FEBRUARY has brought bone-chilling, icy winds and strength-sapping seasonal motionlessness to Park Farm, and that's especially true down here in the Southern Ocean where I'm filming the next chapter of Fish Fight. There isn't much to be done in the garden. The plants, like all sensible animals, are hibernating and the range of winter vegetables is beginning to dwindle. It's time to take what remains, banish thoughts of frugality and asceticism and tart it up as something special. Explore the possibilities of the humble potato. The versatile parsnip. It is in the kitchen that the battle against February must be fought. How do you up the ante on the comfort stakes at this late stage? It doesn't have to be time consuming. Think pancakes. Shrove Tuesday falls next week, but we hardly need this excuse to make pancakes. I love the ritual of cooking them and eating them at River Cottage HQ, where life goes on after last week's drama. It's marmalade season, and before I left for my trip I handed Pam 'the Jam' Corbin a couple of jars of my 'dark and alluring' pots to enter at the Marmalade Awards later this month. I also recorded this short video update with the webteam. Your support with Fish Fight, and in the wake of last week's events at Park Farm, is nothing short of amazing. It means so much to me and the team. Thank you. We simply couldn't do it without you.
Fish is a favourite ingredient at our plaice. Freshly caught and delivered by local fisherman nearby in Lyme Regis, West Bay and Axmouth, it's easy to get hooked. Apologies for that. The River Cottage Fish course will arm you with all the know-how you need to confidently prepare and cook a range of delicious fish and shellfish. If you want to learn how to fillet a fish, dress a crab or turn your hand at hot smoking, this is the course for you. During the day you will learn about the River Cottage ethos of sustainable fishing and how to get the best from your ingredients.
There are some familiar faces at our Canteens, which have been named 'Best at Sourcing' by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, this week. The Park Farm chefs are joining the Axminster and Plymouth teams to cook up a storm during half-term. In Axminster we're now open Wednesday and Thursday nights for our 'Winter menu nights' in addition to Fridays and Saturdays where our 'Seasonal Canteen menu' is available. Master baker Aidan Chapman is on hand at lunchtime on Saturday 25 February to make the perfect loaf. And we're having a flipping good time next week on Shrove Tuesday, making pancakes to order. Don't forget mum on Mother's Day, you can book your table for Sunday 18 March now. We now take bookings on our Facebook page.
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