What a thriller! Our first literary event, with five events over three days welcomed guests including a broadcasting legend, a countess, a best-selling crime writer, an acclaimed novelist and an award-winning travel and food writer. The plot followed a familiar scenario for each; a warm welcome, a sumptuous meal, a talk from each author to learn a bit more about their influences and a copy of their latest book to enjoy at home.
Lunch with The Countess of Carnarvon
The opening to the festival was certainly a lively one! Perhaps better known for where she lives, Lady Carnarvon resides at Highclere Castle, the exterior now etched into the memory of avid viewers of ITVs Downton Abbey. She revealed some of the parties and hosting that the castle has seen in its long history, and lunch was in keeping as the recipes came straight from the Countess’ book At Home at Highclere and were cooked beautifully by Lisa Goodwin-Allen, including Lord Carnarvon’s Boozy Bramble Pudding that came with a real kick!
Dinner with Felix Francis
Any fans of novels based around horseracing and Thoroughbreds will already be a huge fan of Felix, and his father Dick Francis who was acclaimed as one of the greatest thriller writers in the world. His son now continues to write and entertained us all evening with the stories about growing up and writing with his father, often in the Cayman Islands. To accompany the talk, Juniper Cured Trout was followed by an Isle of Wight Consomme with a Rarebit Toastie. The main course was Rack of Lamb and the meal was complete with a pretty English Strawberry Meringue “Tart”.
Lunch with Salley Vickers
Inspiration for new stories often comes from individual experiences. And that’s exactly where Salley began for her latest novel The Librarian.
Revisiting her younger years, she took us on a journey back to her local library as a child which sparked her idea for the book and its characters. Tempura Cod Cheeks may have evoked memories of a fish and chip supper from childhood too. Dessert also had a retro feel; Peach “Melba”, but was brought right up to date with Lisa’s fresh cooking style.
Dinner with Helena Attlee
Matching a menu to this award-winning author there was an obvious theme. Helena’s book, The Land Where Lemons Grow is a closer look at some of the incredible citrus fruits that have been part of Italy’s history and present, which meant the dishes had to have added zing. Lisa worked with Helena to create a delicious offering: Flavours of “Tagliolini Scorzette di Arancia” included Mozzarella, Basil, Orange & Lemon, with a delicate “Risotto al Citron” to follow. The dessert of Amalfi Lemon “Tart” was anything but ordinary with the addition of Burnt Meringue & Thyme.
Lunch with Nicholas Parsons
The culmination of three days full of literature ended on a high with plenty of laughs to be had from Nicholas Parsons. Welcome to Just a Minute celebrates the long-running radio show and with over 900 episodes in the bag, the host revealed the funnier moments from the quiz show and some of the celebrity panellists who have taken part, all in his usual entertaining style. Sunday lunch could only mean one thing, so Lisa’s menu for Nicholas Parsons was Salmon Grvlax followed by Roast Herb-fed Chicken with Summer Pods, Bacon & Shoots finishing with a decadent Pimms Jelly & Cucumber Sorbet.
And with that, the book on the Ribble Valley Literary Festival 2018 closed.
It was a fantastic few days and we hope to bring it back next year for an even bigger and better festival!