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Before the school summer holidays, we booked ourselves a treat. A spa day you ask? No – even better! We headed to River Cottage to have a day being taught how to make delicious plant-based recipes by one of our favourite cooks Naomi Devlin.


River Cottage in the mist

It’s a full day set in the classroom kitchens at the River Cottage farm, which we found nestled in heavy mist and unexpected rain. The gardens are beautiful and full of plants that regularly end up in the kitchen.

All the recipes Naomi shared with us are plant-based and gluten-free as Naomi has Celiac disease. There can’t be many cookery courses out there that are so bespoke – we’d previously met the ever glowing Naomi when we were giving one of our ‘raise your breakfast game’ talks at the Mind Body Spirit Wellbeing Festival and knew she would be a great person to learn from. We try to find cooking experiences that will expand our knowledge, and teach us different ways of achieving tasty results. 

We thought we’d share with you some snapshots of our day and the mouth-watering creations we brought home – to be honest, it’s a long drive back to Cheshire from the South Coast so much was enjoyed in the car on the way…

Above we have slices of cumber covered with dairy-free ‘Boursin’ – lost count of how many times we’ve made this recipe at home it’s slightly addictive and ticks all our taste bud tingling needs.  Great on cucumber, crackers, celery, in a jacket potato and stirs perfectly into pasta dishes.

Almond cake – almond cake you say, what’s so exciting about almond cake? This is where Naomi’s skills as a Queen of fermenting and gluten-free cooking blend together to create a cake made with fermented pea flour and a blend of plant-based fats to create a brandy laced juicy berry-filled cake. Obviously, mine had to have chocolate chips in it too. This really made us think about the trend we’ve started to see of putting to put vegan spreads into baking, yes it’s quick but you don’t get the flavour and more importantly many of these spreads are full of bad fats! Being plant-based does not mean healthy eating.

Spinach, nasturtium and walnut pesto  – so simple and packed full of flavour. The garden will be overrun with nasturtiums next year so we can eat this every day.

Buckwheat Blinis – the perfect make-ahead canapes for special occasions – another recipe using a blend of flours and a fermenting period – so good!.

There were so many other delicious recipes, it’s amazing what can be crammed into a day – somewhere in the middle was a tasty vegan burger for lunch, which gave us more of a chance to chat to some of the other attendees, it was fascinating learning all the different reasons people were on the course.

We’ll definitely be back for another one! (or 3).