Diwali Food

The Guardian Unlimited features Leicester in an article on Diwali food.

Vicky Frost visits Leicester's Golden Mile and, in particular, Bobby's restaurant, to sample mithai; the sweets eaten during the 5 day festival of light.

Obscene Portions

Boy, oh Boy, I know some people who could eat for England, but they would probably be classed as having small appetities compared with the good old folks in the US of A.

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Around the Web

I had my hair cut today so until the anaesthetic has worn off I can't cook or drive!

So just a brief round-up of what's being reported around the web today.

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Organic food is healthier

The Farmer's Guardian reports that a study, carried out by Professor Carlo Leifert at Newcastle University, has found that organic fruit and vegetables contain more than 40 per cent more antioxidants than non-organic fruit and veg.

The scientists also found that organic milk contained almost 90 per cent more antioxidants than non-organic milk.

So, its great that Local Lubcloud Organic Milk is widely available at the County's Farm-shops.

Pumpkin Soup

The offending pumpkin

Emma and her boyfriend were carving pumpkins yesterday. One that they had bought had some bruising so they decided not to use it. Dad, therefore, ends up with a pumpkin to use – he can't throw it away 'cos he'd been writing about waste food a couple of hours earlier!

So what to make? Pumpkin Pie? Pumpkin Risotto? Ravioli? No, none of these, boring old Dad's chosen pumpkin soup

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What a Waste

Susan Smillie at the Word of Mouth Blog has drawn my attention to to information released by the government agency Wrap.

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Millionaire's Shortcake

Picture of Millionaire's ShortcakeIn the run up to Guy Fawkes Night there will, no doubt, be plenty of recipes for traditional bonfire food. Parkin will almost certainly feature so there's little point me adding to the plethora of recipes. So, here's another 'tray bake' that is an old time favourite – Millionaire's Shortcake.

I couldn't find the recipe given to me by a friend of my mum's, so have amended one off the web to something like I remember it to be.

Line a 12" x 9" deep swiss roll tin, or similar with baking parchment.

1. The base

10½oz Plain flour

7½oz Butter

3½ Sugar

Cream butter and sugar, mix in flour and pull it together with your hands, add a teasp water if absolutely necessary. Line base of tin with this mix. Cook at 170° for about 25 mins until just lightly golden. Leave to cool.

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Cheese and Onion Rolls

Cheese and Onion rolls

I was going to make some more Cinder Toffee today to check that I had given the correct temperature in the recipe. However, we had to go out and there wasn't time to make both bread and toffee when we got back.

The purists will scoff at this recipe. Yes, it does cut a few corners and, there are more chemicals than I would like, due to the use of fast acting yeast. It sure beats anything the supermarkets sell though.

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Cinder Toffee

Cinder toffee, burnt a bit!
It's coming up to Halloween and Bonfire Night so the web is full of appropriate recipes – many trying to make culinary delights out of pumpkin!

I'm not that fond of pumpkin although it makes a great vehicle for other things – as in Cinderella or in Pumpkin Pie.

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Blesbok for Dinner?

Over at The Observer's 'Word of Mouth' blog, Fraser Lewry has started eating his way though the animal alphabet. He's currently on the letter B and has made Blesbok Tartare.

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Withdrawing Food from Sale

How many people ever hear about food being recalled by the Supermarkets? How often does it happen? Once a month maybe? Twice a month? It's far more often than you think ...

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Rubbing Salt into a Wound?

The blog at FoodEU.com reports today on a very good reason not to take the kids to fast-food outlets like Pizza Hut and KFC.

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Pear and Almond Tart

Hannah (my eldest daughter) has had a friend stopping so I felt I had to do a pudding with yesterday's dinner.

Having been given some Conference pears I found that they were within the 10 minute time slot between being like iron and going black in the middle so thought I'd better use them. What is it with pears? Or is it just me? One minute they're so hard as to be inedible and the next, 'poof', they've gone bad!

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Joke of the Week

I was going to post the joke from Matthew Naylor's, The Longer View, Farming blog that goes:
A man (or woman, we live in liberated times) goes into a butchers.
“Can I have 8 legs of venison please?”
“Certainly, that will be £76 please”
“£76? For 8 legs of venison? That's two dear”

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Supermarket News

What! News about the Supermarkups [sic] on a local food blog?

Well, some good news from three items in the Farmers Guardian all in one week deserves a mention. On the 15th they reported on Morrisons commitment to British Eggs and Pork. Today we hear about British lamb in Morrisons and also that Sainsbury's are to pay more for pig meat.

Not necessarily local but good news all the same.

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New Pub Company

The Morning Advertiser, the licensed trade newspaper, reported yesterday that, “ A new pub company, The Green Wellies Pub Company, has been set up with a view to keeping the country pub alive in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire”.

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Blackberry Vinegar

It's amazing the things that get discussed in my local. If they televised it, people would say it's too daft to be believable!

Anyway, the subject of Blackberry vinegar has come up a couple of times. Do I make it? No, I don't need to. My grandma always made our family's, now my Dad does it. It's something you have to wait your turn to do!

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Raw Milk II

Yesterday I wrote about milk and commented on the French penchant for that awful UHT stuff that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural affairs seem to want us all to drink.

Todays Guardian has an article on the same subject.

Raw Milk

Unpasturised raw milk seems to have been hitting the food news in the last couple of weeks.

The 'Farmers Weekly Blog' reports on banning in ,amy states of the sale of 'raw' milk and about the illicit trade surrounding it. Reminiscent of Prohibition? We all know what that did for the increased sales of alcohol!

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Marrow and Apple Chutney

What do you do when someone gives you a big Marrow and your Dad appears with a bag of Bramley Apples?

Y'up it's Marrow and Apple Chutney!

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Site Feedback

It's great to hear from users of Local Food Heroes whether they are people looking for produce or producers.

It's even better when I get someone letting me know that the site is working.

It was brilliant to receive an email from Janet at M.U.T.T.S saying: “Just a word to say thank you for your listing of me in your on line directory, I have picked up a fair amount of work & even more publicity. Many thanks again.”

Janet, It's a pleasure to list people like you!

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Hedgerow Products & Chocolate Cravings

Producers of cakes, jams, pickles, preserves etc cause a bit of a problem for me on the main site because whilst their producers are no doubt local is their produce local produce? Obviously some things are unlikely to be local – marmalade, chocolate etc. I tend to judge by whether ingredients that are available from local sources are used.

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Cheaper Insurance

Yes, I know insuring my car is nothing to do with food! But, as today we've been to the hospital I've nothing foodie to write – unless you want me to go on about the food at the Leicester General Hospital when I was in there in February – that could fill its own blog for years!

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Good News for Farmers

An optimistic title, you may think, with the spectre of Foot & Mouth and Blue-tongue hanging over farms but today there is at least some good news for farmers.

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Trout Pâté

I'm surprised that anyone with a blog makes pâté – It's just took me ages looking up the character codes for the 'a with a circumflex' and 'e with an acute' accent.

I made pâté today with the smoked trout I made earlier. I was going to post a picture of it but, to be honest, you've all seen what smoked fish pâté looks like so what's the point!

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More Trout

Good ole popped around again with 3 more trout.

Darren's trout from Foremark reservoir

I'm giving one of them to , don't know what he'll do with it, but I guess it will be something pretty good. The other two, I'm going to smoke. This time I'm going to use a 'lighter' wood. I think the oak is just slightly too strong – I'll probably go for Alder, Ash or a fruit wood.

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Beetroot & Horseradish Pickle

This recipe started with one of those pub conversations “I'm thinking of making beetroot pickle but I've got this idea to add horseradish to it. I don't know where the idea came from?” My mate Maurice replied, “I do, I told you about it! It's from a neighbour when we lived in Leicester!”

Horseradish root

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Claybrooke Mill on TV

When your short of something to write on your blog, it's a god-send when your wife shouts from the other room:"come and see this!", especially when she is referring to a local producer featuring on TV.

The programme in question was 'Country Lives' a series produced for ITV Central and featuring Sally & Spencer Craven at Claybrooke Mill.

It also mentions a local Lutterworth baker, but doesn't mention his business – I'll put this woeful omisssion right – Geoff Sykes bread can be bought at the Kingsway Food Store

If you missed it, watch it now on ITV local at 'Country Lives'.

Smoked Trout Part II

The trout prepared yesterday was smoked for about twelve hours over oak chippings and then put in the fridge overnight. Today it has had a further four hours. I will keep it for a couple of days, for the smoke to penetrate through the fish, before eating.

I'll probably use this in hot dishes rather than eat it raw, because of the haphazard method of it's preparation.

Picture of the finished smoked trout

The poor filleting, due to having to fillet it on my knee, can be seen in this photo of the finished smoked trout.

If you don't fancy smoking your own produce, many smoked foods are available from Woodhouse Farm.

Thanks to the guys at the Sausagemaking.org forum for their help.

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Smoked Trout

Yesterday my new mate arrived on the doorstep with a couple of trout. I've only met Darren two or three times at my local, so this was a really nice gesture and shows what a generous guy he is. He'd caught them yesterday morning and they were still 'stiff' fresh – superb!

Now, the obvious thing to do would be just to cook and enjoy them: lack of a kitchen at the present time ruled this out so I had to put my brain into lateral thinking mode – why not smoke them? Any sensible person would hot smoke them, but with no heat that's a bit tricky! So, what does the little boy wonder (a la goon's) decide to do – yep cold smoke 'em!

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