Tag Archives: Worcestershire

Keeping The Bun In The Oven!

Hello everyone. Sorry for the long delay in between posts. We spent a few days sorting out the house for Bump’s arrival, a few days in Cornwall and then I had a hospital stay. I go into more detail about my hospital stay on Jo’s Nursery for those who want more information. However, all you really need to know is that I have suffered a pregnancy related complication and have been told to take it easy for the rest of my pregnancy in case Bump decides to make an early appearance into the world.

This taking it easy not only affects my work (I am currently on sick leave and have been advised to start my maternity leave early too) but my blogging too. I love blogging and have got used to all the pressures that come with it including answering many emails and meeting PR deadlines. However, as I have now been told to take it easy, there is only one deadline that I am working too and that is my own. I would like to apologise to any PR’s who have sent me things to review who are waiting for the posts to go up. I have been sent lots of things recently and they will appear on the blog, just possibly not as quick as you may like.  I am also not travelling to any events unless they are very local to where I live as I need to get back to my local hospital asap if anything goes wrong again. I am going to the Ludlow Food Festival on Saturday for a Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up but this is the furthest I am going for the rest of my pregnancy. I am handing full control of Midlands Food Bloggers to Louise of Comida Y Vida until after I have had the baby and Saturday will be the last event I attend too.

I would like to thank you all for your continued support. I really appreciate it. I will be back with another post tomorrow as I have a recipe I really want to share with you.

Happy Cooking!:-)

Thank you all again

Jo and Bump x

Fresh From The Oven: Local Flour Challenge

This month’s Fresh From The Oven challenge was hosted by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours. She challenged us to bake something yeasted, using flour where you know either where it was grown or where it was milled. This was quite hard for me as a Google search for ‘flour mills West Midlands’ and ‘flour mills Worcestershire’ brought up an amazing selection of houses that I could buy that had been converted from flour mills. This was not very useful. Then I asked Tom of Loaf where he got his flour from which was Shipton Mill. I nearly brought some flour from there but it cost £5 to post 1 bag of flour. I was on the verge of giving up hope, when I remembered that a farm shop I pass on the way to and from work sold a selection of flours.Would any of it be local?

Unfortunately, Broomfield’s Farm Shop in  Holt Health, Worcestershire did not have any local flour. The most local I could find was from The Five Sailed Windmill in Alford, Lincolnshire. I ended up buying a bag of their white flour, hoping that Helen will forgive me as Alford is 140 miles from my house, knowing that I did support a local business by buying it from a local farm shop.

Stuart and I are both currently obsessed with The Great British Food Revival, a show shown on the BBC 2 on  Wednesday evenings. We loved the first episode with Michel Roux Jr making a sandwich bread loaf. I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to make it so I made it using the local (ish) flour and we had it for dinner with beef stew (recipe to follow soon in another post). This is the best and most easiest bread recipe ever. It was so quick to make. It was delicious warm and it tasted great the next day cold too. I will make this recipe again and again. I urge you all to try it.

Does anyone know of any working flour mills in the Midlands region?

Many thanks to Helen for hosting this month’s challenge.

Happy Cooking! :-)

Update: Since writing this post, I have discovered that there is a flour mill in Shropshire called Pimhill Farm that make wholemeal flour. I intend to try their products soon :-)

Jo Cooks: Go Green Week Cookery Demonstration

This is the second in my occasional series of video posts of me cooking in my kitchen. However, this time I am not in my kitchen. I am cooking in the food technology room at the University of Worcester. This was a special event for Go Green Week, a student action week to raise awareness of climate change. I told you about my then impending cookery demonstration here.  I made:

  • Local Vegetable Curry and Naan Bread
  • Roman style Vegetable Pizzas
  • Caramel Apple Meringues

The vegetables were kindly donated by Paul from Worcester Produce. The demonstration was filmed and edited by the wonderful Martin Duke. Thanks  to both of you for your help. It is much apperciated :-) You can download a PDF with my recipes on here: Cookery Demo Recipes Please note, you will need Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat to read and download the file.  I really enjoyed doing the demonstration and I hope the people who attended enjoyed it too. I hope you enjoy watching the video. Please let me know what you think. Below is a small selection of photos from the event.

Photo by Martin Duke

Happy Cooking! :-)

Go Green Week Cookery Demonstration

Next week is Go Green Week (7-14th February) which  is a student action week set up by People and Planet to raise awareness of climate change. This year’s theme is ‘Love Your Future, Love Your Climate’, as it falls so close to Valentine’s Day.  What does this have to do with food I hear you ask?

Well, it is estimated that halving your meat and dairy consumption could take 10% off each person’s Carbon footprint. (Source: People and Planet) To encourage  students to eat more local fruit and vegetables, I have been asked by the University of Worcester (where I work) to do a cookery demonstration to students and staff showing them what they cook with our fantastic local fruit and vegetables.

This has made me quite nervous as it is my first ever live solo cookery demonstration.  I do not have other people around me, like when I did the Masterchef Experience at the BBC Good Food Show here and here, and I do not have the ability to edit, like I did when I made my first cookery video a couple of weeks ago.  However, I have decided to give it ago and I will be making (with fruit and vegetables kindly supplied by Worcester Produce) the following:

  • Vegetable Curry and Naan Bread
  • Roman style Vegetable Pizzas
  • Caramel Apple Meringues

I am hoping that someone will be able to video the event for me so that you can all see the demonstration too.  I will be putting my recipes and pictures up as soon as I can after the event. If you would like to more information about what else the University of Worcester is doing to celebrate Go Green Week, please see here. If anyone has any tips for doing cookery demonstrations that would help a complete novice, it would be greatly apperciated.

Please do not forget that I am having a give-away of a Forman and Field hamper, which you can receive in time for Valentine’s Day. More information is here.

Happy Cooking! :-)

BBC Winter Good Food Show 2010 Part 2

After a cracking day out with fellow bloggers doing the Miele Masterchef Experience, I could not wait to get back to show on the Sunday and meet some amazing producers and I was not disappointed.

My first visit of the day was to Goodman’s Geese who produce free range geese and turkeys on their farm in Great Witley, Worcester. It is run by Judy Goodman, pictured above and their turkeys and geese have featured on many chef’s Christmas TV specials including Delia Smith, Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver. My turkey is coming from Goodman’s this year and I cannot wait to try it!

After this, I went to Gower Cottage Brownies which is run by Kate and she had won a Good Food Show Bursary Award, allowing her to come to show and let everyone know about her delicious brownies.  I already knew about Kate as she is on Twitter @gowercottage and I looking forward to trying her brownies. They are amazing. I will be ordering a box of brownies to be delivered to me soon.

Another producer who I knew from Twitter was at the show too. Sarah of Bray’s Cottage Pork Pies (@Brays_Cottage on Twitter) makes the best pork pies I have ever tasted. I am not a fan of pork pies generally but these are different. They have no jelly in them, meaning that free range pork that is packed into them shines through. The pastry is light, flaky and yummy. Bray’s Cottage make four flavours of pork pies which are; onion marmalade, chilli, chorizo and the traditional. I like the chilli and chorizo ones the best. Sarah was also at the show because she had won a Good Food Show Bursary Award.

As a massive fan of chorizo, I was very happy when I found The Bath Pig. It is run by Mash and Tim (who is not looking at the camera!) and they make British (to a Spanish recipe) RSPCA Freedom Food Standard free range chorizo. It is some of the best I have ever tasted and I am already dreaming up recipes to make with it. I brought the spicy chorizo but I would really love to try their garlic and herb chorizo too.

Tim Kinnaird was not only at the show doing the Masterchef experience. He was their selling his home-made macaroons.  Tim had four flavours which were lemon, rose, passion fruit and salted caramel. My favourites were the lemon and salted caramel ones. I had to eat lots to come to that decision. The macaroons were light, creamy and delicious. Tim has inspired me to have a go at making them at home in the New Year. Wish me luck!

Wandering around the show some more, I sampled some Worcestershire Plum ice cream from Churchfields Farmhouse. Another local producer who makes amazing ice cream using their own cow’s milk and local Worcestershire cream. I also found some British Cassis made by Jo Hilditch. It was lovely and I cannot wait until Christmas when I can try it in a Kir Royale. I saw Edd Kimber doing a demo on the British stage and afterwards went home after a very enjoyable weekend for a Crabbie’s Ginger Beer and a well earned rest.  This is just what I saw, tasted and did at the BBC Good Food Show, for fellow blogger’s viewpoints please look at the links below:

Happy Cooking! :-)

Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up: Sunday 19th September

I am the creator of the Midlands Food Bloggers group. You can find us on Facebook and the UK Food Bloggers Association. We are going to have our second meet up of 2010 on Sunday 19th September at the Urban Coffee Company in Birmingham at 1pm.  If you are a Midlands based food blogger, Midlands food producer or just generally interested in Midlands food, why not come along and meet some like minded people for coffee, cake and lots of chatting. Please email midsfoodbloggers@hotmail.co.uk if you can attend, have any questions or would like to know more about our group.

Look forward to seeing you all there!

Happy Cooking! :-)

My First Gourmet Life Event: Loire Valley Wine and Food Event at Brockencote Hall

A few posts ago, I told you about a scheme called Gourmet Life that allows you to support local producers and lets you save money on while you are doing it. Every so often, Gourmet Life hosts special foodie events at locations across the Midlands and Stuart and I were lucky enough to go to one such event last Thursday night.

This event was to celebrate Loire Valley wines which all came from one family, Domaine Cady from St. Aubin-de-Luigine. It was hosted by local esteemed food and wine writer, Philippe Boucheron at Brockencote Hall in Chaddesley Corbett, Worcestershire. All the wines that we drank were matched to a wonderful four course menu created by the head chef John Sherry.

When we arrived, we were greeted by Philippe who gave us a glass of Domaine Cady Crémant du Loire NV, which was a crisp and refreshing sparkling wine that tasted better than most champagne in my opinion. We tasted a few glasses of this, just to check it was lovely of course! After relaxing for a short time in the hotel lobby, we were invited to take our seats in the private dining room.

Once seated, we were given an Amuse Bouche of chilled pea soup with smoked olive oil, served in an espresso cup. I forgot to take a photo of this but I can tell you it was very yummy and was devoured by everyone on our table quite quickly. We were then served the wine to go with our first course which was, Domaine Cady Anjou Blanc 2008 which was a full bodied wine from the Chenin Blance grape. This was to accompany:

Crottin* de Chavignol Coulant Salade de Céleri branche, btterave et noix caramelisées

Or

Soft Centre of Chavigon goats cheese with a salad of celery, beetroot and caramelised walnuts

*Crottin is local slang for tiny black goat’s droppings

Stuart and I are not great fans of beetroot, walnuts or goats cheese so this dish was not exactly our favourite, however we felt the wine complimented the dish perfectly as it was strong enough to shine through the goat’s cheese. The next wine for the fish course was then brought out, which was Domaine Cady Anjou Blanc Cuvée Cheninsolite 2008 which is another Chenin Blanc from a single select hectare on the Domaine Cady estate. The wine was golden in colour with fruit aromas and hints of vanilla, which accompanied:

Lassagne d’ Araignée de Mer à la Truffle et Soupe d’ Asperges

Or

Spider Crab and Truffle Lasagne, Asparagus Soup

This dish was one of my favourites of the evening. It was a triumph. I have never tried spider crab before but in this dish, it was perfect. So light and full of flavour which the truffle and the asparagus soup complimented beautifully. The wine brought all the flavours together and let them all shine through on your palette. Two wines were then brought out to accompany the main course. The first and the cheaper of the two was, Domaine Cady Anjou Rouge 2007 and the second was Domaine Cady Anjou Villages 2006. Philippe wanted us to try both wines before the food and tell him which we thought was best and it was the second one. The first one was nice but not as smooth on the palette as the second one. These were to accompany:

Grenadin de Veau de Lait rôti et sa joue croquante

Galette de pomme de terre, petit legumes primeurs, créme de Morilles

Or

Roast Fillet of Veal, Crispy Cheek

Potato cake, young spring vegetables, Morille cream

This dish was fantastic. The veal was cooked perfectly and the veal cheek was incredible. I have never tasted anything so good. It crispy and crunchy yet soft and sweet in the middle. I could eat an entire KFC style boxful of these beauties. It was the surprise of the entire evening and I loved it. The wine choice also changed as well as the less expensive bottle of wine tasted better with the main than the more expensive one did. This is strange but it does show how much food can affect the way you taste wine. A dessert wine was then brought out to conclude our meal which was Domaine Cady Coteaux du Layon St. Aubin 2007 which was another wine from the Chenin Blanc grape. I am not very keen on dessert wines but thought that this one was quite good as it was not as sweet as some of the other dessert wines I have tasted previously. This was to accompany:

Tarte aux Poires et aux Amandes

Ave Glace au Roquefort, Gelée de Muscat Noir et Caramels Salés

Or

Pear and Almond Tarte Fine

With Roquefort Ice Cream, Black Muscat Jelly and Salted Caramel

I forgot to take a picture of the pudding as I think the vast quantities of wine that were going round had started to affect my head. Unfortunately, there were not too many things on this dessert that I liked. I loved the tart and the caramel. They were superb but I dislike blue cheese and I hoped that its flavour might be slightly muted as it was in the ice cream. However, it was not to be and the ice cream along with the harsh Muscat jelly took over everything else on the plate in my opinion. This was a shame as the other dishes were so good but I think Stuart and I were in the minority for disliking the dessert.

We had such a fabulous evening that I was even inspired to cook something from the meal at home over the Bank Holiday weekend. I decided to cook asparagus soup using some of the last of the current season’s asparagus. I roughly followed this recipe from Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver and it was delicious. It was not quite good as the one I had at the restaurant but still very tasty and it will be my lunch at work for the next few days.

I would like to thank Philippe, James, Alison and all the rest of team which made the evening a great success. I will definitely be going to another Gourmet Life soon and I really want to go back to Brockencote Hall for another meal too.

Until next time, Happy Cooking! :-)

Festive Foodie Fun!

Tis the season to be jolly! (and drunk, full to bursting and hungover the next day!) It is Christmas party/dinner season and I have four Christmas meals to attend this year. I am halfway through them now. Today, I would like to tell you about a Christmas meal that I had with my friends last weekend at The Fountain At Clent in Worcestershire. It is a place that I have been too many times and I have wanted to tell you all about it for ages.  It has won many awards for its food and drink and is featured in the Good Pub Guide.

When we arrived we were given the choice of having the fixed price (£25 per head) Christmas Fayre menu or choosing from the A La Carte menu. I decided to have the A La Carte menu has it offered more choice than the Christmas menu, which was the same thing but with less options to choose from. My friends split 50/50 with menu choices. However, it did not really matter as we had a fantastic time anyway.  Starters and puddings average around £6-£7 and mains were around £13-£17.

For the starter course, I had their homemade plant pot cooked granary bread split in half and covered in cheddar and mozzarella. It was delicious – creamy, crunchy, garlicky, and cheesy all at the same time. My only complaint about the whole meal was that this and my main were topped with cress of some sort as a garnish. It did not really add anything to either dish and should not of been there in my opinion.

My main course was a whole locally shot braised pheasant in a rich stock sauce with root vegetables and finished with port and cranberries. All mains are served with chips, potatoes of the day (it our case – potato dauphinoise) and a selected of five steamed vegetables (we had cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, peas, carrots and fine beans – I think)   It was first time I had ever tried pheasant and I very impressed. It was like chicken but had a much richer and deeper flavour. It was a massive portion though. It would have fed three people, not just one. It was one of the best dishes I have ever had. It was that yummy!

For pudding, I had warm compote of winter fruits which was a Kilner jar filled with the compote and it was accompanied by a raspberry cappuccino with a mint chocolate straw. It was the perfect combination of sweet and sour. I loved it, especially the presentation. Apologies for the photos, I was trying to take them quickly as I just wanted to dig in and eat the food! Overall, we had a lovely time at The Fountain and I urge you all to go and give it a try, especially if you are local to the Midlands. Please let me know in the comments if you have ever been there and want you thought. I welcome your opinions.

I will be back before Christmas with a post about the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham.

Happy Cooking! :-)