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21 December 2011

Chocolate Brownies

Photo: © childsdesign

There's nothing more irresistible than a chocolate brownie. Somewhere between cake and fudge, the intense gooey texture is lip lickingly good. The secret to a decent brownie though, is to use good quality chocolate and this recipe is from Mortimer Chocolate Company, makers of high quality chocolate powders. The powder isn't like cocoa powder, in fact you could just eat it straight out of the packet (confession: we did) it really is that good.
Mortimer's West African Chocolate is best for brownies and this recipe does actually feature on the back of the pack. The chocolate is very easy to use and produces a fantastic result with a deep, rich and almost fruity flavour.

View recipe

To find out more about Mortimer Chocolate Company visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here

19 December 2011

Roast Potatoes

Photo: © childsdesign
To be served a roast dinner without roast potatoes would be a serious misdemeanour. The meal would not be complete without these heavenly golden crunchy caskets encasing the fluffy potato within.

You can never make too many either as we don't know anyone who doesn't love a roast potato, so they're bound to want second helpings!

For the best results you will need floury potatoes such as Maris Piper, King Edward or Desiree.

How to make perfect roast potatoes
Peel your potatoes, removing any eyes or blemishes and cut the potatoes into halves. Put into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil.

Add about half a teaspoon of salt. Don't skip this part as the salt the allows the potato's cells to crumble which will give a crunchier texture.

Parboil the potatoes for 7 minutes if the chunks are large or 5 minutes if they are small. Drain into a colander and leave to allow the steam to evaporate off and dry out.

Give your potatoes a good shake in the colander to break up their surfaces, but be careful that you don't smash them completely to bits. The fluffy surface you have created will crisp up when roasted.

There are various approaches to the next stage – adding the fat.
You can choose from a variety of fats and oils – it's up to you. Some people swear by goose or duck fat, pork lard or even beef dripping for that traditional old fashioned flavour but you could you use olive oil, but we like to use extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil for ours.
Many cooks heat the fat in the tray before adding the potatoes, but we've found that by coating the potatoes in the cold oil first then tipping them into a very hot tray produces a good thick crunchy crust.

You'll need to get your oven good and hot, 220C / Gas 7, to heat the tray. Once you place the tray of potatoes into the oven turn down the heat to
190C / Gas 5. This works best as some fats are prone to spoiling at very high heats. Put your potatoes on the top shelf and roast for about an hour. Sprinkle them with a little flaked sea salt, and if you like, add some sprigs of rosemary or thyme. Turn the potatoes twice throughout their cooking time. You should get nice evenly roasted potatoes with a golden colour and thick crust.

Once cooked remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon and keep warm in a serving dish. Don't leave the potatoes sitting in the cooking fat. They should stay crisp for at least 20 minutes, but the sooner you get them on the plate the better.

14 December 2011

Mortimer Chocolate Company win Best Drinking Chocolate 2011 award!

Thank you to everyone who voted following our requests via Twitter and Facebook, a couple of weeks a go. You nominated Mortimer Chocolate Company to win the Best Drinking Chocolate 2011 award and the response was just fantastic!

Adrian Smith received the award from Yael Rose, organiser of The Chocolate Festival, this week, for Mortimer Chocolate's West African chocolate.
We're very proud to have Mortimer Chocolate on The Artisan Food Trail – we've already tried some of their products and can say that they are very good indeed. Look out for some articles and recipes on the AFT blog soon.

8 December 2011

Vote for The Artisan Food Trail in The Great Exhibition 2012

The Great Exhibition 2012 is all about celebrating Britain at its best and it is creating innovative ways to work out what really makes Britain 'Great'. Rather than them telling you what makes the country 'Great' they want you to tell them who is making it in Britain? Who, What and Where makes Britain 'Great'?

The brilliant thing about this inititiave is that it encourages the great British public to nominate their 'Greats' not least the businesses themselves who are also urged to list themselves as a 'Great'.
After some deliberation we decided to put ourselves forward. The decision was not for vanity but because we saw it as the perfect opportuntiy to give our Artisan Food Trail members some more exposure.

We need your vote please
There's lots of information on The Great Exhibition website, but in short, we need to get 100 votes or more by the end of December to go through to the next round. Once through, we'll be placed in head-to-head contest and will need to get more votes to stay in the running.

The competition closes on the 30th of June 2012, with the Top 10 of each sub-category being promoted online and throughout the media – to showcase what makes Britain 'Great'.
The business with the highest amount of votes will get the opportunity to win free space at the Live Event, so if we do get that far (fingers crossed) we would be able to exhibit on the big day and promote all of our Artisan Food Trail members.

We would really appreciate your support. Voting is simple – you just need to register with your email and a user name, that's it.

Vote here!

Thank you for supporting us and all our British artisan food producers.

More info: www.thegreatexhibition2012.co.uk

5 December 2011

Cranberry Sauce

Photo: © childsdesign
Bright red and shiny, cranberries are the very essence of Christmas. Not only do they look festive but they are the perfect accompaniment to turkey and many other meats eaten at this time.
Cranberry sauce is so easy to make, there really is no need to buy it in jars. Made fresh, it is zingy and pleasantly astringent, just the thing to perk up anything from chicken to ham or as a fruity partner to offset the richness of venison. It even goes well with cheese such as a well-matured stilton.

View recipe

2 December 2011

My Little Porkie – a gift with a difference

What is My Little Porkie?
Samphire always has Gloucester Old Spot and Saddleback piglets scurrying around and My Little Porkie gives you the chance to own one of them.
Don’t worry you don’t have to look after it, Samphire will do all that for you. You just choose your piglet at the start and then they will send you regular updates and photos showing you what it is getting up to. They can even arrange a visit. All you have to do is decide how you want your pork at the end (you'll be helped with that).

Free Range
All the pigs are pedigree rare breed and completely free range (sometimes a bit too free range when they escape!). The pigs are fed a natural diet and they have access to forage all year round. They get loads of apples in the autumn and all the excess from Samphire's kitchen garden throughout the year. This mixed diet produces the best tasting pork, ever.

Great Taste
They also live twice as long as their commercial cousins which makes a real difference to the cooking qualities of the pork. As they mature they lay down fat in the muscle and this melts when the meat cooks, basting it. No more dry, tasteless pork – moist meat and crunchy crackling every time!

Get Yours
You can order at any time of year and it will normally be about 5 months before delivery. If you can’t wait then just get in touch because there are normally a few older pigs being kept for Samphire themselves and they may be able to let you have one of them.

How Much?*
Because you get all of your pork at the end it isn't possible to tell you exactly how much it will cost as it depends on how much your pig weighs. Charges are £7.20/kg (offal is free) and most of the pigs give between 40-50kgs of meat so that works out at c.£300. (Delivery by overnight courier is £10).
A deposit of £95 is asked to reserve your piglet.

Bit worried that a whole pig is a bit too much? Why not get together with neighbours and have half a pig each?

If you are interested in knowing where your food comes from, My Little Porkie gives you a direct connection with the animal and how it lives – real provenance.
*Prices correct at time of publishing

For more information about Samphire, just visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here where you'll find contact information and a link to their website

Vote for Mortimer Chocolate Company and WIN a year's supply of drinking chocolate!

The people at The Chocolate Festival are looking for your favourite drinking chocolate and we are hoping that we can count on your support by nominating one of our Artisan Food Trail members.
Our most recent addition is Mortimer Chocolate Company that makes some truly amazing chocolate powders that can be used in a variety of recipes and of course, can also be mixed into a wonderful hot chocolate drink.

All we're asking you to do is visit The Chocolate Festival's voting page, where you'll find instructions, to make your nomination. Everyone will be entered into a prize draw and one lucky winner will receive a year's supply of drinking chocolate from some of the nominated brands.*

Just state Mortimer West African chocolate drink when you nominate.

Vote here!
Sorry – the poll has now closed
Did they win? Click here

For more information about Mortimer Chocolate Company visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here
*The competition is run by The Chocolate Festival and is not associated with The Artisan Food Trail

30 November 2011

A chilli weekend in December with Edible Ornamentals

Photo: © childsdesign
Good news for chilli fans, because this weekend Edible Ornamentals will be at various markets and fairs selling their delicious Bedfordshire-grown chilli products.
If you know someone who loves chillies maybe you'll find the perfect Christmas gift for them.

You'll be able to find Edible Ornamentals at the following places this weekend:

Saturday 3rd December
  • Mill Road Winter Fair,                                                                       Cambridge – starts 10.30am (map)
  • Wyboston Christmas Fayre,                                                             Wyboston Village Hall – starts 10am (map)
  • Four Seasons Market,                                                             Potton Market Square, Beds – 9am – 1pm (map)

Sunday 4th December
  • Queens Park Farmers Market,                                                         Salusbury Primary School, London – 10am – 2pm (map)
  • Marylebone Farmers Market,                                                   Cramer Street Car Park, London – 10am – 2pm (map)

For more information about Edible Ornamentals visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here

29 November 2011

Luxury hampers and gift packs from The Artisan Smokehouse

A new and exciting range of beautiful hampers are available from
The Artisan Smokehouse which have been carefully put together to meet all tastes and budgets. Choose from British, Italian, Vegetarian, Spicy, Award Winners, or Chef's Ingredients hampers, or why not spoil someone (or yourself) with the ultimate Luxury hamper. All products are beautifully presented in an elegant black presentation box and hand tied with ribbon.
Hamper prices start from as little as £18 and Spice & Herb gift packs from just £4.50, so giving a gift of the finest smoked produce couldn't be easier.

Orders required in time for Christmas need to be placed by 19th December (latest dispatch will be 22nd December).

The British Hamper
A classic hamper containing the best British products.
Smoked British beef, smoked free-range duck breast, both hot and cold smoked Scottish Freedom Food salmon, smoked Suffolk garlic, smoked Suffolk rapeseed oil, smoked Stilton, smoked Cheddar and accompanying Artisan cheese biscuits.

The Italian Hamper
A delicious selection of finest Italian products. 
Parmesan cheese, smoked Milano salami, smoked Spianata Calabra salami (contains red chillies), smoked Italian olive oil, Italian dried herbs and smoked dried forest mushrooms.

The Luxury Hamper
A stunning hamper, which would greatly impress even the most committed foodie! 
Smoked British beef, smoked free-range duck breast, both hot and cold smoked Scottish Freedom Food salmon, smoked Milano salami, smoked Spianata Calabra salami (contains red chillies), smoked Suffolk garlic, smoked Italian olive oil, Parmesan cheese, smoked Stilton, smoked Cheddar, smoked goat’s cheese, Membrillo (quince paste to accompany cheese), Artisan cheese biscuits, smoked dried forest mushrooms, smoked coarse sea salt and smoked paprika.

The Vegetarian Hamper
A delicious selection of vegetarian friendly foods. 
Smoked goat’s cheese, smoked Stilton, smoked Suffolk rapeseed oil, smoked Suffolk garlic, smoked dried forest mushrooms, Membrillo (quince paste to accompany cheese) and Artisan cheese biscuits.

The Award Winners Hamper
A lovely selection of The Artisan Smokehouse's award winning products. 
Smoked British beef, smoked free-range duck breast, both hot and cold smoked Scottish Freedom Food salmon and smoked Suffolk rapeseed oil.

The Chef's Ingredients Hamper
For those budding chefs out there who like to experiment. 
Smoked dried forest mushrooms, smoked Italian olive oil, smoked coarse sea salt, smoked black peppercorns, smoked dried garlic, smoked chilli flakes and smoked paprika.

The Spicy Hamper
A hamper aimed at those who like the spicier side of life. 
Smoked Spianata Calabra salami (contains red chillies), smoked Habanero chillies, smoked Chipotle Morita chillies, hot paprika and cayenne pepper.

Spice and Herb Gift Packs
A beautiful selection of herb and spice gift packs. The perfect present for all those foodies out there. 
Choose from:
Smoked Sea Salt and Black Peppercorns – contains maple smoked sea salt and black peppercorns

Italian Herbs and Smoked Garlic – contains dried Italian herbs and maple smoked dried garlic

Smoked Chilli and Paprika – contains maple smoked chilli flakes and smoked paprika

Smoked Spice Selection – contains maple smoked black peppercorns, sea salt, paprika and dried garlic
Sweet Spice Selection – contains ground cinnamon, mixed spice, ginger and allspice berries

Fiery Spice Selection – contains hot paprika, cayenne pepper, black peppercorns & maple smoked chilli flakes

Mulled Wine Spice Kit – contains cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, ground ginger, cloves, a reusable muslin bag and a recipe card (contains several servings)

To find out more about The Artisan Smokehouse please visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here where you will find links to their website to place your order.

25 November 2011

Great Glen Game featured in Country Lifestyle Scotland magazine

It is always heart warming to see any of our Artisan Food Trail members featured in a magazine and the latest issue of Country Lifestyle Scotland has dedicated a double page spread to Great Glen Game, producers of wild venison charcuterie.

It is a lovely article telling the story of how they came to be with recipes and some inspiring photos in glorious full colour. It also mentions how Anja Baak of Great Glen Game is making full use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook to get their message across, a medium which we make very big use of at The Artisan Food Trail, so it is good to read that Anja says it is paying dividends while allowing the business to pick up valuable contacts and maintain a connection with its customers.

You can see the full article below:

Click here to see a larger readable version

For more information about Great Glen Game visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here

21 November 2011

Gorgeous hampers and brand new Butter Fudge from Fudge Kitchen

These just have to be the ultimate Christmas gift for someone who's a confectionery connoisseur – two fudge hampers stuffed full of gorgeous sweet treats. They're packed with all your favourites as well as some brand new and exclusive products.

Fudge Lovers Hamper
Do you know a Fudge Kitchen fan? Want to get them something exciting and different for Christmas this year? Then look no further – this hamper has lots of scrumptious treats and even some exclusive new products that will tantalise any fudge lovers taste buds. Presented in a beautiful magnetised deep green hamper box hand tied with luxurious gold ribbon – this stunning gift will sit proud under any Christmas Tree.

The Fudge Lover Hamper contains the following Items:
  • 3 piece Gourmet Butter Fudge Christmas Selection
  • 4 Mini Fudge Sauce Gift Pack containing: Butterscotch, Toffee, Chocolate and Chocolate & Orange
  • Luxury Chocolate Biscuit decorated with Toffee Fudge Sauce
  • Luxury Ginger and Cinnamon Biscuit decorated with Rich Chocolate Fudge Sauce
  • Drinking Fudge Christmas Selection box of 6 sachets including: Irish Cream and Winter Spice
  • Packet of marshmallows containing 6 portions
Total Weight of Hamper: 2000g

The Ultimate Fudge Hamper
This Hamper is the perfect blend of our best selling favourites, some exclusive new products as well as a Fudge Making Voucher for 2 . It not only contains our delectable brand new Gourmet Butter Fudge , but also all you need to make delicious Drinking Fudge and scrumptious Fudge Sauce desserts , and that’s not all!

The Ultimate Fudge Hamper contains the following items:

  • A Fudge Making Experience for 2 – Valid for 1 year at any of Fudge Kitchen's eight UK locations
  • 3 Fudge Sauce Gift Set – Traditional Toffee, Chocolate & Orange and Rich Chocolate
  • 5 piece Gourmet Butter Fudge Christmas SelectionDrinking Fudge Christmas Selection box of 6 sachets including: Irish Cream and Winter Spice
  • Luxury Chocolate Biscuit decorated with Toffee Fudge Sauce
  • Luxury Vanilla Biscuit decorated with Chocolate Orange Fudge Sauce
  • Packet of marshmallows containing 6 portions
  • Branded Fudge Kitchen Latte Glass
Total Weight of Hamper: 3500 grams

Butter Fudge
This brand new product is completely different to their current fudge which is made with whipping cream – this has one key secret ingredient ... butter!

Although Fudge Kitchen thought they'd 'never go there', they're sure you'll agree that this fudge is just as devilishly different as well as decadently delicious.

Butter Fudge is not available on the website ...yet... but is available through selected stockists nationwide.

Sounds rather nice doesn't it?... and you now may have the answer to that tricky Christmas gift question!

Visit Fudge Kitchen on The Artisan Food Trail website where you'll find links to their website where your can order from the 'Christmas Gifts' section.

10 November 2011

Shetland Food Festival Producers' Market: 12th – 13th November 2011

Shetland produces some wonderful food from exceptional lamb, fine beef, superbly fresh fish and shellfish to some more unusual specialities such as seawater oatcakes, Shetland Black potatoes and more-ish fudge! The Shetland Food Festival is already in full swing and culminates in the Producers' Market held over the weekend of 12th – 13th November 2011.

Local food producers are coming together at Clickimin Leisure Complex to bring you the Producers’ Market, which sits along side the cookery demonstrations. This year it will be packed with a great selection of local produce and food related stalls. There's sure to be a selection of meat, cheese, jams and chutneys, vegetables, oatcakes and confectionery. Wander through the market, enjoy tastings, speak to the producers first-hand and pick up those all important Christmas gifts and ingredients and buy the very best of Shetland's larder.

We are delighted to say that The Artisan Food Trail will be at The Shetland Food Festival, not in person but certainly in spirit, as
Briggs' Shetland Lamb will be exhibiting giving visitors the chance to try their exceptional products, including, no doubt, a piece of lamb pie.

To find out out more about 
Briggs' Shetland Lamb visit them on The Artisan Food Trail here

When: Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 November 2011
10.00am to 6.00pm (Saturday)
11.00am to 5.00pm (Sunday)
Where: Bowls Hall, Clickimin Leisure Complex, Lerwick, Shetland


View Shetland Food Festival in a larger map

9 November 2011

BBC Good Food Show Winter: 23rd – 27th November 2011

With over 400 exhibitors to choose from it's the perfect opportunity for Christmas shopping and meeting some of the best producers in the UK, including some of those on The Artisan Food Trail.

The MasterChef Experience will be back in Birmingham bigger and better. If you enjoy watching the TV show you're sure to love the live version! John Torode and Gregg Wallace, the most fearsome duo on TV are going to be live at the Show on Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th November 2011 plus a whole host of other MasterChef faces.
As well as the MasterChef faces you'll also get the chance to watch top chefs live on stage in the Supertheatre (tickets required).

But our favourite part of the show is the Producers' Village, a huge speciality food market at the heart of the Show, packed with small artisan producers who pride themselves in the quality and provenance of their produce. The Producers' Village is the perfect place for picking up ideas for great festive produce to help you create the finest Christmas dishes.

So while you're there, please visit the following Artisan Food Trail members, have a chat and taste and buy their produce:

Edible Ornamentals – Passionate, slightly obsessive chilli growers and makers of chilli sauces. (Stand SL36)

Fudge Kitchen – Handmade luxury fudge hand-crafted to a special recipe for 25 years using traditional methods and a lot of love. (Stand H80)

Samphire – Award winning food from their Norfolk smallholding including rare breed pork pies and sausages. (Stand PB2)

Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars – Maker of fine fruit vinegars and herb jellies. Balanced recipes allow maximum versatility in the kitchen ensuring that the true aromas of all the flavours shine through. (Stand FLF46)

Great Glen Game's Wild Venison Chorizo and Salami and selected products from The Artisan Smokehouse will available on stand C40.

When: 23rd – 27th November 2011
Where: NEC, Birmingham

7 November 2011

MasterChef Live: 11th – 13th November 2011

With hundreds exhibitors to choose from it's the perfect opportunity for Christmas shopping and meeting some of the best producers in the UK, including some of those on The Artisan Food Trail.

If you appreciate fine cuisine and love dining out, you'll be in your element at the Restaurant Experience which is located in the very heart of the Show.

The ultimate celebration of gourmet food, the Restaurant Experience brings together a selection of London's top restaurants, giving you the opportunity to sample signature dishes from the capital's leading lights. With such an array of tantalising menus from an assortment of exciting culinary traditions, you'll be spoilt for choice. (Purchase of Dining Currency required)

If it's culinary entertainment you're after, the Chefs' Theatre is the place to be. Hosted by Andy Friedlander you can come and see John Torode and Gregg Wallace, get a master class from Michel Roux Jr, then watch MasterChef Professionals Champion 2010, Claire Lara, cook-off against this year's MasterChef Champion, Tim Anderson. (Tickets required)

But our favourite part of the show is the Producers' Village, a huge speciality food market at the heart of the Show, packed with small artisan producers who pride themselves in the quality and provenance of their produce. The Producers' Village is the perfect place for picking up ideas for great festive produce to help you create the finest Christmas dishes.

So while you're there, please visit the following Artisan Food Trail members, have a chat and taste and buy their produce:

Edible Ornamentals – Passionate, slightly obsessive chilli growers. (Stand PV51)

Fudge Kitchen – Handmade luxury fudge hand-crafted to a special recipe for 25 years using traditional methods and a lot of love. (Stand PV13)

The Artisan Smokehouse – A small family run and owned smokehouse on the Suffolk coast producing award-winning smoked food, made in small quantities to ensure quality and freshness. (Stand PB6)

Great Glen Game's Wild Venison Chorizo and Salami will available on stand PV41.

When: 11th – 13th November 2011
Where: Olympia, London

6 November 2011

Artisan Food Trail members win BBC food shows Producers Bursary Awards

We are proud to announce that two of The Artisan Food Trail's members have won a Producers Bursary from BBC Good Food which means The Artisan Smokehouse will be exhibiting at MasterChef Live and Samphire will be at BBC Good Food Show Winter.

BBC Good Food scoured the country to find the very best, most deserving and outstanding producers to award bursaries to attend their shows.

After receiving a tremendous amount of applications from some really great producers, all qualifying applications were taken to the BBC Good Food Kitchens to be judged by a panel including BBC Good Food editors Gillian Carter and Barney Desmazery. There were some difficult decisions to make but they were made based on the producers’ passion, quality of product and took into account of how much visitors to the shows, would like to meet the producers, sample and buy their outstanding produce.

We are very excited about the opportunity this has given our producers, so congratulations to both of them!

Who, When and Where?

The Artisan Smokehouse
11th – 13th November 2011
MasterChef Live, Olympia, London

23rd – 27th November 2011
BBC Good Food Show Winter, NEC, Birmingham

4 November 2011

Bangers & Mash

Photo: © childsdesign

Now that you've seen the amazing sausages made by our producers, you'll know what to buy next time you fancy some sausages and mash.

Okay, it's not exactly difficult to make mashed potatoes but we've included a recipe for the way we make them in The Artisan Food Trail kitchen. Nothing fancy or labour intensive, just good old fashioned mash. And so what if you end up with a couple of lumps in it – it's not a Masterchef competition – it's for you to enjoy.

The only tip is to make sure you use floury potatoes (Maris Piper, Desiree, King Edward, Estima, Nadine, Rooster, Saxon and Wilja are suitable varieties) as opposed to waxy ones, otherwise you won't achieve the smooth fluffy texture and could end up with something more like wallpaper paste!

How to make mashed potatoes (serves 4)

  • 900g floury main crop potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 55g butter
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and fill with enough cold water to just cover the potatoes, add some salt. Bring to the boil and cook the potatoes gently for 20 minutes until soft.
Drain the potatoes and allow to sit so that the steam evaporates off. Mash until smooth – you could use a potato ricer as this achieves a nice smooth consistency, but a regular masher or even a fork will do.
Beat in the butter with some seasoning and enough milk to make a smooth, creamy mash.

Mashed potato can be dressed up with all manner of things for an extra wow factor.

  1. Try substituting half the quantity of potato with parsnip or celeriac.
  2. Add a good grating of fresh nutmeg.
  3. A handful of chopped spring onions for crunch and bite.
  4. A dollop of wholegrain mustard for a tangy kick
  5. Grate in some strong cheddar or Parmesan cheese – a smoked one would be good too
  6. A swirl of pesto
  7. Go mad and add a dash of chilli sauce
It's really up to you, but these are a few pointers to get you started. If anyone has other ideas for mashed potato additions, why not let us know and leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

3 November 2011

Toad in the Hole

Photo: © childsdesign

Crispy puffed up Yorkshire Pudding encasing a few good plump, meaty sausages makes a great family meal.
The trick to getting the pudding batter to billow up is to make sure you heat the fat in the tray, in which it is to be cooked. The fat should be smoking when you pour in the batter, this way it starts to cook immediately enabling a good rise.
Part-cooking the sausages before adding them to the batter ensures that they don't look anaemic – you want shiny brown burnished 'toads' to make it look appetising.
Served with a rich gravy this is sure to be a winner.

View recipe

2 November 2011

The Artisan Food Trail's Best Bangers for British Sausage Week

British Sausage Week give us a chance to showcase our producers who make some great British sausages.
These aren’t the cheap, sad insipid offerings you might find in the supermarket, but brilliant bangers with bags of taste, great texture made with meat from animals that have led happy and healthy lives.

More often than not the animals are rare breeds too which means that these sausages have an unsurpassable flavour and texture. The sausage mix is skillfully blended with a variety of herbs and spices from the mild to the spicy to suit everyone’s preferences.

So whether you are making a hearty casserole, a Toad-in-the-Hole or just good old Bangers & Mash make sure you choose the best.

Photos: © childsdesign

Samphire is an award winning smallholding in Norfolk rearing rare breed pigs and sheep. Ethical farming is at the heart of Samphire and they have been recognised by the RSPCA for their commitment to animal welfare.

 It’s not just their regulars who love their rare breed meat, Gary Rhodes said their sausages were the best he'd ever tasted

You can buy sausages online from a selection as follows:

The Samphire Sausage
An excellent partner to mashed potatoes and onion gravy, this sausage is a great all rounder with subtle seasonings of traditional spices and herbs. Ginger, mace and nutmeg provide the base to the top notes of sage, onion and coriander.

Sausage Selection – Six of the Best!
Samphire will put together a selection of their most popular sausages, ringing the changes as they create new flavours.
All sausages are made from our rare breed, free range pork and do not contain any colourings or flavour enhancers – they aren't needed!
For more information visit Samphire on The Artisan Food Trail here

Annie’s Market Garden
All ingredients are locally produced and sourced and all products are made at Annie’s.
The fantastic meat they produce (their customers will tell you so) is a direct result of the way they look after their animals. They graze freely in the orchards around the farm amongst the buttercups, wildflowers and natural pastures. 
Annie’s offer a range of exceptional Rare Breed meat products – Highland beef and also pork and lamb.

Annie’s Market Garden Pork Sausages
Traditional British breeds of pork (Berkshire & Gloucester Old Spot) are reared naturally and slowly, as nature intended. Annie’s are hoping to continue breeding the Berkshire pigs to help keep the bloodlines going. Annie’s firmly believe that for a great taste, time is needed – the rewards, great tasting native & rare breed pork perfect for making the best sausages.

For more information visit Annie’s Market Garden 
on The Artisan Food Trail here

Photos: © Capsicana taken by childsdesign

Capsicana Chilli Co
Capsicana has teamed up with a whole host of independent butchers across the the UK to bring you an absolutely delicious chilli sausage! They use a variety of authentic Mexican chillies to make their special chilli & spice blend and their selected butchers combine this with their fabulous sausage-making expertise and hey presto...  the best chilli sausages in the UK!!
Perfect for the BBQ, spicing up favourites like bangers & mash or making a Mexican style sausages and bean casserole.

Details of butchers using Capsicana’s chilli sausage blend 
available here 
For more information visit Capsicana Chilli Co 
on The Artisan Food Trail here

Paganum Produce
Yorkshire producer, Paganum’s selection of Premium Pork Sausages made in their traditional butchery to age old family recipes.

Classic Pork Sausage
Handmade special recipe Classic Pork Sausage in real skins and hand linked in the traditional way.

Gluten Free Sausage
Handmade special recipe Gluten Free Pork Sausage. A very high meat content gluten free sausage suitable for Coeliacs.

Pork & Honey Sausages
Handmade special recipe Pork & Honey Sausage in real skins and hand linked in the traditional way. A mild sausage, kids love 'em!

Cumberland Sausage
Handmade Cumberland Recipe Sausage in real skins. Great cooked in the oven in the traditional ring.

Chipolata Pork Sausage
A thin, short pork breakfast sausage, traditional at Christmas.

Gourmet Venison, Pork, Cranberry & Apple Sausage
Venison, Pork, Cranberry & Apple Sausage, real skins & hand linked in the traditional way.

Elite Sausage Box
Contains: Pork Leek & Chive, Ploughman’s Sausage, Prime Yorkshire Champion Pork Sausage thick, Prime Yorkshire Champion Pork Sausage thin, Pork & Caramelised Onion Sausage 
All pork is free range, outdoor reared in woods in Yorkshire.

Paganum Sausage Selection
Box of Paganum Sausages, real skins and hand linked in the traditional way, includes Classic Thin Link Breakfast Pork Sausage, Thick Pork & Honey Sausages and the Traditional Cumberland ring.

Visit Paganum Produce on The Artisan Food Trail here

31 October 2011

Get to know your regional sausage

Photo: © childsdesign

A good sausage should be made with at least 70% high quality meat, usually beef or pork or a mixture of both. The remaining content is seasoning and breadcrumbs.

Across the UK there are many regional varieties of sausages and here are a few of the most easily found.

Cumberland Sausage
This is considered to be the meatiest British sausage. It is a chunky, coarse cut sausage spiced with black pepper and made in a continuous spiral. It is traditionally sold by length rather than weight. Looks very impressive when coiled in a spiral and cooked whole.

Gloucester Sausage
Traditionally made with Gloucester Old Spot (a rare breed) and flavoured with sage. Increasingly available from local specialists.

Lincolnshire Sausage
Old fashioned herby regional sausage traditionally made with pork, bread and sage (although thyme seems to be creeping in).

Bit of an oddity, this is Scottish square slicing sausage. It is made with beef and pork, has a smooth texture and is probably destined for either the breakfast table or eaten in a sandwich with white sliced bread and brown sauce.

Manchester Sausage
A pork sausage, flavoured with white pepper, mace, nutmeg, ginger, sage and cloves.

Marylebone Sausage
A traditional London butchers sausage made with mace, ginger and sage.

Oxford Sausage
A regional sausage made with pork, veal and lemon. Herbs are usually sage, savory and marjoram

Pork and Apple (West Country)
Pork with apple and often cider or scrumpy, generally makes a moist sausage. Sage is often used, they are available nationally but very popular in the West Country. Traditionally made with Gloucester Old Spot which where reared in orchards and would have eaten the windfall apples.

Suffolk Sausage
A course chopped sausage with herbs, similar to Lincolnshire

Tomato Sausage
Pork and tomato, typical 10% tomato gives a distinctive red colour, they are popular in the Midlands. Can be combined with basil and sun dried tomatoes for the ‘Mediterranean’ taste

Yorkshire Sausage
White pepper, mace, nutmeg and cayenne are the predominant flavours in the Yorkshire sausage.

28 October 2011

Get Your Bangers Out! It's British Sausage Week – 31st October – 6th November 2011

Slade frontman, Noddy Holder has been let out of his box slightly prematurely this year, and instead of shouting out a gravelly "It's Chriiiiiiiiistmaaaaaas!" he's proudly vociferating the brilliance of British bangers as ambassador and King of the Sizzle for LovePork's British Sausage Week.

Running from 31st October – 6th November 2011, this week is dedicated to all things sausage. Sausage, that's a word that has us Brits collapsing into a fit of giggles – nothing like a spot of innuendo to get the festivities going.

On a more serious note, British Sausage Week's aim is to make us all aware of how British pork is the best and encourages us to support our own farmers and producers by buying quality sausages.

There are many regional sausages throughout the British Isles that use traditional recipes that go back many generations.
There's the long coiled Cumberland sausage which is meaty with a coarse, chunky texture and black pepper giving a spicy bite; The Lincolnshire sausage, an old fashioned favourite scented with sage; West Country ones with pork and apple and maybe a touch of cider and Oxford sausages that contain veal, as well as pork. These are just a few of the many varieties made and the list continues to grow as producers experiment with different flavour combinations.

We can't resist a nicely cooked sausage. They should be cooked carefully over a medium heat so they cook slowly allowing the outside to gently caramelise so it becomes slightly sticky and the inside should be juicy. Don't have the heat too high or the sausage will burst and definitely do not prick them, this will make all the tasty juices escape.

The Artisan Food Trail is lucky enough to have a good number of food producers that make the finest sausages using meat from animals that have a led a healthy and happy life, so when you buy sausages make sure you choose British, local and bangers made with passion.

Over the coming week look out for more information about our sausage making friends, recipes, mouth-watering pictures and much more.

27 October 2011

Smoked Paprika Stew with Caraway Dumplings

Photo: © childsdesign

Autumn is here, the nights are drawing in bringing a chill air that just has you wanting something warming and soul restoring.
Now is not the time for salads and most people’s thoughts turn to wholesome steaming bowls of comfort food in the form of stews, casseroles, creamy mash, and rib-sticking creations to carry them through the winter months.

You really can’t beat a rich stew with some dumplings to satisfy the need for a big foodie hug. This recipe is very much like a goulash with its rich velvety sauce more vivid than the reddest autumn maple leaf.

We used smoked paprika from The Artisan Smokehouse, which is sweet and earthy with a great depth of flavour, everything you’d expect from a really good paprika, but with a little extra excitement for the taste buds – a smokey background.

You don’t have to use chicken in this recipe, it is quite versatile and adaptable. For a vegetarian option just add your favourite vegetables and/or beans and cook until tender.
Other types of meat could be used, such as beef, lamb or even venison, but you will need to cook longer and slower, before adding the dumplings, to achieve a more tender texture.

View recipe

Photo: © childsdesign

24 October 2011

Shetland Seaweed Lamb

Photo: © childsdesign

Widely considered to be ’The Jewel in the Crown’ of Shetland Lamb, Shetland Seaweed Lamb is really quite special.
We were lucky to be sent a sample from Briggs’ Shetland Lamb and were satisfied enough to give it our Artisan Food Trail Approved status.

Read full review

To find out more about Briggs' Shetland Lamb visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here

23 October 2011

Damson Chicken Skewers

Photo: © childsdesign

Thanks to Naomi at Agnes Rose we've been experimenting with some of her fruit vinegars. They are great drizzled over salads, meat and vegetables and this recipe adapted from one on the Agnes Rose website transformed some chicken into a tasty and succulent meal.

The recipe usually calls for straight Damson Vinegar, but we used one of Naomi's latest creations. It is still damson based but is infused into cider vinegar with the addition of local Cumbrian honey, which we thought would work really well with the chicken.

The vinegar is most suitable for marinading as it is not too acidic and as well as adding a delightful fruity background flavour it helps the meat retain its moisture. The sugars from the fruit and honey helps the chicken caramelise beatifully, adding extra flavour.


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons of Cumbrian Damson Cider Vinegar with Local Honey
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper

Cut the chicken breasts into strips and place in a bowl. Strip the leaves from the thyme sprigs and add to the chicken and add the Cumbrian Damson Cider Vinegar with Local Honey. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 2-24 hours – the longer, the better
Place the strips of chicken on 8 skewers and grill or BBQ until cooked in the centre and golden brown, turning once, approx 15-20 minutes.
Drizzle with Cumbrian Damson Cider Vinegar with Local Honey and serve.

Photo: © childsdesign

6 October 2011

Spicy Cheese Logs

Photo: © childsdesign
Want to try something simple yet very tasty? Then this quick idea will have your taste buds tingling in a few minutes.
There have been some experiments going on in The Artisan Food Trail Kitchen using a new range of smoked seasonings from The Artisan Smokehouse. The Smoked Black Peppercorns and Smoked Chilli Flakes have already been put to good use to make coatings for some soft goats cheese.

They are very easy to make but produce exciting results. You will need two soft goats cheese logs weighing 125g each.
For the first log, measure out a tablespoon of Smoked Black Peppercorns and crush using a pestle and mortar (see picture to see how the texture should be). Tip the crushed peppercorns on to a plate and roll the goats cheese in them until completely coated, pressing them on – they will stick easily enough.

For the second log measure out two teaspoons of chilli flakes on to a plate and grate over the zest of one lemon and make sure they are evenly mixed. Take the second goats cheese and again, roll in the mixture until well coated.


There are two other smoked seasonings available; Smoked Paprika and Smoked Coarse Sea Salt so look out for more ideas coming from the AFT Kitchen soon.

PS: The Smoked Sea Salt is rather good on vanilla ice cream – sounds wrong, but tastes so right!

5 October 2011

Luscious Pork Belly

Photo: © childsdesign

There’s something irresistible about slow cooked pork. It is meltingly tender and the flavour is rich and moreish. This recipe uses pork belly strips which do appear to have a lot of fat on them, but don’t let that put you off – anyway, that’s where all the gorgeous flavour comes from. The cooking process allows most of the fat to render out which can then be discarded.

However to cut through the fattiness, a spicy and zesty relish from
Edible Ornamentals is used which really cuts through any oiliness. Luscious Citrus Relish is just as its name describes and lends itself well to this oriental inspired recipe.

Although it takes time to cook, the oven does most of the work over that time – it even creates the sauce – leaving you to get on with other things as the house fills with delicious aromas.
To improve the texture of the pork, it is given a final sizzling in a pan.

View recipe

4 October 2011

Smoked Duck Salad

Photo: © childsdesign

With the recent spell of unseasonably hot autumn weather, we have been feeling the need for salad. On our recent visit to the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival we picked up some hot smoked duck breast from
The Artisan Smokehouse. It is made from local (Suffolk) free range duck which is then cured in juniper, sugar and salt before being hot smoked over maple wood. The flavour is subtle and the thinly sliced meat is very tender.

Our salad was very simple, just some soft lettuce leaves, watercress, cooked beetroot (don't use the pickled stuff) and rustic croutons. This was all simply dressed with a drizzle of cold pressed rapeseed oil and a liberal dousing of damson vinegar from Agnes Rose. A few snipped chives and a grind of black pepper completed the dish.

To make the rustic croutons, take a French baguette and cut a few thin slices. Brush both sides of the bread with a little cold pressed rapeseed oil, place on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with sea salt flakes. Put into a hot oven until they turn crisp. Watch that they do not burn. When ready allow to cool before breaking into rough pieces for your salad.

Autumn was definitely the inspiration for our salad and using the damson vinegar seemed very appropriate and seasonal. It is also the perfect partner to duck.
The beautiful rose-coloured juice is hand made in the Lake District using locally grown fruit which is then steeped in red wine vinegar to give a gorgeous sweet and sour tang with a plummy fragrance.

2 October 2011

Safe and Sound: The RedCat Partnership

Any one working in the food industry, no matter how small, has to meet certain standards of hygiene and food handling in order to sell to the public. So to round off our celebration of British Food Fortnight we thought it right to acknowledge the people who make it their business to support artisan food producers, by making sure they have the necessary training and certification.

The RedCat Partnership is Sarah Daniels and Richard Mills who each have over 20 years experience in these fields of work. Their route into The RedCat Partnership is through the world of environmental health; both are Chartered Environmental Health Practitioners. This enforcement experience gives them a wide understanding of the variety and diversity of business sectors, business needs, organisational cultures, etc.

They hold their business values very highly, but most importantly focus on what the customer wants. Health and safety is about protecting people, not generating paperwork.

It’s vitally important that food businesses comply with Food Safety law and although it can cost businesses in money, time and effort, but working safely provides them with tangible business benefits. Quickly realised are the decreased risk of Food Poisoning, decreased damage loss to their reputations through complaints, a compliant premises, less hassle with the council EHO's and hopefully a Five Star Rating and therefore confidence with customers. The benefits go further than this.

Engaging employees in the Food safety process earns increased buy-in, leading to increased motivation and therefore productivity. A cornerstone of motivation is to demonstrate that they are actually concerned for Food Safety, and ensuring that their staff have a safe place to work and their customers, safe food.

The RedCat Partnership are highly skilled and experienced Food (and health and safety) consultants – they are all from an Environmental Health background.
They are effective not only in developing food safety strategies and ensuring compliance (policies, HACCP etc.) but also in implementation. They can also liaise with Enforcement Officers.

Food Safety Training is delivered by enthusiastic, experienced and professional trainers with lots of interaction and activity.
They are passionate about food and about food safety – giving businesses pragmatic and sensible advice.

Vist The RedCat Partnership on The Artisan Food Trail here

1 October 2011

Original and the Best: Briggs' Shetland Lamb

Richard Briggs is a Shetland Sheep breeder on Shetland and sells whole Shetland lamb PDO. This lamb with subtly different characteristics is available freshly butchered, chilled and packed suitable for home freezing. 18-month old hogget and mutton are also available in the same form.

All the lambs come from pure bred Shetland flocks raised on the isles. They are processed and packed for Richard by the local cooperative, Shetland Livestock Marketing Group.

Delivery direct to you door is available throughout Britain via Royal Mail’s Next Day Special Delivery Service. Briggs’ Shetland Lamb can also, by prior arrangement, deliver the boxes of meat personally in Shetland (Mainland) and to addresses in Eastern Scotland (near to the Aberdeen to Edinburgh Road connection).

Richard believes that the best flavour of Shetland lamb comes from animals that graze the natural Shetland plants and grasses. Consequently, Briggs’ Shetland Lamb is mainly available between September and December.

The Shetland breed of sheep is only half the size of many of the UK’s other breeds. With Shetland Lamb the butcher starts with just 8kg - 14kg compared to the 17kg - 22kg size that is normal for most of the breeds of lamb sold in the UK. Celebrity chefs and food writers have described Shetland lamb as very tender and sweet.

Because the croft at South Nesting, Shetland is mainly rough pasture, Richard produces what Shetlanders would call "park fed lamb".

Shetland Hill Lamb comes from the flock that live more extensively on the open hill at East Kame. (some Hill Lamb I source from neighbours)

Shetland Seaweed Lamb is the most celebrated version of Shetland lamb. The name has been formally adopted by Shetland Livestock Marketing Group to describe lamb from flocks that normally have access to sea shore and are hefted to graze amongst the ebb. These can supplied each autumn.

Healthier Meat
Richard tries to finish his Shetland lambs without the use of corn based feeds. This helps to ensure that the meat has a good balance of the essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6. Research has shown that meat from grazing animals contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 in a ratio of 1:2, which matches the proportion required in human nutrition. However, meat raised on corn based diets was found to have similar combined levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 but in the ratio of 1:6.

In other research, Shetland Lamb was found to have significantly higher levels of a derivative of Omega-6, Conjugated Linoleic Acid when compared to levels normally found in lamb. Conjugated Linoleic Acid has been found to be an agent that prevents the onset of cancer.

What is PDO?
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) – The distinctive red and yellow PDO symbol has been awarded to Shetland Lamb produced and slaughtered in Shetland in recognition of the subtly different characteristics of the meat. Other British products so honoured are Cornish Clotted Cream and Stilton Blue Cheese. Look out for the logo on the front of packaging. The EU Geographical Indicator symbol assures customers of the genuineness of the product’s origin.

Visit Briggs' Shetland Lamb on The Artisan Food Trail here

30 September 2011

New bottle sizes, gift pack and a new product from Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars

The complete vinegar range from Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars will be also be available in new smaller sized 100ml bottles. Launching from 1st October 2011, just in time to think about selecting those Christmas presents, the small bottles are ideal as gifts. You will be able to buy gift packs containing 3 x 100ml, presented in an attractive and convenient box – perfect for any enthusiastic cook.

To brighten up you food at Christmas time, Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars have brought back one of their old favourites, Orange and Mace, full of festive warmth and aroma.

To find out where and how to buy, either in stores or online click here

For more information about the range you can download the current information leaflet below

Visit Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars on The Artisan Food Trail here