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English Cottage Lifestyle, Issue #015 -- Christmas in Exeter Issue
December 22, 2012

Welcome to monthly E-zine…Inspiration and ideas to help you discover and enjoy the English Cottage Lifestyle.

Quote of the month

“I will try to honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

Charles Dickens From a Christmas Carol.

Photo Of The Month: "The House That Moved" in Exeter, Devon

In This Issue:
  • Christmas in Exeter
  • Last Years Christmas Issue
  • Dartmouth
  • Recipe Of The Month: "Rib Roast."

Notes From The Editor.

Christmas cottage 2012. Merry Christmas if you celebrate it, if not Happy Holidays from English Cottage

It’s been quite a year here in England we’ve had droughts, floods, cold wet summer and a mild winter. But for me it has still been lovely, what with The Queens Jubilee and London 2012 for the Olympics which were brilliant fun, I have never watched so much sport at once! It will soon be time to wrap up the year and begin a new one, but first lets enjoy Christmas.

A special message to you, dear reader…Is there anything you would like to see in upcoming issues of this E-zine or on ECL website? Simply reply to this E-zine and let me know, and I will see what I can do ;)

Christmas In Exeter

One of the things I like the most about Christmas is visiting cities to go shopping, it may be a little mad and chaotic but the decorations and Christmas music always makes me smile.

I am enjoying being in Exeter for the holiday season which started on the 22nd November for the Guildhall Christmas Lights Switch On which had to be postponed until the next day due to the downpour and floods the South West were having.

The capital of Devon does not disappoint when it comes to good food and at the start of December a feast of yummy delights become available. Here is a selection of some of the things I love.

Well known for great food Magdalen Road shops have it all for the foodie with the deli ‘Bon Gout’ which has the most wonderful cheeses, cakes, bread and too many other treats to list here, the butchers Pipers Farm which was the BBC’s food producer of the year in 2007 and the fishmongers Gibson’s Plaice which won Devon’s Fishmonger of the year and there are other shops to tempt you.

It really is a treat to discover this road lined with small independent shops so you can imagine my delight when I heard about the Magdalen Road Village Christmas Fair. It begins early in the afternoon (this year it was on the 2nd of December 2-6pm) the stalls were bursting with edible delicacies selling everything from cup cakes to Caribbean Goat curry. Local artisans were also selling home made, unique crafts.

Exeter Christmas Market

On the Cathedral Green. This was the first year of the Christmas Market ( November 23rd to December 16th) with stalls offering unique, handmade and unusual gifts, decorations and more food to tempt me ;) I worked my way through several warm coconut macaroons, they were incredible.

Craft Fairs

Arts and crafts stalls are all over town offering their handmade creations during the month but if you are more prepared than I am and like to get your Christmas shopping done early you may like the Christmas Shopping Fayre at Exeter Westpoint Arena this starts at the end of November if you would like to know more about next years fayre in 2013 here’s the link

Exeter Castle was the host of this years Christmas Craft Jam with over 60 stalls displaying handmade designs, there was also entertainment and craft workshops to enjoy.

South West Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre at the Exeter Corn Exchange is on the 24th December and is the Nations fastest growing cruelty free and eco-friendly festival may have just the gifts you are looking for they will have music and food is available in the restaurant.

Things For Your Cottage

Some of the producers and crafts that I love are…

They make delicious jams and preserves grown traditionally and sometimes from heritage plants. The even have black, red and white currants in season, which are cottage favourites and very hard to find. They are also a traditional artisan charcuterie …”Hand made accessories for you and your cottage” Devon alpaca wool goes into many of her creations.

Glowpot Strawsilk Art by Tim Lee, email: You can see his stall in the photo below he makes beautiful tealight holders and vases. I bought a green tealight holder with strawsilk and painted butterflys

Exeter is a great city to visit at any time of the year, but it is a little bit special at Christmas.

Photo: Exeter Christmas Market stall with Glowpot Strawsilk Art by Tim Lee.
Last Christmas Issue.

Need to see last years Christmas issue?

If you have a moment and want to relax with a beverage make yourself one of my favourites...a "Devon Velvet"...It's so good!

Click the underlined text to go to the Back Issues page or click here Back Issues

Cottage Tour Of England:


I spent a year in Dartmouth in a cottage with a view of the river Dart. It’s a lovely place to live and to visit, if you would like to do a little armchair travelling over Christmas why not go to Dartmouth?

…So get cosy with a cup of tea and travel to Dartmouth

Recipe Of The Month.

"Rib Roast"

Rib Roast is a spectacular cut of meat and a good alternative to turkey at Christmas. If you are having a hard time finding it try Pipers farm it’s where I got my cut of beef from and it was exquisite they also have a Devon Ruby Red Beef broth…it’s insanely good. Go to

In the U.S.A it’s known as Prime Rib.


3k Rib Roast (approximately 3 ribs) my butcher (pipers farm) prepared mine for me.

Beef Stock (Recommended Pipers farm “Ruby Red Beef Stock” from Devon Ruby red Cows…This stock tastes so great with the rib roast you just don’t need to make your own, unless you want to.)


Bring out the Rib roast several hours before you want to cook it to warm it up, keep it wrapped on the counter, I turn my beef over so it sits on both sides for equal time.

When you are ready to begin cooking the meat, heat up the oven to a hot temperature.

Season the rib roast with good salt (eg: Cornish sea salt) and freshly ground pepper. Your butcher should have left the fat layer on top, this will help baste the meat while it cooks. Keeping the meat on the bone will add to the flavour and help protect it from over cooking.

Prepare and insert thermometer into the middle of the ribs. With a special cut of meat like this, which you really don’t want to overcook as its best served rare or medium rare (unless you prefer medium or well done meat) it’s a good idea to use a thermometer.

Place ribs into a roasting pan.

When the ovens hot place the roasting pan into the oven, roast the ribs for about 15 minutes to brown, it may take longer with a bigger cut.

When the ribs are brown and the fat is bubbling and turning golden turn down your oven to about 180 degrees/160 degrees with a fan oven, if your using an aga/range put into your lowest heat oven (approx 170-180 degrees).

Time your ribs or simply watch the thermometer until it gets to your desired temperature.

For beef roasting guidelines see the recipe in

I cooked my rib roast to 49 degrees (60 degrees is recommended for rare) when the meat reached 49 degrees I removed the ribs from the oven and the roasting pan and put onto a carving board and then tented it with foil. Leave in the thermometer and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.

The meat temperature will continue to rise when you take it out of the oven. My rib roast went up to 61 degrees and only then did the temperature begin to fall but just to 59 degrees before serving. It took about 30 minutes of resting before I carved it.

This gave the rib roast a beautiful roasted outside with tender red meat (not raw or bloody) in the middle and the meat fell off the bone.

To make the gravy or ‘jus’ (more liquid than gravy) heat up your good quality beef stock and add a few tablespoons of drippings from the roasting pan (taste the stock and add as you like) simmer and reduce to your desired consistency.

I like mine to be more of a jus than a gravy because the next day I’ll have a rib roast and horseradish sandwich dipped into the jus. It’s so good.


It is my sincere hope that the information I provide on assists you in finding inspiration from the English cottage and country life wherever in the world you may be.

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I’d love to hear from you. Just reply to this E-zine and tell me what you think.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this E-zine as much as I enjoyed writing it

Yours Sincerly,

Helen Green.
English Cottage Lifestyle

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