Wednesday, 28 November 2012

#BoothsCheers !


So very very proud to be asked to take part in the first online and in-store simultaneous beer and wine tasting event for Booths, the wonderful regional supermarket that really knows what it means to keep it local. Its a family firm founded in 1847 with a reputation for quality produce. They have 29 stores throughout the North West, the latest being Milnthorpe in Cumbria.

#BoothsCheers is running for the next 6 weeks up to Christmas and their are some great deals every week on beers and wines to get you in the festive mood, if you are lucky enough to live near a store you can visit and taste that weeks special offers, their will also be recipes and food matching advice being shared both in store and online. Lots of other bloggers are taking part too on instagram and twitter. So its a great excuse to have friends round for a sociable evening.

Well what a great time we had for the first #BoothsCheers event, the two wines that were sent for tasting were delicious, the Isla Negra Sauvignon blanc was crisp fresh and light with a slight hint of grapefruit, ideally for serving with fish. the Isla Negra Merlot was juicy and fruity and very easy drinking and would be ideal with steak and other red meats.The Marstons double drop beer was popular with the chaps and they thought would be great served with traditional party snacks such as sausage rolls. We had a great time swapping menu suggestions on twitter and posting pictures via instagram, we are all looking forward to next week. 

Week 2 we received a red  Emiliana camerenea chilean wine and a Emiliana  White chardonnay , along with a bottle of budvar budweiser. One of guests this week is a wine connisseur and particularly enjoyed the red , whilst his wife liked the chardonnay. The wines were food matched to a spicy chilli for the red and creamy chicken dishes for the white. It was felt the budvar would be a good match to hot dogs or similar . Mr Lancashire Food was also lucky enough to win one of the photographic challenges on the night too, not sure what his prize is though !

Looking forward to week 3 , we were pleased to discover that our wines are a Rose and Sauvingnon Blanc from Brightwater Bay from New Zealand and our selected beer is Cocker Hoop from Jennings. 

Week 3 , we received our lovely wine and beer and were joined by no less than two sets of couple friends, our first tasting was the Sauvingnon Blanc , this was more citrussy than our first bottle of this variety in week 1 with a tropically nose , very drinkable all the same. We then moved onto the Rose at 13% a pretty feisty bottle which we all thought tasted like fruit pastilles and was very quaffable  Our beer from Jennings a Cumbrian Brewery , was a nicely balanced hoppy ale, which we thought would be lovely in onion gravy with toad in the hole.
On the night @synergymono (Mr Lancashire Food's twitter handle) was delighted to  receive a personal message from Booths for his photographs.

Week 4  and we are tasting Saint-Emillion Grand Cru and a Croft 'Indulgence' Port. We have presented with a "secret mission" in our parcel this week and my mission challenger is fellow blogger Northwestnosh , we have to come up with a great comfort food that either features or match to our bottles tonight, check out the associated blog post here for a recipe of what we came up with. This week due to time pressures we are #BoothsCheers on our own, writing christmas cards and have a more relaxing evening than of late.

Week 5 - the penultimate #BoothsCheers party will see a Cote du Rhone and a Pouilly Fume. Lancashire Food was really lucky to have one of our recipes featured as the perfect match to the Cote du Rhone

Our recipe to match our  red this week is by the talented cook. Here's Slow Cooked Brisket 

and all received a lovely christmas message and thank you from the store on instagram.

Next week is the last week :-(, we have a chateau neuf de pap and a chardonnay to look forward to. ever inventive the PR company choose to mix things up by sending out different parcels to the online bloggers, our was a bottle of manzanilla sherry and a jar of ground cloves. That taxed us some what ! but after a bit of a think I cam up with a rabbit basque based on Delia Smiths classic chicken basque, which would use the sherry as part of the stock and a pinch of cloves to spice up the dish. A dry sherry can also be used in a cheese fondue which would be a great party dish. 

BoothsCheers has been a great online and instore event and has really brought peoples attention to Booths , we are so lucky in the north to have a great local supermarket chain, who knows the real meaning of local.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Lancashire Day

To the people of the city and
county palatine of Lancaster


Know ye that this day, November 27th in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve, the 61st year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Duke of Lancaster, is

Lancashire Day

Know ye also, and rejoice, that by virtue of Her Majesty's County Palatine of Lancaster, the citizens of the Hundreds of Lonsdale, North and South of the Sands, Amounderness, Leyland, Blackburn,
Salford and West Derby are forever
entitled to style themselves Lancastrians.

Throughout the County Palatine, from the Furness Fells to the River Mersey, from the Irish Sea to the Pennines, this day shall ever mark the peoples' pleasure in that excellent distinction - true Lancastrians, proud of the Red Rose and loyal to our Sovereign Duke.


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Lamb and Butter bean casserole

The season of stews and casseroles is now well established and more and more I am craving comfort food , you can't beat that smug satisfied feeling of walking through the door after a busy day at work to be greeted by the aroma of a wholesome stew or casserole ready in the slow cooker. Lamb is one of my favourite meats as it reared so well locally , the butter beans are  to provide a lovely nutritious plumper to the casserole.
If you don't have a slow cooker don't despair this casserole also cooks beautifully in the oven too in about 2 1/2 hours, so its just a case of planning ahead a bit.

  • Diced casserole lamb - ask your butcher for whats best value
  • Butter beans - either a drained tin, or  dried and soak your own overnight until plump
  • 1/2 a can or bottle of beer - I used Murphy's stout but  a mild is nice too, or even a local brown ale, just watch the sweetness of the resulting sauce
  • Stock - lamb or vegetable, I used E cuisines - vegetable - 150mls approx
  • 2 sticks of celery - chopped
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Onion - peeled , sliced and roughly chopped
  • Garlic - couple of cloves- crushed
  • Parsley - fresh or dried
  • Thyme - fresh or dried
  • Bay leaf
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sunflower oil
  • Heat a little oil in a large frying pan
  • Fry off the diced lamb until it is well coloured, drain and remove from pan to your waiting slow cooker. If you are using a slow cooker your  ovenproof casserole dish.
  • In the same pan, now add the celery, onion and garlic and cook until softened, again add to your slow cooker or dish.
  • Now de-glaze the pan with your beer, tomatoes and stock , bring this to a gentle simmer and add all the other ingredients to the pan, except for the butter beans.
  • Pour this into your slow cooker or oven proof dish, add the butter beans and stir to mix together.
  • Cook on high in to your slow cooker for approx 6 hours ( could be longer) or if using a conventional oven for approximately 2 1/2 hours on 150C fan
  • Your casserole is ready when the lamb is melting tender and the beans soft and yielding.
  • If using a regular oven you may need to add more stock if the casserole becomes a little dry
  • Serve accompanied by some great bread and green vegetables.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Season of Soups and Stews

The Season of Soups, stews and casseroles is well and truly with us, warming delicious recipes which provide comfort against the weather outside. Lancashire Food is proud to be hosting a great blog link up with Essential Cuisine, the fabulous stock company, to share some of the best soup, stews and casseroles recipes in the world, the only rule being they need to include stock of some type, so if you have a favourite recipe why not share. We have a fabulous prize very kindly donated by Essential cuisine of a mixed selection of their lovely stocks so you can go on creating great comfort food long after you have entered the competition.

Essential cuisine have some great recipes on the website and the definition of whats a stew and whats a casserole just in case you want to know, in fact its packed with loads of great tips and suggested uses. All the stocks are gluten free and are free from nasties and the vegetable stock is even suitable for vegans.
  • Your recipe must contain some form of stock to qualify for entry
  • Ensure that you include in your blog post the lovely badge
  • You must link back to this blog post
  • If you are on twitter please tweet about your entry using the #Soups_&_Stews
  • Please be respectful of copyright and give credit to the original source if you have been inspired by another recipe, you can link up old posts but you must embed the link and use the badge
  • The blog link up will run until the 10th December 2012
  • The winner will be chosen by a representative from Essential Cuisine
To get your creative juices flowing why not have a look at  some of my recipes for soups, stews and casseroles.

Vintage Tea Party Year

The Vintage Tea Party Year

Don't you just love a book that along side recipes has craft and hair styling tips, what ! you never had one that has both ? well you never read one of Angel Adoree's seminal works. I just love this book , as soon as you seen the front cover you know you are handling something special, reminiscent of a fairy story book of your childhood, its enchanting.

This is Angel Adoree's second work and is just wonderful, vintage style and with great ideas on how to make seasonal and family celebrations special. The Vintage Tea Party year covers
  • New Years Eve Tea Party
  • Children Tea Party
  • Coming of Age Tea Party
  • Tea for Two
  • Hen Tea Party
  • Wedding Tea Party
  • Mum To be Tea party
  • Gentleman's Tea party
  • Street Tea Party
  • Picnic Tea Party
  • Guy Fawkes Tea Party
  • Christmas Tea Party
Each section has recipes, invites, thank you notes, decoration tips and funky craft ideas to get the party started. As well as penning cookery book , Angel runs a successful vintage event hosting company, this book is so much more than cook book and would make a great gift for a girl friend who loves all things vintage.

I received my copy of this book from Octopus Publishing free of charge, you can purchase a copy direct from them or alternatively Amazon or any independent bookseller.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Chai Tea bread

I don't know about any body else but when its cold and blustery outside , I like nothing better than hankering down with a cup of tea and a great piece of cake (always homemade), baking that contains warming spices always seems so comforting to me. Chai tea is also very comforting so I decided to merge the two in this cake , I was very pleased with the resultant warmingly spiced tea loaf, deliciously moist and very moreish.

  • 2 cups plain flour - sieved
  • 2 tsp baking powder (level)
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower margarine
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs free range
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/2 cup of chai tea, cooled (I used vanilla chai tea bags by Pukka)
  • 1/3 cup of skimmed milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pre heat your oven to 180c
  • Oil spray your 2lb loaf tin and line lengthwise with a piece of grease proof paper or baking parchment
  • In your mixer, mix all you ingredients until smooth and well incorporated, be careful not to over mix
  • Pour into your prepared tin
  • Bake for approximately 45 -50 minutes, until well risen, golden and tests cooked with a skewer
  • Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from tin and leaving to cool fully on a wire rack .
  • Stores well when wrapped in foil.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Cinnamon apple tray bake

Saturday is often the day is our household when I get round to baking, I always like if it all possible to have some form of cake to hand in case of unexpected visitors but also just to provide the comfortable feeling that if you want something sweet with your cup of tea, you have some lovely homemade cake to hand.

This is such a recipe, not the most glamorous of cakes but that's not what we are talking about here, its about home comforts and this cake fits the bill. An easy tray bake and stores well for a few days in an airtight tin.

  • 1 cup soft butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar - caster
  • 2 eggs - free range please
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 apples, chopped and peeled
  • cinnamon sugar for sprinkling ( 1tbsp demarara sugar mixed with 1tsp cinnamon)
  1. Preheat your oven to 180c and oil a large oblong roasting pan.
  2. Combine butter and sugar and mix until creamy, light and fluffy.
  3. Now add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined.
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon (You might want to sieve this in).
  5. Stir in the chopped apples.
  6. Put your batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden and cooked through when tested with a skewer.
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