Did you bring the camera?

The answer to the question was sadly, no. We forgot the camera.

Feeling the unwelcomed pit of the forgotten in our stomachs, the lush English country-side whipped by the train windows undocumented. We sighed our heads back into the fabric-lined seats and absorbed the news that our journey to experience Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s fantastic River Cottage Headquarters would be documented with an iPhone. Survival-style.
However by the time we arrived into London for lunch, our sour moods had mostly shifted. The first stop of our patchwork itinerary was a restaurant that was recommended to me as “the best in London.” Who can mope when fantastic food is dangling like a carrot?

I commented to our waitress of my fondness for the salt & pepper dishes above. She noted they reminded her of the little bowls that kids sculpt! I agree! Do you?

Stepping into Moro felt fresh yet comfortable, a place with roots. Even a bit breezy, which could have been our window seat next to the door, but nah, I think it more appropriately tied to the over 13-years of restaurant success. John got a Sea Bass entree, and I settled (after much debate) on two starters: calves liver on a bed of yogurt sauce, because I couldn’t imagine they could get away with that combination unless it was outstanding, and Sea Bass ceviche, because I love a good ceviche. My order absolutely did not disappoint. The liver was tender and cooled by a dallop of Raita-like sauce over ultra-thin crisps; I would have ordered seconds had we not been bound by a train’s impatience.

Back to the station, the destination was the town of Axminster, where the River Cottage Headquarters sits nearby. Our Hedgehog Corner Bed & Breakfast, run by a lovely woman named Joy, thankfully lived up to hopes that were dependent on the gamble of Internet shopping. A tip I’ve found when shopping blind for a place to stay is looking for hotels or B&B’s that support local, seasonal and/or organic foods. I find their high standards to infuse the whole experience.

Our room at Hedgehog Corner B&B in the daytime.

Hungry but late, dinner at the corner pub sounded perfect. Joy sent us off with ultra-nerdy reflector jackets and a jumbo flashlight, which struck John and I as a bit ridiculous, until we took a hard-right out the driveway and found ourselves on a pitch-black street without a sidewalk to be found. Cars whizzed by like speed limits were mere suggestions, on the opposite side of the road of course, and we quickly realized this dinner would be earned by winning a high-stakes game of human Frogger.

We made it!

After waking up to the delicious smell of a cooked-to-order English breakfast with homemade multi-grain bread, free-range eggs, local sausages & ham, yogurt and homemade granola, we set off up the same street that was much less scary in the daytime towards the bus-stop, destination Axminster and the River Cottage Canteen.

The streets of Axminster sit over my shoulder.

Standing in front of the River Cottage Canteen. I think a hard local had just made fun of us for taking this touristy picture! I obviously wasn't fazed.

Our dinner at River Cottage would come that evening but to really hammer home the experience, I also wanted to visit the Canteen that sits in the town square of Axminster, providing local, seasonal and fresh lunches to daily patrons.

One of each, please! But, we settled on what's seen in the top-right and bottom-right photos.

The inviting deli-style shop buzzed with happy eaters, while a spacious back room provided waited tables for traditional lunchtime dining. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s many books lined the long bookshelves that ran the length of the space and sustainably minded gifts scattered around on more rustic shelves and wooden barrels. Given that we had just eaten a full-on English breakfast but balancing that we’re never gonna let a full stomach keep us on the sidelines of destination related dining, John and I chose to share a Small Chunk Pork Pie and a few amazing sun-dried tomatoes, both can be seen in the picture above. In case you’re ever there, a fork with a reasonable bite of the pork pie sausage with equal amounts of flakey pastry crust combined with a single sun-dried tomato creates the perfect bite. We tried it several times, just to make sure we could tell you that with absolute certainty. You have my word – I will always be your guinea pig.

The inside of the River Cottage Canteen in Axminster, England.

After our mid-morning snack, John used a laptop computer set up in the corner to sign-up for Hugh’s latest campaign called Fish Fight, and we took off for the seaside town of Lyme Regis for an afternoon of exploration that left us with wind-whipped cherry noses and frozen fingertips. We needed to stay active because we had a full-on night of eating ahead of us, Saturday Night dinner at River Cottage.

I think I’ll save that one for next week…

Warming up with yet another cup of tea after our outdoor adventures in Lyme Regis.

xoOrganic Spark

5 comments


  • Lucy Lean

    Thanks for sharing – makes me home sick! Can't wait to read about the River Cottage experience…

    January 23, 2011
  • Maria

    How fun!

    January 23, 2011
  • KRisten

    I've enjoyed living vicariously through you.

    January 23, 2011
  • Sandra

    Ah man, do we have to wait a whole week to hear the end of the story! Darn. This is wonderful. And i want some chunk pork pie!

    January 23, 2011
  • aalina387

    Thanks for sharing- I have enjoyed it.This is wonderful.

    January 24, 2011

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