Thursday, 31 December 2015

Round up of all our featured foodie's for 2015

Twelve of Lancashire's finest foodie's, all featured this year as a Quick bite of Lancashire Food. Why not nominate your favourite to be featured in 2016.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Yuletide Gingerbread - dairy and gluten free

Who doesn't like sticky gingerbread, the prefect accompainment to present wrapping and one sure fire way of putting in the festive mood. 

This gingerbread is the sticky cakey kind and not the crunchy gingerbread man type of gingerbread, again not a beauty and a recipe that practically always sinks slightly in the middle but it has a beautiful spicy warmth with just the right amount of cloves. Easily made dairy and gluten free if required so its a recipe for all. 

A tip for you - lightly oil the container you measure the treacle in otherwise it will make a very sticky mess.

What you need
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 120g quality vegetable margarine (dairy free) - I use Pure
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 150ml treacle
  • 300g Self raising flour ( I have made this gluten free and it works fine, you may need to a little more water)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 heaped tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaped tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60ml of warm water
2lb loaf tin - oil sprayed and lined

What you do

  • Prepare the baking tin
  • Preheat the oven to 175c
  • Cream the sugars and margarine in a mixer , until well mixed, fluffy and lighter in colour
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixer
  • Mix quickly until you have a smooth mixture
  • Scoop into the prepared tin and place in the pre heated oven
  • Bake for 50 - 55 minutes
  • Cool initially in the tin
  • Remove from tin to a wire rack to cool fully
  • Wrap and store in an airtight tin, if you can leave it for a few days its starts to go delightfully sticky.
  • Delicious served with a cup of tea 

We are linking up to Love Cake over on JibberJabberUk , theme this month is "Festive Fun"

                                                        Love Cake logo

Simply Eggcellent - with Dom at Belleau Kitchen, theme this month "Anything Goes"


And finally Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too.

                                                           Link up your recipe of the week

Friday, 4 December 2015

Banana Cinnamon Swirl loaf

I love baking and can't think of many things that create that sense of clam and contentment in a household like a freshly baked homemade cake. The weather in Lancashire is currently blustery but still fairly mild for the time of year and we have only experienced one frost so far this season, I love cooking with warming spices and cinnamon in one of my absolute favourites and thought that the addition of a cinnamon sugar swirl would work well and oh my it does. Since coming up with this twist on a basic banana loaf I have made this loaf at least 4 times already, its that good.

Its falling off a log simple to make, an easy recipe and another one for using up manky bananas, as mentioned earlier I love cinnamon and buy it in industrial quantities, just make sure that it still fragrant before baking as you want that beautiful cinnamon amours to perfume your whole house whilst you are baking.

What you need
  • 3 soft ripe bananas - peeled
  • 1 egg - free range
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 cup of plain flour
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/3 cup of melted butter or if diary free - sunflower oil
For the swirl
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
You also need a 2lb loaf tin, lined

What you do
  • Preheat the oven to 180c
  • Mix the swirl ingredients together in a ramekin, put to one side.
  • Mash the bananas in a large bowl with a fork until you have a smooth puree, add the vanilla to the bowl.
  • In the large bowl, I use my stand mixer add all the other ingredients (except the swirl mixture) and mix until you have a smooth mixture
  • Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with just over half of the cinnamon swirl mixture
  • Top with the rest of the banana cake mixture, smooth level with a palette knife and then sprinkle the top with the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes until the cake tests baked with a skewer
  • Cool initially in the tin for 15 minutes and then cool fully on a wire rack.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Richard Lowthian - Ham & Jam Coffee Shop Preston

Born in the West End of Newcastle upon Tyne a true Geordie. I moved to Lancashire in the 1990's having met my wife Cindy who was at Newcastle University we have a daughter Felicity. I have worked for some fantastic social housing organisation for over twenty years in the North East and North West of the country and made some great friends during my social housing career. In the summer of 2014 I had a fantastic opportunity to take voluntary redundancy and follow my dreams. So for the past twelve months I've develop our business plan for Ham and Jam coffee shop Ltd and we are hoping to open Autumn 2015. 

Ham and Jam is now open and can be found on 50-52 Lancaster Rd, Preston, near the Guild Hall.

What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication?
Anything by Rick Stein as I seem to have more of his books than anyone else’s.

What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you?
For me it’s got to be Morecambe Bay Shrimps, Lancashire Hot Pot and good old, Lancashire cheese!

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be?
I am very lucky as I've moved on to what I've always really want to do!

Which piece of kit could you not do without?
San Remo Zoe Two Group Espresso  Machine it’s a piece of kit for Ham & Jam coffee shop that we are investing in to ensure fantastic quality coffee for our customers.

Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
Sid Bowen (my father in law who I sadly have never met) as the stories I’ve  heard about him from my wife, mother in law, and sister’s in law make me laugh. 
Sir Bobby Robson a true Geordie footballing legend so many stories so much knowledge. 
For the musical entertainment Alan Hull a Geordie singer song writer founding member of Lindisfarne and of course Bryan Ferry Roxy Music. 
To help in the kitchen obviously Rick Stein and Antonio Carluccio and of course finally Cindy my wife (but not in the kitchen) to keep the conversation flowing as she never shuts up!         

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Take a risk and live your dream no matter what it is!

Describe your style in three words
Enthusiastic, honest and passionate!

What was your latest foodie gadget purchase?
Lincat six plate commercial oven for Ham and Jam

What is your greatest achievement to date?
Living so long in Preston Lancashire I am an exiled Geordie and I miss the Toon!

What is the worst mistake you have made?
I don’t believe in ‘making mistakes’ per se as I’ve always learnt so much from my experiences I  would not be where I am now without these experiences   

Tell us a secret about yourself? May be something we wouldn’t expect! 
Growing up living on a council estate in the west end of Newcastle John Carver ex Newcastle United Manager and Eamon Donnelly (Declan’s Donnelly’s oldest brother Ant and Dec fame) were great childhood friends who I grew up with, had a laugh with and attend school with. My claim to fame and dinner party story.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

American Classics - Ham & Jam, Preston - South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club

Carla's - Amazing Banana maple syrup and pecan bundt

In celebration of Thanksgiving the theme for our cake club was American Classics and what a fun afternoon we had.

We had the following cakes, Banana, maple syrup pecan bundt, Reeces Pieces Cake, New York Cheesecake, Peanut butter and Jelly bundt, Sweet Potato bundt, Boston Cream Pie, All American Carrot Cake, Baked New York Cheesecake, Strawberry shortcake,Apple and Apricot Cake, hummingbird Cake, Ginger Chocolate Brownie Cake and some American Buttermilk biscuits (not strictly to CCC rules but brought along as a kind gesture by a bakers guest).

Hosted by a fab new coffee shop in Preston City Centre - Ham and Jam we enjoyed a massive selection of wonderful baking, great coffee and a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Lucky us, we were also joined by Dorrett Conway -  one of this years Great British Bake Off contestants who lives locally.
Cake clubbers old and new joined us to much our way through cake mountain (Mount Sugar Rushmore !). Everything on Ham and Jam's menu is locally sourced where possible so we were happy to see Atkinson's Coffee being served.

We loved Ham and Jam, a great addition to Preston City Centre as we love to support local independent venues as its what we are all about. Check out their website here

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Pear, ginger and cardamon loaf

This is a perfect recipe for this time of year, slight spicing adds a warming note to this delicious bake, great served with a steaming mug of tea after a wild and windy walk, but also great as a pudding cake served with custard.

This loaf cake isn't going to win any prizes in the beauty stakes but is definitely a prize winner in the flavour stakes, I just love the moist fruity pear chunks and the crunch of the flaked almonds. It does have the habit of swallowing the pears and almonds into the cake but I still love it, its frugal too as it a good recipe to use up pears that are starting to become overripe. I am using British Conference pears here which have a great flavour, they aren't in season very long so make good use of them while you can.

So go on embrace the season and create a beautiful warm spicy fug in your kitchen as a perfect antidote to the weather outside, the Danish have a word for it Hygge, give it a try......

What you need
  • 175g softened butter or quality vegetable margarine
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 175g light brown sugar
  • 3 conference pears - peeled, cored and cut into 1/8ths
  • 2 free eggs 
  • 175g self raising flour (gluten free works fine)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 2lb loaf tin - lined
What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 180c
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in your stand mixer
  • Add the flour and baking powder, spices,  and eggs to the bowl, mix until you a smooth mixture
  • Place half the mixture into your prepared tin, roughly level with a palette knife, place roughly half of the pears (chopped into little cubes) in a layer on the cake mixture
  • Top the pears with the rest of the cake mixture and places the rest of the pear slices on the top, sprinkle with flaked almonds
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden and cooked through.
  • Cool in the tin for at least 20 minutes or so, perfect warm on its on or with cream or custard. Cold its great with a cup of tea.
  • If you like serve cold with a dredging of icing sugar
We are linking up to Recipe of the Week over on AMummyToo 

                                                                 Link up your recipe of the week

And to Casa Costello's Bake of the Week 

                                                          Casa Costello

JibberjabberUk - Love Cake linky whose theme this month is Best of British


And two of my favourites Credit Crunch Munch from Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food for All, hosted this month by Elizabeths Kitchen and No Waste Food Challenge from Elizabeths Kitchen, hosted this month by Its not Easy being Greedy.


                                                              Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

Friday, 6 November 2015

November 2015 - Colin Shepherd - Clog & Billycock

We are pleased to feature this month -Colin Shepherd - Deputy General Manager at The Clog and Billycock a member of  the Ribble Valley Inns Group. Colin is passionate about local food and great service and has worked in many quality establishments across the country. He is also a talented artist and loves all things military and of course his latest passion cycling. 

The Clog and Billycock is situated in the lovely village of Pleasington and serves high quality British Food, seasonal which is locally sourced.

What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication ?
New York Cult Recipes by Marc Grossman.

What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ?
Great Wholesome food produced by passionate people and celebrated locally and beyond.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
Pilot (Preferably Fast Jet and Low Level) or Musician ( ideally Royal Marines Band Service)

Which piece of kit could you not do without ?
My Bicycle – just wish I could have the time to do more cycling

Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
Difficult choice to make and it could be a big dinner party so I have picked 2
My Grandad – Just a great man to talk to with some great interests
Mozart – A musical genius who wrote some of the most amazing music I have listened to and I imagine he would have some great stories to tell.

What advice would you give to your younger self ?
Work harder at school and have more belief in yourself and your abilities

Describe your style in three words
Impulsive, impatient, Obsessive

What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ?
A Food Mixer. The old one needed replacing with something a bit more powerful and capable

What is your greatest achievement to date ?
Selling my first piece of artwork – it was only small and I did not get much, but the fact that someone was willing to pay for something I had created and wanted to put it on their wall made me proud

What is the worst mistake you have made ?
Dropping a 1000 gallon container of double cream form a forklift truck at a dairy I worked at in Whitby. My plan of going in early on New Years Eve to get finished early was scuppered by the length of time it took to clean up. A messy and expensive accident to say the least. A rumour also spread that a significant amount of Whitby harbour turned white.

Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldn’t expect !
I once reversed a works van into my bosses garden wall. There was no damage to the wall and he did not see it happen. There was some damage to the back of the van though. It was weeks before he spotted it and blamed it on someone in the car park so I left it at that!

The Clog & Billycock

Monday, 26 October 2015

Butternut Squash and butterbean soup - vampire fighting and frightfully good !

There is definitely and nip in the air, so soup is in order. A delicious tasty recipe perfect for warming your bones after a night out trick a treating  and also an ideal recipe for using pumpkin middle just substitute for the butternut squash in the recipe, no waste here ! This soup also improves with keeping, ideal for popping in the fridge and for taking to work the next day to be re-heated.

Containing lots of lovely vampire fighting garlic (also bug fighting too ! as the cold and flu season is now with us), add just a touch of chilli for a thrill !

What you need

  • Butternut squash - 1 large , peeled and de-seeded and chopped into 1 cm pieces
  • 1 white onion - finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic - peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 small red chilli - finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 can butterbeans - drained (retain juice if you want to use as Aquafaba)
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary - leaves picked
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 500ml vegetable stock
What you do
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan
  • Add the onion and cooked for a few minutes until softened
  • Add the cubed squash, crushed garlic, chilli and rosemary, cook stirring for a few minutes
  • Add the stock, maple syrup and lemon juice, bring to a simmer and cook until the onion and squash are soft
  • Add the sherry vinegar and butter beans and bring back to a simmer
  • Cool slightly and then blitz with a stick blender or in a a liquidizer to the desired texture.
  • Bring back to a simmer and serve piping hot
  • Delicious sprinkled with rosemary.

                                                          Link up your recipe of the week

                                                       Cook Once Eat Twice

No Croutons Required - co hosted by Lisa's Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes


No Waste Food Challenge, created by Elizabeths Kitchen and hosted this month by Veggie Desserts.

                                                        No Waste Food Challenge

                                                          My Legume Love Affair #88

And finally Credit Crunch Munch from Fab Food for All and Fuss Free Flavours.

                                          Credit Crunch Munch

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Chicken, sweet potato and red wine casserole

Inspired by the most recent Jamie Oliver SuperFoods series and the fact that the weather is starting to cool and become quite autumnal, this comforting casserole was born. A delicious healthy dish which is great served with chunks of homemade bread or some great bread from your local artisan baker.

Its also a one pot dish which we love as it saves on washing up, the vegetable content is also infinitely variable depending on what you have in the fridge and frugal too as it uses the humble chicken thigh,  this cut is normally much cheaper and much more flavourful than the chicken breast.

What you need
  • 4 Chicken Thighs - skinless and boneless
  • Sweet potato (butternut squash would be a good substitute) - peeled and cut into chunks
  • Onion - 1 large red, cut into chunks
  • Celery - 2 sticks, copped
  • Mushrooms - handful, chunky slices
  • Red Pepper - de-seeded and chunky chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - finely sliced
  • Couple of springs fresh rosemary - picked into stems
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Couple of fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • About 250ml red wine 
  • 8- 10 blacked pitted olives
  • Bread to serve
  • Large cast iron casserole pot or similar
What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 180c
  • Place the casserole on a high heat and add a little oil, add the onion and fry for just a couple of minutes until starting to colour, add the rosemary, bay leaves and garlic and stir fry for a few seconds, then add the chicken thighs, just to colour.
  • Now add the celery, mushrooms, red pepper, lives and sweet potatoes to the pot, stir
  • Add the wine, tin of tomatoes to the pot, stir and bring to a simmer, adding a little water if necessary
  • Place in the oven and cook for an hour or so until the chicken is falling and the vegetables are soft and yielding. Taste for seasoning, you may not need any due to the olives.
  • Serve straight from the pot strewed with more rosemary.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Fig, yogurt and rosemary loaf cake - gluten free

I just can't resist beautiful fresh figs and at the moment they are at their peak, I have always had a thing for them even as a child, mainly in the form of a fig roll (newton) I might add. High in fibre and with a sticky sweetness whether fresh or dried they make a great addition to many dishes, my favourite memory is of picking a perfectly ripe specimen off a huge tree outside my apartment window whilst staying in Calvi, Corsica. Still warm from the Mediterranean sun and so juicy, a great food memory.

Inspired by a bake I spotted whilst wandering on the internet this recipe, my version is gluten free and uses rapeseed oil rather than olive and has the subtle addition of almond extract also. Don't worry about the rosemary in this sweet bake its barely noticeable and just provides a slight herbyness to the sponge, the cake is moist and very moreish.


What you need
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary - finely chopped
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 50g plain gluten free flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • 180g Greek yogurt
  • 120 ml Extra Virgin rapeseed oil
  • 2 large eggs - free range of course
  • 4 fresh figs - halved
  • 2tbsp - soft brown sugar
  • 2lb loaf tin, lined

What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 180c
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy and tripled in volume
  • In another bowl or jug, whisk together the yogurt, oil and almond essence
  • Add to the egg and sugar mixture, the ground almonds, flour, salt, baking powder and rosemary, fold them in gently and try not to loose to much air.
  • Quickly whisk in the oil and yogurt mixture until incorporated, then pour into a prepared 2lb loaf tin
  • Carefully place the halved figs on the top, place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar on to the figs and bake for another 20 - 40 minutes until tested cooked with a skewer, if the cake is browning too much cover with foil
  • Remove when bake and cool initially in the tin, cool full on a wire cooling rack.
  • Serve as it is or with a little additional yogurt
A delicious moist cake with an exotic twist.

This last few weeks my blogging mojo has been a little absent and life generally has taken over, hopefully normal service is now resumed.

We are linking up to a few of our favourite linky's

Bake of the Week from Casa Costello, fellow WI member and all round lovely person.

                                                       Casa Costello

Emily over at A Mummy Too for Recipe of the Week

                                                             Link up your recipe of the week


Dom over at Belleau Kitchen for Simply Eggcellent - them this month Anything Goes as long it contains free range eggs.


Adapted from a recipe by

Thursday, 1 October 2015

October 2015 - Debbie Johnson - Westshore Chillies

This months featured foodie is Debbie Johnson of Westshore Chillies from Hesketh Bank who grow, pack and sell chillies to some of the best UK retailers.

I met Debbie at the launch of a new Booths Supermarket in Lytham St Annes  and we got chatting.They produce a high quality product and use no pesticides or chemicals in growing their produce.

What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication ?
The Secret Ingredient – Sally Bee.

What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ?
Wholesome Healthy and fresh.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
 A house wife, working 7 days a week, I just never seem to find time to do the simple things, like taking care of my garden walking the dogs and keeping on top of my ironing!

Which piece of kit could you not do without ?
The Dish washer, at least I can put everything away and leave the sides tidy.

Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
My husband Joe,
Sheridan Smith, fantastic actress,
Will Smith he just seems so funny.
Mary Berry she would have to bring dessert.
Richard Attenborough he would have great stories to tell and all my lovely friends so we could all enjoy the experience together.

What advice would you give to your younger self ?
Be kind to yourself, enjoy the here and now and life is not a race to the finish, take your time.

Describe your style in three words
Smart casual and neat.

What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ?
New liquidiser, I like to make soup’s

What is your greatest achievement to date ?
My marriage, my two daughters and taking our small business successfully in to Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.

What is the worst mistake you have made ?
Trusting large companies and thinking they are friends. They are not!

Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldn’t expect !
I was a model and due to work in Milan. However, I was a passenger in a very bad car accident, my career ended before it fully began. I have no regrets as I wouldn’t change my life although I would like to have a pain free knee.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

September CCC - A Year of Cake Book Launch at Ebb and Flo, Chorley

September saw the launch of the second Clandestine Cake Club Recipe book and proudly yours truly has a recipe featured in the new book. To celebrate the publication of the new book which made a return visit to the small but perfectly formed Ebb and Flo in Chorley, an independent book shop owned by the brilliant Dianne, who is supportive of all things local and cake loving.

The bookshop is situated down a side street just off the high street and is an Aladdin's cave of all things bookish, we held our celebration upstairs and shared cake with all visitors to the book shop and also with our loyal bakers and cake clubbers. 


Here we are perusing the stock and enjoying coffee and cake

For the launch, I baked my Buckwheat, carrot and sultana cake which is gluten free and very moreish and is featured in the book.

Kate baked a delicious blueberry, pecan and buttermilk cake

Mr Lancashire Food baked a Chocolate Yogurt cake with a sticky decadent chocolate ganache on top

Carla baked a scrummy Date and Walnut cake

We had a great time as always and the cakes was wonderful, massive thanks go to Dianne at Ebb and Flo

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