Today saw one of those very rare occasions for me:
a night, spent away from the Ffarm. We were doing a ‘whistle stop’ tour; first calling in to see a friend in Cardiff & then travelling all the way to Cambridgeshire for a party hosted by our dear friends & caprine mentors, Dreda & Ro of Monach Farm. Also there would be daughters Emy (who runs her fine riding stables) & Ellie; the latter accompanied by husband Warren & their wonderful little son.
As you may recall, Warren’s claim to fame is that he commercially produced the first-ever goats’ milk ice cream in the UK; & I think if it hadn’t been for his steadfast encouragement we may well have stuck with our original plan of purely making cheese. Incidentally his farm has now expanded into cheesemaking; & I think theirs is the finest Caerphilly-style I’ve consumed in a long time: the light, lemony zest of this hard, crumbly cheese is rounded with a traditionally salty tang (it is believed the high salt content was popular with miners as it helped them restore salt lost in sweat in the hot, oppressive conditions at the coalface). But if you’re ever in Essex in the Colchester area, do look out for it – well worth a trip to the local deli.
Getting to the party proved something of a challenge, however. Having left the Ffarm in Dad’s capable hands we’d waved goodbye under gloriously sunny skies; however by the time we’d reached Cardiff the clouds were closing in & surrounding us with an oppressive gloom. And a few hours later, at the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens, freezing fog was the order of the day; we crossed the ford in the little village where our friends reside with some trepidation as the road on either side was already sheet ice with the ever-thickening air frost. We were certainly thankful to get indoors….
….& even more thankful, for the typically warm & friendly welcome. A sumptuous spread had been laid out for everyone to enjoy; & we supplemented this with a hearty bowl of homemade onion soup served with crusty bread, followed by a delicious tagine of Moroccan lamb & Ro’s sublime curry of goat & lime pickle. This was followed by a slice of Warren’s wonderful cheesecake-style dessert: a lovely delicate creamy filling encased in a thin, sweet pastry crust – absolute heaven on a plate. Couple this with good company & lively conversation; & you can imagine what a wholly congenial evening we enjoyed, sipping Scotch into the wee small hours in front of the blazing fire. Time well spent; & a thoroughly enjoyable rare night away, for me.