Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Radio Lancashire appearances

Mr Lancashire Food aka as Synergy Digital Imaging has very kindly edited the recordings of my other appearances over the years on BBC Radio Lancashire and they are now avaliable on Youtube. 2009 2010

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Strawberry and elderflower jam

Another post featuring the delightful elderflower and that ever so delightful quintessential British Berry - the Strawberry. 

I like to make Strawberry jam ever year as I believe that the end result is far superior to any shop bought jam or preserve and you just can't beat strawberry jam on scones, on toast or in your victoria sponge.
Strawberry jam can be difficult to set as the fruit is low in pectin, so I tend to use jam sugar or add pectin powder to my jam so I am ensured a good set. I decided to add elderflowers to the mix to capture the beauty of the individual flowers and their fragrance and also some vanilla to further enhance the jams flavour.
I recycle my jam jars and  this recipe makes about 4 jars, so ensure they are washed and sterilised and warm in the oven ready for your potting.


800g British Strawberries, hulled and washed
1kg jam sugar or ordinary granulated sugar and a sachet of pectin
3 large elderflower heads- snip off the tiny flowers and remove wildlife
2 tsp vanilla paste


Mash your strawberries into your jam pan and then add your sugar and pectin, slowly heat the pan until the sugar has melted, stirring frequently.
Once your sugar has melted increase the heat, keeping stirring until you have a good rolling boil which won't be stirred down, now boil until setting point or follow the instructions on your pectin as to long to boil.
Once setting point is reached stir in your vanilla and elderflower flowers and pot in to your warmed jars.
Allow to cool and store

Sunday, 24 June 2012

BBC Radio Lancashire Visit - Cakes, brown sauce and elderflowers

I was recently invited to the BBC radio Lancashire studio to chat to Sean McGinty on his Saturday Summer afternoon show. I regularly tweet my local radio station and I am lucky that they follow me on twitter, so Mr Lancashire Food and myself packed our car with some goodies and trundled to Blackburn, at one point we were concerned with all the local flooding that we might struggle to make it to the studio, but we made it in plenty of time.

We arrived in Blackburn and after getting caught in a another rainy deluge we were admitted to the studio and offered a brew whilst we waited for our slot, everything they say about BBC tea  is true by the way !

After listening to a live artist we went into the studio and were warmly greeted by the team, Sean, Gareth and another chap. This is the 3rd time Lancashire Food has been featured on local radio and I know that the staff and presenters enjoy a good homemade cake.
We had decided to take along a couple of types of cakes, a twist on the fabulous Jo Wheatley's Tiffin and Apricot and Almond Loaf, we also took along samples of Elderflower cordial, mint syrup and Rivington Pike Sauce.

I used the opportunity as well as promoting my blog to promote the South Lancashire Clandestine Cake ClubPreston Cake City, Elderflowers, Leyland Festival bake off and the wonderful local supermarket we have in the North West - Booths and Chris Rawlinson, Head Chef at the The Red Cat at Wheelton.

It was great fun chatting about local food with Sean and we even had a link up with Julie from Clitheroe Food Festival too, helping to promote this local event , a strictly Lancashire food festival.

I am fairly sure that all the goodies were enjoyed by the team and was more than happy to leave the leftovers for more members of the team, Sean however wouldn't be parted from his sample of Rivington Pike Sauce, just waiting from the phone call from Booths now to sort the manufacturing rights !!


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

River Cottage Rocks #4 Baking Bliss - Chocolate and garden mint cake

I have been meaning to take part in the "River Cottage Rocks" blog campaign for quite a while now, but I couldn't miss out this month as the theme is "baking bliss". I have quite a few of the River Cottage books and have been an avid follower of Mr HFW since the gastro wagon, so I think I qualify to take part. River cottage rocks is a blog campaign run by Jo's Kitchen (@Jos_?Kitchen) with this month's theme being hosted by Charlotteskitchen (@gofreecakes)

My choice for the baking theme is Chocolate and Mint loaf from the River Cottage Cakes No8  Handbook, by Pam (the jam) Corbin page 161, this was actually a lemon verbena cake but there is a twist version using cocoa and mint. One of my earlier posts is a recipe to use mint from the garden in a River Cottage mint syrup, this is another recipe which uses garden mint. (I've got to get rid of it somehow !). The Lemon verbena - Scent from Heaven Cake recipe is posted on the River Cottage website here

The recipe calls for Ground rice but I didn't have any in the store cupboard, so I was going to substitute with polenta which I do have in, but I managed to get hold of the ground rice. I think the mixture would work well with gluten free flour for our ceoliac friends as there is more ground rice than ordinary flour in the mix. The recipe basically consists of making a tea with the herb and then using this in the cake mixture and in a drizzle syrup that you pour over the cake once baked. 

The cake smelt lovely whilst baking just like after dinner mints.

I am also posting this as a contribution to we should cocoa run by the lovely Choclette over at Chocolate Log Blog and Chele at Chocolate Teapot, guest hosted by A kick at the pantry door for June 2013.


Friday, 8 June 2012

Lancashire Food - Elderflower Challenge

Recipe sharing Blog Challenge - an easy great fun event to celebrate Summer !

I really Elderflowers, its summery muscat scent that needs to be captured whilst the frothy blooms billow on the hedgerows. As some of you know I love it so much I grow a large bush in my garden so I can ensure its not sprayed or polluted, this is what I use to make a supply of summer delights. Over the years I have posted numerous recipes which feature this plant so I thought I would run a seasonal recipe round for all things elderflower, that quintessential forage ingredient for Summer.

Its easy to take part, just use the linky blog button thing (kindly designed by Synergy Imaging for me) and post on your blog and link back to this blog post by putting a link on this page. At the start of July I'll post a summary of all the lovely recipes posted.


  • Post your blog URL link to the "linky" below, please include your email and the name of your elderflower recipe. Closing date for contributions is 30th June 2012.
  • Copy the code from the challenge button below to add on to your post which will link back to this post.

  • Please tweet that you have contributed to the fun!, use #elderflowerchallenge and mention @LancashireFood in your tweet.I will retweet any I see.
  • The recipe can be your own or one you have seen somewhere else, please be respectful of copyright and give credit where due , please feel free to publish old recipes or old blog posts, but make sure you add the lovely challenge badge.

I haven't posted a recipe for cordial as they are hundreds available on the internet plus mine seems to change every year. Here are the links to some of my earlier elderflower posts

Remember you can also use elderflower in ice cream, panacotta, glace icing, cake mixes, jellies and many other recipes and you can also use the flowers in jams and preserves.

I am planning on trying deep fried flowers, elderflower cake and a couple of other recipes this year, so I'll post and link as and when these are available.

Above all have fun and use this great seasonal  forage ingredient whilst you can !

Herbs on Saturday Blog challenge - Mint syrup

If your like me, once apon a time long long ago you were given a cutting of peppermint by a friend (I use this term loosely given mints behavior in the garden) you have a forest of the stuff which you have to battle with a machete every season. You just wish that more recipes that use it, Mint does have a some redeming features in the  kitchen as a herb, with the obvious lamb, boiled with the first new potatoes and its also fab in cold salads and used to garnish desserts and in pimms. But, it just grows to well and you can't use it all, I also make a fab strawberry and mint ice cream (thats another post) and loads of mint sauce but I just can't keep up with it.

As someone who always makes elderflower cordial every year , I have had an inkling for sometime to make a similar mint version. I spied in the River cottage perserves book, a recipe so I thought I would give it a go with some tweaks. Essentially you macerate fresh young leaves with sugar, salt and lemon juice (this less for its flavour and more to stop your mint going a sludgy brown), this is left overnight and then made into a sugar syrup with boiling water and then strained and bottled.

The resultant syrup can be used to make a refreshing cooling drink with ice and sparkling water (and very nice it is too). You can also use the syrup in your baking or to make desserts and added to teas or sorbets.

Just a pity it doesn't use more mint though .......

I am submitting this post to @KarenBurnsBooth #herbsonsaturday campaign, come join the fun.  

I am also entering this for the @BotanicalBaker #Summertimesipping campaign as well 

summertime sipping - summertime cocktail challenge

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Peasant Salad

This salad is a great easy standard that never disappoints, its a warm salad for those summer days when the weather refuses to play ball and is unseasonably cool. Since our new hens arrived egg production has rapidly increased so this salad features boiled eggs too, you can use what ever you have in the fridge and whatever is growing in the garden or you have been able to nab from the hedgerow.

  • Bacon - either pancetta cubes or smoked streaky chopped in to small pieces
  • Boiled egg - 1 per person - quartered
  • New potatoes - ruffords / jersey's or similar - just make it local if you can - boiled until soft, keep warm
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Salad leaves - rocket, lambs lettuce, purslane, etc
  • Mushrooms - chopped finely and fried in a little oil until soft.
  • Olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • Balsamic vinegar or your favourite fruit vinegar
  • Assemble your salad leaves , boiled eggs on a plate
  • Quickly fry your bacon till crispy in a little olive oil, then add the mushrooms back to the pan to warm through
  • Drain your potatoes and put on your plate
  • Scoop your bacon and  mushrooms  using a slotted spoon onto the plates sprinkling all over the salad
  • Add balsamic to warm pan along with pan juices, swirl and then use to dress salad
  • Delicious :-)

Afternoon tea in the garden

In the recent spell of good weather (its finished now and we are back to a typical rainy cold english summer) afternoon tea in the garden was in order. So after a quick baking session, tea was served.
  • Scones with homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream.The scones were made to a friends recipe.
  • Cucumber sandwiches, I used the fab Valentine Warners recipe in What to Eat now.
  • Sausage rolls- I must confess shop bought on this occasion, but you can check my earlier blog post for a great sausage roll recipe.
  • Victoria sponge cake - a classic but in celebration of summer, a pink sponge filled with the classic jam filling 
  • Lemon balm loaf cake as featured on an earlier blog post
Drinks were served from a selection of Pimms ,classic english tea and cloudy lemonade

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