Inspired - by Wizardry from Wales

We recently hosted a wonderful Vegetarian Cooking Workshop with the incredibly inspiring Jen Goss from Wales. One of the participants, the lovely Tricia, owner of the most beautiful B&B in Somerset, has kindly written a little blog post for us which describes the day perfectly....

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I don’t know about you, but we eat far less meat at home now than we did in the past. And things have come a long way from when a vegetarian arriving for dinner evoked panic and few ideas beyond doing some extra broccoli. Looking down a menu, it is now often the case that I’m tempted to take one of the meat-free options, as so much imagination has gone into the concoction of ingredients and flavours. So, you see, now no longer fazed by the guest eschewing carnivorous habits, or even dairy products too! Indeed, it has become a pleasurable challenge to cook to these requirements with as much scope and variety as I can muster. But a bit more inspiration never goes amiss.

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Which brings us to the Vegetarian Cookery Workshop, held at Clavelshay Barn on a sunny beautiful March day and delivered with heaped tablespoons of efficiency and enthusiasm by Jen Goss. Each participant clearly had a passion for cooking and wanted to be inspired and learn more. Now that’s fertile ground for any course leader. But such an expectant and receptive audience also has high expectations. Experienced, ebullient, entertaining and encouraging all at the same time, Jen did not disappoint.

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We rollicked our way through seven different dishes (and making a garam masala) with a tour de force of impeccable timing. We juggled the prep for two dishes while keeping an eye on three – or was it three dishes and watching two? Aromatic smells were all around us as we ground and toasted spices, fried off leeks and onions, added tomatoes, chopped courgettes, sliced aubergines... You get the picture.

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Anyway, by lunchtime we had cooked a fair bit of what we were to eat – leek and potatoes samosas, fresh beetroot chutney and aubergines cooked in the pickling style. And Sue Milverton, Clavelshay’s owner, produced the rest, accompanied by a rather lovely blush wine and her home-made bread with sundried tomatoes. So, a relaxed (and tasty) lunch inside, coffee outside in the sun – a delicious little break.

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Then back to ‘stuff’ we had prepped earlier and an afternoon producing sweet potato falafel, courgette polpettes, Imam Bayildi and aubergine with buttermilk and pomegranate. And we each had four or five little boxes of goodies to take home and a packet of ingredients for grinding our own garam masala. I also have a very useful list of invaluable gadgets that will make perfect presents for me and others.

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So, a good day Jen, you Welsh Wizard, and thanks to Clavelshay Barn for making it possible.

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All the beautiful photos were taken by Christina Dithmar, you can see more of her work here »