Getting towards the end of the summer and flagging just a bit. Nothing like The Good Life Experience to raise the spirits. Our remit this year was, for Robert, a talk with pictures, on The Wisdom of the Peasant landscape in Serbia. For me the opportuntiy to talk a lot....and I got a mic! No, seriously, a cooking demo.
My theme was Autumnal Abundance. I started with the simple task of butterflying a muntjac haunch! Muntjac are really prolific and if you are offered one to eat by a friend, I can recommend it. They are smaller, tenderer and a slightly less strong taste than you might expect from venison. Marinading, grilling and serving with a quickly made Plum Mostarda.
We then followed with blackberry and Apple jam which I cooked up in the kotlich. After that I made a basic green tomato chutney adding french beans and courgettes. For those of you who watched and listened I got 6 jars of jam and 5 jars of chutney. The Kotlich is the perfect cooking pot for these things and I have inspired myself, again, to get preserving. I find making smaller batches is easier and much faster to do. You also end up with a greater variety in your larder than if you do fewer large batches.
Fortunately Genevieve Taylor was there from Bristol and did a brilliant breakfast demo before me. So she prompted me and gave some commentary. Josh Sutton was also in support and sliced the Muntjac very thinly so everyone could have a taste.
This part of the festival, campfire cooking, seems to be growing in popularity every year. We had pigeon plucking, butterflying a lamb, there were sausage and pig butchering sessions, bread from Tom Herbert, breakfast with Genevieve Taylor, supper with Caroline Gladstone and team, rabbit skinning and Alfred Cary's carbeque. Not to mention all the talks in the Great Outdoors Tent. It seems to be going from strength to strength.
We met some old friends and made some new. From the outside it looked as if it was going very smoothly. There was lots for children to do, activities from running their own cafe to carving, sketching and a whole funfair. Cerys Matthews gathered an eclectic group of musicians who combined their skills to keep us well entertained.
Robert's talk on "The wisdom of a peasant landscape" went brilliantly with the tent 2/3s full and lots of interest, even selling some books. A picture of the handsom author holding his book, In the bend of the River.
The setting is brilliant and that autumnal feel in the air meant everywhere you looked, as the light was changing, autumnal glory was shining, on the tents, on the ruin, on the seed heads and in peoples faces. Thank you for inviting us again.