Please wait, the site is loading...

Food

Mitzie’s day at River Cottage

by Sarah Alcock

Acting food director Mitzie spent the day with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage to celebrate the launch of his book 'River Cottage A-Z'. She had such a lovely day that she's considering moving down there. Here's what happened on her day in Devon...

Arriving at the farm

I had a feeling of 'déjà vu' as I arrived at River Cottage HQ near Axminster in East Devon early one morning in June. Having visited the first-ever River Cottage 13 years ago, the Devon long house nestled at the bottom of a valley is remarkably similar to the first cookery school.

2-house-in-valley.jpg

Back then Hugh was giving lessons on the Aga in the house – now there's a smart and contemporary purpose-built cookery school, dining room and offices all looking like rustic barns but with state-of-the-art equipment inside and well equipped for all the cookery classes, dinners and bespoke events that are held here all year round. Now you can join baking, butchery, foraging, meat, fish and veg classes, hire the venue for weddings and private parties or attend a huge variety of events and festivals.

The cosy yurt

River Cottage lies at the bottom of the valley – I chose to walk down the path and admire the view, but most choose the tractor and trailer ride down the bumpy path to be greeted in the cosy yurt with drinks and nibbles, a log fire burning and sheepskin rugs on the hay bales to snuggle into. Here we got our first taste of the recipes from Hugh's brand-new doorstop-sized book – River Cottage A-Z, a bible focusing on ingredients that Hugh hopes will give readers familiarity with and the confidence in the finest raw materials in order to successfully recreate his recipesful recipes.

2-yurt.jpg

John the forager

Then it was off to the cookery school for a sample cookery class. Naturalist John Wright had prepared a quick and easy panna cotta for us to cook for our lunch. First we had to forage for the ingredients, so it was off to the garden to gather fresh elderflowers, herbs and flowers to infuse into the cream (I chose sweet cicely to give a slightly aniseed flavour). John's knowledge of wild food is encyclopaedic and totally infectious and I can't wait to book myself onto a class to find out more about how to use the wild plants around me, in particular the seaweed he showed us how to use instead of gelatine to set the panna cotta.

4-elderflower.jpg

While the dessert is left to set we are taken on a guided tour of the gardens, which are blooming with wonderful fruits, veg and flowers.

5-cookery-school.jpg

A hearty lunch

At lunchtime, over a delicious menu of Little Gem lettuces with crushed broad beans and Parmesan, pork belly with spring veg, and our own freshly made panna cotta with strawberries and meringues, we celebrate the launch of the book. Hugh is able to thank all of his co-authors for the huge amount of work they have put in over the years, their companionship and friendship. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet them all too – especially chef Gill Meller, Pam 'the Jam' Corbin and food writer Nikki Duffy.

Can I come back, please?

Having the chance to meet and talk to The River Cottage experts was fantastic. Their passion and knowledge is outstanding and I know I will be booking cookery courses to learn from them in the future, in fact I am so in love with this place I could fancy working here myself! A Devon girl with mum living not far from here, maybe I could semi retire and offer my services... watch this space!

6flower-bed.jpg

Don`t miss

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years