Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Mens Pie Manual by Haynes. A Guest Review by Mr Lancashire Food

If , like me you are a man of a certain age, you grew up with a collection of Haynes Manuals. Maybe to get your first car through its MOT and later on to give your lawn mower a service before its first cut of the season. These's books were written with step by step instructions and photographs to important steps in the processes. So, what has this got to do with cooking? well, the people from Haynes have teamed up with food journalist and author Andrew Webb to produce a manual to Men's Pies.

Just like the traditional manuals, the book is broken down into useful chapters.

· Tools of the trade - an overview of all the strange things you find in the kitchen but were afraid to ask what they did.

· Making Pastry - covering such topics as different flours and fats and how to make seven!! different types of pastry. Watch this space GBBO next year !

· Stocks and sauces - we all like the juicy gravy and jellies in pies.

· Meat Pies - following a short section on food Hygiene we are treated to step by step instructions on how to make 20 different meat related pies.

· The next five chapters cover other pie fillings such as fish, vegetables and fruit. Also, a chapter on pasties, sausage rolls etc.

As this is a book about Men's baking Mrs LF decided that I should make a from the book. Being a Lancashire lad, born and bred in Chorley, I grew up on a traditional pork pies made by Thornleys pork butchers, so it had to be a pork pie. Looking through the book, I decided that a cross between a Melton Mowbray and a Gala pie resembled most the pie of my childhood.

The Haynes Men’s Pie Manual is available from www.haynes.co.uk priced £21.99 and would make a smashing thoughtful christmas present for the man in your life.

My only disappointment  being a Lancashire lad that missing from the book was the iconic Lancashire speciality - the butter pie, otherwise its a great book. This blog fortunately does have a recipe which you can find here.

I'm going to hand back over now to Linzi for her to blog my actual bake from the book. Here is the first image of my bake.

Spicy gingerbread loaf

This recipe is a firm family favourite and is pretty quick to whip up with the added bonus that its all made in one pan (less washing up, yeah I say). It has a lovely warm spicy flavour which is perfect with a cup of tea after a walk in blustery autumnal weather when you have been kicking through fallen leaves.

The sultanas are moist and juicy and really add something to this bake and it stores perfectly wrapped in an airtight tin, the recipe also has the bonus of making two loaf cakes.

What you need
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of sultanas
  • 4 oz Quality margarine or butter
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp mixed spice ( I used Lebuchen mix )
  • 3 tsp ground ginger

Boil this for 10 minutes or so to allow the fruit to swell, then cool fully, add 2 eggs and 2 cups self raising flour and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, mix well and pour into two 2lb loaf tins, bake in a preheated oven at 160c for 40-50 minutes.

Super easy, wonderful comfort food .......

This would also be served at a bonfire party or for revellers paying a visit trick or treating.



I'm linking up this to Treat Petite hosted alternatively by Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer, the theme this month is Trick or Treat.

                                                           Link up your baking posts from the last week

And also Bake of the Week over with Helen at Casa Costello

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Preston Marriot Great British Steak Off

Last night saw us visiting the Preston Marriott Hotel for the launch of their #steakoff nights. On the press launch evening the competition steaks hailed from the USA (Creekstone Farms Natural black angus beef) and from the much more local Ribble Valley, Lancashire (Manor Farm, Hurst Green), chef carefully prepared some mighty hunks of meat for the awaiting guests to taste test and from which to make your choice.

We had a choice of a tomahawk, t bone, fillet, sirloin and rib eye cuts from both countries to choose our chosen favourite steak from. With some trepidation both Mr LF and myself plumped for origin B - sirloin, hoping that we had chosen the Lancashire Beef (fingers crossed) as we much preferred its meaty beefy flavour.

Chef Paul Mitchell  and his team then prepared our steak dinners to our specific order in terms of origin, cut and cooking level.


The dining area in the hotel is sumptuously appointed and the steaks even more so, our steaks were served with fabulous double cooked chips, watercress, Bearnaise sauce and mammoth onion rings, as we awaited the results of what countries steak we had chosen. For those of you with mammoth appetites the tomahawk as pictured below would satisfy you and probably Fred Flintstone as well !

Photo kindly provided by Foody Phil

We were finally put out of our misery - yeah we had chosen the Ribble Valley steaks - talk about relieved as I wasn't sure how I would of coped if I had chosen the American version, which were also good but as you all know we are very big on local produce here at Lancashire Food.

You too can book an evening where chef will prepare steaks from different origins for you to taste
test before ordering your steak dinner for the evening, I am lead to believe it likely to be Yorkshire versus Lancashire for the first public steak off, launching on the 15th November. 

I am sure the evenings are going to be very popular and you can book your steak off by contacting the Marriott directly.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

mini nibs - where do you nibble yours ?

I know this sounds sacreligious but this week we have mostly been nibbling something thats made in Yorkshire !
Mini nibs are handy  resealable snack pots of crunchy munchy dinky cheese straws, which come in three flavours

  •  Exceptional cheddar cheese 
  • Exceptional cheedar and spicy chilli
  • Exceptional cheddar and cheeky onion
Apparently all the cheddar cheese used in nib nibs hails from Garstang in Lancashire

The mini nibs range also includes some very moreish roasted salt and pepper jumbo peanuts (my personal favourites from the range) 

The total range is great to serve as a snack with drinks with friends and the pots are also great for popping in your rucksack whilst out on a walk. The nibnibs range is avaliable  through many quality outlets including Booths Supermarkets, nibnibs have a handy stockist finder on their website. They are also on Facebook and twitter too. 

Now here's the great news we have some nibnibs to giveaway in an easy Rafflecopter giveaway, so if you'd love to try some nibnibs why not join in the fun do you own taste test.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run from 12pm on 15th October to 12th November.
The prize is a selection of nibnibs which will be sent direct to the winner.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Tiramisu coffee cups

Tiramisu is the ultimate comfort food (eat your heart out Jamie Oliver) and for many years I have used Antonio Carluccio's recipe, decadently rich and creamy with just the necessary amount of alcohol and coffee to cut the richness of the marscapone.

Antonio is one of my food hero's an I have been lucky enough to meet him many many years ago, he is such a humble down to earth man, so approchable. Tiramisu means lift me up or pick me and was apparently created in the 1960's and first appearing in a recipe book in the 1980's.

Its an easy recipe and one I have used for many years, you can ring the changes with the alcohol added to the coffee (brandy, amaretto, sherry, kalhua, tia maria) and also you make this gluten free if you make some gluten free sponge or get hold of gluten free sponge fingers.

Traditionally made in a flat dish and cut into squares, I thought I'd ring the changes and use coffee cups instead.

What you need
  • Marscapone cream - 1 tub
  • Sponge fingers
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • vanilla paste
  • Cocoa powder
  • Expresso coffee
  • Slug of alcohol (I like using amaretto for its almondy flavour)
What you need to do
  • Mix the egg yolk and sugar in a bowl with about 1 tsp of vanilla paste

  • Whisk the marscapone with the vanilla paste until soft and then stir in the egg mixture

  • Next mix approximately small coffee cup of expresso and the slug of alcohol in a bowl, allow to cool slightly, so you can put your fingers comfortably in the mixture.
  • Soak the sponge fingers in the coffee mixture until softened but not breaking up.
  • Layer in the coffee cups with alternating layers of cheese/egg mix and the sponge fingers soaked in coffee

  • Once you come to the top of the come, smooth off the final cheese/egg layer and sprinkle with cocoa
  • Chill well and serve to your awaiting public.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Roots - Hand Cooked Vegetable Crisps

Roots - They taste so good because "Its in our roots" ! 

We were really pleased to receive a sample of Roots - Hand cooked vegetable crisps in the post recently, we are amongst the first foodies to get their hands on this new delicacy, produced by Huntapac one of the the UK's leading growers of carrots and parsnips. 

Huntapac has its origins in wartime Britain (1942) and hails from the Lancashire village of Tarleton, famous for its potato and vegetable growing. The crisps are made from carrots, parsnips and beetroot grown in Lancashire and across the UK by Huntapac. 

The vegetables are thinly sliced and hand cooked in pure sunflower oil and lightly seasoned with sea salt, sold in 50g bags and also catering packs these are a tasty addition to any lunch or snack time.

The tasty crisps are crunchy and deliciously savoury, yet with a sweet salty edge. Good job they only sent packets and not the catering tub ! as they are very very moreish.

I am also really pleased to say that you can purchase Roots in selected Booths stores across Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire in the sandwich aisle, further strengthening their relationship with the local regional supermarket chain.

You can find Roots on the internet, facebook and twitter as well.

We received the sample on a complementary basis, all views and opinions expressed are our own and we were not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

October 2014 - Andrea Mellon - DUK POND

This month's talented foodie is Andrea Mellon, creator and chef of Dukpond in Preston, Andrea is passionate about Lancashire food and is one of the driving forces behind the food scene in Preston. Her relaxed informal dining venues are legendary as is her hot and spicy Peruvian Stew.

Andrea has been nominated for various awards over the years including the BIBA's and a local food hero. 

  • What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication ?
My favourite cookery book is "Spain a culinary journey"

  •  What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ?
Sustainable, deliciousness and second to none.

  • If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
 World wildlife animal rescue worker.

  • Which piece of kit could you not do without ?

My knives oh and garlic :) 

  •        Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
      My grandad ..... To show him who I am today. 

  • What advice would you give to your younger self 
Stop pleasing others and look after yourself.

  • Describe your style in three words 
Eclectic, Innovative, Vibrant

  • What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ?
A mini blender. 

  • What is your greatest achievement to date ?
Being recognised  as one of Lancashire's creative chefs and achieving "Taste Lancashire" quality assured award for 5 years.

  • What is the worst mistake you have made ?
A mistake is just an opportunity to try again ... however, one is now one of my biggest sellers raspberry chicken ... Rushing threw raspberries in instead of tomato the rest is history :) 

  • Tell us a secret about yourself ? 
I reclaim redesign and build furniture.

                               About dukPond

                                                           Pond Logo

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Ice cream cupcakes in association with Baking Mad

Those lovely folks at Baking Mad have sent us a goody parcel and asked us to have a go at one of the recipes off their website. As you know I love experimenting in the kitchen and fancied having a go at making their recipe for ice cream cupcakes. The easy cake recipe is a doddle to follow and the results  speak for themselves, my only comment would be that the buttercream quantity is way to much for the number of cakes you are creating. The recipe is here .

Rather than wrapping the cones in foil as in the recipe I didn't bother and just placed them on a baking sheet, this seem to work fine. I also couldn't locate any ice cream flakes so improvised and used sprinkles I had in the cupboard and had a go at creating a swirl effect in some of the buttercream topping with gel food colours.

What you need 

For the cupcakes
  • 12 flat based ice cream cones - wafer type
  • 170g caster sugar - I used Billingtons Golden Caster Sugar
  • 170g butter - unsalted
  • 3 eggs - free range
  • 170g Self Raising flour - I used Allisons
  • 1tsp vanilla extract - I used Neilsen Massey
For the buttercream icing 
  • 125g butter - softened
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles of your choice, mini flakes, fudge sticks, chocolate sauce, etc
What you do 
  • Preheat the oven to 160c fan / 180c normal oven
  • Place the ice cream cones on baking tray
  • Cream the butter and sugar together, whisk until fluffy and light.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat well, add the vanilla, if the mixture looks like splitting then add a little of the flour. 
  • Fold in the flour until you have a smooth mixture, divide between the 12 cases, do not fill to the top
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins or until tested cooked with a cocktail stick, they will be golden brown and well risen
  • Leave to cool fully before decorating
  • To make the buttercream, whisk the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until you have a smooth fluffy buttercream
  • Place in a piping bag and pipe swirls on top of the cupcakes, decorate with sprinkles or flakes
  • To make ripple buttercream, using food colouring gel, paint the inside of a disposable piping bag with your choosen colour and pipe as before.

The cupcakes proved very popular with some friends little ones who thought they were great fun and thoroughly enjoyed licking the buttercream off the top before devouring the cake and cone. 

                             Baking Mad
Billingtons: Since 1858

Allinson fine flour

                                                            Nielsen Massey fine vanillas and flavours                                                  

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Mediterranean vegetable and herb quiche - gluten free

I have been secretly working in the background perfecting a tasty gluten free pastry that is suitable for using as a quiche base. If you make pastry with just standard gluten free flour its rather tasteless and very crumby and grainy, I have made gluten free pastry using cheese to help bind it and create flour but was looking for something a little less cheesy (pardon the pun) so I thought I would experiment with mixing buckwheat flour with normal GF flour and voila it works, creating a more wholemeal style pastry which is tasty when used as a quiche base.

I decided to make a filling using the ubiquitus courgette, pimped by the addition of a little chopped sun dried tomato and some garden fresh herbs

Excellent hot or cold this quiche it makes a great family meal, also would be ideal in a lunch box with some salad.

What you need
  • 100g plain gluten free flour
  • 100g buckwheat flour (ensure gluten free - not all is)
  • 125g salted butter - cold
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme - chopped finely
  • 4 - 6 tbsp cold water
  • Egg - beaten 
  • A loose bottomed quiche tin - about 24cm across - Lightly brushed with oil
For the filling
  • 3 small courgettes - topped and tailed and chopped into thin slices
  • 2-3 shallots - peeled and finely chopped
  • Chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • Thyme, oregano and rosemary - chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 300ml creme fraiche
  • 3 eggs
  • Freshly ground Pepper
  • 100g cheddar cheese - coarsely grated
What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 190c
  • To make the pastry its easiest by food processor, add the flours, thyme and cold butter, blitz until its a rough breadcrumb texture.
  • Add the cold water little by little with the processor running until the pstry just starts to ball
  • Tip onto a lightly floured surface and form a ball
  • Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes before rolling to  fit your quiche tin.
  • Chill again for about 10 minutes or so before baking the case blind for about 15 minutes, remove your baking beads (rice works well)
  • Brush with a little beaten egg and then bake again for 10 minutes, remove from oven.
  • Now we will make the filling , fry off the shallots and courgettes until softened, add the chopped sun dried tomatoes and herbs to the pan, allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the vegetables to the quiche base, place on a baking tray ready to fill with the egg mixture
  • Mix the eggs and creme fraiche together and pour over the vegetables, top off the quiche with the grated cheese.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or so until golden and just a little wobbly in the middle.
  • Serve slightly cooled or cold

I'm linking up to Cooking with Herbs - the theme this month being mediterrean food, this post contains thyme, oregano and rosemary. Hosted this month over at Lavender and Lovage.

Cooking with Herbs

And also to Tea Time Treats which is sharing the same theme as Cooking with Herbs, hosted this month by The Hedgecombers.

Tea Time Treats

Lastly to Simple and in Season hosted this month by Franglais Kitchen.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Coffee, cardamon and walnut cake - gluten free

For the latest meeting of South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club I once again was inspired to bake from a Fiona Cairns recipe book, this bake is from her latest "Seasonal Baking" which is a stunning book and contains some wonderful looking cakes and bakes.

Feeling distinctly autumnal I plumped for a Coffee, cardamon and walnut cake which is a beautiful twist on the classic combination of coffee and walnut, as the recipe contains ground almonds and a relatively low amount of flour, it converted beautifully to gluten free using a standard gluten free flour.

Fiona's recipe is available on the Waitrose website here 

What you need
  • 175g softened butter
  • 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 15 cardamon pods
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 1tbsp of instant coffee powder dissolved in 1tbsp of hot water
  • 3 eggs free range - lightly beaten
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 125g self raising flour (gluten free works fine)
For the caramelised walnuts
  • 50g walnut halves
  • 100g caster sugar
For the buttercream
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 150g softened butter
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tbsp of instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 tbsp of hot water
  • 1 tsp milk
You also need 2 sandwich tins - about 22cm diameter oil sprayed and base lined

What you do 

  • Preheat the oven to 160c
  • Firstly we are going to roast the walnut pieces and halves for about 6 minutes until lightly toasted, don't let them burn. Allow to cool
  • Now lets make the caramelised walnut halves, place the walnut halves on a baking tray lined with a silicone sheet or baking parchment.
  • In a saucepan bring 100g of caster sugar and 100ml water to the boil, swirl the pan to ensure all the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a vigour rolling boil. The caramel will eventually turn a lovely golden brown and be reduced. 
  • Remove from the heat and drizzle over the walnut halves to create a sheet of nutty caramel, leave to one side to set. Be careful as the caramel with be very hot.
  • Next we will make the cake
  • De seed the cardamon pods, placing the seeds in a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine ground, sieve into a small bowl, take a 1/4 for the buttercream. The rest is for your cake mixture.
  • In a mixer (I used my trusty kitchenaid) cream the butter,sugar and coffee until light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs, almonds and cardamon, fold in the flour and the chopped walnuts
  • Once fully mixed divide the mixture into the prepared sandwich tins.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, tested with a cocktail stick to check baked through.
  • Remove and cool on a wire rack.
  • Whilst the cake is cooling, mix up the buttercream using the remaining cardamon and the above listed ingredients, ensure you beat it for a least 6 or so minutes to ensure a light fluffy buttercream.
  • To assemble the cake - spread the base layer with buttercream and then top with the other cake. Then spread the rest of the buttercream on the top and sides.
  • Crush the walnut caramel and arrange decoratively on top.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Anything Goes at Caffe Manna Eccleston - South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club

For our 24th meeting of South Lancashire Clandestine Cake club, we paid a return visit to Caffe Manna in Eccleston near Chorley. This is our first visit to Caffe Manna but not to the lovely hosts as the same team used to run Coffee at the Carrington, which has since been demolished and a lovely new larger coffee shop built on the same location.

Caffe Manna is a great coffee shop that serves the finest coffee's and other refreshments to locals and visitors to the village (Eccleston is home to Sir Bradley Wiggans no less !), with ample parking outside the door its well worth a visit if you are passing.

On a warm sultry September afternoon members arrived bearing a fabulous selection of cakes for our anything goes theme, including several gluten free cakes. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and it was great to catch up with members old and new and indulge in cakey gossip ranging from GBBO to vegetable growing.

Coffee walnut cake

Gin, tonic and lemon cake

Licorice allsort cake

Courgette and orange cake

Coffee cardamon and walnut cake - gluten free

Coffee Cake - gluten free

Apricot and Almond cake

Victoria Sponge

Zeeuwe Knop caramel Cake

Cappucino Cake - gluten and diary free

Unfortunately not photographed (sorry Kate,Margaret and Harvey) we also had a delicious Strawberry cake, sticky toffee pudding cake and victoria sponge to enjoy.

Thanks to Caffe Manna for hosting our event, you can find the coffee shop at the Carrington Centre, The Green, Eccleston. They are open every day except Sunday.
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