A Day At River Cottage: Foraging, Cooking and Eating

You might have seen on my Instagram Stories earlier this week that I was at River Cottage. I was part of a small group of journalists and bloggers on a press trip organised by Muck Boots to celebrate the launch of the new collections. We met in London and took the train to Axminster, the home of River Cottage HQ. There, a tractor and trailer took us down a long and rather steep track to the cottage.

We were taken into the dining room and each given a pair of Muck Boots. Look how beautiful the table looked.

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Wellingtons by Muck Boots

The style of Muck Boots I received is the RHS Tremont Wellie in the navy passiflora design.

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It’s a 100% waterproof neat fitting style with a neoprene lining. I wore them for almost eight hours and found them to be incredibly comfortable. That didn’t come as a surprise though, because I’m a long-term fan of Muck Boots. I have a pair in plain navy which I wear over and over as well as the ankle-length pair I featured in a recent post. As you know, I spend a lot of hours out in cold, wet and muddy conditions watching my son play football. I need my wellies to be functional, comfortable and reliable and I want them to be stylish too. Muck Boots fulfill all of those criteria.

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The Farm at River Cottage

Almost all of the produce used in the catering at River Cottage is grown or reared on the farm. If not, it is sourced locally. One of the farmers took us round so we could pick berries and sorrel which we later used in creating our dinner.

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Lunch at River Cottage

The itinerary said that after foraging, we’d be served a light lunch of sharing platters. That was such an understatement! My goodness, it was the most amazing lunch. Local mussels (River Cottage is very close to the coast at Lyme Regis), roasted aubergines, slaw, beetroots, freshly baked bread and more. White wine, made just a few miles away made for the perfect accompaniment. It was divine from start to finish.

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Our Cookery Lesson at River Cottage

The main part of the day was a cookery class in one of the adjacent buildings. Here we learned some simple knife skills and made carrot hummus, flatbread and panna cotta. We also prepared polenta from a fresh corn on the cob and watched chef prepare some crispy kale.

I can’t tell you how good it was. The chef was very engaging and he made everything look and seem very straight-forward. Every single thing we made was not only delicious, but easy to recreate too. I hope this will help me to rediscover my cooking mojo.

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What Lizzy Loves River Cottage roast carrots hummus

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Photo c/o Chase PR

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Dinner at River Cottage

By the time our lesson was over, it was almost dark, the wind was whipping and it was raining. We headed back into the dining room. The roaring fire in the stove gave the room a completely different ambience to that at lunchtime.

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The individually hand-painted placecards were so cute and we each got a thank you card painted by the same artist. You can see the carrot hummus and flatbreads I made too.

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We sat down to enjoy a delicious selection of canapes.

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To start, we had pancetta and roasted tomatoes with polenta, (that we helped to prepare) and crispy kale. The mix of textures, flavours and colours was a treat for the senses.

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For our main course, we had lamb with celeraic mash and salsa verde.

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Now dessert was the panna cotta that we made during the lesson. We could choose from a selection of ingredients to flavour them and I chose fresh lemon verbena leaves and added a few blackberry leaves. The chef showed us how to turn the puddings out of their moulds and to plate them up. He’d made a raspberry coulis from the red and yellow raspberries we’d picked and he used it along with blackberries and sorrel leaves we’d foraged earlier in the day.

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Photo c/o Chase PR

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Although mine wasn’t quite as delicately garnished or as aesthetically pleasing as chef’s, it tasted beautiful. I can’t wait to make it at home.

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The meal ended with after dinner mints and coffe do then the tractor took us back up to the main road from where taxis took us to the hotel.

 

 

Dower House Hotel, Lyme Regis

Dower House is a beautiful small family-run hotel. It was around 10pm when we got there and we were all ready to retire for the night. The rooms are all individually designed and although mine was one of the smaller ones, it was absolutely perfect. Comfortable, stylish and well-equipped.

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Following breakfast, we were collected and taken back to the station. It was raining heavily a day dark when we’d arrived at the hotel, so it was lovely to see it in bright sunshine as we left.

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Truly, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I would absolutely love to return to River Cottage and do more cookery classes. Everyone there is so friendly and knowledgeable and it was a privilege to go there. Not only that, I have made some new friends and learned a few new recipes.

Thank you to the team at Chase Pr and at Muck Boots and to everyone at River Cottage. And remember that I genuinely love Muck Boots and I highly recommend them.

20 Comments

  1. Pauline Yeowart September 17, 2017 / 7:41 am

    I thourourly enjoyed reading your River Cottage experience blog! You really brought the whole experience to life! The cottage, the area, the food( food envy)! And of course those boots! All fabulous! X

    • elizabeth September 18, 2017 / 9:17 am

      Oh thank you Mum! You’d have loved it too. The gardens are farm are amazing and as you said, the food was heavenly. Thank you for coming to look after the kids so I could go xxxxx

  2. Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb September 17, 2017 / 7:18 pm

    Liz what an absolutely amazing day, the whole thing looks like it was so much fun and OH MY GOD the food…!!!! 😋

    You look so flippin gorgeous it’s ridiculous – muck boots sure do suit you, you’re the perfect spokesperson (and model!) for the brand. What a great collab, I’m so happy for you…!

    Catherine x

    • elizabeth September 18, 2017 / 9:15 am

      The food was absolutely amazing Catherine. Divine! And thank you! I love Muck Boots and as you know, I spend so much time watching H play football that I need several good pairs! xxx

  3. Lisa September 17, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    OMG Liz. I have read this post three times. Honestly! It all looks amazing. I’m desperate to go to River Cottage; his Hugh’s Veg Everyday is a bible in our house! The food looks incredible, I love the atmosphere, and I DREAM OF A GARDEN LIKE THAT! I really should have snuck into your suitcase to come with you.

    Those wellies with the floral detail at the top are darling! You said my favourite word… neoprene. Is there ANYTHING as warm and cosy as a neoprene lined wellie? I have a pair that I go hiking in, because they are so much more comfortable than my hiking boots. My husband thinks I’m insane, of course. Mine are nowhere near as stylish as yours, so I’m off to investigate their website. Thank you for sharing this experience. I may give a weekend at River Cottage to my husband (and by my husband I mean to me too!) for Christmas this year. xx

    • elizabeth September 18, 2017 / 9:13 am

      Oh Lisa, you’d have loved it! The garden was amazing and every second there was wonderful. The wellies are super comfy and stylish too and they have a range of other types too, including some lined with faux fur- ideal for hiking. You should definitely take your husband. I’d love to take Ian actually because he’s a real foodie too. We were each given a copy o Hugh’s latest book “Much More Veg” (out soon). It’s gorgeous xxx

  4. Michelle September 18, 2017 / 5:07 pm

    What an incredible day! I cannot tell you how envious I am – I have a bit of a crush on Hugh 😊
    Amazing pics and a lovely write up xxx
    Michelle xx

    • elizabeth September 18, 2017 / 8:49 pm

      Thank you so much Michelle. Hugh seems to have a rather large fan club!! I’d love to have seen him there xxx

  5. Porcelina September 19, 2017 / 7:16 am

    What a truly fabulous experience. The setting is so charming and I love anything food related – reading this had made me hungry!! X

    • elizabeth September 19, 2017 / 10:34 am

      It really was an amazing experience. The setting is idyllic and the food was divine. I wish I could eat like that every day! xxx

  6. Julia @ Rainbeaubelle September 19, 2017 / 9:16 am

    Wow what an experience, it looks amazing, the lovey food, the setting, the whole experience and you look fab! Love your hair 🙂 x

    • elizabeth September 19, 2017 / 10:33 am

      Oh thank you so much Julia. It was amazing. I loved every second xxx

  7. Suzy Turner September 19, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    What a truly wonderful experience, Lizzy! I must admit to being a little envious! The food, the setting, the wellington boots (!), the hotel all looked absolutely terrific… it makes me miss England 🙁
    Suzy xx
    Suzy Turner at Yogadocious

    • elizabeth September 19, 2017 / 3:40 pm

      It was absolutely brilliant from start from finish Suzy. Very English as you suggested and just an idyllic experience xxx

  8. MT September 20, 2017 / 3:39 pm

    I am reading this at absolutely the wrong time, pre dinner! Arrrgh the food looks amazing, I’m salivating over here. What an incredible day you had Liz. I really enjoyed watching your instagram stories, it was like being there with you. More of this please! xx

    • elizabeth September 20, 2017 / 6:41 pm

      Hee hee! I know! It’s a very mouth-watering post isn’t it. I loved doing Instagram Stories when I was there. I love doing them full stop, but most days my life is way too mundane to share. This is me doing the washing. This is me taking the boy to football. This is me helping with physics homework. If only every day could be like it was at River Cottage!!! xxxx

  9. Ann September 21, 2017 / 9:44 am

    Good heavens, Lizzy — what a gorgeous post commemorating a gorgeous day! It has everything I would love — cool outdoorsy clothes, being outdoors, good companions, locally grown food, vegetables, great looking food, and great looking men cooking the food!

    Thanks for this beautiful post. Have now bookmarked your blog and will be a frequent reader going forward.

    • elizabeth September 21, 2017 / 11:02 am

      Thank you so much Ann for all of those lovely words! It was an absolutely brilliant day there and I would love to do it all again. It was blissful being away from it all for a day and to pick then cook the produce was such a lovely experience! Thank you very much for stopping by xxxxx

    • elizabeth September 24, 2017 / 9:19 am

      Thank you Jacquie. It was a brilliant experience and the food was out of this world! xxx

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