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Holsworthy Ales Brewery Night

holsworthyales sign

Holsworthy Ales is a microbrewery situated in the heart of the Ruby Country in Devon. They started brewing in 2011 based in Clawton, near Holsworthy. Their approach to brewing, which is unique in Devon, goes back to traditional methods and avoids additives.

brewery vats

We first met the lovely David and Sarah from Holsworthy Ales at a Ruby Country Market and were introduced to their Muck & Straw Ale. You’ve got to admit that it is a fabulous name for a beer and once you’ve tasted it you’ll agree its great too. Of course they don’t just make one, at the last count it was around eleven ales, all with equally brilliant names!

From April to October they hold Brewery Nights from 6.30 – 9.30pm on the last Saturday of the month, where they sell their ale at £2.00 pint along with food from local producers. In June it was curry, next month its local sausages and burgers. On Saturday night the spotlight was on us where our Ploughman’s platters were on offer.

ploughmans and hamper

Spot on 6.30pm the first customer arrived on his tractor with his dog, followed by a couple in their vintage Ford Anglia. Only this scene could happen in Devon!


Despite the fact that Holsworthy Ales is situated in the middle of nowhere, well out of the village of Clawton, and also perhaps because there is no pub in the village there was a steady flow of customers.

One of the locals, Dave, who we met when we first arrived to set up gifted a trug of his home grown tomatoes to the supper. It was a lovely gesture and everyone loved them! Thank you Dave!


It was such a gorgeous evening that most people sat outside eating and drinking.



A few opted to mingle inside, closer to the bar!

punters inside

beer barrels

Anyway wherever they sat they all seemed to have a good time, the beer flowed and the ploughman’s platters sold out!

We enjoyed ourselves too!

The next Brewery night is 30th August. For more details, go to follow  on Twitter @holsworthyales




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Barbequed new potatoes in foil with Ruperts choice cheese


charcoal box

Its BBQ season and with this fab summer we’re making the most of it.

One of our favourite ways of cooking new potatoes on the BBQ for the last twenty five years has been barbequed new potatoes in foil with cheese, using our home grown spuds and herbs.

In the past we have used a cheese like Gruyere or Emmenthal but now of course there is our own to choose from and Ruperts Choice is the best for this in my opinion, so pop by one of our markets, buy some and get barbequing!

ingredients for bbq spuds


500g New potatoes, small if possible and chopped into cubes skin on

100g Ruperts Choice Cheese sliced

couple sprigs of mint chopped

couple tblsp chives chopped

50g butter

salt,pepper and nutmeg


Place all the ingredients in foil except the Ruperts Choice cheese and seal.

wrap in another layer of foil.

spuds with rupert in foil

Place on the BBQ grill and cook for about 30 – 45 minutes until tender, then add the Ruperts Choice cheese and cook for a further 10 minutes until melted.

finished bbq spudsServe and enjoy.

You can add the cheese with everything else at the start but it does tend to overcook so we add it around ten minutes before the end of barbequing.






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Sweet romano peppers stuffed with two cheeses


 Yesterday we had an impromptu barbecue and one of the dishes was this sweet romano peppers stuffed with two cheeses. Romanos are lovely Mediterranean peppers. They are long, pointy, gnarled and taste sweet. I used our Ruperts Choice cheese as it melts like mozzarella and cows milk feta which crumbles nicely and the saltiness helps balance the flavours.peppers2



2 sweet romano peppers

3 tblsp olive oil

100g Ruperts Choice cheese

50g cows milk feta

5 drained sweet cherry peppers (pepperdew) chopped

12 olives

garlic clove crushed

4-5 basil leaves torn

black pepper


Split the peppers lengthways and remove the seeds and membrane. Rub 1/2 tblsp oil all over the peppers.


Dice the Ruperts Choice cheese and divide equally among the pepper halves. Scatter over the chopped cherry peppers, season with black pepper and crumble the feta over the top, followed by the basil leaves and olives.


Mix the garlic with the remaining oil and spoon over the filling in the peppers.


Place on the barbeque and cook for around 15 minutes until the peppers are lightly charred and the Ruperts Choice cheese has melted.


They are also good to eat cold the next day so its worth making extra.



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Spinach and cheese pie

We live in a beautiful and rural area and are privileged to do so, however it sometimes has its drawbacks, especially where the vegetable garden is concerned as we have to share it with deer, mice, pheasants, slugs and chickens. So despite sowing two rows of spinach back in April, after these other beasties had had their fill we were left with just under 200g.


So what special dish should I make with it?

With such a small crop it definitely had to be something memorable!

As we have a plentiful supply of eggs and cheese and there was a a pack of filo pastry in the freezer, it seemed that a spinach and cheese pie was the answer.

s&c pie1



200g spinach washed, drained and roughly chopped

150g cows milk feta mashed

100g Ruperts Choice cheese cubed

3 eggs

60ml water

60ml milk

3tblsp olive oil

12 sheets of filo pastry cut in half vertically

1tbsp nigella seeds

1tbsp sesame seeds


Mix the spinach, feta and Ruperts Choice with 2 beaten eggs

s&c pie2

Oil a tin with 2tblsp olive oil. Mix the water, milk and remaining 1tblsp of olive oil.

Lay 3 sheets of filo in the tin, pour over 3 tblsp milk mixture. Repeat twice more. Lay 3 more sheets and then spread spinach mixture on top.

s&c pie4

Continue layering 3 more filo sheets with the milk mixture 3 more times. Whisk the remaining egg with a little oil and brush the top of the pastry. Sprinkle with the seeds.

s&c pie3

Bake for 40 minutes at 180C

s&c pie5

It can be eaten warm or cold.

s&c pie8

s&c pie7

This pie freezes and reheats well. Sprinkle the top with milk and water mixture to give it a bit of moisture during reheating.

NB. You will see that I lined my tin with foil, this is because the non-stick surface is peeling off the tin.

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Cheesemaking with Ugborough Sustainable Saturday

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Charlott, one of my twitter friends, who is part of Ugborough Sustainable Saturday asking if I could run a workshop to teach their members how to make cheese.

Ugborough Sustainable Saturday was set up in July 2013 to provide the villagers a place to sell their home grown produce, meats, pastries, cakes, jams, breads, plants and crafts etc as they have no village shop. Teas, coffees and bacon baps are also available. So a great meeting place every second and fourth Saturday. Currently they don’t have a cheesemaker!

have equip will travel 2

Have cheesemaking equipment will travel!

So yesterday we went down South and after driving through the village three times and a frantic phone call we arrived at the house of my dreams, all oak beams and light where the workshop was being hosted.

Normally we run workshops for twelve people but this one was over subscribed and an extra person sneaked in!! Not a problem, we’re flexible!

I have to say what a fabulous group of people they are and a big thank you to Shelley who hosted the event in her beautiful house.

ugborough ss group

This was our semi soft cheese course so the first cheese they made was Ruperts Choice, letting them get to grips with heating, stirring, draining and turning.

uss draining

turning cheese uss

Our popular cows milk feta was the second cheese for these budding cheesemakers and it was left to ripen whilst we had lunch.

lunch uss

This was provided by Sarah, a cookery teacher and another USS member and was absolutely delicious, infact I really need the vegetable soup recipe ….. if her bread rolls, savoury tarts and sweet things are anything to go by she must have a permanent queue at her stall in the village hall!

After everyone was fed and watered it was back to the cheesemaking, renneting, stirring, draining and moulding the cows milk feta.

pig and whey

The whey didn’t go to waste either, two lucky pigs had a treat!

From the enthusiasm shown by this group I’m sure it won’t be long before they are selling their own cheese in the village hall!


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Blue cheese workshop 31st May 2014

On Saturday 31st May we held one of our blue cheese workshops. One of the budding cheesemakers was Anita-Clare Field who has kindly let me share her blog post about the day.

image It was an early start for me last Saturday as I headed towards the Southwest to a village called Shebbear in Devon, where the Shebbear Cheese Company run their handmade cheese company. I was greeted by Sarah Styles-Power who started making cheese as a hobby and has since built a very successful business with husband Chris. They make all their cheeses by hand in small batches using pasteurized milk from Dunstaple Farm, a well-known Devon ice cream maker. It is this unique combination of creamy milk and traditional cheese making techniques that give their cheeses their buttery rich flavour.


As well as making delicious cheese, Sarah and Chris also run workshops. Today I joined the blue cheese course.

Two of the key things that attracted me to this particular cheese course was its use of traditional cheesemaking techniques and the fact that Sarah and Chris make cheese using everyday kitchen equipment, things we all have in our kitchen. We’d meant to book on this course last year, however, moving house, family issues and other factors meant we needed to put our cheese making on hold until now. Prompted by the launch of our new business Heaven Preserve Us and particularly our wish to serve home-made cheese on our cheeseboard at our latest venture, four seater, French pop-up bistro, La Petite Bouchee.


I got in the car at 0445 and headed to the A303.

Sarah greeted me with a cup of tea and a chat about the day to come. We were joined by the lovely Conchita, who had already got the cheesemaking bug at another of Sarah’s courses learning to make Feta. Today we were going to make a Cambazola and a blue cheese based on Sarah’s own Borough Blue. The course comes with comprehensive notes about the basics of cheese making and then the recipes. Like baking, making cheese requires precision and the exact calculations, this, like baking unnerves me. I am used to a more ‘ free style’ of cooking. Fortunately Sarah was on hand to guide my rather errant ways. We went through every step systematically from ensuring temperatures were correct, curds were cut in a certain way and the various additions were made. ( I am not going to divulge the recipes)
We made our cambozola in the morning and started the Blue cheese process before we were presented with the most delicious lunch. Homemade flatbread and Feta salad, made with Sarah’s very own cows feta. A fabulous spiced beef salad and a sumptuous chicken and couscous salad. We also got an opportunity to taste some of Sarah and Chris’ other amazing cheeses and boy are they delicious!


After lunch we returned to our blue cheese and also learned about some of the other key processes involved in traditional cheese making. We salted some more advanced cheeses and made air holes with metal skewers. Making cheese is a labour of love, once you leave the course you need to look after your cheese.We’ve been diligently salting, turning and skewering. We are now on countdown until they are matured.


Learning to make cheese with Sarah and Conchita was a complete pleasure, I love learning new things and to learn a new skill that has been in existence since 5,500 BCE is an amazing thing. Sarah is a fabulous tutor and gives a great deal of valuable advice and didn’t even mind my crazy questions ! I can’t wait to go back on June 14th and spend the day learning how to make semi-soft cheeses. Anyone fancy joining me? To find out more about the Shebbear Cheese Company their workshops, cheeses and where you can buy the cheeses click here.

Follow Sarah and Chris on TWITTER too… image_3

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For Lunch Today…

For lunch today we had sweetcorn fritters. They freeze well so these were ones that I’d made a couple of weeks ago with ingredients I already had. I can’t remember where the recipe originated from as its scribbled on a bit of paper but it must be at least thirty years old! It calls for cheddar cheese but I use whatever we have kicking around after a market. This time it was our Old Sheb.

Another favourite fritter recipe is courgette and feta, which we tend to live on in the summer when there’s a glut of courgettes  and plenty of fresh herbs.We use our own cows milk feta in them. The original recipe is a Claudia Roden one from her book Arabesque. Over the years I have adapted it and now use gram (chickpea) flour in them, which makes them gluten free!



110g wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
225ml milk
1tblsp onion finely chopped
75g cheddar cheese coarsely grated
Sunflower oil for frying


Cook the sweetcorn for 4 minutes in boiling water. Drain and cool. In a bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, egg and milk to a smooth batter. Add the onion, cheese and cold sweetcorn. Stir well to mix. Leave the batter for 15 minutes to thicken.
Using a heavy non-stick frying pan, gently heat a little of the oil. Use 1 tablespoon of batter for each fritter. Cook the fritters on one side for 2 minutes until crisp and golden, then turn them with a palette knife or fish slice and cook the other side for another 2 minutes. Add more oil as necessary to fry the rest of the fritters.
Drain on kitchen paper. We prefer them warm. If they have been frozen just pop them into a hot oven for 10 minutes to heat through.


These can be eaten hot or cold and they also freeze well, although being extremely moorish they don’t always get as far as the freezer!  


1 onion finely chopped
500g courgettes finely chopped
3 large eggs Splash milk
110g gram (chickpea) flour
Black pepper
2-3 sprigs of mint chopped
2-3 sprigs dill chopped
100g feta mashed with a fork
Sunflower oil


Fry the onion in 1-2 tablespoons of oil over a medium heat until soft, add the courgette and cook until soft stirring regularly .
In a bowl whisk the flour and eggs and add a splash of milk if the batter looks a bit thick.
Stir in the pepper, herbs, feta and cooked courgettes and onions.
Film a non-stick frying pan with oil and heat.

On a medium heat fry 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture for 2-3 minutes until golden.
Turn over with a palette knife or fish slice and fry for 2-3minutes.
Add more oil as necessary to fry the rest of the fritters.
Drain on Kitchen paper.