Jam and Cream? Or Cream and Jam?

This weekend the 2017 Afternoon Tea Week comes to an end.  Time to ask the question yet again: Do you put jam first on your scones or do you prefer it the other way round?

Let’s find out in this fun poll:

Secret Location Dining on Exmoor: A Mediterranean Feast

Join us for our second Secret Location Dining event for an evening of good food, a stunning location and a bit of a mystery where we are going to take you!

If you are dreaming of a sunny holiday in the Mediterranean, of eating delicious, freshly prepared food in a Taverna with a glass of wine while watching the sun go down over the sea – then this is the event for you.  Our South African Chef Sam and his team will serve up a delicious Mediterranean buffet to remind you of hot evenings in Spain or Greece. Hopefully the Exmoor weather will do the rest!

And here is the new menu:

Starter (Sharing Platter)
A selection of charcuterie from Somerset Charcuterie
Served with –
Cheese Stuffed mini peppers
Olives
Hummous
Grilled Haloumi
Dolmades
 Focaccia
Breadsticks

Mains (Buffet)
Smokey Albondigas with tomato salsa
Yoghurt marinated chicken skewers cooked on the BBQ
Lebanese style lamb kebabs
Stuffed sweet peppers (v)
Patatas bravas (v)
Tabbouleh (v)
Greek Salad (v)
Vegetable couscous with harissa dressing (v)

Dessert
Honey pistachio tart with yogurt.
Baklava

Your Ticket includes:

  • Transport to and from the venue
    (pick-up from West Somerset Railway Station in Minehead at 7pm)
  • A “Travel Bag” with a 20cl bottle of Prosecco and a few other goodies to enjoy on your scenic journey to the venue
  • A choice of Pimms or Raspberry Prosecco Cocktail on arrival
  • Home-made Lemonade
  • Half a bottle of wine
  • The full menu (see above – and possibly even more!)

PS We are hoping to be able to dine al fresco. But if it is too cold, to wet or too windy, then we will retreat indoors and admire the stunning view through large windows!

 

Foodies invited to join in with Exmoor Food Festival

EXMOOR rCENTRER- A dining CelebrationA FOOD festival designed to help showcase Exmoor’s top chefs, growers and producers launches next month (February, 2017), and more restaurants than ever have signed up for the Exmoor Food Fest.

Top pubs and restaurants will be offering specially priced menus on selected days during February to encourage diners to eat out as part of the Exmoor Food Fest.

“It’s an event to showcase the very best the region has to offer diners and it is a celebration of all local produce and the culinary expertise we have here on our doorstep,” explained Paul Berry, patron of award-wining gastro pub The Swan in Bampton, who is also one of the chefs taking part in the VIP launch at the Luttrell Arms in Dunster.

Restaurants are offering a special Exmoor Food Fest deal during February with two courses priced £10 and three courses £15.

The Exmoor Food Festival runs throughout February and is organised by Elke Winzer who is also behind Exmoor4all, an online platform for all things Exmoor related, including an online shop, and the Exmoor Markets.

All participating restaurants are entering the Taste of Exmoor Awards. The public is invited to vote for their favourite dining experience online.  The Exmoor Chef of the year will be crowned at an awards ceremony on 27 March at Butlins.

For further information about restaurants participating in the Exmoor Food Fest, please go to www.exmoorfoodfest.com

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Exmoor Food Fest 2017: The Countdown begins!

Celebratory Dinner to countdown to Exmoor Food Fest 2017

Join us on 21 September 2016 at 7pm for the 

Exmoor Food Fest 2017 Media Launch
at
Knowle Manor

Claire’s Kitchen is serving up an Exmoor Feast!

5 courses for £50.00

Claire’s Kitchen Elderflower Cocktails on arrival

Canapes
including crispy wonton with blue swimmer crab, poached pineapple, spring onion and chilli jam

Vietnamese Poached Duck Leg on an Asian salad
with a fresh coriander and sweet chilli dressing

Local Braised Shin of Beef
with melting onions, Rosemary Boulangere potatoes, leek gratin croquetas
 

Blackberry and White chocolate Cheesecake
with a Sloe Gin ice cream and Brandy Snap Crumble

  Local Cheeseboard
served with Claire’s Kitchen homemade cider shots

Vegetarian options will be available.

LIMITED SPACE!

Book now

A celebratory dinner on 21 September 2016 at Knowle Manor near Dunster will launch the countdown towards the 2017 Exmoor Food Fest which will take place across Exmoor during February 2017.

Media and the public are invited to join the Exmoor Food Fest team for an Exmoor Feast served up by Claire’s Kitchen, a local catering company run by Exmoor Ambassador chef Claire Lynch.

“2017 will be our third year,” explains festival coordinator Elke Winzer, who runs Exmoor4all, a social media platform for all things Exmoor, and also works for Visit Somerset and Exmoor Tourism.

“We have just been advised that the Exmoor Food Fest is a finalist in the Somerset Life Food & Drink Awards as best food event in Somerset. This is an extraordinary achievement for such a young festival, and we are grateful to our sponsors Arthur David whose generous support made it possible to get the Exmoor Food Fest off the ground.”

During February, restaurants, including several with Michelin stars and numerous awards, across the region offer 2 courses for £10/ 3 courses for £15.  In addition, a range of foodie events take place, from tastings through to gourmet dinners at unique locations. A food and drink festival in Dunster on the last weekend of February will yet again be the grand final.

“We estimate that the hospitality sector in the region was boosted by £450,000 during February, a traditionally quiet month, by the Exmoor Food Fest 2016.  We hope to increase this figure in 2017 by working closely with travel and food bloggers as well as Visit Somerset and Exmoor Tourism, raising awareness of the event further afield. We will also work with the West Somerset Railway to make certain events more accessible for visitors from Taunton,” explained Elke Winzer.

The Jubilee Inn – A new place to stay and eat on Exmoor

The Jubilee Inn is a newly refurbished boutique Inn and restaurant with luxurious guest accommodation on the Somerset/Devon Border, under the internationally renowned Dark Skies Reserve above Exmoor National Park.  We offer fabulous fine dining or classic Inn food cooked to perfection, accompanied by fine wines and ales.  It’s a perfect place to relax with a warm welcome in beautiful, yet comfortable surroundings which are both elegant and a little bit quirky!

badgeThe Jubilee Inn is open for casual or fine dining from Tuesdays to Sundays. It is also possible to just pop in for a pint and enjoy the views.  You could even stay a little longer and explore Exmoor, the Two Moors Way, and Devon’s vast array of attractions which make this such a cherished part of the UK.

You find The Jubilee Inn just along the B3227, around 6 miles from South Molton service station and under 2 1/2 hours from London Paddington via Tiverton Parkway Mainline station (2 hour fast train).

The Elliott family along with their creative and outstanding Executive Chef Sam Salway look forward to welcoming you to this unique Inn nestled in the heart of the South West, under the first European Dark Skies Reserve – Exmoor National Park.

CONTACT

Date for the Diary: Dunster Food Festival – 27&28 February 2016

This is going to be the grand final of the Exmoor Food Fest 2016:

We will be taking over the whole of Dunster, with local producers, street food traders, crafters and artists in various locations such as the Tithe Barn, the Yarn Market, Memorial Hall and Dunster Castle.

There will also be cooking demonstrations and much, much more…

Are you a producer or an artist? Do own a local business? Would you like to take part? Then get in touch:

The Exmoor Food Fest is sponsored by
Print

 

The Far East comes to West Somerset…

DSC_1062Pretty picturesque Porlock Weir is not really where you expect to find a takeaway & restaurant full of Eastern promise, but walk far enough down to the quaint old harbour there, and that’s exactly what you will get. Ziang’s Far Eastern Street Food has to be about the most surprising find yet I have discovered on Exmoor.

Run by Michael Taylor and his mother Choo, the family hail originally from Brunei in South East Asia. They actually serve good old fish and chips (well we are beside the seaside aren’t we?), but their piece de resistance is their brand of Far Eastern Street Food. The tasty dishes on offer draw their influence from Brunei itself, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and beyond.

As you scan the chalk board menu hung up next to the doorway you begin to understand their modus operandi, which is basically a complete meal in a bowl. Well, it certainly is that, and I can also say that after surveying what was delivered to our table, it is also great value for money!

This same menu board also declares rather cheekily at the bottom, ‘…we like to think we know what we’re doing.’ After trying what was on offer, I can definitely vouch for that. In fact, my daughter Becky who was my accomplice for the day, stated that this was was the quietest I had been all day (I was obviously enjoying my food far too much to be engaging in idle chit-chat).

So, what to go for from such interesting and downright appetising choices on offer…? Eventually I opted for the Duck Rice which came with a fried egg on top, although at this point I stumbled a little. A fried egg on top? Michael immediately detected the incredulous and mystified expression on my face and reassured me that this is how it is done in the far East – forget your standard egg fried rice from your local Chinese, a fried egg placed on top is how it comes if you want it authentic.

Incidentally, Michael says that he eats Duck Rice everyday, so I guess it must be good. Becky opted for the equally tempting Roast Pork Chow Mein. My dear, late step-mother always used to say, ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating.’ Well mother, you were right. As soon as I tucked in, my mouth was hit with a glorious flavour explosion that my taste buds are not likely to forget any time soon.

Now I could fish around for all kinds of Superlatives to describe the aforementioned dish but let me just say simply this: it was delicious. Lots of juicy, tasty duck meat, mouth-watering stir-fried vegetables on a bed of perfectly cooked white rice. And to complement the whole dish, a fried egg on top – of course.

Seating? Well that’s an interesting one because there isn’t a lot. There’s room for 2 or 3 inside, or there’s some comfortable seating and a table right outside the doorway. Alternatively, there are a couple of benches just across the way right by the ancient harbourside, that is part and parcel of Porlock Weir.

This was actually a great experience; enjoying far eastern delights and a fine summer evening on the ruggedly beautiful Exmoor coast – what could be better?? The many and varied elements that evening, including the lovely warm welcome from Michael & his mother, were a combination that was truly hard to beat.

John Raby

Local business donates scholarship for West Somerset College’s hospitality student

Rosemary Overall and Tony O'Shaughnassy from The Culbone.  Photo by Steve Quantick

Rosemary Overall and Tony O’Shaughnassy from The Culbone.
Photo by Steve Quantick

Last week, West Somerset College’s hospitality student Rosemary Overall was presented with the inaugural The Culbone Scholarship for Hospitality Student of the Year.

Rosemary, who is in her last year at The Combe training restaurant in Minehead, was chosen for her commitment and keen interest, both in the kitchen and front of house.
A few months ago, Tony O’Shaughnassy, the owner of The Culbone on Porlock Hill, had contacted the The Combe to find a way to support outstanding students in the hospitality sector, to help develop young people in an industry which is so vital to Exmoor.  Finally, the idea for the scholarship was born, a suitable student found and the scholarship’s finer details developed.
“We think that the College’s hospitality course is outstanding. The food prepared by the students is amazing.  We see The Culbone as at the heart of the community, and helping young people excel is very close to our heart,” explained Tony. “Rosemary is a very worthy recipient of our scholarship, and we look forward to catching up with Rosemary in London in September.”
Tony presented Rosemary with a certificate in The Combe in the presence of Paul Gibbs, Acting Faculty Leader, and Werner Hartholt, Chef Lecturer.  The scholarship will take her to the London School for Wine and Spirits in September to do a two-week WSET Level 3 course.  It also covers travel, accommodation, pocket money and dinner with Somerset Life’s Food Editor, Susan Clark, in one of London’s top restaurants.

Paul Gibbs commented: “We are very grateful to The Culbone for their generous support for Rosemary.  Rosemary has impressed us with her dedication and hard work, both in the kitchen and front of house. This course will be of great benefit to her future career.”
The Combe students will join The Culbone team for a special event later this year.

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Werner Hartholz (Chef Lecturer), Paul Gibbs (Acting Faculty Leader), Rosemary Overall, Tony O’Shaughnassy (The Culbone)

Reeves Restaurant review: Dunster, West Somerset

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Occupying a prime position on Dunster High Street within a stone’s throw of the historic Yarn Market, you will find a most excellent eatery, Reeves Restaurant.  Owned and managed by Justin & Claire Reeves, they have built for themselves an enviable reputation.  Before I turned up for the review, I asked a few locals what they thought.  They all with one accord sang the most excellent praises about this popular restaurant: a relaxed atmosphere, amazing food and a warm and friendly welcome.

Well, I have to say that was the experience of our night.  It was a fine summer’s evening and we were ushered out to the rear garden to relax whilst our table was being prepared.  Enjoying the still, tranquil summer air, we were served drinks and olives as we sat by the shrubs and scented flower beds in anticipation.

It wasn’t long before Claire Reeves emerged to take our order.  There was no scribing on a waitress order pad but instead, she effortlessly committed the exact details of our order to memory and relayed the pertinent details to her husband and Head Chef Justin, in the kitchen.

Once our table was ready, we re-entered the restaurant and sat down at our cosy, corner table.  From here we could rather interestingly observe the eating habits of our fellow diners.  Well you need to do something to while away the time don’t you?  Homemade bread and a large, beautifully crafted butter rosette were placed on the table.  This kicked the evening’s dining off to an excellent start.

Our wine of choice for the night was a favourite of mine: Argentinian Malbec at a whopping 13.5%.  For those of you out there that are still drinking the Merlot and Shiraz, I implore you to try this little gem from South America.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.  Laden with mouth-watering flavour and aromas, it is everything a red wine should be: full bodied and satisfying.

It wasn’t long before my seafood starter made an appearance.  I’d ordered the Fritto Misto (fried seafood and vegetables) of sea bass, squid, crab cake, tiger prawns and scallop… served with a trio of dips.  Talking of which, the dips were stylishly served in something akin to white ceramic teaspoons.  This gathering of seafood not only set the taste buds alight, but the plate was truly a picture!  Justin’s creative flair was truly something to savour – literally.

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The main dish was the sumptuous Garlic and rosemary and lamb rump with root vegetable crisps, fennel puree and a redcurrant and mint jus.  Now I really adore the taste of lamb and I can tell you that this did not disappoint.  Succulent and loaded with flavour; all the additions on the plate just complemented the dish perfectly.  I was now beginning to understand why Reeves has got such a solid local reputation.

It is at this point that I should add that Justin cannot take all the credit for the amazing food being churned out of the kitchen of Reeves Restaurant.  Working alongside him was the very young, but talented Abbie Smith.  During the attainment of her NVQ catering qualification with Barbara Hancock of West Somerset College, Minehead, she has recently won both the Eat Exmoor and Eat Somerset cookery competitions.  For her efforts, Abbie scooped the coveted ‘Chef of the Year’ for the West Somerset region.

We moved inexorably towards dessert and it was at this point, rather interestingly, we were offered a drinks menu containing whiskeys, liqueurs, coffees and… pudding wine.  What a great idea (other restaurants please take note)!  It is so rare that you are offered dessert wine, and this was fabulous surprise.  After some quick deliberations, I opted for the enchanting and mysterious Elysium dark Muscat.

The Grand finale came in the truly lovely form of the Date and apple sticky toffee pudding, clotted cream and salted caramel sauce.  Well I chose this because I love to try different sticky toffee puddings, clotted cream is a must as a long time Devonian, and for me salted caramel is the big must do flavour invading our shores from across the Atlantic currently.  I have to say that the Muscat was a perfect accompaniment and I enjoyed and savoured every last drop…

All in all, the entire experience was virtually faultless from start to finish and one I hope to repeat in the not too distant future.  The Somerset village of Dunster is replete with great places to eat but Reeves Restaurant is an absolute must.  And I think, like the loyal locals, you’ll be returning again and again.

John Raby

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