The rains are lashing down, and large swathes of the UK are under flood watches and warnings at the moment, making for quite a soggy holiday.
We are spending another Christmas in Wales, after a week of vacationing in a cottage on the coast - or down the shore as we New Jerseyites say - in Lyme Regis, Dorset.
Dorset is the home of River Cottage and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. Purely coincidence, I tell you, that I suggested a vacation there. No HFW sightings during our week, but I did catch a glimpse of Pam the Jam roaming through Axminster during market day. I was quite overcome with star-struck giddiness but way too chicken to step up and say hello.
Jammy Chicken indeed.
As consolation, we had lunch at the River Cottage Canteen - pork and venison liver terrine with cranberry and walnut chutney, and fried gurnard with bubble and squeak made of leek and potato. The chutney was lovely with big chunks of whole walnut giving loads of crunch and flavor. Some snooping online suggest it's Hugh's Christmas Chutney with fig and cranberry. Must make that.
The gurnard, that was hands-down the winner for best lunch dish. We saw some for sale afterwards in the fishmonger's market stall - it looks quite grumpy and red, but tastes creamy and white and tender. Good value for money, not overfished, and scrumptious. Three good things - just like HFW's latest cookbook and TV series.
This new series, also cunningly titled Hugh's 3 good things, has yet to make it to the US as far as I can tell, but TV viewing is quite civilized here in the UK and you can watch most of the already aired TV shows online. Only if you are in the UK, though, so no luck for me when I head back to the US. Santa knew exactly what I wanted, and got me the cookbook, but if you were not so fortunate to receive this as a pressie, you can dip into the recipes on the show's website scrapbook here. My favorite moment, from the crab show (episode 18): 'That's like having your tongue mugged... by flavor!'
One for the knitting ladies, a trip through the town of Wool. Obligatory photo.
Every so often there's a break in the clouds, and we get a lovely view that makes it all worthwhile. Off to eat turkey. Have a happy holiday!