restorative cookery course

altsomerset retreat

sasha harker

It was a last minute decision to join manna cuisine cookery course in Dulverton, Somerset this weekend. I decided before the snow and despite the fairly heavy snow (by UK standards) I had no trouble with transport apart from a short 20 minute delay leaving London Paddington on the Friday. Phew

On the way down on the train I saw some beautiful countryside and there was more of that to come in Dulverton too! Living in London makes a trip to the countryside so exciting! We stayed & cooked at Town Mills B&B.


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So here I was, all set for a weekend of cooking and I didn’t realise until quite late on that meant a weekend of eating manna food. Ooooooooh. It was a belated reaction but I was quite rightly EXCITED.

We didn’t cook on Friday, dinner was already prepared by Robin. We had lovely lasagne & kale salad for dinner with a slice of carrot cake for dessert (no photo – I ate it too quickly!)

 

The theme of the weekend was restorative food and judging by Friday it was going to be amazing!

In between cooking classes I made a concerted effort to go out for a walk when possible. The snow is so pretty and I could earn some extra calories!!! :-)


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Day One

Time for breakfast. (Homemade) granola parfait (nickabockaglory) with fruit & yogurt. Pretty & tasty….

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Robin also made lemon & blueberry scones – I had to have mine as a snack later in the day. Well you know I didn’t want to miss out did I?!


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Now for some cooking…. Show me the kitchen and some vegetables

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The recipes for lunch were Vietnamese Pho, spring rolls & sushi

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Spring rolls…

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Lunch fit for a lovely group of hard working cooks

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Are you full yet? I was but there is still so much more to learn & eat. What made this course so good (as well as the food) is the number of cooking hints & tips that Robin shared with us over the 2 day period. Also the good company. We laughed, chatted, cooked (repeat).

Snack time. We made some baked spring rolls with stir fry veg & pumpkin (2 different lots)

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Eat with a delicious dipping sauce. But don’t eat too many or you won't want your dinner (she says speaking from experience).
 

The fun and eating continues… Onward & upward. Time to make a dinner.

Dinner was a spinach enchilada with sour cream, guacamole & pineapple salsa. Followed by chocolate & green tea mouse and yes it was amazing!

 

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And as I mentioned a chocolate & green tea mouse. There was so much chocolate in here (eyes widen in delight at the memory of it). It wasn’t me who took a sneaky spoonful before dinner! It was Robin, apparently she wanted to check the consistency *rubs chin*

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So there you have it all the food we made and ate on day 1 of the course. Robin fitted in so much it was unbelievable.

After all that eating, drinking & merriment it was time for bed.

 

Day Two...

...started early for me. I wanted to see more of the Dulverton sites & countryside

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A long walk before breakfast got me hungry for the feast that Roger cooked. Never usually a fan of scrambled tofu this one blew my mind. I think its fair to say that my plate was clean in about 5 minutes!

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After spending a couple of days with Roger & Robin I was really starting to understand the care, thought & preparation that goes into each element of a plate of food. I say start to understand but not (yet) able to replicate. Its is great to have a cookery course you can go on as a vegan and learn so much in a short space of time with great company! 

When you get a group of vegans together we talk food. Myself, Carol (@Mladymilu), Kate (@katiemayshan) & Sarah, et al, talked about food when we chopped, we talked about food when we cooked and we talked about food when we ate. Shortly after we finished eating and before we started cooking again we talked some more about food. I LOVED it, it was great.

I was already inspired by Robin & her recipes and then I was further inspired to try out some new recipes (red pepper stew in particular). Its so easy to get into a rut with cooking and stick to the things you know. Well, its easy for me because I can be boring… (Mits, however, is always trying something new).

On day 2, after a late breakfast we decided on an early dinner and a snack for lunch. Dinner was a 3 course affair (wahoooo) and we ate it in any order we wanted! We started with the starter, followed that with dessert and lastly had the main course!

The starter was pelmeni. YUMBA!

 

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Followed by maple balsamic glazed tempeh, beetroot horseradish mash & fennel cream sauce…..

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Dessert, for me was the best food of the weekend. That is saying something because everything up to this point was AMAZING! Dessert was panna cotta….

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Then it was time to head back home.  An icy drive to the railway station and a safe journey back to London and the weekend was sadly over.

Robin gave us all the recipes and also promised to email us a few more too. She is a very generous teacher, although it didn’t feel like we were being taught at the time.

My kitchen has been stocked with the necessary ingredients and I see many panna cotta desserts on my food horizon.

And that makes me happy!!!

 

sasha harker with mitsu ikeda

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