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I thought it was about time I shared with you a fabulous new local food business who produce fantastic pies.
I first met Neil from The Great North Pie Company at a farmer’s market at Abbey Ley’s last summer when I had a stall to advertise the local food awards I was running as a volunteer for CPRE Cheshire. A relatively new business on the local Cheshire food scene, Neil and his family set up in 2008 baking delicious pies using quality local produce.
The Great North Pie Company were a runner-up in our CPRE Cheshire ‘Buy Local’ Food Awardsand were a winner of the far more prestigious NW Fine Foods awards. On Sunday I bought a delicious beef and potato pie (with truffle oil!! a little non-local luxury we’re all allowed to indulge in!) for N and I to share for lunch.
We devoured the pie, with its melt-in-the-mouth beef that flakes apart into tender strands, along with hunks of Miracle Bread, also bought from the farmer’s market from Jane’s Handmade Bread, smeared with milky white goat’s butter. A truly scrumptious local meal.
I am terrible at remembering to bring my camera with me when we go out. This morning we went down to our local farmers market at Abbey Leys Farm (http://www.abbeyleys.co.uk/). It’s a beautiful day – blue skies, sun shining, the countryside frosted with white icing – but bloody freezing. All our favourite local producers were there, everybody wrapped up in scarfs, hats and mittens. And I forgot my camera. And didn’t even have my phone which takes pretty good photos. I will learn, I promise – it’s so frustrating to want to share a lovely experience and not have any pictures to show of it.
For now I shall just have to tell you that we came away with a basket of farmhouse butter (from Preston), a string of onions (from Southport), half a dozen organic eggs (Abbey Leys), mini chocolate butter Stollen (from Warrington), a raspberry thickie made from Cheshire yoghurt (Tiresford Farm), and a french country loaf (from Love Bread in Knutsford). We had a quick chat with Sue at Little Heath Farm and emplored her to start making cocktail-sized sausages over the Christmas period – I have been craving those little sausages you find at Christmas parties that have been baked in the oven with honey and wholegrain mustard – yum! We also saw the Pie Man (Neil from The Great North Pie Company) who had, as usual, sold out an hour and a half into the market.
It has been a nice week for local food – the first ever Lymm Farmer’s Market was held at Oughtrington Community Centre to raise funds for their badly needed new boilers. I went down to volunteer and help out during the morning, and it seemed to be a big hit and a great success.
There were some of the local food ‘big boys’ like The Great Tasting Meat Company (http://www.greattastingmeat.co.uk/) , who were cooking up sausage and onion buns for chilly customers.
Our local box scheme providers – Northern Harvest (http://www.northernharvest.co.uk/) – were there with some fantastic bundles of cavalo nero, the only kind of kale I seem to manage. This was later cooked up into a fantastic Italian Bread and Cabbage soup.
And some businesses from further afield who were new to us, like The Piemill (http://www.piemill.com/) from Cumbria.
N is busy in the kitchen whipping up some Smoked Mackerel Pate for lunch. There was a near disaster when we discovered we were out of lemons, but the pate has been rescused with a few store cupboard staples – a glug of white wine vinegar (to give it a tang) and some lemon flavoured olive oil that we brought back from Croatia. It tastes almost as good, and is about to go down a treat on the bread from the market…
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.