Wild Wood Pigeon, a Lemon Verbena Surprise and Glen gets naked…

Thursday morning and I’m in a bit of a flutter. I’m recording a baking session with Ben Jackson for BBC Radio Leicester in an hour, I’ve been frantically cleaning and mopping the kitchen and I’ve just discovered that Poppy Bumface (our kitten) is locked in the cottage next door and I can hear her crying through the wall. I’ve no idea what time my neighbour is coming home (or how she got in there for that matter) and I haven’t managed to prep any ingredients

Whilst I’m peering through the neighbour’s letterbox at a crying Poppy Bumface, (probably making her much more distressed) unbeknownst to me Boris Cat has brought a present into the kitchen. I return to find a flurry of grey and white feathers, a smug looking Boris Cat and a decapitated, still warm, plump wood pigeon on my freshly mopped floor. Feathers are stuck to the still wet floor, cupboards, fridge door and there is a little trail of blood leading to the back door. Brilliant.

Boris Cat, hunter extraordinaire

As bad as his timing was,two things are very impressive about this, 1: Boris wears not one but TWO bells on his collar and therefore sounds like a herd of reindeer as he moves (and looks like a feline Mr T.   2: The body of the wood pigeon was completely untouched, it was a clean kill, just the head removed which I don’t eat and the body presented to be by the oven. Couldn’t help but be massively impressed by this.

The back door was wide open and there on the doorstep stood my 2 chickens looking rather shaken at the murder they had clearly just witnessed! The last thing I wanted was for Ben to arrive into this scene of blood, feathers and traumatised chickens so I very quickly plucked the pigeon, removed the breasts, heart and lungs, popped them in the fridge and cleared the kitchen (and fed the chickens some hemp seeds and grapes to try and reassure them that all was well!).

Despite my somewhat flustered state the recording went well and if you want to listen click here. I am 1hr 41mins into the broadcast.

So I had 2 wonderfully plump wood pigeon breasts, a heart and liver, what to make? I just kept it really simple and pan fried it with butter, seasoning and sherry. A forage about in my garden delivered lots of edible leaves and flowers. By picking lots of different leaves and flowers I was able to try different combinations. It was absolutely beautiful. The big surprises were how incredible the combination of lemon verbena and pigeon was. The sharp herbal lemon twist just balanced the earthy pigeon and sweet sherry. The lovage leaves were another surprise combination that I’m going to be exploring. In fact everything was just delicious.  The liver was like the most delicate mousse, far superior to any chicken liver, more like foie gras. I’m guessing it’s down to the wood pigeons gorging themselves on the chicken corn and mash that I put out every day.

“Give me back my wood pigeon, I caught it, it’s MINE!”

Ingredients:

  • 2 plump wood pigeon breasts
  • 1 pigeon heart
  • 1 liver
  • big knob of butter
  • salt and pepper
  • sweet sherry (big splosh)

Salad leaves:

  • chard
  • wood sorrel
  • lovage
  • beetroot
  • lemon verbena
  • tarragon
  • fennel fronds
  • chives
  • nasturtium
  • celery
  • pea
  • lollo rosso
  • frisee
  • rocket

Flowers:

  • chives
  • fennel
  • viola
  • runner bean
  • rocket
  • borage
  • french bean
  • nasturtium

Method:

Melt the butter, season the breasts and fry for a couple of minutes each side. The outside was nice and caramelised but the inside still pink. Towards the end of cooking add the heart and liver, cook for a minute then add the sherry, flame and spoon the juices over the meat. Add chopped chives, transfer to a plate and rest for a couple of minutes. Arrange leaves and flowers on a plate, slice the breasts in half and place on the leaves along with the heart and liver and spoon over the juices from the pan.

It was such a beautiful afternoon in the garden, eating free food and drinking red wine. I even gave myself a whole hour off from working just to enjoy the garden with Glen…

Wood sorrel, my giant sunflower, courgette flower and my aces trainers 🙂

I don’t think Boris was ready for Glen doing some naked sunbathing though…

Boris can’t believe it when Glen starts stripping, no idea what he’s laughing at

Marmite Lamb, Blackberry Beetroot, Lamb and Mint Yorkies and Green sauce

Sundays round my cottage mean one thing: a blissful afternoon in the kitchen – the red wine is open and The West Wing is playing on my laptop. Today was no exception and somewhat more excitingly I had a hunk of salt marsh lamb.

As I was getting a quick olive oil and rosemary marinade together for the lamb, it suddenly occured to me that Marmite would actually be a wonderful addition too, it’s salty umami flavour bringing out the meaty sweetness of the lamb, so in that went too. I can happily report that it was indeed a total triumph and will forever more be included.

I also had a few beetroot to roast too, and as I was washing the dark purple earthy little things, I glanced at my big bottle Bridget’s blackberry vinegar, and just like the marmite, it just made total sense to add bung that in too.

Now when it comes to yorkshire puddings I never just make plain ones, why miss an opportunity to add more flavour? I am a massive fan of Essential Cuisine‘s powdered stocks. Their flavour just can’t be beaten when it comes to bought stock (okay, they are actually better than my homemade ones too, sshhh) and because they are in powdered form they are absolutely brilliant for adding to sauces, batters and just sprinkling over meat and roast potatoes.  When I roast a chicken I use their chicken stock and some chopped sage to boost my yorkies to super sexiness, roast beef gets the veal stock and horseradish sauce treatment and today’s lamb was graced with lamb stock, mint and rosemary.

And what sauce for my meal? Well a quick forage around the herb garden produced a beautiful, vibrant kickass green sauce that made everything just that little bit more awesome, just as a good sauce should.

For the Marmite Lamb:

  • hunk of lamb (mine was a bit of shoulder and it was achingly tender)
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 heaped teaspoon marmite.
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped dried rosemary

Mix the marinade ingredients and cover the lamb, leave for at least an hour then roast in the top of the oven on its highest setting until the fat crisps and browns then move to the shelf below. Roast until the centre of the lamb reaches about 60C then take it out and rest for 15 minutes under foil that’s covered by a tea towel.

For the Blackberry Beetroot:

  • Small beetroot, washed but not peeled
  • big glug of Bridget’s thick blackberry vinegar (if you don’t have a thick syrupy vinegar then use your thin blackberry vinegar plus a big drizzle of balsamic glaze)
  • black pepper
  • sea salt flakes

Put your beetroot in a pot and pour over your vinegar then add your salt and pepper and mix well, leave to marinate for an hour then put them in a roasting tin, cover with foil and put in the top of your oven at its highest setting for an hour. Check them, if they are soft then remove the foil, give them a bit of a mix then roast uncovered to caramelise slightly.

For the Lamb Yorkies: (makes about 16, you can never have too many yorkies)

  • 300ml eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml flour
  • 1 tablespoon Essential Cuisine lamb stock powder
  • chopped fresh mint
  • chopped dried rosemary
  • few grinds black pepper

Just whisk it all together in a big bowl, leave for 30 minutes then whisk again, leave then whisk (thats just how I do it, works for me every time, electric or rotary whisks are perfect). Put a bit of dripping or oil in the bottom of your muffin tin hollows, heat in the oven (at highest setting still) until smoking then quickly pour your mixture in so that it about half fills each muffin hollow then put in the oven until well risen (about 20 minutes).

For the Green Sauce:

  • couple handfuls mixed fresh herbs (fennel fronds, chives, parsley, tarragon, mint)
  • dried chilli flakes (depending on how hot you like it, I like a big pinch)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • big glug extra virgin olive oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • Filipino spiced vinegar (distilled white vinegar that has garlic and chillies steeped in it)
  • few grinds black pepper

Just bash it all together using a mortar and pestle and leave to infuse for about an hour.

Oh there was also peas involved but you know what peas look like 🙂

Borage flowers at Sysonby Knoll

The borage field

I found myself on the other side of town at the Sysonby Knoll Hotel recently. I’ve been meaning to go for a while but it was a tweet from them that mentioned a borage field next to the hotel that clinched it. I’m a huge fan of edible flowers so the thought of a whole field was too much to resist, so off I went.

I could hear the borage field before I saw it, the gentle hum of thousands and thousands of honey bees drinking nectar guided me past 2 wooden hives to the most beautiful sight…

As I wandered through the humming field of blue and purple flowers I passed another of my favourite edible wild plants. For as long as I can remember we used to pull the stems of what we called Applesaps and suck the sour appley juice from the stems like straws. They taste just like wood sorrel and I’ve only just found out that their proper name is Himalayan Balsam and its thought of as a highly invasive weed! Their beautiful pink flowers are just stunning and look like orchids but more excitingly their pods explode when you touch them releasing their seeds! There was plenty of Meadowsweet growing along the riverbank too not to mention all the apple trees, sloes and a huge fig tree with a few plump figs hiding amongst the foliage.

I drifted around the beautiful grounds for about an hour and picked a few borage flowers to crystallise later.

Crystallising the borage flowers

The flowers are now carefully stored away for a rainy day that needs brightening up. It really was a lovely way to spend an hour, and when I look at my own precious solitary borage plant in my herb garden, it always reminds me of that sunny afternoon in the blue humming field of bees.

Cream Tea at Stapleford Park

I can’t believe its taken me nearly 3 years to finally get round to visiting Stapleford Park! It’s only about a five minute drive away from my cottage and since we visited on Tuesday I’ve been kicking myself for not going sooner.

My sister and her two children came to stay with me for a couple of days and asked what there was to do around Melton Mowbray. Aha! My sister loves big country houses so we piled into my car and headed out into the beautiful Leicestershire countryside in search of a cream tea.

On arrival we instantly knew it was somewhere really rather special. Beautiful landscaped gardens lead up to the most stunning hotel which just screams indulgence and pampering. My favourite room was the taxidermy room though, I’m a huge fan of dead animals hanging off walls!

The heady scent of lavender and freshly cut grass instantly had us ready to sit down, relax and soak up our surroundings (there are loads of really rather handsome chaps about  which was also rather nice!).

My niece Nyla took an instant shine to the giant chess set and was happily amused in her own little world whilst we got on with checking out the menu, confident that she will one day become a chess master as a result. Sarah and I both opted for the cream tea whilst my nephew Daniel opted for the rare roast beef sandwich which must have been good as it disappeared too quickly for me to try a taste!

The scones were lighter than light, the homemade strawberry compote was heavenly and the Cornish clotted cream was absolutely heavenly although I was a little disappointed to find it wasn’t local cream, Lubcloud dairy make the most wonderful thick cream that would have been just perfect. I could have also done with an extra scone too, 2 of those little beauties just wasn’t enough to scoop up all that lovely compote and cream! I went for a pot of lapsang souchong tea which was served in a beautiful heavy silver plated pot and the friendly (and immaculately dressed) staff happily provided lots of milk for my niece. At £9.50 per person the cream tea is not cheap but everything was beautifully made, the setting was perfect and to be able to wander the stunning grounds in the sunshine made it absolutely worth it.

We had the most wonderful afternoon at Stapleford Park, in fact once we got back to my cottage we vowed that next time we will stay the night (despite me only living 5 minutes away!) and take advantage of their amazing spa and swimming pool. I’m definitely bringing my Dad for a round of golf on their course next time he visits me, mostly because I want to drive around in their golf buggies but it’s been ages since I played golf and what a place to get back into the swing of things (sorry!).

So if you find yourself in the Melton Mowbray area and want to treat yourself then definitely get yourself over to Stapleford Park, in fact just treat yourself and stay there wherever you may be and take me with you!

My beautiful family:

Lets look at that divine cream tea again….

Pudding Club and Chocolate Sex Pots

Booze, caramel, cream, chocolate, yeah it doesn’t get much better than that

Have you heard about Pudding Club yet? You haven’t? Well then where the hell have you been? Pudding Club ROCKS. Pudding Club was created by the awesome Domestic Sluts because quite frankly, there is a big pudding club shaped hole in our lives that needed to be filled (with mountains of pudding obviously). Can you tell I’m feeling the love for pudding right now?

You look like you need more pudding in your life too so I highly advise you get involved. Its dead simple too! Here are their guidelines for Pudding Club: (from DomesticSluttery.com)

  • Each month, we’ll announce a different pudding theme and we’ll share an awesome pudding recipe with you.
  • If you want to get involved, you make your pudding and blog the recipe and photos, linking back to us  and mentioning the pudding club.
  • You can either email us to tell us about your recipe, leave us a link in the comments on this post or use the Twitter hashtag #SlutteryPuddingClub so we can find it (we may miss them on Facebook). We’ll try any retweet any mentions throughout the month so people can see what you’re up to.
  • On the first Monday of every month, we’ll do a round up of all of your amazing recipes and link to them all so readers and other pudding club members can try them out for themselves

See it’s dead easy!

Now when it comes to dessert I can’t be arsed faffing about, I want something that can be thrown together in under 10 minutes that looks and tastes amazing and basically makes me want to bathe in it. I’ve gone one further here and made one that not only ticks all those boxes but you can carry around in your handbag too for all those pesky pudding emergencies, or just throw a few in your bag and take them round your mate’s house for a Pudding Party (I need more of those in my life).

This little dessert kicks serious ass, it’s really indulgent and contains all my favourite things. I’ve used Amaretto in this one  and Golden Syrup sponge but I often make it with golden rum and ginger sponge which is divine.

Get in my face

Ingredients: (makes about 6 generous servings)

  • Lyle’s Golden syrup cake
  • Amaretto
  • 100g dark chocolate (plus a little but extra to grate for garnish)
  • 500g pot fresh custard, must be nice and cold.
  • 1 x 397g tin Carnation Caramel (or Dulche du Leche)
  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon stem ginger syrup (optional)
  • cherries to garnish

Method:

  1. Slice some of your cake and put it in the bottom of your clean jam jar then pour over your Amaretto (about 25ml for each jar is about right but add more if you want it more boozy)
  2. Break your chocolate into pieces and put it into a glass bowl set above a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the glass bowl. When fully melted remove from the heat and whisk in half of your cold custard.
  3. Spoon a layer of caramel over your booze soaked sponge then top that with a layer of plain custard. Follow this with a layer of your chocolate custard.
  4. Whip your cream. If adding the stem ginger syrup or some more booze then do this before you start whipping. You want it to be quite firmly whipped. Spoon it over the chocolate custard.
  5. Top with a cherry and some more grated chocolate. It can be eaten straight away or pop a lid on it and it will keep happily in your fridge for another day, although I recommend taking them round to your favourite friend’s house and having a Pudding Club party and basically totally making their day.

So thats my chocolate Pudding Club recipe, whats yours?

BBC Radio Leicester Food Friday team BBQ

Jo, myself, Ben, Penny and Holly

If you drop by this blog every now and again then you may know that I’m one of Ben Jackson’s Food Friday Team who cook on the radio every Friday afternoon at about 4:40pm on BBC Radio Leicester. Ben comes to our homes and we cook up something fabulous and easy for people to give a go themselves.

Yesterday we all met up at Ben’s beautiful home for a BBQ and all brought lovely homemade treats to eat. We had an absolute blast too…

The most AMAZING ribs ever

Ben had been slowly cooking his St Louis style ribs (when the sternum, cartilage and rib tips have been removed) marinated in Big Bob’s dry rub for 5 hours in his BBQ, oh my days they were absolute ribs of joy! He buys them from a chap down the road who breeds different pigs for different cuts. These ribs were just pure meat wrapped around juicy bone, hardly any fat and to die for.

rotisserie chicken on the BBQ

2 lovely free range chooks cooked on a rotisserie over the hot coals, just oozing flavour.

How many cooks does it take to carve a chicken? Well Ben and the 3 of us drooling it seems

Penny made some beautiful fougasse and I brought along one of my pig head and edible flower terrines. I’d found an old 15th Century recipe for a strange meat dish that says if you use brawn then you should add saffron so I added some for this one, hence the beautiful golden colour and it worked brilliantly.

Penny and her pizza, Ben’s fabulous Greek salad and the gorgeous Jo

Holly brought along a pea and halloumi salad, Penny made a jelly baby shaped jelly for the kids (which somehow collapsed and actually looked like a fabulous pair of jelly boobies) and Ben’s grandmother made the most beautifully light meringues.

Ben and BBC Radio Leicester gardening guru Ady Dayman have been busy building and tending the Grow Your Own Garden for a feature that ben does with his show that encourages people to give it a go.

Oh ribs I love you

Edible flowers featured heavily in the pretty menu.

Jo made a beautiful chocolate and beetroot roulade that was just wonderful (I must get that recipe!). I brought along one of my Melton Mess (which as you can see has collapsed a bit!) and a big jar of homemade vanilla sea salted caramel sauce that was literally just being guzzled straight from the jar!

Meat Feast

Mindblowing Marshmallows

Get in my face

Marshmallows have always been something thats only exciting for me if they are shoved onto the end of stick and cremated over a fire, preferably somewhere on a lovely beach (this hardly ever happens) or in someone’s back garden after an afternoon of drinking around their BBQ (much more likely to happen).

So when I was at The Melton Country Fair the other week and found the Sugar and Twine stall complete with (now empty) plates of homemade marshmallows I was really intrigued, and pretty gutted that all the marshmallows had been snaffled.

As it happens though, thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter, just a few days later a truly marvellous thing happened. There on my kitchen worktop were two bags of marshmallows: an elderflower and vanilla one and a lemonade one, happy days!

I love it when a new food experience knocks me for six. I really couldn’t get over their incredible fluffy melt in the mouth texture, truly a million miles away from the bags you get in the supermarket. I kept looking at this little fluffy square in my fingers as I realised that basically everything I previously thought about marshmallows was wrong. Marshmallows, proper ones like Sugar and Twine’s, are out of this world good! I’m definitely going to have a go at making them myself but in the meant time thank god Sugar and Twine are not only local but that I can buy online too!

Fragrant Roast Pork with Herb Couscous, Rose Infused Sheep’s Curd and Rhubarb and Apple Sauce

I was all set for a roast pork dinner: the oven was pre heating, the pork shoulder joint was coming to room temperature, the wine was open and The West Wing was playing on my laptop in the kitchen. Yes I was all ready to get cracking except for one small thing – I’d forgotten to buy potatoes from Bridget at this morning’s car boot, bugger. Be they mashed or roasted, the humble spud is an integral part of our Sunday Roast.

Veg wise I had just 1 carrot, some celery tops with leaves and a couple of onions, I also had a packet of couscous in the larder, that’s a good start I figured and after a bit of garden foraging this dish was born. This method of roasting pork ensures really crispy crackling and meat that oozes juice and is so tender it can be cut with a spoon, well except for the crackling which is perfectly crispy.

Ingredients:

For the pork:

  • pork shoulder joint
  • Halen Môn spiced salt
  • fennel seeds
  • sumac
  • cumin seeds
  • 1 packet Spicentice Moroccan Lamb Tagine mix (found at back of cupboard, went out of date 3 months ago!)
  • 1 large white onion finely sliced
  • 3 handfuls chopped rhubarb from the garden
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 600ml cloudy apple juice
  • 5 apricots (once dried but have been steeping in brandy in my cupboard for 8 months or so)
  • 1 tablespoon wildflower honey

For the couscous:

  • 1 packet couscous
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • tops and leaves of one head celery
  • chopped garden herbs: lots of various mints, fennel, parsley, chives (plus a few flowers from everything to garnish)
  • skin from 1 preserved lemon, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Essential Cuisine chicken stock powder
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • handful dried sliced garlic

For the rose infused sheep’s curd:

Just before it goes in the oven, after 30 minutes and after the full 90 minutes

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to hottest setting. Make sure pork is at room temp, rub the spiced salt and fennel seeds into the scored and scorched skin then sprinkle with sumac.
  2. Put your sliced onion, rhubarb, apple, cumin seeds, tagine mix and cinnamon into a roasting tray, pour over the apple juice, mix then put your pork on top. Roast at the highest setting until the crackling is lovely and crispy then cover with foil and cook for about an hour or until the centre of the pork is cooked. Remove meat and leave it to rest covered in foil.
  3. Finely chop all your couscous ingredients. Put your stock powder, dried garlic slivers and couscous in a big bowl, stir then add boiling water (as much as the packet says – I usually aim for the water to be 1 inch higher than the couscous). Stir, cover with foil and leave to sit for 10 minutes. Then remove foil, fluff with fork then stir in all the remaining veg and herbs.
  4. Mix your rose water into the sheeps curd.
  5. That’s it really, to assemble just put your herb couscous on a plate, place a slice of juicy pork on top, a bit of crackling, a couple of spoonfuls of the wonderful gravy, dot with the rose infused sheep’s curd and scatter a few of your herb flowers over.

The Olympic flame was in Melton Mowbray today, now what?

This isn’t my normal kind of blog post, there is no food involved, no photos.

If you have ever clicked on the “About” section of this blog then you will know that I had an accident just over 2 years ago on May 21st 2010 that radically changed my life. In the blink of an eye I went from being happy, healthy and earning just under 40k a year to being trapped on a sofa bed, barely able to move without excruciating pain and having an income of £99 a week to live on. This somehow would also have to pay the mortgage on my first home that I had just bought 5 months previously and all the other credit/loans/outgoings you tend to acquire when you are used to earning 40k a year and assume you will always have that coming in.

The last 2 and a half years have been really difficult but I’ve got through it but it’s been tough. Actually it’s been really fucking tough, it’s been crawl up in a ball and cry your eyes out  because I can’t see a way out/can’t pay the mortgage this month/have to sit in the dark because we can’t afford to put money on the meter/can’t afford a pint of milk/stamp tough, yeah you get the idea.

And yes I’ve been low, low to the point that feeling that way feels “normal” and it’s only when you go to see a doctor about something mundane, like a really swollen throat, and they ask you how you are feeling, and you tell them and they get “that look”. That look that says, “this isn’t normal” and then they question you further for their Suicide Risk checklist and you wonder why they are being so concerned about your answers because you feel this every day, this is normal for you right now. Yeah I’ve been there, I’ve been there many times since I was 12 years old and I’m now 34.

We are losing people in our town who feel desperate, alone and estranged. There are things we can do to help as individuals like looking out for one another but there is so much more that we can do as a community.

Melton Mowbray lost many people over the last 14 months, several of them young, who felt alone and unable to cope with their situations. In the kitchen today I worked with a young man doing work experience who told me that his age group are in desperate need. We lost another young member of our community this weekend. Members of our town really are in desperate need, not just our youth, many of us are in need, but it’s predominantly our children, our teenagers and our young adults that are bearing the brunt of our disappearing shops, jobs, leisure facilities and community.

After the torch had passed through the town today and I had closed up the cafe, I walked through the town square where there was still the Torch Roadshow truck playing music. Teenagers were dancing, laughing, shouting and having a whale of a time but the metal barriers were being gathered, the stalls dissembled and the music turned off. Where do they go now?  Lack of staffing has seen our youth clubs closed, the council has shut the leisure centre for the summer to refurbish and because there are no jobs in the town the teenagers have no money.

People talk about our “disaffected youth”- disaffected: adjective alienatedresentfuldiscontentedhostileestranged, dissatisfiedrebelliousantagonisticdisloyalseditious,mutinous, uncompliant, unsubmissive.   The irony is that our young people seem to be the most affected by what is going on around them and their voices are being lost.

I work with a Melton Mowbray charity called Lost For Words that was set up earlier this year when members of the community came together in the wake of losing several young people, to try and give emotional support to everyone who needs it though our free website resource database. 

A person, just holding a piece of metal with a tiny flame, passed that tiny little flame to another person, holding just another piece of metal today in our town centre, and managed to bring our community together for a couple of hours in the rain.  Just think what we could do if we put our minds to it. Our shops are closing and our town centre is dying, lets make sure that we do everything we can to try and save our community and try and prevent another flame from being extinguished.

The Olympic flame passed through Melton Mowbray today and brought a community briefly together, what can we now do to bring it back?

Melton Mowbray Country Fair 2012

Vincent Talleu who has possibly the BEST bakers tattoo ever on the Real Bread stand

Each year Melton Mowbray opens up the parks in the town centre to the Country Fair. Last year Glen and I went along and got rather sunburnt (and rather drunk on Farmer Fear’s cider) whilst watching the duck herding (yep that’s right, duck herding).

This year was slightly different. Glen was unable to come along, there was no duck herding, yes thats right, NO duck herding (I’m still upset by this) and there was definitely no sunburn. There was however good old Farmer Fear with his cracking cider, pitched once again next to the Great Food Magazine stand and the food tent – perfect!

Farmer Fear cider and the Great Food Magazine stand, the gathering points of the food lovers at the Country Fair!

It was a real food lover’s meet up at the Great Food Magazine stand, it’s been ages since I had a good catch up with Matt, the editor and his wife Philippa and it wasn’t long until I bumped into the wonderful Ben Jackson from BBC Radio Leicester who’s Food Friday cooking feature I do and BBC Radio Leicester’s fab gardener and all round ace guy Ady Dayman. Well now if that wasn’t reason enough to drink more cider then my fellow Food Friday cook Penny appeared! Penny had entered the Big Bake competition which finds the best loaf/cake/speciality breads in the area, and you know what? She only went and won it!

Penny’s winning loaf and the woman herself!

The Real Bread campaign stand is always an absolute cracker. Lots of wonderful heritage wheat breads, free pizza making, wood fired oven, lots of kid’s bread classes and Vincent Talleu with quite possible the coolest baker’s tattoo ever.

Local baker Paul from Melton bakery Paul’s Soyfoods was there not only with his breads but with his homemade fermented goodies too. There was sauerkraut, japanese umeboshi plums, miso, kimchee to name but a few and they were all incredible.

Sourdough loaves, miso, kimchee and umeboshi plums ALL locally made!

Then there were Tom’s Fudge boys, who all happened to be rather good looking and had the strange affect of turning myself and Philippa into a couple of pervy old women whilst still finding the name “Tom’s Fudge” childishly hilarious.

Tom’s Fudge *snicker*

So no duck herding, what did we have in it’s place? Well bearing in mind that the Country Fair has 3 main themes: food, gardening and animals it was somewhat missplanned to then have a cannon ball and gun performance where the deafening explosions scared all the animals (everyone brought their own dogs along to the dog show) and made all the children cry. This had to be cut short as wails of children, terrified howls of dogs and whining horses could be heard over the bangs. Like Tom’s Fudge this shouldn’t have been funny but it really was.

There was only one other real low point to the afternoon and that came in the form of some god awful shite traditional dance routine which on reflection is kinda what I love about things like the Country Fair.

High points: Penny’s bread, this awesome dog and my lovely friend Lesley who was dressed as a fairy

High points of the day included Farmer Fear’s cider, meeting up with awesome food loving friends and fit boys. Low points: bursts of torrential rain and the god awful shite traditional dancing

Low points: Rain and shit dancing

So that was it for another year. I bloody love the Melton Country Fair but lets hope that next year they bring back the duck herding.

Lamb Sweetbreads and Early Summer Veg with Sheep’s Curd

Despite telling her many times, Glen’s mum still insists that sweetbreads are lamb’s bollocks, they’re not. Sweetbreads are the thymus or pancreatic glands from lambs and calves. This recipe uses the thymus glands from the neck of Spring lambs, their season is short so as soon as they start to arrive in my butchers I stock up the freezer.

They take a little bit of preparation but they really are worth it. Sweetbreads have a wonderfully creamy texture and delicate lamb flavour. Being quite fatty I tend to serve them with a squeeze of lemon if cooking them on the BBQ or like this dish, I make a zesty green sauce. The sheep’s curd is from Homewood Cheeses and it’s light creamy saltiness really makes the dish.

Ingredients:

  • lamb sweetbreads
  • unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots
  • good stock, I use veg or a very light chicken stock (Essential Cuisine is perfect as its powdered so you can control exactly how concentrated it is)
  • young veg such as baby new potatoes, chanternay carrots, asparagus, peas, lettuce, broad beans
  • dried sliced garlic (or fresh)
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh sheep’s curd, fennel fronds and pea shoots to serve

For the green sauce:

  • parsley
  • mint
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 finely chopped red chilli
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. To prepare the sweetbreads soak them for a few hours in cold water, changing it a couple of times to remove any blood. Then peel away the membrane surrounding the sweetbread and discard.
  2. Finely chop your shallots and gently sweat off on the butter. Add your stock, garlic slivers and the sturdier veg such as the new potatoes followed by the carrots etc. You want all your veg to be just cooked and still with a bit of bite to your carrots and pop to your peas. Depending on the size of your sweetbreads they should take about 7 minutes to poach so pop them in too. Check for seasoning.
  3. Whilst your sweetbreads are poaching prepare your sauce. Finely chop everything and combine.
  4. Serve the poached sweetbreads and veg in their own broth, scatter with fennel fronds, pea shoots and dollops of green sauce.

I also made a liquorice foam to place on the sweetbreads which you can just about make out in the photo but I preferred it with the mint foam that I made for the second time I made this, not essential but just added another layer of delicate flavour.

BBC Radio Leicester: I take Ben Jackson to Melton Farmer’s Market

A few of the things you will find at the market during the course of the year

There is SO much more to Melton Mowbray than pork pies and stilton cheese, not that you  ever hear about all the other wonderful producers around here.  The town’s PR people concentrate so heavily on these 2 products and just seem to ignore the rest, and for me it’s “the rest” that actually makes Melton so special. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pork pie (preferably with lots of trotter jelly, a good crust and plenty of black pepper) but you only hear about one shop that sells them in a town where actually, each different butchers sells a different pie.  My Butchers (Derek Jones) sell Baileys pies who were featured in Jamie Oliver’s Channel 4 show Great Britiain which highlighted Britain’s best producers. Another butcher sells Walkers pies who actually won the best Melton Mowbray Pork Pie category at the 2012 British Pie Awards (also held in Melton Mowbray).

I took Ben Jackson from BBC Radio Leicester along to the farmer’s market near my cottage to show him how fantastic not only the food scene in Melton is but also how vibrant and wonderful our Tuesday market is. Its’s a real farmer’s market where you can buy a herd of cattle, a flock of sheep, some wild boar and pheasants along side your bread, home-made butter, veg plants for the garden, home cured bacon and antique furniture!

Maria’s butter and boxes of local mushrooms and game birds

You can hear our trip around the market here, it is 1 hr 39mins in from the start of the programme *WARNING: a courgette plant was harmed in the recording of this broadcast*

Bidding at the game auction and my partridges and pheasants from earlier in the year

I then took him down through the town market to the Fish Man who travels from the Grimsby fish market every Tuesday morning and has the freshest, most beautiful array of fish and shell fish. He had some wonderful wild sea trout from Scotland and plenty of bright green salty samphire which just had to be bought!

I then took Ben to Coco Cakes to meet “the Cake Lady” (also known as Jane) who makes the best chocolate fudge you will EVER taste, sadly she didn’t have any ready though as she had literally just popped it in the fridge to set – sad times.  Luckily her shop is about 20 seconds from the end of my lane though so fudge crisis averted.

A trip to my favourite butchers Derek Jones for some of their incredible home cured and smoked bacon and a few slices of their own haslet and it was time for me to head to work for a day in the kitchen, and Ben to head back to BBC Radio Leicester fully laden with wonderful food goodies, and not a pork pie or piece of stilton in sight.

Smoked Butter and Chicken Risotto

Mondays are usually risotto days at Wyldelight Cottage as we tend to have roast rooster for Sunday lunch. Tonight I tried something a little different and it was bloody lovely so thought I’d do a quick post.

I love smoked Welsh butter. Caernarfon Butter is lovely and salty and when smoked at the Derimon smokehouse on Anglesey it produces the most wonderful creamy, smoky butter that is invaluable in my kitchen. Now I know this is no traditional Italian risotto but it’s delicious never the less as the sweet nutty sherry, smoky salty butter and cheese and fresh lemon and fennel just make my mouth all happy.

Ingredients:

  • smoked Welsh butter
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Carnaroli rice
  • wineglass of cream sherry
  • homemade chicken stock
  • dried garlic slivers
  • leftover roast rooster
  • chopped fennel fronds
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper and sea salt
  • Grana Padano cheese

Method:

  1. Have your stock simmering away in a big saucepan. Melt a big knob of smoked butter in a pan, add your fennel seeds then soften your onion.
  2. Add your rice, stir to coat in the butter and gently fry until the rice grains start to crack then add your sherry and give a good stir.  This will quickly be absorbed by the rice.
  3. Start adding your hot stock a ladle full at a time and storing until it is absorbed before adding the next.
  4. When nearly done add your cooked rooster and garlic slivers and stir.
  5. Continue to add the hot stock until the risotto is creamy but still has a bit of bite to it then add another knob of smoked butter and a handful of grated Grana Padano, taste and season before covering and letting it sit for 5 minutes.
  6. Chop some fennel fronds and stir through the risotto just before serving. Plate up, zest the lemon over the top, sprinkle with more fennel, some more Grana Padano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Radio Leicester food friday: ginger and caramel trifle

The lovely Ben Jackson from BBC Leicester in my kitchen

So every month the wonderful Ben Jackson heads out to my cottage in Melton Mowbray to record a cooking session.  Last time we made my divine Melton Mess which went down a storm with the radio team and listeners so this time I made another really simple dessert, in real time, for people to make this weekend:  I made a rum, ginger, chocolate trifle….yum!

What happens each time is that Ben arrives, we spend about an hour and a half catching up, geeking out about food and inevitably about knives! I was at the BBC Good Food Show on Wednesday and saw the gorgeous Natalie from I.O.Shen knives and came home with the most beautiful new Sahm Khom knife. Now Ben loves a good knife just as much as I do so when he felt it slice through a potato using just it’s own weight it really was love at first slice!

This link will take you to the recording, I am 1hr:42 into the show .Now I’ve just listened to it again as lots of people have sent me messages saying how rude it sounds! Yes, I *may* have sniggered at the name “Willy” but it would seem the whole 10 mins is all a bit naughty…something to do with the sounds of the cream and custard being whipped and our noises….

The mini version with oozy caramel filling

Ingredients:
  • 1 x Jamaican Ginger Cake
  • 35-100ml Golden or dark rum (depending on how boozy you like it, obviously I used 100ml!) or for non  alcoholic version use stem ginger syrup.
  • 100g milk/dark chocolate
  • 1 x 500g pot fresh custard
  • 1 x capful vanilla extract
  • 300ml pot whipping cream
  • 1 x 400g tin dulche du leche/tinned caramel (or make your own from a tin of  sweetened evaporated milk)
  • buttons/grated chocolate to garnish
Method:
Slice your ginger cake and lay it on the bottom of your trifle dish and pour over your rum and spoon over a layer of dulce du leche. Melt the chocolate, add your vanilla extract then whisk in your pot of custard.  Allow the custard to cool then layer it over the caramel. Whip your cream, spoon it over the chocolate custard and garnish with your grated chocolate/chocolate buttons. See, dead easy!

I always open my cupboards and introduce him to fab food products that I come across and send him home with a bit of a goody bag! We spent a long time talking BBQs, Ben has just acquired his first Weber and so I introduced him to the wonderful Laissez Chef new Orleans spice blend, yep he fell in love with that too! Her is now also a new convert to Essential Cuisine powdered stocks having tried their powdered veal and Little Doone Ginger Balsamic which I discovered at the show which also blew me away.

So I will be cooking again in 4 weeks time with Ben but in a couple of weeks I am taking him around my local Farmer’s Market so he can meet my favourite producers. Ahhh we can geek out about food all morning!

Hollingshead Menu – June

**I am no longer at the Hollingshead in Melton Mowbray, see update at bottom of post.

So tomorrow I start work as head chef for evenings at the Hollingshead in Melton Mowbray. Keeping the menu simple (it’s just little *ahem* old me in the kitchen) and using plenty of local produce.  If you are local and have an allotment or garden full of lovely veg or edible flowers please drop me an email at hazelpaterson@me.com, if you are a producer, local or not, and have something that you think I may like then drop me an email.

We are open for dinner Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights 6pm – 9pm service and only 20 covers.

This week’s menu:

Grilled peach and goat’s cheese salad with edible flowers

STARTERS

  • Seasonal soup of the day served with local bread and homemade butter
  • Grilled peach and goat’s cheese salad with blackberry dressing, watercress, red onion, balsamic glaze, violet flowers.
  • Whole Camembert baked with wine, garlic and fresh herbs, served with homemade red onion and thyme chutney,thyme flowers and local bread
  • Chicken liver parfait, toasted brioche, homemade chutney crispy fried sage leaf
  • Smoked mackerel pate, watercress salad, toasted local bread

Slow roast pork belly on celeriac mash& cheesy leeks with apple, elderflower and lemon thyme jellies, crackling, crispy sage leaf and cider gravy

MAINS

  • Ballotine of free range chicken breast stuffed with wild mushrooms and garlic served with buttery mash and porcini sherry sauce
  • Local sausages and buttery mash with red wine and onion gravy and crispy fried sage leaf
  • 28 day dry aged Sirloin steak, handcut fat chips, watercress, confit tomato (served with choice of garlic or tarragon butter, peppercorn or stilton sauce).
  • Wild mushroom pasta drizzled with truffle oil and aged parmesan
  • Rutland trout baked in white wine with new potatoes, watercress and tarragon butter sauce
  • Slow roast pork belly with celeriac mash, cheesy leeks, apple elderflower and lemon thyme jelly, cider gravy, crackling

A BIT ON THE SIDE:

  • Fat chips
  • Seasonal salad
  • baby leaf spinach and peas

Seriously sexy freshly made scratchings and fresh salsas: fennel and zingy chilli

** An update. So having had nothing but great feedback from everyone who ate my food and the owners telling me that they were so excited that they now wanted to turn the upstairs of the bar into a separate dining space with lovely white linen sheets because they loved the menu so much I went in the following day to be told “Melton people don’t want real food, they want frozen crap and thats how we make our money. Sorry we have changed our mind and we have no money.” 

Well to say I was shocked is a bit of an understatement, particularly as I had only just emailed that morning to let them know I had bought some bits so not to worry about picking them up and was told that’s all fine. 4 hours later I was told they now had no money (despite upon interview being told they were financially in a great position and had a big budget and they wanted to really go to town).

Just a couple of days previously they had told me to quit my other cooking job and come and do more hours with them, thank god I felt they were a bit dodgy so didn’t! The fact that they point blank refused to pay me for the 30mins after the kitchen closed to clean down the grills, label and put away food, do all the fridge checks, sweep and mop the floor etc rang huge alarm bells, well that and the fact they thought it fine to pay a head chef £6.08/hour! “Oh don’t worry”, they said, “tips will make it up a bit” Yes tips paid at the end of the month once the boss has taken £150 out of it to pay for accidental breakages the previous month! Well employers that use tips to pay wages really can’t be trusted.  The customer tips because they have had good service and want the tips to go to those that made that happen.  The fact that the staff don’t even receive them is appalling.

So yes, I picked up my things from the kitchen and left (although I was given the option to stay on to cook crap frozen rubbish…mm microwave ribs I wouldn’t even feed my dog, tasty!). I wouldn’t even trust that though as when I bought local cider for the “local cider gravy” on my menu I was told to just use the Somerset cider they had. Fine I said, you just need to take the word “local” off the menu. To which I was told “no, Somerset is kind of local”. Yes if that local is a 4 hour drive away, sure! Integrity is important in whatever it is that you do.  People will lie to you so they can charge you more for words like : local, organic and free range, but trust me, not all of these places will actually be using that, particularly not the Hollingshead in Melton Mowbray.

Jubilee Choc Pops!

Ready and set in about 20 minutes

In the run up to this Jubilee weekend I have seen dozens of Jubilee Battenburgs and Union Jack cupcakes on Twitter and glossy magazines. My nod to the red white and blue mania that’s so abundant at the moment are these Choc Pops that I made for Domestic Sluttery.  If you haven’t visited the Sluttery website then you really are missing out on a whole host of awesomeness that covers food, travel, fashion, homewares and booze, yes, there is lots of booze.

Because chocolate can always be naughtier

You should most definitely check out the naughty bunting that caused a bit of a fuss the other day then buy some and make some of these naked chocolate people and head off to the village Jubilee tea party….

Pig’s head terrine with edible flowers and crispy pig’s ear scratchings

Whilst the process of making pig’s head terrine (also known as brawn or head cheese) may not be for the squeamish, sometimes in order to make something beautiful you have to get your hands dirty.

The idea of combining pig face with flowers is not simply a visual one. Although using the violets does make it look very pretty I wanted to use the flowers of herbs such as sage, thyme, chives and parsley to create little bursts of intense herbal notes through the dish.

I had a look online for various recipes, but none of them really worked for me in terms of flavour so I turned to Fergus Henderson‘s Nose To Tail Eating as a rough guide and decided to make it up as I went along using whatever I had to hand in the veg rack and garden.  £3.30 worth of meat from the butcher made 2 big terrines. Bargain.

Washed thoroughly and in the pot ready to go

My butcher provided me with 1 split pig’s head (£3) and 2 trotters (30p).

Ingredients:  Makes 2 terrines

Stock pot:

  • 1 pig head
  • 2 trotters
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 leek, cut in thirds
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 2 onions, quatered
  • 2 bulbs garlic, halved
  • handful of fennel seeds
  • tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 6 sage leaves
  • stems from a bunch of parsley
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • handful dried sliced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lapsang souchong strands

Then:

  • bunch of chopped chives
  • chopped parsley
  • chopped fennel fronds
  • saffron strands
  • chive flowers
  • sage flowers
  • thyme flowers
  • parsley flowers
  • violets
  • Halen Môn salt flakes
  • freshly ground pepper

Method:

1: Rinse the head and trotters thoroughly and remove the ears (if you are making the crispy pigs ear scratchings) and clean the wax out (I have a little brush that’s only reason for existing in my kitchen is to clean the wax out of severed pigs’  ears) then put in a massive pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil, lots of scum will rise to the surface. Drain of water, refill pot with fresh water, add the rest of the stock pot ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Head, ears and trotters at the bottom then veg and spices added

2: After about 2 hours remove the 2 ears and set aside to dry thoroughly.  Continue to simmer the head and trotters for about another 2-3 hours or until the flesh is starting to fall away from the skull.

3: Remove the head and trotters and set aside. Strain the stock through a sieve ( I usually do it a few times) to remove all bits and return to the pot and reduce by about two thirds. Taste and add salt and saffron.

4:  Remove meat from the head.  How much of the head you use is entirely up to you.  I only had 2 terrines to fill so used the meat and skinned the tongue and used this too but some use the snout and fat also.Chop your meat and combine with chopped herbs and black pepper.

5: Line your terrines with cling film and place a few violets and chives on the bottom.  This will of course become the top, it makes it look pretty. Add your meat then fill with reduced stock. Bang the filled dish against the worktop a couple of times to get rid of any bubbles and make sure your stock gets to the bottom. Cover with cling film and chill overnight to set.

6: The following day just gently turn it out, admire your amazingness then make some toast, slather it in butter and top with your terrine.

Pig Face and Flowers version 1 with less flowers

Crispy Pig’s Ear Scratchings:

These are seriously good! Once the ears were cooked in the stock I just treated them as I would when making regular pork scratchings.  Just whack the oven on full, make sure the ears are completely dry (they will be really sticky though) then using sharp kitchen scissors cut them into strips and put on a grill tray over a roasting tin, sprinkle with Halen Môn salt, cook until crispy and serve with a kickass dip.

Next time I make them I will probably braise the ears in a chinese broth first if I’m not making a terrine at the same time.

Dip:

  • Chopped coriander
  • chopped mint
  • chopped chilli
  • 1 red onion, microplaned
  • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • Thai fish sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Filipino spiced vinegar
  • lime juice
  • Tony’s Ginger and chilli sauce

Photo shoot with Little Cakes

God I love Twitter!  I meet so many wonderful people through it (and can easily waste spend hours on it chatting away.  One of my fave ladies is  Nicola Denbigh aka Little Cakes who is based in Uppingham so I was really excited when she asked me to style and shoot some of her wedding cakes. They really are works of art so I used this as a theme for the shoot.

How striking is this black wedding cake? My fella even likes it and believe me for him to like a wedding cake that isn’t made entirely out of A: cheese or B: pies is pretty damn impressive!

Our location was the stunning Falcon Hotel in Uppingham which is being lovingly restored to its former glory by its owners and is a wonderful wedding venue.

‘Liana’ – Five tier round & hexagonal cakes with handpainted gold detailing and handmade wired flowers

‘Isla’ – Double height square cake with hand painted pearls and large wired bloom

You can see more of the shoot over on my Facebook photography page and Little Cakes Facebook page

BBC Radio Leicester and Melton Mess

Cooking on the radio you say? Well yes indeed! Last Friday morning I had the pleasure of the wonderful Ben Jackson from BBC Radio Leicester being in my tiny kitchen at Wyldelight Cottage.  I had been practicing the art of not swearing for 2 days and was still a bit nervous until it dawned on me in the middle of the night before that yes, I could practice not swearing, but the art of “not sounding like a total twat when nervous” has always eluded me. I’ve always done it at the most inopportune moments too, normally when in the vicinity of really handsome men (throw a uniform in there and I go from sounding a bit like a twat to talking full blown nonsensical rubbish!

Luckily we had a good half hour before we started recording just catching up and talking food, that ALWAYS relaxes me and puts me at ease. I wanted to keep the recipe really simple and decided to do something in real time so listeners could see just how easy it all was.  I made my Melton Mess with Vanilla Sea Salted Caramel Sauce, it’s outrageously good too and the recipe will feature in this months Great Food Magazine which is out tomorrow. There is lots of cream, custard, strawberries, meringue and yes plenty of salted caramel sauce involved! There weren’t any disasters; I didn’t swear, I did get very excited about what I was making, I probably sounded like a bit of a twat but all in all it went really well and I will have a regular slot each month!

You can click here to listen, I start from 1 hr 41mins in, and you can tell I’m smiling the whole time as you can hear my lisp (lisps are all kinds of sexy you know!).

Melton Mess with salted caramel sauce

Ingredients:

  • About a dozen or more large strawberries
  • 2 tblsp caster sugar
  • 520ml double cream
  • 1 large meringue base or 8 meringue “nests”
  • 250ml good quality vanilla custard
  • salted caramel sauce

Method:

  1. Slice about two thirds of your strawberries and put them in a bowl, sprinkle over the caster sugar, give them a stir and leave to macerate whilst you get on with the rest of the dish. Keep the remaining strawberries to one side for now.
  2. Using an electric mixer whip the cream until it’s firm, be careful though as it’s very easy to over whip double cream and it will start to separate (and you could accidentally end up with butter!).
  3. Crush your meringues into pieces, don’t make them too small, as you want different textures to run through the dessert, then stir them into the cream.
  4. Pour your custard and macerated strawberries and their juice on top of the whipped cream and very gently fold in. You don’t want it to be all mixed in completely, just folded carefully so you have pools of strawberries and custard amongst the cream.
  5. Carefully tip the mixture onto a big serving platter, scatter the strawberries you had set to one side over the top then drizzle liberally with the salted caramel sauce. Have the pot of caramel on the table so people can help themselves to more, I warn you though: this sauce is highly addictive!

Vanilla Salted Caramel Sauce:

  •  120g soft light brown sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 tblsp water
  • 260ml double cream
  • 2 tsp Halen Môn Vanilla sea salt flakes

Method:

  1. Put the butter, sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently until bubbling it’s important that you don’t stir it though just swirl the pan to combine.
  2.  Once it’s all melted, let it bubble away for 3 minutes then whisk in your cream and remove from the heat. Add a teaspoon of salt flakes, taste to see if it needs any more (careful though it will be hot).  It will seem very runny but it thickens as it cools so make several hours before if you want a firmer sauce and pop it in the fridge.

I sent Ben off with a goodie bag of amazing local foods that are really overlooked in Melton.  There is such a big focus on the pork pies and stilton cheese that the other little known producers just get left behind.  This weeks goodie bag is a selection of my favourite things that I buy in Melton and not a pork pie or slice of stilton anywhere!

  • Blackberry vinegar from Bridget at Melton Sunday market
  • Smoked sausages – Grasmere farm (Tuesday market)
  • Smoked wild boar bacon – Paul aka The Roosterman (Melton Market Tues, Fri, Sun)
  • Homemade butter – Maria (Tuesday market)
  • Smoked middle bacon Derek Jones Butchers Melton (the BEST ever!) Plus a slice of their brawn
  • various jams/chilli sauce/chutney from my good self as I was spoiling him!

The next goodie bag will be equally as good and I have no idea what I’m going to cook yet but I’m really excited already!

Quick Kelp Noodles and Fermented Coconut Nectar

Having lived in both Hong Kong and Japan and spent many months in the Philippines, it surprises me that whilst Chinese and Japanese food is widely eaten in the UK, Filipino food has never really caught on. It’s a shame as Filipino culture really is centred around food and family and if you haven’t tried it then you really are missing out on a feast of culinary delights.

I’m going to write a separate blog post all about Philippine food but for now this is my favourite quick noodle dish that incorporates Chinese, Japanese and Filipino products beautifully and is amazing at using up leftover salad leaves and veg.

My cupboards are full of sauces, condiments and pickles from around the world. This noodle dish uses dried kelp and Japanese noodles called Demae Ramen made by Nissin and they have been my favourite noodles since I was about 10 years old.  We had them for breakfast most days before school in Hong Kong and their chicken noodles remain my favourite breakfast and, when called for, most reliable hangover remedy to date! Spiced fermented coconut water is not for the feint hearted.  The coconut water has been fermented with chillies, garlic, ginger, salt and sweet peppers to produce a potent sweet-spicy vinegar that is completely addictive (well for me anyway).

Just take a handful of dried kelp strands and add them to water that has had the noodle flavour sachet added and cook for a few minutes before adding your noodles.  Chuck in any leftover bits of veg – broccoli, peas, cabbage, whatever is floating in the bottom of your fridge really.  Cook for a minute then tip into a big bowl, cover with leftover salad, pour over your spiced fermented coconut water, some Chinese chillies preserved in oil and some dried garlic slivers and you have an amazing bowl of loveliness.

Raw Milk – homemade mozzarella, ricotta and lots of other things!

People are divided over raw milk but I am a big fan and I am lucky enough to live near to Lubcloud Organic Dairy who not only sell raw milk but also have chosesn not to homogenise any of their products.  When I was little I had to be quick in the mornings getting to the milk bottles on the doorstep. The birds were wise to the sight of Malcolm, our milkman back on Anglesey, and would peck through the foil lids to get to the cream that had risen to the top of the bottle.  I always used to sneakily pour a glass of that amazing creamy milk before putting it back in the fridge as a reward for being good and bringing the bottles in!

These days milk is homogenised as standard, so the fat is evenly distributed and not only don’t you get that wonderful creamy layer at the top of your pint but you also don’t get those glorious little dots of fat on the inside of your glass.  Personally I think that the taste really suffers as a result of both pasteurisation and homogenisation so it’s no contest for me when it comes to flavour.

tiny dots of loveliness around the inside of the glass

Raw milk from an organic herd really can’t be beaten for flavour so I decided to see how many things I could make from 2 litres of the stuff.  I started with mozzarella…

A quick look around the internet and I found Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s recipe for mozzarella and set to work.

The curds and whey quickly separated once the citric acid and rennet were added and the curds removed and left to drain. I should point out that this really does make your house smell like baby sick and it left me feeling quite dubious that something nice could be made from something that smelt so awful.  Nevertheless the curds were removed with a slotted spoon and left to drain for a bit in a sieve.

I wanted smallish balls of cheese, so the mozzarella curd was thickly sliced, put back into the hot whey then stretched and folded back on itself a few times before being rolled into balls and plunged into ice water.

Mozzarella on whey bread

still can't believe I made mozzarella so easily!

A quick shout out on Twitter for suggestions for the leftover whey brought a resounding call for ricotta.  Another quick look online for a really simple method resulted in me finding this method which seemed by far the easiest.

The remaining whey was strained through a coffee filter and left to drip in the fridge before being turned out onto a board.

I really couldn’t wait to try the ricotta, I wasn’t disappointed. I guess I’m used to bland, mass produced stuff because the flavour really took me by surprise – there was so much of it!  I was now really excited about my bumbling foray into the world of home cheese making.

So now I had my beautiful cheeses I needed some pizza dough to showcase them on.  I made a batch of plain and polenta flour dough using 650ml of the leftover whey.  I hadn’t intended to use polenta flour but I hardly had any other flour so substituted it in and from now on I will always do this as it was amazing!  It was about 1/3 polenta and made for a beautiful golden dough with great texture.  Fingers were crossed whilst the pizzas cooked that the mozzarella behaved as it should…

It worked perfectly! The mozzarella melted and oozed and developed a lovely brown crust and most importantly it tasted wonderful, I was so happy!

I then made a polenta and bread flour whey loaf…

This loaf was eaten almost immediately topped with salsa verde from The Good Fork’s deli box and was seriously good!

So what to do with the rest of the whey? I still had about 2 pints of it left.  Another shout out on Twitter went out.  I was told by @pukkapaki that whey is wonderful for the skin and hair so I made a homemade face pack and added a ladle of whey.

Whey facepack/cleanser or as Glen calls it "that hippy shit in a bowl"

Soothing/moisturising facepack:

  •  porridge oats
  • 1 chamomile tea bag
  • 1 Detox tea bag (milk thistle, dandelion & green tea – tastes like crap but great in a facepack)
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 1 ladle whey

Just mix them all and add more oats until you get a consistency you like then apply to a clean face and leave on for 10 – 15 minutes then remove with a warm cloth.  I’ve been so impressed with the effect that its had on my skin that I’m also using this as a cleanser morning and night as the porridge oats gently exfoliate the skin.  All of these wonderful beauty tips fall on deaf ears for my fella though who just calls it “that hippy shit in a bowl”.

*Update: from this morning (3 days later)

Glen: I wish you’d stop washing your face with porridge the bits get everywhere.

Me: It’s not porridge its a homemade face pack and cleanser dear.

Glen: It’s porridge with tea bags in it, you are essentially washing your face with breakfast.

Well he does have a point there but my skin is so soft and my rosacea is clearing up so breakfast face-washing will continue!*

I still had some more whey left so I decided to try Carl Legge’s suggestion of using it to lacto ferment vegetables and I gave Kimchee making a go.  It’s still fermenting away though so I’ll do a separate post on this when it’s ready.  The final bit of whey has gone to my chickens as a bit of a treat as it helps keep their eggshells hard and is a good all round tonic for poultry.

So from 2 litres of raw milk (which cost £2.40 delivered to my door) I made the most meltingly wonderful mozzarella, the best ricotta I’ve ever tasted, 2 wonderful pizzas, a loaf of delicious bread, lots of face pack/skin cleanser, Kimchee and a special dinner for the chickens, not bad going really.

*Thanks for all the lovely messages on Twitter/Facebook/here about raw milk, I am updating this post with a list of dairies (cow,sheep,goat) that offer raw milk, if you know any please let me know so I can add them*

Raw Milk Dairies:

East Midlands

Lubcloud Orgainic Dairy (cow) www.lubclouddairy.co.uk

The South East

Ellie’s Dairy (goat) www.elliesdairy.blogspot.co.uk

Thoughtful Bread

 I was born in Bath and whenever I head back for a visit I become so terribly homesick for many reasons, but one of them is the abundance of fantastic bread there.  I don’t know why but great bread is really thin on the ground round my way.  The upside of this though is that I bake quite a bit of my own, which I love doing, but my oven has a mind of its own (and its a bit of a nightmare) so it would be so lovely to have fantastic sourdough bread readily available.

I first heard about The Thoughtful Bread Company last year through BBC 2’s The Big Bread Experiment in which founder Duncan Glendinning and head baker Patrick Ryan help a Yorkshire community set up their own bakery.  I knew that they had a stall in Bath’s Green Park Station so vowed to visit them.  I did just that last year and was not only really impressed by their amazing breads and cakes (oh my god their cakes!) but by the guys that make up the company itself. Ross was running the stall that day and we got chatting about the company and their eco-friendly business. Not only are they absolutely lovely guys but their passion for bread is really inspiring.

Ross at the Thoughtful Bread stand last year

 So when I headed off to Bath last week for my big sister’s birthday I made sure I popped over to see them once more. It was only 12:30pm by the time I got to the Farmer’s Market at Green Park Station and met up with Ross but he was already sold out. Gutted. All was not lost though because Thoughtful Bread had a pop up cafè in The Guildhall for 2 weeks during the Bath Literary Festival – HOORAY!

Ross and Duncan were busy behind their counter and their cafè was a quirky mix of mismatched crockery, hay bale seating and trestle tables all surrounded by their gorgeous breads.

How beautiful do these loaves look? They make so many variations of loaves depending on what’s in season – cider, beetroot, walnut, wild garlic – all beautifully made and most importantly tasting amazing.

Flatbreads for homemade dips

Oh and their cakes really are something special. “Try our gluten free spiced orange cake” said Ross.  For some reason I avoid gluten free cakes but I won’t anymore.  The wheat flour had been replaced by ground almonds and the sweet, sticky orange cake was absolute heaven. Their Guinness cake, although I didn’t try it, completely inspired my Guinness free Guinness cake that I made for my Domestic Sluttery posting on Friday and those chocolate and raspberry tarts are just beyond delicious.

Gluten free spiced Orange and Almond, Guinness cake and Dark chocolate and raspberry tarts....swoon

They even have a book so you can make their breads at home!

I bought one of their sourdough loaves to take back to my sister’s later that day.

I stopped off on my way back that afternoon to pick some wild garlic so I could have my favourite Spring treat…sourdough, wild garlic and cheese sandwiches – hell yeah! Plus my gorgeous niece Nyla tried wild garlic for the first time and loved it!

 Nyla gave their sourdough an almighty thumbs up too!

So if you find yourself in Bath make sure you head to see the fab fellows of The Thoughtful Bread Company, say hello from me, try their goodies and stock up.  Oh, and if you happen to be heading up to Melton Mowbray, bring me a loaf too!

And no, they haven’t paid me to say all these lovely things about them!

Squirrel and Sherry pie

Game is incredibly popular around here, we have the fantastic Game Auction that takes place every Tuesday morning at the Cattle Market.  You never really know whats going to make an appearance hanging on the rails – wild boar, deer, hare, woodcock, partridge, squirrel, it’s a real mixed bag.  The squirrels normally go for between 50p and £1 depending on the crowd.  Yesterday I popped into town to pick up a newspaper and grab a brandy hot chocolate from the guy on the market, next to him was Picks Organic Farm who raise all their own meat and the quality of their beef is absolutely fantastic.  I asked if they had any veal sweetbreads at all and was met with the reply: “no, people are still a bit funny about veal… but we’ve got squirrel”.  Done, I said, I’ll take the squirrels instead.

Having only had squirrel as part of a mixed game pie before I wasn’t entirely sure about the flavours.  I’d heard they took on a nutty flavour due to their diet so thought a nice nutty Amontillado sherry would help bring that out.  I had a look online to see if there were any recipes to use as a guide but failed to find any so decided to wing it.  I didn’t want the squirrel to be overpowered by any other really strong flavours so kept it all pretty simple and made it up as I went along.

Ingredients (made 2 generously filled pies)

2 local wild grey squirrels, skinned, gutted and cleaned

1 red onion, finely diced

3/4 carrot, finely diced

1 stick celery, finely diced

2 garlic cloves

About 10 mushrooms finely sliced

Butter

1 tblsp rapeseed oil ( a good nutty one, I use Chiltern Cold Pressed)

2 thyme sprigs

Large wine glass Amontillado Sherry

Handful hazelnuts

Chicken stock (enough to cover the squirrels)

Shortcrust pastry

Puff pastry

1 beaten egg to glaze

Method:

Put your oil in a saucepan then add the onion, carrot and celery and fry gently to soften then add the garlic and a large knob of butter and the mushrooms  and continue to cook gently for about a minute before adding the 2 whole squirrels.  Allow the squirrels to just brown then add the thyme, sherry, hazelnuts and enough chicken stock to just cover, pop a lid on the saucepan and simmer really gently for about 30mins.  I had intended to cook it long and slow as its hard to tell the age of a squirrel and the older ones are tough but after 30 minutes the meat was really tender so decided to remove the squirrels and put to one side to cool.

I then reduced the saucepan contents to intensify and thicken.  Whilst this was happening I rolled out my shortcrust pasty, lined 2 small casserole dishes and baked them blind in the oven for 20 mins (filled with tinfoil and rice).  The stock was reducing well but it needed a little extra thickening so in went some more butter that I had squished some flour into to make a quick beurre maniè.

Now that the squirrels had cooled I stripped the meat off and added it back into the saucepan and seasoned with some salt and pepper.  Once the pastry was ready I gave the insides a quick brush with beaten egg, filled them with the squirrel mixture then brushed around the edges before popping a puff pastry lid on each one, creating a little hole in the centre to let the steam escape and then brushing with more beaten egg.  These then went back in the oven for about 15mins until the lids were all puffed up beautifully. Once taken out of the oven I just turned them upside down and they fell out of their little casserole pots.

I had been tasting as I went so I knew that it would be nice but I was still surprised by just how nice it was.  The nutty sherry brought out the flavour of the squirrel and allowed it to really shine.  The hazelnuts had softened but still had a bit of bite to them which was lovely against the tender meat and crisp pastry.  I served the pies with a buttery mash and a dollop of good horseradish sauce on the side.  The horseradish worked so well with the pie that next time I might just add the tinniest  amount to the pie mix.

There was a mixed reaction from people on Twitter and Facebook in regards to eating squirrel, with the overwhelming majority being hugely enthusiastic and positive about this wild, sustainable meat.  Many people shared my view that eating more grey squirrels can only be a good thing to encourage the return of our native red squirrel which has sadly been almost wiped out by the American grey impostor.

I grew up in Hong Kong where we ate things like chicken feet, intestines and trotters with gusto and you picked your seafood from a tank to be whisked away to the kitchen only to return minutes later cooked to perfection and served on a platter.  I was asked on Twitter if, seeing as I was happy to eat squirrel, would I also eat cat?  Well, no I wouldn’t but apart from the fact that I prefer not to eat my pets, it’s is also because I like my meat to have dined on a vegetarian diet (although I do eat chickens that have been running around fields snaffling slugs and worms).  My partner refuses to eat octopus as he says they are far too intelligent to eat, I on the other hand love octopus and eat it with relish.  Everyone has their own views over what animals they do or don’t eat and why, and for those who love game I cannot recommend squirrel enough.  I for one will be making this dish many times over, and if you do decide to give it a go then please do let me know how you get on. Happy cooking!

The EDL march through Leicester

On Saturday the English Defence League came to Leicester, they hired coaches and came by train.  They were not wanted, but its all good as we had The Force on our side…

Using the Force for a peaceful day in Leicester

2200 police officers were in Leicester yesterday.

This guy was making balloon creations and handing them out around the Clock Tower

They screamed "who are ya?" repeatedly as they marched past us, someone should point out that the correct English is "you"

Police moving to block another road and one of the many ridiculous signs the EDL littered the city with

A bus heading for Southsea takes a wrong turn and is met with an unexpected sight.

Pauls Bakery

 Paul’s Soyfoods are entirely organic and in addition to delivering fresh fruit and veg around the country also bake 6 days a week.  I spent an hour one morning watching the two bakers at work, it was fast, unrelenting and beautifully coordinated work and I was really struck by how tactile the whole process was. There are quite a few more photos to come over the next couple of days as I get around to it and I will be heading back to photograph them making their own tofu and tempeh soon.

Bath Farmer’s Market visit

Thoughtful Bread at Bath farmer’s Market sell the most delicious breads and cakes!  Unfortunately I arrived quite late to the market but I was still able to grab a Beetroot loaf (I will definitely be making these in future), a Cider Loaf (amazing!) and a Walnut and Raisin loaf (fantastic, my absolute favourite) and not forgetting the most beautifully indulgent Chocolate Raspberry tart (it didn’t even make it as far as the car!).

I adore cheese and last year was the year I discovered Homewood Cheese who make stunning cheeses using sheep’s milk.  What was even more lovely was that despite having never met them before I was greeted with a very friendly: “Hello Hazel”!  It was really lovely to finally meet Tim and Angela at the market as I’m quite often to be heard singing the praises of their cheese on Twitter! Tim is the cheese man and he met his partner Angela at a Farmer’s Market where she sells her fantastic preserves.  Their fresh cheese tart only made it as far as the car also!

This lovely chap travels up from Dorset each month to the market.  I bought some Venison faggots from him and they were absolutely delicious!

Whats in store for 2012?

So its that time again when we are bombarded with food trend predictions for the coming year – so here are mine. Some predictions, some wishful thinking but ones that are relevant to my life.

1 Cupcake Fatigue

I don’t know about you but I am sick to death of seeing cupcakes everywhere. What Bridget Jones did for Chardonnay a decade ago the onslaught of TV baking programmes have done for the cupcake.  Even the lovely Edd Kimber the 2010 Great British Bake Off winner who dislikes cupcakes “reluctantly” included 2 recipes for them in his book The Boy who Bakes.  At this years Leicester Winter Food and Drink Festival there were stall after stall of women making cupcakes that looked pretty much exactly like the next, and the next, and the next.  While I love the fact that people are taking the bowl by the horns and setting up food businesses from home, it did make me feel sad that they were all basically cookie cutter copies of each other: Bunting: check. Cutesy name: check. Vintage looking tableware bought from Argos: check. Disappointment that everyone else has also made that Lemon & Poppyseed cupcake: check. And like the ABC backlash (Anything But Chardonnay) that soon followed the Bridget Jones booze boom, I am keeping my fingers crossed for Anything But Cupcakes.

2: Own a Pig Schemes

Where last year was definitely the year of the home chicken keeper I think this coming year will see a rise in more people opting for this method of meat purchase.  If you haven’t heard of these schemes the basic gist is you pay a pig farmer for a piglet that the farmer then takes complete care of.  The pig will be a traditional, slow growing breed that you can go and visit and feed and then when it is ready (about 6-7 months) the pig is slaughtered and butchered to however you fancy and you know that you are eating meat that has lived a happy life and will taste all the better for it. Neighbours can club together for one, pubs, community groups or you can just keep all the meat for yourselves! Personally I think if you are planning on getting married this summer and want a hog roast then this is definitely the way to go!

A few Own a Pig schemes: HerePigPig, Samphire Shop, Chater Valley, Emmas Pigs, Chalk Newton. There are several dotted about the country so just google it and find one near you.

3: Chocolate

Where 2011 was the year of the salted caramel chocolate, I’m hoping 2012 will see many more experimental chocolatiers such as the wonderful Paul A Young and Boutique Aromatique appear and hopefully the high street start to catch on so more people start trying new flavour combinations.  People at home will start experimenting with making chocolates using flowers and herbs from their gardens and raiding their spice jars. Well, I will be anyway. If you are up for experimenting I have it on good authority that Global Harvest’s wild Fennel pollen is incredible in a chocolate truffle!

4: Kombucha

2011 was a big year for sourdough and now homes all over the country have a jar of sourdough starter (most likely named) in their fridges.  Well, for me at least, my new starter is going to be a Kombucha tea.  While it may look like an alien creature has been captured and preserved in formaldehyde it is actually really easy to make and keep alive once you have got your hands on a starter culture.  I first came across Kombucha tea 17 years ago on the window sill of the most wonderful hippy lady and I was completely engrossed in this brown living entity inside the tea filled jar.  She said I could have one of its “babies” if I wanted but seeing as at the time I was living in the woods in the Forest of Dean with lots of other hippies it seemed somewhat impractical! These days I have a cottage complete with a kitchen so theres no excuse but to give it a go.

5. Sheep’s Curd Cheese

This year I discovered Homewood fresh Sheeps curd and it was a revelation. It is just the most wonderful lemony, soft, creamy cheese that has that beautiful sweet sheep’s milk taste. Perfect for deserts and the cheese board alike this is a definite winner.  Soft fresh sheep’s cheese is really hard to come by in the UK as it has such a short shelf life.  I picked mine up from Neston Park Farm Shop just outside of Bath but Abel and Cole also deliver it and Tim can be found at Bath’s Farmers Market. I really hope this style of cheese becomes much more popular in 2012 so that it becomes much more widely available!

6. Better Farmer’s Markets

Earlier this year I contacted the organiser of a Farmers Market about having a stall.  I was met with the response: “sorry, we already have a stall selling those”. I was stunned. I receive emails from this Market that travels around our area that always ask for street performers to turn up in order to make the market more vibrant.  Its the stalls themselves that should be the vibrant element! Only allowing one artisan bread stall, one organic veg, one chutneys and jams, one cake etc is why the market looks so small and depressing.  Farmers markets in this country can be incredibly limited whereas if you wander around a Farmers Market in somewhere like France or Spain you find a buzzing cornucopia of stalls to excite your senses and tickle your fancy.  Times are hard for our small producers and they need all the support that we can give. You may be lucky enough to have a fantastic, vibrant Farmer’s Market that offers the shopper plenty of choice but if you don’t, perhaps ask the Market Manager why.

7. Slow Cookers

Our purse strings are tighter therefore our cuts of meat are tending to be cheaper. My kitchen has always been a lovely safe haven for underrated cuts of meat to take pride of place on the plate, but thanks to TV chefs popularising these cuts they are now (rather annoyingly for those who have always loved them) becoming more expensive! The muscles that work the hardest taste the best in my book but as a result of all that hard work they tend to need a long, gentle cook. Our time, however, is becoming more heavily demanded upon and with energy prices rocketing the Slow Cooker is the perfect solution. Oxtail stews, Beef cheek casseroles, Mutton curries, Partridge tagines, poached Ox tongue, my slow cooker revels in them all!

8. A fresh look at Ale

Ale is traditionally seen as the domain of men but according to Sara Barton, founder of Brewsters Brewery, brewers up until around 1600 were predominantly female and were called Brewsters. This year I discovered the deliciously floral Brewsters Pale Ale made down the road in Grantham by Brewsters founder Sara. This was another joyful taste discovery of 2011 and has become a firm favourite of mine.  I like my ales golden, floral and light and this was just perfect.  Also this year we made several trips to Burrough on the Hill to the Parish Brewery to stock up on Trudy’s Tipple, a beautiful Elderflower Ale brewed right next door to their pub Grants Free House.  Morrisons has been experimenting this Christmas with small batch releases of more unusual ales. Their Chestnut Ale one sold out almost immediately and they are currently selling a Chocolate and Vanilla Stout which I didn’t expect to like but actually really enjoyed.  There is a slight shift happening in the world of ales and more and more women are getting back into the craft including Claire Monk, head brewer at another local Brewery The Welbeck Abbey Brewery.  There will always be the traditional brews out there but its fantastic to see some fresh flavours coming through for palates like mine. 

9. Sweet Chestnut Honey, Dukkah, Lapsang Souchong

Ok so these are just ingredients that I really hope become more popular in 2012!  I am a huge fan of Sweet Chestnut Honey and use it in stews, deserts, drizzles, dressings you name it.  Its a powerful flavour so use sparingly.  I’m particularly fond of it on toast with a thin layer of Marmite but hey, thats just me.  Dukkah is another underrated kitchen staple.  Its ridiculously easy to make and roasted new potatoes or bread dipped into your favourite oil then into a crunchy Dukkah dip can’t be beaten.  I love making my own and throw plenty of nuts and seeds into the grinder with the spices. If you can’t be bothered to make your own then check out Gourmet Spice Co for some ready made pots of their Pukka Dukkah. I have also been having a bit of a love affair with smoked tea.  Lapsang Souchong is a Chinese black tea that has been smoke-dried over pinewood therefore giving it an intense deep smokiness that is just wonderful in cooking.  A few strands make a world of difference to stews, spirits, deserts etc.  It really is worth spending the money on a good quality tea with thick strands.  A little goes a long way and stored in an airtight jar it lasts ages.

10 A few things I’d like to see the back of in 2012

Anything thats referred to as “deconstructed” on a menu. Keep the dish  but lose the name.

Restaurants pretending to love local, seasonal food but actually sneakily buying the vast majority in from abroad (a whole separate blog post coming soon, grrr).

Cupcake craziness (also Cakepops…why?).

People making restaurant reservations and then not bothering to turn up – wishful thinking to see the back of this one but Australian restaurants are making a Twitter stand against it by naming and shaming the offenders.

Sliders. I want my burger to be roughly half the size of my face thanks.  Keep mini-food to the canapé tray please.

Restaurants putting things on the plate that you can’t eat just for decoration.

So thats my 2 pennies worth of musings for 2012. I also think Dorset and Norfolk are going to be the really important food destinations outside of London in 2012 and people are going to be getting really heavily into home charcuterie. If you fancy trying your hand at it well I can’t recommend anyone better than Marc Frederic and his book  Le Charcutier Anglais. Overall I think its going to be an exciting year for food and drink.  Happy New Year! x

BBC Good Food Show Birmingham

A few images from Friday’s trip to the BBC Good Food Show – more to come

The Little Round Cake Company

Meat and Sweets

Gorgeous Sipsmith Gin and Vodka

The lovely karen from Samphire Shop and her gorgeous Pork Pies

Beautiful parmesan at the Slow Food stand

Edible Ornamentals gorgeous chillies

The School of Artisan Food stand