Last Friday a band a foragers led by Chris Westgate, our foraging tutor, left Vale House Kitchen to stroll through the Somerset countryside and see what edible delights the fields and hedgerows had to offer. The 3 hour walk crossed meadows, went through woodland and along babbling brooks and enabled Chris to share her vast knowledge of wild foods that people often overlook. The highlight was a picnic underneath an oak tree with delights made by Chris from her company Heavenly Hedgerows. A fine forage was had by all with everyone remarking how they had started to find their inner forager. Courses start in September.
It is a little over 3 weeks since the builders started here at Vale House Kitchen and it is amazing to watch how the building changes on a daily basis. What was a small stone outbuilding is undergoing a transformation into a bespoke country skills and cookery school. Currently there is no roof and the floors to what will be the upper teaching kitchen have disappeared. Looking up through the floor joists this morning it made us think how good the English summer is being to us this year. Heaven knows how things would be progressing if we were in the middle of the more usual July monsoon! So far the ground floor has been dug out to enable damp proofing and plumbing for the downstairs toilets to be put in. This meant our old oil tank had to be removed and a lovely new one now resides on a concrete slab against our back wall. The walls have all been tanked to get rid of any damp problems and new Bath stone mullions are being carved to take the new windows that are being made. It really is going to look spectacular when it is all done. On the more technical side of things a new 3 phase supply has just been fitted which will give us power to our new induction hobbs and pyrolytic ovens and we have to thank Western Power for being so efficient at getting all of this organised for us. The next few days will see concreting, roof tiles reappearing and hopefully the upstairs floor being put down. Next phase is getting the work stations built and fitted, the game larder fitted and going to see our bespoke butchers block coming to life in a workshop in Bristol. We look forward to sharing all this with you over the coming weeks!