Seasonal eating is something I have been actively striving to do for many years now. I am constantly on the lookout for inspiration that champions this way of living both as a shopper and gardener, and I must admit that River Cottage had a lot to do with me adopting this attitude.
I was so inspired by its simple philosophy of being in tune with the seasons that I often wished I lived in a River Cottage of my own. So when our local eating haunt, Pope Joan, announced they would be hosting a three course feast to celebrate the launch of Gill Meller’s new cookbook Gather, I could not wait to snap up tickets for dear husband and I to attend. And I’m so glad I did.
I’d watched Gill many times on River Cottage and was always inspired by his simple, yet rustic take on cooking, so it was quite a treat to meet him in the flesh. I must admit I had a bit of a fangirl moment as he autographed my copy of his book. He was so lovely and obliging, thanking me for coming along to the launch, and all I could say was how much I was in awe of the honey cake we just devoured for dessert which seemed to make him smile.
And our hosts at Pope Joan really did his recipes justice. Their interpretation of all the dishes served up throughout the evening was absolutely delicious, as was the perfectly matched wines by Fowles. My favourites, apart from the honey cake, would have to be the beef shin and stuffed squash with fennel and barley. No words can describe their deliciousness other than, yum. Each mouthful was met with a sigh of absolute bliss.
Now, I cannot wait to sit down and have a proper read of Gather so I can cobble together a list of recipes to attempt, especially since winter has officially arrived and the craving for comfort food is strong. And judging by what I’ve seen so far I am confident that Gill’s dishes will undoubtedly keep our bellies both warm and filled as the mercury continues to drop this winter.