Category Archives: Producers

The life changing years…

Life has moved incredibly quickly over the past few years… and has changed entirely! To get you up to speed:

March 2013 – move out of London to North Norfolk for a life by the sea.

April 2013 – set up new business Fabulous Food Finds.

June 2014 – buy first house in Sheringham, North Norfolk (how bloody stressful is house buying?! We didn’t even have one to sell!).

June 2014 – think there’s something wrong with the water in the new house (I LOVE tea, how could it taste so awful?!).

June 2014 – find out there’s nothing wrong with water in new house – it’s a surprise baby in my belly messing with my taste buds!

February 2015 – Lottie was born!

June 2015 – WHAT?! Can’t be pregnant again can I?! Surely that’s not possible?

March 2016 – Alfie was born!

April 2016 – poor Alfie not at all well, 5 days of tests at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital then blue lights to Addenbrookes after finding a lump in his bowel. Open bowel surgery a big success… one week of recovery, wait for results of biopsy.

May 2016 – 5 weeks after operation discover it was a very rare form of cancer for poor Alfie. Scary times but they think it’s unlikely to recur and so far has not.

October 2016 – back to work on BBC Good Food Shows and developing Fabulous Food Finds.

 

Now (July 2017) – I have a very talkative, bossy, beautiful 2-year-old and a hilarious, handsome blonde boy who follows his big sister around everywhere. It’s a struggle to juggle everyday but we have lots of laughs and fun and all love living by the sea. I’m hoping for the ‘busy but happy’ years to follow…

I’ll be sharing more about my crazy busy seaside life in upcoming posts which I hope you’ll enjoy!

 

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BBC Good Food Show Bursary Award Winners 2015/16

After a lovely few months off with my new daughter Lottie I’m slowly getting back into the wonderful world of food… I have to admit, my culinary escapades have been few and far between since she was born! However, over the past few months I’ve been preparing for the BBC Good Food Shows that are currently taking place in Glasgow (last week), London (on now!) and in Birmingham on the 26th November – they are as incredible as always!

I’ve discovered some amazing small producers while managing the BBC Good Food Show Producers Bursary Awards this year – take a peek at pictures from the tasting day and see all the 2015/2016 winners below:

Tasting at Good Food Test Kitchens     Tasting at Good Food Test Kitchens

Tasting at Good Food Test KitchensTasting at Good Food Test Kitchens

BBC Good Food Show Scotland, Glasgow SECC 6 – 8 November 2015

  • Aye Love Real Food (Kilwinning, North Ayrshire) – Handmade scotch eggs and sausage rolls
  • Plant and Grow (Edinburgh) – Seed packs to easily grow vegetables, herbs and edible flowers
  • Poporopo Amaizing Popcorn (Stirling) – Gourmet popcorn using local ingredients
  • Tiphereth Trading (Edinburgh) – Social enterprise producing preserves and chutney

BBC Good Food Show London, Kensington Olympia, 13 – 15 November 2015

  • Canesmith & Co (Huntingdon,  Camridgeshire) – Ex city worker turned gourmet sweet maker, range includes soy and sesame caramel
  • Liberty Fields (Halstock, Dorset) – Apple aperitif and balsamic vinegar
  • Somerset Charcuterie (Wrington, Somerset) – Artisan charcuterie including goat, seasonal and local specials
  • The London Marshmallow Company (London) – Gourmet marshmallows inspired by London locations
  • The Urban Cordial Company (Edgeware, London) – Cordials hand-made from foraged and locally sourced fruits and herbs
  • Vicky’s Donuts (London) – Fresh handmade donuts in Hackney, specialises in raised donuts with a variety of toppings and fillings

BBC Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham NEC, 26 – 29 November 2015

  • Berry Da (Gwynedd, Wales) – Range of products made with unique Aronia berries
  • Eponine (Wirral, Merseyside) – Luxury artisan chocolate, confectionery and patisserie
  • Ogilvy Vodka (Angus, Scotland) – Potato farmers turned distillers, making award winning vodka from Maris Piper potatoes
  • Sedgewicks Charcuterie (Toseland, Cambridgeshire) – Mouth-watering selection of charcuterie made on their small-holding in Cambridgeshire
  • Spice Kitchen (Birmingham) – Spice masters creating blends from across the world, chai tea and mulling spices
  • Tipple Tails  (Sheffield, South Yorkshire) – Fruit cakes in a range of flavours and steeped in artisan speciality liqueurs

BBC Good Food Show Spring, Harrogate HIC, 8 – 10 April 2016

  • Amos & Toms Popcorn (Driffield, East Yorkshire) Gourmet popcorn makers
  • Patrick Macarons & Patisserie (Anlaby, East Riding of Yorkshire) Former builder turned ‘macaron man’ making macarons, patisserie and confectionery
  • Sweeteatie Artisan Caramels (Wigan, Lancashire) – Handmade caramel using unusual, natural flavours
  • Wooha Brewing (Nairn, Scotland) – range of bottle conditioned ales and lagers with no force carbonation, filtration or Isinglass

BBC Good Food Show Summer, Birmingham NEC, 16 – 19 June 2016

  • Popcorn Shed (London) – Gourtmet popcorn
  • Sauce Shop (Nottingham) – Range of sauces and condiments
  • Zantiago  (Chalfont St.Peter, Buckinghamshire) – Authentic Spanish tortilla kits
  • Gwynnes Ice Cream (Swansea, Wales) – Handmade ice cream

I hope you’ll be able to visit these fabulous producers at one of the BBC Good Food Shows!

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Show Time!

This past year or so has been a bit of a whirlwind… a move from London to North Norfolk, buying my first house and becoming pregnant with my first baby! So excuse the lack of blog posts – I hope my twittering has kept you up to date with my food finding activities!

So… I’m now in the midst of the busy but brilliant ‘show time’, where the BBC Good Food Shows comes to life in Scotland, London and Birmingham. While at the shows I look after the Producers Bursary Award winners, the BBC Good Food Champions area and also get involved in other fun bits like interviewing celebrity chefs in the VIP lounge and the show’s official blogging community too.

I first visited a BBC Good Food Show back in 2006 and after visiting I wanted so much to work on the shows! So the following year there I was at my first BBC Good Food Show in London, so the show taking place this week at Olympia is very close to my heart.

If you’re visiting any of the shows I hope you have an amazing time, if not there’s still time to book tickets to the London and NEC Shows! Hope to see you there! Keep up to date with show news by following me on twitter – @katytruss

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Food Find of the Week – Isle of Skye Sea Salt

I have to admit to being a huge salt fan, always yearning for a saltier salted caramel… so I was delighted to discover a new producer of sea salt – Isle of Sky Sea Salt.

With the purest Scottish water taken from Loch Snizort on the Isle of Skye, the sun (when it shines!) dries the sea water into delicious irregular salt crystals. Available in fine (great for sprinkling) or premium crystals (perfect for grinders) the salt comes in a beautiful card tube with subtle tartan design, almost like a mini fine whisky tube.

Isle of Skye Sea Salt

The texture is somewhere between the lighter flakes of Maldon Sea Salt and the harder rocks of Cornish Sea Salt. We taste tested against Maldon and found it had a slightly more tangy saltiness to it. Our fish and chips were the perfect vessel to test!

Isle of Skye Salt Crystals

Isle of Skye Salt Crystals

Only available in limited quantities this truly is a rare, artisan food find. Recently confirmed as a BBC Good Food Champion for the Scotland BBC Good Food Show – let’s hope we’ll be able to buy their salt there!

Don’t forget to take a look at my new website www.fabulousfoodfinds.co.uk where you can find this and other producers in my Food Find Directory.

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Show Preview – BBC Good Food Show Scotland 18 – 20 Oct

I’ve been super busy preparing for this year’s BBC Good Food Show Scotland, which takes place this weekend (18 – 20 October) at Glasgow’s SECC. After a radio interview last week, where I talked through all the things I was looking forward to at the show, I’m so excited about seeing it all come together.

Show Team

Last year was brilliant, you can see from our happy faces in the picture above! Here is a quick run through of some of the fabulous things you’ll find at this year’s show!

Good Food Show Champions – this is my hand-picked selection of producers that I think deserve to be noticed! From Spencerfield Spirits with their top 50 best food product in the country (elderflower gin) to The Brownie Bar’s amazing range of brownies, hunks of parmesan from Emilia and Christmas turkeys and rolls/ cobs/ baps from Kelly Turkey Farms there’s a great range of delicious treats to be found!

Producers Bursary Award Winners – don’t miss this amazing selection of producers: The Little Herb Farm, St Andrews Brewing Company, The Wee Pie Company and The Wee Tea Company. They’ve all won an award based on excellent products to attend the show – give them support by trying and buying their fantastic produce!

Book Signing – I’ve helped manage the queues for big celebrities in the past (Nigella Lawson is the most beautiful person in real life and Gordon Ramsay made me blush!) but W H Smith have this set up brilliantly (Sadly no need for my help anymore!). If you want your book signed I’d suggest getting there early, or at least ask the staff to find out how it all works.

Supertheatre – every advance ticket holder gets a free seat in this amazing theatre, where the top chefs entertain by cooking live. I think the mistakes are the best bits, so keep a close eye – they don’t have editors to hide behind when it’s live!!

Love Food Hate Waste Theatre – a great line up on this theatre with demonstrations of recipes aimed at using up leftovers and reducing waste.

Good Food Kitchen – delicious dishes from the Good Food recipe collection, it’s where I’ll be having my lunch and breakfasts!

Scotland Regional Village – lots of producers from across the regions of Scotland. Don’t miss Crystal’s Shortbread (oh it melts in the mouth!) and Ramsay of Carluke’s range of meat (amazing bacon, haggis and black pudding!).

Great British Bake Off Village – a small selection of baking accessories, baked goods and anything else baking related! Say hello to Mo from Mo’s Cookie Dough who launched her business at the show last year.

Many, many more fabulous food and drink producers, gadgets, kitchen equipment, bigger brands with samples, etc, etc… Bring cash as there’s lots to buy to fill your cupboards and stock up for Christmas too.

Gosh – isn’t there a lot to look forward to! If you haven’t got your tickets yet you can save 15% right up until Sunday with my discount code (KT15) either online or by phone. I hope to see some of you there!

Oh, and if you’d rather attend the Birmingham Show at the NEC you can save 20% until the 29th October using code KT20!

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Macarons and More – Tim Kinnaird’s Beautiful Shop

You might remember the brilliant Tim Kinnaird from MasterChef a few years back? The one with Tim, Alex and Dhruv Baker in the final three and Dhruv ended up winning? Well, after the show, Tim went on to develop his own patisserie business, Macarons & More and recently realised his dream by opening his very own shop, by the same name, in the Royal Arcade, right in the centre of the fine city of Norwich.

Shop Front

Macarons

In addition to the fabulous selection of macarons you will find the ‘more’ which certainly exceeds expectations! You’ll find flavoured marshmallows, meringues, pastries, bread, amazing brownies, hot chocolate, nut brittle and lots more! You can also buy a fantastic coffee or tea to drink in or take away to compliment your sweet goods.

Marshmallows

I dare you to resist the gold and silver brownies…

Brownies

Artisan bread comes from a brilliant local baker.

Breads

The shop displays and windows are beautiful, inspirational and made to make your mouth water!

Macarons and More Window

Favours

Window Display

My selection of macarons were the perfect chewy texture, full of flavour and gorgeous to look at. After much deliberation I went for peanut butter and jam which is a classic combination but utterly perfect in a macaron, salted caramel which was buttery, creamy and slightly salty and cappuccino which had a great coffee kick to it.

Macarons

If you can’t get yourself to Norwich, you can buy online or find Tim’s Macarons & More at the BBC Good Food Show Winter 2013, handily overlooking the MasterChef theatre!

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Award Winning Black Pudding from The Fruit Pig Company

I love black pudding, so when I heard about a local producer winning a rather special award from the French for his fresh blood black pudding, I couldn’t help but find out more. What is Matt Cockin’s The Fruit Pig Company doing so well to win a coveted award from the French? I asked if I could pay him a visit and learn some secrets behind his success, and he was delighted to accept!

Matt Cockin

Matt Cockin sources his pigs from local farms and small holdings that he knows and trusts. I was lucky enough to visit one of the small holdings which is located just outside Wisbech (on the borders of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire) and had a great time with the pigs and getting out in the fresh air!

Now, these pictures are pretty cute, so please do bear in mind that these lovely pigs live a great life and the reality is that they wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the demand of us meat-loving humans wanting to eat them. It’s also important to understand and appreciate that meat was once a live animal and we should all try to buy the best standard of meat we can afford, or perhaps cut down rather than buying lots of cheap, unethically reared meat.

The farm (or I should probably say small holding) owner loves his pigs, and you can tell that they live happy and fulfilling lives.

Matt really knows his pigs but has chosen to stick to what he does best with the butchery and charcuterie making – all the better for us I say!

Matt warned me that his unit probably wouldn’t live up to my expectations of a traditional wooden shack or cottage out in the country – instead I found a functional, spotlessly clean unit in a business park, which ticks all the boxes for what Matt needs to make his delicious black pudding, sausages and other meaty goods.

Most black pudding producers in the UK use dried blood to make their black puddings. It is rare to find a producer using fresh blood, which takes a lot more effort to do. Marc Frederic, a well respected British Charcutier, is an advocate of using fresh blood in black pudding. In fact, when Matt was experimenting with recipes he asked Marc for his opinion – Marc wouldn’t even taste a dried blood version!

So now it gets a little gruesome… but what did you expect from a post about blood pudding?! Matt has to be super quick to collect the blood from his slaughtered pigs – if he’s too late, the blood starts to coagulate and clot, like our own blood would. As soon as possible he must add the oats, so has a great system for doing this (no secrets given away here!) but he does have to get up ridiculously early to do it! It makes him realise why so many producers take the easy option and use dried blood!

By the time I reached the unit, the oats and blood had already been mixed, but the colour was still shockingly vibrant.

Fresh Blood Mix

So, aside from the obviously good fresh blood, what were Matt’s secrets to the success of his award-winning black pudding? Unfortunately somethings have to be kept exactly that – secrets! Matt mixed his added ingredients before I arrived so I couldn’t tell what was in there – clever man! I did take a good snoop at all the ingredients on his shelves though…

Secret Spices

Secret Ingredients

Oatmeal is a key ingredient in their black puddings – as with all blood puddings there needs to be a binding agent, which is usually some kind of grain like barley or rice but in England oats are usually used.

Oatmeal

Fat is also added to the black pudding, which Matt melts down to give an even consistency to the pudding.

Mincing Fat

The mixture is stuffed into black skins and then placed in a water oven to cook through. I didn’t know, but black pudding is actually cooked when you buy it, so all it needs is a warm through, and for me a little bit of crispness!

Black Puddings

The Fruit Pig Company’s black pudding has a flavour and texture that is definitely worth the extra effort that Matt puts in. It almost has a creaminess to it, which adds to the rich, meaty flavour and crumbly texture.

Black Pudding

Every year in the old French market town Morgagne-au-Perche, over 600 black puddings from across the globe are judged by the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Pudding. The festival runs over 3 days with the aim of uncovering the very best black puddings in the world. Matt did England proud by bringing back a silver medal – congratulations!

The Fruit Pig Company don’t only do black pudding… they also have a delicious range of flavoured sausages, bacon, meat joints and other charcuterie items too. I asked whether he was doing anything about the pulled pork trend – of course! Matt opened up an upright smoker and lo and behold shelves full of pork joints smoking ready to be sent out to chefs for pulled pork!

Pulled Pork Shoulders Smoking

I think it’s important to support producers that make this kind of effort with their produce – The Fruit Pig Company work hard to produce a quality product and deserve our attention and custom. Luckily if you aren’t local enough to visit the Creake Abbey or Kings Lynn farmers markets then you can buy online from their online butchery.

If you are keen to find out more about black pudding, and the festival organised by the Knights of the Black Pudding, listen to the brilliant Radio 4 Food Programme on the subject.

If you’d like to see more pictures from my farm visit – take a look at my Flickr page.

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