Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Dales Food & Drink Festival, part 2

There were also other attractions and displays, not the food only. For example there was a dry stone wall sections. This is very typical for this region way of building the walls using natural materials. It stretches back thousands of years, examples of this craft going back years and years are on Orkney (Skara Brae). It is hard physical job, requiring a bit of imagination and nowadays there aren't many people skilled to build proper dry stone wall. I am proud to say that my partner is considered as a good dry stone waller in the area. 

You could also see sheep shearing - man on the photograph has 50 years experience in this!

Beautiful sheep, Swaledale breed as I believe...

...and a display showing different types of wool coming from a different sheep breeds. (more than 30 breeds in United Kingdom that I know about)

And now back to the tasty bits.

There were many exhibitors selling their good quality bread and other bakery goods and also the bread class was provided where you could learn how to make your own bread and knead and shape it under a watchful eye of the specialist.

Alcohols selection - not my cup of tea, but very colourful and pretty!

Frere Quenelle Liqueurs  - something for a liqueur lovers. No concentrates, no additives or colourings. Just fresh fruit, so told me the monk (?). 

Raydale Preserves are the preserves that I buy if I run out of my own homemade. Made in converted barn in Askrigg by one family since 1978. Truly delicious and no gelling agent added. I love it.

I love bruschetta with all my heart. To be honest, this is not Yorkshire thing, but I like the fact that the food area had versatile suppliers, for example there was one very good Italian stand expect this one with these beautiful bruchettas. 

 Swaledale Cheese is one of my favourite and no doubt I will wrote about this in my new series about British cheese, so stay tuned!

Sweets, sweets! It was than many of them that it could make you sick from looking only! A huge selection for those loving fancy sweet stuff.

Look at their enthusiasm! I hope they put as much positive feelings in their good looking fudge.

There obviously must have been a stand offering nice selection of British favourite - biscuits. Ginger nuts, digestives, shortbread - whichever you can think about - it was probably there. Did you know that Brits consume the most of the biscuits in the whole world?

Look at this lovely man - he had very nice selection of fish and meat products; I bought very tasty game terrine (pheasant and venison) and some smoked garlic. I came back next day and was offered discount! This is how customers should be treated. Thank you kindly sir!

Just to finish off  with this fine British cider I salute you all my readers who were patient enough to go through this long photostory. To good health!

Thank you! :)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Dales Food & Drink Festival, part 1

Yorkshire Dales is where I have been living for more than six years and is also a place where I will buy my first house when I win the lottery. I would buy two others elsewhere but first I have to be obscenely rich. Dales are part of the national park, so you can easily find here lots of lovely nature, but also fantastic food. Not only Dales as a matter of fact, but whole Yorkshire is a place of very good quality produce.

I was fortunate to visit local Dales Food and Drink Festival in Leyburn (6-8 May). Three days, twelve thousand visitors, over eighty exhibitors, good food, even better drink, music, entertainment, farming and more.

I hope you will enjoy my photo story.

I am not a big fan of cupcakes, so popular in Britain, however these look adrable and I am not suprised that some people are willing to have then on their wedding day. Beautifully decorated, little pieces of art.

"No denying times is hard, sir! Even harder than the worst pies in London!" (Sweeney Todd). Again something very British and very good. I have tried three different pies and every single one of them was delicious, not like those Helena Bonham - Carter baked in "Sweeney Todd". As a matter of fact these were the best pork pies I ever had.  Farmhouse Direct  make their pies from rare breed called Gloucester Old Spot, crust melts in your mouth and the toppings are very, very interesting and compliment the meaty filling very well - red onion marmalade and Leicester cheese or apple and cider chutney.

Porridge in the morning is so British, isn't it? :) This one was particularly interesting - a mix of oats, quinoa and cinnamon.

Festival of Food and Drink would be nothing without good tea. Beautiful flowering teas and wide selection of accessorize and leaf teas from  The Tea Experience.

Morris dance  form of traditional dance usually accompanied by music. Implements sticks, swords and bells may also be wielded by the dancers. "So this is what you do when you don't have sex anymore" - said my partner. No interest in this whatsoever if you ask me. By the way my partner has the same opinion about playing golf. 
Fantastic cold pressed Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil. No nonsense, chemical free. Plain or with a hint of chilli or basil - very, very tasty. Not only this oil is produced using rapeseed from local farms but the company  actively support low food miles and ensure that their bottles and labels are all produced using British companies. I like it, I buy it.

I mentioned about these cordials made by Country Cordials in my post about the lavender cordial. Wide selection and interesting flavours of cordials that I found on the festival inspired my to experiment more with my homemade cordials. I only bought one bottle - wild nettle flavour, but the decision was hard. What would you say about rhubarb, orange and ginger in one bottle? 

Time for lunch! What you can see on my tray is authentic Indian cuisine by Prett Tejura, who had her theater  of cooking the day before. I like it a lot, she seems to be such a nice person and experienced cook. Love the idea of cookery class (based in Leeds) as well as catering dinner parties! She also sells her homemade pickles and chutneys. Please don't be fooled by my outfit, it was very cold, at the beginning of May it was around 5-8 C!

I am fortunate to have great meat supplier locally in my favourite local deli called Campbells of Leyburn. It is worth mentioning because it is quite impressing that this shop has been run by one family since 1868. Today it is the fifth generation of Campbell family running the business. And the butchers... Lovely lads, who are always wiling to help and advise and those who I make cake for when I need odd ingredients such as beef bones. Kevin in the front cooking burgers.

Kippers, something not everyone like, but very tasty, especially when freshly smoked. This was  Port of Lancashire smokehouse. By the way - I am hoping to build our own this year.

Daleside Brewery was hosting the Yorkshire Dales Real Ale and Cider Festival which included more than 30 different beers and 10 different ciders. It is a shame that we had to drive back home, as we would try more, and more. As huge fans of  Monty Python we could not resist Holy Grail. I absolutely love this word game!

And this is Black Sheep one of my favourite to drink and to cook with produced as well as Holy Grail by Black Sheep Brewery in Masham.

To be continued...

Saturday, 26 May 2012

How to use parmesan rind?

Parmesan rinds have lots of umami (fifth taste, pleasant savory taste) and give excellent flavour to vegetable stock. You can burst your vegetable stock with flavour and use it as a base for stews, soups. My favourite way to use it? Risotto. :)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lavender, lime & lemon cordial

I have spent first May bank holiday weekend on Dales Food & Drink Festival. I really enjoyed myself and I will write about this festival in next few days. One of the food producers who had his products displayed in the food hall was very nice gentleman selling good quality cordials. These did not cost little, but I am ready to pay little producers bit more for good quality food, so price was not an issue. I had problem with the wide selection of very interesting flavours! I quite like the wild nettle cordial so I purchased one bottle and left inspired by other flavour: lavender and lemon. I decided to make my own.

Makes about 800ml

750ml water
250ml caster sugar
peel of 1 lemon (avoid white, bitter part underneath) 
2 level tsp dried lavender (for culinary use) 
juice of 1 lime

Place sugar and water in a pan and bring it to boil. Add the lemon peel and boil for about 3 minutes. Then remove from th heat and add lavender. Covr and leave to infuse for about 30 minutes.

Sieve, remove lavender flowers and lemon peel and discard. Add the lime juice and stir. It should change the colour from dirty purple to bright pink.

Sieve again using a cheese cloth, so any of lime bits or bits of lavender are left behind. Pour into clean bottle and keep refrigerated. Consume within 2 weeks

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Thyme & lemon chicken supreme, rhubarb reduction and roasted asparagus

My partner mentioned recently that I did not have a plate full of this popular trio of meat/fish, potatoes/or other starch and veg for a long time on my blog. I have to say this is not something that we eat on everyday basis; however this seems to be very popular in many, many homes (both British and Polish!). 

Therefore when next opportunity came I took some photographs of our dinner of meat, potatoes and veg. It was very nice but I thing the pièce de résistance was the rhubarb reduction. 

I love this veg and I am very fortunate to live in Yorkshire known from its delicious rhubarb. There is even something called the Rhubarb Triangle is a 9-square-mile (23 km2) triangle in West Yorkshire, located between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell famous for producing rhubarb. They use to produce 90% of the world's winter forced rhubarb! Isn’t this impressive? Wakefield is know for its Rhubarb Festival and this is something that I like Brits for – they know how to celebrate small things and don’t need a huge, important reason to party.

We also had Yorkshire asparagus and some British new potatoes. If only the weather was better, I would believe we have the spring in full bloom!

Rhubarb & balsamico reduction

about 150ml 

1 tsp sunflower oil
1 tsp butter
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped  
walnut size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 rhubarb stalks, chopped into 1cm pieces  
1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar  
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I used cheap supermarket vinegar)
freshly ground black pepper

Place the oil and the butter in little pan and fry the shallot over a low heat until soft. Add ginger and fry for another minute. Next add the rhubarb, sugar, vinegar and bring it to boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and turn the heat down. Add some salt and pepper and simmer until it is reduced slightly, about 25 minutes. Be careful – it can catch at the bottom of the pan, so stir it regularly. It can also spit quite a lot. Next sieve it using very fine sieve and return to the pan. You can simmer this for little bit longer, so the flavour and colour will be more concentrated. Serve warm.

We had some leftover reduction with cheese (instead of chutney) next day and it went together really well.

Chicken supreme with lemon and thyme  

Serves 2 

2 chicken supreme breasts  
2 tbsp sunflower oil  
2 springs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
2 tsp lemon juice  
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 180 C (fan) and line the baking tray with some kitchen foil. Gently lift the sin off the chicken flesh and rub some lemon juice in it followed by some salt and pepper and thyme leaves. Pres the skin back and season with some salt and pepper.

Place the oil into a frying pan and heat. When hot place the chicken breasts skin side down and fry for few minutes until crispy and browned and turn on the other side. Fry for further 3 minutes.

Place the pan fried chicken breasts onto baking tray and loosely cover with kitchen foil. Place in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, uncover the foil to allow the skin to brown more. After removing from the oven leave the meat to rest for about 5-8 minutes. This is the moment when you should place your asparagus in the oven. 

Roast asparagus with olive and smoked salt 

Serves 2 

8-10 green asparagus spears, wooden parts removed
1 tbsp olive oil
smoked salt flakes

Line a baking tray with some kitchen foil. Place the asparagus onto the tray and cover the tips only with a piece of foil – they are too gentle for the fierce heat of oven. Drizzle with olive oil and wait until the chicken is ready to be taken out from the oven, or place the asparagus about 3-4 minutes before removing the chicken. It depends how long you want to leave the meat for resting. I think 5 minutes is fine, I cover it with piece of foil to prevent from getting cold and in my opinion asparagus doesn’t need more that 5-8 minutes in the oven.  

In the meantime boil the potatoes – however you like them. I boiled mine in skins and peeled just before the serving also I brushed them with some good quality EV olive oil.

Now! How to put everything together:

Slice the chicken into few slices and arrange on the plate. Add some rhubarb reduction (or smear it like some chefs do), potatoes and asparagus. Sprinkle with little smoked salt just to finish off. Serve immediately.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Subjective guide to British cheeses, vol. 1

For a quite some time I was thinking about new series on my blog about British cheeses.  Not many people know that there are over 700 registerd cheeses in Great Britain. Cheddar and Stilton are well know but how about the other ones? I will try to show you as much diffrent types of British cheese as possible. I will include information about producents, type od cheese, what milk it was made from and will try to include a bit of history where possible.
I will also tell you if I liked tested cheese. Please don't be suprised if many, if not every single of my opinions will be enthusiastic - I am very big fan of cheese and I cannot remember if I ate one that I particularly didn't like.

Shall we start? Please let me know if you are happy with this, if you lik the way I am presenting the information about cheeses. Thank you very much for your opinions.


First one of the featured cheeses is Cornish Blue. I wondered if I really should start from my local cheeses rather than Corbish one but I just had kilogram of this masterpiece ordered from the producer so I thought I'll take the opportunity and phootograph this one - it sems to dissapear very quickly.

I have already mentioned about this cheese and year later I still think this is probably the best cheese I ever had, but I have to admit I am really enthusiastic when it comes to any blue cheese. This  award winning (the list of awards is pretty impressive! inc. World Cheese Awards Champion Cheese 2010)  blue cheese is sweet mild and creamy, yet crumbly. Very interesting consistency. Is smells sweet and sour, bit like an apple. I have to say I was rather suprised by this weet taste that not very often, if even apears in typical blue cheese. It is not as sharp as some of them can be.

It has been hand made in the traditional farmhouse way since 2001.  It matures between 12 and 14 weeks and the blueing occurs by piercing the cheeses each week with stainless steel rods, allowing in air which helps the blue mould spread right through each cheese.

Region: Cornwall 
Type: blue
Shape: round 
Milk: pasteurised cow's 
Rennet: vegetarian
Price: 16 punds sterling/kg 
Producent: Cornish Cheese Company Ltd
Cheesewring;  Knowle Farm
Upton Cross,  Liskeard,
Cornwall PL14 5BG

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Naan bread pizza with quail eggs, asparagus & prosciutto

When I don’t have a time to make my own pizza and I fancy some home made stuff I use shop bought naan breads. I have my favourite brand and I often have two breads frozen just in case I need some for mid week supper – with curry, with soup or as a base for kind of pizza. If  I host a dinner with friends and serve Indian food I prefer to make my own naan breads, otherwise I am quite happy to have shop bought once in a while and as an emergency. It only takes about 15 minutes to have this tasty dinner ready – isn’t it perfect for mid week meal? 

You can put anything on the top. Anything. Whatever you fancy, what is in season or what you have left in the fridge.  Today’s recipe is exactly like this:

-         I fancied quail eggs
-         Asparagus is in season
-         We had some leftover cream and some cheddar left in the fridge

This is what I have end up with. Not bad, huh?

Serves 2 

2 naan  breads
2 tbsp double cream  
3 tbsp mature Cheddar, grated  
Some freshly ground nutmeg
8 green asparagus spears, wooden bit removed, halved
4 quail eggs  
4 slices of prosciutto  (Parma ham type)
freshly ground black pepper
few fresh basil leaves, for garnishing (optional)

Heat the oven to 180 C (fan).

Place naan breads onto a baking tray lined with some baking paper. Top with some cream, sprinkle with salt, pepper and some nutmeg, then add the cheddar, asparagus and place in the oven for about 12 minutes.

Next remove from the oven and crack two eggs onto each naan, add little bit more salt and place in the oven for 3 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and top with some shredded Italian ham. Garnish with some fresh basil. Cut into portions and serve immediately.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Grilled bread with goats' cheese & raw asparagus

I don't know if you are going to believe me, but the weather has been dreadful for the last few weeks. It seems that we already had two weeks of summer in March and now we are getting ready for autumn...
 This is quite typical for Brits to start a conversation with the weather theme. I am Polish, have been living in Britain for more than six years and I can honestly say I think this is not only the most neutral way to start a conversation, I genuinly believe that this is something that gives you a lot opportunieties to talk about. Especially here in North Yorksire it is very unpredictible. Why not to talk about it? 

In weather like this I cetrainly deserve more comforting dish such as hearty stew, but I guess I try to put some spells on the weather and bring the high temperatures back.

Serves 2 

4 green asparagus spears, wooden bottoms removed
2 tbsp good extra virgin olive
1 tsp lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
few slices of bread
about 40g soft goats' cheese
few fresh leaves of mint and oregano, roughly chopped

Using a veg peeler slice the asparagus lenghtwise. Add some salt, olive oil and lemon juice, mix well and leave it to marinate for about 15 minutes. 

Toast or grill the bread. Spread some cheese over the grilled bread, top with some marnated asparagus, sprinkle with some pepper and fresh mint and oregano.

Friday, 4 May 2012

The perfect granola (smells like apple pie)

I realise there are many recipes for granola and selection in the shops is quite wide however I will give you this recipe, perhaps someone will be inspired and make homemade granola, this perfect one.  Some of those I have made before were too sweet, some of the shop bought contain ingredients that I try to avoid in my diet such as glucose syrup very common in mass produced food, responsible for diabetics and gaining weight in large number of Americans and vegetable oil that quite often happens to be palm oil - quite controversial - when produced causes deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. If I can avoid it why shouldn't I? I make my own granola. 

House smells like apple pie, in the morning I have quick, healthy and filling breakfast ready within seconds and it makes me really happy first thing in the morning, specially when I do not have a time to cook anything else. Only my cat is not very happy when I take him off my knees every 10 minutes to stir the granola in the oven.

1½ cup rolled oats
1½ cup spelt flakes
handful of almonds, roughly chopped
2 tbsp linseed
1 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
about 300ml natural apple juice (preferably freshly pressed, or organic natural, cloudy shop bought juice)
5 tbsp vegetable oil such as sunflower oil, grape seed oil or rapeseed oil 
2 tbsp honey
4 tbsp agave syrup (I used raw)
1 tbsp cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger 
pinch of salt
2 handfuls of currants

Heat the oven to 140 C (fan).

In a large bowl mix the oats, spelt flakes, almonds, sesame seeds, linseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, ginger and salt.

In separate bowl mix oil, juice, honey and agave syrup.

Mix dry ingredients with the wet ones thoroughly and place on the baking trays lined with baking paper. Place in the oven.  

Bake the granola for about 1 to 1 ¼ hours, depends on how thin the layer of the granola is – the thicker it is the longer it will take to bake it.

Stir granola every 10 minutes, so it bakes thoroughly and evenly. After 1 hour open the oven, turn it off and leave granola to cool down slightly. Next add the currants, mix well and leave it to cool down completely.

Store granola in an airtight container. I love it with hot or cold milk, natural yoghurt or just on its own as a snack. I the summer I love it with seasonal fruits such as strawberries, blueberries or raspberries.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Quite unusual day

Today I will show you few photographs taken by my friend Dorota. I always wanted to have some pin up style photographs (also with some food or kitchen utensils) as I absolutely love this style and also I was looking for reason to wear my new Hybrid dress that I am totally in love with. Patrycja who made my hair asked me to be a model for hairdressing contest and agreed to style my hair for the photo shoot purposes too. In between the contest hairstyle and hairstyle for my session we also managed to take some photos in my favourite kitchen apron Julietta (by Cookie) We also had professional make up artist on the set - Anna. I do not feel comfortable in a front of the camera, so I was stressed however I still managed to have fun and I would love to try different styling and some more photo shoots in the future. I hope you will enjoy these as much as I enjoyed day with the girls in the studio.

Photo: Dorota Wilczek, Dott Studio, Rynek 9, Bieruń Stary, Poland tel. (48) 032 724 70 13
Hair: Patrycja Dembkowska, Salon fryzjersko-kosmetyczny Barbara Dembkowska, ul. Kusocińskiego 4, Bieruń Stary, Poland tel. (48) 032 216 44 53, http://barbaradembkowska.pl/
Make up: Anna Osoba, Bieruń Stary