Category Archives: Markets

Fresh Pretzels and a Walk in the Park

I got up very early this morning to go and take pictures of the beautiful hazy sunshine coming up over Bushy Park (near Hampton Court). It dawned on me that in my world 8am on a Saturday was early, but in reality, this seemed to be a normal waking time – there were about 50 cars in the car park and I was expecting to be the first there!

After a little walk in the park my boyfriend and I drove into Kingston, where we were to get breakfast, a few bits from the market and then straight home, before it got too busy. I remembered an interesting stall on the market a few weeks back and suggested pretzels for breakfast. Why Knot?

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Ludlow Food Festival 2011

The Ludlow Food Festival is probably one of the most successful regional food festivals in the UK. The organiser’s strict policy to ensure all exhibitors are from the Ludlow Marches area means you are sure to find genuine local produce and meet passionate artisans from the area. As suggested in my previous post, the passion for food that shines through in the town is what, I believe, makes the Ludlow Food Festival the huge success that it is.

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Ludlow – Around the Town During the Festival

Ludlow is a beautiful little foodie town on the Welsh borders in Shropshire. Just looking round the town makes you realise why the Ludlow Food Festival is so successful – there is obviously a lot of passion and commitment both from producers and the townsfolk that buy it. There are butchers, bakers and probably candlestick makers – so many independent shops, cafes and restaurants line the streets of Ludlow.

 

One of my favourites is Price and Sons, a craft bakery headed up by the very talented Peter Cook. They always come up with a new bread for the Food Festival’s popular bread trail, I particularly like their pear and perry sourdough loaf.

 

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Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival – Best Bits

Although the restaurants at Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival were awesome, I realised while writing this second post that what I liked most about it were the other bits! A mini farmers market, Mussel Men, giant fruit on forks, the WI, sparkly brownies, music, crumpets and strumpets!

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Easter Treats

Easter is a great opportunity to eat, drink and be merry – I have been back in North Norfolk (West Runton to be precise) staying with my sister and have certainly made the most of it this year. So, while I sip on a cup of tea and nibble on the ear of my chocolate bunny, I will recount some of the highlights…

My sister had been warned by her local council that she needed to clear her allotment and start using it, which is fair enough due to there being such a high demand for allotments these days. She has been focusing on fitting her new kitchen, so the allotment has taken a back seat over the past year. So Good Friday was spent turning her allotment from this:

To this wonderful, tidy allotment ready for planting fruit and vegetables for the year ahead:

Its a lovely place to be, with the sun so warm and view out over the North Sea. Obviously there were a few hot cross buns here and there and scampi and chips as a treat for lunch over in our local pub garden. I love the feeling of being really hungry after exhausting work – the food always seems to taste better too.

On Saturday my boyfriend and brother and law went fly fishing for trout. The lake was nearby to a lovely farm shop (Groveland) so I picked up some lovely meat from their butchery for a BBQ and spent a small fortune on bits and pieces from the farm shop too. The catch of the day was a 2.5 lb rainbow trout, which we put on the BBQ stuffed with lemon and onions.

While waiting for the boys to return my sister and I had some wonderful Norfolk asparagus, bought fresh from the farm shop, which we dry fried, sprinkled with sea salt and dipped into melted butter.

I rewarded the boys with some aptly named ‘Sunshiny Beer’ from the Norfolk Square Brewery, which was refreshing after their long day in the sun. I don’t like beer so much, so didn’t try it, but my boyfriend thought it tasted very malty, sweet with a slight hint of honey.

On Easter Sunday we invited over my Grandparents for a roast which we had planned to eat outside in the sun. Unfortunately the cruel North Sea decided to cast its cold foggy shadow over West Runton so we were forced inside, but it was lovely all the same. We had a huge roast chicken that my sister had bought recently at the Aylsham farmers market, with fresh vegetables, roast potatoes, cranberry sauce and some seriously good gravy.

I was on dessert duty and had been inspired by Raymond Blanc and his kitchen secrets to make meringues, so I made a huge Pavlova, some lime and lemon curd with the leftover yolks, whipped up some cream and then topped it with fresh raspberries. I must say it did impress and really tasted delicious.

The research and preparations…

I adapted a lemon curd recipe from an american website, as it was the first I saw that used the yolks of the eggs only. I had a mixture of lemons and limes so replaced some of the lemon zest and juice with limes. It was easy to make and really tart and creamy.

I used Raymond Blanc’s recipe for the Pavlova, which I think worked really well.

I whipped up some double cream and filled the hollow I had created in the centre of the meringue, crisscrossed the lemon and lime curd across the top (this could look neater if done using a piping bag) and then placed a raspberry onto each of the crosses. I was really pleased with the finished the result, and think it makes an easy (especially if you buy the meringue and curd!) and impressive summery dessert.

This last bit didn’t last too long!

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Raiding the Norfolk Farmers Markets

I am back in North Norfolk this weekend, which is where I grew up and regularly go back to visit family. My sister had planned a visit to her local farmers market in Aylsham, where she buys most of her meat for the month ahead and various other bits too. Obviously I tagged along, and also persuaded the rest of our party (the brother-in-law and my Dad) that it would be fun to visit the Creake Abbey market too.

We were all glad we made the effort as the North Creake market has really grown and improved since the last time we went about 5 years ago. I met some great new producers such as Crush Foods (rapeseed oil, pesto and dressings), Fielding Cottage (goats cheese) and Mr Kew’s Pies.

We bought a little more than we should but got some great stuff. So, back to London I will be taking racks of both mutton and lamb, some stewing mutton, some rare breed smoked bacon, smoked chipolatas, rapeseed oil and dressing, rosewater (from one of the great little shops in Creake Abbey), some posh pork scratchings and a little yellow soap duck. The picture below shows our haul – my sister’s prize buy was a giant (6kg!!) chicken that she will be roasting tomorrow with friends.

 

 

Tim Kinnaird was looking very happy (as always) and had a tempting stall full of macarons, marshmallows, brownies and delicate little cakes too. We couldn’t help but buy some salted caramel and violet and blackcurrant flavoured macarons which were delicious. I also discovered that Tim is thinking about selling his cakes at the BBC Good Food Show Summer which would be awesome!

 

I was delighted to find that Bray’s Cottage‘s famous ‘Crackle’ hadn’t yet sold out and that I had a chance to try all the posh pork scratching flavours too – Fennel and Juniper, Lemon and Pepper and Smoked Paprika and Rosemary. Really naughty but REALLY nice. The guys in the BBC Good Food Show office will be pleased on Monday with my souvenirs!

Let me know if you would like to know more about either the Aylsham or Creake Abbey Farmers Markets, or any of the produce or producers mentioned here.

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On Broadway

I took a trip out to the dirty east end of London at the weekend to explore Broadway Market, which has a brilliantly eclectic mix of shops, cafes and market stalls. I refer to this side of town fondly as the ‘dirty east end’, as it is so far from the conventional and clean streets of Northcote Road/ Hampton Court to which I have become used to. I couldn’t live there, but love being a tourist!

I was delighted to find the ‘DIY’ smoked salmon producer that I had read about in a recent article in the Observer Food Monthly magazine. I will go into more detail in another post (because it was truly AMAZING) but the picture below was such a great souvenir from the market visit that I had to include it here.

Lunch was a delicious mushroom sandwich from Spore Boys, which is made using a mix of fresh mushrooms fried in garlic and salted butter then topped with fresh parsley, olive oil and pecorino cheese all sandwiched between fresh sourdough bread.  You can also buy all sorts of mushrooms from this stall which are displayed beautifully!

The Polish Deli had a lovely looking stand with all sorts of polish charcuterie, hot pastries and some very interesting mushroom lard!

Italian artisan meats and Cheeses…

There were even ducks to feed to complete the day out…


Of course there is much more to see than I have listed here. Definitely worth a visit, but for a glimpse of what the market has to offer take a look at their website.

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