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Clair Louise

River Cottage Veg - Home School 2

by Clair Louise published on

Dear all,

What an unfortunate start to my River Cottage Veg journey! BA and I fell ill and didn’t eat much of anything for a few days so you will forgive the length of this blog as it counts for one week plus a couple of days. 

Swede and potato pasties – 1st time for rough puff pastry for me and I doubted it would make much difference but I was wrong. This pastry is richer and certainly more special. BA took them to Westonbirt for packed lunch - sharing them with fellow tree men. The feedback was good.

Mushroom stoup – We used some mushrooms sent to us from a friend in Slovakia who collected them from the woods near her home and they not as dark as porcini but none the less flavourful.  We had mashed potatoes and roasted artichokes too and one should note here there is nothing attractive about licking ones masher! A joy to have the next day for packed lunch in the flask for BA.

Dhal and Stir fried sesame cauliflower – If you were thinking Asia meet Indian is not the way to go you would be right. On their own these dishes would be perfectly fine but together they didn’t marry. I would think this is a case of my conditioned palate here. This could also be been helped by adding the 2nd chili to the cauliflower dish that I was feeling a bit weak to add.

Kale and mushroom lasagne – We have been also treating the wooden kitchen worktops this week so I quickly began to run out of sides to ‘put to one side’ to. I am feeling quite proud again of my efforts. Taking the time to make béchamel sauce is not how we got used to cooking. I am also happy to report I used soya milk and it was still beautiful. Inspired by this success I also used wheat-free pasta sheets and here was the downfall. They didn’t seem to soak the moisture of the dish or taste very interesting either.  Will try this again at the end of the journey.

Brussel sprouts, apple and cheddar – This we had for supper after a special Company Christmas Lunch at the River Station. It was easy and quick and more filling than I imagined.

Beetroot with walnuts and cumin – My insides are energized and I have the sense of something good having happened just by eating this.  When we have this dish at this time of year again I will ensure the yoghurt is room temperature to add to the benefit.

Mexican tomato and bean soup – Surprisingly fresh and very easy to prepare.

Spinach and thyme pasties – I used grated hard goats cheese and still found these little pasties perfectly balanced in flavour. Lemon and nutmeg lifts the usual dense feeling I get from eating pastry and I am filled with smiles when I tell you we ate these together with our friends from the Czech Republic, listening to Krishna Das whilst visiting Stonehenge. And I can’t help but smile at how great my life is. Probably one of those times where food and memories meet and stay with you.

Twice backed potatoes – It’s not such an effort to take the reliable jacket potato and turn it into something pleasurable and even a little posh.

Pearl barley broth – Hearty and gentle at the same time. I was a little heavy handed with the pinching of cayenne assuming that being so small meant a regular size persons pinch would be bigger. Perfect return to food after being poorly.

What an excellent time I am having. I even prepare the kitchen, don an apron and get all the ingredients together as if somehow getting into the ‘zone’. We have bought our first bottle of Rapeseed Oil and are enjoying the reminder that herbs really do make all the difference.

Thank you for reading this, especially you JJ, you must be very proud right now.

See you next week.


3 replies
Replied on

Extremely proud of my big sis ! And now hankering for that Lasagne YUMMERS !!

Replied on

I am so suprised at the amount of enjoyment I am feeling as well a a satisfied belly of delicious new flavours of food..

the wanna be country girl
Replied on

I didn't know I was hungry until I read you blog. Sounds like you're off to a great start now that you're feeling better.

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