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

Forget every other bit of food today.  We are off as a foursome to Brampford Speke, North East of Exeter.  Our visitors are on their way home, so we unecologicaly have to go in two cars.  Harry the King Charles spaniel had a bit of a breathing problem when we were on the pre-prandial walk – it was mid 80’s – C dunked him under a running tap, and he seemed better.  Quite scary with dogs though – they don’t want to let ‘their pack’ down, so stoically keep on moving.  He’s OK now, dog lovers!

So, we were slightly late in arriving.  No problem.  Always first names at The Toad.

I’m going to tell you main courses first.  They were fantastic.  Women had Cornish Mackerel – fillets, pan-fried, with olive oil mash, gremolata and tapenade sauce.  Now that sounds rich – but it was perfect lunchtime food.  It felt light but strong on taste sensations.  No chance of what I call ‘pizza boredom’.  The last slice tastes the same as the first, but you had to endure another 5 slices to find that out.  Do you know that feeling?  Chris had Steak and Kidney Suet Crust Pudding. Then he drove home 180 miles.  Frankly, I would have slept for hours!  It included vegetables and roasties.  Phew!  I had A Salt Beef Stovie.  I love hot salt beef.  I remember having it once in a north London Jewish delicatessen.  The owners and servers were an absolute delight – a real floor show of comedy.  You didn’t want the queue to die down.  Anyway, this was slightly different, with loads of vegetables.  They do a deep-fried parsnip in Otter Ale batter.  There have been fights over them, as some people try to sneak an extra one.  It is unseemly.  Wish I’d thought of it first.

But I wish I’d had Pigs Head Three Ways.  This just sounds so intriguing!  What could it mean?  Cheeks pan fied?  Tongue? A whisker or two?  I will order it one day, and you will be the first to know!

And that brings us on to the starters.  They were exquisite – and shared.  (You need to leave a big space for a stovie and steak and kidney pie…)

Free range Chicken Liver Parfait, prunes and Armagnac confit with sour dough toast.  Chicken Liver Pate was my dish on ITVs Britain’s Best Dish – so love to see what the competition is up to!  It was sublime.  Prunes and Armagnac – just changed the way it felt and was just a taste explosion of hard and tart and sweet.  With and without – the parfait was completely different.  Clever.

And the piece of resistance?  Potted Cornish crab with crab cappuccino.  The crab itself was velvety, sea flavoured and fought over.  The cappuccino?  Orgasmic.  No other word will suffice.

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