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As I mentioned previously, on Tuesday it was my birthday and Mr Rigg and I had lunch at The Victoria pub in Altrincham.  We have wanted to go and eat there for as long as we’ve known about it, but for whatever reason never been until this week.

We weren’t disappointed.  The pub serves dishes with a strong emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients.  We chose three starters/light dishes and sat listening to the Pipettes

What we ate…

Local Asparagus Muffin ~ grilled Cheshire/Lancashire asparagus served on a toasted muffin, topped with a poached egg and creamy hollandaise sauce.

Gorgeous fluffy muffin, tasty asparagus, a runny golden yolk and buttery hollandaise sauce.  I could have eaten this dish over and over again.

Sarsaparilla Glazed Belly Pork Ribs ~ Meaty pork ribs glazed in an orange and sarsaparilla sauce served with chunks of bread for mopping.

This was more Mr Rigg’s choice than mine – I did try a mouthful and the glaze was delicious.  Any menu that includes ‘bread for mopping’ is five star in my opinion!

Seared Mackerel Pikelet ~ Pan fried mackerel fillet, served on a toasted pikelet with a pickled walnut and rocket salad, with herb dressing.

A real surprise – I wasn’t sure about this dish when I first saw it, but the flavours were heavenly.  A toasted pikelet and soft mackerel with herby dressing and pickled walnuts.  I’d never had pickled walnuts before but they were scrumptious with the rest of this dish.

I was also equally tempted by their battered fish butty with tartare sauce and chunky chips.  We will be going back for one of these.  My only complaint?  Too much parsley.

If you live near to Altrincham or are visiting I would highly recommend a visit to The Victoria.  A lovely atmosphere, delicious and inventive dishes and ‘bread for mopping’!  Oh, and you can’t miss it – the whole building is painted mint green!

Tuesday was my birthday.  Mr Rigg and I took a day off work and had a lovely relaxing day pottering in Knutsford, drinking thick hot chocolate with a spoon at an Italian cafe, and eating cake for supper.

We also had a delicious lunch at The Victoria pub in Altrincham – but I’m going to save that for a separate post as it was so good!

Mr Rigg made my birthday cake – a Victoria sponge with raspberry jam and butter cream icing.  Yum.  It was our first attempt, we bought new sandwich cake tins in Knutsford and set about making Hugh’s recipe from his Everyday book.  It turned out pretty good.  We certainly aren’t complaining!

cheshirefm

I thought it was about time I created a list of the farmer’s markets in Cheshire to share with everyone.  I have only been to a handful of these that are closest to me, but if anyone has any recommendations on others that are worth the drive I would love to know.  If I’ve missed any off, or the details need updating, please let me know.  For a printable version, click here.

~ ABBEY LEYS FARM ~
1st Sunday of the month
9am – 2pm
Abbey Leys Farm, High Legh

~ ALDERLEY EDGE ~
2nd Sunday of the month
10am – 2pm
The Festival Hall, Alderley Edge

~ ALTRINCHAM ~
1st Friday of the month
7am – 2pm
Covered Market, Market Street

~ CHESTER ~
1st Wednesday of the month
10am – 4.30pm
Chester Town Hall Square

~ CLOVER BANK FARM ~
3rd Saturday of the month
8.30am – 12.30pm
Shellow Lane, North Rode, Macclesfield

~ CONGLETON ~
1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month
9am – 2pm
The Bridestones Centre, Congleton

~ CREWE ~
3rd Saturday of the month
9am – 3pm
Municipal Square, Crewe

~ CRONTON ~
2nd Saturday of the month
10am – 1.30pm
Cronton Nursery, Cronton

~ ELLESMERE PORT ~
4th Saturday of the month
9am – 4pm
adjoining Market Hall, Ellesmere Port

~ GOOSTREY ~
3rd Saturday of the month
10am – 1.30pm
Methodist Church Hall, Main Road, Goostrey

~ GROSVENOR GARDEN CENTRE ~
2nd Friday of the month
10am - 3pm
Pulford

~ HALE ~
3rd Sunday of the month
10am – 1.30pm
St Peter’s Assembly Rooms, Cecil Road, Hale

~ KINGSMEAD ~
4th Saturday of the month
10am – 1.30pm
Kingsmead Primary School, Northwich

 ~ KNUTSFORD ~
1st Saturday of the month
9am – 2pm
Silk Mill Street, Knutsford

~ MIDDLEWICH ~
1st Saturday of the month
10am – 2pm
Boosey’s Garden Centre

~ MOBBERLEY ~
4th Sunday of the month
10am – 2pm
Mobberley Victory Hall

~ MOLD ~
1st Saturday of the month
9am – 3pm
St Mary’s Church Hall, Mold

~ NANTWICH ~
Last Saturday of the month
9am – 2pm
The Square, Nantwich

~ NESTON ~
3rd Saturday of the month
9am – 2pm
Neston Town Hall

~ NORTHWICH ~
2nd Saturday of the month
9am – 3pm
Market Way, next to Northwich Market

~ POYNTON ~
1st Sunday of the month
9am – 1pm
Poynton Civic Hall, Park Lane

~ RODE HALL ~
1st Saturday of the month
9am – 2pm
Scholar Green, Allsager

~ VALE ROYAL ~
3rd Saturday of the month
10am – 2pm
Eddisbury Fruit Farm, Yeld Lane, Kelsall

~ WARRINGTON ~
2nd Sunday of the month
10.30am – 4.30pm
Walton Lea Project, Walton Gardens Heritage Yard

~ WIRRAL ~
2nd Saturday of the month
9am – 2pm
New Ferry Village Hall, Grove Street, New Ferry

~ WOODFORD ~
3rd Sunday of the month
9am – 1pm
Woodford Community Centre, Chester Road

As part of celebrating our five years of being together, N and I went to an organic cafe in Altrincham for lunch on Saturday.  I’ve known about this cafe for a while, tried their delicious Victoria Sponge cake at the Trafford Food Festival, even been to the Italian restaurant opposite it a number of times, but I hadn’t ever been to into the cafe itself.  We wanted a simple lunch of sandwiches, but good sandwiches – not dodgy pub sandwiches or any that would leave us wishing we’d made them ourselves at home.  Hullabaloo claims that all its food is homemade using organic and seasonal produce, so it seemed like our best bet – as you can see, the more we cook at home, the more difficult we find it to eat out.

Hullabaloo is set in a pretty little courtyard in Altrincham, and when we arrived we thought it was closed – it looks very dark inside and until you’re up close you can’t tell whether there’s anyone inside, that and the sign in the door read ‘closed’.  It must have just swung the wrong way round, because the cafe was open and there were a couple of people inside enjoying their lunch.

The cafe is one small room, which although has dark tiles floors and a wall of black shelves filled with organic wines and cookery books feels very light inside.  At the back is a counter with a selection of homemade cakes atop it, behind it is a small kitchen where Suzi, the owner, cooks the food.  The menu’s are written on brown paper bags, as are the drinks list. 

N went for a brie, bacon and cranberry open sandwich, and I went for one of the specials – grilled Portebello mushrooms topped with brie, bacon and caramelised onions.  Both we served on soft organic bread, with watercress and mixed salad leaves.  They were in a word – divine.  The brie was room temperature (a delight as so often brie sandwiches use it straight from the fridge), and in my case had oozed slightly from the warmth of the mushrooms.  The bacon was flavoursome and N’s cranberry sauce a deep ruby colour.  Our plates were licked clean.

orange, almond and chocolate bun :: Hullabaloo cafe, Altrincham ::

orange, almond and chocolate bun :: Hullabaloo cafe, Altrincham ::

After we finished our naughty desserts – N chose the homemade frosted carrot cake and I had a moreish orange and almond bun filled with chocolate frosting – we had a lovely chat with Suzi who told us about her monthly seasonal evening meals.  It’s a mystery menu, devised using whatever’s at the seasons best.  It sounds great fun and we are planning to go in the next couple of months.

remains of N's carrot cake :: Hullabaloo cafe, Altrincham ::

remains of N's carrot cake :: Hullabaloo cafe, Altrincham ::

Hullabaloo was a refreshing experiencing for us in the world of eating out.  There’s nothing worse than going out and spending money on food only to come away thinking ‘I could have made this better at home.’  Suzi’s food was thoroughly enjoyable and the perfect way to spend out anniversary lunch.

crumbs

crumbs

N rolled his eyes when I brought out my camera, so there are only a few pictures of my delicious cake – blame the boyfriend.

The fantastic weather over the weekend meant a perfect opportunity to enjoy the English countryside.  On Saturday we went for a walk along the canal, and picked a meagre amount of blackberries that are currently in the freezer as I can’t dedice what to make with them yet – blackberry junket or hedgerow crumble?

Sunday heralded a local food festival, held in a nearby town (Altrincham) in their covered market – which with the sun blazing down was more like a greenhouse.  It was great to see so many people out and about, enjoying locally made and produced food, and sampling dishes from local restaurants.  We bought our festival currency and scoffed down a vegetarian curry, a chicken tikka wrap, a glass of Spanish beer and two slices of pizza for lunch on Monday.  Sadly, I forgot my camera and haven’t any pictures to show for the fantastic food on offer.

Our favourite local farmers were there – Sue from Little Heath Farm – a table laden with delicious cuts of beef and pork, and a hamper displaying the local veg they sell in their modest farm shop.  The ‘pie man’ as he’s affectionately known in our house – Neil from The Great North Pie Company – a new addition to the local food scene, hadn as usual sold out an hour into the festival and by the time we arrived all that was left was his empty pie stands and a handful of leaflets.

We sampled some freshly squeezed apple juice from a stand celebrating local allotments, fought over the last few crumbs of one of the best Victoria sponge cakes I’ve ever had – from Hulabaloo Cafe – and went home carrying a treasured bottle of local ‘Discover’ apple juice an an ‘escargot chocolat’ – a French breakfast pastry like a cross between a Danish pastry and a pan au chocolat.  De-lish!

As I haven’t any pictures to show of all this loveliness, I shall post a shot of the weekends harvest from the garden – freshly dug potatoes and a variety of tomatoes.

freshly dug potatoes and homegrown tomatoes

freshly dug potatoes and homegrown tomatoes

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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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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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