Tag Archives: food

The ‘Great British’ Haggis?

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Great British Haggis

The latest addition to the Stahly haggis family is the Great British Haggis. Made, of course, with the finest traditional ingredients, this modern take on the original Scotch Haggis is dressed to appeal to a wider audience. In a smart new coat of red, white and blue with a subtle hint of tartan to retain its proud Scottish heritage, the new Great British Haggis is a very modern version of a very traditional product.

This company has decided to re-brand the traditional Scottish haggis as ‘British’ haggis, complete with Union Jack. If you would like to send them your feedback, here is their contact link.

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Banana Bread Success

So, I had some left over bananas and rather than throw them out, I decided to see if I could find a recipe that included spelt flour, as spelt is much kinder to my system.    I found one which only had ingredients I already possessed courtesy of PattyCake at Group Recipes.

It seemed simple Banana Breadenough but, as can be seen in the picture, it came out looking a little overcooked.   I let it cool, then put it in tin foil while I went to sleep.  I already had breakfast lined up, so waited until snack time to taste it.

The banana bread wasn’t sweet, but it was moist and the crust had softened, something that worried me when I first took it out of the oven.  If I make it again, I will mash the bananas more, add a bit more honey, as I didn’t use sugar, and will include some cinnamon in the dry mix.

I’m quite proud of myself, as it’s my sister, not I who is known as the baker in the family.   I’m also becoming quite enamoured with spelt flour.   So, any recipe suggestions using spelt are warmly welcome.

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Where does the time go?

I arrived home last night a little excited by the prospect of a second steak dinner – the first having been consumed on Sunday night. This time I was a little slack on the nutrition front in that I cooked the steak (rubbed in oil and pepper with a tiny bit of salt), with some red onion, a halved tomato and added two poached eggs. Not the healthiest of combinations, but when splashed with a bit of Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce, absolutely delicious and very warming. As I cooked my dinner, I put the oven on and, once heated, threw in a potato to bake. This was stabbed with a fork, wet and then rolled in some coarse sea salt.

These potatoes seem to take longer to cook then anyone indicates taking approximately two (2) hours. I wouldn’t mind so much, but I was tired and wanted to go to bed early so I was not happy having to wait up so I could have some lunch at work. I was very tired when I woke this afternoon, having only had six hours sleep. I woke early and, once awake, could not get back to dreamland, but rather hovered in a snoozing state until my alarm told me it was time to move.

My Old Shoes

The Shoes

Once up, I headed downstairs to put on the jug for my morning steaming – something I am doing twice a day to relieve the congestion in my chest – went back upstairs to start my toilette, got half-dressed putting on only my under-shirt so as not to soil my work clothes, put on the shoes I am attempting to break-in, then headed downstairs for some breakfast.   Once I had consumed my cereal and juice, I reset the kettle, poured the boiling water into a bowl and proceeded to put my head under a towel, and steam for ten (10) minutes.   Once the coughing fit subsided, I headed back upstairs to: brush my teeth; finish dressing; do my make-up; set my hair; find the right accessories; put my phone in my handbag; gather up the items for the “bring and buy” sale at work; find a bag for my lemon, sharp knife, and lunch; find a bag for my flat shoes in case my new ones gave me blisters; ensure the heating was off; put on my night light; and head out to the car.  All in all, that was two hours.   Honest!   I had phone calls I wanted to make in order to book appointments, but I simply ran out of time.

Where does time go?

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The Baking Bug

So I baked a sSecond Loafecond loaf of bread using (organic) spelt and white flours.  I think I may have used too much flour on the board when kneading as the crust cracked, rather severely, and someone mentioned it was too dry, except I had used the same recipe as the first loaf.   It was when I was going to bed I realised I had spilled some flour out of the container and thought I might as well use that to flour the kneading board, but it was an excessive amount and was absorbed by my loaf.   I will be more careful next time and see what happens.

Today, I am attempting another recipe from the Doves Farm website, pikelets.  Oddly, it mentions water in the instructions, but there is no water in the ingredients list, so I’ve assumed the reference was to the oil.   I really hope that’s right.

I’ve not been well this weekend, so food is off the agenda.  I guess that’s why I’m baking instead.  The bread is for the coming week’s lunches and the pikelets are (just) because I fancy having a go at an old childhood favourite, and I happen to have the ingredients in the house.  I imagine I can include the pikelets in my lunchbox, too.   I wonder if I’ve caught the baking bug? [Blame lies with my sister is this is the case.]

If all goes to plan, I’ll post the results, otherwise all will be silent.

I don’t suppose I’ve ever mentioned in this blog how much I hate cooking?  I find it a chore and growing up in a family of exceptional cooks who don’t use recipes means I’ve never felt the urge; there was always someone around who could whip up something delicious from what was available.   Since moving overseas, I have come to rely on ready meals and takeaway.   Stupid, I know, given my medical status, but I’m lazy and have no room for a dishwasher so any fancy cookware I use has to be washed, scrubbed and, hopefully, cleaned by hand.  Given the state of the skin of my hands from excessive washing (a side-effect of having an IBD), washing dishes, along with handwashing garments, can be painful.   Another reason I don’t cook is that no matter how closely I follow a recipe, it never tastes as good as it does when Mum, Dad, Grandma, Sis or my brother make it – most likely because none of them use recipes and, thus, when it comes to passing on the instructions often forget significant details.   [I’m specifically thinking of the day I asked my Dad for his pumpkin soup recipe here; the day I asked Gran for her apple pie recipe (she made the pastry by “feel”); and the day my Dad showed me how to make curried sausages, rather than pass on a recipe for my all-time favourite dish; and don’t get me started on Mum’s spaghetti bolognese which despite having some idea of ingredients, I’ve never managed to recreate]. Then there is the fact that I didn’t really have a proper kitchen until I moved here a few months ago.  Having a kitchen sink next to the stove, preparation area and fridge is very convenient.

Should I choose to follow a recipe, inevitably they are for 3-4 people and there is only one of me.   I don’t like eating the same thing every day and, besides which, I don’t have that much freezer space.  All in all, it’s seem a lot of bother for not a lot of reward.   Why spend all that time and effort when an oven can produce a reasonable semblance of a tasty, nutrional meal without all the muss and fuss?

Of course, one advantage of baking my own bread is that the size of the loaf created using the above recipe is ideal for one person for one week.   Another is the smell which permeates the whole house.  Then there is the taste, and the crust.  Oh! The crust.   I could eat that on it’s own, even split.  I may never buy bread again.

It may be possible this baking bug will lead to further cooking, but I’m not counting on it.   Nor should any reader of this blog.

Bon appetit!

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Baking Bread

I have always wanted to try my hand at baking bread.  I love the smell of baking bread, and I’ve watched people make various loaves and thought that it didn’t really seem that hard.  I particularly like the idea of a sourdough, but I’m not sure I would remember to feed the starter daily.   When I moved to my new home, I bought some spelt flour which is meant to be better for those of us with bowel dis-ease.  I found the simplest recipe I could after extensive searching of the net and it was on the website of the flour manufacturer, Doves Farm.   I used 250 grams of the spelt flour and 250 grams of strong white bread flour as I find spelt a bit dense sometimes.   It took longer to prove than as mentioned in the recipe, but I expect that may be because I (stupidly) used cold water, instead of tepid, and it’s cold here today at around 11 degrees celsius.   It kneaded easily and baked quickly in 35 minutes.   Best of all, it tasted great.

Now I know how simple it actually is to bake this bread, I may never buy bread again, especially since the only spelt loaves available near me are round and small and not suitable for sandwiches.   Besides which, the smell is gorgeous and the results very light and tasty.  I’ve posted a picture of the cooling loaf above.

Thank you to Doves Farm for a great recipe.

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The Lollipop Shoes

AuthorJoanne Harris
NarratorJuliet Stevenson
ISBN:  9781405683678

Why did I read it?  It was available in audio, and I adored Chocolat by the same author, Joanne Harris, a dose of magical realism, romance and embracing life.

What’s it about?   Vianne has escaped to anonymity of the city of Paris with her two daughters, Anouk and Rosette, and is seeking a normal, ordinary life.  She’s taken on her mother’s name Yan, she has stopped creating her own confections with the result her shop is failing, and her landlord is in pursuit of her when the glamorous, exciting Zozie de l’Alba enters their lives with the winds of change flirting around her.  Annie (Anouk) instantly likes and admires Zozie for her pride in being unique, different, and as both Yan and Annie come to rely on Zosie, the wind, their pasts and (long held) secrets continue their relentless pursuit.

What did I like?  First, the narration by Juliet Stevenson.  It is clear she was a great actress, and when voicing the male characters, I actually thought a male actor had been employed.  Ms Steveson‘s performance of this story was superb and I will actively seek out other books she has chosen to narrate.  The story is told through three characters: Vianne, Anouk and Zozie.  Ms Steveson made it easy for me to determine to whom a particular chapter related in just the first few words; her characterisation of each individual voice so skillfully personified.  I just cannot praise, or thank Juliet Stevenson enough for narrating The Lollipop Shoes, in unabridged format at that.

I adored the inclusion of folk and fairy tales throughout the story.   Each was a morality tale, as was the whole book (see below for more on this aspect), and each raised the suspicions of this reader.   As an adult, I still have my childhood compendium of fairytales and I read them in times when I need to feel comforted, so to find an adult book along the same lines is refreshing.   These folk and fairy tales are the clues to the secrets in this book, so pay attention.

The Lollipop Shoes is darker than Chocolat, more like those old-fashioned Grimm fairy tales (before sanitisation) highlighting the gruesome fate that awaits the unwary child who ignores their parent’s warnings, and which have a hard lesson to impart wrapped up in a cloak of alluring magic.   The magic in this story was much more overt and fairytale-like than the subtle magical realism employed in the first book.     I probably enjoyed this because of my penchant for those tales I read as a child, though I can see where it might not be to everyone’s liking who enjoyed the more subtle, more believable (?) magic in Chocolat.   The Lollipop Shoes is more of a mystery book, with a dire sense of danger to it, rather than the  quaint tale of the battle between different outlooks, beliefs and morals of the earlier book, though these do play a significant part in the story.

The characterisation of the three narrating voices – Vianne, Anouk and Zozi – had depth, and the tension between them was palpable. Shining light on a situation/scene from the point of view of different characters enhanced the feeling of something not being right.   In fact, the tension and danger was palpable because of the insights into the thought processes of three, rather than the usual one, or two characters.   As the ending approached, the tension tightened and I found myself on edge, and having to listen all through the night and into morning until the climax; I could not stop listening so desperate was I to learn the fates of these three, desperate women.

The Lollipop Shoes is also a coming-of-age tale and explores themes of finding one’s place in the world-at-large, bullying, the growing pains experienced by parents and children as time passes, and the tension this causes between the two.  There is also a window on how a parent might balance protecting their children against preparing them for adulthood, and the unique challenges experienced with children that are outside (what society might consider) the norm.

Finally, the food; so enticing; so delicious.  Joanne Harris knows how to awaken the senses with her descriptions, and I could smell, see and almost touch every culinary creation within the book. With Juliet Stevenson delivering the lines with such sumptuousness, the kind that raises real cravings within me, without resorting to that overt food porn voice employed by those Marks and Spencer‘s commercials that are meant to entice the whole of the UK, I am ever so grateful that I didn’t have a scrap of chocolate in the house when reading this book, or unhealthy food of any type, as temptation was invoked with every word.

What didn’t I like?  One aspect of morality explored in the book was particularly distasteful: the ethics explored in the employment of magic.  It  felt like the ongoing animosity between (non-initiate, non-lineaged) Wicca and other magicians/witches.   The so-called laws of magic frequently voiced by the former were applied to Vianne in this book and it truly began to grate, almost to the point of shredding my last nerve, especially when it alluded to the neopagan point of view being the “good”, in opposition with the traditional outlook being the  “evil”, despite Vianne being shown to follow the old ways in the book.   Even the resolution, when it came, left a bitter taste in my mouth, and not a pleasant one like that provided by chocolate.

Yan (Vianne) was very whiny in this book and the repetitive nature of her complaints did begin to wear, though I know this is often how those of that state of mind behave, not realising they are sounding like a broken record.   In a similar vein, I am not sure if Joanne Harris believes her readers to be a little dim, or possessing poor memories, but there was quite a bit of repetition in the book and not just because the same scenes were being voiced by different characters.   There was more than one instance when I thought:  “Aren’t these the exact words she used before and the same story?  Has my iPod backtracked without me knowing?

I’m afraid there were a few issues with the audio version in that the volume was a little too low and, though perfectly appropriate for this style of story, it meant I had to turn up the volume on my player and this led to some unusual background noises:  static; someone receiving an email on Outlook (we all know that pinging sound, don’t we?); and some other, not quite discernible, but nevertheless potentially distracting sounds.

Would I recommend it?   Yes, oh yes.  I shall definitely be listening again.   It’s a strong story that draws you in and you listen in wonder, all the while hoping that when the battle comes, your chosen heroine will be triumphant and the villain punished.  Just remember, real life is more a Grimm fairytale, than Disney-like “dreams come true” tale.

Rating:  4/5.

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Learning to Mushroom Forage with John Wright

With last year’s extra bonus from work, I did something I had been wanting to do ever since I saw the amazing, super-forager, John Wright on the various River Cottage programmes: I booked a mushroom foraging course, led by him, at River Cottage in Devon.  I caused untold havoc with the holiday schedule at work because the courses were only run on weekdays, but I was determined.  You see, my sister is keen on mushrooms, I quite like them though they disagree with my condition, and they grow abundantly around this area being grassland, woodland and farmland, but I’ve never known what is safe to eat when my sister has visited, apart from the obvious Chicken of the Woods, which is a rare fungus that I’ve only seen twice, the first time someone else got, and the second time was at Leeds Castle, where my sister and I could not pick it.

As both my sister and I had never been able to eat at the River Cottage Canteen when we visited the Axminster area, I was also determined to book in for a meal.    So, as the time drew near, I telephoned to book, only to find out they were not open on the Sunday evening, when I arrived, or on the Monday night before I left.   Cue internal scream: was I never to enjoy the food of River Cottage?  As it happens, even the extensive listings provided by my chosen B&B, Hedgehog Corner, didn’t yield any options for a Sunday night meal.   Being somewhat superstitious, I did not hold out much hope for my trip to River Cottage or the course with John Wright.  Knowing how my condition can flare up with stress didn’t help, either.

Sunday came and my bags were ready, I packed my DSLR camera, put my coat on the bed beside my umbrella, took everything in hand and headed out to the car.   I was 2½ hours into my drive, in Wiltshire, before I realised I had left my coat (the one I had ordered via the net never having arrived) and umbrella on the bed,  with only my cotton t-shirt packed for the next day, with storms predicted.  I could not turn around because I had been issued with specific instructions to arrive between 16.00 and 16.30 at Hedgehog Corner – for reasons I won’t go into here, which were a one-off and perfectly understandable they had to have someone come in to greet the guests that night – and, besides which I wanted to eat before retiring, not having had my breakfast and being unable to stop for lunch in order to arrive on time.   As it happens, I only really just made it on time because of traffic.

Luckily for me, the person who greeted me at Hedgehog Corner was extraordinarily helpful and telephoned the pub up the road to see if they were open, they were, and also hunted down an umbrella for me, as the forecast was for rain the next day.    It was only when I was left alone I realised I had left the memory card for my camera in my laptop.  *doh*   No pictures of mushrooms for me, then.   After unpacking and settling in, I headed up to the Hunters Lodge Inn for dinner.  And, what a dinner it was.  A lovely goats cheese and read onion tart with salad,  followed by steak, peppercorn sauce, mushrooms, peas, onion rings, chips, and salad.  The service was super-friendly and the food was gorgeous for the price, though I must admit, I could not finish my one meal of the day.

I went back to Hedgehog Corner, and my lush, comfortable room, overlooking extensive gardens, and settled in for a bit of tv before attempting to get to sleep (working evenings makes sleeping for day courses a little difficult).  The bed was huge and comfortable and I got quite a few hours in before my alarm went off.  I dressed and headed down to breakfast, where I encountered two couples, one of whom I had seen arrive the day before in walking gear.  I was amazed by the amount of food on offer, and the menu for breakfast was the most extensive I’ve ever seen in a B&B, truly.   I had ordered my cooked breakfast the night before, so I started with some orange juice and a glass of water.   When my breakfast arrived, the other couple headed out and I heard them mention River Cottage, so I asked the young lady if they were on the course, too.  It turns out they were, but they had already left by the time I realised I could have driven them up to the meeting point.

I finished a delicious breakfast, headed upstairs and picked up my backpack and the umbrella kindly lent to me.   I drove to River Cottage and found myself in a muddy car park, where I saw some people huddling out of the rain in a galvanised tin, bus shelter.      Turns out there were a lot of people attending the course.   We waited for a bit, and I saw my fellow guests from Hedgehog Corner arrive.  I approached them and offered to give them a lift back at the end of the day.  Apparently, they were also returning to River Cottage  for dinner that night, so I offered to bring them back, too, which would turn out to be unnecessary, as we were all staying.

A bus turned up, and then Steve Lamb came up from HQ, which was in the valley below us, on some sort of four wheel buggy.   He brought baskets of goodies with him, some kind of apple hooch, coffee, tea and brownies.   Having just had breakfast, and not being an imbiber of the alcoholic, I didn’t partake; however, the general consensus among the group were that the brownies were the best ever tasted and the hooch was strong, but warming and delicious, being something akin to apple schnapps.    For me, though, stress started to set in as I found myself in need of the toilet.  I approached Steve and asked if there was a bathroom nearby, after which I found myself on a precarious trip down the muddy, slippery slope to HQ on the buggy.   If my stomach wasn’t churning enough before, this was enough to really make me in dire need of the bathroom.    When we arrived at the bottom, my head was down focussing on the slippery ground between me and the necessary facility, which meant I failed to notice a certain media personality being greeted by my friendly buggy chauffeur, alas he had gone by the time I returned.

As I arrived back at the car park at the top of that awful drive, I noted John Wright had arrived and was enjoying a tipple.   After a short wait for one participant that never arrived, we decided to set out to the secret location where we were to find our mushrooms.   Oddly, having had negotiated my way to Hedgehog Corner by car, on back roads, I actually had passed this secret location the day before and noted it because it seemed so beautiful.   John Wright informed us that he had been given special permission to forage, with the occasional student group, in the area by the owners and caretakers of the area, and he informed us of the rules and regulations surrounding foraging for food, for both personal and commercial purposes.   It’s not as straightforward as might be imagined by those starting out and it’s always good to look up the law before setting out, researching whose land you are harvesting, and what the consequences might be if they encounter you and a large basket of produce from their property, even though its wild and on common land.

So, with instructions about where we were heading, not to let the group out of our sight and not to pick anything before John arrived and identified it and make sure we didn’t already have it in one of the two baskets, edible and inedible, being carried by two participants, we spread out and started looking.    Time sped with certain people seeming to find everything, John‘s name being shouted out, and echoed around the area constantly, lots of short talks when a mushroom was found, followed by a gathering around the master for an informative and sometimes hilarious introduction to each specimen, punctuated by good-hearted, light banter with Steve Lamb, which helped all the important facts fix fast in the long-term memory.   At the end of each short tutorial, we all headed off in different directions again, each hoping to find the next, unique and interesting, fungus.   And thus, hours passed by.   Strangely, my body went on for hours without realising I was a long way from any facilities, I was so concentrated on finding anything.  Lamentably, my eye just wasn’t set for finding fungi.

After what seemed like a short hour, though was more like three, Steve called us all back to the bus for a break, consisting of sausage rolls, water, tea and coffee.   My first taste of food from River Cottage was a revelation; who knew sausage rolls could taste so divine?   I sat on the bus to get out of the rain for a bit, get warm (because I had no coat, one shirt and had been drizzled on all day), and get off my feet.    This was a mistake as apparently Steve had smuggled in some more brownies, so I missed out.  *cue very sad face*.     Our little group headed off in a different direction this time, and I actually spotted some mushrooms (not knowing others had already spotted them) and felt quite proud I was beginning to truly “see”.    We walked through some very wild areas, one NZ ex-pat tripped and muddied herself and we thought that would be the only mishap of the day (having heard from John that one past participant had managed to get themselves lost), only I had to go and step off a slight rise into a boggy area up to my thigh.  Though my hiking boots were firmly tied on, I felt as though I would lose the right one as I tried to extract my leg from, indeed prevent my whole body from entering the mire; it took another forager to help me free myself from the muddy trap.   So embarrassing, more so when we returned to HQ and there was no place to clean up before our dinner.

Another good few hours passed by before the bus ferried us back to River Cottage and I managed to snap a pic of John on my phone as he sat on the other side of the aisle from me.    Arriving back in the car park we found a less-precarious-than-the-buggy, tractor bus waiting to take us down to HQ, where we were ushered to a yurt with a wood fire, and more coffee, tea and cordial for me (yippee).    After being warmed up, we filed into the main function room, which had been set up for a cooking demonstration, with an amazing mirror over the chef allowing us at the back to see everything.   The bonhomie of the day continued with instruction, served with a generous helping of humour on the various ways to cook mushrooms.    We were treated to samples of various fungal treats, my favourite being the cauliflower cheese made with the cauliflower mushroom, though many seem to prefer the scrambled eggs and English truffle; the truffle having been smuggled in by John, who spoke of an exchange with a fellow, northern forager so that we could have the experience of tasting this elusive, and expensive fungus.

As part of the course, we had all been supplied with a copy of Mushrooms: River Cottage Handbook No.1 by John Wright when we went into the cooking demonstratoin, though if we already owned it, as I did, we were able to swap with any of the other handbooks produced by River Cottage of which there were many.  Continuing with the warm, friendly theme of the day: the bar was open throughout so we could indulge and I chose non-alcoholic ginger beer: I still prefer the homebrewed version of ginger beer we used to get at Petrie Markets when I was younger.   As the cooking demonstration was taking place, John was in the corner, sorting the mushrooms into a display, complete with latin name cards, ready for the presentation he would give on all the samples we had collected that day, so those who had not caught each talk out in the woods were caught up and everyone else had a refresher.  This was ideal as with our group spread so far and wide and John leaping and running to each location, very few of us caught all of his wisdom out in the field.

Another unexpected turn of events was learning we were to have a mushroom-based, three course dinner to be served following John‘s summation of the day.   My fellow travellers from the B&B would not need to return as all participants were attending, and guests were allowed, too.   I had not invited anyone, thankfully, as I felt awkward enough being covered in mud.  The chairs from the cooking demonstration were moved, tables brought in and we sat down to mushroom bourguignon on toast,  pork, tomato and mushroom pie, followed by apple cake, glazed with the same hooch imbibed that morning, apple.    For me, though, the pie ended up being the limit, the pastry being delicious but so thick and heavy that I just could not eat any more, though I made a good go of the apple cake and cream.   Finally, a meal at River Cottage; the most amazing meal I’ve ever had – it had the effect of waking up my previously dozy, taste buds.    In my life, I’ve eaten in award-winning, five-star, highly acclaimed restaurants, but nothing – and I truly mean none of them – has ever come close to the flavours, textures and experience of the food created by River Cottage.    Even the sausage roll was the best I’ve had in my life; I mean, how do you go about making a sausage roll a culinary delight for !*^(£’s sake?    I can still remember the food now, two months later, as I am writing this.   I am definitely going to have to take my sister to a River Cottage canteen when she visits again.

So, the day ended with everyone getting John‘s autograph in their free handbooks, I bought one for my sister and had it signed, before we were taken back to the car park via a trip on the tractor bus.    All in all, the best value for money course I’ve done in a long time.   The extras just kept coming.     Thank you River Cottage and thank you, John and Steve for being such wonderful teachers and taking the time to share your experience.

When I returned to the meticulously clean B&B, I had to ask the owner if she had a broom as mud was left on the outside step when I took of my boots and socks and rolled up my trousers, and I didn’t want anyone returning after me to walk it over her pristine carpets.   Fortunately, she had a broom handy and we put my boots out on the wood pile to dry out overnight.   That night, I suffered.   Mushrooms are one of the foods that can aggravate me, but it’s my own fault; I knew what I was doing as I ate everything offered to me but I was not missing out on a single taste explosion, no matter the consequences.   The next day it took twice as long to get back home as it had getting to River Cottage as I had to stop everywhere I could find a bathroom.   Fortunately, I made it home without incident.   I was so glad to have gone.

If anyone is curious, I did snap one or two pictures with my dodgy camera and these can be seen on my Flickr account.  If you are thinking of doing a course at River Cottage, I firmly believe you get more for your money than you might, at first, think.   I cannot figure out how they made money from our day given the number of staff on hand for us, the transport employed, the hours spent by John and Steve with us, the food, drink, and handbook provided in relation to the number of participants.    We had just the right amount of people on our day, not too big so you felt lost, and enough for everyone to interact, generally mingle and have a laugh while learning.   I will be returning, as I am keen to learn more about foraging, and because  River Cottage also do courses on game that look interesting, and within budget.   Certainly makes for a different birthday, or seasonal gift for the keen foodie and HQ is a lovely venue – I remember commenting to one of my fellow participants that it was the neatest (read: tidy and clean) farm I’d ever been on.   Besides all of this, the food they prepare for students is worth paying the course fee for on its own.

Best day out in a long time, and so glad I went as I now feel more confident about mushrooms and I hope to attend another mushroom hunt with John Wright in the future, as I learned so much; so much more from books, website and my own efforts alone.   Roll on spring with the St. George and morel mushrooms.

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