All posts filed under: Other Foodie Stuff

More freezer gems

Another food festival find was recovered from the bottom of my freezer this week. Creamy Black Truffle¬†sauce from The Sauce Queen. I usually make my own sauces (natch ūüôĄ) but was tempted to buy a couple of these after tasting samples at the food fair (you see, suppliers….it is worth offering free samples…..so bloody annoying when suppliers pitch up but resent giving a free taste of the product). There is still another lurking somewhere so I will need to dig it out. Anyway, the sauce seemed to have suffered no harm nestled in ice at the bottom of the freezer for 4 months and we had it with the husband’s “go to” supper, steak and chips with petit pois (the container also suggests the sauce can be poured ¬†over pasta). Let me just say that if you don’t like truffle then this sauce is not for you. I bunged ¬†a few saut√©ed mushrooms in the sauce thinking it might have just a hint of truffle and might need a bit of help. I was wrong. …

Unforgivably neglected Old Fashioned Puddings

Last Autumn we visited the Melton Mowbray Food Festival, one of the few food festivals in this region that is really worth the effort to visit and doesn’t charge you a small fortune for the privilege of traipsing around a few stalls by the usual suspects, many of them resentful at giving out free samples (I have a thing about this, dear reader). ¬†Anyway, we came home with bumper haul and some of it, inevitably, ended up in the freezer. Fast forward to last Sunday and a traditional family Sunday lunch. Having got up at the crack of dawn to get my pork shoulder in the oven to slow roast for 5 hours, I felt justified in not doing a pudding too and instead rooted around in the bottom of the freezer for the two Old Fashioned Pudding Company puddings I knew had been languishing there since September. The puddings (once defrosted) can be steamed (40 mins) or microwaved for 2 mins. I went with the 2 mins I’m afraid. They did look a bit …

Keeping hens and how to poach an egg…no really.

Keeping chickens is just so rewarding. They do tend to trash your garden (if they free-range as ours do) admittedly, and we do lose the odd one to the local foxes, but watching them scratching about, racing around at the sound of us opening the back door to see if ¬†some tasty snack is available (grapes and lettuce being enough to induce chicken hysteria) and bobbing up at the windows eyeing you curiously, adds such simple pleasure to the garden. And then there’s the eggs. You can’t beat your own fresh eggs. And while I’m on…..you¬†know all that “here’s a foolproof way to poach an egg” stuff you get on line? Poach it in cling film, buy a poaching pod or pan (which let me just say is coddling an egg not poaching it…) add vinegar, swirl the water, add some magic beans (I made that bit up obvs) that kind of thing? Well, here’s the truly foolproof way:- Walk to coop, take fresh egg (maybe still warm), boil pan of water, crack egg in, …

23rd January 1942, Cod a la Biscaienne

Today is Armistice Day so a good day, I thought, to share with you something we found amongst my Grandfather’s papers. It is a menu from the Troop Ship HMT Thysville, setting out Breakfast (love that the Oats are branded – not just any old oats!) Luncheon and Supper for Friday 23rd January 1942. On the back are lots of hand-written names, notes and messages, mostly in Afrikaans/Dutch.¬† I do not know where the ship was going, but do know that my grandfather served in the Military Policy and the Royal Artillary in Burma. Does anyone have any information on this ship? I would love to hear it. In the meantime I thought I would share this menu, I do wonder if this was for officers or all ranks, but have no idea. There are two courses – Brandade of Cod a la Biscaienne and Ragout of Mutton Printanier that I can find no on-line recipes for, if anyone can help with the ingredients for these I would be extremely grateful. Thank you.

Kiss-Me-Quick Hats, Rock, Chips, Donkey-rides? Nope, Artisan Cheese.

I love cheese and this weekend I discovered a new cheese. Well, it’s not that new, I know it won an award in 2012, but that is still pretty new as far as cheeses go and definitely new to me. It is local, made near the Lincolnshire Coast in a small village in East Lindsay –¬† Thorpe St Peter –¬† a stone’s throw from the very traditional British holiday resort of Skegness. Skegness is famous for many things – and for those of us who have grown up in the East Midlands or Yorkshire it has probably been one of our regular day-trip destinations since childhood (I have a photo of my Great Grandmother walking arm in arm along the front from 1931!) The long stretches of sand, the donkey-rides, the “Pleasure Beach”, winkles, cockles, buckets and spades, “Kiss-me -Quick” Hats, End of the Pier shows, sticks of rock, the Illuminations and hot chips burning your mouth on a breezy walk along the prom, bring back happy childhood memories for many of us in this …

Nottingham Goose Fair Gingerbread Cake (and the Trentside Cheese Riot of 1766)

Seasonal Fairs were traditionally an important means of selling and buying produce from the surrounding countryside, hiring workers for the coming season and for socialising and celebrating. Given that most roads were not much more than dirt tracks it was important that the fairs took place before the roads became muddy and impassable in the winter. Many towns had several fairs and we can see their roots in shows and fairs that still take place today – the Newark County Show held in May was originally a hiring fair for farmers to take on agricultural workers for the coming summer, and Nottingham’s Goose Fair still to this day takes place around Michaelmas, at the beginning of October. Nottingham’s Goose Fair is over 700 years old and is the oldest and largest travelling Fair in the country. It is now, of course, solely a fun fair but originally Geese were driven from Norfolk and Lincolnshire to Nottingham for sale. Geese are at their best at this time of year, and have always been the traditional dish …