The Great Outdoors

Wow. That was one heck of a summer we just had back there! Now the kids are back at school, the sun is sinking ever faster and the fresh nip in the air signals the approach of Autumn. But before our thoughts turn to warming stews, soups and socks, we’d like to reflect on some highlights of an epic season.

The biggest gig of our street food summer saw eight of our finest F&G ladies chugging down the M4, wipers at full speed and visibility impaired by torrential hail. 4 of us travelled in a battered 80s camper called Eric with a top speed of 45mph and the others in a truly terrible van packed to the rafters, which broke down if the speedometer crept even a millimeter over 60mph. Big respect to Annabelle for driving the beast with a smile and cracking jokes throughout! Much to our surprise, we eventually reached the beautiful foothills of Sugar Loaf Mountain for Green Man Festival 2012 – our magical muddy home for 5 crazy days in August. We slept very little, worked bloody hard and met some amazing people. Bring on next year!

The team and their beautiful flatbread masks at the F&G Wrap Party (sometime around 2am on Monday morning).

We thought we may never recover. Then an email, sent from the gods of travel PR themselves, bounced into our inbox. The lovely people behind Featherdown Farms were inviting us to camp in luxury at one of their nationwide sites and experience that toe-curling term ‘glamping’ in all its ridiculous glory.  This could not have come at a better time – we were still suffering from motion sickness after a week on solid ground! We jumped at the chance to trade shin deep mud for wood floors; damp sleeping bags for freshly laundered white linen; cold baked beans scooped from the tin with a coffee stirrer for fresh seafood eaten at a table with a fork; and manic chorizo griddling for slow stove-top cooking. So we rinsed off the wellies, scooped up two girlfriends and Rosie’s 2 year old son and, glutons for long drives by now, set off for Boswarthen Farm at the very tip of beautiful Cornwall. Here’s some of our wonderful weekend in pictures:

The kitchen

Ellie in socks with smoked mackerel paté

These lazy chickens didn’t lay one egg and we paid £10 to look after them. Pah!

Camembert to be baked in the fire with garlic and white wine

View from our tent

El dishing out delicious fish stew: monkfish, bream and bass fresh from Cornish seas stewed with potatoes, cream, tarragon & kale and served with generous handfuls of blanched and buttered samphire.

Our hob and our heating.

Beautiful mulled nectarines (recipe below)

Those nectarines were so good, here’s a quick recipe for you:

4 nectarines, stoned and sliced
Slosh of white wine
2 star anise
6 cardamon pods
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cloves
1 tbsp sugar
Grating of nutmeg
Clotted cream to serve

Wrap everything in foil and place the parcel in a pan over a fierce heat to soften but not turn to mush. They took about 20 minutes on the wood stove but probably no more than 10 at home where you could also sling them in a hot oven. Serve with a big dollop of clotted cream and a glass of white wine. So good.

Our stay at Boswarthen Farm was truly memorable and we were the most relaxed we’ve been all year. Thank you to Voyager PR for inviting us and to Adrian and Maddy for taking such good care of us city folk!  Now the weather is drawing in and our stall is hibernating in storage for a while, it’s all eyes on FRENCH & GRACE as we launch our new Autumn menu, get the heaters in and welcome some wonderful new cooks to the team. Join our mailing list here for more regular updates on the restaurant, the book, the street food and other random adventures.

Rosie & Ellie

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4 Responses to The Great Outdoors

  1. Anne says:

    Was a pleasure to bump into you ladies again at Green Man Festival – your uber wraps saved my bacon, delicious. Very happy that Nush got you gals on board! Hope to pop into the cafe in Brixton soon.

  2. Aniek says:

    Absolutely beautiful snaps – really enjoyable read!

  3. Pip says:

    ooh that recipe looks great, thanks; wonder if there are any nectarines in the shops yet..

  4. Stane says:

    I will definitely try this recepie

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