Friday, 29 July 2011

Coppers Tea Room Leyland

A group of ladies that lunch, i.e myself and number of colleagues from work visited this newly opened tea room in Leyland on a busy Friday lunchtime. We were all intrigued to visit the old Police station and view the cells. Coppers is a family concern and the focus is on a traditional tea room experience. The old Police station has been refurbished in a traditional Victorian style complete with chandeliers, traditional farmhouse kitchen paraphernalia abounds and lots of eclectic china welcomes you in. The other room is more lounge style with comfy chairs and low tables.

The menu is very much focused on a traditional experience, sandwiches, soup, jacket potates and lots of cake. You can even order a full afternoon tea served on a cake stand. Taylors teas and coffee are the order of the day and old school soft drinks such as Iron Brew, saspirilla and dandelion and burdock are available.

The menu is reasonably priced and only one of the party had a slight criticism, the soup despite being very tasty was a little cool, otherwise we were all very satisfied. A couple of us even had room for cake which was very nice. You also get a proper pot of tea, a china cup and a jug of real milk.

Call in soon, it was very busy on the day we visited we didn't see the ghost but the cells were very interesting.

Sugarless Sultana Cake

Keeping with the theme of healthy eating, the ultimate recipe is healthy cake. I first discovered this recipe about 15 years ago when my Father in law was diagnosed with Diabetes. Despite containing no added sugar, wholemeal flour and low fat spread it is surprisingly good.

Ingredients
  • 8oz sultanas
  • 1/2pt orange juice
  • 30z low fat margarine
  • 8oz wholemeal self raising flour
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 2 eggs - free range

Method
Oven @ 180C
Using a 6 inch square cake tin, grease and line. Soak the sultanas in orange juice overnight. Rub the margarine into the flour and spice mix and then mix in the eggs and the orange juice and sultanas. Mix thoroughly and turn into the prepared tin, levelling the top. Bake for approximately 1 and a half hours, testing with a skewer to see if ready. You may need to cover the cake with foil if browning too quickly. Cool on a rack, the cake stores well and improves after a couple of days.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Favourite Healthy Recipes

In the last week or so I have been trying to eat more healthy, trying to beat the genetics I have been born with, I have both heart disease and diabetes in my family, so I thought it was about time that I started working with recipes that are that little less decadent and more about health and vitality. One of my major inspirations around this is "Sally Bee", she has published a couple of fab recipe books which focus on heart friendly recipes. Sally's story is inspirational after surviving major health problems, her positive attitude is inspirational. Read her story on her website.

One of the best of her recipes is her Chicken risotto parcels, this is awesome, it's so easy and so so very tasty and its low fat, low salt and according to friends very child friendly. It is also easily scaleable. I often get the parcels ready before going to work, I put them in the fridge until I get home and then just pop them in the oven.

Ingredients
( this makes 1 parcel, but scale up as necessary)
  • 1 skinless chicken breast
  • 4 mushrooms - sliced
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 onion, finely sliced or a couple of spring onions chopped
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup rice ( easy cook or long grain work well)
  • Roughly 1/3 cup of chicken stock or wine
  • Good squirt of tomato puree, about a tablespoon
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • sprinkle of chopped herbs, fresh or dried (mixed herbs is fine)
  • finely chopped clove of garlic
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method
Take a large piece of foil, do double thickness for strength, place all the ingredients in the parcel, folding up to make a tight parcel so nothing leaks. Place on a baking sheet and put into a preheated oven @ 200C and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. All the stock should be absorbed when ready.

You can easily substitute other vegetables such as peppers or courgettes, what ever you have available.

I can't encourage you to try this enough, its awesome, everyone I know who tries it makes it time and time again.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Hana Adams Mediterranean Cypriot Foods

On visiting Grimsargh farmers market recently, I met Hana Adams an euthiastic local food producer specialising in cypriot food. Hana thinks there is a gap in the market for this type of food. Hana is very knowledgeable about her product and we both chatted about our experiences on recently appearing on BBC Radio Lancashire.You can purchase her products via her website http://hanaadams.co.uk/

Hana's range includes sauces, salads and sweet biscuits. She is planning to retail these initially through farmers markets in the area.



Tomato and bell pepper sauce
A chunky tomato and bell pepper sauce, rich with vegetables this is a very well flavoured sauce, delicious served hot or cold. If serving cold this would be ideal with crudites or corn chips, the flavours are fresh with a slight citrussy twist , the sauce has a slight background heat. Warm for a couple of minutes in a pan or in the microwave the sauce works well with pasta, rice or sausages even. The sauce is fresh chilled so should last in the fridge for about 5 days.




Pastry fingers
Delicious , light delicate pastry fingers, not filo, not flaky , not shortcrust, sort of a mixture of all of them,which is sweet, crumbly and very moreish. They are great with coffee, but would also be ideal served with creamy puddings, yoghurt or ice cream. They disappeared very quickly.


Creamy spicy white onion sauce
I decided to serve this with a poached salmon fillet, warmed through in a pan for few minutes and poured over the salmon. Delicious,a warm spicy background to the sauce, yet creamy at the same time. A good alternative for fish instead of the usual hollandaise.The sauce could also be served over vegetables such as broccoli or even steak. The sauce comes in a plastic which is easily stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Bulgar wheat salad
Bulgar wheat and onion salad, gently swelled grains flavoured with a herby stock and veegtables. Very adaptable as it can be served hot or cold, the pot was microwaveable. The salad is light with a grain size larger than cous cous, fresh tasting and flavoursome. The ideal side dish to anything.




Chick pea salad
Soft earthy chickpeas,bite sized potato chunks, peppers, garlic, onion and herbs make up this tasty salad, warm with coriander and peppers this is ideal to serve alongside grilled fish , meat and salads. Hana sells this is generous pots which store easily in the fridge.





Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Banana Crumb Muffins


Another recipe for using up over ripe bananas. This one is lovely and easily adapted for lactose free by using margarine instead of butter. The cinnamon and sugar streusel topping elevates these muffins to another level.

Ingredients
  • 1 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda / bicarb
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup butter / marg melted.


Method
Sift the flour, bicarb salt and baking powder into a bowl. Melt the butter and allow to cool a little, mash the banana in a separate bowl, add the butter, egg and sugar, mix thoroughly and then add to flour bowl. Mix quickly and pour into cases, makes about 10 large muffins.

For the streusel topping, 1/3 cup soft brown sugar, 1/2tsp cinnamon, 2tbsp flour, 1tbsp butter, mix until you have a fine crumb, then top the muffins before baking in a oven @ 190c for approx 15-20 mins.

Yummy !

Friday, 8 July 2011

Oyster & Otter

Today we visited the Oyster and Otter seafood restaurant in Feniscowles near Blackburn, on the way back from picking up some of foody prizes from Blackburn market. The restaurant is a former pub site that has been extensively refurbished into a chalet style building, interestingly as well as the restaurant, there is a fish and chip shop on site for take aways.

Eventhough we arrived just on noon, there were already a couple of cars on the car park, always a good sign. We were warmly greeted and quickly seated with menu's to peruse, lots of choice and plenty of seafood dishes obviously. We both plumped for the great value lunchtime menu of two courses for £15.95 including a drink. Thwaites "Wainwright" was one of the beer options which won hubby over immediately.

Twice baked Lancashire cheese souffle with a walnut and apple salad was my choice for starter, hubby ordered the Potted Goosnargh duck and mushroom country pate, toasted onion bread, shallot and mustard seed relish. The souffle was very light and a lovely contrast to the crisp fruity salad and very tasty. The pate was served on an attractive wooden platter, hubby's only criticism was the onion bread was a bit over crisp to spread the chunky pate on. Still very tasty though.

On to the mains, Malaysian seafood curry, coconut rice, lime pickle for me, beautifully presented with pea shoots, delicious with scallops, king prawns amongst other fish. The rice however was served cold, but I didn't really need it as the curry also had spring onions and butternut squash in it. Classic fish and chips with a twist for Mr B , black peas rather than the usual mushy, parched peas for those in the know. Fabulous fresh fish, yummy chip shop style chips, what more do you want.

Overall very nice restaurant, the decor is nice too all driftwood tones, very cosy. We will be visiting again.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

NW Fine Food awards Hamper


Whey hey, Mr B won a hamper of foodie goodies , from NW Fine Foods. All he had to do was like a facebook page to enter ! "Lancashire Food" is a great supporter of everything food in the North West so the prize couldn't have come to a better place. It was delivered by the lovely Clare ( who has a blog as well ) - who is an ardent foodie like myself and hubby,she also wants chickens too !

The hamper contained goodies from many of this years prize winners of the "NW fine Food awards"

Agnes Rose - Damson Vinegar, Blackberry and Mint Vinegar
Hawkshead Relish - Damson Extra Jam
Reedys - Blackberry Vinegar
Masons Gourmet Foods - Rich Genoa Fruit Cake

Vouchers for
Dales Butchers - Pork & Mr Vikkis Chill jam pies, Pork and Mr Vikkis Chilli jam sausages
Capra Products - Voucher for meat or cheese.
The Original Cheshire Cake Co - Voucher for Cheshire Cake
Backford Belles - Jersey Ice cream voucher

Fabulous prize, couple of the vouchers present slight logistical problems however,so we will have to see what we can sort out.
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