Well it's September and I haven't written a blog post for ages - how time flies. Eventually, in June, Mr S.Foodie and I moved up north to Gislingham and since then have got stuck in to some decorating and gardening at our new home. I haven't been out much but discovered there's a monthly charity cake stall in the village, with the BEST cakes and the owners of the village shop sell superb homemade Sri Lankan food to takeaway. Now someone please buy the pub.
The effects of lockdown have torn through the food industry like a tornado. Food businesses forced to close, with many restaurants staying open for takeaway and every day another business re-opening to dip it's toe into the online-delivery-takeaway market. Suppliers normally serving the trade have had to diversify and react swiftly, some offering online orders and deliveries to the public. Pubs have become community shops. Corner shops have kept us supplied with the store cupboard basics. Store cupboards have determined the dishes we can cook to nourish ourselves and our families. While chefs live stream cookery demo's from their kitchens, the niche social media experts have had to guard their territory as the stay at home population bombard us with their own sourdough, banana bread and brownie recipes. Farm shops providing deliveries, micro breweries and wineries setting up drive thru's there never has been a more challenging time to source food. The crisis has provided an opportunity to drive innovation and now is the time for us to support the independent producers who are working so hard to stay afloat. However, it's also the time for the service industries to keep in touch with their clientele, monitor consumer behaviour and continue to innovate, so that when the race back to reality begins, they're revved up and in pole position. Here's a photo gallery of some of East Anglia's innovative businesses and suppliers that I have used and that are providing top quality service and produce . You'll find plenty more if you check the many social media streams regularly. For Bury St Edmunds folk David Stapleton has created a simple and free web app directory of businesses open.
- Brays Cottage pork pie. Send a pie for a pressie.
- Jolly Asparagus has found outlets for a crop which would generally go to the restaurant industry. Snap it up at Hillcrest Nursery Stanton and Woosters Bakery (main picture)
- Watch Justin from Pea Porridge Restaurant in Bury via Instagram. Masterclasses and the weekly 'clash' with a local Chef
- Slate provisions and deli can send you a selection of cheese in the post. My British selection which arrived last week.
- Flour a problem? I got a sack from Thomas Ridley at Rougham. No account required, log in on their website as a guest.
- Woosters Bakery. Online ordering and collection from Bardwell, Bury, Wyken market.
- Brewshed Brewery pop up at The Cadogan. Ingham. Order a mini keg or take your own container for filling.
- Baron Bigod to order online from Fen Farm Dairy. Bungay
- Beerhouse pop up. Social distancing and well organised.
- Brays Cottage Pork Pie - big family size to order online.
- Order a pizza from Lucy's at Fornham St Martin. Must be pre-ordered and a time slot will be allocated. Book early - it's popular
I just made this delicious squidgy lemon and lime curd shortbread. It's for pudding tonight but Scarlett and I can't stop ourselves, so maybe there'll be none left by then.
Still warm and crunchy from the fryer, you can't beat an Edis of Ely scotch egg for lunch.
With the help of my amazing niece Afiya Frank (pictured) I'm in full swing with my Little House of Cooking Cafe. For those of you that don't know I get stuck in for a couple of months from the end of October until Christmas running the cafe during the Christmas Festival at Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham. It's been so busy, baking madly with no time to blog and hardly time to sleep. Come and visit us if you get time, we are open from 10am until 4pm everyday up until and including 22nd December. It's not just cakes, we serve a very good Welsh Rarebit too!
- Home made soup every day
- Citrus almond and polenta cake ( no gluten)
- Pecan tarts
- Hot chocolate ... the works
- Al fresco on craft weekends
- Mulled wine caravan for craft weekends
Nipping through Stowmarket today I saw this street food van and the homemade cakes and soup caught my eye. I bought a pot of Butternut Soup and a small Apple and Blackberry Crumble to take home. Then I started chatting to the chirpy owner, Caroline.She told me that she had made the soup and the crumbles the night before. She also had a heart shaped cake and tubs of homemade rice pudding. The sign for the stall said Colin's Catering Services so I asked Caroline where Colin was. "Oh! There isn't a Colin. That's the board that came with the trailer when I bought it!"
As the glut of homegrown fruit and vegetables reaches its' peak, here is a good way to preserve fresh basil leaves in the fridge for a week or two. Pick the fresh basil leaves and layer in an empty jam jar, with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt between the leaves and some very good olive or rapeseed oil to cover. The basil will retain a vibrant green colour and the oil a lovely flavour, both can be used in pesto or salads.
A delicious treat and the perfect way to use up those unripe tomatoes. Vegetarian too!
- 4 to 6 green tomatoes
- salt and pepper
- beaten egg
- vegetable oil for frying
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 - 1/2-inch slices. Salt and pepper them to taste. Dip in the beaten egg and then the corn meal. Fry in hot oil for about 3 minutes or until golden on bottom. Gently turn and fry the other side. Serve as a side dish - delicious with breakfast!
Below are the contents of the Jubilee Hamper served at Buck House before the concert - Heston came up with the ideas and Waitrose packed it - no doubt it's now all available in their stores.
- Chilled British Country Garden soup
- Tea-smoked Scottish salmon
- Diamond Jubilee chicken
- Vegetarian option: Mushroom Parfait
- Fresh bread rolls
- Country Life butter
- Crunchy seasonal crudités
- Lemon and caraway Madeira cupcake
- Chocolate indulgence cupcake
- Sandringham strawberry crumble crunch
- Waitrose West Country farmhouse cheddar and Red Leicester
- Duchy Originals Oaten biscuits
- Duchy Originals Harvest chutney
- Extras: 12 hand wipes, clear plastic cutlery and napkin, Diamond Jubilee poncho, Union flag!
Meanwhile in Sudbury we joined friends in the park and ate our own home made couscous, watercress, orange and smoked mackerel salad, pheasant and bacon terrine, fresh strawberry cake and pretty white chocolate cake pops.
See the eye of the home cured salt beef ? It didn't quite get all the cure it should. My father, who has cured many a joint of beef himself says it shows that it has not been oversalted. It was delicious and provided many tasty sandwiches after the party. Can't help thinking that it was looking at me...