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So following on from yesterday’s post about my much shortened trip to London, I went to the National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards on Thursday evening. The awards are given to National Trust farms, orchards or gardens who produce products of the very highest standards – environmental, welfare, and taste.
There were incredible displays of the winning produce and products – cider and apple juice from Barrington Court Estate, golden beetroot from Wimpole Walled Garden, late season honey from Lyveden New Bield, golden hot chilli sauce from Gringley Gringo…
We sipped delicious drinks all of which were made from the awards winning products – Apple Bellini’s, incredible apple cocktails some with mint some with cinnamon, cider, ale and beer. The Apple Bellini (exquisite fresh apple juice with champagne) is one for my wedding drinks list next year I think!
We ate delicious canapes til we could eat no longer – tiny beef pies, mini hamburgers, spoonfuls of golden beetroot and garlic risotto, bite-sized tarts with blue cheese and chutney, rice pudding with honey, and miniature scones with cream and rhubarb jam.
The producers were recognised with a short film and speech from the National Trust and judges, and this year’s Overall Winner – rhubarb jam from Brockhampton Estate – was awarded their prize.
I watched Richard McGeown (the Executive Head Chef from Couch’s in Polperro, Cornwall) give a demonstration on how to cook the perfect steak. He had been giving cooking demonstrations throughout the evening, and as I watched I snacked on my first ever piece of hogget lamb.
Tips I picked up on how to cook the perfect steak?
- Make sure the pan is really hot (if you have asbestos fingers like Richard test it with your fingers…!!).
- Only add a tiny drop of oil to the pan before adding your steak.
- Season with salt but not black pepper at this point – it will burn and taste bitter.
- Cook for about 15-20 seconds on each side to seal.
- Season with black pepper then finish off in a hot oven (220°C) for about 6 1/2 minutes if you like it rare, 7 minutes for medium rare.
The evening was finished off with more networking and nibbling on delicious canapes, before heading off with a goodie bag…
…included was a bag of flour from Clyston Mill, a small bottle of the incredibly fiery Gringley Gringo gold hot chilli sauce, some of the new National Trust ‘Lancashire lemon curd’ biscuits, apple chutney from the Killerton Estate, and a treasured jar of the award winning rhubarb jam.
Friday morning breakfast: a soft chewy slice of Kaiserbrot from Barbakan, spread with goat’s butter and Brockhampton Estate rhubarb jam. Yum.
Hidden at the bottom of the garden, these beautiful beetroot (Chioggia Candy Stripe and Golden) have been plumping up nicely all summer. A last minute salad was needed for a shared lunch at work, so after a wet walk to the bottom of the garden I settled on these. I just had to take a photo, in spite of the rain, because of those fantastic colours. I spent half an hour in a rush before work madly peeling them into wafer thin curls – we had them for lunch, simply dressed with a splash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon – lovely.