INSPIRATION for this month definitely arrived with the opening of the new Messums Wiltshire, gallery and arts centre over in Tisbury. The building itself is of epic proportions, dating back to the 15th century and formally known as the Tithe Barn, reputedly the largest in England. It is so worth a visit, not only to see the magnificent restoration, but also to see the current exhibition, Bronze and Stone, a collection of works by Bridget McCrum, Tim Harrison and Dominic Welch which ends on November 5, so hurry on over.

If sculpture’s not your thing, I’m really looking forward to their performance piece by Russel Maliphant in November. A kind of coordination of dance and light, a ballet which steps up and down the length of the barn with the audience seated at either side for full effect. I haven’t exactly sold it with this description, so check out their website for a more enigmatic version.

Inspiration closer to home (in my kitchen) arrived as we welcomed Sam Clark as to come and be our latest guest chef. It’s so refreshing to work alongside a chef with such passion, talent and sense of humour. He established his first restaurant, Moro about 20 years ago in Exmouth market, London, and has gone on to open another two since. Humbled wasn’t the word. He brought down a few secret ingredients; proper Mediterranean pine nuts, long torpedo shapes and actually tasting of pine. Naturally he gets them from a specialist supplier at £168 a kilo, whereas we all get ours from wherever we can for about £20 a kilo but don’t realise they are Chinese.

Pata Negra, worth a paragraph to itself, was served as guests arrived, lucky things. Sam had a stash wrapped in waxed paper and carved it minutes before serving. It is the food of the gods, for which the term ‘melt in the mouth’ was invented. I spotted a whole leg of Pata Negra for sale in Fortnum & Mason recently, a snip at £1,950 – on top of which they have the audacity to charge £5.95 shipping.

Then there’s the reassuringly expensive Cantabrian anchovies which I always insist on. At £163 a kilo, they go a really long way, and are value for money considering they are cured for up to 12 months. We served them sitting on top of a mixture of cream cheese and yoghurt, itself on top of a homemade crostini, absolute heaven, add a strip of roasted red pepper for colour and flavour. The yoghurt had to be homemade of course and we used milk from Maple Field which is delivered to our door now, from the dairy in Nunton.

If you want to see a few pictures of the evening, visit