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.
Wellingtons by Muck Boots
The style of Muck Boots I received is the RHS Tremont Wellie in the navy passiflora design.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We sat down to enjoy a delicious selection of canapes.
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.
For our main course, we had lamb with celeraic mash and salsa verde.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.