Food cooking and eating – stories and ideas from a passionate foodie

There’s an organisation we belong to called The Otter Valley Association.  (OVA).  We first heard about it while visiting Otterton Mill.  They have a booklet of 12 walks in and around the beautiful Otterton Valley.  Very varied walks – River, Country lane, and coastal.  Some (Ladram Bay from Budleigh Salterton, via an excursion along the Otter river), are both strenuous and magical.

We had decided on a simple to and from walk, starting in Budleigh Salterton.

This is an iconic view of the River Otter as it enters the sea at Budleigh Salterton.  We find it rather calming – no idea why!

It’s a two or three-mile trail up the river to Otterton itself – which did used to be the port in 15th C.  Times and coast do change.

The food cafe at Otterton Mill is a big draw – maybe even more so than the Craft Centre, and Mill itself.  Having said that, they do sell their own flour that is still milled here, and if you don’t want it in rudimentary form, bread and pastries made with the flour are available to the hard of cooking.

Budleigh Salterton

Light lunch?  Bottled Otter Ale (Head Brewers Choice) – seems churlish not to have the splendid beer when we have walked the Otter, and were sitting in Otterton Mill!  For the second time in a week I had Moule Mariniere.  I find mussels almost impossible to resist.  OK – everyday may be more difficult…but they are always a bit different.  Here – more of a modern twist – a slightly spicy feel, with the middle eastern / mexican spice Cumin added.  J had Brown Crab meat on a crouton.  Although we both felt we knew this would be on the strong-tasting side – the brown meat is very crabby! – it was actually a little too strong for our poor little buds.  We were warned though – so that is our choices fault, not the chef’s.  For what is a self-service ordering cafe, the whole food experience is quite cheffy.  They do cookery courses, milling experineces and wine tastings here – led by the food people – so It’s not really a surprise.

Strangely full, we had that most enticing of dishes when you are all foodied out.  Evening was beans on toast!  Excellent wholemeal bread from Otterton Mill, and beans mad by The Branston Pickle people.  A cut above normal, I’d say.  Still had some posh salad to go with this, so it looked really colourful.  I always add some lemon juice to my beans – I think it really adds another level of flavour enhancement.  (And you thought you couldn’t fart about with beans on toast!)  (What a bad descriptor to use – perhaps tart about would have been less Carry On…)

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