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greatfood ISSUE 4

£3.20

www.greatfoodleics.co.uk

CELEBRATING THE BEST LOCAL FOOD & DRINK

Leicestershire & Rutland

Winter fuel

Fur, feather & fun at Melton market

Marvellous marmalade

Tangy tips from Rosemary Jameson

Food of love

• Edible, local Valentine gifts • Inspirational wedding fare

£3.20

MARKET MAGIC!

ISSUE #4

Warming recipes from local chefs Cosiest country pubs revealed

PUB & RESTAURANT REVIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


CRAFT CRAF CR RAF AFT FT CIDER CIID C DE ER ORIGINATED OR O RIGI IIG GINA INA IN AT TED ED FROM FR RO OM THE THE OLD TH OLD MILL OL MIILL M LL WOODNEWTON WOOD WO WOO ODNE NEWTON WT TON ON

Locally produced enjoyed by all... WEST STREET, STAMFORD 01780 762245

ORDER A SPECIAL

12 BOTTLE TASTER CASE DRY/MEDIUM/SWEET

www.jollydalecyder.com jollydale.indd 1

20/12/10 10:02:41


Welcome

Try as I might to find excuses, the scales don’t lie. I need to go on a New Year diet. One too many Melton Mowbray pork pies, the occasional snifter of local beer and the odd Leicestershire sausage have taken their toll. Not only that, but I’ve been obliged – purely in the interests of research – to go on a huge pub crawl around Leicestershire and Rutland. The Cosy Pubs feature starting on p12 is the result of some intense hostelry scouring. We found lots of excellent places and I hope you enjoy visiting them as much as we did. So, this diet. I’m going to try the Fife Diet (see p56), which means eating and drinking more local produce. As a result, I’ll automatically eat more fresh fruit and veg, and also support more local producers – people like cider-brewer Simon Dale (p44), market gardener Paul Bird (p48) and jammaker Rosemary Jameson (p30). Why don’t you join me and this year resolve to enjoy more food that’s made locally? The Farm Shop Map on p66 is a good place to start, and there’s a list of farmers’ markets on p60. Have a very tasty 2011. www.greatfoodleics.co.uk

Contents

NIBBLES 4 5 6 8 10 11

Try this! Lucy Cufflin’s lemon chicken What’s Cooking? Anjum Anand’s paneer masala Leicester Market update Subscription offer

STARTER 12 17 18 20

Cosy pubs Rachel Green’s fish pie Magical Melton Market How to prep a pheasant

MAIN COURSE 22 23 24 29 30 32 33 34 37

Chutney Ivy & Woodhouse reviews Crown Inn & Fine Food Store reviews Food history: fox hunting Andy Blunt’s walnut bread Marvellous Marmalade! The Riverford Recipe Save £20 on jam-making kit! Tiger Hero recipe competition Cheese Talk

BACK FOR SECONDS

Editor

matthew.wright@greatfoodleics.co.uk WRITE TO: Great Food, 7 Victoria Street, Melton Mowbray, Leics LE13 0AR. www.greatfoodleics.co.uk

Twitter: greatfoodleics EDITOR: Matthew Wright ADVERTISING: BPG Ltd Julie Cousins – j.cousins@ bournepublishinggroup.co.uk 01780 766199 PUBLISHED BY: Rocco Media PRINTED BY: Warners CONTRIBUTORS: Matt Gregory, Mark Hamilton, Helen Chantrey, Tim Burke, Rupert Matthews, Rachel Quine, Emma Ansell, Jan

Welcome

McCourt, Rosemary Jameson, Phillip Sharpe, Rachel Green, Sallie Hooper, Sean Hope, Helen Tarver, Lucy Cufflin, Danny Jimminson, Andy Blunt, Monica Parmar, Tim Brown; Philippa, Jane and Enzo Maffioli; Graham and Jill Wright; and Rocco the Jack Russell. WEBSITE: Paul Bunkham – www.dobit.co.uk Full terms and conditions, privacy and security policies are on our website.

GREAT FOOD LEICESTERSHIRE & RUTLAND IS BI-MONTHLY: NEXT ISSUE OUT MARCH 1, 2011 COVER WATERCOLOUR: Fireside Food by Graham Wright.

39 40 43 44 47 48

NEW: The Insider Maiyango Dream Dish The Garage Deli Jollydale Cyder profile San Carlo profile Paul Bird profile

PUDDING 50 52 56 58 60

Pub/café walk: Chatsworth Wedding food Leicestershire Food Links Heston Little Chef review Danny Jimminson

PETIT FOURS & COFFEE 61 62 63 64 66

Truffles Monica Parmar’s spicy pasta bake Mauritian Street Food The Foodie Gift Hunter Updated Farm Shop Map Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 3


TRY THIS...

PRICE: £2.50

Soup by Souped Up Market Harborough-based Souped Up is a new company run by 27-year-old Fran Taylor. Fran has converted her garage into a kitchen to make delicious, nutritious soups, which she sells to Harborough workers at lunchtime. She plans to roll her business out to Leicester. Contact: 07976 588959, getsoupedup.co.uk

PRICES FROM: £2.65

Welbourne’s plum bread

Dense, cakey and fruity, this Lincolnshire plum bread is baked by Welbourne’s Bakery of Navenby, Lincs. Best described as the result of an illicit affair between a handsome bread and a pretty pudding. Delicious. Contact Welbourne to find your nearest supplier.

Welland Valley Rapeseed Oil Alan Robinson of Frisby Grange Farm, Houghton on the Hill, Leics, is the farmer behind Welland Valley Rapeseed Oil. His crops grown in nearby fields are used to make this cold-pressed oil. It’s great to cook with, being low in saturated fat with a high flash point.

try this...

Contact: 0116 2599810, www.wellandvalley.com

Contact: 01522 810239, www.welbournesbakery.com

PRICES FROM: £7.50

…local food made by small producers in or close to Leicestershire & Rutland

Grasmere Farm chipolatas Grasmere Farm of Market Deeping feed their pigs on meal milled at their 18th century water mill. Their chipolatas are outstanding – herby and meaty. We bought them at Rutland Farm Shop (see p66), with the chutney. A good combo.

PRICES FROM: £3.20

Contact: 01778 342344, www.grasmere-farm.co.uk

Phipps beer by The Grainstore

PRICE: £2.50

Phipps Northampton Brewery Company is a famous old Northamptonshire brewer that started brewing in 1801 and stopped in 1968. Now the name and its beers have been revived, made by Tony Davis at the Grainstore in Oakham. Very drinkable and worth sampling. Contact: 07510 290983, www.phipps-nbc.co.uk

Spotted Dick Suet Pudding PRICE: £4.50 PRICE: £3.15 4 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

Here’s one for those saying “not on your nelly” to a postChristmas diet. This pud from Peterborough-based Old Fashioned Pudding Company contains vegetarian suet and free-range eggs. Simply steam to cook or freeze to save. Contact: 01733 248606, www.oldfashionedpuddings.co.uk


Recipe

Lucy Cufflin’s lemon chicken with lentils Healthy and wholesome, taken from Lucy’s new cookbook Lucy Cufflin, who was born and lives in Leicester, has been a chef for over 20 years. Her freshly published cookbook, Lucy’s Food, is inspired by the 15 years she spent running a chalet business in the Alps. She says: “I accumulated thousands of recipes that could be prepared ahead and finished with little effort but looked and tasted great – minimum effort, maximum effect.” Lucy has now opened a shop in Stoneygate, Leicester, also called Lucy’s Food. More info at www.lucysfood.co.uk.

Serves 4 FOR THE ONION BASE (Makes 12 tablespoons) * 4 onions, chopped * 3 sticks celery, chopped finely * 8 cloves garlic, chopped finely * 2 tbsp olive oil * 2 tbsp vegetable oil * 3 tbsp water

BASE SAUCE METHOD 1 Put onion and other ingredients into thick-bottomed saucepan and cover with tight-fitting lid. 2 Cook for 10-20 minutes, depending on quantity you are cooking. Look at the onions from time to time to check they are not catching on the bottom – you want them cooked but not browned. FOR THE MAIN DISH * 2 tbsp onion base (see above) * 8 chicken thighs * 2 tsp paprika (mild) * 50g smoked bacon pieces * 1 tbsp plain flour * 1 tbsp olive oil * 4 bricks frozen chopped spinach * 2 tbsp lemon juice * 1 chicken stock cube * 1 tsp dried thyme

LUCY’S FOOD: Lucy’s new book contains over 350 tested recipes to suit all. Published by Hardie Grant, you can buy it from Amazon, Waterstones or Lucy’s Food, 6 Francis St, Leicester.

* 150ml white wine * 250ml water * 2 tbsp Puy-style lentils * 4 sprigs fresh thyme, to serve MAIN DISH METHOD 1 Heat oven to Gas Mark 5 (190C). 2 Rub paprika over chicken skin. Heat oil in a saucepan until hot and fry chicken pieces until well coloured. Transfer to roasting tin. 3 Add bacon to pan and cook for a minute. Lower heat and add onion base. Add a tablespoon of water, put on a lid and cook for around 10 minutes. 4 Add rest of ingredients, stir well and bring to boil. Pour everything over the chicken and cover with foil. 5 Cook for 45-60 minutes. Check chicken every 15-20 minutes as

lentils will soak up liquid. There should always be cooking liquid visible, so add water if necessary. 6 Remove from oven and allow fat to come to surface. Sprinkle one tablespoon of plain flour over in a fine layer and wait for fat to absorb it. Stir through sauce and return to oven for 10-15 minutes. 7 To serve, place a pile of mash on a warmed plate and lean two pieces of chicken against each other and the potato. Spoon over the sauce and top with a sprig of thyme.

You could make this in the morning and store in the fridge until later. Simply reheat for 20 minutes at the same oven temperature.

‘You could make this dish in the morning and store in the fridge until evening’ Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 5


What’s

Cooking?

Clockwise from left: Exciting times for Northfield Farm and its new tea room, Barrowby Cakehole, Lucy’s Food and Leicester Market.

EDITED BY: MATTHEW WRIGHT

Small LUNCH FOR EVEN LESS Six of the best local pubs and restaurants are offering a twocourse lunch for as little as £11 in early 2011. The Berkeley Arms (see p14), Hambleton Hall, Langar Hall, Marquess of Exeter (p13), Olive Branch (p13) and Red Lion (p13) are all taking part in the offer. Details at www.greatfoodleics.co.uk

GREAT FOOD ART Graham Wright, the artist behind the watercolours that appear within and on the front cover of this magazine, is now taking commissions. Graham specialises in elevations of buildings but is willing to tackle anything. For more information, call 01780 482012 or go to www.greatfoodleics.co.uk

LUBCLOUD SAUSAGES Lubcloud Dairy of Charnwood, one of Leicestershire’s leading organic milk producers, is now also making sausages. The bangers will use pork from Lubcloud’s Hampshire pigs and a spicy variety incorporating chillies from Charnwood Chilli Co (see p64) is planned. www.lubclouddairy.co.uk

COUNTIES ALL SET FOR FANTASTIC FOOD YEAR Vibrant 2011 ahead for region’s food-lovers

T

he new year promises much for Leicestershire and Rutland’s growing band of local food-lovers. A number of high-quality food and drink businesses have opened, others are growing, and a range of exciting events are planned for 2011. In Leicester, Green Jam Deli has just opened on London Road, while gourmet readymeal/ kitchenware shop Lucy’s Food is now trading in Stoneygate, and Leicester Market is set to unveil its new food piazza in April (see p10). Further north, in the Vale of Belvoir, new café/deli the Barrowby Cakehole is selling a range of fine local food (see p39), as is Berry’s Farm Shop in Burton-le-Coggles, which has opened on the same site as the village pub. In Rutland, rare-breed meat producer Northfield Farm of Cold Overton has celebrated

the launch of its tea room/restaurant, while Ben Robson has toasted the arrival of Ben’s Wine Shop in Oakham (see opposite). Grainstore Brewery, also of Oakham, is on the rise with the launch of Rutland Bitter, the region’s first geographically protected ale. For less boozy Oakhamites, the Rutland Tea Company is another addition to the landscape. In south Leicestershire, Farndon Fields – one of the UK’s best farm shops – goes from strength to strength, offering a huge range of locally grown and produced food and drink. Events-wise, the British Pie Awards will take place in Melton Mowbray in April, Ashby’s thriving Food Gusto Club will hold a festival on August 28, and the East Midlands Food Festival is set to coincide with Leicestershire Food Fortnight in October.

2011 SEARCH BEGINS

CLAWSON HITS THE TON Long Clawson Dairy is celebrating its centenary year. The dairy was founded in 1911 when 12 farmers from the Vale of Belvoir formed a co-operative to produce Stilton. Today Clawson is supplied by over 40 farms in Leics, Notts and Derbys. More on Clawson in future issues. www.clawson.co.uk

6 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

Hunt for Tiger Local Hero 2011 Tiger Best Bitter is starting its annual hunt to find the region’s biggest unsung heroes. The Leicestershire beer brand is inviting people to nominate the brave and noble in their local area, heroes at the heart of the community whose sterling

work usually goes unrewarded. The winner will receive £1000. Local heroes can be nominated online at www.everards. co.uk/tigerlocalhero. The closing date is April 1, 2011. Whoever nominates the eventual winner will receive a £50 voucher.


NEW FOOD SHOW

FARM SHOP & DELI SHOW LAUNCHES New trade event at NEC in February A

new event dedicated to farm shops and delis will take place at Birmingham’s NEC from Feb 28-Mar 1, 2011. Run by William Reed Business Media, the show is purely for traders, not food lovers, and reveals the growing importance of the farm shop and deli sector. Described by Reed as a “place for business and networking” where traders can “keep up to date and source new products”, the show is aiming to become a must-visit event for smaller,

{ } “The show is focused on the unique needs of farm shops and delis. If you’re part of the industry, you need to attend.”

William Reed

bespoke food businesses from around the UK. The exhibitor list so far includes pudding-maker Cartmel Village Shop, cooking oil vendor Just Oil, ice cream maker Farmer Gosden’s Dairy and Italian food importer Fratelli Camisa. No Leicestershire or Rutland businesses were on the exhibitor list as Great Food went to press. For more information, go to www. farmshopanddelishow.co.uk or call Kate Andrews on 01293 610244.

The Farm Shop & Deli Show is designed to help food businesses network and source products.

Ben’s Wine Shop Wine merchant Ben Robson has opened the unique and rather excellent Ben’s Wine Shop on Northgate, near Oakham train station. An Aladdin’s Cave of wine (and food), prices start at £4.99 a bottle. For more info, call 01572 759735 or visit www.benswineshop.co.uk.

Local food news

Rocco Recommends “Excellent pubs that let me in”

THE PEACOCK INN, REDMILE “My good friend and fellow Jack Russell, Diesel, recommended this excellent hostelry. He’s the chap crouching rather inelegantly on the stool in the picture. Located in the Vale of Belvoir (exquisite walkies territory), it’s like the Tardis inside – just when you think you’ve explored the entire place, you find another room. The ambience is conducive to relaxation, and according to a rather slobbery local Lab, the food is good. Diesel, there most Sundays, likes Mini Cheddars. Philistine.” The Peacock Inn, 1 Main St, Redmile, Leics, NG13 0GA, 01949 842554, www.thepeacockinnredmile.co.uk

Our noble Chippies… ANDY’S FISH BAR, MELTON MOWBRAY

One of the three best chippies in the Midlands, according to the 2010 Fish & Chip Awards. Best of all though, Andy’s is one of a trio of UK chippies shortlisted for the Contribution to the Local Community prize (part of the same awards). One of the many charitable events owner Yan Sozugecen organises is a lunch club for the elderly. Andy’s is also spotlessly clean and welcoming. Andy’s, 13 Sysonby Street, Melton, Leics LE13 0LP, 01664 854631

Ben (above) and wife Emma (top left) have stocked the shop with a variety of wine and food.

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 7


RECIPE

Anjum Anand’s Clawson Paneer Tikka Masala Long Clawson Dairy near Melton Mowbray, which this year celebrates its centenary, is best known for Blue Stilton. However, it’s been making paneer – a vegetarian Indian cheese – since 1992. Clawson recently invited renowned chef Anjum Anand to create several recipes using its paneer. Anjum says of this dish: “The texture and buttery flavour of the paneer complements the spiced, tangy tomato sauce.” For more of Anjum’s paneer recipes, go to www.clawson.co.uk.

Serves 4

* 1 packet Long Clawson paneer cheese, boiled for 20 minutes and cut into 2cm cubes * 5 tbsp vegetable oil * 6 green cardamom pods * 1 inch cinnamon shard * 1 medium onion, made into a paste * 3 garlic cloves, peeled and made into a paste (“I use a fine, microplane grater”, says Anjum) * 11/4 inch ginger, peeled, made into a paste * 3 large tomatoes, puréed

1 Boil paneer in plenty of water on a low flame for around 20 minutes. 2 Heat the oil and one tablespoon of the butter until hot. Add the cardamom and cinnamon stick, and follow 10 seconds later with the onion paste. Cook on a moderate flame until the excess water has dried off and the onion has turned golden. 3 Add the ginger and garlic pastes and sauté over a gentle flame for a minute. Add tomato, powdered spices and salt. Cook over a moderate flame for

* 1 tsp coriander powder * 11tsp cumin powder * 1 /4 tsp garam masala to taste * Salt * 1/4-1/2 tsp red chilli powder or to taste * 4 tbsp double cream good tbsp butter * 2-3 * 1/2 tsp sugar or to taste * 15 cashew nuts blended with some water 20-25 minutes or until well reduced and you can see oil coming out of the sauce. Turn the heat up and fry paste for a further three minutes. Add paneer, butter and cream and 400ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer for another five minutes. You may want to add a little more water, depending on how thick you like your sauce. 4 Taste, adjust seasoning and serve. You could garnish the dish with a swirl of cream and a little fresh coriander.

‘The texture and buttery flavour of the paneer complements the lightly spiced, tangy tomato sauce’ 8 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland


hotel restaurant

The Best Small Hotel and Restaurant in the East Midlands And Growing... Launching St Martins House in January 2011. The stunning new venue for Weddings, Parties and Celebrations.

Double Gold Award Winner in the ‘Small Hotel’ & ‘Taste of the Region’ categories in the 2010 East Midlands Tourism Enjoy England Excellence Awards

Visit www.maiyango.com for more information T: 0116 251 88 98 E: reservations@maiyango.com AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence

MAIYANGO AD.indd 1

13-21 St Nicholas Place, Leicester. LE1 4LD

22/12/10 09:57:27


OUT & ABOUT

Roll up, roll up... The second Winter Food Festival at Leicester Market attracted 20,000 visitors, 200 stalls and some mouthwatering cuisine

S Alex Chambers from Squisito Italian deli, Monks Kirby, Warks.

Moji Green runs Lyncroft Handmade Cakes of Leicester.

mall plumes of steam from cooking pots rose through freezing air. Thousands of red noses twitched in unison, bombarded by a blend of aromas. Traders bantered with customers and blew warm air into hands. It was bloody freezing. Hot mulled wine was necessity, not luxury. Despite the Siberian chill, Leicester’s Winter Food Festival at Leicester Market on November 21, 2010, attracted 200 stalls and an estimated 20,000 visitors. The UK’s largest permanent outdoor market now holds a Summer and Winter Food Festival every year and they’re growing in popularity. The market has an energy and atmosphere all of its own on normal weekdays, but this is brought out even more during food festivals – the market is the antidote to Highcross Shopping Centre’s sleek consumerism, something much earthier and more memorable. The food’s pretty tasty, too. Represented were popular Leicester restaurants including Bobby’s, Anjuna, and Entropy. They were joined by producers from across the region, such as Picks Organics, Long Clawson Dairy, Northfield Farm, Quenby Hall and Bouverie Lodge. Celebrity chef Rachel Green (p17) demonstrated cooking using local produce and there was a range of activities, including artisan sausage making by Italian deli Squisito, a Clawson Stilton masterclass and seasonal cooking demonstrations by Maiyango’s Phil Sharpe (see also p40). “A big thank you to the traders who made the day such a roaring success and to the visitors who created a wonderful atmosphere,” said market manager Nick Rhodes.

Market diary…

“We’re looking forward to a huge 2011,” says market development manager Joe Harkin.”The highlight will be the grand opening of our permanent new food piazza in spring. We have a diverse mix of food vendors already signed up for the piazza and are now looking for businesses who’d like to appear as an invited ‘guest’ producer or restaurant.”

Summer Festival

Leicester’s Summer Food & Drink Festival will take place on May 29. It will focus on local produce and have a licensed drinks area. “We are in negotiations to run the summer festival over Sunday and Monday in 2012,“ says Joe. For more info on the piazza or the festival, call 0116 223 2371 or visit www.leicestermarket. co.uk.

Trader focus Thierry Daugeron

Originally from the town of Tours in France’s Loire Valley, Thierry moved to the UK in 1998. Now living in Stamford, Lincolnshire, he specialises in catering, parties and events. His beautiful cakes, pastries and desserts on display at the Winter Food Festival were fantastic – give Thierry a call on 07773 800804 or go to www.thierrydaugeron.co.uk.

Maiyango’s Phillip Sharpe shows off his cooking skills.

Bobby’s of Leicester, was serving tasty vegetarian curry.

Adam Fairy from LB Hunt fishmongers, based in the indoor part of the market.

LEICESTER MARKET Market Place, Leicester LE1 5HQ 0116 2232371, www.leicestermarket.co.uk

10 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland


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WHY SUBSCRIBE? You’ll be able to look forward to a unique, beautiful, information-packed magazine that focuses on food and drink in Leicestershire & Rutland. Each issue will be delivered to your door and bring you seasonal recipes, plus features on local producers, pubs, delis, farm shops, restaurants and more.

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PLEASE SEND YOUR COMPLETED ORDER FORM AND CHEQUE TO: Great Food, 7 Victoria St, Melton Mowbray, Leics LE13 0AR. Please make cheques payable to Rocco Media. Or, to subscribe online, go to www.greatfoodleics.co.uk and click ‘subscribe’. Terms & conditions: Unless you state otherwise, subscriptions will start with the March/April 2011 issue. The minimum term is six issues (Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland is published bi-monthly). This offer is open until March 1, 2011. Opt-out option: Rocco Media (publisher of Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland) would like to contact you with details of offers that we feel might be of interest to you. Please tick here if you do not want to receive information by post [ ] phone [ ] email[ ].

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 11


OUT & ABOUT

Cosy pubs We've scoured Leicestershire & Rutland to find our finest country pubs – places where you'd be happy to get snowed in

The Wheel Inn at Branston.

T

here’s nothing like hunkering down in a country pub. Ask any ex-pat what they miss about Blighty and, behind a decent cuppa, they’ll say their favourite rural hostelry. Drinks in front of an open fire after a Sunday roast, watching winter’s icy twilight descend over distant fields... it's one of an Englishman's greatest gifts. We’ve travelled the length and breadth of Leicestershire & Rutland to find the best. We've visited every pub in this feature (it's been a labour of love) and, in our opinion, all are worthy of your time, not just the ones in the photos, but those mentioned in the 'Best of the Rest' sections, too. We haven't been able to try the food in them all, but we have spoken to regular diners. So order an ale, put a log on the fire, sit back and relax. Q

CRITERIA USED TO SELECT PUBS FOR THIS FEATURE: COUNTRY PUB/GASTROPUB EXCELLENT, COSY AMBIENCE REPUTATION FOR DECENT FOOD GOOD RANGE OF REAL ALE INDIVIDUAL AND SPECIAL Thanks to: Tourist Information Centre, Ashby, Richard Beldon (www.letsgolocal.co.uk), Leicester Shire Promotions, Jane and Enzo Maffioli, and Blend Communications.

12 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland


Country pub guide

VALE OF BELVOIR

RUTLAND

On opening a front door plastered with food/pub/Michelin/Sawday's guide stickers, a blast of warmth from the fire greets your cheeks, an aroma of woodsmoke and roast beef tweaks your nostrils, and your eyes rest on a large, well-stocked bar serving Greene King IPA, Woodforde's Wherry, Everards Tiger, Old Rosie scrumpy and a vast array of lagers. Rural pubs don't come much more inviting than the Chequers. You could happily settle in for an entire weekend, and judging by word-ofmouth recommendations and the busy restaurant area on our visit, the food is good. Situated a stone's throw from Belvoir Castle in a pretty village, it's made for Sunday lunch.

What can we say about this pub that hasn't been said already? Not a lot, except that when you strip back the hype of its Michelin star, you're left with a special yet homely country pub that's managed incredibly professionally. The Olive Branch consistently gets the basics of good service and excellent cooking with superb ingredients spot on. When that's done within a warm, friendly environment and combined with a commitment to excellent beer and wine, it's an irresistible mix.

CHEQUERS, Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir

OLIVE BRANCH, Clipsham

CONTACT: Main St, Woolsthorpe NG32 1LU 01476 870701, www.chequersinn.net

CONTACT: Main St, Clipsham LE15 7SH, 01780 410355, www.theolivebranchpub.com

MARQUESS OF EXETER, Lyddington

THE RED LION, Stathern

Sophistication meets rustic in this large, warm, buzzy, AA four-star pub. All the building's original features are on show, with flagstone floors and wooden beams, but there's also a feeling of elegance. It could be down to the impressive sense of space that's been created throughout. The food's high-quality and Brian Baker, head chef, keeps pigs, chickens and a veg patch at the back, which reflects the sort of fresh, local ingredients he works with.

Vale of Belvoir residents (Beaverers?) are rather spoilt when it comes to country pubs. The Red Lion is special. Friendly, warm and rustic, with an open fire and wood-burning stove, it's as if the Patron Saint of English Pubs has bought himself a large farmhouse and converted it to exactly how he'd like it. The food is top-class, the feel is utterly relaxed and it's even got its own beer, brewed by Grainstore.

CONTACT: 52 Main Street, Lyddington, near Uppingham, LE15 9LT, 01572 822477, www.marquessexeter.co.uk

CONTACT: Red Lion St, Stathern LE14 4HS 01949 860868, www.theolivebranchpub.com

THE COACH HOUSE,

THE WHEEL INN,

South Luffenham

Full of character and with a reputation for impressively creative, good food, the Wheel at Branston is comfortable and friendly. The notes from our visit say: "Warm welcome, open fire, wooden floor, honest feel, good beer." That sums it up, really.

This is a country pub with a thoroughly pleasant feel and smart, professional approach. With a woodburning stove and open fire, it's certainly cosy. The flagstone floor, exposed stonework and pine tables create an honest, rustic ambience. The beer's good, food reputed to be generous and well worth trying, and service excellent.

CONTACT: 13 Main St, Branston NG32 1RU, 01476 870376

CONTACT: 3 Stamford Rd, S Luffenham, LE15 8NT, 01780 720166, www.coachhouserutland.co.uk

T ES

R

ES

T

S

BE ST

OF

BEST OF THE REST If it was in Rutland, not Cambs, the White Hart, Ufford, would be pushing hard for a top three spot. The wonderfully restored Tobie Norris of Stamford is OF THE uniquely superb but a town pub. Elsewhere, try the King's Arms, Wing; Black Bull, Market Overton; Fox & Hounds, Exton; Blue Ball, Braunston; and Horse & Jockey, Manton. The Wheatsheaf, Greetham is building a fine reputation for food. BE ST

S

BEST OF THE REST Large Charles Wells pub the Peacock at Redmile (see p7), would make it into the top three in other Leicestershire territories, but the Vale of Belvoir, like Rutland, is fertile pub territory. The Crown at Sproxton (reviewed on p23) is on the rise and recently won an East Midlands Tourism bronze SY PUB CO medal. The Manners Arms at Knipton is another good country pub with a fine reputation.

SY PUB CO

R

Branston

THE

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 13


OUT & ABOUT

Fine seasonal food is served at the Berkeley Arms.

Inside the thoroughly pleasant Wheatsheaf.

CHARNWOOD THE WHEATSHEAF, Woodhouse Eaves With its ancient trees and buildings made from Swithland slate and distinctive local granite, beautiful Woodhouse Eaves in Charnwood feels detached from the rest of the world. Inside the Wheatsheaf, you're doubly cocooned from reality. This traditional, characterful pub is cosy but bright (skylights above the bar flood light into the entire ground floor), and there are plenty of areas near the long bar in which to tuck yourself away to enjoy your wine or beer. Racing car memorabilia adorns the walls and the open fire is always lit in winter. On our visit there were plenty of staff serving and the ambience was warm and friendly. We'd have tried the Leicestershire Ploughmans if we'd had time. CONTACT: Brand Hill, Woodhouse Eaves, Leics LE12 8SS, 01509 890320, www.wheatsheafinn.net

The food is exceptionally good at the Berkeley Arms (see our review in the last issue), and this pub's the perfect winter hideaway. Laid back and contented, there's a quarry-tiled bar area, bucolic pine furniture and a carpeted zone around the fireplace with low chairs and sofas that are dangerously doze-inducing. It's a year since Neil and Louise Hitchen took on the Berkeley Arms and they combine a professional approach with seasonal, locally-sourced food and a happy, pubby atmosphere. CONTACT: 59 Main St, Wymondham, Leics LE14 2AG 01572 787587, www.theberkeleyarms.co.uk

Thatched Everards pub the Blue Bell, located in pretty Hoby, is convivial and clearly well cared for. Low, beamed ceilings and wood pillars provide atmosphere. Dogs are welcome in the pleasant red and black quarry-tiled bar area, and if you bring your hound expect the staff to give him at least one biscuit. There's a skittle alley out the back and the menu is extensive – expect respectable pub grub. Open noon till 11pm every day.

One of the few pubs in this feature to have three fires – two in the bar and one woodburner in the back – the Woodies, as it's known by locals, is arguably the cosiest pub in Leicestershire. This is a dyed-in-the-wool Leicester Tigers hostelry. Expect a traditional interior, wooden beams, low ceilings, friendly banter and plenty of weekend events.

CONTACT: 36 Main Street, Hoby, Leics LE14 3DT 01664 434247, www.bluebell-hoby.co.uk

CARINGTON ARMS,

CONTACT: 1 Church St, Rothley, Leics LE14 4HS, 0116 2302785, www.woodmansstroke.co.uk

Ashby Folville

Venerable old pub opposite the village cricket pitch. Very Midsomer Murders. There's a large bar area with wood floor and roaring fire. The fancier restaurant provides a comfy-looking dining experience. The sort of pub you picture when reading a classic whodunit, where the local vicar's spotted with the new choir mistress before being brutally murdered. Atmospheric and rural.

BEST OF THE REST The Curzon Arms (left), another pub at Woodhouse Eaves, has a pleasant and individual interior that enhances a spot of weekend relaxation. The Griffin Inn, Swithland (below), is a beautiful old building with a cosy front bar.

CONTACT: 1 Folville Street, Ashby Folville, Leics LE14 2TE, 01664 841234, www.caringtonarms.co.uk

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BEST OF THE REST The Cheney Arms in beautiful Gaddesby is another Everards pub that's worth a visit; as is the Old Black Horse, Houghton on the Hill, which offers a pleasant environment in a pretty village. The P SY UB Stilton Cheese, Somerby, is ultra traditional and cosy; Grant's CO Free House at Burrough on the Hill is worth a mention for serving beers from Parish Brewery, located in the building next door and brewer of some highly intriguing local beers.

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14 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

THE BERKELEY ARMS, Wymondham

THE BLUE BELL, Hoby

WOODMAN'S STROKE, Rothley

The White Swan, Sileby, isn't quite a country pub and might not be beautiful from the outside, but inside it's spacious, warm and buzzy, and is a popular Sunday lunch destination. The Royal Oak, Quorn, is thoroughly pleasant.

MELTON & EAST LEICESTERSHIRE

THE


Country pub guide

Nevill Arms combines pub with cafĂŠ/restaurant.

Three Horseshoes is an 18th-century listed building.

SOUTH LEICESTERSHIRE THE NEVILL ARMS, Medbourne Nineteenth century pub in a neat village with stream meandering at the front. Oak-beamed ceilings, stone inglenook fireplace and stone mullion windows add to an idyllic, traditional ambience. However, this is a pub with a difference because it has a cafĂŠ/restaurant hidden away behind the main building, open between 8am and 4pm daily. Three real ales are on offer in the pub and the long menu looks promising. CONTACT: 12 Waterfall Way, Medbourne, Leicestershire, LE16 8EE 01858 565288, www.thenevillarms.net

WEST & NORTH-WEST LEICESTERSHIRE THREE HORSESHOES, Breedon Dream pub for food-lovers on the Leicestershire/Derbyshire border. Not only does the adjacent building house a chocolate-maker, who enhances the Three Horseshoes excellent menu with spectacular truffles and chocolates (www.bittersweetchocolates.co.uk), there's also a food gift shop to the rear selling wine, cakes, oils and more. This 250-year-old pub has a traditional bar area with quarry-tiled floor and open fire, and beautifully appointed dining areas. It should be on your radar. CONTACT: Main St, Breedon on the Hill, Leics DE73 8AN, 01332 695129

JOINER'S ARMS, Bruntingthorpe Attractive whitewashed old building that's more gastropub than cosy local boozer. Flagstone floor, oak beams, open fire and church-pew benches combine with modern design touches and warm, friendly atmosphere. We've eaten here a few times and usually the food is spot on and the service impressive. Expect simple British dishes cooked well, using high-quality ingredients. The wine list's good but a greater beer choice wouldn't go amiss.

STEAM TRUMPET,

CONTACT: Church Walk, Bruntingthorpe, Leics LE17 5QH 0116 2478258, www.thejoinersarms.co.uk

CONTACT: Main Street, Thornton, Leics LE67 1AJ, 01530 231258, www.steamin-billy.co.uk

SONDES ARMS, Rockingham

BELPER ARMS,

Thornton

Recently taken over by Leicester's Steamin' Billy Brewery, the Steam Trumpet is a great find. Committed to serving local produce, including trout from nearby Thornton Reservoir, and offering an array of Leicester-brewed Steamin' Billy beers, it combines old world character with modern touches. You could quite happily while away a lazy day in here.

Seventeenth century coaching inn situated just below Rockingham Castle. A large but very cosy pub with tall, beamed ceilings and open fires. There is a small lounge area with low leather seats, providing an opportunity to relax (nod off?) and read the newspapers placed there by Leigh and Sharon Maund, whose family have run pubs for many years. The formal and informal dining/lounge areas make this a compelling place to visit. CONTACT: Main St, Rockingham, Leics LE16 8TG, 01536 771778, www.sondesarms.co.uk

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BEST OF THE REST The Smisby Arms in Smisby is a warm, cosseting sort of place in a lovely village, and the locals have recently joined together to brew their own beer, which is always a good sign. The Cock, Sibson, is a fascinating old pub (it was reputedly patronised by Dick Turpin), as is the Odd House, Snarestone. The Half Way House at Donisthorpe is comfortable and immaculately maintained.

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Said to be Leicestershire's oldest pub dating back 700 years, and judging by the fabulous interior, that sounds about right. There are low beams, interesting areas in which to hide away behind ancient walls, and a cooking range from the early 19th century. All this, plus a fine wine list, decent beer selection, good local menu and reputed ghost (called Five-To-Four-Fred) adds up to a wonderfully cosy atmosphere. CONTACT: Main St, Newton Burgoland, Leics LE67 2SE, 01530 270530

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BEST OF THE REST The Old Barn in the hamlet of Glooston (reviewed last issue) came under new management in February and is traditional and cosy, serving well-cooked British food. You could do worse than warm yourself up in front of the fires in the popular, comfortable White Lion, North Kilworth. The SY PUB CO thatched, characterful Bewicke Arms in Hallaton combines ye olde pub with village tea room.

Newton Burgoland

THE

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 15


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Beef Braised in Belvoir Stout, Spring Onion Mash, Buttered Cabbage Crispy Roast Pork Belly, Potato & Onion Cooked in Cider, Cauliflower Cheese Pan Roast Salmon Fillet, Dauphinoise Potatoes, Purple Sprouting Broccoli Chickpea, Courgette & Red Onion Curry, Pakora, Basmati Rice

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Recipe

‘A really comforting fish pie recipe that’s perfect for those cold winter nights’

Rachel Green’s Salmon, Prawn and Pea Pie TV chef and author Rachel Green is Ambassador for Leicester’s famous outdoor market and was there recently to open the city’s successful Winter Food Festival (see p10). “This is a really comforting fish pie recipe that’s perfect for cold, winter nights,” says Rachel. “I recommend getting the salmon and prawns from Leicester Market’s brilliant and fantastically comprehensive fish section. It has some of the best seafood stalls I’ve come across.” As well as starring in various TV shows such as Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, Rachel has also written two cookbooks. For more information, go to www.rachel-green.co.uk.

Serves 4-6

* 600g fresh salmon fillet,

skinned * 250ml full fat milk * 1 bay leaf & 4 peppercorns * 200g prawns, peeled & cooked * 100g smoked salmon trimmings * 2 shallots, finely chopped

* 3 tbsp chives, finely chopped * Sea salt and black pepper

* 70g sliced pancetta * Sea salt and black pepper

For the topping * 1 kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper * 50g butter * 2 tbsp crème fraiche

For the white wine sauce * 50g butter * 50g plain flour * 250ml white wine * 250ml double cream

1 Preheat oven to Gas Mark 7 (200C). Place salmon fillet in a medium saucepan. Add milk, bay leaves and peppercorns. Season. Simmer on low heat for two minutes, then switch off heat and cover (fish will continue to cook). 2 Peel potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks, add enough water to just cover and boil on hob. Lower heat to simmer and cook till tender. Drain, return potatoes to the pan and mash, adding butter and crème fraiche. Season and set aside. 3 Remove salmon, strain and reserve cooking liquor. Flake fish when it’s cool enough. 4 For sauce, melt butter in a pan over a medium heat. Don’t let it go brown. When just melted, add flour. Stir with a wooden spoon to a smooth paste.

5 Add cooking liquor from fish. Use a small whisk to incorporate the liquid, then add the wine a little at a time and whisk again. Turn down heat and add cream, whisk again and cook the sauce on the lowest setting for three minutes. 6 Remove from the heat and add the cooked salmon, prawns, smoked salmon, grated lemon rind, peas, shallots and chives. Season well with sea salt and black pepper. 7 Place fish mixture in a buttered, ovenproof dish. Spoon over mashed potato, making sure you cover the surface of the dish. Cook in oven for 25 minutes, then remove and lay slices of pancetta on top. Put back in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, until pancetta is crispy and golden brown.

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 17


OUT & ABOUT

Market magic Sick of soulless shopping centres? Melton Mowbray’s bustling Tuesday market offers a taste of trading the way it used to be

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ou park up among ranks of mud splattered 4x4’s with attached Ifor Williams trailers and make your way down suspiciously muddy paths to get to the collection of huge open barns that is Melton Mowbray’s famous Tuesday market. Your average supermarket experience this is clearly not. This is shopping long in tooth and claw. Very obviously this is a cattle market, with up to 6,000 sheep and 300 cattle sold every week, but it’s so much more as well. At one end of this rural theme park there’s the farmers’ market selling pies, cheese, meat, honey, fish and veg (a Grasmere Farm bacon roll will keep you going for the whole morning quite easily). A barn full of antiques, curios and more food leads to the deadstock auction, comprising anything and everything from pitchforks and barbed wire to pool cues and barbecues. Follow the sound of honking geese and gobbling turkeys into the Fur and Feather barn and be prepared for a full sensory assault. If your timing is right there could be four auctions running simultaneously: timber, poultry (cages full of those geese accompanied by every conceivable variety of chicken), pets (buckets of ferrets and cages of aviary birds, but no cats or dogs) and the Fur and Feather. Particularly in late autumn and winter, the Fur and Feather auction is one of the main draws, where the gamekeeper’s perks from the big shoots end up for sale, where the fruits of vermin control come under the hammer, where even the odd trug full of wild mushrooms gets sold to the highest bidder. You never know what’s going to be there, but prices are always sharp and the mood jovial. Don’t be surprised to hear a brace of pheasant being sold for £1.60, or a hare for £3. A little bit of kitchen dedication is needed later to de-fluff or de-feather (see p20), but it’s value that’s not to be sniffed at. It’s all over by lunchtime in any case, so you’ve got plenty of time to think about supper.

One of a dying breed There is evidence of a Tuesday market in Melton dating back to the middle of the 11th century. It’s the only Leicestershire market mentioned in the Doomsday book and is the third oldest in the entire country. There used to be markets like this in practically every town, but Melton’s now occupies a possibly unique place in England in still being in the centre of town; tractors, trailers, sheep, cattle, pigs and all. Serially threatened with closure or relocation, the Market remains the heartbeat of the town, and one that should be supported and applauded whenever possible. MELTON MOWBRAY CATTLE & FARMERS’ MARKET Every Tuesday, 8am-noon, Scalford Road, Melton, Leics LE13 1JY 01664 562971, www.meltonmowbraymarket.co.uk Long-stay parking on Scalford Road – £2 for up to four hours

18 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

Faces in the crowd

We spoke to market-goers to find out why they’d come and what they like about Melton market. Here are just a few…

Jan Grayson & April Taylor

“You never know what you’re going to see here,” says April from Burbage. “It feels like stepping back in time – it’s so exciting and really addictive.”

Mike & Ann Hanson

“I come for the atmosphere and people watching,” says Mike from Kettering. “It’s great seeing the farmers’ coded hand signals when bidding on livestock.”

Richard Hardstaff

“I paid £5.50 a box for these blewitt mushrooms. I’ve come all the way from Boston, Lincs.”

Jason Cotterill

“I’ve ridden to Melton on my motorbike from Fleckney to pick up a brace of partridge in the auction.”


Melton market

LEFT: Great Food writer Matt Gregory gets bidding.

ABOVE: The sheep market. BELOW: All sorts for sale.

Going, going…

gone!

The food, pet and livestock auctions are some of the prime attractions for Melton Market Plenty of stalls at Melton sell all sorts of goods – including food and drink – that aren’t auctioned, but for many the hustle of bidding to buy is what it’s all about. In the Fur and Feather barn there are auctions held every few minutes for everything from bags of Brussels sprouts to freshly shot partridge and hare. Shopping like this takes a bit of getting used to if you’re new to it, but it’s all good fun and there are bargains to be had. The Fur and Feather auction team pictured below are, from left, Envis Ritchie, Angela Burnham and Peter Bradbury. LEFT: Winter auction kit. RIGHT: Fur and Feather auction team.

‘Follow the sounds of honking geese and prepare for a full sensory assault’

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 19


COOKING HOW TO...

Prepare a pheasant So, you’ve bought a pheasant from Melton market. How do you swiftly turn it from feathered vertebrate to delicious dinner?

I

f you’ve got carried away at the auction and come home with five brace instead of the one you went for, skinning your birds is a lot quicker and easier than plucking. You can still roast afterwards too if you cover them generously with bacon.

1

With the shears or cleaver, cut the feet off above the knees and the wings just below the shoulder. You will probably need the small knife to tidy up.

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Pinch the skin over the breast bone and pull away from the flesh. Use the knife to make a short, cross-ways incision.

You’ll need poultry shears, a sharp knife and cleaver. A bin bag in a cardboard box is handy for the bits.

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Insert the first two fingers of both hands and pull the skin down and away towards the rear.

Using both hands, put your thumbs under the skin and your fingers on the back of the bird and effectively turn it inside out. Pull the legs out of the skin and then work the skin off the back. A brisk pull will take it off over the wings. Pull the crop clear of the neck and then remove the head with the poultry shears. To begin drawing the bird, make a slit between the tip of the breast bone and the vent.

Reach in with two fingers and locate the hard mass of the gizzard. Pull it out and the rest of the intestines should come with it. You can now joint the carcass. Neatest is to remove breasts and legs as separate portions.

COOK’S TIPS

Use the breasts for posher dishes that otherwise call for chicken breast, and allow at least one per person. Use the legs for heartier fare, classically game casserole. The carcass can be popped into a hot oven for 20 minutes and used to make stock.

20 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland


Ever wante to kee d p pig bu your own t don’’t the la have nd - w the an e have swer.. .

piggy ter your f a k o lo we For a monthly fee we will do all the hard work - feeding piglet, and generally making sure he/ she has a good life in our lovely woodland. You can visit your pig if you wish, feed him, and and see what’’s involved in looking after a rarebreed porker. At about 26 weeks old, we make the arrangements with a local, family-run, butcher to supply you with your succulent, additive-free, rare-breed pork and sausages. It’’s as easy as that! And you’’ll be helping to maintain a rare breed too. Saddleback and Mangalitza piglets also for sale.

01780 720660 WWW.CHATERVALLEY.COM

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LOCAL RESTAURANTS Menu samples

Chutney Ivy, Leicester CUISINE: Pan-Indian. PRICE PER HEAD: £20-25 (for three courses and drinks). KIDS WELCOME: Yes. DOGS: No. CUSTOMER CAR PARKING: Reduced rates for diners at the NCP opposite. TIMES: Mon to Sat 12-2.30, 5.30-late.

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eicester’s Cultural Quarter has been crying out for bars and restaurants to move in and create a buzz. Chutney Ivy is the first of a new round of openings suggesting that at last things are starting to move. This stylish Indian restaurant and bar is in the premises formerly known as The Quarter and has been given a makeover by East Midlands agency Blueprint Interiors, who have done a good job in meeting their “contemporary, sophisticated, relaxed” brief. The open kitchen produces dishes reflecting a range of cuisines from around the subcontinent – Bengali, Mughlai, Goan and so on – yet Chutney Ivy has a character of its own. During a couple of visits in the restaurant’s first month, we enjoyed a well-managed lunchtime buffet (£6.95) featuring fine, peppery chicken pakora, and excellent,

scalp-tingling lamb kofta. On later visits we had the pre-theatre banquet menu (£12.95, 5.30-7pm) which included poppadums and good tangy chutneys, a selection of starters including tender chicken malai tikka and impeccably crisp vegetable bhaji, and three main course curries in small pots, which were replenished as required.

Woodhouse, Woodhouse Eaves CUISINE: Modern European. PRICE PER HEAD: £40-£45 (for three courses and drinks). KIDS WELCOME: Yes. DOGS: No. CUSTOMER CAR PARKING: At side. FOOD TIMES: Mon – closed; Tue to Fri 12-2.30pm, 6.30–10pm; Sat 7pm–10pm; Sun 12–4pm.

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t’s always a pleasant drive to the Charnwood forest-fringed village of Woodhouse Eaves. Finding this restaurant at the end of your journey makes it just about perfect. Smart but not stuffy, chic but welcoming, The Woodhouse hits plenty of right notes from the beginning. Tastebuds were awoken by a terrific turnip and white onion soup with garlic foam, and starters showed one of the restaurant’s real strengths – well-conceived dishes with great flavour combinations. The Woodhouse Salad was outstanding: gamey pigeon breast and strips of home-cured duck were mixed with well-dressed leaves, crunch coming from tempura hazelnuts, sharpness from pickled pear and apple. A salmon plate combined smoked fish, blinis and a just-cooked slice that had real depth.

22 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

Good practice in the kitchen was reflected by labour-intensive main courses. Excellent Belvoir Estate venison came as tender, rare slices and a block of slow-cooked shoulder. The plate offered a palette of purples with classic braised red cabbage, plump blackberries, purple potatoes and a liquorice– enhanced reduction. Medallion of beef also showed both care and imagination, matched with ox-cheek fondant, bone marrow, autumn greens and a watercress purée. Pre-dessert was a smooth and rich chocolate mousse with pistachio biscuit,

STARTERS Shingara (Bengali-style samosa), £3.95 Aloo palak ki tikki (layered potato cakes with spinach), £3.95 MAINS Koh aved mughlai (north Indian mild lamb dish), £8.95 Gholmoris methi murgh (chicken with fenugreek), £8.95 DESSERTS Gulab Jamon, £3.50 Fresh fruit salad, £3.50

Tender lamb korai went down especially well. A highlight from the a la carte was a vibrant Gholmoris methi murgh, a Hydrabadistyle chicken dish featuring fenugreek leaves. Owner Shafs Islam has a long history in the business and his ten-year stint with Shimla Pinks appears to be an influence here. The restaurant needs to tighten up some service routines but this is a friendly, stylish addition to an area that’s finally taking off. Tim Burke CHUTNEY IVY 41 Halford Street, Leicester LE1 1TR 0116 2511889

Menu samples Three courses: £35 STARTERS Wild mushroom and quail egg ravioli, watercress purée, artichoke froth Warm prawn and langoustine mousse, fennel broth MAINS Tamworth lamb, Provençal veg, spiced cous cous Red mullet, tomato tarte fine, artichoke barigoule DESSERTS Passion fruit soufflé Pear & amaretto cheesecake

while I also devoured an elegantlyconstructed chocolate cylinder encasing a white chocolate and passionfruit mousse with hibiscus sorbet. The mousse needed to be lighter to let the fruit flavour through but this was still a treat. A warm welcome, high-quality ingredients and rigour and skill in the kitchen – The Woodhouse offers a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Tim Burke THE WOODHOUSE 43 Maplewell Rd, Woohouse Eaves, Leics LE12 8RG 01509 890318, www.thewoodhouse.co.uk


Fine Food Store, Stamford CUISINE: British bistro. PRICE PER HEAD: £18 (three-course deal). KIDS WELCOME: Evenings only, so past younger children’s bedtime. DOGS: No. CUSTOMER CAR PARKING: No, but there’s lots of free car parking nearby in the evening. TIMES: Tues to Sat, 7pm-9pm.

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very evening a little corner of Stamford transforms itself from modern deli-cumcafé to cosy, grown-up bistro. By day, the Fine Food Store is a bright and busy café. By night there’s barely a trace of its daytime persona. Our welcome was warm and we opted for the £18 three-course deal, which includes a glass of wine. If the red or white is nearly as good as the sparkling chardonnay we had, then you could do much worse. The Fine Food Store currently only has a table licence (corkage is £3), but if you forget a bottle, there’s an Oddbins five minutes’ away. The star of the show was undoubtedly my wife’s scallops wrapped in pancetta with a pea purée and celeriac mash. The fat scallops were cooked perfectly, the pancetta adding a salty tang to the sweet meat. And the celeriac mash was light and creamy. My wild

mushroom risotto was also excellent. The rice had bite without being chalky, the flavour was deep, the mushrooms were meaty and the fresh herbs stopped it all being too rich. Starters were top-notch, too: my wife’s ham hock was rustic and satisfying, complemented by the chunky home-made piccalilli; and my chicken liver parfait was smooth and creamy, enhanced by the sweet onion marmalade. To finish, we had a very good lemon tart and a chocolate terrine. The tart’s filling had the perfect custardy consistency, with enough lemon to cleanse the palate, served in a light pastry. My triple chocolate terrine was good. The white chocolate was a little sweet, but the dark chocolate portion was deep and rich. Both puddings were served with (obviously

The Crown, Sproxton CUISINE: Modern British, local, seasonal. PRICE PER HEAD: £30-£35 (for three courses and drinks). KIDS WELCOME: Yes. DOGS: Yes, in the bar. CUSTOMER CAR PARKING: To rear. FOOD TIMES: Closed Mon; Tue-Sat: 12pm2pm and 6pm-9pm; Sunday: noon to 2pm.

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ou’d be forgiven for missing signs to Sproxton (between Melton Mowbray and Grantham) but, as locals know, it is well worth seeking out the Crown Inn. Busy new manager Daisy Storey made time to give us a hearty welcome. We enjoyed aperitifs in the bar while choosing from bar snacks (£7.95 to £8.95), blackboard specials and a daily menu inspired by seasonal, local ingredients. Pears poached in red wine and wrapped in filo pastry with Stilton showcased the flair of chef David Presland, who has built a strong reputation. Ham hock terrine was firm, meaty and flavoursome but a whole black peppercorn gave a spicy shock. Confit duck was tender and partnered well with cassouletstyle beans cooked with pancetta. For a starter, however, it did not need garlic mash. The recently refurbished restaurant has a contemporary feel; the focal point is an

impressive floor-to-ceiling wine display. There’s an extensive list, hand-picked by owner Barry Spencer. Le Grand Chemin Muscadet (2009) was crisp and lemony, while Vega del Rayo Rioja (2007) had earthy, blackberry flavours. A main dish of salmon was stuffed and cleverly rolled like sushi in seaweed, then baked in puff pastry. The crisp parcel revealed moist flakes of fish, creamy spinach and crayfish. Gratin dauphinois received a local twist with a bubbling layer of Red Leicester. The highlight of a festive turkey dinner was some fine Lincolnshire sausage. Crème brûlée was a delight – smooth, creamy custard covered with a glassy, dark caramel. In the middle of providing first-class service to a busy dining room of couples

Menu samples STARTERS Beetroot and apple soup, £4.25 Smoked salmon with horseradish cream, £5.75 MAINS Aromatic lamb shanks with mashed potatoes, £12.90 Baked whole Vacherin cheese, £12.55 DESSERTS Sticky toffee pudding, £5.75 Cheese board, £7.50

out of season) strawberries, which added little to either. But the espresso was delicious. For an establishment that has to cater for everyone from babies to grans during the day, it does bistro food very well. It’s not a nightand-day change, just somewhere with a cosy ambience for the adults to go of an evening, which rivals many more serious restaurants with much bigger egos… and kitchens. Mark Hamilton FINE FOOD STORE 37 St Mary’s Street, Stamford PE9 2DS 01780 754222, www.thefinefoodstore.com

Menu samples STARTERS Tomato, saucisson and mozzarella bruschetta, £4.75 Confit of duck, flageolet beans & garlic mash, £4.95 MAINS Salmon, spinach and crayfish puff pastry parcel with lobster & brandy sauce, £11.95 Pork fillet wrapped in pancetta, £14.95 DESSERTS Raspberry and redcurrant crème brûlée, £4.50

and a 40th birthday party, Daisy confided there would be an outcry if this dessert wasn’t on the menu. It is easy to see why this establishment recently won Bronze at the East Midlands Tourism Awards for ‘Best Pub Experience’. There are bright new jewels shining in Sproxton’s 140-year-old Crown. Just remember to make that detour! Rachel Quine THE CROWN INN AT SPROXTON Coston Road, Sproxton, Leics LE14 4QB, 01476 860035, www.thecrownatsproxton.co.uk

Great food Leicestershire & Rutland 23


LOCAL FOOD HISTORY

Hunting for food Pies, cakes, stews... the 19th century fox hunting explosion led to many foods still with us today, says Rupert Matthews PAINTINGS: HENRY THOMAS ALKEN (RIGHT) AND GEORGES JANSOONE (ABOVE)

W

e are so used to images of red-coated huntsmen galloping about the countryside that it’s hard to believe fox hunting is, in historical terms, a relatively new addition to Leicestershire’s landscape. For centuries before its arrival, deer hunting was the chosen sport among the gentry. The pursuit of foxes didn’t arrive until the mid-18th century and with it came several trends that remain with us today, including a distinctive style of cooking that’s proved even more popular than hunting itself. It was in 1753 that Leicestershire landowner Hugo Meynell of Quorndon Hall had an idea. Meynell was at the time the master of the Leicestershire huntsmen and he had a problem. The recent enclosure of common land into small fields had ruled out deer as the quarry of choice for gentlemen out hunting. Meynell realised that the fox could replace the deer as quarry for the mounted gentleman hunter. The new-look Leicestershire countryside with its hedges and ditches would test not only speed and stamina, but also the jumping abilities of the huntsmen and their horses. The

24 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

new sport of mounted fox hunting would be faster, more challenging and more exciting than the older sports of mounted deer hunts or fox hunts on foot. When Meynell took over the old-style hunt he averaged three or four riders at each meeting. By 1791 no fewer than 300 riders turned out. Soon the two other hunts in Leicestershire, the Cottesmore and the Granby (now Belvoir), were hunting foxes in the new style. Melton Mowbray became extremely busy with huntsmen and more hunt meetings were held there than anywhere else. A growing number of monied sportsmen were staying overnight in the town and they did not just show off their riding. They attended balls in their best clothes, flashed their jewellery and bid to outdo each other in the celebrity stakes.

Monaco Mowbray Amazing as it seems today, Melton became a cross between a grand prix race circuit, a party packed with A-listers, and a policy meeting of the country’s leading politicians. It was all go.


Fox-hunting food

Hunting beef Serves: see below

Fox hunting has been a hugely popular sport in Leicestershire and Rutland for generations and has shaped the cuisine of the counties in many ways. This dish is a good one for hunters because the cooking time is fairly elastic. If the riders are an hour or so late, it will not matter too much.

* Brisket of beef, boned and rolled, allow 170g per person * Carrots, thickly sliced, allow around 225g per person * 1.75 litres ale * Sage * Salt and pepper

Hunting cake

Makes around 16 pieces This astonishingly rich cake was developed in the mid-19th century. It was traditionally served to huntsmen as they came in from the fox hunt, and was the first sustenance to be pushed into their hands after a long day’s riding.

1 Place the brisket into a large saucepan together with all other ingredients. 2 Bring gently to the boil and then allow to simmer for a minimum of two hours and no more than four hours. 3 Remove the meat from the saucepan. 4 Serve the broth as a starter. 5 Carve the beef and serve with thick slices of bread and butter.

* 115g butter * 115g sugar * 4 eggs * 225g self-raising flour * 115g ground almonds * 60g glacé cherries * 60g flaked almonds * 1/2 pt sherry * 225g mixed sultanas and currants 1 Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3 (160C). 2 Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and white. 3 Separate the eggs, beating the yolks and whites separately. 4 Add the egg yolks gradually to the butter-sugar mixture. 5 Mix the flour with the fruits and almonds and add gradually to the butter-sugar-egg mixture. 6 Stir in half the sherry. 7 Carefully fold in the egg whites, which have been beaten until they are stiff. 8 Pour the mixture into a well-greased and lined 8-inch cake tin. 9 Bake for two hours or until done. 10 Pour sherry over the cake. 11 Leave to cool before removing from the cake tin.

There was soon one simple matter related to hunting that began to cause problems: food. The new style of hunting meant that the riders set off in the morning with no idea of when they would return. They might find nothing worth chasing and come home early, or they might be out for hours, ending a pursuit miles from home and be faced with an extremely long ride back. Then there were the inevitable stragglers delayed by some assignation or other, or by a lame horse. The cooks catering for the hunters needed special dishes that would not spoil if left cooking too long when the hunters were late, and yet ready to serve if the hunters came back early. Not only that, but some hunters needed feeding straight away before they got the mud off

Fox hunting was more energetic than previous forms of sport.

their boots. It was these needs that led the cooks of Leicestershire to develop special foods for hunting days. Probably the best known of these is the Melton Mowbray pork pie. This treat had a hard crust and was filled with a jelly that cushioned the crust against the meat. The upshot was that a hunter could tuck one in his coat pocket and be reasonably certain that it would still be in one piece when he pulled it out to scoff it for lunch. Pie or no pie, hunters were guaranteed to return hungry. The cooks took to serving up slices of especially rich fruit cakes, soon dubbed “hunt cakes”. These were moist, rich and filling enough to take the edge off any hunger. Once the riders were indoors and ready for a restorative meal, the cooks served up hearty dishes that had meat as

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 25


LOCAL FOOD HISTORY

Quorn Bacon Pudding

Serves: 6 strapping huntsmen (or 12 dainty ladies) This is another classic Leicestershire dish to come from the fox-hunting field. Again, cooking time is fairly elastic, allowing for the hungry huntsmen to turn up late and not have their meal ruined. The dish is traditionally associated with the Quorn Hunt and is usually said to have been devised for the benefit of the hunt staff, not the huntsmen themselves. They don’t know what they have been missing! I have seen various versions of this dish, but this is the one I like best.

* 285g self-raising flour * Salt * 450g bacon * Sage

* 140g chopped suet * Water * 2 onions * 1 tbsp golden syrup

1 In a large mixing bowl, stir the self-raising flour and chopped suet together, adding a pinch of salt. 2 Slowly add water to make a soft dough. 3 Divide the dough into two pieces, one piece twice as large as the other. 4 Gently roll out the larger piece of dough and use it to line a well-greased three-pint pudding basin. 5 Roughly chop the onions and bacon. 6 Place the onion and bacon into the lined pudding basin in alternate layers. 7 Pour the golden syrup over the bacon and onion. 8 Roll out the smaller piece of dough to form a lid to the pudding, moistening the edges to make it seal securely. 9 Cover the pudding basin with foil, secured with string. 10 Place the pudding basin in a large saucepan of water that reaches about half way up the basin. 11 Bring gently to the boil and then simmer for three hours or so. 12 Remove the basin from the saucepan. 13 Turn the pudding out on to a large plate. 14 Serve piping hot.

‘ These hunting recipes certainly aren’t for the faint-hearted or the strict dieter’ their centrepiece. Many cooks put together stews of one kind or another, and boiled briskets were also popular. Roast dinners were not suitable since they had a definite cooking time and needed to be served up at once. At the time that fox hunting first became fashionable, the upper echelons of society had a diet made up principally of meat and bread, so it became accepted that bread would accompany post-hunt meals. The hunt staff, meanwhile, were in need of equally hearty dishes with just as flexible cooking times. They usually had dishes served to them that were rather less expensive to produce.

Set out here are some traditional Leicestershire recipes for hunt cake and for main courses to be served afterwards. They are not for the faint-hearted or the strict dieter. But after a walk through the Leicestershire countryside on a crisp winter’s day, there is nothing better. Q FURTHER READING Rupert Matthews is author of the excellent Leicestershire Food & Drink. The book contains all sorts of interesting facts and stories about local food history and offers plenty of tasty recipes. Try Amazon.

The Great Marquis of Granby

One of the many portraits of John Manners, Marquis of Granby.

At the last count there were over 140 pubs in England named ‘The Marquis of Granby’. Not surprising given the man’s hugely successful military career fighting the French. What is not so well known, however, is that Granby was one of the greatest fox hunters of the 18th century. What became the Belvoir Hunt began life as the Granby Hunt because it was run for much of the mid-18th century by John Manners, the Marquis of Granby. Granby was the eldest son and heir of the Duke of Rutland and in 1741 he became an MP for Grantham. His heart, however, was with his military career. He was a bold and successful commander and eventually took command of the British cavalry, leading his men to stunning victories. Not only did his victories gain him support, but his care for rank and file soldiers was legendary. He famously gave men

26 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

of good character who had to leave the army due to wounds enough money to start up businesses. Many chose to buy hostelries, and named them in his honour – which is why there are so many Marquis of Granby pubs in England. By 1769, Granby had risen to Commander in Chief of the army, but the following year he fell out with the government and resigned. Granby returned to Leicestershire to devote himself to foxhunting. One of the problems he faced was the question of territory. Paying farmers to maintain land in a manner that produced a healthy fox population and good riding was expensive. Each hunt was keen to have its own land and it was Granby who called together the masters of the Quorn, Cottesmore and Granby hunts. He got out a map and carved up Leicestershire between them. And not much has changed from that day to this.


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Recipe

Andy Blunt’s Roast Fennel Soup with Stilton & Walnut Bread ”Worth doing just for the aroma of baking walnut bread,” says Andy Blunt, head chef at Scalford Hall. We’ll second that, having visited a snowy Scalford to sample this. Warming and delicious.

Fennel soup Serves 4-6

* 2-3 bulbs of fennel * 1 large onion * Olive oil * Sprig of thyme * 1 tbsp fennel seeds * 11large potato * 1 /2 litres vegetable stock (or

good-quality ready-made stock) * 250ml double cream * 150g Blue Stilton

1 Slice the fennel bulbs, onion and thyme and add them to a roasting pan; drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven for 20-30

minutes on a medium heat until they start to colour and caramelise. 2 Remove from the roasting tray and place in a large saucepan, along with the peeled and diced potato, fennel seeds and veg stock. 3 Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes (or until the potato is cooked). 4 After 30 minutes, remove from the pan, liquidise and pass through a fine sieve. 5 Return to a clean pan and keep warm. 6 Crumble Stilton and set aside. 7 Stir the double cream into the soup. 8 Serve in large bowls with the crumbled Stilton on top.

Walnut bread

* 400g very strong wholemeal flour * 250g very strong white flour * 100g walnut pieces, chopped and toasted * 21 tbsp unrefined light muscovado sugar * 1 /2 tsp salt * 7g sachet easy-bake yeast * 3 tbsp walnut, sunflower or olive oil * 450ml warm water

1 Preheat oven to Gas Mark 7 (220C). Put all flour, walnuts, sugar and salt into large bowl. 2 Sprinkle over the yeast. Pour in the oil and warm water. 3 Mix with your hands until the mixture combines to make a rough dough ball. 4 Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and stretch and knead for 10 minutes. 5 Shape into an oval and put on to a greased baking tray. Use a sharp knife to score a few diagonal lines on top of the loaf. Cover loosely with cling film. Leave in a warm place until doubled in size (this will take 30-40 minutes). 6 Remove cling film and turn oven to Gas Mark 6 (200C). Bake for 35 minutes until golden. To test if loaf is ready, upturn and tap the base. It should sound hollow. SCALFORD HALL Melton Road, Scalford, near Melton Mowbray, Leics LE14 4UB 01664 444654, www.scalfordhall.co.uk

‘Worth doing just for the aroma of baking bread. Warming and delicious’

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 29


JAMS AND PRESERVES Rosemary Jameson Rosemary from Oakham is passionate about jam. She runs Britain’s leading online jam kit retailer – www.jamjarshop.com – and founded the Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers.

Marvellous marmalade! Tangy, versatile and great fun to make, says Rosemary Jameson

N

othing beats the warm, tangy smell that fills the whole house at marmalade-making time. I think it’s the best part of the preserving year – it’s hectic and a race against the clock to get enough marmalade made for the whole year from the short season of Seville oranges, which runs from December to February. Some people part-process the oranges and freeze the resulting pulp to use throughout the year, but I have never done this myself. I like the fact that the clock’s ticking: it’s a short, sharp session when the whole kitchen gets sticky and every surface is covered with jars. I love it.

Intense flavour I’ve only once made marmalade from ‘raw’ oranges – that was when I was 15. It was enough to put me off for life. Since that first batch I’ve always cooked the fruit first, which makes it much easier to cut the peel into the size you prefer and gives a beautifully rich, intense flavour. The peel is firm but tender from the double cooking – none of those nasty rubbery bits! In the recipes section on my website – www.jamjarshop.com – you’ll find the whole method for making marmalade, with photographs, in an easy step-by-step

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Marmalade ice cream

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If you have an ice-cream maker, stir some of your marmalade through a beautiful silky vanilla – or soften a good-quality bought one and ripple away! Classy served in a brandy snap basket or with shortbread biscuits and a shot of orange liqueur.

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL JAM

Join Jampaign! Don’t forget our ‘Jampaign’ to get real jams and marmalades back onto the menus of tearooms, hotels and bed-and-breakfasts. It is only by demanding the best that these preserves will enjoy the same attention to detail afforded to teas, coffees, locally produced bread and other produce. We recently attended The Women’s Institute Real Jam Festival at the stunning Denman College in Oxfordshire and stayed in its beautiful accommodation. But even there – even at the jam festival – we were served packet jam at breakfast. Such a shame. We need to speak out and encourage change.

30 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

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TOP TIP

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When your marmalade has reached setting point, let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes or so to prevent the peel rising to the top of the jar.

format. There’s even a YouTube video if you want. There are so many delicious variations for marmalade – we get asked for a ginger recipe all the time. You can add a little of what you fancy – whisky or brandy, black treacle for Dundee marmalade, or try making it from limes or tangerines.

Marmalada Marmalade has been around in some form since well before Tudor times. Originally, the Portuguese word ‘marmalada’ referred to a sticky paste made from fruit, usually quince, and sugar. The word, or a form of it, still exists in most of Europe today, but we know from our holidays abroad that when ordering marmalada we will actually be served jam, as it still describes the type of confection, not a particular preserve. We need to add the name of the fruit to be sure of receiving exactly what we are expecting.

Take that, Trading Standards! It is interesting that the preserves company, Tracklements, took on Trading Standards and successfully won their case to continue making red onion marmalade. Trading

The Guild... The Jam Makers’ Guild aims to be a community which shares ideas and communicates with one voice. For more information, go to www.jamguild. com or call 0844 8040854.


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Marmalade

TOP TIP

Try adding two or three tablespoons of your marmalade to a favourite tea-loaf recipe – it’s absolutely delicious. Or layer through a bread and butter pudding.

Standards maintained that this popular preserve had to be re-named because it did not contain any citrus fruit and was therefore not a ‘marmalade’. By pointing out the historical origins of the word and the traditions surrounding it, Tracklements successfully argued to keep the familiar description. Thank heavens – can you imagine what would have ensued had Trading Standards won? We would all have had to think of a new name for something we all understand anyway. This is precisely the type of issue that The Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers hopes to be able to address with Trading Standards on behalf of all small producers in the UK, should this action be necessary again.

Gammon glaze

1 To make a brilliant glaze for a cooked gammon or bacon joint, mix three to four tablespoons of chunky marmalade (home-made, of course!) with two tablespoons of soft brown sugar and one teaspoon of mustard. I use my own wholegrain, but any will be OK. 2 Remove the rind from the cooked joint and spread the mixture over the surface, pressing down as well as you can. 3 Stand the joint on a wire grill over a roasting tin and bake for around 20-30 minutes in a medium oven, basting frequently. My son sometimes uses plum jam instead of marmalade, but that’s for the autumn.

FOR A EXCL N READE USIVE R ON JAM OFFER FOR YOJARS MARMA UR TURN T LADE, O P33

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Enjoy orange curd

If you love lemon curd, try ringing the changes by using the zest and juice from Seville oranges instead of lemons. The taste is amazing and all the better for only being available for a very short time – it just heightens the pleasure.

}

Pancake Day

Pancake Day is coming up (March 8), so when you’ve made your marmalade, why not use some of it to make a delicious pouring sauce for pancakes? 1 Melt 175ml marmalade in 175ml water over a low heat, stirring until smooth. 2 Add two tablespoons of butter and stir again until evenly combined. 3 Serve warm with a stack of pancakes.

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 31


FRUIT AND VEG

The Riverford recipe

O

rganic fruit and vegetable box business Riverford was set up in 1987 in Devon. Now Riverford has a series of regional sister farms so customers can enjoy organic produce close to where it’s grown. One of these is Sacrewell Farm near Wansford, Cambridgeshire, close to the eastern edge of Rutland. The fruit and veg grown at Sacrewell is delivered throughout Leicestershire and Rutland as part of Riverford’s box scheme. Riverford grows a diverse crop range at Sacrewell, from strawberries and apples to garlic and wheat. The cereals are sold to a local organic beef farmer and in return Riverford takes his cow muck for its land. Around 40 acres of land at Sacrewell are left unproductive by Riverford – partly to support nesting lapwings and also to help regenerate indigenous limestone grassland. With a shop, a restaurant serving Sunday roasts and more, lots of activity areas to keep kids entertained and a full diary of events, including regular wood-carving courses, Sacrewell Farm is well worth a visit.

Beetroot Haters’ Soup What’s coming up in Riverford’s boxes? January: Beetroot and Jerusalem artichokes. February: Red cabbage and celeriac.

What does organic mean? Riverford’s fruit and veg is defined as organic, which is a term defined by law. It means completely avoiding pesticides and chemicals. As an organic outfit, all Riverford farms, including Sacrewell, are grown under Soil Association certification, so they are stringently and regularly inspected to check that no pesticides and chemicals are coming into contact with the produce. CONTACT Riverford on Sacrewell Farm: Sacrewell Lodge Farm, Thornhaugh, Peterborough PE8 6HJ 01780 782254, www.riverford.co.uk/sacrewell

HOW TO ORDER?

To order your Riverford organic veg box (from £8.95), go to www.riverford.co.uk/ sacrewell or call 0845 0786868

32 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

Red cabbage and celeriac ideas Slow-cooked, spiced red cabbage is a classic winter vegetable dish, while you could combine your celeriac with potato to make a glorious gratin.

Taken from the Riverford Farm Cook Book.

Serves 4

* 2 tbs olive oil * 1 onion, chopped * 1 potato, peeled and diced * 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, grated or finely

chopped, and grated zest of 1 orange, plus extra to serve (optional) * Juice of 2 oranges * 3 medium beetroots, cooked and cut into small dice * 1.2 litres water * Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper * A little cream or yoghurt, to serve (optional)

1 Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and fry until soft but not coloured. 2 Add the potato and ginger and fry for three minutes. Add the orange zest and juice, plus the beetroot and water, then bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potato is tender. Blend until smooth. 3 Reheat gently and season to taste. 4 Serve garnished, if you like, with a swirl of cream or yoghurt and a little grated orange zest.


NEXT ISSUE Coming up in Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

Guarantee the next issue by subscribing for just £15 – see p11.

The next issue is out on March 1, 2011

A fishy business on Rutland Water

Catch of the day recipes!

Spring is coming…

PLUS Restaurant reviews

Cooking with local lamb

* * Pub walk and more

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SAV0E! £2

48 x 1lb jars with a mix of red & blue spotty lids, plus 108 spotty labels. Just £19.95! GO TO WWW.JAMJARSHOP.COM/ GREATFOOD TO ORDER YOURS NOW Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 33




RECIPE COMPETITION

Roaring recipes

Everards’ Tiger Hero competition saw local cooks create recipes using its famous beer, followed by a cook-off. Let kitchen warfare commence

E

verards’ Tiger Best Bitter, brewed in Narborough, Leicester, on the brewer’s 134-acre site, is a very quaffable beer. Drinking it is a much-enjoyed pastime of Leicestershire and Rutland folk and has been since it was first brewed in 1972. All of Everards’ pubs – over 170 – serve it. But cooking with Tiger Best is a relatively alien concept to most. Good news, then, that Everards has been encouraging

cooks to use it in the kitchen, because real ale like Tiger can be an excellent ingredient, particularly in winter warmer type dishes. Everards’ Tiger Hero competition was launched in September 2010, the aim being to encourage local cooks to create the tastiest dishes using Tiger. With £250 and a year’s supply of Tiger up for grabs, plenty of creative recipes were entered that were whittled down by the judges to the best three. The

chefs behind this trio of beery concoctions were then invited to a cook-off final at The Globe Inn, Leicester. Neil Morton of Bakewell, Derbyshire, was crowned winner after creating his tasty Tiger Cheeks. Runners-up were Paul Hunt and Andy Babic. Great Food also squeezed in a last minute, incredibly unhealthy entry (overleaf). For your cooking pleasure, here are the winning recipes. Q From left: Andy Babic, Neil Morton and Paul Hunt during the cook-off.

THE JUDGES... Hugh Kerr, licensee of The Globe (left), Stephen Gould, managing director of Everards, and Claire Dodd, features editor of The Publican.

34 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland


Recipes

Neil Morton’s Tiger Cheeks Serves 4-6

* 1kg trimmed beef cheeks * 1 pint Everards’ Tiger * 300ml red wine * 1 cup chopped carrots * 1 cup chopped onions * 1 cup chopped celery * 6 garlic cloves * Bay leaves * Parsley, thyme and rosemary * Flour dusting * Salt & ground black pepper to taste

1 Put beef cheeks, vegetables, beer and wine into a mixing bowl and marinate for 18-24 hours. 2 Remove beef cheeks and vegetables and pat dry with kitchen towel while keeping the beer and wine mixture. 3 Bring beer and wine mixture to boil and skim. 4 Pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 2 (160C) 5 Season and dust cheeks with flour, then sear in a pan until brown. 6 Place into a brazing pot. 7 Add vegetables to pot then pour in beer and wine mixture and add herbs. 8 Cover pot and place in oven until tender (at least two hours); check regularly using a fork. 9 Spoon beef and juices on to mash and roasted root vegetables. 11 Serve with horseradish and chips. 12 Season to taste.

Everards and Tiger Everards is now in its fifth generation as an independent family brewery and has been brewing for over 150 years. Tiger Best Bitter – 4.2% – is Everards’ best-seller and is made with Maris Otter barley, Crystal malt, and Golding hops from east Kent.

Andy Babic’s Crouching Tiger, Smoking Chilli Serves 4-6

* 1 tin chopped tomatoes * 1 tin baked beans * 1 large onion * 2 tbsp hot chilli powder * 2 tbsp mustard powder * 1 tbsp cocoa powder * 500g lean minced beef * 200g roughly chopped kabanos

* 1 tin red kidney beans * 1 large yellow pepper * 3 tbsp fresh coriander * 2 tbsp paprika * 1 tbsp black pepper * 1 tbsp clear honey

(or other smoked, cooked sausage)

* 2 habanero chillies (seeded and chopped)

* 4 large jalapeño chillies (seeded and chopped)

WINNING CHEF Neil Morton, 54, from Bakewell, Derbyshire, is an agricultural feeds salesman. “I’m a big fan of beef cheeks and Tiger,” he says. “I particularly like cooking in the winter and enjoy putting together traditional winter warmer dishes. The secret of this recipe is using Tiger as a marinade. It’s important that the beef cheeks are left to marinade for long enough to bring out all the delicious flavours.”

* 300ml Everards Tiger * 5 large cloves garlic (finely chopped)

* 8 medium closed cup mushrooms * 1 tbsp cumin seeds (toast before adding)

1 Splash some vegetable oil in a large stockpot and heat over medium flame. 2 Add minced beef and half the garlic to the pot and stir consistently for around eight minutes, until the meat just loses its red colour. 3 Add onion, peppers, and Everards Tiger, stirring for about another eight minutes. 4 Stir in chilli powder, mustard powder, paprika, cumin seeds, black pepper, cocoa powder and honey. Also add the chopped kabanos and tinned tomatoes. Simmer on a very low heat for 15 minutes. 5 Drain and wash kidney beans, and add to the mixture with the baked beans, mushrooms and remainder of the garlic. Also add the fresh coriander to taste, and continue to simmer on a low heat for an additional 20 minutes. 6 Serve with boiled rice, soured cream, warm tortilla wraps, and plenty more Everards Tiger!

RUNNER UP Andy Babic, 27, is from Leicester and works as a web developer at a local advertising agency. “The secret of this dish, apart from the beer, is adding lots of spices,” says Andy. “And I think cocoa powder is a must for good chilli as it gives it an earthy edge.”

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 35




RECIPE COMPETITION

Great Food’s Beer Belly Pork Scratchings with Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce

GREAT FOOD LEICESTERSHIRE & RUTLAND’S ENTRY

Our recipe, created by Great Food writer and keen cook Mark Hamilton, didn’t make the cut. Maybe the judges were watching their waistlines!

Makes lots

Paul Hunt’s Tiger Red Beef casserole with Red Leicester scones Serves 4-6

* 1kg beef shin, cubed * 12 medium shallots * 600ml Tiger bitter * 3 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed * 1 sprig rosemary * 10 medium Portobello mushrooms * 22g dried porcini mushrooms

* 3 tbsp olive oil * 2 tbsp plain flour * 2 sprigs of thyme * 3 bay leaves * Butter for frying

1 Flour beef and season and brown in small batches in oil, then transfer to a vented casserole dish. Briefly sauté shallots, add garlic and cook for around two minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 3 Fry Portobello mushrooms (sliced around 1/2 -inch thick) in butter until golden. Remove from heat and set aside. 4 Put the porcini mushrooms in a mug, add enough boiling water to cover and soak for 20 minutes. Remove and chop finely once cooled. Set aside, keeping water, which will be infused with porcini flavour. 4 Combine shallots, garlic, porcini, Portobello, thyme and rosemary with the beef in the casserole dish. Season. 5 Add Tiger, stir, cover and place in oven for at least two hours at Gas Mark 2 (160C) or until meat is tender.

For the scones Makes 8-12

* 350g self-raising flour * 100g butter * 170g cream * 2 eggs * 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley * 12 sage leaves lightly fried in

butter, cooled, then chopped

* 200g Red Leicester (see p37) 1 Mix flour and butter in a large mixing bowl. 2 Mix cream and eggs in a separate jug then combine with flour and mix. Add herbs and cheese, then roll out to about one inch thick. 3 Cut out into scone shapes with a small, round cutter and place on non-stick baking tray. 4 Place in oven at Gas Mark 3 (170C) for 20 to 25 minutes. 5 Serve with the beef casserole, mashed potato and glazed carrots.

36 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

RUNNER UP Paul Hunt, 47, from Enderby, Leicestershire, works as a maintenance technician at Triumph Motorcycles. “The secret with this recipe is to get a good balance,” says Paul. “If one ingredient, say the porcini mushrooms, is overused, it can overpower the whole flavour.”

FOR THE SCRATCHINGS * 225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting * Sea salt and black pepper * 1 tsp paprika * 500ml ground-nut oil * 50g chives * 300ml Everards Tiger (or slightly more until you get the desired consistency) * 1kg belly pork (or leftovers from the Sunday roast) FOR THE SWEET CHILLI SAUCE * 30g dried chilli flakes * 110g caster sugar * 120ml water 1 To get a good pork crackling, ask your butcher to score the skin before roasting, or do it yourself with a very sharp knife. 2 Place pork in a colander and pour about a pint of boiling water over the skin. Pat dry with kitchen paper and season with salt and pepper. 3 Place on a trivet in an oven dish and roast at Gas Mark 9 (240C) for 20 minutes, then down to Gas Mark 4 (180C) for 45 minutes per pound. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 4 While the meat’s roasting, add the sugar and water to a pan and bring to the boil. Add chilli flakes and simmer for 40 minutes. Leave to cool. Or buy a perfectly good sweet chilli dipping sauce from the supermarket or Asian store. 5 For the batter, mix the flour, paprika, a good pinch of salt and pepper, and the Everards Tiger. Consistency shouldn’t be too thick or too thin, but almost like a custard, so that it coats the back of a spoon. If the batter is too thick, add more beer, a little at a time, until you’re happy. 6 Separate the pork crackling from the meat, and cut into thin, French fry-sized strips. Cut the belly pork into fat chipsized chunks. 7 Pour the groundnut oil into a deep-sided pan (or use a deep fat fryer) and heat to 185C. Ensure you use a pan in which the oil reaches no higher than a third of its depth, otherwise there’s a

Mark, 41, from Oundle, is production editor for Bike magazine. “A disclaimer: this is not a health food, but is tasty,” says Mark. “Life would be boring without the odd indulgence.”

danger of the oil spilling over when you add the meat. 8 Dust the pork in a little flour then dip into the batter mixture and cook in small batches of four to five. Wash and finely chop the chives. 9 Serve immediately with the crackling sprinkled over the top and the chilli dipping sauce in a dish on the side. Finish with a sprinkling of chives. 10 Perfect eaten while sitting on a stool in a good pub (see p12) and washed down, obviously, with a pint or two of Tiger.

SCRATCHINGS Tiger-battered pork scratchings – a marriage made in heaven!

EVERARDS The Brewery, Castle Acres, Narborough, Leicestershire, 0116 2014100, www.everards.co.uk


Cheese talk

FOCU S

for years they had to endure poor returns on their milk sold into the liquid market (yes, you’ve guessed it – dictated by some supermarket buyers). Sparkenhoe is made with unpasteurised milk and animal rennet – a combination that usually results in fine cheese – in 20lb and 40lb wheels, cloth-bound and pressed in the traditional manner to give a close, dense texture. Matured on beechwood shelves for four to five months, the cheese develops a lovely, mellow

O

Unfortunately, until recently Leicester cheese had not been made in the county for several decades. It was traditionally made by farmers’ wives and would have been sold at market to supplement the farm income as well as being a good way of using excess milk. A red colouring was added to differentiate it from Cheddar. It was originally coloured with a flower called Ladies’ Bedstraw, but for well over a century the colour has come from annatto, derived

Leicester cheese CUS • F FO

from the seed of a tree grown in Latin America. Fortunately, the situation has changed in the last five years and the county now boasts two excellent Leicester cheeses, both made in cloth-bound, traditional rounds, allowing the cheese to continue maturing. Leicester cheese only became known as ‘Red Leicester’ after the Second World War, and ‘Leicester’ (without the ‘Red’) is now once again the preferred term used by both dairies. Sparkenhoe Leicester is made at Sparkenhoe Farm by David and Jo Clarke in the village of Upton, near Market Bosworth. Made with the milk from their own herd, they started making cheese in order to survive in the dairy industry, as

• FO O D

W

hen we suggest that customers have some ‘Leicester’, we often get looks that say: “Why are these idiots running a cheese shop?” This is because most people’s experience of Leicester cheese is a rubbery block in a rectangular pack that ends up in hubby’s packed lunch. These products are made in the West Country or the North-West by large dairies with no connection to Leicestershire, because unlike Blue Stilton, Leicester cheese does not have geographically protected status. The reason it is sold in rectangular blocks is so it stacks easily on supermarket shelves, but these bright orange blocks of fat bear no resemblance to true Leicester cheese.

OOD FO •F

OD

Forget that vacuum-packed lurid nonsense and try genuine Leicester cheese, says Tim Brown of The Melton Cheeseboard

S CU

Not Red... Real Leicester

Tim Brown holds forth at a recent cheese tasting.

‘Leicester only became known as Red Leicester after the Second World War’

Thomas Hoe Aged Leicester has a caramelly, nutty taste.

CONTACTS The Melton Cheeseboard: 8 Windsor Street, Melton Mowbray, Leics LE13 1BU, www.meltoncheeseboard.co.uk, 01664 562 257. Long Clawson Dairy: 01664 822332, www.clawson.co.uk. Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Company: www.leicestershirecheese.co.uk, 01455 213863.

flavour, making it excellent for a ploughman’s or as part of a cheeseboard. It’s a sophisticated cheese with a long finish. Thomas Hoe Aged Leicester – named after a famous Vale of Belvoir cheesemaker – is made by Long Clawson Dairy at their site in the village of Long Clawson. Launched around two years ago, this cheese has a very different character to Sparkenhoe. Made with pasteurised milk and vegetarian rennet in smaller 7lb wheels, and matured for around six months in cloth, the cheese develops a sweet caramel, nutty taste, and delivers an immediate burst of flavour on the taste buds. It’s very moreish. Both variations are popular with Melton Cheeseboard customers and they sit quite happily alongside each other, being very different in flavour and character. The great thing, of course, is that you the customer can decide which Leicester you prefer. The choice is yours – so come and take the Leicester cheese challenge!

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 37


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At Lubcloud Dairy, our herd of happy and d healthy organic cows graze out in fields that have had no fertilisers or chemicals used on them. The food that they eat is fully traceable and non GM, and the milk and cream that they produce is bottled here on the farm, resulting in a wonderful, fresh product. We have also chosen not to homogenise our milk or cream, leaving everything as pure as it can be, just as nature intended. When you buy Lubcloud Dairy products, you are not only supporting local business, as we are organic, you are also supporting the environment too.

BUY FRESH, BUY LOCAL For more information and details of stockists:

www.lubclouddair www.lubclouddairy.co.uk w w bc Tele Te ephone: epho e: 01509 015 505055 Telephone:

W

e would like to welcome you to our shop in the heart of Melton Mowbray. Our aim is to bring you the finest cheese and dairy produce, much of it sourced in Leicestershire and surrounding counties; as well as the best from the UK, and a growing variety of continental cheeses. Our cheeses from the local area include the complete Long Stilton is our speciality, ours Clawson range, Quenby Hall Stilton, is sourced directly from Long Lincolnshire Poacher, Godminster Clawson Dairy, based just five Organic Vintage Cheddar, Stafford miles outside Melton Mowbray. Cheese from Bertelin Cheese, and nd e Sparkenhoe For a taste of th e th Farm Red om fr se best chee Leicester. ea, why not

Melton ar ? come and visit us

8 Windsor Street Melton Mowbray Leicestershire LE13 1BU Tel/Fax 01664 562257

Opening Hours 00 Mon 9.00 – 3.0 3.00 Tues 8.30 – 5.00 5.0 00 00 Wed & Thurs 9.00 – 4.0 4.00 Fri & Sat 8.30 – 4.0 4.00 00

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AN EXCITING LEICESTER RESTAURANT The Boot Room is one of only a few independently owned restaurants in Leicester, situated at 27-29 Millstone Lane – a stones throw away from Highcross Leicester and the Town Hall Square. Whether you are just popping into the restaurant for a coffee, a light snack or taking advantage of our great value fixed price menu, you can be assured of a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere by Ian and the restaurant team. Our philosophy “Buy quality ingredients, treat them well and let your customer enjoy the experience” has enabled The Boot Room to become one of the best restaurants in Leicester city centre.

THE BOOT ROOM EATERIE 27-29 Millstone Lane, Leicester. LE1 5JN 0116 262 2555

21/12/10 10:06:33 15:37:39 25/10/10


Food business

EXPERT OPINION

The Insider

Food marketing expert and new columnist Helen Chantrey predicts the big foodie trends. Could 2011 be the year of the pie?

I

’m something of a cheese and pie addict, so it was a great stroke of fortune when my fiancé’s job led us to settle near Melton Mowbray. I’ve been amazed by how many fantastic food businesses are on our doorstep. We find ourselves planning weekends wholly around visiting delis, restaurants and farm shops, hunting out the region’s culinary gems. This issue, I’m going to predict which food trends are likely to stick around and emerge in 2011. I’ve been looking at what’s happening in the food industry and asking some neighbours their views over a glass of wine in the pub. Here are my predictions for what will be on shelves and in restaurants in 2011...

What’ll be big?

1

Home cooking and entertaining

We’re going to continue to love hunkering down in the heart of our homes – the kitchen – through home cooking, Sunday lunches and informal dinner parties. Unlike the ‘90s, when this was also in fashion, today it’s less about hiding away because technology has opened up more ways to socialise and connect than ever. There are lots of opportunities for local food businesses to ride on this. Expect home-cooking classes, cooking clubs, readymeals and kitchenware parties to grow.

2

The Real Local

We’re likely to see ‘local’ in every area of food, from farmers’ markets to global brands. People want more than to simply hear a claim about a product being fresh or natural. They also want to know it’s unique, with an authentic story behind it.

3

Back to British

When economic times are tough our true British colours tend to come out. I predict they will shine in 2011. With a certain wedding to celebrate, expect street and garden parties, bunting and British classics on the menu. Experts have also forecast it will be the year of that great British favourite - the pie (sweet and savoury) and its popularity is likely to bypass even the cupcake phenomenon. This is great news for pie heartland Leicestershire.

4

Vegetable mania

Veg are going to become heroes in 2011. The revival of allotment culture, kitchen gardens, Paul McCartney’s Meatfree Monday initiative and frugal food means more people will be growing their own and eating veg. Look out for more vegetables on the menu, and interesting veggie initiatives – my local pub is already rumoured to be bartering villagers’ local produce in return for a pint.

5

Generosity

My personal favourite. It’s going to be a year of giving, donating and caring, according to www.trendwatching.com. And the best bit is, as consumers, we’re likely to see more RAOK (Random Acts Of Kindness) from food businesses. So look out for unexpected freebies and if you own a business, why not give a free meal to the occasional customer spontaneously? It’s a good way to get people talking. If there are topics you would like to see written about in The Insider, or you would like to hear more about how Helen could help your business, do send her an email. She’d love to hear from you. Helen@ HowNowMarketing.com

The Insider’s top three new local food businesses CHARNWOOD CHILLI CO A great product with bags of potential. Ady Dayman, founder, started making chilli products from plant donations received from listeners of his Radio Leicester show. www. charnwoodchillis.co.uk. BARROWBY CAKEHOLE See right. RUTLAND & DERBY TAP HOUSE AND DELI Multifunctional space (below) – another new trend – combining pub with deli in central Leicester. My money’s on this being a success. www.ssoosh.com.

Case study: A new business geared for success in 2011

WHO: The Cakehole: store, deli and café. WHERE: Barrowby, near Grantham. OPENED: September 2010 OWNERS: Husband and wife, Niki and Andrew Flitcroft. Niki is creative and has designed the space and cooks most of the food while Andrew is the business brain – they make a great team. CAKEHOLE CONCEPT: Inviting, deli café serving local and home-cooked food. WHAT MAKES IT A SUCCESS? Simple concept brought to life: the Cakehole is welcoming, and no matter if you have a cappuccino, slice of cake or soup, you can be sure it will be local and tasty. It’s a smart business model. They don’t profess to serve a wide selection of hot food but you’ll always find a delicious soup or perhaps one hot daily special. However, their focus is on always offering the very best local produce. www. barrowbycakehole.co.uk

HELEN CHANTREY Food marketing expert Helen Chantrey recently moved to Leicestershire from London, where she worked on a range of Blue Chip brands at Unilever Foods. Now running How Now Marketing, she’s passionate about local food.

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 39


YOUR DREAM DISH

Sarah about to tuck in to her dream dish.

Phil serves up his chorizo risotto.

FULFIL YOUR DREAMS!

YOUR DREAM DISH

Chorizo risotto

To have your dream dish cooked by Phil and get a free meal for two at Maiyango (full terms online), simply email matthew.wright@ greatfoodleics.co.uk

Phillip Sharpe, head chef at Leicester’s Hotel Maiyango, cooks Great Food reader Sarah Pearson’s dream dish

L

ots of us love to cook risotto, maybe sampling a couple of glasses of crisp white on a Friday night while waiting for those thirsty rice grains to absorb a delicious, garlicky stock. But how many of us do it well? Not many, according to Maiyango’s Phillip Sharpe. “Lots of people cook something that’s dry and stodgy,” he says, “but good risotto should be

served with a good amount of flavoursome liquid left. The rice shouldn’t be made to absorb every last drop. Also, I never add cream – a dash of whole milk does the job.” This issue, as part of our regular dream dish feature, Sarah Pearson from Stoneygate, Leicester, has asked Phillip to cook the perfect chorizo risotto. “I’ve never cooked it before but I’m keen to learn,” says Sarah. Risotto is an ideal winter dish, light enough to be served with salad but comforting enough to beat the chill. “Another mistake people make is to stir all the time,” says Phillip. “This breaks the rice down and can make the risotto lumpy and unappetizing.”

Chorizo Phillip Sharpe explains the art of good risotto cooking to Sarah Pearson.

40 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

There are lots of regional varieties of this spicy Iberian sausage, but all are

READER PROFILE

Sarah Pearson, 23, lives in Leicester, and works as a marketeer for the NFU in Stoneleigh, near Coventry. She recently attended the Good Food Show at the NEC, Birmingham. “It was great but amazingly busy,” says Sarah. “My find of the show was a mango chutney by Leicester’s Spicentice. It was delicious.” More at www.spicentice.com.

made with pork and flavoured with pimentón (smoked paprika). “There are two main types,” says Phillip. “Air-dried, which can be sliced and eaten like salami, and smaller fresh sausages, called cooking chorizo, that must be cooked before eating.”

It’s pimentón that gives chorizo its deep red colour.


Chorizo risotto Chorizo risotto

Fresh watercress in a vinegar dressing is the perfect accompaniment.

Serves 2

* 2 red onions, diced * 2 carrots, diced * 4 chorizo cooking sausage, diced * 150g risotto rice (carnaroli) * 1-1.5l chicken stock * Small glass white wine * 1 tbsp chopped parsley * 2 bay leaves * Salt and pepper 1 You will need to make sure your stock is simmering on the stove before you start cooking. 2 Start by heating a heavy-bottomed, straight-sided pan over a medium heat. Add a little sunflower oil and bay leaves, and cook the diced onions and carrots until soft. Then add the carnaroli rice and half the chorizo, turn up the heat, and shake the pan to coat the grains with the chorizo oil. 3 Add a small glass of white wine and keep shaking the pan until it has evaporated. You’re now ready to start adding the stock, a ladle or cup full at a time. Move the pan gently until it has nearly all been absorbed – the rice

Step by step

1 2 3 4 5

{ } Where to buy? Buy chorizo – the cooking or air-dried variety – from your local deli. Sarah’s nearest is Deli Flavour, Stoneygate.

should always be sloppy rather than dry. Then add another, and so on. 4 When the rice begins to soften (after about 13 minutes, but the only way to really know is to keep tasting), add the stock in smaller amounts, and

1

continue to test it regularly, until it is cooked to your liking. Finally, add the chopped herbs and the remaining chorizo, plus a little milk. Check seasoning and serve with a little dressed watercress.

2

Chop your red onions and carrots into small chunks. Phil recommends Victorinox knives. Take your cooking chorizo, slice and then dice into similar size pieces as the carrot and onion. Add the onions, carrots and bay leaves to a pan and fry in oil over a medium heat until soft. Turn up the heat and add the rice and half the diced chorizo. Oil from the chorizo will flood the pan.

3

4

5

Add white wine and then slowly introduce stock, which should be simmering in another pan nearby. Continue to cook over a high heat but shake rather than stir the pan.

6

Slowly add stock so the risotto remains sloppy, never dry, and keep checking to see when the rice is approaching all’Onda (this translates as ‘wavy’ and is similar to al dente). When it’s nearly there, add the parsley, remaining chorizo, and a little milk.

6

7

7

When ready, serve immediately in a bowl with some fresh, peppery watercress dressed in vinegar.

To have your dream dish cooked by Phillip, email matthew.wright@ greatfoodleics.co.uk. If you’re selected you’ll also win a free meal for two at Maiyango.

HOTEL MAIYANGO 13-21 St Nicholas Place, Leicester LE1 4LD 0116 2518898, www.maiyango.com

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 41


100% Home-Grown Exotic Mushrooms at:

The Mushroom Basket

THE CROWN AT SPROXTON Restaurant –– Pub –– Courtyard

at Lowerfields Mushroom Farm, Packington, Leics

Tel: 01476 860035 Award winning Pub and Restaurant

we grow Maitake, Enoki, Buna Shimeji, Shiro Shimeji, Shiitake, Golden Enoki & Oyster Mushrooms - all picked daily on our farm.

Valentines Menu

Also on sale is our award winning Pedigree Hereford Beef, hung on the bone for a minimum of 7 weeks, again 100% home produced and butchered in our own on farm butchery.

served Friday 11 and Saturday 12 February 2011 £19.95 - 2 courses £24.95 –– 3 courses Telephone or email for a menu We use locally sourced produce. Parties and Weddings, private lunches. We will plan menus for your individual requirements and budgets. Why not stop the night in one of our Individually designed bedrooms From £70.00 per night per room including breakfast

OPENING HOURS: Mon-Fri 0800hrs-1700hrs, Sat 0800hrs-1230hrs

Visit our website:

www.themushroombasket.com 1 Coston Road, Sproxton LE14 4QB

www.thecrownatsproxton.co.uk 10 miles from Grantham on A607. In Croxton Kerrial turn left to Sproxton

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ALSO AVAILABLE AT MAJOR RETAILERS NATIONWIDE

21/12/10 15:45:59


Wood-fired ovens

The Garage Deli A glowing wood-fired oven is at the heart of this laid-back Uppingham deli

W

ith its wood-fired oven, good coffee and relaxed vibe, Uppingham’s Garage Deli – so called because it used to be a car garage – is ploughing its own furrow in Rutland. In a county of ye olde pubs, quaint cafs and doily-clad tearooms, walking into a proper deli and seeing pizza dough being tossed and cooked in front of Garage Deli’s Imogen Owen gets cooking.

your eyes, warm glow radiating from the oven, makes a welcome change. A bit of foodie buzz to brighten your day. “When we decided to go ahead with this project, we knew there needed to be something unique about the shop,” says manager Matt Hards. “Our answer was a wood oven, which hopefully brings energy and dynamism to what would otherwise simply be a shop.”

PIZZA IN 60 SECONDS

The wood-fired oven Made out of fire-proof cement, The Garage Deli’s wood-fired oven is powered by ash and oak and reaches temperatures of up to 400C. It takes 45 minutes to get to optimum cooking temperature and pizzas take just a minute or two to cook. The oven is a talking point, the heart of the deli, and while the team is still trying to make the best possible pizza, they are also experimenting with a number cooking methods and recipes. Over the coming months they’ll be working on some new wood-fired dishes, so why not visit and taste what they’ve been up to?

The Garage Deli also has an open kitchen, which lends itself perfectly to cookery demonstrations. Says Matt: “We’ve had Ed Baines [judge from ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish] and local Thai chef Tukatan of Tuk Tuk Foods show off their skills in the kitchen. And more events like this are planned.” In addition to the oven and open kitchen, the other part of the deli is The Larder – the retail section, selling tasty produce, cook’s favourites and a number of products made in-house. More than a year since opening, the deli team admits setting up hasn’t been easy. “Our loyal customers will agree it’s been a steep learning curve for us,” says Matt. “And there’s no doubt that smaller retailers – delis in particular – are finding life tough.” But what’s been created, thanks in large part to the oven, is a deli with its own unique, relaxed but peppy atmosphere. That’s why people keep coming back.

Daily bread The Garage Deli sells bread from Exton’s Hambleton Bakery. It’s a big seller and Matt hopes to stock the bakery’s pasta in 2011.

GARAGE DELI 2 Stockerston Road, Uppingham LE15 9UD 01572 823247, garagedeli.co.uk

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 43


LOCAL PRODUCER

From muck to magic Local cider-maker Simon Dale talks to Jan McCourt ARTICLE: JAN McCOURT PHOTOS: MATT WRIGHT

Y

ou might have enjoyed a bottle or two of Jollydale Cyder on your travels. Pressed and fermented in Stamford on the outskirts of Rutland, the man behind the beverage is Simon Dale. By becoming an East Midlands-based commercial cider maker, Simon joined a very exclusive club, but the fact that he’s also a horseshoe manufacturer and gym owner undoubtedly makes him unique. So how did it all happen? On leaving school at 15, Simon started working at the local hunt. Despite describing it as “the most hellish job on earth”, he progressed through the near slavery of the early years to become whipper-in and eventually huntsman. But Simon swiftly realised that he was unlikely to progress much further. “I moved to plan B and went to live at my aunt’s five-acre nursery near Luton.” says Simon. “As well as working on the nursery, I learned to become a farrier. I’d rise before dawn to take vegetables to Covent Garden market, returning to shovel tons of muck by hand.” Simon still managed to study enough in his first 12 months to become a Registered Shoeing Smith with the Worshipful Company of Farriers. To achieve this today would take a full-time apprentice more than four years. Over the next 30 years, Simon forged a career that took him to the top in this specialist world. After designing a range of machines – the first of their kind – to make high-quality horseshoes, he moved his business to Stamford to work closely with AJ Pledger & Co, whose roots date to the 19th century. Simon eventually

acquired AJ Pledger and between 1982 and 1997 built his business into one of the UK’s largest manufacturers and distributors of horseshoes. As May 1997 and New Labour approached, the prospects for the horseshoe market looked grim as the ban on hunting with dogs became more certain. In fact, the demand for horseshoes fell by 25-30% once the ban took effect. “In 1996, anticipating the ban, I decided to use an empty warehouse to start a fitness centre in Stamford. Westside Health Club is the result,” says Simon. Simon shows me around his Westside set-up and adjacent horseshoe manufacturing site. Both businesses appear to be thriving. In 2002, fed up with the waste of apples falling to the ground from trees in his orchard at home in Woodnewton, Northamptonshire, Simon decided to purchase a small apple pulper and hand-operated press. “I spent the next two years making cider for family and friends,” he says. “I learnt a great deal about the process.” Encouraged by positive feedback and by his son Oliver’s move to Ludlow, where he discovered many unappreciated orchards, Simon decided to add professional cider making to his unique set of talents. “The method is entirely traditional and cider-making time is when friends and family gather and share the whole process, from picking and washing to crushing,” says Simon. Autumn sees huge boxes of apples arrive in Stamford from Shropshire and the Fens. During my visit, Fenland Bramleys are being crushed.

‘The method is entirely traditional and cider-making time is when friends and family gather together’

44 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland


The apples arrive from Shropshire and the Fens, and are then put through the pulping machine in Stamford. The tipping device (left) was designed and built by Simon.

Jollydale men Chris Sanders (left) and Keith Long, both from Stamford. They also work in Simonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s horseshoe factory, which is located just a few yards from the apple pressing area.

After being pulped, the flesh is layered onto cloth between wooden panels (above). The panels are then squeezed by the crushing machine, which extracts the juice (below).

The apple juice is siphoned off into fermentation vats and eventually blended into Jollydale Cyder. Waste apple flesh is compacted and fed to animals.


LOCAL PRODUCER

Simon with daughter Ginny.

{ }

Simon has made horseshoes for 30 years.

Jollydale’s first pulper (above) and press (left).

There really is a degree of art involved. “The same variety of apple, crushed a few weeks apart, can have totally different characteristics depending on climate and a host of other factors,” says Simon. “The basic combination of apples is the same for each of the four varieties we make: Medium Simon Dale Sweet, Medium Dry, Dry Sparkling and Dry Still. We have taken the original homebased process and developed it by adding a little automation.” The extracted juice is piped into large containers from which the oxygen is extracted. In this way the golden liquid can be stored almost indefinitely. Tasting a small cup of the apple juice at this pre-fermentation stage is an explosive experience as the concentrated taste bursts on to the palate. Judging by the popularity of Jollydale Cyder, which is 6% alcohol, the merits of indefinite storage are unlikely to be tested. This year, 40-50 tonnes of apples have been through the crusher. The pomace, or crushed apple, which remains after the juice has been extracted, goes to feed pigs and cattle at local farms such as my own at Northfield. “Nothing is wasted,” says Simon. “At the right time, the stored fermented juice goes to be blended by specialist cider bottlers. The end product is a careful mix of culinary and cider apple varieties. The taste varies substantially with the passing of the seasons as well as being affected by the variations of weather in each season – how wet or dry the weather’s been affects how the cider will taste.” What was once a hobby has now become a truly family affair. One son sources apples, another helps pick them, while Simon’s daughter Ginny works on the marketing side. A host of family friends play critical roles at the busy times. Simon Dale’s entrepreneurial mind simply never stops creating. His first trials of apple juice (rather than cider) are under way, as are his plans to take some of the summer bias out of cider consumption by producing mulled cider.

“We have taken the original small-scale, homebased process, and developed it by adding a little automation.”

46 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

Simon’s Stamford horseshoe factory is next door to his cider-making plant.

Even my suggestion of making a traditional apple sauce seems to spark another flame. I ask Simon how he came upon the name of Jollydale. “The family sat down to discuss what we were going to call it,” he explains. “I was determined to get happiness in there somewhere, and after a while we hit upon Jollydale.” Jollydale sums it up. Simon is serious and innovative about everything he does and that is why he succeeds. What makes him truly rare is his determination to extract maximum fun, as well as maximum juice, along the way. JOLLYDALE CYDER West Street, Stamford, 01780 762245, www.jollydalecyder.com About the writer: Jan McCourt runs award-winning Northfield Farm in Cold Overton, Rutland, which he set up after working as an investment banker in the City – www.northfieldfarm.com


Restaurant

Italian empire

Leicester’s vibrant San Carlo has just marked its tenth birthday, and owners the Distefanos are riding a remarkable wave of success CUISINE: Italian. PRICE PER HEAD: £25-35 (three courses and drinks). KIDS WELCOME: Yes. DOGS: No. CUSTOMER CAR PARKING: Use the city centre car parks in Leicester. FOOD TIMES: Every day, noon till late.

EXCELLENT FRESH FISH

C

hampagne corks are being popped like balloons by the Distefano family at the moment. San Carlo, their modern, energetic Leicester restaurant, has just celebrated its tenth birthday – a proud achievement but just one Menu samples in a series of parties chez Distefano in 2011, because ANTIPASTI amid the media drone of Antipasto Romano £7.50 recession and cutbacks, PASTA .95 San Carlo Group are Pene All’Arrabbiata £6 .95 £11 h llfis absolutely flying. She tti ghe Spa The pace has been SECONDI PIATTI l in stunning: San Carlo Leeds Vitello Signor Sassi (vea .95 has just opened and the cream & brandy sauce) £13 Liverpool branch flung its PIZZA doors wide for the first Pizza Diavola £7.90 time in 2009; a Guernsey DOLCE restaurant is planned, and na Pan Cotta £4.50 San Carlo Birmingham, Leicester, Bristol and Manchester are doing brilliantly. Spectacularly well. But the really massive news for Carlo Distefano and his team is that he’s struck a deal with restaurant behemoth Americana Group meaning his brand is being rolled out to 22 countries in the Middle East. and it’s spot on. The Leicester restaurant is But back to the Midlands. San Carlo on full of life, with animated Italian chefs cooking Granby Street, Leicester, is a medley of glass, in full view of diners, and you are always well white tablecloths, mirrors and chrome in one looked after by a well-drilled team. of the city’s finest old buildings. The spread We threw a few quick questions their way... put on to celebrate the restaurant’s tenth What are Leicester San Carlo’s best-sellers? birthday would have challenged Marlon “Whole fresh grilled sea bass; scallops with Brando’s appetite. Dish after dish was spinach and lobster sauce; linguini with clams, brought out and the fish – a San Carlo prawns and bisque; and Chicken Taleggio.” speciality – tasted joyously fresh. For those put off by the idea of San Carlo being a chain, don’t be. As director Marcello Distefano points out, each restaurant has its own style, and their chefs and managers are given freedom. The Observer’s restaurant critic Jay Rayner recently wrote, “San Carlo has the ingredients other chains can only dream of... This is a restaurant that knows exactly what it’s doing.” The Distefanos: Carlo A big ingredient in San Carlo’s recipe for (centre), with sons Marcello success is atmosphere. The word “buzzing” (right) and Alessandro. appears in plenty of San Carlo press releases

Plenty of fresh fish was served at the tenth birthday celebrations.

Diners tuck in at San Carlo Leicester.

Does this vary from other San Carlos? “Tagliolini with lobster is a best-seller in Manchester; in Liverpool it’s Dover sole.” Where does San Carlo find its chefs? ”All chefs are Italian and recruited from across Italy. Most are straight from cookery college.” How have the tastes of Leicester diners changed over ten years? “A growing culture of food awareness encouraged by TV and the press has led to more sophisticated tastes.” Where does San Carlo Leicester source its food? ”From local suppliers where possible. Some ingredients are sourced from Italy.” What is the San Carlo philosophy? ”To use only the best ingredients, create value for money, and offer a buzzing atmosphere.” SAN CARLO 40 Granby St, Leicester LE1 1DE, 0116 2519332, www.sancarlo.co.uk/leicester

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 47


LOCAL PRODUCER

Growing business Many dream of the Good Life but few dare live it. Paul Bird is one of the heroic souls who took on the back-breaking, life-affirming reality ARTICLE: EMMA ANSELL PHOTOS: MATT WRIGHT

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or most people, an allotment or veg patch in the back garden is challenge enough, but 32-year-old Paul Bird from Greetham took that several steps further when he bought four acres of land near Wing, Rutland, in 2007. Having always had an interest in growing food, Paul wanted to pursue his philosophy of sustainable food production and decided to buy the land to create a market garden producing tomatoes, potatoes, fennel, squashes and more. Two winters on, his patch is quite literally a growing business, and Paul supplies a number of local restaurants, including highly respected pubs the Olive Branch in Clipsham and Wheatsheaf in Greetham. Getting this far has not come without challenges: Paul encountered scepticism when applying for planning permission for his barn and polytunnel. “It was felt that small-scale production would not work commercially,” he says, “and if you buy that amount of land, technically it has to be a business.” However, Paul carried on, trusting his philosophy that locally grown veg and fruit

‘It can be frustrating but it’s a joy

48 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland


Hazel Hill Farm Veg boxes Paul’s boxes cost £10 and contain whatever is growing and being harvested at the time at Hazel Hill Farm.

are superior to intensively-grown produce from miles away. That belief, plus an unholy amount of physical labour and a little help from nature, has resulted in some success. “Getting this far has been a steep climb – at one point I thought the hard work was literally going to kill me,” says Paul. “In becoming a market gardener, I wanted a simpler existence, working closely with nature, but growing commercially is complicated, as is planning permission. You’re constantly battling the elements, weeds and pests.” The family have helped, especially Paul’s dad Oliver – also

Polytunnel also acts as a rain-water trap.

to watch nature explode into multiple shapes and colours’ a man of the earth, having run a landscape gardening wood. He then bought 20 tonnes of horse muck, which company for many years. Thanks to working with his dad turned out to be full of weed seeds! Learning from that, he since leaving school, Paul has sound knowledge and now uses mushroom compost. This holds moisture, ideal experience on which to draw. for the summer months. One of Paul’s ingenious plans has been to rig up a Although the farm isn’t strictly organic (getting official rainwater collection system using his polytunnel, enabling organic accreditation is a complex affair), Paul uses no him to pump water to the beds. This is preferable to using chemicals or pest control sprays. mains water because it’s both cheaper and “It’s a real joy to watch nature in all its more nutrient-rich. A pump generator amazing forms explode into multiple Growing tips converted by Paul to run on waste vegetable shapes and colours,” says Paul. “It can be “Spinach is an easy oil provides the power to move this water very frustrating but you certainly get grow for first-time gardeners, while a around his site. And in winter, Paul aims to more out of it than you put in if you couple of courgette harness the heat produced by the power efficiently use whatever resources plants are effective system and use it in the polytunnel. The are available to you.” producers for at least generator will also heat the beds and, next Last summer saw a fantastic array of four months and are year, the chicken huts. crops spring up in Paul’s polytunnel, easy to maintain.” All are stepping stones in Paul’s eventual including lots of different tomatoes, Paul Bird aim to function off-grid, powered by aubergine, peppers, a variety of beans, sustainable technology – a concept that’s important to him. courgettes and fabulous melons. Outside in the beds, Paul is the first to admit that he is sometimes forced to among many other crops, Paul has harvested potatoes, work on a trial and error basis. He planned and erected his leeks, beans, mangetout, carrots, fennel, butternut squash 300m2 polytunnel and barn on his own, using recycled and gorgeous purple sprouting broccoli. The veg boxes Paul produces over the summer months are diverse and tasty: having your supper cut freshly from Heritage toms local earth is satisfying and, of course, vitamin rich. Paul grows Heritage Paul is now planning to expand the land he is cultivating tomatoes in his from one to two acres and to plant fruit trees between beds polytunnel. This is an old, to act as natural windbreaks. Chicken huts will be added to robust variety of tomato house free-range birds who will assist in crop rotation and plant whose fruit has cleaning up vegetable waste. more flavour and colour compared with hybrid “My long-term ambition is to set up the farm as a thriving tomatoes sold in many business,” says Paul. “I aim to be supplying 50 vegetable supermarkets. Its ‘flaw’ is boxes per week for an eight-month season within two years that it tends to have an from next April... all while trying to remain sane! I’ve been irregular shape. You can on a course to learn about permaculture and I’m about to go grow Heritage toms from on a poultry keeping course.” seeds, starting them Why not contact or visit ‘Birdy’ at Hazel Hill Farm and inside before last frost. sign up for a veg box to support this committed gardener?

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Growing advice

“The key is fertile and rich soil,” says Paul. “This can be achieved by good composting and by using waste cardboard to suppress weeds. When the cardboard breaks down, it adds to the humus content, conserves water and shelters the soil from nutrient leaching. It gives the worms something to chew on and it’s free!”

CONTACT Paul Bird, Hazel Hill Farm, Wing, 07702 353103, www.hazelhill farm.co.uk, bramblebasher@ googlemail.com

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 49


PUB/CAFE WALK

The walk

Sixteenth century Chatsworth House.

PARK IN CHATSWORTH HOUSE car park (£2) and walk towards the house. Continue past the house and cross the old stone bridge with three arches (pictured below).

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AFTER CROSSING the bridge, turn left onto the grass and head towards the steps cut into the grass bank in the distance on the other side of the field.

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PUB/ CAFE WALK

Out of the county boundaries and on to Chatsworth This walk’s so good it’s tempted us into Derbyshire: a truly memorable nine-miler through park, forest, moor, café and pub

Ordnance Survey mapping © Crown copyright. AM44/10.

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his issue we’ve decided to travel eat at Chatsworth House itself or grab beyond Leicestershire & Rutland something in Beeley, where you can choose and share a magical walk in between the Old Smithy café or awardDerbyshire. Driving north to winning Devonshire Arms (see right). Chatsworth House near Bakewell takes up to an hour and three-quarters from the OVERVIEW OF AREA furthest points in south-east Leicestershire and Rutland, so the journey plus the ninemile walk demand an early start. But if you love a truly excellent tramp through sensational landscape, punctuated by fantastic food and drink, it really is worth it. Sixteenth-century Chatsworth House justifies the journey alone. The Duke of Devonshire’s spectacular pad is one of Britain’s finest stately homes. It also has the added attraction of an awardwinning farm shop. Chatsworth holds various food-oriented events Chatsworth’s outlet ranks alongside throughout the year, and its farmyard and playground are ideal Leicestershire’s very own Farndon Fields for kids. The 105-acre garden (near Market Harborough) as one of the isn’t bad, either. UK’s finest farm shops. Most of the vast This walk – which involves a array of fabulous food on sale is sourced steep uphill climb, mud (usually) and stiles – starts at Chatsworth from the Chatsworth estate, its tenanted House and winds through the farms or Derbyshire suppliers. pretty village of Beeley. You could

50 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

Chatsworth Farm Shop

CLIMB THE steps and follow the river’s edge. After several hundred yards, pass a disused watermill on your right and then rejoin the road at a metal gate just to the right of another bridge. Cross this narrow, humpback bridge and take an immediate right, following the footpath marker. Follow the track across the middle of the field to Beeley.

3

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AT THE END OF the field, exit through a metal gate and cross a busy road. Go straight on along the one-way street, passing St Anne’s church on your left.

4

AT THE END OF the road, turn right, following the sign to the Old Smithy (closed on Wednesdays). Follow the road as it winds downhill to the right. Look out for the Old Smithy towards the bottom of the hill on the left. Dogs are allowed on the patio but not inside (see right). The Devonshire Arms is opposite.

5

WALK BACK UP the hill, retracing your footsteps, and take your first right at the tree and bench. Follow the road.

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THE ROAD SOON becomes a single-lane track and you start an uphill climb. A few hundred yards after the single-lane track begins, at the start of a righthand bend, look for a footpath sign pointing to the left. Follow this sign, taking the grassy footpath uphill.

7

8

CONTINUE TO a stile in a stone wall. Climb over and follow the wall uphill. After


Chatsworth & Beeley

Detailed walk map

Ordnance Survey mapping © Crown copyright. AM44/10.

Old Smithy, Beeley

across the moor, admiring the views of the Derwent Valley to your left. Eventually you see Park Farm on your right and reach a wooded area and gate. Climb over the stone steps and walk into the wooded area.

around 100 yards, go through a gate on your right, into a wooded area. Follow the well-trodden path uphill. CROSS A STREAM using stepping stones and carry on uphill, with the stream on your left in a steep valley. Stick fairly close to the stream and wind your way through the trees. You’re likely to encounter a bit of mud.

9

CARRY ON UPHILL, following the track. There are no markers but the route is fairly clear and the climb is steep.

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EVENTUALLY THE path bends to the right, away from the stream, and levels out. After 50-100 yards of level path, look for a distinctive stone on your left (see adjacent picture). At this stone, turn left (hairpin bend) and carry on uphill.

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Treetop view of Derwent valley.

NOTES: We’ve done this walk and believe the instructions to be clear and accurate. It’s steep in places and likely to be muddy. Take a map – OS Explorer OL24 – and allow enough time.

AT A FORK IN the path, turn right and walk up to the road. Go over the stone steps in the wall and turn left to follow the track downhill. Stick to the track as it bends to the left. As it bends left again, go straight on over the stone steps in the wall to the right of the gate.

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FOLLOW THE track onto open moorland (do not turn right to Hob Hurst’s House). Carry on

FOLLOW THE PATH straight ahead, cross the stream and follow the bend to the right. At the crossroads in the path, go straight on, following a sign to ‘Robin Hood’. Eventually, Swiss Lake comes into view on your right.

A licensed café/restaurant and deli, the Old Smithy serves a wide range of food in its spacious dining area and outside on the patio. It’s open 10am-4pm but closed on Wednesdays. From breakfasts and light snacks to full-on mains, the food’s good and the cakes are hard to resist (it’d be rude not to if you’re about to tackle Beeley Hill). It gets busy so it’s worth booking. The full English is recommended, as is the Welsh rarebit. It also sells the odd cook book, including one full of local dishes – Recipes From The Chatsworth Villages. The Old Smithy, Chapel Hill, Beeley, Derbyshire DE4 2NR 01629 734666

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AFTER AROUND HALF a mile you’ll see Emperor Lake on your left and the track crosses a stream.

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FOLLOW THE ROAD around the Hunting Tower (pictured) and Chatsworth now comes into view on your right. Follow the road downhill for around a quarter of a mile until you reach a path on your right opposite two wooden railings (pictured below). This path, which isn’t obvious, cuts down to rejoin a winding road, which you can then follow to descend to Chatsworth car park.

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The path down to Chatsworth is opposite these railings.

Devonshire Arms, Beeley This 18th century pub and restaurant has been a meeting place for walkers for many years. The food is of a high standard – in November 2010, Chef Patron Alan Hill was named Pub Chef of the Year at the prestigious Publican Food & Drink Awards. There is a warm and inviting oak-beamed bar at the front with roaring fire in winter. You have the choice of eating in the bar or in a more traditional dining area just off, or you can go through to the recently built restaurant, which overlooks a pretty trout stream that flows through Beeley village. Devonshire Arms, Beeley, Derbyshire DE4 2NR 01629 733259, www.devonshirebeeley.co.uk

The Hunting Tower.

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 51


WEDDING FOOD

Food of love

Wedding cuisine is a law unto itself. Here, local brides offer advice and new foodie trends are revealed

 

lanning your wedding food is a minefield – there are so many options that many brides-to-be need therapy after merely considering their canapés. Do you go for something new and funky or stick to tried and tested? Save money by asking friends to chip in with a few dishes or throw caution to the wind? Hog roast or barbecue? What about Jemima the vegan? And what if Auntie Jenny has one too many Pimms and assaults the caterers like she did at Bob and Christine’s nuptials in ‘99? We’ve spoken to local brides, wedding caterers, marquee erectors, venue owners and guests to get their hard-won insights, and look at the latest trends in wedding

food and drink. The overriding piece of advice that newly-weds gave us is to relax and enjoy the day, because – cliché or not – it’s over in a flash. Sure, the food’s important, but it’s a small detail overshadowed by the meaning of the day. The current trend is to try to personalise your reception to the nth degree and do something different with the food (see p54). But different for different’s sake isn’t a good look, and remember you’re likely to be catering for everyone from Great Uncle Boris (who doesn’t like his food “mucked about with”) to Trendy Cousin Tara (who’ll only eat chicken that’s been served by a butler). This isn’t really helping, is it? How about this? Chill out and enjoy...

Rebecca and Tim Jones Rebecca and Tim Jones were married in August 2009 at historic Lyveden New Bield near Oundle. They had a humanist ceremony, a vintage village fête theme and a marquee reception.

Three tier, four tier? Who cares, as long as there are no tears.

married August 2009

WHAT WORKED?

“I wanted it to be relaxed and to use local suppliers, so we had a fantastic hog roast by Trendalls of Oundle,” says Rebecca. “The great thing about a hog is there’s always seconds.” “Instead of a cake we had a metre-high summer fruit pavlova. It doubled up as dessert and looked amazing. To tie in with our village fête theme, we had a stall of homemade cakes made by friends and family.”

ANY TIPS?

“If I could go back in time I’d double our welcome drinks. We served homemade lemonade spiked with vodka, which washed down the 120 scones with strawberries, jam and cream that my sister Rachel and I baked on the morning of the wedding (yes, I am insane). The lemonade ran out pretty quickly.” “My main piece of advice is to make your wedding personal rather than trying to be fashionable or trendy.” Photo: www.crashtaylor.com

52 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland


Food of love

Ellie and Joe Goode Ellie and Joe Goode said “I do” in Claybrooke Magna church, south Leics, in October 2010. They held their reception in a yurtstyle marquee in Ellie’s parents’ garden, a stone’s throw from the church.

SUBSC RIB

E LIKE T MAGA HIS Z IN E ? TURN TO MA TO P11 K YOU G E SURE E NEXT IST THE SUE

married October 2010

WHAT WORKED?

“We wanted the day to be relaxed and our caterers, Plate Expectations from Rugby, were brilliant,” says Ellie. “They recommended a barbecue because it offers variety and it worked really well. Our cake, petit fours and some of the chutneys were made by family and friends, which made it feel lovely and personal. We got beer from Langton Brewery, our local brewer, and that went down a storm.”

ANY TIPS?

“Don’t overload yourself. I was going to make the canapés but as I did the flowers too [Ellie is a florist by trade – www.elliekimberleyflowers.co.uk], I’m glad I didn’t. Shop around for catering – don’t take the first thing you find. And remember that caterers and venues can be flexible on budget.”

Claire and Matt T illey-K aylor Claire and Matt TilleyKaylor became husband and wife at Oakham Castle in November 2010 before heading to Barnsdale Lodge for the reception. “We had lots of ideas and changed our minds several times but this was never a problem for Barnsdale Lodge,” says Claire.

married November 2010

WHAT WORKED?

“All the meat and produce came from local farms, it really did taste amazing,” says Claire. “The beef in red wine with dauphinoise was delicious, and vegetarians were very happy with the woodland mushroom and red onion tart with tarragon sauce.” “Serving Winter Pimms after our ceremony – as suggested by the venue – was a nice touch.“ “In the evening we opted for bacon and sausage baps with homemade pizza and cupcakes. These all went down well and didn’t cost the earth.”

ANY TIPS?

“Relax! It can be so stressful planning a wedding. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details but remember people aren’t there for the favours or the co-ordinating chair sashes!”

Chloe and Nathan Ticehurst Chloe and Nathan Ticehurst had their ceremony at St Andrew’s Church, Hambleton in Rutland, in April 2010, and held their reception at the Finch’s Arms pub, also in Hambleton.

married April 2010

WHAT WORKED?

“Everything worked well,” says Chloe. “We wanted to use as much local food as possible and got married in spring, so local lamb seemed perfect. We also had amazing nibbles while drinking champagne in the sun. These included Freshwater Crayfish and Rutland Water Trout Tartlets, Baby Lincolnshire Sausages with Honey and Thyme, and Marmite Twisty Cheese Straws (I love Marmite!). Marks & Spencer did the cake – it was delicious and very reasonable. Our florist Miss Pickering then made it look even better with fresh flowers.”

ANY TIPS?

“Enjoy the build up, decision making, arguments, flowers, dress fitting, food tasting, the attempts to lose weight, every single last detail. It will come around so fast and the day will go even faster!”

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 53


WEDDING FOOD

2011 wedding trends

To find out what’s hot, we spoke to local wedding planners, caterers, florists and foodies. We also scoured wedding websites like www.zankyou.com. “People are looking to personalise their weddings,” says Simone Pickering of Miss Pickering Flowers, Stamford. “Set menus can be rather restrictive. I’m seeing plenty of vintage tea parties, cream teas and a few ice cream vans.” Hannah Dodson of Rutland Marquee Company says: “People are breaking away from the three course, sit-down format, although that still accounts for around 70 per cent of the weddings we see. We recently put up a marquee for a couple who hired a paella company from Grantham called Paellera. They turned up with three huge pans and made a meat, fish and vegetarian paella. It went down extremely well.” Helen Tarver, Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland’s very own Foodie Gift Hunter (see

p64), says: “There seems to be a move away from the traditional cake, and I’m still seeing lots of cupcakes. A friend who got married at Stapleford Park last year had beautiful cookies from Quirky Cookies of Derbyshire, bespoke to each guest. “I wonder if next year will see simple British food coming on to wedding menus,

GRAINSTORE BREWERY

HOTROCKS’ MOBILE WOOD-FIRED PIZZA OVEN

Local inspiration... Many local brewers, including Grainstore of Oakham, offer a bar service for weddings. Grainstore brew a range of beers, including geographically protected Rutland Bitter, so if you want local ale on your big day, call them. Contact: www.grainstorebrewery.com, 01572 770065 Local beer at the reception always goes down well.

Chef Jack Harrison and his wife Carolyn from Nether Broughton own a mobile wood-fired oven that they take to food events around the UK and use mainly to cook pizzas. They also cater for wedding parties. “Every time we go out we get wedding interest,” says Carolyn. “We’re booked up for May already.” Jack mainly caters for the evening party but is starting to get enquiries about creating the main wedding breakfast. “There are several fantastic dishes you can cook in a wood-fired oven,” says Carolyn. “Jack’s a chef by trade, so the sky’s the limit.” It’s the theatre of a mobile wood-fired oven that captures people’s imagination. “You can see dough being rolled,” says Jack. “And then the pizza’s tossed into the fiery depths to emerge seconds later.” Contact: www.hotrockspizza.co.uk, 07971 810777

Homemade is in vogue.

in the style of Kate Winslet’s sausage and mash [served at her wedding reception]. Will we see food vans/street food making it to the receptions?”

What’s hot in wedding food? 1) Informal, casual meals with shared one-pots or tapas 2) Fewer set menus, with more bespoke cuisine and themes 3) Use of local produce 4) DIY food brought by guests 5) Vintage tea parties 6) Food vans (Mr Whippy, anyone? Or maybe a kebab?)

NORTH’S A local name that was recommended for wedding cakes time and again while researching this feature was Rothley-based Dominic at David North. As well as traditional-style cakes, North’s has a reputation for making stunning designer creations that look and taste wonderful. “Personalisation is the key theme we’re seeing,” says Wendy North. “People are asking for themed wedding cakes and steering away from the traditional three-tiered fruit cake.” The pictures – all cakes by North’s – speak for themselves. Contact: www.dominic-davidnorth.co.uk, 0116 2302263

Lovebirds are queuing up to have a wood-fired oven at their wedding.

Thanks to Ellie and Joe Goode (www.elliekimberley.co.uk), Miss Pickering (www.misspickering.com), Claire Tilley-Kaylor, Chloe Ticehurst, Rebecca Jones, Ondine and Ben Barry, Helen Tarver, Hotrocks Pizza, Barnsdale Lodge, North’s of Rothley, Rutland Marquee Company.

54 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland


Vintage Wedding Dresses, Bridesmaid’’s Gowns, Prom Dresses and Little Black Dresses from 1900 to 1970

What a wonderful wedding! Barnsdale Lodge Hotel is the perfect and exclusive country setting for your wedding. Set in a unique rural location in the heart of the glorious Rutland countryside with views of undulating hills and Rutland Water.

07729 888 751

www.abigailsvintagebridal.co.uk l i b id l k

“We had a lovely time, the venue was superb, the food delicious & the event staff friendly & professional” Peter and Toni Ellershaw

• Marriage ceremony licence held in our Conservatory, Banqueting and Rutland Suites for up to 180 guests • Beautiful established gardens and courtyard available for drinks receptions • Exclusive hire of the whole hotel possible • Vicienté Beauty treatment and relaxation therapy room • 44 individually designed en suite bedrooms For more information or to arrange a visit to Barnsdale Lodge, please contact Jane Hales our Personal Events Organiser, who has 20 years experience in helping to make your day very special.

The Avenue, Rutland Water, Nr Oakham, Rutland LE15 8AH enquiries@barnsdalelodge.co.uk

www.barnsdalelodge.co.uk

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LEICESTERSHIRE FOOD LINKS Sallie Hooper Sallie is co-ordinator for Leicestershire Food Links, a group set up to promote local food and drink. When it comes to food made on your doorstep, Sallie knows her onions.

Ditch the diet and eat local! Instead of worrying about the calories, support our producers and everything else will fall into place, says Sallie Hooper

‘T

is the season of tight waistbands, thin wallets, hastily bought gym memberships and the sound of breaking resolutions. If you haven’t made any promises to yourself this year, how about trying something a little different? Join me in making a commitment to eat more local produce and to find out more about its benefits. It tastes good and as the advert says, “By golly it does you good”. So with this in mind, during an idle moment, I had a quick trawl around the internet before Christmas and fell upon the story of the Fife Diet (not to be confused with the later Suffolk, Norfolk and Cornish diets). According to Scotland on Sunday, Mike Small, a writer and lecturer, woke up one morning in 2007 to discover that Young’s, a local seafood company, was catching prawns in Scotland and then shipping them to Thailand to be shelled and packed rather than employing higher-paid local Scottish workers. He wasn’t sure how many food miles the prawns would travel to their final resting plate, but it was enough to make him decide to do something drastic. Hence the conception of the rather excellent Fife Diet, which now boasts more than 1200 dieters.

Healthy and wallet-friendly Whatever their level, Fife dieters take five pledges: to buy local, eat less meat, eat more organic produce, reduce food waste and compost more. They are, unsurprisingly, a healthy bunch, and instead of eating the government target of five portions of veg a day, manage an easy seven. Moreover, by cutting out the usual purchase of processed food, Fife dieters see their carbon ‘foodprint’ drop to 27 per cent below the national average. They also save money: the Smalls reckon their food bill has fallen by at least £20 a week. It all sounds pretty good to me, especially when I read that Fife dieters also admit that they would be lost without a banana, the odd takeaway or cup of coffee, not to mention chocolate, so they work on an 80:20 ratio of local food

Did you know? At www.leicestershirefoodlinks.org.uk you can download details of hundreds of local food and drink producers. On the homepage, click on ‘search for local food’. Then click ‘download directory’ or use the search facility. 56 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

Eating locally produced food can lead to a healthier diet.

supplemented with Fairtrade products and so-called luxuries. After all, we are only human and the thought of eating creamed sprout soup three times a week would definitely cause family dissent and fear in our house, to say the least. Following a local food diet also means that you might need to brush up your cooking skills and spend a fraction longer in the kitchen but it will help cut down on your intake of salt, sugar and thickeners present in many processed foods. And once you’ve got into the swing of it, why not go the whole hog and get the kids involved or practise on your friends? If you would like to read more about the Fife Diet, look at www.fifediet.co.uk, but in the meantime if you want to find out more about accessing local produce or buying from our local producers in Leicestershire, head straight to our website at www. leicestershirefoodlinks.org.uk. Alternatively, get in touch – send me an email with your thoughts and ideas to sallie.hooper@ leicestershirefoodlinks.org.uk. Look out for that recipe for creamed sprout soup!

FISHY BUSINESS Scottish prawns being shipped to Thailand for processing inspired the local food driven Fife Diet.

CONTACT If you have a passion for local food and would like to know more about it, contact Sallie on 01509 881386 or visit www. leicestershire foodlinks.org.uk.


THE KING’S ARMS

TOP STREET, WING, RUTLAND LE15 8SE TEL. 01572 737634 EMAIL: INFO@THEKINGSARMS-WING.CO.UK

A 17TH CENTURY COUNTRY INN SET IN THE IDYLLIC VILLAGE OF WING IN RUTLAND.

Upcoming ‘Slow Food’ & Wine Evenings Thursday 27th January – Gamebirds Thursday 24th February – Ground Game

W INNERS OF E AST M IDLANDS T ASTE AWARD 2009 & 2 AA ROSETTES

HOME TO JIMMY’S SMOKEHOUSE. SMOKERS AND CURERS OF MEAT AND FISH

SPECIAL OCCASIONS & EVENTS - BESPOKE WEDDING SERVICE AVAILABLE

The Marquess of Exeter is a versatile venue and can accommodate various party sizes in either the restaurant, ‘The Marquess Snug’, or the bar and lounge areas for parties ranging from 2 to 100. We also have a beautiful lawned extensive garden area for al fresco events and the large on-site car park can accommodate up to 60 cars.

£25 Each. Booking Essential. Arrival 6.30 - 7 for drinks and seated for 7.30.

COME AND TASTE THE DIFFERENCE

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

Heston services

Mark Hamilton heads into Northamptonshire to a Little Chef that’s been given the Heston Blumenthal treatment WORDS & PHOTOS: MARK HAMILTON

CUISINE: 1970s British! PRICE PER HEAD: £20-25 KIDS WELCOME: Yes. DOGS: No. CUSTOMER CAR PARKING: Er, yes, and there’s always the A14. FOOD TIMES: 6am-11pm every day (but please check before setting off).

P

ing-ponging east and west along the A14 isn’t the best prelude to a meal, and I guess I must take responsibility. I was convinced I knew where the local Little Chef restaurant that Heston Blumenthal had transformed was located. My wife had voiced reservations about my taking us to the Little Chef at Thrapston, near Corby, in Northamptonshire, but I had insisted. “I know exactly where it is.” And that’s how we came to find ourselves in a ropey facsimile of a 1970s branch of Woolworths. It was a full two minutes before anyone even acknowledged us. Then we were told: “There’s a half-hour wait.” “Why?” “Can’t you see how busy it is? We’re running a bit behind.” Now that’s the sort of Little Chef I remember – the British Leyland of the restaurant industry. Fortunately, we quickly sussed that we were way off the mark and seven miles further west along the A14 were greeted by an altogether different prospect – a very much jazzed-up Little Chef, having been sprinkled with Heston Blumenthal fairy dust. Welcome to 1960s sci-fi retro: low hanging red factory lamps, white brick tiles and bright red grouting with the occasional blue or red tile dotted around, a communal seating area

beside the open kitchen and a multi-coloured, fussy, the mussels were a little overcooked, rubberised serving counter. It screams, “We’re but the sauce definitely deserved to be not taking ourselves too seriously,” which is soaked up by the accompanying brown bread reflected in the food – in a good way. and ladled by the spoon that came with the We were very quickly dish, as God intended. And there seated in the middle of wasn’t a single grain of grit. Menu samples a busy lunchtime Mrs H had a prawn service and cocktail and it was STARTERS immediately asked if exactly as described, Prawn cocktail £4.50 we’d like to order served with a crunchy Scottish mussels £4.95 Cream of mushroom soup £3. drinks, which we did, fresh salad of iceberg 95 and they turned up lettuce, cucumber and MAINS very quickly. tomatoes with big, juicy All new Olympic breakfast £6. 95 I kicked off with prawns piled on top, all Braised ox cheeks £9.75 Steak and chips £12.95 mussels served in a smothered in a classic cast-iron pot, cooked Marie Rose sauce. PUDDINGS in wine, cream and A friendly supervisor (so Jubilee pancakes £3.75 parsley. If I’m being the back of her smart/casual Hot chocolate pudding £3.7

5

Häagen Dazs chocolate fond ue (for two) £9.95

The prawn cocktail was excellent, the mussels good, while the chocolate pud was microwaved but OK – Blumenthal’s magic touch has done the trick.

58 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland


Heston Little Chef

Before Heston this would have been nasty plastic and formica. Now it’s retro fun.

uniform told us) cleared our starter dishes and said she’d tell the kitchen we were ready for our mains, which arrived a respectable ten minutes later. My wife had been desperate to try the ox cheeks and wasn’t disappointed. The beef was meltingly tender, having been slowly braised with red wine, mushrooms and shallots. And the mash was buttery and smooth. The only downside was the obviously frozen accompanying mixed veg (broccoli, sweetcorn and carrots), which, for an additional £1.95, was a bit cheeky. I was seriously tempted by the fabulouslooking fish and chips, but felt duty bound to sample Little Chef’s signature dish – the Olympic Breakfast. I consider myself an expert on fried food – it’s a Scottish thing. The plate wasn’t threateningly full but offered up two outdoor-reared pork sausages (not free-range, and there is a big difference), two Wiltshire-cured rashers of back bacon, two perfectly cooked griddled eggs, a slice of Ramsay of Carluke black pudding and some Heinz beans (or a char-grilled tomato). On the side were two slices of fluffy white toast and butter. I was desperately trying to be critical but I couldn’t fault it. OK, cooking a bit of bacon, sausage and egg isn’t that complicated, but this is as good as it gets. If you’re a fan of an all-day breakfast, you’d be hard pushed to do better than this.

HESTON’S ROADSIDE PROJECT

Blumenthal and Little Chef Two years ago, Heston Blumenthal – the man behind The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, named Best Restaurant in the World in 2005 – was invited to reinvent a branch of Little Chef in Popham near Basingstoke as part of a Channel 4 programme. The man responsible for dishes like snail porridge and sardines-on-toast ice cream seemed an unlikely collaborator with the longestablished chain of roadside eateries, which had been saved from bankruptcy only a year earlier. But the Popham branch has now been awarded its second inclusion in the Good Food Guide and two more new-style branches have opened at Kettering West (A14 westbound), reviewed here, and York. Blumenthal’s Little Chef menu has not, as yet, been rolled out to all branches nationwide.

Bursting at the seams, I was tempted to the hot chocolate pudding by our bright and breezy waitress (sorry, supervisor). We also ordered coffee: double espresso for me and a small espresso for the other half with foamed milk. The coffee arrived and the friendly waiter explained that he’d put some foam on top of the coffee, but had also brought a jug of hot foamed milk in case there wasn’t enough. Both coffees were excellent. Pudding was nice enough, though it had been microwaved, as most of it was blisteringly hot, but one small part was still cold. I was offered grown-up vanilla bean icecream or soft ice-cream. And after a brief discussion, my ‘full’ wife decided that the childishly indulgent ‘Mr Whippy’ was the

preferred option – another taste that takes you straight back to 1970’s childhood holidays – again in a good way. The bill arrived with a selection of Jelly Belly Beans, which finished the meal off with another perfectly judged note of humour. It was like sweetie roulette. I had a bubble-gum flavoured bean, while Mrs H had pink grapefruit. All in all, it was an excellent meal – like very good pub grub. It takes you back to your childhood – in the same way as a Caramac bar or a Wagon Wheel – with its tongue firmly stuck in its cheek. HESTON LITTLE CHEF KETTERING A14 Westbound, Kettering, Northamptonshire NN14 1RW, 01536 312876, www.littlechef.co.uk

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 59


HOME COOKING

rs’ ts F ar me marke

Danny Jimminson Danny is head chef and owner of the Hammer & Pincers in Wymeswold. When he’s not creating spectacular puds, he’s out trying to forage food.

Where’s your nearest?

ASHBY DE LA ZOUCH

Cold comfort

When? Third Saturday of the month, 10am-2pm Where? Manor House School, LE65 1BR

BLABY

When it’s this chilly, there’s nothing for it but to make a great boozy pudding

When? Fourth Sat of month, 9am-1.30pm Where? Blaby Social Centre, LE8 4GG

ome of you might have noticed it’s been really quite cold recently. Food-wise, this causes problems: transport links are upset, so produce cannot make its normal trip from farm next door, to packing plant, to wholesale market, to central distribution hub, and finally to shop. It seems ironic that because of this infrastructure we have developed, when nature kicks off, the whole thing falls apart. So what do the arctic temperatures mean for the modern day forager? Well it’s not good news, I’m afraid. It’s a case of using what you’ve managed to save during the year. Two things spring to mind: first, the almonds I collected in the summer – I peeled them and they will be quite happy in a sealed container for a good few months. Secondly, early on in the summer I collected a wide variety of cherries, and on my local golf course

When? First Sat of month, 9am-1.30pm Where? Windsor St, LE10 2EF

S

I found a great patch of Morello cherry trees. These are small fruits, not too sweet, but by preserving them in a sugary syrup of kirsch and vanilla you can mimic Griottines cherries, that great French speciality, renowned for their smooth, alcoholic kick. It’s a big flavour in a small parcel, quite often used in the making of boozy petit fours. This issue’s recipe uses Griottines cherries to make a heavenly jelly, which is balanced with a toasted almond panna cotta, and finished with a simple sponge biscuit.

* 12 Griottines cherries * 100ml Griottines kirsch * 200ml water * 20g sugar * 1 leaf gelatine Soak the gelatine in cold water. Heat the kirsch, water and sugar, then add the gelatine. Once soft, place three cherries in the bottom of your jelly moulds and tip in just enough to cover them. Allow moulds to set in the fridge, but leave the remaining jelly at room temperature. Once the bottom layer is set, top up with the remaining jelly and allow to set fully.

60 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

CASTLE DONINGTON When? Second Sat of month, 9am-12.30pm Where? St Edward’s School, DE74 2LH

EARL SHILTON When? Third Sat of month, 9am-1pm Where? Wood St, LE9 7NF

HINCKLEY When? Third Thurs of month, 9am-1.30pm Where? The Market Place, LE10 1NT

KIBWORTH BEAUCHAMP When? Second Sat of month, 9am-1pm Where? Kibworth High School, Smeeton Rd

LEICESTER When? First Thurs of the month, 9am-2pm Where? The Market Place, LE1 5GG

LOUGHBOROUGH When? Second Weds of month, 9am-3pm Where? Devonshire Square, LE11 3DW Cherry jelly, panna cotta and honey sponge.

Griottines cherry jelly, toasted almond panna cotta and baked honey sponge, Serves 4 Jelly

BURBAGE

Panna cotta

* 100g toasted almonds * 300ml double cream * 50g sugar * 3 leaves gelatine Soak the gelatine in cold water. Now cook the cream with the toasted almonds and sugar for about five minutes. Add the soaked gelatine leaves, and stir till dissolved. Pass the mix through a sieve to remove the almonds and pour into your moulds. Allow to set in the fridge.

Spiced honey sponge

* 50g butter * 50g sugar * 50g flour * 1 egg * 50g honey * 1 tsp mixed spice

Butter your sponge moulds and divide the honey between them. Next, cream the butter and sugar, and add the egg. Now fold in the flour and mixed spice, and spoon this mix into the moulds. Sprinkle some water on each cake, then cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes at Gas Mark 4 (180C).

HAMMER & PINCERS 5 East Road, Wymeswold, Loughborough LE12 6ST, 01509 880735 hammerandpincers.co.uk

LUTTERWORTH When? Second Sat of month, 9am-1.30pm Where? Lutterworth Town Hall Car Park, LE17 4EH

MARKET BOSWORTH When? Fourth Sun of month, 9am-2.30pm Where? Market Square, CV13 0JW

MARKET HARBOROUGH When? First Thursday of month, 9am-2pm Where? The Square, LE16 7DR

MELTON MOWBRAY When? Every Tuesday and Friday, 8am-noon Where? Scalford Road, LE13 1JY

OAKHAM When? Third Sat of month, 8am-2pm Where? Gaol Street, LE15 6AQ

STAMFORD When? Every other Friday, 8.30am-3pm Where? Red Lion Square, PE9 1PA

UPPINGHAM When? Second Fri of month, 8am-1pm; and new market now on first Sat of month. Where? Mercers Yard (Fri); Mkt Place (Sat).


Truffles

The reluctant delicacy

They grow underground and one once sold for £165,000. Matt Gregory digs into the world of truffles...

T

ruffles – not the chocolates pigs have historically been used but the tubers that grow for truffle hunting due to their underground – are not good sense of smell, it is rather found, foraged or even collected: hard to stop them from eating the they are hunted. No one will ever truffles they find. Dogs on the tell you where they tracked one other hand take quite a bit of basic down in the wild, even in the training, but can be more reliably unlikely event you know such a stopped from scoffing the person. Truffles hide unburied bounty. underground, and In the wild, truffles live D O O FO •F hide well, particularly symbiotically on the in England, where roots of trees and the traditions of require an alkaline hunting them out soil, and although have all but died. there are hundreds of The lion’s share of different types, only a truffles encountered in handful are commercially the UK have been imported grown or hunted in season. from France, and surprisingly The rarest and most expensive is most will have been farmed. the White Piedmont truffle (Tuber Truffle farming is not agriculture magnatum pico). It holds the as we know it though, it is a long record for most money paid for a (four to five years for the first single truffle at £165,000 for a 1.5kg ‘crop’) and far from certain example; even small truffles of business, which entails planting 10-15g can easily make £100. orchards whose roots have been inoculated with the spores of truffles. The soil has to be right, the weather just so and the trees More commonly available is the themselves planted correctly for black truffle, or Périgord truffle the tuber to grow. Even then you (Tuber melanosporum), which still need a certain amount of luck grows in central Italy, France, and a well-trained dog. Although Spain and Croatia. This is the O

• FO O D

OD

S CU

FOCU S

Truffles

Leicestershire food with a twist: pork, black truffle and pistachio pie.

CUS • F FO

‘ The smell is uniquely fruity, pungent and penetrating’ Black truffle

NOW TRY THEM

Truffle dinner at Hambleton Hall Hotel

These cost £700-£1200/kg and grow in Spain, France, Italy and Croatia. More at www.truffle-uk.co.uk.

The dinner will be hosted by truffle expert Nigel Hadden-Paton of Truffle UK, who has been working with truffles in the UK for many years by inoculating tree roots with truffle spores. It’s a slow old business and for this dinner he will rely on his usual supplier in Périgord, in the Dordogne. There will be four courses, all flavoured with truffles and accompanied by appropriate wine, plus apéritif and coffee.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 2011 DRESS: Dinner jacket. TICKETS: £110 per person (inclusive of 12.5% service), available from Hambleton Hall (pictured right) on 01572 756991, www.hambletonhall.com. APÉRITIFS: From 7.30pm. SIT DOWN: 8.15pm sharp.

Try Britain’s finest wine list with your dinner At the AA’s Hospitality Awards 2010-2011, Hambleton Hall was awarded overall best wine list for England, Scotland and Wales. The list was created by Hambleton sommelier Dominique Baduel and proprietor Tim Hart.

White truffle One of the world’s priciest foods (£1800-£2700/kg), white truffles are only found in Italy and Croatia.

tuber that is most grown commercially, but is still far from cheap, with the average price in 2008 being £900/kg (Truffle UK). In England and the rest of Europe, we have the indigenous English, Burgundy or Autumn Truffle (Tuber aestivum var uncinatum) whose average price in 2008 was a mere £175/kg. What’s all the fuss about then? For the uninitiated, Marwood Yeatman in The Last Food of England writes of truffles: “The smell is uniquely, deeply fruity, pungent and penetrating... The flavour is subtle, suggestive, elusive and lingering.” And that’s just the beginning. He goes on: “Eating them is a stimulating emotional experience and the postprandial effects occasionally unexpected.” Impressive, then. These elusive tubers are more widespread than you might think, so if you know a bit of beech wood over a chalky soil where your dog gets excited, take a trowel.

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 61


RECIPE

Monica Parmar’s Spicy Pasta Bake “This is perfect for using up leftovers,” says Monica, who runs Leicester-based Indian readymeal and sauce manufacturer Tiffin Food Company. “You can use yesterday’s veg and meat. Why waste all those delicious local ingredients? Once you’re confident with the recipe, you can modify it to suit you.”

Serves 4

* 400g pasta (I use conchiglie shells) * 200g fresh or leftover vegetables/ meat cut into bite-size pieces

Tomato sauce: * 500g basic tomato pasta sauce * 3 cloves garlic, crushed * 2 inch ginger root, peeled & chopped (or 2 tsp ginger purée) * 2 chillies, chopped (deseeded if you want a milder sauce) or 1 tbsp chilli purée * 2 tsp red chilli powder

Cheese sauce: * 50g butter * 50g plain flour milk * 300ml * 1/2 tsp salt * Pepper to taste * 250g cheddar cheese, grated

You’ll need a 2.5 litre oven dish. The dry pasta (pre-cooking) should fill half the dish and your veg/meat should fill a quarter. This is a good guide to use if you ever wish to increase or shrink the size of your bake. Pasta, vegetables and meat: 1 Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 (180C). Place pasta into a pan and cover with boiling water. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until just cooked. If using fresh vegetables, place in another saucepan, cover with boiling

water and cook. Don’t overdo them as they’ll be heated further in the oven later. 2 Drain and place pasta and veg in oven dish. If using leftover veg or meat, place those into dish. Tomato sauce: 1 Heat tomato sauce over a medium flame. Add garlic, ginger, chillies and chilli powder. Stir and simmer for five minutes. 2 Pour tomato sauce over the cooked pasta and veg/meat in oven dish. Stir until sauce is evenly distributed. Set aside. Cheese sauce: 1 Heat butter in a saucepan over a low flame – help it to melt with a whisk. As soon as the butter is melted, take it off heat and add flour. Work quickly and whisk the mixture until all flour is

distributed, with no lumps. 2 Return to a low flame for two minutes while constantly whisking the butter-flour mixture. Remove from heat and add half the milk. Whisk rigorously until the sauce becomes smooth. Don’t worry if it looks lumpy, just keep whisking and they will disappear. 3 Once sauce is smooth, return to a low heat and add rest of milk. Cook for five minutes, whisking constantly. 4 Take sauce off heat and add half the grated cheese. Stir thoroughly. Make small gaps in the tomato pasta mixture. Pour the cheese sauce into the gaps, until it’s all been added. 5 Sprinkle remaining grated cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes. Serve piping hot with fresh bread or a salad.

MONICA PARMAR Monica set up family business the Tiffin Food Company after being fed up with the usual selection of bland readymeals. For a list of Tiffin stockists, visit www.thetiffinfoodcompany.co.uk

62 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland


Local cooks

STREET FOOD

Taste of Mauritius

African street food that’s proving a hit in the Midlands

S

elling Mauritian street food on a freezing winter’s day at Leicester Market might seem out of place, but to flour-covered Jason Horeesorun and Jacque Ferreira from Nottingham, it’s all part of the fun. “Mauritian Street Food is a company in its infancy dreamed up over a glass of red and a roti chaud [more on this later] by two food lovers,” says Jason. The duo use traditional Mauritian recipes to create their popular street food. Jason says: “I was brought up in a traditional Mauritian household in the UK and have been influenced by my mother Jamilla’s cooking.” Jacque was born in South Africa and has links with Mauritius – a tiny island 1500 miles from the eastern coast of Africa – through his mother-inlaw, who was born there. “The cuisine of Mauritius has taken a leaf out of every passing colonist’s and settler’s cookbook,” says Jason. “It mixes European

A floury Jacque (left) and Jason.

Above: Grois pois and rougialle. Below: The duo are developing a product line.

and African with an Asian style.” Jacque and Jason sell their wares at food festivals and markets. “We’re excited the food has generated so much interest,” says Jason. “The dishes we serve are crispy gateaux piment (chilli

cakes) and roti chaud (a Mauritian wrap). In the roti we put grois pois (butter bean curry) and rougialle (a tomato-based sauce).” “It is great to bring a taste of this island to UK food

lovers. Hopefully the impression will be that Mauritius not only has white sandy beaches and sea as clear as bottled water, but the food to tantalise tastebuds, too.” MAURITIAN STREET FOOD 07816 895901 or 07972 210056 www.mauritianstreetfood.co.uk

Tasty wraps Mauritian Street Food style Grois pois

* Butter beans * Tomatoes * Onions, garlic * Ginger, cumin * Coriander, turmeric * Vegetable stock * Salt to taste

1 Fry onions, garlic and ginger. 2 Add spices and all other ingredients. 3 Simmer for 30 minutes.

Rougialle

* Tomatoes * Onions, garlic * Ginger * Coriander * Thyme * Salt to taste

1 Easy! Fry onions, add garlic and ginger. 2 Add other ingredients and simmer for around 20 minutes.

Roti chaud

* Plain white flour * Rapeseed oil * Water

1 Make into a dough and roll. 2 Cook on a tawa or flat frying pan with a little oil. When all three are done, wrap the grois pois and rougialle in the roti (see above) and enjoy a taste of Mauritius!

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 63


FOODIE PRODUCTS

The Foodie Gift Hunter’s New Year tips Vale of Belvoir-based Helen Tarver, aka The Foodie Gift Hunter, blogs almost daily about excellent gifts for food lovers at www.thefoodiegifthunter.co.uk. She’s the region’s premier expert on edible presents.

PRICES FROM: £3

Chilli lemon curd For those looking to shift a few pounds, treat them to some Chilli Lemon Curd from Charnwood Chilli Co. Why? Well, eating chilli can temporarily boost your metabolism, so get some multi-tasking, tasty food into their diet. This stuff will also seriously warm up their breakfast routine! Contact: 07929 420556, www.charnwoodchillis.co.uk

Riverford veg box Resolving to eat their five a day? Sign them up for a veg and fruit box scheme. I love the variety available from Riverford, and that there are a number of local producers involved. Have a look at the Seasons veg box, bringing what’s great right now straight to the kitchen, and add fruit into the box for all-round great health.

JANUARY: New year, new healthy-living resolutions. Here are a couple of gifts that might help a loved one keep on the virtuous side of things.

Contact: 0845 0786868, www.riverford.co.uk/sacrewell

love this...

PRICE: FROM £8.95

With Valentine’s Day and health plans in the air, the Foodie Gift Hunter’s been hard at work Love Potion FEBRUARY: choccies Month of love.

Skip the flowers and get something unique for those who enjoy great food and drink.

Welland Valley bubbly

PRICE: £17.50

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without some fizz, but avoid the French stuff, reduce your food miles and buy them Steeplechase from Welland Valley Vineyard, just a few miles south west of Market Harborough. Crisp, fruity, not too dry, and a choice that shows you’ve thought about it, not just stopped off at the nearest supermarket. Contact: 01858 434591, www.welland-vineyard.com 64 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

If you’re going to go for chocolates, don’t go for something they stock in your local garage. Try the Love Potion collection from Chocolate Alchemy, Loughborough, bringing together flavours of champagne, sea salt, caramel and raspberry. Contact 07943 876578, www.chocolate-alchemy.co.uk

PRICES FROM: £7

Cookery course Rather than just going out for dinner, how about learning to cook a new, or favourite, dinner together? Book the two of you on to a great cookery course, and PRICES spend some time FROM: acquiring new food £45 skills. Try Cook in Kilworth, near Market Harborough, and learn everything from Caribbean to Italian, or even something more unusual like sugar baskets and glazes. Contact: 01858 575832, www.cookinkilworth.co.uk


Gifts and cookware

COOK ZONE

ORLA KIELY KITCHEN KIT Viva â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;70s retro! In the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;80s, these would have looked at home on a table to the rear of an Austin Allegro at a car boot sale, but time does amazing things, and now theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re bang on the money. Londonbased Orla Kiely is better known for her textile design but her ceramic kitchen set â&#x20AC;&#x201C; comprising a gratin dish, casserole, and various storage jars â&#x20AC;&#x201C; looks stunning.

The Original Cookware Company of Leicesterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s New Year kitchen kit tips

All products here are available at The Original Cookware Company, 12-14 Silver Walk, Leicester, 0116 2512842, www.originalcookware.co.uk

ZEAL SALAD SPINNER If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve gobbled too many pies, been free and easy with the cheese and need to lose a few toxins, you might want to consider consuming some leaves. When your saladâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s soggier than the River Soar, it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t aid your good intentions. This Zeal spinner will help you achieve waterless watercress.

PRICE: FROM ÂŁ14.99 STURDY AND STYLISH

STELLAR 7000 SAUCEPANS

New year, new saucepans, as a wise cook once said. These stainless-steel pans by Stellar will enhance your cooking sessions and you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ever need to fork out for more because they come with a lifetime guarantee (thus rendering the above advice meaningless).

PRICE: ÂŁ10.99

PRICE: FROM ÂŁ23.75

The Pantry

From great places to eat to fantastic farm shops to cracking caterers, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find an excellent selection of local foodie services here. To advertise in this section, please contact Andrea Marshall on 01780 754900 or by email a.marshall@bournepublishinggroup.co.uk

ANTIQUES

CAKES

OLD BAKERY ANTIQUES

The Smithy Farm Shop

Kitchen curios from old scales to pottery and much more.

Top Quality fruit and vegetables. Cheese, poultry and meat.

An Aladdinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cave selling fascinating old items since 1990 on Main Street, Wymondham LE14 2AG. Tel. 01572 787472

HOG ROAST

CAKES

Venison, wild boar, spit roasts, BBQs and so much more. Full catering services including marquee for no extra charge.

DELICIOUSLY DIFFERENT CAKES

Based in Rutland. We use the finest meats available.

Tel. 01572 737581

www.thehogroastservice.co.uk

&/$66,),('KDOILQGG

FARMSHOPS

Stamford-based cake maker. Renowned for bespoke novelty creations from racing cars to frogs! Weddings, parties and more. Tel. 01780 762978

Fresh seasonal vegetables

FARMSHOPS $WWÂżHOGÂśV)DUP6KRS :HOOHVWDEOLVKHGIDPLO\IDUPVKRSVHOOLQJ ORFDOO\VRXUFHGIUHVKIUXLWVDODGYHJHWDEOHV EUHDGDQGKRPHPDGHFDNHV$OVRORFDOO\ IDUPHGIUHVKPHDW SRXOWU\SURGXFWVDQG DZLGHVHOHFWLRQRIIUHVKGDLU\SURGXFWV /RGJH)DUP&RXQWHVWKRUSH5RDG :KHWVWRQH/HLFHVWHU7HO 2SHQLQJ7LPHV7XH)ULSP 6DWSP6XQSP

TEA MERCHANTS 5XWODQG7HD&R

Opening Times: Mon-Thurs 8.45am-5.45pm. Friday 8.30am-6pm. Saturday 8.30am-4.30pm Sunday 9am-1pm

Finest quality loose leaf Teas, herbal and fruit infusions from all over the World

Warton Lane, Grendon, Atherstone, Warks, CV9 3DU Tel: 01827 714216

8 Church Street, Oakham, Rutland. LE15 6AA

Inside )RUGVRI2DNKDP Department Store www.tea-time.biz




Farm shop map Good farm shops sell great-tasting, fresh food that hasn’t travelled far. Check opening hours before setting off. This map is updated every issue

Keyworth, Notts

We’re surrounded by fantastic food yet we’ve all got into the habit of buying produce that’s 7 CHANTRY travelled half way across the country, or even FARM SHOP Melbourne around the world. Any chef will tell you that the best-tasting stuff is seasonal, fresh and hasn’t 27 been stored in the back of a lorry or jet plane PRIORY FARM SHOP Breedon-on-the-Hill for hours. The best restaurants tend to source A42 their produce from local farmers for this reason. If you don’t already, why not increase the quality of the food you eat THE MUSHROOM BASKET and support local farmers and businesses Ashby de Packington by giving your local farm shop or 23 la Zouch farmers’ market (see p60) a go?

Ashley Herb Farm (herb nursery & farm shop) 45 Main St, Ashley LE16 8HG web: www.ashleyherbfarm.co.uk tel: 01858 565722

20

THE CATTOWS FARM SHOP Heather

2

MANOR ORGANIC FARM SHOP Long Whatton

A6

Loughborough STONEHURST FAMILY FARM & MUSEUM Mountsorrel

32

MEADOW VIEW FARM Sileby

1

Attfields Farm Shop Countesthorpe Rd, Whetstone LE8 6LD web: www.attfieldsfarmshop.co.uk tel: 0116 2771476

COOK’S FARM SHOP Newtown Linford

6

9

3

Brockleby’s Farm Shop Melton Road, Asfordby Hill LE14 3QU web: www.brocklebys.co.uk tel: 01664 813200

13

4

Brooklea Nursery & Farm Shop 1000 Loughborough Road, Rothley LE7 7NL tel: 0116 2302155

5

The Cattows Farm Shop Swepstone Road, Heather LE67 2RF web: www.thecattows farmshop.co.uk tel: 01530 264200

6

Chantry Farm Shop Kings Newton Lane, Melbourne, Derbys, DE73 8DD tel: www.chantryfarm.com web: 01332 865698

7

Chevelswarde Organic Growers Chevel House, The Belt, South Kilworth LE17 6DX tel: 01858 575309

8

Cook’s Farm Shop Markfield Lane, Newtown Linford LE6 0AB web: www.cooksfarmshop.co.uk tel: 01530 242214

9

66 Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland

WOODCOCK FARM Rothley

THE FAT HEN FARM SHOP Stapleton

Fancourts Farm Shop The Square, Ryhall, Stamford, Rutland PE9 4HJ tel: 01780 762698 Farndon Fields Farm Shop Farndon Road, Market Harborough LE16 9NP web: www.farndonfields farmshop.co.uk tel: 01858 464838

Harker’s Farm Shop Blackberry Farm, Clipston, Keyworth NG12 5PB web: www.harkers farmshop.co.uk tel: 0115 9892260

34

TOOLEY PARK FARM SHOP Peckleton

HIGHFIELD FARM Wigston

17

WOODHOUSE FARM SHOP Elmesthorpe

38

33

11 12

5

Leicester

GE TOMLINSON AND FAMILY FARM SHOP Stoke Golding

Crossroads Farm Shop 10 Eastwell, Melton Mowbray LE14 4EF tel: 01949 860242

22

37

BROOKLEA NURSERY & FARM SHOP Rothley

M1

Bouverie Lodge (bison and venison meat) Nether Broughton, Leicestershire LE14 3EX web: www.bisons.org tel: 01664 822114

16

HARKER’S FARM SHOP

Hinckley

ATTFIELDS FARM SHOP

2

Whetstone

M69

16

Farm Fat Hen Farm Shop at 17 Highfield Newton Lane, Wigston Greenacres Garden Centre LE18 3SH Ashby Rd, Stapleton LE9 8JE tel: 0116 2880887 tel: 01455 290878

13

Lower Grange Farm Gibson Lane, Old Dalby, Leics LE14 3LH tel: 01664 8236240 email: lgfarm@btinternet.com

Grange Farm Shop Poacher’s Rest, Newstead Lane, Belmesthorpe PE9 4SA tel: 07711 205507

18

Hambleton Farms Gaol St, Oakham LE15 8AQ web: www.hambleton farms.co.uk tel: 01572 724455

Manor Farm Shop 19 Main St, Catthorpe, Leics LE17 6DB web: manorfarmcatthorpe.co.uk tel: 01788 869002

14

15

CHEVELSWARDE ORGANIC GROWERS South Kilworth

MANOR FARM SHOP & TEAROOM Catthorpe

19

8


Farm shop map Bottesford

23

The Mushroom Basket Lowerfields Farm, Normanton Rd, Packington LE65 1XA web: www.themushroom basket.com tel: 01530 415862

Stamford Garden Centre Farm Shop Road End Farm, Great Casterton, Stamford, Lincs PE9 4BB web: www.stamfordgarden centre.co.uk tel: 01780 765656

Northfield Farm Whissendine Lane, Cold Overton LE15 7QF web: www.northfieldfarm.com tel: 01664 474271

Stonehurst Family Farm & Museum Bond Lane, Mountsorrel LE12 7AR web: www.stonehurstfarm.co.uk tel: 01509 413216

Oakdale Farm Shop 1870 Melton Road, Rearsby, LE7 4YS tel: 01664 424300

GE Tomlinson & Family Farm Shop Station Road, Stoke Golding, Nuneaton CV13 6EU tel: 01455 212199

31

24

CROSSROADS FARM SHOP Eastwell

10

25

BOUVERIE LODGE

Nether Broughton

3 18

A46

Old Dalby

A607

21

A606

OAKDALE FARM SHOP Rearsby

RUTLAND FARM SHOP Ashwell NORTHFIELD FARM Cold Overton

FANCOURTS FARM SHOP Ryhall, Stamford

29

Rutland water

24

26 28

Tooley Park Farm Shop Peckleton Common Road, Peckleton, Leicester LE9 7RF tel: 01455 822876

34

4

MARCH HOUSE FARM Great Dalby

25

Picks Organic Farm Shop The Cottage, Hamilton Grounds, Barkby Thorpe LE7 3QF web: www.picksorganic.co.uk tel: 0116 2693548

LOWER GRANGE FARM

Asfordby Hill

33

26

BROCKLEBYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S FARM SHOP

32

PICKS ORGANIC FARM SHOP Barkby Thorpe

HAMBLETON FARMS

15

11

GRANGE FARM SHOP

14

Belmesthorpe

Oakham

ROOTS AT THORPE FARM Barkby Thorpe

STAMFORD GARDEN CENTRE FARM SHOP

Stamford, Lincs

35

30

SELDOM SEEN FARM Billesdon

A47

31

WING HALL FARM SHOP Wing, Oakham

Uppingham A6 36

WISTOW FARM SHOP Wistow

1

ASHLEY HERB FARM Ashley

Manor Organic Farm Shop 77 Main St, Long Whatton, Loughborough LE12 5DF web: www.manororganic farm.co.uk tel: 01509 646413

20

FARNDON FIELDS FARM SHOP Market Harborough

Wing Hall Farm Shop Wing, near Oakham, Rutland LE15 8RY web: www.winghall.co.uk tel: 01572 737090

35

12

Priory Garden Centre and Farm Shop Ashby Road, Breedonon-the-Hill, Leics DE73 8AT web: www.priorygarden centre.com tel: 01332 863494

27

Roots at Thorpe Farm King St, Barkby Thorpe LE7 3QE web: www.rootsthorpe farm.co.uk tel: 0116 2692526

28

March House Farm Top End, Great Dalby, Leics LE14 2HA tel: 01664 563919

Rutland Farm Shop Ashwell Road, Ashwell, near Oakham LE15 7QN web: www.rutlandvillage.co.uk tel: 01572 759492

Meadow View Farm 156 Cossington Road, Sileby LE12 7RT web: www.meadowviewfarm.co.uk tel: 01509 815670

Seldom Seen Farm Billesdon LE7 9FA web: www.seldom seenfarm.co.uk tel: 0116 2596742

21

22

29

Wistow Farm Shop Wistow Rural Centre Kibworth Rd, Wistow LE8 0QF web: www.wistow.com/rural.asp tel: 0116 2590041

36

Woodcock Farm 903 Loughborough Road, Rothley LE7 7NH tel: 0116 2302215

37

Woodhouse Farm Shop 1 Woodhouse Farm, Elmesthorpe, Earl Shilton LE9 7SE web: www.woodhousefarm.co.uk tel: 01455 851242

38

30

Have we missed a farm shop off the map? Email matthew.wright@ greatfoodleics.co.uk to let us know.

Great Food Leicestershire & Rutland 67


Make it a year to remember

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13/12/10 10:03:13


4. Great Food Magazine Jan/Feb 2011  

The Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Great Food Magazine, containing features on local producers in the Midlands, recipes, restaurant reviews, pub walk...

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