Mr H and I recently holidayed in the Loire region of France in his family’s quaint, slightly tumbledown but effortlessly charming and romantic property. It was one of my favourite weeks so far this year, we took Finn our beloved dog on holiday for the first time as we went through the tunnel, whizzed down the French motorways enjoying the best of our SLK (roof down, wind in hair) and totally chilled for a week buying fresh food at the market each day, bbqing each evening on the stones that Toby and his dad built into a cooking device when he was little and bobbed around in the pool reading books. It really was bliss.
The French market style of shopping doesn’t exist as such in the UK. We do have several farmer’s markets in Kent but they are more for show, over priced and not a real alternative to supermarket shopping. What we do have, however, are some good farm shops, especially in the Tunbridge Wells area. Yesterday I was pottering around with Finn wondering what to do with my day so I visited a new opening for Fuller’s butchers (Hawkenbury) in the old Eridge Farm shop location on Bunny Lane.
Finn was delighted as after spending some money inside on delicious looking bits and pieces, I took him for a walk on the Eridge estate which backs onto the shop.
Tonight, we have some locally produced fillet steak and tomorrow some pork tenderloin. Both bits of meat just looked appealing in that way that bits of raw meat can to a carnivorous being. In our fridge now sits some duck rillette, strawberry vinegar, local goats cheese and some big fat olives. Not quite fresh croissants or juicy vine tomatoes from the French market but some good grub to take us towards the weekend.
We ate in brother in law Luke’s Gastro pub in Balham recently and one of the many highlights was a strawberry flavoured vinegarette. I spotted something similar in the farm shop, to be sampled this eve over goats cheese salad.
I prepped the goats cheese by freezing for 15 mins, slicing, rubbing with flour, dipping in egg and rolling in breadcrumbs, herbs and seasoning. Enjoying my herb garden being useful!
Pan fried and chucked on some vine tomatoes drizzled with the strawberry vinegarette. Only slight mistake was adding basil to the salad which clashed with the mint in the dressing. But pretty good.