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23 December 2013

The Artisan Food Trail featured in Cambridge Marketing Review

We're really honoured to have The Artisan Food Trail featured in the latest issue of the Cambridge Marketing Review, a quarterly publication which concentrates on marketing as a business fundamental.

The Cambridge Marketing Review magazine is published by Cambridge Marketing College. The college has a worldwide reputation and has grown to become the leading professional marketing college in Europe, so it is a real compliment that they wanted to run the article about AFT's marketing and social media marketing for their professional readership.

Thanks go to Dawn Mimnagh of Dotting and Crossing who outlined the AFT story in the article. Dawn's company works with us on our PR and press amongst other things and we're very appreciative of her help in giving us this boost.

9 December 2013

Win a full day on a fruit & vegetable workshop

Photos: © Roots Shoots & Leaves


There's nothing more satisfying than growing your own fruit and vegetables. Whether you have some allotment space, a plot in the garden or just a few tubs, you can grow great things to eat. You really can't beat something picked from from the plant or dug from the ground for freshness and above all, flavour.

So if you're looking for something inspiring and educational and would like to learn how to sow, plant and grow your very own fruit and vegetable garden, we are pleased to offer this opportunity to win a place on Roots Shoots & Leaves' Fruit & Vegetable Spring Workshop.

In this Spring course, to be on Saturday 8th February 2014, RSL start afresh with what can be grown during Spring – they demonstrate sowing and planting for this year but also what to plant for next year too.

The workshop looks at preparing the soil and what to plant, such as: aubergines, artichokes, broad beans, broccoli, carrots, cabbages, cucumbers, garlic, kale, lettuces, onions, parsnips, peppers, radishes, tomatoes, spinach and much much more!

The workshop takes place in Hampshire and a home-grown lunch and homemade cakes are included as well as a starter pack of seeds to take home.

Sorry this competition has now closed

Photo: © Roots Shoots & Leaves

6 December 2013

Win foodie prizes in time for Christmas

We're excited to be able to bring back our 12 Days of Christmas competition again for the second year.

We're very grateful to our producers who are taking part and donating some fantastic prizes which means we have a great selection of food to suit all tastes.

These are some of the things you could win:

Gluten Free Christmas Pudding - A luxury, gluten free, half pound traditional fruit and spice pudding.
Gluten Free Christmas Cake - A six inch moist and boozy cake, this is the Monkeypoodle take on the traditional Christmas cake, packed with juicy figs and the aroma of fresh oranges and spices from Monkeypoodle Cake Company

6 Great Taste Award winning flavours including their Top 50 Damson and their Christmas Pudding cream ice. (Delivered if you’re in East Anglia or collect from your local stockist throughout the UK) from Alder Tree

Raw White Chocolate & Apricot Snaps and Raw Choco-Caramel & Sultana Snaps. Dairy-free alternative to white chocolate with crunchy buckwheaties and apricots and Crunchy buckwheaties and sultanas wrapped in caramel flavour raw chocolate. Totally dairy free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans from Raw Nibbles

A mix of six jars of Trotter’s products including their Christmas Chutney from Trotter’s Independent Condiments

2 West African, 2 Ecuador, 2 White Couverture chocolate powders from Mortimer Chocolate Company

Fabulous Christmas Cookie Gift Set from Nila Holden

A Christmas Gift Set which includes: 1 x 250ml Rapeseed Oil, 1 x 250ml Chilli & Mango Dressing, 1 x 120g Peruvian Pink Peppercorn Cashews & Peanuts, 1 x 120g Mexican Sweet Chilli Mixed Nuts and 1 x 120g Italian Herb Peanuts and Hazels from Filbert’s Fine Foods

Free Range Bronze Turkey 6.5kg approx (Delivered for Christmas) from Morton’s Traditional Taste Ltd

Sorry this competition is now closed

5 December 2013

Special Offer: Save 15% off courses in 2014 with Roots Shoots & Leaves

Photo: ©Roots Shoots & Leaves
We're pleased to offer an exclusive 15% discount on courses in 2014 with AFT member Roots Shoots & Leaves.

Based in Hampshire, Roots Shoots & Leaves offers a range of grow your own vegetables and gardening courses, rural skills and craft courses.

Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced gardener, their courses are perfect for all. All gardening courses, workshops and events are run in their purpose-built premises, demonstration kitchen garden and orchard in the beautiful Hampshire countryside.

Photo: ©Roots Shoots & Leaves
Here are just a few of the courses available to choose from:
  • Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables
  • Living Willow Structures
  • Wildlife Gardening and Wildflower Meadow Making
  • Beekeeping for Beginners
  • Easy Peasy Pot Growing for Fruit and Veg
  • Build Your Own Bread Oven
  • Soft Fruit for All
  • Build Your Own Smoker
  • Keeping Chickens
  • Gourmet Herbs for Gourmet Food
  • Jams, Preserves, Oils, Vinegars, Butters and Much More with the Garden Harvest

This offer is valid until 29th December 2013 and includes all courses in 2014 except for Chilli Fiesta and workshop in August 2014.

To receive your 15% discount use the code AFTxmas when booking on the Roots Shoots & Leaves website here.

26 November 2013

Halloumi Lentil Salad

Photo: © childsdesign

Like our Autumn Salad this is another hearty delicious meal that suits the colder months.
To be honest it was one of those dishes where we looked in the fridge and thought, ‘what would go together to make something tasty’, so the recipe that follows is as flexible as you want to make it.

Having a good chunk of Halloumi cheese to play with, we chose ingredients that complemented it. Something robust and flavoursome with hints of the Mediterranean seemed appropriate.

Halloumi cheese is a magical substance as it does not melt when you cook it, so is perfect for frying. This produces a lovely crispy exterior with soft, warm milky interior.

This is lovely dressed with some fruit vinegar which adds a little sparkle to everything.

You will need

  • Halloumi cheese
  • Black pepper
  • Plain flour
  • Olive oil
  • Green lentils (about 60g per person)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Bay leaf
  • Red pepper (the long pointed type)
  • Salt
  • Green olives
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Red onion
  • Lemon juice
  • Flat leaf parsley
  • Mixed salad leaves
  • Fruit vinegar of your choice
Making the salad
Rinse the green lentils thoroughly in a sieve. Put the lentils, garlic cloves and bay leaf into a saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Place on the hob and bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until the lentils are tender. Drain in a sieve removing the bay leaf and garlic.

Peel and halve onion lengthways. Cut into thick slices lengthways. Heat some oil in frying pan drop in onions and fry gently until golden stirring occasionally. Put into a large bowl.

Char the red pepper over gas flame or under very hot grill. Place in plastic bag for 10 mins. Remove from the bag and peel off the charred skin. Giving the pepper a gentle rinse under a cold tap will help the skin come off.
Remove stalk and seeds. Slice into thin strips about 6cm long.
Place the pepper strips into the bowl with the onion.

Take a handful or so of green olives and cut them half. Add to the bowl.

Take a few cherry tomatoes and cut them in half. Add to the bowl.

Tip in the drained lentils. Add some salt and freshly ground black pepper, a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir to mix well.

Tear in some whole parsley leaves and stir in.

Place some salad leaves into bowls and drizzle with a little Red Pepper Drizzle.

Pat the halloumi dry and cut into half centimetre slices. Grind over some black pepper and press it on so that it sticks. Scatter about a tablespoon of plain flour on to a plate. Coat the halloumi with the flour on all sides.
In the pan in which you cooked the onions, gently fry the halloumi on both sides until golden brown.

Put the lentil salad mixture over the salad leaves and top with the fried halloumi, finishing with a good fruit vinegar and olive oil.

22 November 2013

Chocolate & Beetroot Cake

Photo: © childsdesign

Chocolate and beetroot is actually a very good combination and even if you say you don’t like beetroot, it really does take on a whole new taste sensation this way.

This is a cake of contrasts and contradictions. So dark in colour it should be exceedingly rich, but surprisingly it is quite light. The beetroot lends a little sweetness and also its reddish-purple juice manages to tint even the darkest of chocolate.

Serve with a dollop of cream or creme fraiche.

Photo: © childsdesign
  • 200g fresh beetroot
  • 150g Ecuador Chocolate Powder (from Mortimer Chocolate Company)
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs

Boil the beetroot for an hour until tender. Drain and leave to cool. Remove the skin and chop the beetroot into pieces. Using a blender, purée until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4. Grease a deep, 17cm cake tin with butter and lightly coat the inside with flour.

Place the beetroot purée in a saucepan and warm through on a low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate powder and stir gently to melt and mix. Grate in the ginger, add the cinnamon and stir until all mixed together. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Separate the eggs. Put the yolks in a large bowl and the whites in another large bowl.
To the egg yolks add the sugar and butter and beat until pale, creamy and fluffy.
Whisk the egg whites until they are quite stiff and form peaks.

Fold the yolk mixture into the flour until well combined. Then fold in the egg whites, a third at a time until well mixed. Gently stir in the beetroot and chocolate mixture.

Spoon into the cake tin and smooth the mixture evenly over the surface. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 50 minutes.
Check the cake is done by inserting a skewer into the centre. The skewer should come out clean (no liquid cake mix should show) and the cake should have a fudgey consistency.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool.

Photo: © childsdesign

13 November 2013

Find AFT producers at these upcoming events…

There are fair number of major events coming up focussing on food and gifts for those wanting to find something special for Christmas.
We're pleased to tell you that there will be some Artisan Food Trail producers attending too, so we hope you will get to meet them and buy some of their exceptional produce.

Information listed below and clicking on the producer's names will take you to their pages on The Artisan Food Trail website for further details.

Ideal Home Show at Christmas
13th – 17th November 2013
Earls Court, London
Fudge Kitchen
Morgan House Foods

BBC Good Food Show London
15th – 17th November 2013
Olympia, London
Cotswold Gold
Fudge Kitchen
The Artisan Smokehouse

Country Living Christmas Fair, Glasgow
21st – 24th November 2013
SECC, Glasgow
Great Glen Game
Trotter's Independent Condiments

Taste of Christmas
21st – 24th November 2013
Tobacco Dock, London
Edible Ornamentals

BBC Good Food Show Winter
27th November – 1st December 2013
NEC, Birmingham
Cotswold Gold
Edible Ornamentals
Fudge Kitchen

11 November 2013

Big stockist for Mortimer Chocolate Company

The Mortimer Chocolate Company has made its first deliveries of its award-winning hot chocolate products into Sainsbury’s Supermarkets all over the UK, just in time for customers to warm themselves up with the delicious chocolate drinks.

Their award-winning West African Chocolate Powder (which is already stocked in Waitrose) is going into nearly 600 Sainsbury’s stores, while their Ecuador Chocolate Powder will be stocked in nearly 400 stores.
This is good news for The Mortimer Chocolate Company which aims to bring fine chocolate drinks to a UK market dominated by sugary drinks lacking a real chocolate credential.
“Having our chocolates in the two top quality supermarkets in the land shows just how good our chocolates are!” said Adrian Smith, managing director of the Mortimer Chocolate Company. “Walking into my local Sainsbury’s and seeing two of our products side-by-side on the shelf is a great feeling! I want to tell all their customers how good a drink it is. And it is now available all over the UK!”

The Artisan Food Trail says: “Both chocolate powders have received our AFT Approved status and we are pleased for Adrian and Felicity whose knowledge, passion and hard work has produced a fine chocolate product which will now be available to a greater customer base.
Wider availability also means customers have more choice and the opportunity to make a better choice.
Being stocked in a supermarket has not meant that the products have been compromised though. Mortimer Chocolate Company have stuck to their original principles and it is heartening to know that they are getting the recognition and respect from the larger stores.”

Adrian added,“Our customers tell us how much they love our chocolate, now we hope that Sainsbury’s shoppers will fall in love with it too.”

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

Christmas Food Fayre at Gladleys Deli

The festive season is only a few weeks away so now is a good time to start making plans for what food to buy for the celebrations.

Gladleys Deli in Stevenage is holding a Christmas Food Fayre this weekend, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th November, giving you the opportunity to see what is available and to place orders.

From the best free range turkeys and all the trimmings to top quality hams and a range of hand selected cheeses to create the ultimate festive cheeseboard.
Gladleys take pride in sourcing the best produce, some of it very local, and will be offering many items that cannot be found in the supermarket, which means your Christmas table can be something quite special.

There will be plenty to choose from and don't forget that food also makes a great gift too.

When: 16th – 17th November 2013
Where: Gladleys Deli-Bistro, 5a Middle Row, Stevenage,
Hertfordshire SG1 3AN

To find out more about Gladleys Deli-Bistro visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here

View AFT_Gladleys Deli-Bistro in a larger map

4 November 2013

Truffled Potato & Celeriac Bake

Photo: © childsdesign

Creamy baked potatoes and celeriac taste sublime but add a little truffle oil and they’re heavenly. The addition of dried mushrooms gives the dish a decidedly ‘woodland’ character – they are something a little extra that we felt would make things more interesting, but you can leave them out if you want.
This is great as a side dish with roasted meats or even with a crisp green salad or just on its own. As it cooks the smell of truffles fills the kitchen as well as making us impatient to eat to it.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 15g dried porcini or wild mushrooms (optional)
  • 1kg potatoes, peeled
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and halved
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500ml double cream
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp truffle oil*, plus extra for drizzling
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated

Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 15 minutes until softened, then chop into small pieces.

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4.

Cut the potatoes and celeriac into half centimetre thick slices. Put the slices into a large saucepan, cover with cold water, add some salt, place on the hob and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then drain in a colander. Leave the potatoes and celeriac in the colander for a minute or two to allow the steam to evaporate off.

Tip the potatoes and celeriac back into the pan with the cream, garlic, thyme, porcini mushrooms, truffle oil, half the Parmesan and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Mix together, then tip into the baking dish spreading out evenly. If there's any mixture left in the pan, pour this over the top. Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan, cover tightly with tinfoil and cook in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

Check the potatoes are cooked through by inserting the point of a knife in the centre – they should be soft.
You may need to remove the foil about 10 minutes before the end of cooking time to help the top brown.

If you want more truffle flavour just add a few drops of truffle oil to the top when serving.

* We used Black Truffle Oil from Truffle Hunter

1 November 2013

A new place to eat & drink with all the right ingredients

This post is a little out of the ordinary as we don't normally cover things that are not on The Artisan Food Trail (as it were), but this time we felt compelled to make an exception.

After receiving an invitation to attend a preview party at Cambridge's newest eating and drinking establishment, we took ourselves to Pint Shop last night and we can honestly say we were very impressed.
Pint Shop's statement tagline is simply 'MEAT. BREAD. BEER' which is simply done, very well.

We enjoyed great food and drink and were spoilt for choice when it came to the selection of craft beers and the large array of gins. The food tastings were delicious (and generous): Slow braised rabbit pasties, sweet beetroot with chunky pesto on toasted artisan bread, perfectly seasoned pulled pork with plums, stuffed breast of lamb, the most amazing steak cooked over hot coals and to finish, Cox's apple & gin sorbet. The jars of handmade pork scratchings on the bar were just a little too moreish!
It looks like we somehow missed out on the scotch eggs as we went upstairs for a couple of talks from The Cambridge Distillery and Barker Brothers.

Pint Shop work closely with the traditional local butchers, Barker Brothers in Great Shelford to source the highest quality meat and they have also had a specially tailored gin made by The Cambridge Distillery which interestingly, contains peas. We can assure you that it does taste very nice.

Anyway back to the real point here for this post. Pint Shop shares the same ethos as The Artisan Food Trail – sourcing the best quality food (locally where possible), respect for great ingredients and supporting small producers. The Pint Shop team enjoy passing on their knowledge and spreading enthusiasm for the best in food and drink.

Pint Shop have bagged themselves a great premises too, right in the centre of Cambridge in Peas Hill.
We suggest that you go and see for yourself when it opens next Monday 4th November. We think you'll enjoy it too.

Thank you Pint Shop for inviting us and we'll definitely be back for more – let's keep in touch.

30 October 2013

Autumn Salad

Photos: © childsdesign

Autumn salad may sound like a contradiction, because who wants to eat salad when the weather is damp and chilly?
This ‘salad’ however, is served warm and has a hint of spice for a cosy satisfying element.
As the cheese melts slightly over the warm roasted squash it makes for a very comforting meal.

This is more of a set of assembly instructions rather than a recipe. There are no strict rules and you are free to improvise but we hope it will inspire you to use some of the great artisan produce on our food trail.

British-grown onion squash is becoming more 
available in the shops now and is a great 
alternative to butternut squash. It is best to 
use a squash or pumpkin that has a denser 
textured flesh and the onion squash is perfect, 
plus it is such a gorgeous deep orange colour.
So what will you need?
Onion squash or butternut squash
Cold pressed rapeseed oil*
Fresh rosemary
Brown sugar
Ancho powder*
Chipotle powder*
Ricotta cheese
Smoked goat’s cheese*
Salad leaves eg. baby spinach, ruby chard, rocket
Raspberry Vinegar*

*denotes suggested Artisan Food Trail producers’ products

Putting the salad together
Remove the seeds from your squash and peel it, then cut into chunks or slices. Toss in some rapeseed oil (we used Yare Valley Oils) and sprinkle with chopped rosemary. Put on a baking tray and roast in a hot oven until soft and browned at the edges.

Prepare the nuts. Place a pan on the hob over a low to medium heat add add a knob of butter. When the butter has melted add a tablespoon of brown sugar and stir to melt. Add about half a teaspoon each of ancho and chipotle powder (we used Capsicana Chilli Co), some finely chopped rosemary and some salt to taste. Tip in a handful or so of walnuts and stir until they are well coated.
Tip out on to a plate to cool.

Put some salad leaves into bowls and lightly drizzle with rapeseed oil and some raspberry vinegar (we used Alan Coxon’s).
Put some roasted squash chunks on top and then crumble over the ricotta and smoked goat's cheese (we used some from
The Artisan Smokehouse).
Scatter over the spicy nuts and finish with a drizzle of more raspberry vinegar.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper if you like.

23 October 2013

Ricotta, Lemon & Raisin Tart

Photos: © childsdesign

With added flavours of fresh lemon, warming nutmeg and rich fruity raisins, the tart is a real treat. Being very much like a baked cheesecake in texture crossed with the flavours of a traditional egg custard tart, there's something for everyone.

Please excuse us for not making our pastry but like many people these days we don't always have much time to spare. Besides it is possible buy very good quality sweet shortcrust pastry dough.

  • 250g sweet shortcrust pastry dough
  • 200g ricotta cheese
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • whole nutmeg
  • 50g raisins

Preheat the oven to 200C / Gas 6.
Roll out the pastry thinly and line a 17 cm loose-bottomed flan tin. Prick the pastry base lightly all over with a fork. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

Place the ricotta in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add the sugar and carry on beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Grate in the zest of the whole lemon and then beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined.
Add a pinch of salt, squeeze in all the juice of the lemon, add the vanilla extract, grate in a generous amount of nutmeg and drop in the raisins. Stir well until everything is well mixed.

Pour the mixture into the pastry shell and grate over some nutmeg. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 190C / Gas 5 and continue baking for 35 minutes.

The flan is done when the pastry is crisp and cooked and the filling is golden with a very slight wobble in the centre.
Leave the tart to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.

16 October 2013

Truffle oil trio receives top marks

Widely revered for their pungent aroma and wonderful flavour truffles are an expensive food. The tuberous fungi found in the ground at the base of certain trees may be ugly and gnarled but are so prized for their flavour they can command high prices.
So for those that perhaps cannot afford fresh truffles, truffle oil is the answer.

Most truffle oils that can be found in supermarkets do not actually contain any truffle at all but a flavouring. There’s nothing wrong in this though as it is difficult to obtain a decent truffle flavour by using the truffles alone. The synthesised substance is still the same thing found in truffles but has been created and is considerably less costly. Besides, the truffles are best reserved to be used fresh.

One truffle oil can vary greatly in taste and quality from another and in our experience some either lack punch or veer to other end of the spectrum having an almost petrol-like aroma – not good.

TruffleHunter has worked on creating three truffle oils each with their own distinctive taste and all contain real truffle (there’s a little piece at the bottom of the bottle) as well as TruffleHunter’s own Truffle Flavour.
They kindly sent us a gift pack containing Black Truffle Oil, White Truffle Oil and English Truffle Oil each in 100ml bottles. A little really does go a long way.

The Black Truffle Oil is made from Italian black summer truffles (Tuber Aestivum) and has a delicate flavour and aroma, slightly earthy and nutty.

The White Truffle Oil contains the Italian white truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico) an autumn to winter type plus Truffle Hunter’s Truffle Flavour which is particularly powerful in the flavour department. Like every mushroom you could think of compressed into an intense taste sensation and then there’s the faint whiff of garlic.
Both of these oils are made using extra virgin olive oil so they are perfect for use on pasta and risotto.

The English Truffle Oil is all English made with Cotswold cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil, English black summer truffles (Tuber Aestivum) hunted in Wiltshire and Somerset, and Truffle Hunter’s own Black Truffle flavour.
As with the Black and White truffle oils the flavour is complex but is softer so this oil lends itself more easily to be used in salad dressings. The rapeseed oil is a beautiful golden colour and also has a different flavour profile to olive oil being nutty in character.

We have been enjoying the oils very much and have discovered just how versatile they are.

So what does truffle oil go with?
• Asparagus • Potatoes • Eggs • Mushrooms • Pasta dishes • Risotto dishes 
• Polenta dishes • Cauliflower • Celeriac • Popcorn • Pizza • Beef Carpaccio 
• Fish such as turbot or sea bass • Duck • Chicken • Lamb • Chicken 
• White beans…

The list is by no means exhaustive as truffle oil is so versatile.
Experiment but don’t over-do the amount used and pleasing results can be had on lots of things.

We are pleased to award Truffle Hunter our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Black Truffle Oil, White Truffle Oil and English Truffle Oil.

To find out more about TruffleHunter visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here

14 October 2013

Chocolate Week on The Artisan Food Trail

Even we didn’t realise just how much chocolatey loveliness was on our food trail and now after delving deep we’ve found some pretty amazing stuff there and want to share it with you.

Well it is Chocolate Week! 


Who can resist a gooey chocolate brownie? Well we know certainly can’t. The ones from #brownies have our full approval The brownies are not available to buy online but a visit to their website gives a list of outlets and markets where you find them www.hashbrownies.co.uk

Not everyone can eat gluten so Monkeypoodle Cake Company comes to the rescue with their totally gluten free creations. Try any of these: Triple Chocolate Cupcake, White Chocolate & Raspberry Cupcake, Monkeypoodle Chocolate Brownies, Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies, White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies
You can buy them all online here

More gluten free options are available from Harnell Cottage Bakes whose Brownies are just divine. We tried them last week so look out for a blog post about them soon.
You can buy from their website here

For cakes like you make at home – that means no nasty ingredients – Nutty Tarts Gifts & Goodies make an array of delicious ‘real cakes’. Choose from Black Dog Chocolate Beer Cake , Chocolate Biscuit Cake , Chocolate Brownies , Chocolate Pecan Cake , Nutty Chocolate Brownies You can buy them all online here

More bakes with the homemade touch are available from Nana's Kitchen. Have a look at their website where you'll find something chocolatey.

As well as making the finest pork sausages and pies, Samphire also have a nice line in sweet treats too
Chocolate Tiffin Buy online here


If cake doesn’t quite hit the spot, you might like to indulge in a slab of Fudge Kitchen’s gloriously creamy fudge.
Choose from these wonderful chocolatey flavours: Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt, After Dinner Mint , Belgian Chocolate Swirl, Double Trouble, Chocolate Classic, Chocolate & OrangeChocolate Caramel Fudge They can all be purchased online here

For chocolate purists, treat yourself to some handmade chocolates from Bella Cacao. Per Norrgren creates the most wonderfully flavoured ganaches using all natural ingredients which are enrobed in the smoothest high quality chocolate. Details are on the website on where and how to purchase.

For devotees of raw food take a look at Raw Nibbles who produce a range of raw chocolate bars as well as other sweet treats. There are so many to list so do take a look at their website to see the fully range. All products are available to buy online.

Ice Cream
All of the ice creams on The Artisan Food Trail are lovingly hand made using British milk and cream, so for something cool, creamy and chocolatey you’ll surely be spoilt for choice.

Lewis of London dairy ice cream is made entirely on the farm just inside the M25 and has zero milk miles.
Chunky Chocolate More info here

Simply Ice Cream
Divine Chocolate More info here
Stockist info here


For the best tasting cakes and home made confections Mortimer Chocolate Company make a variety of chocolate powders which can bought online here
And we mustn't forget the melt and dip chocolate which you can either melt in the oven or on the barbecue. Find out more about The BBQ Chocolate Fondue and Melt and Dip Chocolate Pot here

Thanks to our members including producers and chefs, we have lots of recipes for you to try. There’s something for everyone whether you like your chocolate light and creamy or devilishly dark.

Recipes from Alan Coxon

  • White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Saffron, Cinnamon and Cardamom served with a chilli chocolate sauce View recipe
  • Chocolate and Amaretti Torte View recipe
  • Double Chocolate Tarte View recipe
  • Divine Chocolate Birthday Cake with Raspberry Ganache View recipe
  • Dark Chocolate Fondant View recipe
  • Chocolate Mousse with Hot Chocolate Casserole View recipe
  • Alan’s Gooey Fair Trade Chocolate Brownies View recipe

Recipe from Fudge Kitchen

Recipes from Mortimer Chocolate Company
These two recipes have been tried and tested in the AFT Kitchen and we can highly recommend them. They taste good, are simple to make and importantly, indulgent.

There are lots more recipes on Mortimer’s website here

9 October 2013

New seasonal fruit vinegars added to Alan Coxon's range

We're excited to tell you about a new addition to Alan Coxon's vinegar range. Those of you who've visited his stand at any recent events may have already seen them.

Alan Coxon has used his multi-award winning historic Roman and Ancient Greek Vinaigres as the base in which to add and blend soft fruit flavours such as Raspberry, Strawberry, Passion Fruit and Blackcurrant.

These four fruity vinegars create a stunning new collection offering fresh vibrant and zingy taste sensations adding more fun and culinary adventures to the kitchen and plate. Whilst these are new to Alan’s food line and range, the fruits and vinegars themselves have been made for centuries.

The fruit vinegars are a special edition reflecting the changing seasons.
We hope you like the labels too as Alan asked us rustle up a quick 'fun, fresh and fruity' idea to add to the bottles.

To find out more about these vinegars and to purchase online visit foodbyalancoxon.com

8 October 2013

Aloo Mutton Shakkarwala (Caramelised Lamb Curry)

Photo: © childsdesign

Having worked on Alan Coxon’s new book From Birmingham To Bombay: Food and Influences of the Punjab and Amritsar, and reading through all the recipes, we just had to have a go at making some. They all sound absolutely delicious so it was difficult on deciding what to make first, but this one caught our eye.
Being slightly non-conformist we chose to used goat meat instead of lamb which delivered perfect results. If you’re not a lover of lamb, and we do know a few, goat is a good alternative – the texture is similar but it is not as fatty and does not have that, well, lamby taste.

If the word ‘caramelised’ conjures up images of toffee sauce, do not be put off. The caramelisation of the sugar is needed to create the rich colour and lends only a delicate delicious sweetness.
We recommend that you make up Alan’s Kashmiri-Style Garam Masala for this dish which can be found in the book but a good quality pre-made one would be fine – we suggest the one from Spice Kitchen.

We really loved this curry. It is rich in flavour with a wonderful combination of spice flavours which build into a gradual heat. Serve with rice and naan bread.

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the marinade:

  • 150ml natural yoghurt
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • salt
…and the rest…
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 300g lean boneless lamb, cubed
  • 2 tsp Macadamia nut oil ( you can use vegetable oil instead)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 potatoes peeled and quartered

Mix the natural yoghurt, turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt together and add the lamb. Cover and set aside to marinade for 10 minutes.

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan and caramelise the sugar, until golden brown.

Add the oil and, when hot, add the drained lamb cubes, reserving the marinade.

Brown the meat and add the onions. Stir and cook until caramelised.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and tomato puree followed by the potatoes and the marinade.

Pour in 150ml boiling water and cook for approximately 40 minutes, or until the meat and potatoes are tender. (Add more water if necessary while cooking if the curry gets too dry).

One artisan to another: Creating UsableART™

A slightly unusual collaboration has given birth, or perhaps a whole new lease of life to something as simple as a piece of packaging.
For those of you who’ve purchase any of Alan Coxon’s historic vinegars have no doubt admired the stylish bottles that they come in. It seems such a shame to throw them away when they look and feel so good on the table.

Alan Coxon was inspired to take this a little further knowing that his customers carried on enjoying the bottles putting them to other uses around the home.

When Alan brought out his vinegars he wanted a bottle that evoked the product within, so he set about designing the bottle with a solid feel, had curvaceousness in the hand and a practical application.

He has now teamed up the artist RaRa Jane to produce unique UsableART™ pieces.
The artworks found on the bottles are all one-off individual images, all hand-printed and painted by artist RaRa Jane, who also incorporates silver leaf to add a touch of elegance. RaRa Jane uses the latest techniques and every bottle undergoes a three-day handmade process.

The bottles are real conversational pieces in the home, adding colour and individual art to some everyday areas.
They are not only beautifully useful in the kitchen, but also look great in the bathroom filled with bubble bath, shampoo, in the window with a few elegant flowers or transforming the evening by adding a touch of romance with a candle.

The bottles are presented in silk-lined gift boxes and come with a certificate of authenticity signed by artist RaRa Jane and Alan Coxon offering a stunning unique gift. If you are looking for something more bespoke then your own specific images or art can be applied on to the bottle.

We think the UsableART™ bottle designs are truly stunning and would make fantastic presents.

Please visit the shop to order your UsableART™
You can also order bespoke designs from the shop too.

7 October 2013

Roll Up! Roll Up! To Luton's most exciting food festival this Saturday

We hope that you have your calendars marked for 12th October as The Edible Market Food Festival will be opening its doors to food lovers for the very first time.
The Artisan Food Trail is working with My Events Made Easy to bring a real feast to delight the senses  right in the heart of Luton home to the University of Bedfordshire.

Being held in the UK Centre For Carnival Arts there will be a packed indoor Producers' Market where you can buy food with a difference direct from the producers themselves.
Outside in the courtyard will be the Street Food Market where high quality fresh-cooked food can be enjoyed.

Lisa Childs, Founder of The Artisan Food Trail, who grew up in Bedfordshire said, “I am a supporter of small food producers and enjoy cooking from scratch so it seems fitting that I should return to one of my old stomping grounds to share what I love with everyone.”

“A number of our members have been asking us when were we going to put on a food show of our own, so this is our first event in answer to their requests. We will have no less than nine Artisan Food Trail members taking part in The Edible Market Food Festival and we’re very grateful for their support by participating.”

The AFT Producers taking part are:

The Artisan Smokehouse – They will be bringing an array of smoked foods from their small smokehouse in Suffolk. From meat, fish and cheese to whole garlic bulbs, oils and spices. Don't forget to ask them about their hampers too.

Breckland Orchard – Boutique soft drinks from sparkling to squash in a wonderful array of nostalgic flavours. Try using them as a fabulous mixer for cocktails.

Kandula Tea – All carefully sourced teas from their plantation in Sri Lanka are a delight to drink at any time of day as well as their fruit and herb infusions.

Lewis of London – There are probably not many dairy farms inside of the M25 and that's one of the things that make this ice cream pretty unique. They'll be scooping wonderful cool creamy delights for you all day.

Capsicana Chilli Co – Ben is the chilli meister who not only satisfies the need for heat but flavour as well. Check out his range of sauces which have flavour in bagfuls and there's a rumour of some new ones too. For those looking for some unusual dried chillies and Mexican herbs, spices and pulses, Ben's your man.

Bite Me Spices – For freshly roasted, ground and blended spices. Look out for their gift packs which would be ideal as Christmas presents. They will also be launching a new product at the event.

Morgan House Foods – All products are organic ranging from preserves to dressings and sauces to delicious cordials. Add some zing with their wonderful marmalade and if you want something seriously hot there's the Extra Hot Pepper Sauce.

Driven By Coffee – They will be serving freshly made coffee out in our street food court all day. The coffee beans are carefully sourced and professionally roasted before being expertly made into the drink of your choice.
They will also be bringing along a some of their gift boxes, if you're looking for a present for a coffee lover.

Raw Nibbles – For something a little different why not investigate the pleasures of raw food with some cleverly made indulgent treats and they're a bit more healthy too.

Food & Cooking Demonstrations
A number of free food demonstrations will be taking place throughput the day and our very own AFT member Ben Jackson of Capsicana Chilli Co will be showing you how to make simple, tasty Quesadillas.
Executive head chef of The Illustrated Chef will be showing us how to get the most from our meat and the secrets to getting the best from cheaper cuts.
If you've ever wanted to learn how to make fruit leather and dried fruits, The Jerky Shack will be divulging a few tips and for wine lovers, we have experts Ninesprings Wine who will be giving an insight into South African Wines with some tips on how to pair with food.

It really is going to be a packed day and as we write we are full speed ahead in getting the last details together.
We hope you all can come and if you'd like to know more about the festival and see what other stallholders will be there do take a look at the website www.ediblemarket.co.uk
For the those who like to be well-prepared you can buy your tickets in advance from the website.

2 September 2013

Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2013: 8th – 10th September 2013

It doesn't even seem like a year has whizzed by since our last visit and we're looking forward to our annual outing to the Speciality & Fine Food Fair, at London Olympia, yet again.

As well as being the perfect place for fine food buyers and chefs alike to discover new gastronomic delights, it also gives us, at The Artisan Food Trail, the opportunity to catch up up with those producers who are members of our food trail and also to meet new people too.

Most days we receive email and telephone inquiries from small producers looking to find ways of promoting their businesses and often it is this way we get to discover more fantastic produce. When we can, we like to get out and about to various events and uncover more exciting gems. For those producers who are interested in what we could do for them we’re happy to have a chat.

While visiting, we appreciate that the exhibitors are looking to sell/find buyers for their products, so we can understand if they may not want to spend too long talking to us. However, The Artisan Food Trail may be the key some producers are looking for to increase their sales and make valuable contacts for supply and distribution.

We are proud to see that some of our AFT producers will be exhibiting. So if you’re a buyer looking for these types of products, please do pay them a visit – they are all great people who have immense pride in what they make:

Breckland Orchard (stand 439)
Award winning ‘Posh Pop’. Produced with passion and available throughout the UK!

Capsicana Chilli Co (stand 129)
Crazy about chillies grown in their natural climates. Gourmet chillies range from the very mild through to the very hot!

Filbert's Fine Foods (stand 334)
Producers of amazing award winning hot air roasted nut snacks – made with 100% natural ingredients and each with their own unique flavour twist.

Fudge Kitchen (stand 159)
Handmade luxury fudge hand-crafted to a special recipe for 25 years using traditional methods and a lot of love.

Great Glen Game (stand 509)
Scottish artisan producers of wild venison charcuterie. Range of cured and smoked products: Salami, Chorizo, Pepperoni, Smoked Venison and Bresaola.

Simply Ice Cream (stand 1152)
Award winning Simply Ice Cream is lovingly handmade by a small passionate team using only the finest and (where possible) locally sourced natural ingredients.

Trotter's Independent Condiments (stand 026)
Purveyor of unusual, delicious and seasonal condiments based in Fife. Mr. Trotter says “my condiments are the finest and most tasty in all the land, but I am biased so don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself”

Womersley Foods (stand 530)
Artisan 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.

For more information about the Speciality & Fine Food Fair visit: www.specialityandfinefoodfairs.co.uk