Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Porlock Arts Festival 2010

Germaine Greer tops the bill at Porlock Festival 2010

Germaine Greer and Marcia Willett, are among the leading lights at this year’s Porlock Arts Festival from 9th – 12th September. Germaine, controversial author of The Female Eunuch, will be appearing on Saturday night. An acclaimed academic and outspoken broadcaster she has appeared on television in such favourites as “Have I Got News for You”, “Grumpy Old Women” and controversially “Celebrity Big Brother”. Popular local author Marcia Willett opens the festival on Thursday evening. She has a great affinity with Exmoor and a number of her stories, including her latest The Summer House, are based in and around the Porlock area. On Friday, throughout the day, over 20 local authors will gather to discuss their work and sign copies of their books. The day will be informal and relaxed with refreshments and free entrance. On Friday evening we welcome three principal artists from Opera Novella in London, who will perform a variety of opera favourites. This promises to be a stunning event to delight a musical audience. Also on Friday evening, at Dovery Manor, Widsith and Deor Storytelling Theatre will take the stage for their unique theatrically performed stories, taken from three ancient texts and suitable for adults and teens alike. On Sunday afternoon the Festival showcases Greg Chapman’s one man play ‘Small Town to Big Apple’ at the final venue of his UK tour. This promises to be a funny and moving show for everyone who enjoys theatre. Throughout the festival artists, photographers and a host of crafts people will be hosting local exhibitions, while the weekend also showcases a Writers’ Forum, a drama workshop and the Poetry Picnic. Miles Robertson, Chairman of the organising committee, said, “I am delighted that we have, once again, secured some great names for the festival. Last year we sold out in advance for four big events. This year we have even more to offer. We are advising people to buy their tickets early to avoid disappointment.” A full programme of events is available on the Festival website or from the Porlock Visitor Centre by phoning 01643 863150 or by emailing

Poor Man's Goose Recipe

Another recipe transcribed from my old Somerset cookbook.

1lb. potatoes
1/2 lb pig's liver
2 small onions
1/2 teaspoonful dried sage
cold water
1 oz. flour
salt and pepper

Mix the flour, pepper, and salt together. cut the meat into pieces of an even size and roll them in the seasoned flour. Place these in a pie dish with layers of thinly sliced onion and sage in between. Peel the potatoes, boil in salted water until half cooked. strain off the water, cut them in thick slices, and place over the top of the meat. Three-parts fill the dish with water or gravy, sprinkle any of the seasoned flour over the top, cover with greased paper, and make in a moderate oven for 1 hour.


Sunday, 30 May 2010

Dulverton Folk Festival

A picture of some Morris Men dancing down by the Bridge Inn at this weekend's Dulverton Folk Festival.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Somerset and North Devon Election Results

Here are the general election results for these parts:

Bridgwater and West Somerset

Ian Liddel-Grainger - CONSERVATIVE - 24,675 votes
Theo Butt Philip - LIBERAL DEMOCRAT - 15,426 votes
Kathryn Pearce - LABOUR - 9,332 votes

North Devon

Nick Harvey - LIBERAL DEMOCRAT - 24,305 votes
Philip Milton - CONSERVATIVE - 18,484 votes
Stephen Crowther - UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY - 3,720 votes

Taunton Deane

Jeremy Brown - LIBERAL DEMOCRAT - 28,531 votes
Mark Formosa - CONSERVATIVE - 24,538 votes
Martin Jevon - LABOUR - 2,967 votes

Cooked Starlings

Another interesting now-out-of-favour recipe from my hundred year old collection of family recipes.


When killed, pull off the heads, when plucked and trussed, soak them in vinegar and roast very quickly. Be sure to bast with butter continually whilst at the fire.

WHEATEARS may be cooked in the same way, but are best dipped in breadcrumbs, and only take from ten to twelve minutes roasting.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election Day Exmoor

It's just after 10pm and I'm listening to a news item on Radio 4 where they are reporting lengthy queues outside of many polling stations across the country today. So long apparently that some people were unable to vote before the polling stations closed a few minutes back. As can be seen in my photo, this wasn't the case at St. Michael's Community Hall in Bampton, where not a soul was to be seen at lunchtime. Maybe it got busy later? Somehow I doubt it ...

Election Posters Exmoor and West Somerset

I wonder if there might be fewer election posters about this time? I could well be wrong, but, during past general elections they seem to have been everywhere. Not so this time. Anyway, here's a picture of a Liberal Democrat one I came across in a field not far from Dulverton this morning.

Hobby Horse Picture Minehead

A picture of  the Sailor's Hobby Horse and followers doing their thing along the seafront in Minehead over the recent May Day Bank Holiday.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Brompton Regis May Fayre

Drove across to Brompton Regis May Fayre yesterday. Wasn't that impressed. Few people. Even fewer things to see and do. Still, never mind, it was a nice drive and since there wasn't much to see in Brompton, had the time to drive on to Minehead where we saw the Hobby Horse doing his thing.

Update on Car Breakdown

Turns out that it wasn't the water pump at all. Just a leak from the radiator, which probably should or could have been fixed at the roadside by the AA chap. This, of course, would have meant that I had no need to upgrade my AA membership level from the basic 'roadside assistance' to 'relay'.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

AA Breakdown Service Somerset

On a drive today the temperature gauge on my car suddenly shot up into the red. Stopped and found that I'd lost all the water from the radiator. Bugger: a burst hose, I thought. Called the AA breakdown service. Waited patiently in my car for almost an hour and a half for them to arrive, only for the mechanic in AA transit van to say "sorry can't do anything. It looks like your water pump has gone. If you upgrade your membership, I'll call a truck to take you and the car home". Paid £100 for the upgrade to relay. Waited another hour and a half for that to arrive. Still, at least the car and I are now home. Tomorrow I'll take the car along to my local garage and try and get the car fixed. Did choose a scenic spot to break down though. Click the picture to see what I mean!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Exmoor Carrot Jam

This recipe is supposed to imitate apricot jam, but, uses carrots instead of apricots. This recipe is again at least one hundred years old.

Ingredients: for every pound of carrot pulp allow 1 lb of pounded sugar, the grated rind of 1 lemon, the strained juice of 2, 6 chopped bitter almonds, 2 tablespoonfuls of cider brandy.

select young carrots; wash and scrape them clean; cut them into round pieces, put them into a saucepan with sufficient water to cover them, and let them simmer until perfectly soft; then beat them through a sieve. weigh the pulp, and to every pound allow the above ingredients. Put the pulp into a preserving pan with the sugar, and let this boil for five minutes, stirring and skimming all the time. when cold, add the lemon rind and juice, almonds and brandy; mix these well with the jam; then put into pots, which must be well covered and kept in a dry place.

Monday, 12 April 2010

West Somerset Devil

Here's a snap I took last week of a West Somerset devil! It's on a very old cottage, but, where? A packet of the splendid Co-operative Indian Prince tea for the first person able to correctly identify the location :-)

Fried Vegetable Marrow

This recipe for fried vegetable marrow has been tried and tasted and can be recommended.

3 medium sized Marrows
Two Eggs
Hot Lard

Peel and boil the marrows until tender in salt and water; then drain them and cut them in quarters, and take out the seeds. When thoroughly drained, brush the marrows over with the eggs, and sprinkle with bread crumbs. have ready some hot lard, fry the marrow in this, and when of a nice brown, dish up. Sprinkle over a little salt and pepper, and serve.

Co-operative's Indian Prince Tea

Utterly useless information and blatant plug time. My favourite tea is Co-operative's Truly Irresistible, Fairtrade Indian Prince. Available as loose leaf or as teabags. Truely wonderful stuff. Try some soon if you haven't done so yet. Far better than PG Tips, Typhoo, and the usual supermarket own brand tea.

Somerset Farmers' Fruit Cake

This is an untested recipe for Somerset Farmers' Fruit Cake and looks like it would make the perfect afternoon tea cake to go with a nice cup of black tea. I've left the recipe details exactly as I discovered them.

1 lb of Apples
1 teacupful of Golden Syrup
1/2 a cupful of Sour Milk
1/4 lb of Butter
2 teaspoonfuls of Cinnamon
1 of baking Soda
1 of Cloves
1 Egg
1 lb of Flour

Peel, core and chop the apples fine, and let them simmer in the syrup till tender. Work the butter into the flour, next the sugar and spices, mixing well, then add the milk, the egg and the syrup and apples before they sre cold. Beat the cake well, and bake it in a buttered tin for 1/2 to 3/4 hour in a moderate oven.

Please contact me or leave comments if you find the time and inspiration to try this recipe out for yourself. Invitations for tatsings in the Exmoor and West Somerset area warmly welcomed!

Exmoor and West Somerset

Hello and welcome to a new development for my long-standing Exmoor and West Somerset website. A blog. Come back soon to catch up on what recipes from my one hundred year old cookery book I've deciphered, tried and can recommend; see some of my photographs; and read about what I've been up to in and around the Exmoor and West Somerset area.