Tag Archives: organic

Riverford at Oxfork

 

Last month I wrote about the Oxford Bake Off and how I wanted to challenge myself more in the food world. While there were no bake offs for me this April I set myself up to go to a food event in Oxford at Oxfork. Oxfork had been on my list for a while, so an event evening seemed like a perfect reason!

 

Riverford supply ‘organic veg and lots more to your door, they began in Devon supplying to 30 friends and now supply 40,000 boxes a week to homes around the UK from their regional farms. The event was a showcase of Riverford ‘Jake the Veg’, this sounded like a good night.

 

On arrival I was welcomed with a glass of Prosecco or Organic Apple juice, there was a variety of Riverford cheeses on the counter, which were available for nibbling for the whole evening. A very pleasing start to my night already, I do love cheese!

 

I was shown to a 6 seater table and waited for a few minutes to see who would be joining me at this Riverford event. It was long before I was joined by 5 other women, 3 work colleagues and 2 friends. Once introductions were made and a cheese runner was selected for the evening, we started to take a look at what was on our table. The Riverford brochure, our evenings menu and our crudities board.

 

The crudities were varied, there was the usual crisps, celery, carrots, peppers and then the spring onions. Spring onions weren’t really solid enough to work with the dip, which caused amusement around the table! The dip was delicious, it was a thick dip, definitely suited to chunky vegetables. The ingredients were nuts, garlic and possibly a hint of chilli. The kick that the dip gave was pleasing and moreish to all 6 members on my table.

 

When the crudities were finished and the board was taken away we were given our starter. This was a stunningly green starter: lentil and chard soup. The bowls were all varied, my bowl seemed huge in comparison to some, but it certainly gave a homely feel to our meal.

 

What is PSB? This was the question on my tables lips. One woman next to me knew the answer! I’ll tell you later. So you’ll have to keep reading if you don’t already know…
The main course: PSB, orange and cumin carrots and potato rosti. I think the carrots had been soaked in orange the flavour was strong and worked very well with the carrot and cumin combination. The reaction on the table over our plat of veg, was I thought very interesting. One comment was that some other guests had never been so full of vegetables, luckily for the two vegetarians, we had not had this problem before!

 

The dessert was Rhubarb cake with rhubarb compote and crème fraiche. This wasn’t the tables favourite dish, it would seem that rhubarb wasn’t that popular on our table. I thought it was at least something very different, I’ve never tried rhubarb in a cake and I would try it again, but perhaps with warm compote next time.

 

Our table choice of wine was red, there was some wines in the tables brochure, a bottle for £9.However our wine was not the same as advertised and came in at a higher price, clearly we hadn’t ordered from the brochure. This caused some surprise and annoyance on my table, but I don’t feel that there was a need to complain. I paid £25 a month ago for what I considered to be a great event, and I wasn’t disappointed. So that night the ‘expensive’ wine and a tip was all I was paying for, in my eyes £7 is a good night!

 

Throughout the night conversation flowed easily at our table. We talked about Oxford restaurants and bars; the favourites, the disasters and the one off times. Oxfork looks small from the outside but it is certainly bigger on the inside. The vibe is relaxed, it feels like your front room, if you had a really nice front room! Our table decision was that Oxfork was certainly unique, it has something that Oxford has needed for a while. I’m glad it’s so local to me!

 

Thank you to Oxfork for hosting a great night, I will keep an eye out for the next one and I have already raved about the event and your place to anyone that will listen. For more information on Riverford Organic here is the link:

http://www.riverford.co.uk/about_riverford/

What is PSB? Purple Sprouting Broccoli!

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The Fishes

I live within the Oxford ring road and something that has always appealed to me about Oxford is the ease of getting to the nearby countryside, drive, cycle or walk in the right direction and bingo!  North Hinksey Village proved this point to me again.

It was a warm dry Friday night in March The Fishes looked lovely, with the surrounding countryside and no hint of the city centre in sight. All be it 10mins around the corner.
I’d heard about The Fishes from various people, never in much detail but enough was said that I wanted to see if I was missing out.

On entering The Fishes you walk into the bar area, it looked comfortable, a good place to meet with friends or family, or coming in from a walk in the surrounding area.
As we walked down past the bar slightly clueless as to where to go for the restaurant area, we were greeted by a staff member who offered us a choice of tables, one in the bar and one in the conservatory.

The Fishes menu includes: free range, organic and sustainable produce. It’s clear from the website and the staff that the food quality is important.

To start:
I had the Chilli and Crab in filo pastry with chilli sauce, I love spice and crab so this had my name on it. The filo was fried seep or shallow, I’m not sure but I enjoyed the crunch.

For mains:
My OH had the steak, standard, but it made him happy. To be fair it’s not something he has much of. Going out with a pescetarian does vary the menu but it doesn’t usually allow for much steak. It was enjoyed at a medium/rare level slightly more on the rare side but I think from the reaction it was preferred.

I really wanted the Tuna when I first saw the menu, however the tuna came with crushed sweet potatoes & chorizo, I’m sure I could have asked for it to be swapped but as I was presented with a specials board full of other fish options, I didn’t need to be picky! (maybe next time!) The specials included Coley options, Hake, Risotto and Chicken.
I opted for the Hake with wild garlic and new potatoes. The wild garlic tempted me to this, and yes it was worth it. The fish was cooked well it fell away easily from the fillet and melted in my mouth.

For dessert:
It had to be the cheese board. We were presented with a chunky block of wood topped with: Four varieties of cheese, Apples, Celery, Chutney and Biscuits. There are never enough biscuits with a cheese board, I think it’s a tradition amongst cheese boards, but more were offered, which was a nice touch.

Price:
The specials board was in fact cheaper than my original Tuna option, so a cost saving thanks to chorizo. The Fishes menu has a variety of prices and meals, so you could eat here happily on your own budget and appetite.

Other things to note
We went out for an evening, and due to darkness drawing in we didn’t get a good look at the garden that stretches down to the river. I imagine this would be perfect for a Saturday or Sunday lunch, so I should return again.
I don’t have a dog however if I did I would take him or her for a drink and a bite to eat. There are plenty of footpaths around the area and when we went there were plenty of four legged friends in the bar, looking very comfortable.

It’s definitely on my list to re visit over the summer months, and if you haven’t been I can confirm you are missing out. http://www.fishesoxford.co.uk/