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As I mentioned previously last weekend we headed down south to Hereford for a friend’s wedding. On our journey home we decided to take a leisurely trip stopping off at food place along the way. We didn’t really have a plan, just to see what we found.
The first place we came across we whizzed past, which is funny because it’s such a huge blot on the landscape it’s hard to miss! In the midst of countryside as you head out of Hereford you come across a HUGE ‘barn’, if it can be called that, which reads ‘Oakchurch – farm shop’.
We entered this building with some apprehension and were greeted by what I would describe a confused food-cum-home-cum-DIY-mega….something-or-other! It’s identity to me was unclear, it was utterly bewildering. Imagine a farm shop supermarket and that’s part of the way there.
There was a huge meat section, cheeses and produce – all local the labels told us; there were wines, beers and a selection of local cider and perry; there was a whole section dedicated to homewares (china plates and mugs, jam jars, bread boards, baskets, and every baking item under the sun).
We came away with a small bottle of local perry and a couple of packets of greaseproof bags (ideal for wrapping up edible Christmas goodies). After visiting a friend of mine we crossed the River Wyre at a toll where the lady collecting money looked like she should have sold us some eggs and home produced honey as well as our crossing!
From there we travelled via Eardisley and pulled in at the last minute to a natural cider and perry producer called The Orgasmic Cider Company – who couldn’t resist but stop at somewhere with a name like that?! A friendly man told us about their different types of cider’s and perry’s and we tried some before buying a bottle to take home.
Our next foodie stop was Monkland Cheese Dairy - here we found a small shop and cafe selling homemade cheese, and a selection of preserves, chutney, bread and other local goodies. We tried some of their different cheese and settled on their Oak Smoked for Mr Rigg and their Garlic & Chive for me.
The last place we visited was the Ludlow Food Centre, the one place I had planned to visit in advance. The food centre is a large red brick and black timber clad new build that is light and airy inside. It was bustling with people and on entering we were greeted by buckets of gorgeous locally grown bouquets, and local fruits including Victoria plums.
There was lots of local produce to choose from with pumpkins and squashes, purple beans, and sweetcorn. There were modest meat, cheese and deli counters. There were some delicious looking breads (even bread shaped like a tiny teddy bear!) and all the normal store cupboard items.
We bought some sourdough bread sprinkled with poppy seeds, sweetcorn, Victoria plums, a bunch of local flowers, the first of the Hereford apples, two types of sausage and streaky bacon (at least that’s all I can remember!).
For lunch we ate in their Conservatory Barn Cafe – cheese and chutney sandwiches and a sausage roll for Mr Rigg, and for me roasted red pepper soup. It was nice if slightly uninspiring food, but it tasted good. I was very tempted by their ‘award winning’ Victoria sponge cake, but I resisted knowing that we had a tupperware of homemade chocolate cake in the car.
Today for lunch we had our first sweetcorn of the year. After stripping away the leaves and feathery bits, I popped the sweetcorn into boiling water (not salted I read) and cooked them for about 5 and a half minutes.
The corn was drained and then I added a generous knob of goat’s butter to the pan, popped the lid on then gave it a gentle shake to melt the butter and coat the corn.
Finally all that was needed was a good sprinkle of sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. This is my absolute favourite way to eat corn on the cob – it brings back so many good childhood memories. If I can find enough good quality locally grown sweetcorn the plan is to eat as much of it as possible (just like asparagus when it’s in season).
We have just had a day away in Hereford for a wedding, and visited some interesting foodie places along the way – I shall try and get something up soon about where we went. Oh, and our camera is on the blink…which is not good news!
Today as part of our holiday at home, Mr Rigg, Buddy and I drove up into Lancashire for a day of walking and eating. It was a fantastic sunny day (which is was a welcome surprise!) and we started with a long walk from Hurst Green. We followed a Tolkien-inspired trail which can be downloaded here.
It was a lovely walk, which took us through lush fields of cows, past the turrets and observatory of Stoneyhurst College, down into damp woods with mossy streams, past fields of sweetcorn and rushing rivers.
There were lots of cute calves like these ones…
And this sweet one!
Buddy – who it seems has never seen a stream before – slowly built up enough confidence to paddle.
This walk takes you through a landscape that it said to have inspired Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books and you can definitely seem glimpses as you pass through this countryside. I am a huge fan of the books so it was exciting to do this walk!
After our long hot walk we rewarded ourselves with lunch at The Three Fishes – one of Nigel Howarth’s country pub’s.
We have eaten at The Highwayman Inn up near Kirkby Lonsdale which we really enjoyed – I had a ploughman’s platter with scrumptious piccalilli - so it was easy to decide where to eat on our day out. Plus there is a huge emphasis on local and seasonal food.
We sat at a table outside so that Buddy could sit with us. I drank a cool chocolate milkshake and Mr Rigg a pint of ale whilst we waited for our food. Chocolate milkshake takes me back to my childhood and I still love ordering it now.
To start Mr Rigg had Three Fishes Fish Soup, Wicked Mayonnaise, Butlers Tasty Lancashire Cheese, and Garlic Croutons.
The soup was rich and fishy with a good kick of spice, the Lancashire cheese was crumbled and served in a tiny terracotta pot, and the ‘wicked mayonnaise’ was blushed red with flecks of fresh chilli.
I chose a dish from their seasonal menu which was a Salad of Cracked Wheat, Sweet & Sour Bank’s Tomatoes, Broad Beans, Garden Peas and a Yoghurt & Cucumber Dressing.
I wish I could eat this salad everyday for lunch – it was so delicious. The salad of cracked wheat, broad beans and garden peas was studded with fresh herbs and red onion, and topped with cherry tomatoes that had been cooked just until bursting. Then drizzled round the edge was this cooling dressing of yoghurt and cucumber.
Mr Rigg’s main was from the seasonal menu – Gazegill Farm Organic Sandy Oxford Black Pork Faggots, Girolle Mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potato, Broad Beans and Garden Peas.
Neither of us had tried faggots before but Mr Rigg enjoyed them and the tiny morsel that I tried was delicious, but probably an acquired taste – very different in texture and flavour to something similar in shape like a meatball or burger. Mr Rigg said it was coarser and a stronger flavour like that of liver. It’s always nice to try something a bit different.
And for my main I pigged out with an Elmwood Platter of Local Seafood which included: Port of Lancaster Beech & Juniper Smoked Salmon, Lancaster Smoked Kipper, Hot Smoked Trout, Potted Morecambe Bay Shrimps, Smoked Mackerel Pâté, Picked Cucumber, Beetroot Relish, Horseradish Cream, and Homemade Bread.
The smoked salmon with speckled with tiny capers and shreds of red onion, the potted shrimp fragrant and warm, the smoked trout went deliciously with the sweet earthy beetroot relish, and the pickled cucumber cut through all those flavours of fish.
The smoked mackerel pâté was light like a mousse, a tiny mouthful on a toasted circle of bread, topped with micro herbs.
I have never tried kippers before, and although it is a very strong flavour and perhaps not something I would order on its own, as part of a platter like this it was delicious.
We had initially planned to stop eating here…but I was too tempted by Raspberry Jelly with Vanilla Ice Cream…
…and Mr Rigg easily gave into the lure of homemade Milk Chocolate Chip and Marshmallow Ice Cream with chocolate sauce. Not a good shot of the ice cream, Mr Rigg was very protective after I nabbed the first mouthful which got me in a lot of trouble…
Both were absolutely delicious.
Our lunch was finished off with a glimpse of Nigel Haworth himself who arrived at the pub just before we left. If you’re in Lancashire, do make sure you stop at one of Nigel’s country pubs – we can certainly recommend the food from both The Three Fishes and The Highwayman!
I’m not one for putting photos of myself on here, but I love this picture of Buddy and I out on our walk…
A Local Kitchen is a fabulous food blog with lashings of great recipes and lots of local food info for those living in New York’s Hudson Valley. So I might live a million miles away from Kaela’s local food haven, but I share her love for local and regional food.
At the moment it is a treasure trove of recipes for chutneys, preserves and vinegars – to name but a few! This recipe for Roasted Tomato and Chipotle Salsa sounds divine.
Image: A Local Kitchen
The Wednesday Chef is one of those food blogs you just have to check back to every so often. It’s like a great magazine that you can dip into whenever you need something comforting to read or look at.
It’s written by Luisa, born in Berlin, once a New Yorker, and is a truly lovely blog to look through. She has also just written up a delicious sounding recipe that I first spied (like her) over at Food52: Tartine with Mustard Mayo and Mashed Avocado. Just the thought of it makes my mouth water.
You can see Luisa’s version of the scrumptious sounding snack here along with a recipe for Spicy Salmon Mash on Toast.
Last week I went to the fishmongers to pick up some fish for tea. I was thinking along the lines of simple baked fish with crushed new potatoes maybe with some softened spring onions mixed through.
There were both gorgeous red fleshed new potatoes and spring onions at Unicorn so this has steered my thoughts. On entering the fishmongers there in the chiller was a box of golden mushrooms. Wild Scottish girolle mushrooms to be exact.
It was one of those moments where you know instantly that you will be eating them for tea. So I carefully picked out enough for myself and Mr Rigg. I also bought a piece of Grouper – never tried it before, looked like a good chunky white fish so I thought I’d give it a go.
The fish was really tasty, with quite a strong flavour. The mushrooms pan fried in hot butter were incredibly moreish. And the crushed potatoes with spring onions – it’s the sort of food you could eat straight from the pan (and do when no one else is looking!).
Wild girolle mushrooms, baked fish and crushed potatoes with spring onions
2 pieces of Grouper (or other white fish)
150g wild girolle mushrooms
New potatoes for 2
2 cloves of garlic
4 spring onions
Lots of butter
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to about 180°C.
Rub the fish in olive oil, place on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until done.
Whilst the fish is cooking, boil the new potatoes in plenty of salted water.
Clean the mushrooms (I used a pastry brush to remove any grit) and tear up any large ones. In a frying pan heat a generous knob of butter with a splash of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and fry on a high heat until golden.
Finely chop the garlic and slice the spring onions.
Drain the potatoes. Put the empty potato pan back on the heat and add some butter. Add the garlic and spring onions to the butter and cook until softened – don’t let them burn!
Once they spring onions have softened, return the potatoes to the pan and crush them up with the back of a wooden spoon - you’re not aiming for mash potato, but crushing the potatoes allows all the lovely butter and seasonings to work their way into the hot potato flesh. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
And you’re done – just simply put it all on a plate and eat!
There is something so lovely and comforting about being able to wander to the bottom of your own garden and pick something for dinner. Last night I decided to pick some of the yellow sunburst squash that I have growing in my vegetable patch.
These UFO shaped squash are so pretty – although mine are looking a bit sorry for themselves. They’ve started to rot a bit where the flower blossomed with all this rain we’ve had recently. Also, the ones I usually see in my local grocery are much more yellow – mine are a bit pallid!
None-the-less they taste lovely. So I picked a few and brought them inside to be eaten within half an hour of picking – now that’s pretty special. Beat that supermarket giants!
For tea we had scrambled eggs on toasted bagel with garlic fried squash, oregano flowers and Gruyère. Fresh flavours and very tasty – and I love the yellow from the eggs and squash flecked with the purple from the oregano flowers.
Scrambled eggs on toasted bagel with garlic fried squash, oregano flowers and Gruyère
A couple of small yellow sunburst squash
2-3 cloves of garlic
5 medium eggs
Handful of oregano flowers and leaves
Heat a frying pan with some olive oil. Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan – softening it gently.
Thinly slice the squash and add to the garlic. Fry until soft and starting to turn a little golden and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, make your scrambled eggs – here’s how I make mine.
Put your bagels on to toast and butter them once they’re ready.
Add the oregano leaves to the scrambled eggs, mix together, then spoon over the bagels.
Take your fried squash and place on top of the eggs and grate over some Gruyère cheese.
Finally, sprinkle over some oregano flowers and eat!
I thought it was about time for some wildlife pics after all this talk of food and eating and recipes!
Aren’t they so sweet? I discovered these teeny tiny caterpillars on my nasturtiums this evening – I don’t mind them chomping on the leaves as there are so many and I do so love butterflies in my garden.
I love how they all huddle together…
I especially like this picture, not only because of this rogue caterpillar who was brave enough to leave the huddle and explore the leaf, but also because you can just see three tiny yellow eggs clinging to the underside of the leaf – on the right in the picture.