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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.

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.

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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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