Two weeks ago, i was fortunate enough to have been invited to a Christmas Feast at River Cottage HQ in Axminster. I was beyond excited as i knew exactly what to expect, as i attended an event with Foodies100 last year at River Cottage and still think about the food… oh the glorious food!
This time it was an evening event but it started the same way, with a meet up in the car park and a fun, bumpy tractor ride down to River Cottage. This gave me chance to have a little catch up with the lovely Ali (Mum In A Nutshell).
We were greeted with hot drinks and canapes, whilst waiting for all the others to arrive on the next tractor run, we were free to explore River Cottage, the yurt and the gardens.
Once everyone had arrived, senior chef Andy gave us a demonstration on how to brine meat. I found this so interesting and also so easy to do. Dare i say i am on the look out for the perfect sized non-reactive container to brine this years Christmas turkey! Andy taught us the basic principles of brining, it’s the perfect way to preserve meat (also fish, vegetables and even cheese) like they used to in the good ol’ days before fridge/freezers existed without the need for chemicals. When he informed us that supermarket hams are injected with brine plus other chemicals, it left a bad taste in my mouth. We had a quick taster session of brined chicken (the turkeys are not quite ready) and also beef bresaola – wow, amazing flavours and texture of both meats.
Following the demonstration, we headed to the yurt for a fun game of ‘guess the food items in the box’, i gave it my best shot and somehow won!
My prize was £25 to spend in the River Cottage shop so i went for the Everyday Veg book to accompany the Everyday book i already own and love.
We also had a second session sat by the wood burner inside River Cottage, we discussed how bloggers could collaborate and work together – there were some great tips shared which left me feeling uber motivated and inspired.
Then, the part we had all been waiting for… the food! The Christmas feast was not very festive at all, that’s because at River Cottage the chefs turn up in the morning, see what meat/fish produce is available and create the menu around that. This means all food is fresh and seasonal, i certainly wasn’t complaining (but did hide my snowman jumper under my scarf!)
On the menu we had:
To warm us up on a cold November evening, we had a drop of Kingston Black apple brandy aperitiff – 18% proof!
- Exmouth muscles mixed with red onion, apple and vinegar
- Whipped goats cheese, beetroot & fennel (i forgot to photo this one as was a bit shocked to hear that i had won the yurt game at this point!)
- Pork croquettes with chutney
- Crispy rabbit with romanesco puree & capers
Celeriac ravioli with wild mushrooms & leaves
Cider brined ham, carrot puree, fried savoy cabbage & braised beans.
Honeycomb creme brulee with apple puree, apple crisps & crumble
Coffee and petit fours
Like last year there was seating plan, so i had the pleasure of sitting with a great bunch, we had a good chuckle. Afra (Mad Mum of 7) told me some fruitful revelations from her Worcester days!!
I took so many photos at River Cottage that i put this short video together to share the experience with you all… enjoy!
I was invited to attend River Cottage HQ to give my honest opinion of the experience. You can probably tell that i loved it! All opinions and photos are my own.
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