Evening of arrival
We’d arrived. Had wrestled a bit with the tent as the wind started picking up just as we were pitching up. Dark grey storm clouds were approaching and we were trying to make our shelter secure and safe for our 4 night stay. Two city kids - capable city kids mind you - camping for the second time. We did it. And we were very hungry by the end of it.
It was about 5/6 pm and we wandered over to a decent looking food stall, of which there were few that first night. Our Farmhouse Kitchen had just prepared a fresh beef stew and it was the only thing we wouldn’t have to wait for so we went for it.
I’m going to put something out there that I have never said before. Even to my own admission: It was truly THE BEST BEEF STEW I have ever had. Yup. There it is. Even better than my own (!) Maybe it was the fatigue of the day, the travel, the cold evening air, the anticipation and excitement of the event ahead of us, and our need to feed - but that stew, my oh my, was a winner.
Two servings handed over to us in little cardboard boxes, with wooden forks. The meaty steam permeating through the air up into our chilly empty nostrils right down to our even emptier stomachs. Unctuous. Hearty. Herby. Red wine. Reduction. Wholemeal dumplings made with beef suet. Fluffy, sticky, heavy, light. wholesome. I don't use beef suet in my dumplings because it is after all kind of unhealthy. But there certainly is a time and a place for everything, my dears. And beef suet, well, you did us a treat that night. The very large chunks of grass fed beef (3/4" cubes) dissolved in the mouth. The carrots and onions were sweet and sticky and fresh. The carrots had a bit of a bite and the onions were silky slivers sliding down the back of your throat. Big pieces of meaty pork belly added in to pull out even more f-l-a-v-o-u-r The fat just melted in your mouth. I’ve never had such tender fat before in all my life. It just disintegrated on the palate when it hit the inside warmth of your mouth. Yum.Yum .YUM. The entire ordeal was a complete delight and we were so happy to have stumbled across these guys.
We slept like babies that first night. Warm, dry and sound. The following morning everyone else on our pitch woke up with crumpled faces, saying how cold they had been in the night. How tight and achey their limbs were. Not us. I think it all had to do with our dinner of beef stew. Good hearty meal that stuck to our ribs. You see, you gotta know how to eat. It’s a skill. If you do it right, you’re a happy bunny.
THE FARMHOUSE KITCHEN - http://www.ourfarmhousekitchen.co.uk/festivals
5 out of 5 stars
After note: Paul had a bacon roll the following morning from these same fellas. It was dry, with virtually no butter and the bacon was rubbery and full of chewy fat. Big two thumbs down on that one. So stick to the stew.