Last Thursday I made my way down to see dad, Molly and her boyfriend in Devon from Brighton. A 5 hour relaxing journey passing through gorgeous countryside.
The first evening was spent listening to Glastonbury music on the radio while cutting vegetables for the Friday and Saturday market in Totnes. 20kg potatoes peeled and cut, 10kg onions cut, garlic, ginger and tomatoes cut…
It was my first time in Totnes and what a beautiful place! Dad was very popular at the market, everywhere I turned I heard stallholders say ‘Oh is that Kumar’s daughter’.
On Saturday, Molly came with us and we spent the day helping out dad, meeting everyone and popping into ‘Seeds 2 Totnes’ for a latte.
On Sunday we went to the farm to see the farm and sheep.
We hadn’t wormed the ewes yet so we herded the flock into a pen with the help of Tiger (who helped a little, despite not being trained to herd the sheep). There was always one ewe who decided to run of in the wrong direction.
We eventually managed to worm the ewes and check the lambs over. Then I walked around the land seeing new things that happened since I saw the land last. Such as a new compost heap and fence netting for the veg patch!
Ending up with tea and biscuits to end the day on the farm and a pint at the local pub.
Last week, I bought a DevonLife magazine, flipped to page 128 and saw a wonderful article about Kumar’s Dosa Bar and Farm. Last year Sharon Goble interviewed Kumar about his story – moving to Devon, buying a 20 acre farm and starting cooking South Indian food at markets and festivals.
If you do find yourself in a local shop in Devon, get your hands on a magazine and see for yourself.
Kumar’s Dosa Bar is currently selling masala dosa, coconut chutney and dhal at Totnes Market every Friday and Totnes Good Food Sunday Market every third Sunday of each month.
“I love Devon and the West Country because there are small farms and lots of dairy units. I love the gentle landscape”
A little Autumn update to keep you all in tuned with future happenings.
Excited to announce that we have a tiny addition to our flock!! Well bigger 🙂 Now the 6 sheep in a 20 acre field doesn’t look ridiculous anymore. 20 happy Llanwenog ewes all battling to stuff there mouths on fresh grass. Photos to come soon!!! We have a ram ready to hire for November and are looking forward to be lambing in April 2017!
Website Google Chrome issue fixed!!
Also we fixed the little problem with our site on google chrome is now fixed!! Have a fully functioning website. Just need to update a few photos and some text and add some recipes to the cooking page.
Veg patch beds have begun!!!!
We have finally started on the veg patch!!! Took a lot of strength, a helping hand and plenty of tea and biscuits 🙂 🙂
The dogs thought they might help but then decided to just sit back and doze off.
Molly having a cheeky rest.
Can’t forget the sheep!!! They just pondered the 20 acres eating as much as they could.
And our final product!! 12 posts and a trench for the netting!!
Only two days till Powderham Food Festival!!! All go go go with cooking prep. So many onions to cut, that I might cry 😦
But hopefully to see some lovely faces, new and familiar their. And just experience our first time selling masala dosa, tomato chutney and dhal at a festival.
I’ve been attempting food photography for the website, social media and Instagram. Using inspiration from Jaimie Oliver and David Loftus. Managed to get a few lovely shots that I’m proud of. Just need to keep practising and practising. As soon as dad is out of the house, the spices and camera come out!
We have started planning a little ahead now. Managed to get a stall space at Dartmouth Food Festival on the 21st/22nd/23rd October and Powderham Festival on the 1st and 2nd October. Our first two festivals, which is a little scary. Need to find someone to help as Molly will be at Uni and I’ll be in Brighton.
Have written around ten other food and music festivals that sound perfect for us. So when the time is right we’ll fill in the applications.
We also have a few new dishes we want to try out – idli, vadda and chutney and kothu roti. I’ll try and get dad to try out the new 50 idli dish steamer next week!! We’ll see.
As for the farm side, we are going sheep shopping for an additional 30 sheep in September. Purebred Llanwenog sheep from a nearby farm in Devon. Just hunting for a ram and then we can tup them in November for lambs April next year!!
The barn will hopefully go up by the end of the year and we are planning to try out our hands on a bit of hugelkultur!
Pretty mad right?! Well we’ve had a few ideas from my sister’s friend in the States who is interested in permaculture, and gave us a few alternative ideas to have a mini veg patch to grow potatoes and onions for the markets.
Apparently Hugelkultur is no more that no-dig raised beds but the impact is greater.
“They hold moisture, build fertility, maximise surface volume and are great spaces for growing fruit, vegetables and herbs. Simply mound logs, branches, leaves, grass clippings, straw, cardboard, petroleum-free newspaper, manure, compost or whatever other biomass you have available, top with soil and plant your veggies.” –https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur
We’ll start small and see what happens. The aim of this is to try and grow most of our produce on our land.
It’s all happening down in Devon! Markets in Exeter, sunny days, bleating lambs, attempting to do a little bit for the 30 Days Wild challenge and visiting county shows and festivals.
So to catch up with the livestock at Breazle Smallholdings.
We still have the Devon Dusters who are currently munching their way through the grass at the farm, completely content and still attached to us as ever.
For some of you who don’t know, Molly got another three lambs. These ones have not been named but have been featured on our Facebook page quite a bit. They have finished drinking milk and are now slowly exploring the big wide world of the out in the big wide world of the farm. Getting used to a big life with other sheep, new sounds and other people.
Our other 3 lambs – photographed by Molly
Sitting on the edge of the river. Crying seagulls fighting over bread and a mass of swans gliding across from one edge to the other. It’s market day in Exeter. Every Thursday and the sun is shining glistening ripples shimmer in the light. The sun is on my right burning my cheek and the end taste of sugar and cinnamon donuts linger in a need to hold onto it a little more.
I can here dad and Molly behind me chatting away behind the food stall, the griddle getting steamy as it waits for customers to taste dads crispy dosa.
The swans look so majestic. Swooning in elegance like they own the river. The bridge the reaches one side of the river to the other is filled with wheels of cyclists and kids. Canoes clank together floating gently on the ripples.
The Wildlife Trust have a challenge this June. #30DaysWild where people can do a random act of wildness of each day. A way to connect with nature and feel happy and healthy. Hugging trees, walking bare foot in grass, learning wildflowers, helping birds…
Can’t believe it’s Autumn already. Seems unreal that we have been living in Devon for four months already.
Last weekend was dad’s 57th birthday. His first birthday in Devon and with both Molly and I at University, he decided to drive up to Dorset to spend the day on a farm, where they were holding a harvest film festival. He was invited by a friend (whom he met when dad and I went to Dorset about a month ago to talk about cooking for Diwali festival). He took the dogs with him and spent the day watching short films, meeting people and walking the dogs.
He phoned me the next day to say that he had a lovely time, but classic dad, he lost his keys while walking the dogs on the land, but found them again with a metal detector.
I booked tickets for dad to go to the Powederham Food Festival at the beginning of the month. Hoping for dad to book some festival dates for 2016. I wanted dad to check out the buzz of the place and see what the stalls and atmosphere was like. Dad phoned to say that there were lots of people, amazing smells and a few stalls he had seen before.
The farm is looking good. Took longer than expected but slowly slowly. Just need water on the land and then sometime dad will go back to Wye, Kent to pick up Dusty and Mo!
When we decided to cook rice, dhal, masala potatoes and cabbage instead of masala dosa, the last thing we thought would happen would be not being able to cook rice. But the day came on Saturday at Bath market.
Half cooked rice and dad nearly in tears, we were all ready to pack up by midday. Saved by Stephanie from ‘Pothead and Panface’ who let us borrow her rice cooker.
Met some amazing people again who all wanted masala dosa! And some great tips from a few people about having chutney or pickle.
We did it! After our first Bath Market we were slowly getting the hang off everything. The cooking quantities, packing the ice boxes and the van, the tea and sandwiches for the car journey, the unpacking, setting up, dishing out and going home.
With rain drizzling in Lifton, we were praying that it would disappear. But as soon as we passed Okehampton the sun shone in our favour. The drive was only 45min away and in our huge transit van we felt ontop of the world.
I left dad to do most of the setting up, the tent, tables, cooker… and then we were came across our first problem. Wind. As dosa is such a sensitive dish, the heat has to be controlled perfectly for it not to stick. This time though we made a makeshift wind guard.
Around 6:30pm the crowds came. The salsa was on and the smells were wavering in the air. Next to us we had Good Game – meat in buns and on the other side the beautiful colours of homemade macaroons. The customers kept coming and coming. At one point we had a huge crowd just watching as dad made the dosa pancake on the hot plate and then added dried potato curry and served it with tomato chutney and dhal.
My dad told me a story of when he went to mess (communal eating place) in Sri Lanka, there would usually be 40 children there and the guys making dosa would have 1 large rectangle hot plate and one would wipe with water to clean and the other would make 20 dosa’s at one time. Dad used to shout at them to hurry up, and they kept saying ‘ok, ok, it takes time’.
Will be at the Piazza Terracina again in Exeter on the 17th September. So if you are around feel free to pop over for a bit to eat. There are lots of other wonderful stalls there, from meat to vegetarian.
Wednesday – Picking up veg from Linscombe Farm and soaking urid dhal and idly rice
Driving down back roads to Linscombe Farm from Exeter St David’s station. The windscreen wipers sliding from side to side. Dribbling rain smudging the windows. We drive down a narrow road, stopping to ask a woman walking her dog in the rain directions to the farm. Still can remember her face. The kind of lady who could tell you lots interesting stories about her life.
We make it to the farm. Red soil gravel and rain. Dad knocks on the door. A dog barks. We see a jack russell and a cat snuggled up in deep wooden boxes. The dog doesn’t get up but just barks as to say ‘someone is here guys’. Helen’s husband calls to Helen and we get invited in. Tea and a chat before we collect the veg. 18kg potatoes, 4kg toms, garlic, chilli and ginger. So many wonderful colours.
We then drive home and unpack. Before bed, I help dad measure and wash urid dhal and idly rice in prep for grinding on Thursday. The kitchen is beginning to get swamped.
Thursday and Friday – grinding and cooking
Most of Thursday was taken up by grinding urid dhal and idli rice. It was our first proper time using our 2 litre dosa grinder and with a lot of trial and error we completed grinding by 6pm and put the batter in large buckets upstairs on my window sill to ferment.
After grinding we began to cut onions, garlic, tomatoes and ginger. Teary eyes and sore nails. 9 kilo’s of potatoes washed and peeled. A long process. Dad was in charge of the cooking and I did most of the prep. With a little reggae music and cider we managed to complete the cooking.
Saturday – Market day
My motto is once you try something first the second time is always easier. Woke up at 4:30am. Dad was still asleep! Dad is alway the early riser getting up at 5am every morning. Must be an Indian gene.
Anyways we got ready, walked and fed dogs, finished packing the van and chucked the dogs into the garden with there new doggy play house to sleep in. We were off by 6:30am.
Driving down the M5 the sun kept blinding us. It’s deep oranges, reds and yellows, danced behind the clouds peeping out to annoy us every so often. It was a long 2 ½ hour drive but we got to Bath by 9am. After a little struggle putting up the gazebo snuggled inbetween two other tents (BBQ Pulled Beef and Cajun food) and a little madness we were ready to roll.
Then came our first glitch, the sticking. With the dosa batter sticking on the pans, dad started getting frustrated. But after about 10 stuck dosa’s, the pans were more or less ok.
Reggae playing on the stereo from the next door tent, groups of people passing through, the next door stall owner who kept calling me grandma, lots of freshly made lemon juice, mouth watering smells and lots of laughs with customers we were slowly starting to settle in.