Four of our favourite local recipes serving Exmoor on a plate
We have some amazing local ingredients in Exmoor! Here we share some recipes that offer you a taste of this very special part of England. We’re famous here for cider, apples and clotted cream, lamb, game and soft fruit, including whortleberries. Please enjoy four of Lucy’s favourite recipes taken from her very well-thumbed ‘The Taste of Exmoor Cookery Book’ published in 1986 and now, sadly, out of print.
This is a yummy mix of chicken, ham, cider, and cheese. It’s easy too. What’s not to love?
4 x 8oz/225g chicken breast
¾ pint/450ml of dry vintage Exe valley cider
4 slices good-quality ham
4 slices good-quality cheddar
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt & pepper
- Bring the cider to the boil with the thyme and seasoning in a shallow pan
- Gently poach the chicken breasts in the liquid until cooked through
- Remove from the pan and dry
- Retain the cooking liquid in the pan
- Wrap the chicken breasts with the ham and top with the cheese
- Grill until the cheese is brown and bubbling
- Serve with the cooking liquid, thickened with the arrowroot and boiled until thickened
Exmoor Pheasant with Somerset Cider, Apples and Cream
It was a long time before I tried game, and pheasant is one of my favourites. Give this a go if you’re staying with us and it’s the game season – it’s easy and delicious.
2 oven-ready pheasants
3-4 English eating apples, peeled and sliced (Cox’s would be a good choice)
5oz/125g fresh cream
6 fluid oz/150g medium cider
- Brown the pheasants all over in a large pan using the butter
- Set aside and then in the same pan sauté the apples until they are a beautiful golden brown
- Add enough cider to cover them and deglaze the pan and then season
- Pour this mixture into a roasting dish and place the birds on the top
- Cover with foil and roast in the oven at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 45 minutes or until tender
- Remove the foil towards the end of cooking so the skin can crisp up.
To serve, put the birds on a presentation dish and finish off the sauce with the remaining cider and cream. You can serve the pheasants either cut in half with the backbone removed, or my preference is with the meat carved on a bed of the sauce and a watercress garnish.
Apple and Whortleberry Pie
Bring on the whortleberries! Use ready-made shortcrust pastry because by the time you’ve picked those pesky whortleberries, you won’t want to make pastry too!
1lb/500g Bramley apples
1 pack of ready-made shortcrust pastry
- Peel core and slice the apples and cook gently in a saucepan with the whortleberries, sugar and 1 tablespoon of water until the fruit has softened
- Transfer to your prepared pie dish and top with the pastry
- Cook for 20 minutes at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
This is delicious! Make sure you have a large buttered ovenproof dish ready for your mixture.
12oz/350g defrosted frozen whortleberries
4oz/100g caster sugar
2 large free-range eggs, separated
¾ pint/450ml milk
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the cornflour and heat until bubbling
- Add the milk, stir well until boiling and simmer for 3 minutes
- Remove from the heat, add the salt, whortleberries and half the sugar and stir well
- Beat in the egg yolks and pour everything into a large buttered ovenproof dish
- Whisk the whites with the remaining sugar until stiff, pile in the centre of the mix and dust with sugar
- Cook for 30 minutes at Gas Mark 2/300F/150C until the meringue is lightly browned
- Serve with hot fresh cream.
I chose recipes with ingredients that you can buy anywhere in the country. However, as all Exmoor Character Cottages have large, well-stocked kitchens, and many of our guests love to cook in them, you may prefer to buy your ingredients right here in Exmoor and create them yourself. Find out more about our cottages and check availability.