All posts tagged: cheese

Visiting the glorious Welbeck Estate (in inappropriate footwear).

The beautiful Welbeck Estate nestled in Sherwood Forest is in the heart of the ancient royal hunting grounds – the Dukeries. Welbeck Abbey was founded in 1153 and when dissolved, the Estate became the home of the Dukes of Portland and it continues to be privately owned to this day. Apart from the beautiful natural setting and the stunning buildings it is perhaps best known for the labyrinth of underground tunnels and rooms (including a ballroom!) constructed by the 5th Duke and for its time leased to the MOD for an army training college until 2005. It is once again lived in by members of the extended family who have transformed it into a thriving working Estate which provides inspiring, creative spaces for artisan food businesses, education and the arts. Although the house is private there is much to see to in the open parts of the estate and I was invited along to meet some of the fantastic artisan food businesses which operate out of Welbeck and to visit the Farm Shop. As well …

Does this crumble look cooked to you?

Oh my word it has been a long time since I was here. Things have been so hectic this last 3 months. Not the least of which is that the Fishwife’s team expanded to include a puppy. This, I have now remembered, is not all cuteness and stolen toilet rolls. Nope, it is also sleepless nights, chewed chairs, ripped curtains and full-on attention seeking. These facts, long forgotten since my last dog, are exacerbated by the fact that the Fishwife’s pup is a Vizsla (known as Velcro dogs for very good reason). Anyway, I have managed to  discover a few gems over this time, and there has been one rather unfortunate pub Sunday lunch. I know, I know, as someone tweeted me recently, I never learn. To be fair, on this occasion, the pub in question had asked me to come along and try their Sunday Lunch as the new owners of said pub had been trying very hard to get the food right and wanted some feedback. So being rather a game bird, I …

Living on the edge, and at my age as well – Raw Milk

Just when you think there is nothing much new under the sun, you discover there is. Well, not new exactly, but you get my drift. I grew up in rural Lincolnshire but, unlike just about everyone who has since contacted me about this, I don’t think I ever drank raw (unpasteurised) milk. I can recall an old fella that used to cycle to the dairy farm every morning with a small metal churn hanging from his handlebars – I now realise what he was up to. I had of course had sterilised milk – which still makes me think nostalgically of early package holidays – you’re still hard pushed to get fresh pasteurised milk in most of southern Europe, but it has taken a fair few years ( I won’t say how many) for the moment to arrive when I finally got to try raw milk. Raw milk is not, of course, without controversy. It cannot be sold in shops or supermarkets, but only at the “farmgate” direct to the consumer by the dairy that …

Newark Show “Cut and Butter” Cake

It is told that the illustrious, and slightly scary sounding, Nottinghamshire Women’s Institute Catering Committee devised this fruit loaf for the Notts County Show held at the Newark Showground every May. I don’t have any dates for this recipe, it appears in Angela Greary’s 1994 local recipes book and follows a similar fruitcake recipe from Southwell, dated 1890. However, it is clearly a very traditional and, indeed, a very simple recipe. Given the array of food choices and exotic street food that characterise so many shows and festivals nowadays (not that I am complaining, you understand 😊)  it is nice to think that such a simple and traditional tea loaf was the talk of the show. Apparently it was sold in the refreshment tent, sliced and buttered (hence the name) and was always a popular choice. This recipe (in post-Brexit Imperial measures, I’m afraid)  makes two solid loaves or cakes (put one in the freezer or store in an airtight tin). Ingredients  1 and a half lbs mixed dried fruit, 3/4 pint hot tea (or …

Borough Market – I know, I am such an old romantic

I’ve not met anyone that doesn’t love London’s Borough Market. It’s not just the fabulous range of fresh produce, meat, seafood, products, herbs, spices, bread and street food, it’s the atmosphere it evokes. Like much of London, its history colours your sense of the present. I defy anyone to walk towards the Market nestled under the iron girders of the  railway bridge above and not find themselves cast back to any number of films, novels and exhibitions that describe the sights, sounds and smells of historic London. You feel you are walking in the footsteps of thousands of others stretching back hundreds of years who have come to this place to meet and to trade. And indeed you are, the market is believed to go back possibly as much as a 1000 years. It is situated at one end of London Bridge, for centuries the only route over the river and believed to have been built originally by the Romans (which then became a strategic defence against the marauding Vikings as they sailed up the …

Meatballs or….meatballs?

We ate at this quirky little cafe and deli on the High Road in Beeston recently. Odin’s table is a new venture by a couple, one Swedish, one English who previously worked in IT. It had only been open a week when we stopped by, so still very much finding its feet. Having lived in Finland for several years, I was keen to try out a bit of Scandinavian food as (apart from Ikea…) there aren’t many opportunities to do so locally. The couple make all their own cakes and bread and meatballs. I love meatballs – and these were particularly delicious – and they were pretty much the only hot item on the menu. You could have the option of a bowl of 5 or 10 hot meatballs with Lingonberry or cold meatballs with bread or a beetroot salad, or an option for bread with Swedish Cheese, and then they had a range of Scandinavia cakes and bakes (and some vegan sausage options). I think you might say it is a fairly paired down …

A rather lovely day, eating and drinking at Nottingham Castle

I should be a total Food Festival fanatic, and indeed I probably am. Certainly, the daughter rolls her eyes to the heavens whenever we are about to plan a weekend foray to one. Well, actually, I don’t think I am fanatical about anything, but I do, or rather did, rather enjoy festivals. So many have sprung up over recent years though, and I have suffered so many expensive disappointments that I am much more discerning about where I will go and what I am prepared to pay. It is simply not good enough to charge people entry, and/or charge them to park their cars (in places where there is no alternative means of getting there) and then present them with a handful of pickle sellers and someone making 3D cards.    However, the Nottingham Festival of Food and Drink has joined the likes of the Melton Mowbray Food Festival in the “yes this is well worth a visit category”. So we headed over to the Castle on what promised to be (and eventually became) a …

A little bit of La Dolce Vita

So we were doing a bit of a pub crawl last Saturday…well, I exaggerate a little,…well quite a lot really. We had a couple of cocktails at the lovely Loom in the city’s Creative Quarter and then schlepped over the road to Veeno for a glass or two before dinner. Veeno’s is a pretty simple idea. Think holidays in Tuscany. There you go. Italian wine and nibbles. That’s it really. Veeno is a small “group” of restaurants, supplied by the founders’ own vineyard in Sicily and celebrates the Italian “aperitive” culture with a selecton of wines and typical Italian small dishes to accompany them. We got to Veeno at about 5 ish on a grey, damp Saturday afternoon in the English Midlands. It didn’t feel like Tuscany, still less Portofino, so this place had its work cut out to deliver a Mediterranean vibe. We were greeted by a fab and enthusiastic lady Front of House, who warned us this was not a place for dinner – explained the “offer” and showed us to the rear of …

Food Festival Porn in Melton Mowbray

As you know, I love a good food festival. The trouble is, so few of them are, in fact, any good. Almost every weekend there is a food festival somewhere, I don’t mean Farmer’s Markets or Food Markets, but events described as “food festivals” and usually held in some rather nice location, an old Market Square, a stately home, a country park, a lakeside location. Each one that appears on my social media, lures me in with promises of artisan foods and new foodie treats. I find it hard to resist, and I have been to loads. A lot of them are, though, pretty rubbish. I know it takes time for things to become established, for audiences to build up and for traders to think it worth their while, but still, Food Festivals that charge £6, £8 per head before you can enter to spend more money, and/or are in the middle of nowhere (petrol money, bus fares) and only have 6/7 stalls with traders who resent giving out samples, really, really annoy me. You …