An evening at Trill Farm in East Devon




Saira Hamilton, Bengali MasterChef semi-finalist comes to Powderham Food Festival

??????????????????Saira appeared on TV’s MasterChef 2013, and reached the final four on the strength of her delicious Bengali-inspired food. She was praised for her gifts for spicing and packing flavour into every dish she made, both by John and Gregg and guest chefs such as Atul Kochhar during a day’s masterclass at his Benares restaurant.

At Powderham Food Festival she will be cooking paratha (unleavened flat bread) in the wood fired oven, roasting aubergines on the fire pits to make a smoky dip, and more. She will also be demonstrating her famously more-ish Masala lambs chops with fresh miint and coriander chutney. Yum, why don’t you try making them yourself? Just click on this link –Masala Chops for the recipe.

Saira has been cooking for as long as she can remember, mainly inspired by her mother, Nadira, who had the intuitive ability to take everyday ingredients and create an extraordinarily good meal. She has continued her mother’s traditions and uses the best of British produce combined with the spices and cooking techniques of her Bengali heritage to create fabulous fresh-tasting dishes which are achievable without specialist or hard-to-find ingredients. Her food philosophy is all about keeping it simple and is rooted in her love of good, home-cooked food which is made to be enjoyed and shared with friends and family. 

Meet her at Powderham Food Festival on 4th October at Powderham Castle, Kenton, nr Exeter, Devon.©Shine TV

BRONX Bar and Cue in Teignmouth coming to Powderham Food Festival

imagePatrick Fogarty visited twenty-one New York BBQ joints, the top hotdog hotspots and forty two craft beer and cocktail bars to sample their wares and learn their tricks before opening the Bronx Bar and Cue in Teignmouth. He and his wife, Dee Livingstone, already own another restaurant, The Lofty Turtle, in London but he has returned to his roots in Devon to create this little piece of BBQ and Smoke heaven in the seaside town.


Patrick is a trained Goldsmith, who worked for the Danish crown jewellers, Georg Jensen, and he now brings the same perfection and craftsmanship to his food. As we sat and ate the ‘Cue for Two”, he described the incredible processes that go into the brisket, which was just one of a cornucopia of BBQ specials laid out on a platter in front of us. Now, I think I’ve got this right. Firstly, the brisket is left overnight in a special rub, the next day it is injected with spices and a super reduced ‘jus’ made at the restaurant (a meat stock reduction that usually takes 2 days to produce) to keep it moist, then it’s cold smoked to lock in the smoky flavor, then basted with ‘mop’ sauce before another five hours in the smoker, and finally wrapped in baking parchment and cooked a low 100 degrees for 13 hours. Wow! I can attest that it tastes wonderful, melts in the mouth and zings with flavor that quietly turns to smokiness that lingers on the tongue. This is the result of real care and attention and it’s delicious.  From rubs- bastes -mother sauces- to slaws, beans and pickles and back to meat cooked long and slow with loads of smoke everything is prepared fresh at the Bronx to authentic BBQ recipes that have been rigorously tasted and tested. Even the buns are made to a special part-brioche mix by a local baker under the direction of Patrick.


‘Cue for Two” a great communal dining experience.

Fogarty grew up in Teignmouth and moved to London to study jewellery design at Central Saint Martins school of Art, while studying he paid his way by working as a cocktail bartender in Mayfair and Soho graduating to manage some of London’s best nightclubs and private members clubs. He helped rebrand and re-launch the Smollensky’s restaurant group in London and worked as a drinks consultant on beer and spirits brands. before opening his first venture with his wife Dee in East Sheen. Back in Teignmouth he has turned his hand to  interior designer too, and has created the entire decor of the Bronx restaurant himself from putting the floors in to upholstering the seating and choosing light bulbs that give a nostalgic retro glow. It’s cool and funky.


The Bronx Bar & ‘Cue takes its inspiration from New York’s latest (and London’s emerging) trend that returns to an era of good honest, not to mention flavoursome, home cooked American fare where drinks and food are served with modern-day finesse in a decidedly old-school environment. The bar, which should definitely be mentioned here, looked perfect, with all those little super-bar touches such as stocking interesting aromatic bitters and unusual hand selected spirits. Alas, I came at lunchtime and missed out on his famous cocktail making skills. Next time.


Patrick Fogarty

Meet Patrick at the Powderham Food Festival on October 4th where he will be demonstrating in the ‘Theatre of Fire ‘n Smoke” and holding a Q&A session with the audience. Don’t miss it or the brisket, or the ribs.


The Menu – October 2014 – Always innovating, watch out for smoked chicken liver and interesting takes on traditional fare this Christmas.


They show old movies on this wall in the evening and soon will open another room upstairs for parties and live music.

BRONX Bar & Cue, 10 Regent St, Teignmouth, TQ14 8SJ tel 01626 777909


Powderham Food Festival 2014 – 4th October at Powderham Castle

Best PowderhamFood-MattAustin-28

The Royal Marines are bringing their ‘Field Kitchen’ to Powderham Food Festival. Watch them demonstrate their superb cooking skills.

Saturday 4th October 10am-5pm
At Powderham Castle, Kenton, Exeter Devon EX6 8JQ
Admission £6 Adults, £2 for children 4-16, family tickets available too.

This year Powderham Food Festival presents the “Theatre of Fire and Smoke” – everyone will be cooking over traditional fire – fire pits, BBQs, wood fired ovens . . . . searin’ and smokin’.

Bring out your inner caveman or woman! Feast your eyes on our theatre of Fire ‘n Smoke and then literally feast on chunks of beautifully char-grilled Devon meat washed down with fabulous West Country ales and cider. The sparks will fly as our pit-masters cook up a storm. Expect delicious outdoor kitchen fireworks and some amazing BBQ food to guzzle.

It’s Autumn: think fire, succulent barbecued meat, hot chestnuts, slow-cooked pulled pork, roasted pumpkins, fish baked in corn husks, clams scattered onto hot coals, sizzling mussels, ravishing ribs. Outdoor cooking over traditional fire all served up in the beautiful surroundings of Powderham Castle.

With four exciting cooking demo areas:

The Main marquee, our “Theatre of Fire and Smoke” – with fire pits, smokers, wood fired oven, Kamado BBQ – and even a smoking wheelbarrow!
Amazing line up of open fire experts performing great culinary acts transforming simple ingredients into searingly, succulent meaty masterpieces, vibrant vegetables and flaming fish.
Image 2 Area 2 – The Royal Marines from Lympstone Training Camp (subject of TV series right now) are also coming, bringing their Cooks Field Tent and Cook Van. They cook at any time anywhere in the world from the heat in Afghanistan to the cold of Norway, constantly raising their skills and team bonding while using limited rations and equipment. They have to think creatively while ensuring that they provide the nutritional content necessary to keep the guys going in the field. Watch our boys demonstrate their superior skills and drink a bottle of special chilli brewed Hunters Ale “Fire King” while raising money for the Marines C Group Charity with a donation from each bottle going to their fund inspiring business to support marines in need.Image 3

Area 3 is the sweet ’n pretty Garton King, AGA “Baking Perfection” marquee. Are your loaves leaden? Do you despair at your sagging sponges? Are your rock hard scones even rejected by the ducks? Help is at hand, here we’ll be serving up superb demos on how to faultlessly bake everything from the perfect meringue to the perfect pasty by a varied line up of expert cooks including AGA supremo chef, David Pengelly, who will be creating wonderful bread and cakes baked in the Dual control AGA, James Strawbridge cooking the Perfect Cornish Pasty and Saira Hamilton revealing Bengali baking secrets. Come along to see David and friends, ask lots of questions and get baking! And a new exciting news – ‘The Vanilla Queen’ is coming too. Image

Area 4 – ‘Fun Kitchen” at Powderham Food Festival. Learn the art of cooking with a series of short, free, hands-on children’s sessions, run all day at Powderham Castle. Fun Kitchen will show children how to have fun creating fresh traditional dishes from scratch. And not only will children be able to taste the fresh food difference in the finished product they take home, they’ll also know just what’s required to make fun wholesome dishes when they get home. Fun Kitchen quick workshops at the Powderham Food Festival are a great way to encourage children to learn more about food in a fun way!

BBQ cooking is taking Britain by storm – chefs all over UK are installing fire pits in their kitchens, giving customers a simple but delicious alternative to more complicated offerings. At Powderham Festival 2014 we are reflecting this in our dazzling line up of guest cooks. From fire-pits to charcoal filled wheel barrows, via flaming tandoori ovens, the festival provides a bonanza of barbecued and char-grilled meats including venison from Powderham parkland, fish and shellfish from Exe Estuary, superb grass fed Devon beef and pork from Pipers Farm.

We will be reveling in all things fiery and smoky with over 100 producers exhibiting in the castle and grounds, fascinating demonstrations, talks and tastings.

Heading the lineup –
Jane Baxter – ex head chef Riverford Field Kitchen Jane Baxter is a chef and food writer. She trained at the Carved Angel under Joyce Molyneux before moving to the River Café. After a stint travelling and cooking around the world, in 2005 she set up the acclaimed Riverford Field Kitchen in Devon. She is co-author of the Riverford Farm Cookbook and Recipes for Everyday and Sunday. Currently based in south Devon, her latest book, co-written with Henry Dimbleby, is Leon: Fast Vegetarian.

Magdalen Chapter Hotel – The core ethos of the Magdalen Chapter Hotel is to create simple, seasonal and classic dishes, with a focus on local produce. Ben Bulger, head chef at the hotel will be demonstrating dishes that have helped to gain the hotel a reputation for excellent food.

Peter Greig co-owner with wife Henrietta, of Pipers Farm, produces award winning grass fed free range meat. Peter began by working in his father’s industrial chicken unit but was keen to change direction to traditional, slow growing farming methods. Heading down to Devon and establishing Pipers Farm, Peter then travelled continental Europe to witness very different butchery methods, teaching himself to butcher. The prime focus is producing contented animals, slowly, on the land in small groups to minimise stress – and to produce fantastic tasting meat. Today Pipers a Farm embraces 25 family farms who use traditional, sustainable values to produce healthy food. Peter is a master at the fire pits, famous for his smoked BBQ beef brisket.Image 1

Zimbabwean-born chef, Kumbirai (Kumbi) Gundidza, has just launched a range of truly delicious sauces, Kumbites,  largely influenced by his African childhood. Growing up in Harare, Kumbi spent holidays with his grandmother on her smallholding outside the city where she grew many different varieties of fruit and vegetables. His aunt too was a caterer and he remembers being in Victoria Falls and eating crocodile tail cooked over an open fire pit. Now living in Dawlish, Kumbi delights in sea air and the glorious Devon countryside. He will be working with Peter Greig of Pipers Farm, prepping some of that superb meat with his African flavoured sauces spiked with different chillis and fragrant with warming spices.

Patrick Fogarty, Bronx Bar and ‘Cue in Teignmouth – London restaurant entrepreneur, Patrick Fogarty is a Devon lad returning to his roots to open Bronx BBQ restaurant and bar to add to the emerging and exciting Teignmouth restaurant scene. Committed to using best local meat, serving killer cocktails and Devon craft ales, Patrick will be serving up a fiery storm with his Head Pitmaster, at Powderham Castle Food Fest this October.

Saira Hamilton is known for her gifts of packing flavour into every dish of delicious Bengali-inspired food. Saira has an intuitive ability to take everyday ingredients and create an extraordinarily good meal. She uses the best of British produce combined with the spices and cooking techniques of her Bengali heritage to create delicious fresh-tasting dishes which are achievable without specialist or hard-to-find ingredients. Her food philosophy is all about keeping it simple and is rooted in her love of good, home-cooked food which is made to be enjoyed and shared with friends and family.

James Strawbridge, proprietor “Posh Pasty Company”, grower, poet, environmentalist, eco-technologist, TV presenter and cook, brings along his “BBQ Smokehouse” serving home-produced pastrami sandwiches. A “Hungry Sailor”, together with his Dad, Dick Strawbridge, he has sailed the coast of South West Britain making landfalls to find the best locally produced food and appeared on his own show. They also appeared together on “It’s not easy being green” and “Saturday Farm”.

Masterchef winner chef, Mat Follas regularly runs courses on foraging and wild plants which he turns into delicious recipes- think elderflower tempura and wild garlic arancini. He is a regular judge for BBC Masterchef and Mat’s recipes are published in a variety of magazines including Good Food, Olive and Delicious magazines.

Patricia Rain, The Vanilla Queen, will be demonstrating with Little Pod in the Perfection Tent. Patricia is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (, a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. The Vanilla Cookbook established her as an authority on this exotic rainforest product. Ms. Rain is the voice for small vanilla farmers worldwide, providing information on growing, curing, packaging and shipping vanilla to the world market, providing a forum for networking and representing their needs and concerns through writing and speaking engagements. Additionally, The Vanilla Company is actively working with individuals and groups in vanilla-growing countries to establish projects and to get medical and other needed supplies into rural areas.

And that’s not all. Powderham Forge will be adding fire and sparks ringing out into the Autumn air and woodland crafts people, Running Deer, will be making charcoal and cooking over campfires.

Helen Hayes, PR manager of Helpful Holidays, the key sponsor, is looking forward to the festival “We can’t wait to celebrate a third year sponsoring this event. Fabulous West Country food is very much a part of our guests’ self-catering holiday experience and we are happy to be involved again.”

Family fun, live music and an abundance of fabulous food & drink – don’t miss it.
Powderham Castle, Kenton, Exeter Devon EX6 8JQ

Admission £6 Adults Kids £2 aged 4-16 Family tickets available.PowderhamFood-MattAustin-54

All photographs by Matt Austin.

Topsham Beer and Bacon Festival Update – Sunday 21st Sept

IMG_2675We went to the first day of this two-day charity event, in aid of Exeter-based Hospiscare, held at Topsham Rugby Club by the town’s cured meat specialists Good Game, and The Beer Temple, of Exeter. Go and see what’s going on on tomorrow – Sunday.IMG_2680There’s Bacon – Devon Black pig hanging here – and IMG_2679

many kinds of beer + cider and wine. Delicious and interesting food from Good GameIMG_2682


Tasty offeringd from Eat the Smoke (they are coming to Powderham Food Festival on 4th October, by the way, as are Good Game).



and fresh, crisp fish and chips from Ian and Tim at La Cantina.IMG_2702 IMG_2701 IMG_2704and have fun on the Dodgems too.IMG_2696

There’s also live music, we had a great time.


Topsham Bacon and Beer Festival Sept 20th – 21st 2014


Hosted by our charcuterie friends ‘Good Game’, and The Beer Temple.  Come along to enjoy both beer and bacon at the very first event of its kind in Topsham. 

The event is aid of Hospiscare.

Image 1 Advanced tickets will include:

Your own Topsham Beer and Bacon Festival tasting glass to keep.

First drink free and £3 a pint

Live Music from local bands

Bar offering their own and guest draught beers form (Exeter, Hunters, Hanlons and Tophsam Ales)

Bottled beer ranging from small local craft brewers to foreign stuff.

Larger and Cyder as well as a Wine Bar from Pebblebed

Food –  food vendors selling Pork and BBQ based food. Expect some of the following: Pork Heaven Pizza, Slow Roasted Pulled Pork, A Hog Roast, Smoked BBQ Pork and Beef and La Cantina Pork special.

Raffles and Competitions all in aid of Hospiscare.

Tickets are £5 for the day or £8 for both days, if purchased in advance.


September 20th & 21st  Saturday 4pm until Midnight, Sunday Noon until 9pm


Topsham Rugby Club. Under 18’s free, family entertainment on Sunday.

For more details email or or call 07920 527691

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Toby Buckland’s Garden Festival Highlights 2014

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ph: Matt Austin

Here’s a video of the festival which was a great success for both exhibitors and visitors and we had a lot of fun too.

Watch it here: Toby Buckland Garden Festival 2014 Film  2min 26 sec

The festival brings together celebrity gardener, horticulturist and author, Toby Buckland, Powderham Castle and the leading South West specialist gardening magazine Country Gardener in a gardening event unique to Devon. A perfect festival for every type of gardener.

The annual event takes place on the first May bank holiday of the year. Exact dates and times for 2015 will be announced shortly. See the website for details


ThIs video was produced by: Tony Gray Productions M:0779 2010 758