Food, Farm Shops and Friends

We spent the weekend with friends who had rented a cottage for a week near Radstock. We arrived famished on Friday evening in the pitch black and pouring rain after having lost our bearings twisting and turning our way through the narrow lanes. We’d have to wait until morning to see the idyllic surroundings in which we found ourselves, and so with the promise of a glass of red and food warming in the oven, we quickly unpacked the car.

Our friends had spent the day visiting local farm shops and had picked up tonight’s dinner along the way. We tucked in to hand-made Scotch eggs, giant herby pork sausage rolls, deep-filled and chunky chicken and bacon pie, fresh baked bread and salad from White Row Country Foods in Beckington. If ever there’s a need to defend Great British produce and cooking, farm shops like White Row come to the rescue. This one is definitely worth a day trip for the sausage rolls alone!

On Saturday we awoke to see a stream running past the front of the house, goats and sheep grazing in the back garden and a view across luscious green fields. We set ourselves up for a walk to the public house in the village (not much effort involved with it only being a five minute walk!) with brunch of American pancakes with maple syrup. With local ales and ciders on tap we could have stayed all afternoon but returned instead to our temporary homestead to watch the rugby joined by two more friends (Wales v Australia and Wales lost, in case you’re interested!). After the torments of the match we refueled with that Great British classic cottage pie.

Before heading our separate ways today we stopped in the next village, Lower Vobster, for lunch at the Vobster Inn. This 16th century inn for travellers has a menu which shows off the best of British produce – cheese, seafood and game were highlights on today’s specials board.

 

We had starters of crab soup, creamy with a deep, rich flavour from both the white and brown crab meat; terrine of wild mallard, beautiful layers of duck and duck liver bound in a fresh herb jelly and served with a home-made brioche; and scallops, seared to perfection, served with white and black pudding and bubble and squeak.

For main course we had roast pheasant breast with pheasant boudin wrapped in proscuitto, saute potatoes and spinach; home-made beef burger with chunky chips and tomato salsa; and slow roast lamb with potatoes and vegetables.

We finished with a trio of fruit sorbet, warm chocolate brownie with ice cream and sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and ice cream.

                                    

This isn’t a modern gastropub, it’s a good old-fashioned pub which champions great British produce, simply but very well cooked. All jaunts in the countryside should end at a pub like this!

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