Friday was a rare day off and I had a few errands to run in Exeter, so I took the opportunity to drop into The Real Food Store in the city centre. I was expecting to find the usual array of products, and I did, but there was also a good number of new things I hadn’t stumbled upon before. Seizing the opportunity, I picked up some Devon Roast coffee, houmous from Clive’s Pies, Tom Morrow’s cordial, Dragonfly burgers and some freshly baked bread.
I will let you know about the houmous, the coffee and the cordial at some point soon, but we were impatient to try the Eastern Spice Burgers and cooked them up on Friday evening. Handmade in Devon, these are soya bean-based burgers that are free from gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, meat, GM ingredients, additives, preservatives and colouring. You may wonder if there’s much left to actually put in the burgers, but they have managed to create a tasty burger out of soya beans, curd, rice, vegetables and nuts. Being “Eastern Spice”, there is also a hefty dose of curry powder in there, which gives them most of their flavour.
Having not read the ingredients, I decided to serve them with some brown rice meaning that, with the burgers being 34% brown rice themselves, I managed to conjure up a meal that was at least 67% brown rice. Haute cuisine indeed.
We both wolfed down the burgers but I have to say that they are not necessarily the most attractive-looking products. If you can get past their looks though, they are nice, spicy burgers (as you would expect) and we both enjoyed them.
Returning to the shop itself, virtually at least, if not physically, I feel obliged to mention that they have both an on-site bakery and a cafe. In need of refreshments last Friday, I had wandered upstairs and ordered a flat white (made with Cornwall’s Origin Coffee) and a slice of carrot cake. Their chocolate cake looked pretty good too, but I’m not allowed chocolate for a few more weeks yet. The carrot cake was hardly a poor second choice.
On Saturday Mrs RB and I dropped into the relaunch of the food shop at Dartington. As well as being stocked to the gills with food and drink, much of it from Devon, they also had several of their suppliers in attendance, offering free tasters and happy to talk to us punters, whilst we tried to pretend that we weren’t just there to eat the delicious freebies. As we wandered around, we made sure to have a quick chat with the guys from Tom’s Pies, Mrs G herself and Hannah and Duncan from Partridge Farm. It was hard to choose which of the myriad products to go for, but Mrs RB eventually opted for a couple of jars of Dartington’s own lemon curd and a mango and ginger chutney.
We headed off for a walk in the spring sunshine but made sure to return again to pick up some Partridge Farm sausages. Having tried as many of their free tasters as possible, we were faced with the unenviable task of trying to pick which one to actually buy, settling in the end on their award-winning rare breed chipolatas (Food and Drink Devon Silver Awards 2013). A good choice, if I do say so myself.
Hannah from Partridge Farm had been in touch via twitter soon after I started the Devon A-Z challenge, suggesting themselves for the letter “P”, and I am very pleased to be able to add them to the list at long last.
Now you may be thinking that it was a pretty “foodie” couple of days, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but don’t forget that this blog is about finding a balance between the food and the exercise. My next blog post will be all about the exercise. And not just running or swimming; this one will be all about something new.
Come back soon to find out what it’s all about.