Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

  • cakes to fall in love with

    Feb 15, 13 • jo • Artisan Producers, Ingredients, Trial, UncategorizedComments OffRead More »
    cakes to fall in love with

    If you were lucky enough to get a proposal recently – firstly congratulations and secondly you are going to need an amazing cake designer in the not so near future …. so here’s my top tip. Joanne Jackson runs Taste of Home, so called because her bespoke cakes taste like the best homemade creations you have ever had, made from the best ingredients she can source.  But that’s not to say they are home spun … far from it! From intricate and sophisticated to fun and nostalgic, Joanne’s cakes are highly regarded for their attention to detail, whether you prefer colourful stripes or a bang on trend monochrome cake like the one left, Joanne’s skills will realise your dreams. Whereas some cake makers buy in their sugar craft figures Joanne hand makes everything herself, whether that’s delicate flowers, a Louis Vuitton handbag, classic car or the characters from Cbeebies’ Waybaloo having a tea party. Joanne’s love of cake making stretches back to her childhood; originally from the UK she spent seventeen years growing up in France which is where her love of fresh ingredients and patisserie developed.  Instead of spending her pocket money on the latest fashions like her friends, it was cakes and cook books that drew Joanne’s attention. Since coming back to the UK and settling between Lichfield and Sutton Coldfield she has started her own successful cake

  • Ludlow Food Centre is UK Farm Retailer of the Year

    Feb 15, 13 • jo • Artisan Producers, Ingredients, Trial, UncategorizedComments OffRead More »
    Ludlow Food Centre is UK Farm Retailer of the Year

    In days when every time you turn on the TV or read a newspaper there are more revelations as to the spurious nature of our food, it great to see the people doing it right being justly rewarded. The Ludlow Food Centre has been voted UK Farm Retailer Of the Year 2013 at this week’s FARMA (The National Farmers’ Retail and Markets’ Association) Awards.  The awards were held in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and included the finest farm shops from all over the UK.  Presenting the awards was food hero and River Cottage star Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall who has been a member and patron of FARMA for many years. The town of Ludlow has long been associated with quality food but this is the first time the award has come to Shropshire.  Previous winners include the well known Chatsworth Farm Shop on the Duke of Devonshire’s Estate in Derbyshire.  The award takes in to account all aspects of the retail experience, the quality of the food and the level of commitment to sourcing locally.  The Food Centre’s Managing Director, Edward Berry commented’ “To win this award is the highest honour in our sector.  It is testament to the passion and quality of our staff, the food they produce and the local food made by artisans in this region.” The Food Centre is unique because of its food production.  Few other farm

  • is that mustard seed?

    Jun 28, 12 • jo • Artisan Producers, Ingredients, UncategorizedComments OffRead More »
    is that mustard seed?

    Is that mustard seed, a fellow blogger from Egypt asked about the endless yellow fields of early summer?  No, I said, its rapeseed remembering back 10 years when I’d wondered myself what the vast swaths of yellow crops were. Rapeseed has come along way since then, indeed a report earlier this year noted that sales are up 28% year-on-year to £7.6m and volumes up almost 9% [Kantar Worldpanel 52w/e 19 February 2012]. Yet many of us still don’t have it in our cupboards, preferring olive oil instead.  The italian heavy weight has an amazing marketing story and while rapeseed producers are attempting the same feat, it’s bound to take time.  And let’s face it most of us are creatures of habit, we run out of something, we buy the same thing again – simple. So I was really intrigued when I was asked to try Manor Gold cold pressed rapeseed oil.  I’m a big fan of buying local from small producers; they really do need shoppers support. Manor Gold is produced just 14 miles away from where I live by Chris Edwards and his family on their farm in Hatton, Market Drayton.  They only use their own harvested rapeseed to produce the Manor Gold brand, a nutty oil, cold pressed in the traditional way with nothing else added. When the bottles arrived (I got two) it was like opening a bag

  • Happy Birthday Ludlow Food Festival

    May 27, 12 • jo • Artisan Producers, Food Events, UncategorizedComments OffRead More »
    Happy Birthday Ludlow Food Festival

    There’s lots of delicious attractions at the 18th festival 7-9 September, Ludlow Castle. The Ludlow Food Festival comes of age this year and the organisers are hard at work bringing together a host of attractions to help celebrate the festival’s 18th birthday from 7-9 September. Lovers of food, drink, books and photography are well catered for in 2012 with a food themed book festival and photography exhibition running alongside the main event. The book festival will see well-known cookery book authors and literary minded chefs give talks at the Ludlow Assembly Rooms.  The same venue will also be home to the prestigious Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year exhibition featuring dozens of delectable images of food submitted from across the world. Another new event for 2012 will be tutored wine tasting in association with Tanners, Shropshire wine merchants since 1872. The festival is always eager to encourage new, young food talent and has just awarded its Graeme Kidd Bursary (for 16-25 year olds) jointly to Dan Cooper, an events management student and Daniel Jones, a talented chocolatier. In addition, the festival restaurant this year will feature top quality, affordable food prepared by the culinary stars of the future; namely current and past students from catering courses at Shrewsbury, Hereford and Ludlow Colleges, all overseen by a host of top chefs. The Ludlow Food Festival is renowned for the calibre

  • Bread making in Ludlow

    Bread making in Ludlow

    Scour the internet and you’ll find all manner of bread making courses across the UK, but you won’t find many that are actually held in a bakery.   The location was just one of the reasons that Peter Cook’s weekend sourdough course in Ludlow was such an exciting prospect to me.  Another was an article I’d read a few months earlier which discussed those foods to make and those to buy.  Sourdough was firmly placed in the latter category due to the unpredictable nature of the sourdough starter. I decided to take the plunge and enrolled both myself and my husband on the course, we’d done a quick bread making session at the Aldeburgh Food Festival last September and the other half had become quite taken with the process.  Held over a Saturday and Sunday a) to allow the bread time to proof and b) to allow participants the time to enjoy this wonderful town, we set off. There were five us on the course, surprisingly no one from Ludlow, two from the Bradford area and three from north shropshire. Over the two days Peter took us through the steps for making each bread and we also got a fascinating insight into the life of a baker.  I’m not sure I could cope with the topsy turvy hours and the heat in the summer! Like I said though one of

  • PopUp Food Photography

    PopUp Food Photography

    I’m really rather pleased with these photographs.  They were taken at Village East in Bermondsey during a ‘pop-up’ photography course with expert food photographer Paul Winch Furness.  No matter what level you are at as a photographer amateur, professional or somewhere in between you can always learn more and I learnt a lot that day. You can check out Paul’s website here.  You won’t be surprised that he’s in high demand for his skills with the camera so he doesn’t have any courses listed at the moment, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the food photography courses section of his site for new dates.  

  • Hanmade

    May 27, 12 • jo • Design, Interiors, UncategorizedComments OffRead More »

    I first met Hannah Madden at The Mortimer Country Food Fair in south Shropshire last July and I was instantly enthralled by her designs. Describing herself as a printmaker living nestled somewhere between the border of Herefordshire, Shropshire & Wales, Hannah produces a number of simple but sophisticated designs which she block prints on to stationery and fabrics. The result is a gorgeous collection ranging from cushions and lampshades to bags and cosmetic purses.  There’s a great range of cards too that will make any recipient feel special, while the cute luggage tags emblazoned with messages such as ‘Oh Happy Day’ and ‘Thank You’ are a million miles away from the identikit ones you find on the high street and great value at £2.25 for five tags. I’m also really excited to read on her website that she’s developing a range of wallpaper. Hannah has a gorgeous shop little shop in Llandovery on the edge of the Brecon Beacons national park, so if you fancy a day out, it’s well worth a trip.  Take a look at her blog for a sneak peak – its painted white to showcase her vibrant designs.  If you love a pop of colour in your home you may just find yourself typing Llandovery into google maps! If you live further afield then there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Hannah’s work.  The best place to start

  • Vintage Thyme

    May 27, 12 • jo • Design, Interiors, UncategorizedComments OffRead More »
    Vintage Thyme

    Vintage Thyme is run by two wonderful ladies Sarah and Claire and aims to recapture a time when life wasn’t so hectic and when a good up of tea in proper china was the order of the day. They have just launched their new website showcasing a great range of vintage china, hampers, picnic ware, kitchenalia and gifts. They can be seen at several shows across Shropshire this summer – visit for more information

  • The Foodie Bugle Lectures

    The Foodie Bugle Lectures

    I’m not going to lie, The Foodie Bugle Lectures held in March were basically my idea of heaven, combining glorious food, wonderful surroundings, likeminded people and talks from some of the best food and drink producers in the UK. I really admire people who love what they do, to see their passion and drive totally inspires me … So why has it taken me over two months to write a blog post?  Simple, I didn’t have a blog at the time.  Now having conquered my nemesis, technology and the announcement of a new Foodie Bugle Lecture on Friday June 22nd, its given me the perfect opportunity to tell you about the last one. It will be in two parts … this is the first; maybe it will inspire you to book for the next event. You couldn’t really get a better line up of speakers than those at the Foodie Bugle Lectures on March 23rd 2012.  The wonderful Trevor Herbert from Hobbs House Bakery was first up to talk about the heritage of the family business.  There are just certain people who totally enthrall you with their story and Trevor is one of those people.  The business was started in 1920 and today the five generations been making high quality baked goods, long before we all started to fall back in love with real bread. It’s easy to see why Channel 4 came knocking

  • Grow Your Own

    May 24, 12 • jo • Grow Your Own, Ingredients, UncategorizedComments OffRead More »
    Grow Your Own

    I absolutely love this time of year, when everything is bursting into life and i’m eager to get outside each morning before work to see if another seedling has decided to pop its head through the damp soil towards the light. Growing vegetables has become something of an obsession for me over the last few years. I fell in love with whole idyllic dream; the cottage garden, picking food just before cooking and saving £’s in my pocket.  I’m still hooked on the idea. I would have to point out at this stage I don’t have a cottage garden more a suburban plot – but i did say it was a dream right? With busy lives and instant technology its so calming to spend a few minutes or a few hours in the garden tending to an ever growing crop and letting my mind wonder free.  I imagine how hot the plump red chilli’s will be, who’s going to get my inevitable glut of cucumbers or why oh why i just can’t grow cauliflowers. Last year I grew 23 different types of vegetables, largely thanks to a newly renovated wooden greenhouse.  Purchased on ebay for £80 it was a bit of a wreck and my husband spent many hours replacing the rotten bits, fitting new glass, sanding, priming and painting.  I hope you agree the result is a triumph! It’s

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