Chef Verden featured in Taunton Living Magazine

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Our very own Chef Verden has been featured in this month's Taunton Living Magazine . You can find him in the 'Meet the Chefs' section which introduces us to fantastic local chefs who champion local produce and serve it up beautifully to you.

The Interview:

"I've spent most of my career in the best country house hotels and award winning pubs in the UK. Clavelshay Barn is set on a working dairy farm and serves modern local food with a country twist. Our ethos is to source from and support local suppliers and producers."

What do you like particularly about working at Clavelshay Barn?

I enjoy working at Clavelshay Barn as it isn't very often as a chef you have a farm right outside your window. This gives me scope to source animals, grow fruit and vegetables in our walled garden and forage for wild food in the woodland.

Which is your favourite season for the best produce and why?

Autumn has to be my favourite season, the nights are drawing in and the store cupboard is full of bounty from recent harvest of the veg garden. Cosy nights call for hearty tasty food, stews, casseroles, confit and slow braise are all favourites and lend their selves to this season.

What inspires you in the kitchen?

It sounds cheesy but nature inspires me in the kitchen, just a walk through the country or a visit to the veg garden to see what's growing. From a base ingredient I can start to build and create dishes, if it's in season it's going to be at its best.

Meet Jen Goss - Our Lovely Vegetarian Cooking Workshop Teacher

JenGossI was brought up in Wales, but the bright lights of the big city pulled me there to Uni and 15 years of working in catering, running Gastropubs and finally managing Toms' Deli on Westbourne Grove.

I met my present partner Colin, and we started to dream of the good life, books stacking up round our bed on Charcuterie making, Brewing, Chickens, Pig farming, Permaculture, and lots of copies of the Smallholding magazine.

We had a couple of kids Leon, now 9 and Lucy, now 7 and our plans started to take shape, we wanted the kids to grow up in the country, by the sea.

We bought Cippyn Cottage nearly four years ago and haven't looked back.

The plan to rear and grow our own food, and set up a catering business with the produce grown and sourced locally has taken off. Initially running a vegetarian  stall at a local Producers market, introducing local people to the delicious food of the world, I would sell out each week. I've now moved on to currently catering for The Do Lectures, fforest weddings, The Smallworld Theatre cabaret nights and I bake cakes for The 25 Mile a local restaurant sourcing ingredients from within 25 Miles. As an extension of this I've been running workshops for the Do Lectures and also now independently.

The passion for food has been inside me since baking with my mother as a child.  My parents would be experimenting with gnocchi and pesto, curries and quince cake when they were unheard of in Cardiff 40 years ago. My parents are STILL experimenting, I went to a dinner party at the end of January and my father had a cooked an 18 dish mezze, with things I'd never heard of.

I believe that food should always be delicious, the key ingredients are local, fresh and lots of herb and spice.  When I set up my market stall I wanted to challenge peoples preconceptions of vegetarian food, by the time I finished I had many regular carnivores in my weekly customer base.

Some parts of the world, Southern India for example, are completely vegetarian, and the cuisine there is fabulous, some of my favourite things to cook are Samosas and Aubergine curries and all the pickles and condiments that accompany them.

Italy always champions the fresh and local produce and the fantastically simple pasta dishes and Courgette Polpette really show these off.

By far my most favourite cuisine is that of the Middle East, with all the exciting spice and herbs, the pomegranates and the pistachio, the food is vibrant in taste and colour, so I love the Felafel in all its guises and the salads and dips and the Regal jewelled couscous.

I love talking about food, and sharing my knowledge and learning from everyone I meet, there is so much to find out about, we have the whole world out there!

VEGETARIAN  COOKING WORKSHOP

vegetarian-food

Details: 

Date: Saturday 15th March 2014 Time: 10.30am – 4pm Price per person: £85

Booking is essential: Call Sue on 01278 662629 or email query@clavelshaybarn.co.uk

Whether you are a long-time vegetarian or just want to incorporate more vegetables into your life, this workshop will give you easy, and delicious ways to naturally do so.

Learn how to make the humble vegetable into something truly special in this fun-filled Vegetarian Cooking Workshop run by Jen Goss. Full of local ingredients, Jen will show you how easy it is to make fresh vegetarian food that you will look forward to eating. You will learn how to make amazing dishes inspired by far-flung cuisines such as India, Morocco and Italy, and be given the confidence and skills to cook wonderfully tasting, unique vegetarian dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen.

The Workshop is aimed at all levels of experience, and at the end of the day you will receive packets the day’s recipes, along with additional ideas for variations, and the dishes you make in the afternoon.

You can find out more about the workshop here »

Jen Goss on Instragram Jen Goss on Twitter

Spotlight on... Sarah Styles-Power from The Shebbear Cheese Company

We love our local producers, suppliers and Good Food Workshop instructors here at Clavelshay Barn. We love spending time with these amazing people who do what they love, and  their passion for good food and crafting a more sustainable and tasty world is constant source of inspiration for us. We also think most of them have some pretty interesting stories too, so we thought we would share some of our favorites here in an ongoing series.

Starting with our lovely Cheese Making Workshop instructor Sarah Styles-Power from The Shebbear Cheese Company. Sarah runs her little local cheese business with her husband Chris from their home in Devon and makes moreish hand-made cheeses to traditional recipes with quirky names like Old Sheb, Forda, Bramley Barton and Forda Blue which she now sells at local farmers markets.

This is the story of how Sarah became a cheese maker...

How I Started Cheese Making

Four years ago we had a swarm of bees in the wall of a barn. We phoned the local bee keepers association and they sent a couple of their members out to collect the bees. This involved 3 visits and whilst chatting to one of them I discovered that she had a pony and trap – something I was interested in as I had a horse broken to drive but had never been able to afford lessons or a harness and cart! She offered to take me out in hers and it was whilst we were driving around the countryside that we discovered both of us had always wanted to make cheese.

 She had bought some second hand molds and a book and I had a book!

The plan was to buy milk from her neighbour, a dairy farmer and I was to order cultures and rennet. Unfortunately her neighbour wouldn’t sell his milk so we had to use supermarket milk.

There was no plan on the day we just opened the book and decided to make a Derby cheese!

Her largest saucepan wasn’t big enough so we ended up with a 15L plastic bucket that had stored her bee sugar! This didn’t fit properly into the water filled roasting tin but somehow we ended up with curds and whey. We used one of the molds she had bought and then set about pressing it in my cider press using a saucer and wood as a form for the top of the mold.

We then pressed it to death. Surprisingly we ended up with an edible cheese.

Using the left over whey we made ricotta and then lastly made a soft cheese which had to be left for 24 hours to rennet in a warm place. Despite being left on the side of her aga for some hours before her husband came home and pointed out how hot it was, we ended up with a soft cheese that tasted ok.

A few weeks later we had another cheesemaking day and made a cheddar, ricotta and soft cheese.

By this time, I was hooked and decided to buy some cheesemaking supplies and make some cheese at home. The beekeeper was busy studying for exams and didn’t want to come over to mine to make cheese so I gradually worked my way through the cheeses in the book.

Friends started to ask me to make cheese as presents for them and then I attended a Farmers Market in the village and actually sold cheese to customers!

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This all happened over 12 months and I was still using supermarket milk which was proving quite expensive. I then found a local farmer who made ice cream with his milk and was prepared (and allowed by DEFRA) to sell milk to me. So for the last 3 years I have been making cheese with this milk and gradually increasing output, and have started selling my cheese at Farmers Markets and Food Fairs.

I find cheesemaking very therapeutic and despite being time-consuming I’ve never got fed up with it, in fact I love being a cheese maker and can’t imagine doing anything else now. I just wish I’d discovered this magical process years ago. I’ve got a lot to thank the bees for!

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Sarah will be showing us how to make some of her delicious cheeses at our Cheese Making Workshop on Saturday 23rd February, so if you love cheese, then come and learn how to make it! You can find out more about the workshop here and call Sue to book your spot on 01278 662629.

Sarah's Website: www.shebbearcheese.co.uk Sarah on Twitter: twitter.com/ShebbearCheese