Cheshire Smokehouse

Posted by Lou on Dec 23, 2009 in Carry On Britain on a budget, Food Shopping, Places, Products

“In the spacious and hygienic preparation areas of The Smokehouse, salmon is salted and smoked; bacon, hams and other meats cured and sliced. Elsewhere, the smoke stoves are filled with sweet-smelling chippings of maple and oak which impart the distinctive taste to Cheshire Smokehouse products.”

Doesn’t that just get the old taste buds rolling! I love the thought of the big stoves going on a crisp Winter’s day.

Cheshire Smokehouse is based in Wilmslow in Cheshire, and basically it does what it says on the tin.

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As both ‘farm shop’ and national branded producer, The Smokehouse is an oasis of quality and service in a world of blandness and uniformity. What really makes The Smokehouse different is that most of the products you see and eat – even the fantastic smoked nuts! – are made right there on the premises, with all the expertise and attention to detail you’d expect.

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The meat is fantastic, I have long been a fan of their smoked bacon which we have virtually every saturday morning with fresh eggs and Barbakan bagels. We recently did a little trip out to the smokehouse to stock up on some meat. The prices are very competitive with the supermarkets and it’s lovely to know that it is all reared and prepared on site. I just have to be really careful that I don’t blow the budget on sticky toffee pudding and other goodies in the Pâtisserie.

So that rounds it up for another year. I know we have be a little sparse for the past few months but the Carry on Britain team have big plans for 2010. So, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Pieminister Pies

Posted by Lou on Dec 18, 2009 in Food Shopping, Products

What I love in winter is when you go for a long lovely walk in the freezing cold and then treat yourself to a plate full of pie and mash afterwards.

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To me it doesn’t get any better. Add in some mulled wine at this time of year and a good Xmas movie and I’m happy all night.

I first came across Pieminister pies when a bar (aptly named Pi) in Chorlton, Manchester started selling pie and mash for tea – a choice of three or four pies served with mash, mushy peas and thick gravy. What a brilliant idea!!!

Back in 2002, Jon Simon and Tristan Hogg teamed up to start a pie business, giving the British public what they needed – a good pie made from proper stuff. After months of development Pieminister was born, what followed was a small shop in Bristol and a stall at London Borough market sitting alongside some of the finest food producers in the world.

Pieminister now has a proper pie kitchen filled with chefs and bakers and is stocked in pubs, restaurants and shops all around the UK, they have even been eaten by the Queen.

Each pie is still made by hand only using the finest ingredients sourced from British farmers and all the meat is free range. We like it when the animals are happy!!

 

Tatty Spuds and The Great Tyrrells Taste Test

Posted by Lou on Jul 24, 2009 in Food Shopping

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A wise woman once asked me “what is your favorite vegetable?”

To me this is an easy question. It is quite obviously the humble potato (although parsnips come a very close second).

Potatoes are ultimately versatile, but of the many end uses, the best is most definitely crisps!

This is where our friends at Tyrrells Potato Chips step in. I became very closely acquainted with Tyrrells one evening in our local pub, where I demolished bag after delicious bag of mixed root vegetable crisps until, alas, I couldn’t look at another parsnip ever again (ok, well it was only for a couple of days until we made potato and parsnip mash).

Anyway, where am I going with this?….oh yeah…crisps! I love crisps, what an amazing concept – I could live off crisps and cheese and be really happy for the rest of my life (I’d be fat, but at least I’d be happy). So last week, after a really rubbish day at work, I was over the moon to find Tyrrells had sent us a box of crisps to try…wahoo!!! Makes going to work worthwhile when you come home to that (sorry Duncan). If you sign up to their website, then you too can become part of the taster panel. Every month they randomly pick people from the list and send out 100 boxes of crisps for people to try. If you love food and love life, then you definitely should be doing a bit of Tyrrelling :)

Tyrrells was named after the farm where William Chase, the founder of Tyrrells was brought up and still currently farms. In the late nineties, Will traveled the world researching the perfect potato chip production methods and brought his knowledge back to Herefordshire where Tyrrells potato chips were born. All the potatoes are grown locally within a 50km radius of the farm and they use some delicious varieties such as Lady Claire and Lady Rosetta bounce house sales canada.

You have to check out their very beautifully designed website for more info and the full selection but I urge you to have a bag of the Ludlow Sausage with Wholegrain Mustard crisps! Lush!

Kettle crisps had best watch out! :)

On a final note, they now do potato vodka. See – I told you potatoes were the best vegetable ;)

PS… You can get in touch with Tyrrells on twitter… @Tyrrells give them a nudge and tell them we sent you :)

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Check this tea towel out.

Posted by Lou on Jul 17, 2009 in Food Shopping, Stuff

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I have just found this from Stuart Gardiner, a tea towel with a yearly guide to 74 British seasonal fruits & vegetables printed on it. It comes in a six colour unbleached organic cotton tea towel and its made in the UK.

How cool is that.

You can buy it here

 

I’m sorry – I’ve got an addiction – to olives

Posted by Dunc on Jun 23, 2009 in Food Shopping

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Sometimes in life, you go through phases where you can’t get enough of something. You know those guilty pleasures that you can’t get through the day without thinking of at least once.

I’ve had a fair few of these weird and wonderful food addictions over the years (jacket potatoes with cheese and battered fish butties from the chippy are two notable examples – not at the same time though!) but the latest thing that’s got a grip on me is olives!

Now this is quite strange because up until a couple of years ago, I couldn’t stand the salty little beggars! For some reason, at the moment I crave Pimento Stuffed Olives ALL THE TIME!

“WHAT!?” I hear you shout – Olives aren’t British!

I know, I know, and for this I am truly sorry. The source of my guilt is that this delicious delicacy that I can’t keep my grubby mits off, comes from Greece.

But wait…

So imagine my surprise when I did a little googling only to discover that due to climate change, we are now able to grow olives in this country. Now imagine my excitement (yes, very sad I know) that there are farmers who are actually growing them by the chuff-load.

Mark Diacono on Otter Farm in Devon, is taking advantage of Britain’s warming climate to grow more Mediterranean crops like olives, peaches, almonds, szechuan pepper, apricots and a vineyard. 5 years ago, he planted 120 olive trees on his 17-acre farm and hopes to be producing British home-grown Olive Oil within a year.

And it isn’t just me who is rather excited about this. As rumour has it, a top London department store, has offered to pre-buy the entire production run. Mark, however, has said that he would prefer to sell locally to keep the food miles down.

Brilliant stuff. One less pleasure to feel guilty about :)

To learn more, have a read of the article on Country File.


As well as planting and maintaining Otter Farm’s orchards, vineyards, forest garden and veg patch, Mark Diacono leads the Garden Team at River Cottage. He also runs the growing courses at River Cottage, gives talks and hosts events at RCHQ, and appears in the River Cottage TV series too. Busy bloke then!

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