London is a beautiful city. Lively, busy, trendy, foodie, arty. Well, a cit-y.
But sometimes, a bit of peace and quiet far away from the hustle and bustle of the city can do you a great good.
So I was delighted to spend one of the first Spring-like Sunday of the year with a bunch of fellow foodie/lifestyle bloggers and Chef Josh Eggleton in a farm, in the middle of East Sussex last weekend.
This was the occasion to discover the new release of the Great British Chefs app on Windows phones.
On the early hours of Sunday morning, we all met at Victoria Station before making our way to Walnuts Farm, Heatfield, and start what would be called the #FoodiesOnTrip journey.
After a bumpy yet enjoyable ride to East Sussex, we arrived at the lovely Walnut Farms and were given a tour of the premises by Nick, the owner of the place.
While we were all snapping up the place, some enjoyed a seance on the swing, and conversing with the locals! (Hi @Jasiminne ! )
After that, we all enjoyed a delicious apero time with fresh veg and dipping sauces made by Josh and his assistant.
Yes, some bubbles were also involved.
Josh, who the Chef at the Michelin starred gastropub The Pony and Trap, talked with us about the London and Bristol food scenes and also told us about the upcoming food festival he is taking part in in May (Eat Drink Bristol Fashion).
Slightly tipsy, we made our way back into the kitchen to prepare lunch : a barley risotto with roasted butternut squash and pistacchios. And for dessert, pain perdu with pan roasted rhubarb, and an elderflower sabayon.
Everyone took part in the process, alternating between cutting and photo shooting.
After roasting the barley, you cook it as you would with a regular risotto rice. Onions, garlic, wine, parmiggiano, butternut squash purée and as a last minute touch, some freshly picked wild garlic.
Creamy barley risotto. A bit more firm than your usual risotto. But still really comforting.
For the dessert, it's an easy peasy recipe. Prepare a batter with eggs, milk, cinnamon and maple syrup. Dip the sourdough bread slices in it and then direct in a very hot pan, a couple of minutes on each side.
For the sabayon, mix together egg yolks, sugar and elderflower cordial over a bain marie until the mixture is thick enough to make a ribbon.
Simply cut the rhubarb in small pieces, mix with enough sugar and leave to rest for a bit. While the pain perdu is cooking, drain the rhubarb and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, until slightly tender. You can add a spring of rosemary for added flavour. Nice idea there, Josh!
And then all you have to do is enjoy this in the gorgeous settings of Walnut Farm, soaking up the last rays of sunshine of the day, enjoying some more bubbles, listening to the sweet melody of the chit chat between the turkey and its turkey whisperer...
You can find the detailed recipes of the day on the Great British Chefs app, or website.
They were just slightly altered to use seasonal fruit and veg :
Eggy bread with pan-roast
Spelt, barley and squash risotto
Thanks to Julie and Camilla from Nokia for inviting us, to Mecca and Eliot from the Great British Chefs app, to Nick for welcoming us in his magnificent house and to Josh and his team for sharing his day and passion for cooking with us.