Wilderness is certainly a different breed of festival to more, and, dare I say, very civilised indeed. We arrived in the friday. (When I say we, I am referring to my, my event planning, festival organising, photo taking compadre Tilly and my sous chef extraordinare, loopy loo, amazingly wonderful pal Emily. Both of whom stayed at mine the thursday night, to eat up all the excessive amounts of food I have been recipe testing for the book.) Straight away on arriving before we had even had a moment to pop up our pop ups, we were accosted to the Moro tent for their banqueting feast. Three courses of delicious food, in a very red tent, with some very loud, mad and fabulous neighbours sitting next to us. (One of them being Simon Davis, the respected food critic.) Of course, you can imagine, it didn’t take long before we foodie folk all bonded over the breaking of bread, fine wine and sherry laced sangria.
The meal was was five courses. It begun with a platter of charcuterie, olives, spanish cheeses and delicious little mini pickled vegetables. This was swiftly followed by a chilled yoghurt soup with cumin, currants and walnuts. Not dissimilar to tzakiki, the cucumber was grated and chunky in the soup, not blended. A fair feat considering it was being served in a field. Next was the blackened black peppers with preserved lemon, crispy capers and coriander, a dish that could have waited to be served with the rest of the mains. As a stand alone it was rather simple. For mains was deliciously tender barbecued lamb. perfectly pink, sliced and served with a side of braised courgettes, marcona almonds and a summer veg salad with anise rusks and labneh. All of which was deliciously seasoned, well spiced and all in all (as I expected) stonkingly good. I’m not a fan of Sam and Sam Clark for no reason…. By the time the pudding of filo, yoghurt cream, orange blossom water, pistachio and honey came to the table we were a fair few sangrias down and in the need of a doggie bag. We boxed up the leftovers and rolled out the door to get back to the tedious task of unpacking the car.
Luckily with a bit of cheeky parking and a lucky swipe of a car parking pass, we popped into VIP and pulled up outside the gate. Just a throw of the pop up tent and the crack of a few ciders, we were ready to get back to the festival, in all its decorative glory.
The salad with anise rusk and labneh (above)
I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed an early morning at a festival. Usually my encounter with the morning a sunrise shuffle back to the tent, a desperate bladder bursting pee at birdsong, or a five second watch glance when my alarm rudely awakens me thinking its a monday…. This year was different. Being the tea sipping, campfire loving hippies that we are, Till and I opted out of a big first night in the dirty dancing ditch (know to everyone else as ‘the woods’) in favour of boozy chai, folk music and a good old fashioned catch up. Call me crazy, we were at a festival… but it was one of the nicest nights ever, it also meant we were up bright and early to mosey and wonder in the sun before all the hoards emerged.
Not that it took long…
Having done the rounds, soaked up a few rays and bum hopped between hay bails, it was time for a little press action, so we headed over to the banqueting hall to meet the kickass chef Angela Hartnett.
I have long been fan of her work. Another protogee of Mr Ramsay, she is the brains and the knife skills behind Murano, Mayfair’s top notch Italian restaurant. I was, as you can expect, very honoured and excited to meet her and get to ask her a few questions. Originally the interview started off rather serious, but after a few minutes we set aside the formal whizz and I asked her the questions I really wanted to know.
Here is my 10 Question Q&A with Angela Hartnett
1. What is your favourite condiment?
A. HP Sauce
2. Your guilty pleasure?
A. Salted Crisps, plain and simple
3. Best five minute meal?
A. Grilled cheese with a bit of branston pickle thrown in
4. Favourite date night dinner spot in London?
A. Barrafino or Polpetto
5. Most read cookbook?
A. Marcella Hazan, for her classic and traditional italian food
6. If you weren’t a chef what would you be?
A. A member of forensics (CSI style)
7. What is your take on the healthy ‘sugar free’ obsession?
A. You only live once, and life and food are for enjoying. Everything in moderation is key, but a piece of cake or the odd slice of bread won’t kill you. Perhaps being overly fussy about it will.
8. How have you found being a kickass female chef in a male dominated industry?
A. Surprisingly it has always been a fair ride for me. Gordon was always insistent that I judged on my job, not because I am a woman, although he would never let me scrub the stove. Those jobs were for the boys.
9. Have you got any plans to expand your restaurants?
A. We are hoping to open more cafe muranos, it is just a case of finding the right places, desperately in need of an Italian cafe.
10. If you had to pick only three herbs you could use ever in your life, what would they be?
A. Without a doubt, rosemary, flat leaf parsley and basil. (her choice was nearly the same as my three. When I told her of my preference for coriander instead of the rosemary, she was certainly less than impressed.)
Post interview with the lovely Angela, we were in need of refreshment and stopped off for a crack at the Cocoface As you can imagine, the electrolyte, potassium and hydrating goodness of a coconut was certain much appreciated after a few ciders and a day in the hot sun. Luckily enough was also got to meet the main man (Charlie) himself.
We slurped on the juice and ate the flesh of these delicious raw coconuts until we were restored and back to our mighty fresh selves…. the certainly did the trick and got us back on the straight, ready for another night of music, more food and festival mayhem.
I think I shall be making some orders on Ocado soon. (Yes of course you can but them on there) Hangovers don’t look so bad when you have juicy nuts like this hanging out in your fridge!