel bookings and we had to park up on the road. It did clear up though and the last 4 days in Melton Mowbray were a lot dryer… albeit that the walking was still very soggy under foot.

We had stopped in Lutterworth to catch up with Gail and the kids, Stenson to see Kevin and Petra on their lovely narrow boat and then finally Melton Mowbray was a reckie with Pete and Liz as we had booked the Eye Kettleby Lakes Campsite for the Concorde Meet last November which was cancelled due to Covid…. all in all quite a full on week for us bearing in mind we hadn’t really seen anyone for months!! It was lovely to see everyone though and lots of lovely food was eaten and good wine drank…. so we shouldn’t really complain. It also enabled us to get into the habit and start doing our COVID rapid tests to ensure that we weren’t passing anything on.

Following on from a few weeks back at the farm, we then set off down to Bath for ten nights – once again a tale of two halves, the first half of the week was absolutely glorious weather and the second a little wet and grey. Nothing stopped us though and we still managed to catch up with everyone we had planned to see – just a couple of evenings that needed to be catered for inside rather than out… but it all worked.

Whilst making the most of our time in Bath we took a quick trip over to Bristol to sample a little bistro that we had seen on ‘Remarkable Places to Eat’ called ‘Little French’. It was our first trip on public transport for nearly two years – having been abroad over the winter 2019/20 and not arriving back in the UK until the end of May 2020 during lockdown… very odd but it was a little too far to walk…. even for us! The food was exceptional – as was the wine – and we were really lucky to have been able to get a table, definately one to visit again in the winter so we can go full out for the Cote du boeuf and Angolot (French cheesy mashed potato that you cut with scissors…. its amazing… or at least it was when we had it in Central Massif in France!!)

It was lovely to have ten days to catch up with everyone as it definately felt more relaxed than the four nights we normally plan in Bath… although it just meant that we saw more people and a few people twice – just not enough time in the day!

As part of our weird and wonderful way of living and love of food we have been talking about how we could cook if we went gas free in the motorhome. We had come accross the Remoska Tria which is a large casserole dish that you can use on a hob (both induction or gas), as a soft pressure cooker, or by plugging into the electricity – as an oven. It didn’t take much convincing, we popped into Lakeland whilst in Bath and came home with a rather large box …..

and haven’t stopped using it since – it’s very versitile and although we won’t be able to use it off grid all year round, it is fairly low energy therefore during the summer months – even on grey days – we should be able to use it the majority of the time.

So far, we have baked bread and rolls, baked sweet potatoes, cooked up black beans, butter beans and chickpeas from dry, made a biryiani, baked jamaican patties, a pie, vegan chilli, buffalo cauliflower wings and falafels…. all with great success.

Apart from just using the Remoska Tria to make some of our ‘known’ recipes we have tried out a few new dishes…. although to be fair not quite so many as normal

Tahini, Date and Oat Cookies – really tasty little bites full of natural sweetness and energy
Fennel and Bean Casserole – hearty and full of flavour but really quick and easy
Buffalo Cauliflower Wings – quick and easy tasty one pot dish

It’s been a busy few weeks of entertaining and it has been great to catch up with so many people and naturally share some lovely food…. we even managed to get back to Sindhu this week with some close friends and enjoy a seven course taster and pairing menu – a true treat, still can’t recommend it highly enough. This was the first time that we had opted for the wine pairing at Sindhu and were introduced to two different varieties of Indian wine – both light and fresh and very impressive, I do think – and hope – that we will be seeing more indian wine on the market going forwards.

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