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A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to the National Trust’s Fine Farm Produce Awards in London.  Before the evening event I spent the afternoon wandering around Borough Market – a place I’ve heard lots about, always wanted to go, but have never been.

Here’s what I found…


Loving the window full of pickled onions


I could have bought so much cheese home but I would have been unpopular on the train home!


Beautiful breads but with London prices

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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.

The awards have been running since 2006 and this year’s panel of judges included Tom Kerridge (winner of the Great British Menu this year) and Henrietta Green (FoodLoversBritain).

There were incredible displays of the winning produce and productscider 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

steak and ale pie from F Conisbee & Son Farming Partnership, flour from Clyston Mill, hogget lamb from Calke Abbey, and rhubarb jam from the Brockhampton Estate – to name just a few!

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.

Last night I was in London for the National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards 2010.  I had planned my trains to give me an hour wandering the streets of Soho visiting a couple of food places I’d sussed out.  To cut a long story short I missed my train so spent my hour sat at Warrington Station feeling sorry for myself and wishing I was in London.

This is me bored not walking round London…

Gutted.  Anyway, I had just enough time on my way through Soho from the tube to stop in at the Nordic Bakery.  As a former resident – if only for 8 months – of Vancouver an opportunity to gorge myself on cinnamon buns wasn’t to be missed. 

How I miss this time of year in Canada when cream cheese frosted sticky sweet cinnamon buns come into their own.  Gooey, sticky, chewy, sweet, sugary, fragrant, spicy…all of those and more describe the cinnamon buns I found (and lived off) whilst I was studying in Vancouver.

Vancouver style cinnamon buns…


Image: via TravelPod

Back to last night’s story, I found the Nordic Bakery on Golden Square in Soho.  The counter was filled with savouries – thin slices of rye bread topped with smoked salmon, cheese and dill pickles, and something I else I can’t remember.  Then there were the sweets – blueberry buns, oatmeal cookies, tosca cake and…cinnamon buns.

They weren’t quite as I had imagined – basing my vision on those that I ate in Canada.  Rather than a swirl somewhat resembling a Chelsea bun, the cinnamon buns at the Nordic Bakery are a somewhere between a croissant and pain au chocolat shape.  Incredibly sticky and utterly delicious looking.

I bought two cinnamon buns and two blueberry buns, which were boxed up and treasured carefully across Soho, through a night of awards, on the tube, on a train, and all the way home to my little house in Cheshire.  And they made it not too squished.

We ate them for lunch (!!) today warmed a little in the oven.  They were scrumptious, heavily spiced and fragrant with cinnamon and sticky (did I mention they sticky…?) with sugar.

More tomorrow on the Fine Farm Produce Awards.


Image: LondonEats

Still lacking a decent camera so have found some great images of the Nordic Bakery online just as I remember it – check out LondonEats’ review.

Isn’t that what us country folk call it?  Anyway…I’m off to London tomorrow afternoon to the National Trust’s Fine Farm Produce Awards – an event that celebrates the best of the best of National Trust tenant farm produce.

I’m also hoping to visit a couple of interesting foodie places I’ve found online in Soho.  Hopefully I can bring back some interesting tales and photos if the camera/camera phone are behaving!

Image: Izzy Burton Photography

The past two weeks I feel have hardly seen me eat a homecooked meal.  I have eaten all kinds of food all over the country – some good, some bad, some better than others – but what I can say is that I am ready to eat platefuls of my own, homecooked food.

Here’s my two weeks in food.

1. Bradford ~ unexciting council catered sandwiches but delicious, spicy, vegetable samosas.

2. North Yorkshire ~ sandwiches under cling film, pretty tasty chunky cut ham sandwiches, good looking fruit scones but needed a minute in the microwave to soften.

3. London ~ more platters of sandwiches, this time M&S and fridge-cold, very nice goat’s cheese and sweet pickled carrot on grain bread shame about the cold.

4. Lancaster ~ disappointing pub meal in hotel, lots of local produce but cooked terribly, worst ‘crab’ cakes ever eaten – thick, grey stodge – yuk!  Nice chocolate ice cream to save the day.

5. Kirkby Lonsdale ~ country pub lunch, good tasting ploughman’s with mustard yellow piccalilli, thick roast ham, and a Scotch Egg – dry bread but a won over by a chocolate milkshake.

6. Manchester ~ Polish lunch at training, a truly delicious beef and potato stew!

7. Chorlton ~ work Christmas party at Ostara, divine winter solstice vegetable and spice soup (a secret recipe!), scrummy cider pot roast ham with all the Christmas trimmings, but a sadly disappointing chocolate yule log. More on Ostara here

8. Manchester ~ another wonderful Polish lunch, cheese filled pierogi’s topped with caramelised onions, and sausage and cabbage stew – am on the hunt for this Polish takeaway for more more more!

My conclusion – a dismal meal can always be saved by excellent chocolate ice cream.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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This is really happening. We are moving - we are starting out on an adventure that we hope will move us closer to whatever it is that we dream of.

As well as moving home I am also moving Instagram 'home'. For a while now I've been thinking about how much of Tilly's life I share publicly and how she may feel about it one day. But I love the friends and community (you!) I have made here. 
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