I have just had the most wonderful weekend with my friends in their country cottage in the Gloucestershire.

It is at times like this that I really appreciate the country lifestyle, particularly when I share it with two people who are so into their food in the same way I am, except that they are proper professionals. Mr and Mr Melrose and Morgan do such a great job in their shops and I always love to hear about what they are working on and who they are connecting with as it is always spot on. They have such an understated style and yet do food so incredibly, properly and well.

Laverstoke Park Farm organic, biodynamic blackcurrants and gooseberries

Laverstoke Park Farm organic, biodynamic blackcurrants and gooseberries

Saturday breakfast set the tone with the most perfectly cooked boiled farm egg, yummy coffee and a warm raisin, apricot, bran muffin fresh from their shop. Sunday we paced ourselves with buffalo milk yogurt, blackcurrant compote made from Laverstoke Park Farm organic blackcurrants and Melrose and Morgan sour cherry granola which is just the best.

This cottage of theirs is perfect, set in the outskirts of Sapperton in rolling countryside with their own garden and in the catchment of some great pubs and markets. They have kept it simple and homely with mismatched crockery from the local antique shop plus lots of little touches to make it theirs, centred around the most beautiful big wooden kitchen table which is the heart of the whole place.

Some of our market produce

Some of our market produce on the wonderful wooden kitchen table

On Saturday we went to Stroud market which is apparently one of the biggest, most popular farmer’s markets in the country and winner of the best farmer’s market award from FARMA for the second year this year. It is so well supported locally and you can see why when you shop the stalls. We created our weekend menu as we wandered around picking and choosing our way to the best offerings. I brought some bits with me from the farm which added to the market fayre resulted in a larder full of goodies… the perfect thing for a trio who love to cook, cheered on by a glorious sunny day to create yummy things and potter around.

Dappled garden sunlight on our frittata lunch

Dappled garden sunlight on our frittata lunch

Throughout the day, we split our roles really well with Mr. M in the garden in charge of pruning, planting and bringing in all the best the garden had to offer such as fresh herbs, beans and leaves. Other Mr. M was most definitely head chef running a slick kitchen and creating lovely tasty treats. He knocked up this simple lunch frittata and quinoa, broad bean and feta salad plus a banana and chocolate cake baked in time for tea. I took on my favourite role of head chopper and prep chef under Mr. M’s tutelage which is always fun. There was no room for dinner so we popped to the local Butchers Arms pub and put the world to rights as we snacked our way through a couple of their well made starters.

Sunday was a bit of a fresh, rainy day but we pushed on with a proper country stroll to build up an appetite for the buffalo forerib I brought from the farm. The neighbourhood woodlands were like something out of the Lord of the Rings film with huge old trees, pretty moss encrusted stone walls and the odd deer lurching through the shrubbery. An hours stroll was just right and then we were fully ensconced in the kitchen creating the most perfect Sunday lunch.

Sunday lunch in style

Sunday lunch in style

Mr. M’s beets were boiled, roasted in balsamic vinegar and complemented with garden fresh fennel fronds, pan fried greens and a dash of great quality oil. We had a radish and bean salad plus a salmoriglio or Summer thyme sauce made fresh with garden herbs. Central to the table was that wonderful forerib cooked perfectly to 55 degrees by Mr. M and rested whilst his baby Yorkshire puddings puffed up to bursting in the hot oven. Accompanied by a bottle of English red wine from Kenton vineyard in Devon we had the most perfect celebration of everything we did over the weekend.

I feel like I have had the best holiday and guess I now need to get back to the real world. I can only hope that my impending move to the country will facilitate a similar lifestyle and then all will be good with the world.

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