A writing army marches on its stomach. At The Writing Retreat we like to send people home full of ideas, new skills, inspiration, motivation and – the essential fuel – delicious home cooked food. We both love cooking and, with the help of the Rosemerryn farmhouse kitchen and our fabulous kitchen angels Amy and Charlie of Cornish caterers White Radish, we serve a delicious menu every day.
Breakfast is a help-yourself affair, with fresh bread, cereals, local farm eggs, juice, yoghurts and a fruit bowl piled high, plus fresh coffee and a variety of tea, from Tetleys to organic fruit tissanes. We break from our workshops mid-morning for coffee and cake – Kath’s flapjack and brownie, and Jane’s lemon drizzle cake were on offer at our most recent retreat. Then it’s onwards to lunch, and a spread of Kath’s home-baked quiche, platters of cold meats, pate, hummus and falafels on different days of the week. And, most importantly, the soup.
Each day we enjoy a steaming bowl of freshly made soup, with bread from the village shop at St Buryan. Cauliflower soup, tomato soup, parsnip and apple, and mushroom soup were all on the menu in March.
It’s amazing that we have such appetites for dinner… but that’s another story. To give you a flavour of those lunches, here, by popular demand of our March retreaters, is our mushroom soup recipe. It’s best served around the Rosemerryn kitchen table, where the chat is all about writing, reading, stories and how best to tell them… but we’re sure you can replicate that at home.
Here is the recipe. Enjoy.
- 30g butter
- A sprig of thyme
- A packet of dried porcini mushroom, soaked in enough water to cover them
- 750g mushrooms, a variety of Portobello, large field mushrooms and smaller white or chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 large floury potato
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- 1.2 litres hot vegetable stock ( we use Kallo gluten free organic cubes)
- 100ml double cream, plus extra to finish
- A few gratings of nutmeg
- A sprig of tarragon (fresh or dried)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in the enough water to cover them in a bowl, then drain, keeping the liquid
- Chop the garlic and mushrooms and sautee with the butter in a large non-stick pan
- When the garlic and mushrooms are softening and starting to brown, add the stock and the liquid from the porcini mushrooms
- Grate the potato, skin and all, into the pan and stir well
- Add the spring of thyme and shake of salt and pepper
- Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for about 25 minutes or until the mushrooms and potato are soft
- Add a few gratings of nutmeg and the tarragon and check for seasoning, adding a little more salt and pepper if you wish
- Allow the soup to cool a little, then blend to a smooth consistency
- Add the cream and warm to serve.