A while ago I started following The Real Food Cafe on Twitter. They were opening up at Cogges Farm & celebrating with a food festival. I didn’t manage to get to that so on Bank Holiday my OH & I decided to take a trip to see the manor house at Cogges.
Cogges is trying to obtain charity status so we couldn’t pay by card, which meant a detour into the lovely town of Witney. I think the admission price is reasonable for adults (£5) but cannot understand why they feel they have to charge £1 for dogs! It’s not like a pooch is going to be bringing its pocket money! Weird! (Not that I have a dog…yet!)
I was expecting to see loads of animals but they only had guinea pigs, ducklings (super cute), chickens & turkeys. The guinea pigs were a bit shy so stayed in their cage. It was amazing to see that the chickens had previously been at a battery farm. They looked a bit worse for wear but it was good to see them out & about.
The best bit by far was the manor house. It had an amazing garden – full of veg & bee-loving flowers. Exactly what I want my garden to be like. Parts of the manor house are really old, like 1200’s kind of old, although the kitchens are currently dressed in the Victorian era. Just my cup of tea. In the kitchens were volunteers baking bread & welsh cakes and they had free samples for people to try. Bingo! They even had homemade butter & jam for people to try. They were all so delicious. The welsh cakes were cheese & chive flavour which I’ve never had before.
The upstairs wasn’t open to visitors so we headed out through the orchard & onto the river walk. There were bugs & flowers aplenty on the walk & we definitely saw evidence of otter activity! Something was making paths from the river, under fencing & across grass.
There were also loads of different flowers & plants that I’d not seen before but the bees were really enjoying. My favourite plant was this hairy looking one. I’ve never seen anything like it & would love to know what it is.
After all that it was time for lunch. We finally got a table & I had a lovely roasted veg & pesto sandwich on toasted bread. It came with a lovely side salad & coleslaw. The disappointing bit was the water. It tasted awful & was so bad you couldn’t taste the tea. There was also very little to see in the cafe or the shop. I’d hoped for some local produce/crafty bits. Maybe this will come later.
It’s well worth the trip, especially if you’ve got little ones as there’s loads for them to do. If you don’t have little ones (like us) then it won’t take long to get round Cogges & back in the comfort of the cafe! x
Sunday morning my OH suggested we go out for breakfast – like I need to be asked twice – I got dressed and off we went.
We wanted to do a bit of shopping too so parked near Greens Cafe in Oxford & headed in. One reason I wanted to go there was because I knew they did pancakes & I’ve never tried them. Obviously I had a huge mug of chai to wash them down. I couldn’t believe the size of the pancakes. They were huge! Not to mention delicious. It came with a lovely side of fruit & the pancakes filled me up for most of the day. Perfect!
One criticism was that there was no atmosphere in the cafe whatsoever. It was quite early so they weren’t very busy. There was no music, TV or papers to read. It was really quiet and was a bit like eating breakfast in a museum! I’ve never known it so quiet there. If you go later in the day it’s usually buzzing. But the pancakes were awesome! And I love my pancakes x
One of the little gems my OH & I discovered on our weekend away to the Big Smoke was Inspiral, which is a delicious little veggie cafe in Camden. But it's so much more than that. Most of their produce is vegan & environmentally sound. They have a fantastic vision of how food should be – seasonal, healthy, organic etc. Definitely my kind of place. So naturally we had to stop by.
I had a delicious chocolate cupcake & a chai latte. Their food looked amazing and the place was busy but had a great feel to it. I was really impressed with their supply of veggie wines too.
If I could transport this place to Oxford, I'd be one happy veggie! No more cheese! x
It's been a busy old few weeks with birthdays, end of term & leaving do's and a weekend away. For my OH's birthday we went away for the weekend to London & stayed in a nice little hotel on Cricklewood Broadway called The Windmill Hotel. It was a lovely little place & pretty well positioned for what we wanted to do. It was very reasonable and came with a cooked breakfast – even a veggie option! If the breakfast is included I'm going to have the biggest one possible so went for the cooked breakfast. It was lush. Not too big that I felt stuffed all morning & more importantly came with a veggie sausage and plenty of coffee! Fantastic.
We had one aim over the weekend – to only use independent places. No chains for us.
We started this on the Friday evening with dinner at Zeytoon, which is an Afghan & Persian restaurant. Not my usual choice but well worth it. We had a quick peep at the menu & once I'd got over the vegetarian options that contained lamb, my OH and I shared the starter of naan bread and Kashk-e-Bademjan. This is mashed aubergine with walnuts, olive oil, onions and a few other bits and pieces. It was delicious. The naan was made in the front of the restaurant and was thin and very tasty.
For mains my OH had two kebabs – one chicken and one lamb. I went for Chelow Khoresht-e-Baamiyeh which is okra in a spiced tomato sauce. It was so lovely & not something I would ordinarily choose. It came with a load of rice which was cooked to perfection. There was so much that I couldn't finish everything. The service was outstanding & the restaurant had a lovely feel. I would go there again if I was in that neck of the woods. A fantastic start to the weekend.
Unfortunately my iPhone decided to have a hardware problem so I couldn't take any pics all weekend. Fortunately the lovely people at the Apple Store in Reading replaced it for me so I'm back in action! x