You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Markets’ category.
I’m not going to dare suggest that it’s too hot in England at the moment. It is utterly beautiful and I’m thoroughly enjoying all the sun and warm weather we are being blessed with. How nice is it to sit in the evenings with all the windows and doors open?
Last weekend a bit by accident we found ourselves spending the whole morning today, dog- and care-free visiting a couple of local markets. It made me realise that we are both guilty of spending too much time doing DIY and don’t make enough time to just go out and do things together.
First we went to our local farmers market at Abbey Leys where we stocked up on local raw milk, grass-fed Welsh beef mince, real bread, and a bunch of seasonal flowers from my favourite garden gate stall.
Next we decided to try out the Artisan Market in Knutsford – it was our first visit and it was fantastic. It’s a huge market with lots of craft, vintage and food stalls, the weather was fab, there was a bluegrass style band playing music, and deckchairs for people to sit and listen.
My favourite stall was a lady selling Transylvanian sweet treats called Chimney Stack Cakes. Her particularly speciality are these chimney stack cakes which are like a spiral of cakey-doughnuty-bread with different flavourings. She won us over with a sample of her cinnamon one and one made it into our shopping bag.
So, here we are in the final instalment of my ‘food memories’ of Greece. If you’ve not read the previous posts, you can read part 1 about our beautiful hotel Kinsterna, part 2 about our day trip to the island of Elafonisos, and part 3 our journey exploring the Mani Peninsula.
Now, on to Athens.
The journey back to Athens from the Peloponnese was much the same as the journey out, but this time with a brief stop off for lunch at what can only be described as one of the world’s quietest motorway services.
I remember driving on motorways in Sweden was pretty pleasant because there were so few cars on the road, but where in the UK you stop a services and hear constant traffic whizzing past, here we stopped and it was silent. Eerily silent. Then once or twice you’d hear a car pass. And then more silence.
I’d like to be the kind of traveller who only goes off the main roads to find lunch from a local eatery, enjoying their lunch in some scenic spot – maybe one day I will. But for now we still stop of motorway services, even abroad, and eat bog standard sandwiches.
Living in Cheshire, Devon is a long way away, but the opportunity to meet one of my favourite people and go to River Cottage made the drive worthwhile. We used my parents in the Cotswolds as a base, and travelled down the rest of the way this past Saturday to go to the Autumn Fair held at Park Farm.
The whole weekend was scorching hot, both in Devon and the Cotswolds – what a treat! After parking, we wandered down the track towards River Cottage HQ. Park Farm is set in the bowl of a very beautiful valley, with rolling hills rising up around it. A pop-up hotel of bell tents had been set up, and other clusters of cream coloured tipis and tents surrounded the farm house.
Having got up early, not eaten breakfast, and a long drive later (I SO hate those 40mph sections that seem to plague our motorways at the moment!) I was in a bit of “Charlie flap”, as it’s probably known, when we finally arrived. I am ashamed to admit I’m not that used to, or a huge fan of crowds of people – I live a sheltered life working on my own at home with the dog! So Mr Rigg quickly steered me towards the BBQ to get something to eat.
We had one proper day trip out, having done some research before we went away on places that looked nice to visit, we decided to head towards Sarlat. I’d heard there was a seriously good market here, and there were a couple of little places along the river that looked nice, so we filled our bellies with sourdough spelt bread spread with honey and strawberries and off we went.
The market at Sarlat did not disappoint. It was incredible! I always worry “are we going to find the market?” when we head somewhere new, but you couldn’t miss Sarlat market, even if you weren’t looking for it, you would stumble across it on a wander around the town. It goes on and on down the narrow winding streets, tumbling out into squares.
Yesterday was my favourite local farmers market at Abbey Leys so it was a great chance to stock up some lovely food. On top of this, I braved the icy cold with the other stall holders to promote a website I’ve set up to promote local, seasonal food in my community. It was so blinking cold in the barn, and although I was so pleased with my display of seasonal vegetables and old-fashioned seed packets on stick, a number of people did mistake me for a grower. Oh well.
But enough of that and back to the real bread. For a while now, a fantastic bread lady (officially known at Jane’s Handmade Bread) has been coming to the market. She makes heavenly real bread. My favourite is her Miracle Bread which is stuffed full of all kinds of seeds and has a lovely golden brown colour to it. She never arrives before 10.30am, having been up since 3am baking, but everyone waits and queues for ages just to get their hands on some of her beautiful breads.
‘The best’ of anything is always subjective, what I think is the best when it comes to food might not be to someone elses taste, but it’s always interesting to get some tips on where to find ‘the best’ of something.
I love hot chocolate. As a non tea and coffee drinker, hot chocolate is my hot drink of choice, so naturally a trip to Paris at Christmas warranted a search for the tastiest hot chocolate to warm us up.
Before we went I did some research – the best selection I found for the top places for Parisian hot chocolate was on David Lebovitz’s blog. This was primarily what I used to guide us once we reached Paris, but also just looking around at what might look good.
I think what I learnt from my search for the best hot chocolate, is that it isn’t just about taste – it’s about where you are, the surroundings and atmosphere.
Last weekend I went to Paris with my little sister Izzy – she turned 18 this year and for a long time I’ve wanted to do something special with her, and Paris at Christmas was what I decided on. We went on Saturday and came back late Monday evening, we stayed in a sweet little apartment B&B in the 18th arrondissement on Boulevard Ney.
Highlights from our trip were sitting on the metro when a man with a guitar and amplifier began to play ‘What a wonderful world’, sipping hot chocolate at dusk outside Sacre Coeur and soaking up the Christmas atmosphere, and wandering through the organic market on Boulevard Raspail.
More details on what we ate and where to come, but for now, here’s my Paris at Christmas…
Best hot chocolate – chocolate on a wooden spoon stirred into hot frothy milk…
Today I had my first visit to the Altrincham Vintage and Craft Market – I wasn’t expecting too much but was bowled over by how good it was. I came away with a couple of pretty handmade things, a tiny old calendar and an earthenware footwarmer (to be reincarnated as a door stop).
I also met the lovely girls from The Silver Apples and bought a slice of cinder toffee brownie and a gingerbread. We are sitting enjoying a log fire burning away and munching on the cinder toffe brownie – yum yum.
I’ve got some photos to share from my trip to London (Borough Market and the National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards) but whilst I sort them all out I thought you might like to see these incredible English muffins.
They were hefty things that were drawing a crowd on their stall at Borough Market, and well I couldn’t resist either. I had them for breakfast this morning, pulled apart with my fingers (no bread knife involved) and toasted them.
Then when my thick slabs of salty butter didn’t melt, I bunged them under a hot grill until the butter went all golden. Topped with some homemade strawberry jam.
I could live off meals like this at the moment: tasty, simple and stuffed full of vegetables. This was a leftovers meal, the pan-fried summer vegetables I’d made the day before, cooking sliced onion, peppers, and courgettes in olive oil before adding a couple of chopped plum tomatoes from a tin (not the juice).
The potatoes had also been boiled up the day previously, and these I crisped up in the frying pan – something my mom used to do a lot when I was growing up. All popped on a plate with a dressed salad (a creamy quince and cider dressing bought from Bath Farmer’s Market) and a big dollop of herby cream cheese.