Thursday, 31 July 2014

August 2014 - Anson Bolton -The Millstone Inn, Mellor.

                               Chef Anson Bolton

This month our featured foodie is Anson Bolton, talented chef patron of The Millstone Inn at Mellor, a delightful village inn and restaurant with a reputation for amazing local food and a warm "Lancashire" welcome. Anson's style in traditonal "British fare" served with flair and attention to detail. 

The Inn is set in a small village on the edge of stunning Lancashire countryside, were you can enjoy great food, Thwaites beer (brewed locally) and  luxury country house style accommodations.
                                  Millstone | Award-winning Inn

On to the crucial questions, I love this bit where we found out more about the person behind the food.
  • What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication ?

When I first started in a kitchen I was brought a copy of the Readers Digest Cookery year in the 80’s, whilst it’s not “on trend” it’s a great guide to what’s seasonal and what you should be using and when. Another culinary bible is the Practical Cookery a must for any student chef. Its fascinating to see how things have changed, in the 1st editions there were no healthy eating or allergy concerns, the latest edition has calorie counts, allergens awareness and even a DVD! How times have changed. Nigel Slater is also a good read with simplistic seasonal dishes.

  • What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ?
It’s just proper food done well, forget all this with a twist stuff, Mushy peas are mushy peas if they’re done right you can’t go wrong same can be said about all our other traditional dishes (said in me poshest Bolton accent!!!)

  • If you weren't doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
I've always thought I’d love to be a postman, just me and a sack of post no worries but my wife tells me I'm not a morning person and I'm not keen on walking so I might have to rethink that one!

  • Which piece of kit could you not do without ?

Not so much a piece of Kit but I'm really fortunate to have a loyal and hard-working brigade of chefs who are great to work with, talented, grafters and we understand each other’s humour (just)

  • Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
My Grandfather was a caterer and founded Percivals Outside Caterers in Bolton before the war, although he died long before I was born he sounds a fascinating chap. He was also a local councillor and a staunch socialist so it would be nice to have Margaret Thatcher at the table as well to spice things up, then that Dimbleby bloke, the Question Time presenter to put them in their place. Then for the entertainment I’d have Peter Kay doing an American Trilogy duet with Elvis Presley

  • What advice would you give to your younger self ?
I'm not a good listener! I tend to think of something and jump straight in so maybe it’s think things through and listen to those in the know.

  • Describe your style in three words 
Fresh, Honest and consistent

  • What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ?
I'm not really a gadget man….We have all the usual Thermomixer and trendy ovens but you can’t really beat a set of sharp knives. 

  • What is your greatest achievement to date ?
I was selected to be part of the crew on the P and O’s Oriana 20 years ago. It’s was a great experience flying over on a private jet to see the ship being built, meeting the Queen at the naming ceremony and lots of corporate lunches. Stressful but worth it. 

  • What is the worst mistake you have made ?
Not so much a kitchen night mare but I once manage to lose the Grooms trousers on the morning of his wedding…..long story of mistaken identity in which I gave the trousers to another guest who then set off south to go home! It was my ultimate Fawlty Towers moment. 

  • Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldn't expect !
As a teenager I was a fanatical Pigeon racer with trophies to prove it.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Gluten free scones

Luxury afternoon teas are popping up all over the place, however even before I became gluten free I used to find that some of the scones which formed part of the afternoon tea disappointingly dry and crumbly and not that pleasant to eat even when ladled with obscene amounts of jam and cream.

Mr LF loves scones with jam and cream, particularly home baked scones with homemade jam, so the challenge was set as to create a gluten free scone. I must say that actually prefer the gluten free version, yes they don't rise as much but they are more moist and a lot less crumbly, they are also the perfect vehicle for large dollops of cream and jam.

After lots of research on the internet and baking up several storms (well disappointing versions) here is our current favourite recipe.

What you need

  • 1.5 cups of gluten free self raising flour (if using plain add 1 tsp baking powder)
  • 2 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter - cold
  • 2 eggs free range
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt - made up to 5 fl oz with skimmed milk
What you do
  • Preheat the oven to 220c
  • Prepare your baking tray - I used a non stick silicone sheet, you could used non stick baking paper
  • Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  • In a measuring jug or separate bowl mix the yogurt/milk mixture with the eggs
  • Rub the cool butter into the dry ingredients until the texture of knobbly breadcrumbs
  • Add the milk/yogurt/egg mix to the large bowl and mix until well incorporated
  • Leave for a few minutes to allow the flour mixture to swell (this is necessary due to the gluten free flour)
  • Using an ice cream scoop, create even sized blobs on your baking sheet
  • Brush the top with the remnants if the egg/yogurt/milk mix
  • Bake in the hot oven for 10-12 minutes until golden and well risen
  • Cool for 5 minutes or so on the tray before removing to a cooling rack
  • Serve sliced with lots of jam and a cream

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Ragbag pasta with roasted courgette, basil and mint

Well its that time of year again when our courgette plants are yielding a courgette a day and my quest is to find new and novel ways to serve this vegetable. This recipe came about as a way to use up the part bags of pasta that you often find lurking in the cupboard waiting for a little love, it works fine with gluten free pasta which I find remains al dente for longer than normal pasta.

I also spotted that this months cooking with herbs had the theme of basil, at its peak flavour wise at this time of year, I combined it with mint for a pesto flavour twist and lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. A delicious, frugal and tasty dish, rich in courgettes and herbs. This dish is healthy and fresh tasting and makes use of some great seasonal ingredients that just sing summer.

What you need
  • Courgettes (Zucchini) - approx 3 medium sized cut into 2cm slice, cut in half
  • Olive oil - good drizzle
  • Fresh basil- 3 sprigs
  • Fresh garden mint - 3 sprigs, leaves picked off
  • Parmesan cheese - handful
  • Cooked pasta (cooked to the instruction on the packet)
  • Black pepper - freshly ground
What you do
  • Toss the chopped courgettes with olive oil and place on an oven tray
  • Roast in the oven at 180c for about 40 minutes or so until the courgettes are softened and tinged golden brown
  • Whilst the courgettes are roasting, cook the pasta so that it ready when the courgettes are ready.

  • Drain the pasta and toss with the roasted courgettes and oil , add the cheese and the herbs torn into small pieces

  • Toss and then serve with freshly ground black pepper

I'm including this post in this months cooking with herbs, whose theme this month is basil. Created by Lavender and Lovage and hosted also this month by Karen too.
                                                         Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage

I am also linking to Pasta Please created by Tinned Tomatoes and Hungry Healthy Happy, hosted this month by Hungry Healthy Happy, the theme is a pasta dish healthy or lightened.

                                          pasta please

And also to Eat Your Greens over on Allotment2Kitchen.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Blackcurrant and almond traybake - gluten free

This year from the garden we have had a bumper crop of blackcurrants and quite a few are now in the freezer awaiting my attention. I have already made a few jars of jam for the store cupboard and have made some tumbleberry froyo lollies as well, so as usual my thoughts turn to baking. Blackcurrants have a distinct flavour and need careful pairing if you are to get the best from them, somehow and I'm not sure how I came up with it, that they would combine well with almonds to give a twist on the traditional bakewell tart flavour combination. So this moist, tasty traybake was born, I just love the wild purple colours of the berries in the bake.

What you need
  • 200g softened butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • Approx 200g blackcurrants
  • Handful of flaked almonds
Baking tray - lined

What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 180C
  • Mix the softened butter and caster sugar together in a mixer until pale and fluffy
  • Add the eggs, ground almond and almond extract to the bowl and mix until smooth
  • Pour into the prepared tin, strew with the blackcurrants and sprinkle with flaked almonds.
  • Place in the oven 
  • Bake for 40 or so minutes or until golden and firm in the middle.
  • Cool in the tin
  • Serve in generous squares 

I am linking up to teatimes treats with this post, the them this month being traybakes. Created by Lavender and Lovage and Hedgecombers hosted this month by  Hedgecombers.
                                                                Tea Time Treats Lavender and Lovage

                                                         Lavender and Lovage Tea Time Treats

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Gluten free chicken goujons - quick and easy recipe

For the last couple of weeks its be pretty warm in these parts (well for Lancashire anyway) and I wanted a dish that could be served both hot or cold depending on the weather. This is an easy dish and is great finger food served with dips and sauces or on a more formal basis with vegetables or salad. I would image it would be popular with kiddies too as it very similar to chicken nuggets, except a lot more healthy as its gluten free and not cooked in oil, another added benefit is that a meal can be on the table quickly and ideal for eating outside in the garden whilst the lovely weather lasts.

What you need
  • Chicken breast - per portion ( I used 2)
  • Lemon juice - freshly squeezed ideally
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Polenta -fine grain
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
What you do
  • Pre heat your oven to 200c
  • Locate a suitable oven tray or pan, I used my Pampered chef stoneware tray and it worked a treat
  • Slice the chicken breast fillets into finger thick strips
  • Place in bowl and season well with salt and pepper, toss in the lemon juice and a slug of olive oil
  • Ensure they are coated well
  • On a plate pour out a good layer of polenta and grate over a good quantity of parmesan cheese, mix together.
  • Coat each strip well with the polenta and parmesan mixture, pressing in the coating.
  • Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 -20 minutes, until golden and cooked through. This will all depend on the thickness of your strips
  • Serve hot or cold with salad, dips and sauces or with oven baked "chips"
The featured salad is avocado, mizuna and rocket tossed in a lemon juice and olive oil dressing. This dish would be great served cold al fresco with a selection of dips as part of a picnic feast.

Four Seasons Food is being hosted this month at Eat your Veg with the theme "Al Fresco"  , its hosted in rotation with Delicieux 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Ginger Zinger cake - gluten free and super easy

This is an amazing cake and I challenge you to even tell its gluten free, its light, moist and delicious and very very moreish. Based on a recipe from Honeybuns bakery book (Ginger hippo cake) but with a few creative twists this is a very popular cake in our household and was very well received when I published a few photographs on instagram. I named it Ginger zinger as it contains ginger in four different forms, yet the ginger still doesn't overpower the cake. The filling and topping is very different from what is suggested in the original recipe and I think adds a flavour twist to the cake.

The recipe features sorghum flour which is a tall grass grain which produces a soft white flour and is naturally gluten free, this is combined with ground almonds to create a moist cake with volume. I am also one for not wasting flavours or ingredients soI  decided to use the sticky ginger syrup the stem ginger is preserved in, to enrich the lemon buttercream.I am really pleased with the result and it stores beautifully in the fridge just covered with film wrap, serve in generous slices with a cake fork or spoon.

What you need
  • 175g butter - melted 
  • Oil spray and tapioca flour for the baking tins
  • 100g of drained stem ginger - chopped fine in the food processor
  • 4 eggs - free range medium size
  • 175g light soft brown sugar
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 100g sorghum flour
  • 2 heaped tsp ground ginger 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Buttercream filling
  • 200g soft butter or half and half butter spread and butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • Lemon juice (or lemon extract or fiori di sicilia essence)
  • Ginger Syrup from stem ginger
  • Chopped crystallised for sprinkling on top
2 x 8" sandwich cake tins

What you do
  • Preheat the oven to 180c 
  • Oil spray the tins and flour dust with tapioca flour, tap the tins to remove the excess
  • Mix the finely chopped stem ginger, eggs, sugar, flour, ground almonds, ginger and baking powder and cooled melted butter in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer until you have a smooth mixture.
  • Working quickly pour into the prepared tins, splitting the mixture equally between the two tins.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 25 -30 minutes until golden, well risen and firm to the touch in the middle.
  • Cool in the tins on a wire rack and once fully cool remove from the tins by loosening with a palette knife around the tin and up turning onto a tea towel.
  • To make the buttercream whip the softened butter and icing sugar, syrup and lemon juice in a mixer, beat thoroughly for at least 7 minutes, until all the sugar has dissolved and the buttercream isn't gritty.
  • Smooth just over half the quantity of buttercream on the base layer of the cake, top with the other layer and then create the topping buttercream.
  • Smooth the rest of the buttercream on the top of the cake and sprinkle on the middle the chopped crystallised ginger.
  • Ta dah ! Ginger Zinger Cake, best served slightly cool with a refreshing cup of tea. 
If you wished you could add another ginger or lemon layer to the flavours by using a ginger jam or lemon marmalade to fill the cake along with the buttercream.

Given the quantity of ginger contained in this recipe I am including this post in the link up for "The Spice Trail" hosted by Bangers and Mash

                                                      spice trail badge square

I am also linking up to Casa Castello for Bake of the Week too, as I promised when I blogged this cake I would link up as it contains sorghum flour.

                                                       Casa Costello

Monday, 7 July 2014

Surprise turnip soup

A couple of weeks ago I instagrammed a piccie of a surprise turnip I had found growing in the garden, amongst our pak choi plants and I asked for suggestions for utilising our surprise addition to the larder. With ideas ranging from turnip cake (!), turnip gratin (much better) I decided to take up the suggestion of Irwin Kraus from Massachusetts of a turnip soup.

Based on a recipe from this soup provided a quick and easy supper dish which used up our surprise turnip. The recipe is easy and quick to come together just watch the amount of pepper you add as the turnip has a little heat already.

What you need
  • 1 surprise turnip (or 4 small white turnips) - peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 large white potato - peeled and chopped into cubes
  • Butter or vegetable oil - about a tbsp
  • 1 large onion - peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic - peeled and crushed
  • About 1/2 cup of white wine
  • Vegetable stock - about 500ml may be more
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped chives for decoration
What you do
  • Heat the oil / butter in a large sauce pan and add the onion, garlic and turnips, cook gently for 2 -3 minutes until the onion starts to soften a little and go see through.
  • Add the wine to the pan and simmer for a few minutes until a little reduced
  • Next add the potato and vegetable stock to the pan
  • Bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are softened
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, add more stock or water if required.
  • Puree with a stick blender to the desired consistency.
  • Taste and  season with salt and pepper
  • Bring back to a simmer and serve sprinkled with chopped chives

The bread pictured is gluten free and is from a fantastic bakery in Scotland - Wheat Free Bakery Direct, there bakes are amazing.

I'm linking up this to this months Credit Crunch Munch hosted this month by Maison cupcake, created by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4All.


Also to No Waste Food Challenge hosted this month by Anne's Kitchen and created by Tangoraindrop.

And also to Simple and In Season this month hosted by My custard Pie and created by Ren Behan.

                                                          Simple and in Season - enter your post on

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Credit Crunch Munch June Round up

June was a busy month for us at Lancashire Food hosting not one but two blog challenges, so here's the round up for Credit Crunch Munch, a blog challenge that encourages frugality yet not at the cost of flavour. Some amazing money saving ideas have been linked up and I must say none of them look frugal but they are, bloggers are just so creative.

Our first entry is from Fabfood4all with an amazing Rhubarb and marzipan cake which I am sure tastes amazing and is definitely something I will be bookmarking to try later, I'm pretty sure I have some marzipan languishing in a cupboard somewhere.


Next up is myself with a Rhubarb and anise syrup and frugal jam, utilising rhubarb from the garden to make both syrup and a frugal jam from the fruit leftovers. I even used a recycled bottle !


Jibberjabber kindly linked up a very yummy looking Microwave lemon sponge pudding recipe, which looks so tempting and is whipped up in a flash and belies its humble ingredients.


I love Tapenade, so was very pleased to see A seasonal Veg table - Gothic black olive tapenade being linked up. Using up a half jar of olives she had lurking in the fridge. Great idea !


The above delightful creation is Utterly Scrummy Food's - peach traybake. Created after buying a bargain punnet of peaches for 30p. Doesn't it look amazing....

                              Raw green soup with cavolo nero, coconut and butternut squash Vitamix recipe

Next along came Spicy "Kermit" raw green cavalo nero soup from Sarah at Maisoncupcake, this fantastically healthy soup utilising a bogof on the cavalo nero (kale) just screams eat me. If you want to know why kermit check out the post.

                                  Easy Bean Burger | Sarah James |

Tales from a kitchen shed linked up an Easy bean burger recipe, I am sure this would be great for garden bbq's for the summer and would be very popular with friends and family.


Eee Bah Gum linked up a mushroom and cheese risotto, a great moneysaving dish and very tasty too. We eat a lot of risotto in the Lancashire Food household.

                                        Peach Melba Rice Delight

Tales from a Kitchen shed kindly linked up another couple of recipes,firstly a Peach melba rice delight, which would be suitable for serving at a dinner party in my humble opinion. It looks so beautiful and a great use of seasonal stone fruit. I also love that the rice pudding is cooked in a slow cooker.

                             Slow Cooker Baked Potato | Sarah James | 

Another slow cooker recipe this one utilising the humble jacket potato, the ultimate comfort food. Great idea to use a slow cooker to cook the spuds. Thanks Tales from a Kitchen Shed, another one for the must try list.


Lastly we have an Italian fritatta with vegetables from the MyLittleItalianKitchen, as she says an excellent picnic dish if served cold.


A quick late addition is from Choclette over at Chocolate Log Blog with some very delicious chcolate bean burgers with chilli sauce, what an inventive combination.

I'd like to thank all contributors to June's Credit Crunch Munch and to Fab Food 4all and Fuss Free Flavours for letting me host their challenge.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Cooking with Herbs June Round Up

We were delighted to host Cooking with Herbs last month and was once again blown away by the creative flair displayed by bloggers from across the world in utilising herbs in some fantastic dishes.

Thanks to Karen over at Lavender and Lovage for allowing me to host this amazing blog challenge. Here's the link to the original post
                                                              Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage

Here's a quick round up of the posts submitted this month for June 2014

                                                     Sharing the cake at cake club.

Our first link up was from Mint Custard a beautiful Rosemary Madeira cake recipe which she baked for the theme of "Secret Garden" at her local cake club meeting. As a fellow cake clubber I appreciate her creative twist on a traditional Madeira cake.

                                             cheddar cheese pasties with sorrel and elephant garlic

Next were these delicious looking Cheddar cheese pasties with sorrel and elephant garlic from Fromage Homage, an ideal picnic or lunch box recipe which utilised a pantry surplus of some lovely cheddar cheese.


Of we pop across to Ladysmock Cottage for not one but three recipes, first up are cheddar, onion and sage potato cakes. I love potato cakes so this recipe is right up my street and would be easy to make gluten free by substituting GF flour.


Next we have Clams in cider with parsley, a delicious and easy supper dish, apparently this colourful dish works well with perry as well.


Ladysmock Cottage's final contribution is Leeks braised in white wine and tarragon with a mustard dressing. This stunningly stylist dish contains one of my favourite herbs - tarragon and would be beautiful served hot or cold.

                                                    Strawberry Salad with Hazelnuts and Lemon Balm

Food and Travel blogger Palachinka contribution is a Strawberry Salad with hazelnuts and Lemon Balm, what a summery post which makes great use of seasonal ingredients, I love the combination of lemon balm with strawberries for a lemony zing.

                                 Roasted Pumpkin Laksa 1

Our next contribution is from New Zealand blogger Couscous and Consciousness with a Roasted pumpkin laska. Inspired by a Nigel Slater recipe this aromatic dish is a perfect winter warmer for the colder weather down under.


Cooking for Kirshore linked up with a Broccoli and Rainbow chard quiche, a perfect dish for the warmer weather, ideal for picnics or in the garden.


Next up is my contribution, a Strawberry rhubarb and creme fraiche pavlova with the subtle addition of lemon balm for its lemon sherbet flavours and its almost acidic green leaves.


Next is a chicken dish from Bizzy bakes, wonderfully French, this skillet herbed chicken with mustard would I am sure be a popular supper dish with any family.


 Bizzy Bakes also linked up a broccoli and cheese quiche with the crafty addition of chives to provide a sweet onion flavour to this dish.


The amazing Gluten Free Alchemist linked up this tasty looking gluten free Savoury summer roasted red pepper and tomato tartlet which would be wonderful with a green salad for lunch. Definitely one for bookmarking me thinks.


Joan Ransley kindly linked up this post of Blackcurrant and lemon verbena tarlets with elderflowers after I spotted it on twitter. Wonderfully summery and a great use of seasonal ingredients.

                                                  "Arabian Nights" Tabbouleh Salad Recipe for the NEW App Uniform Foodies

Cooking with herbs creator - Karen at Lavender and Lovage kindly linked up her "Arabian Nights" tabbouleh salad recipe. A colourful dish which utilises multi herbs in its creation including calendula flowers.


Anyone for Mexican guacamole with beef wraps ?, this is our next tasty contribution from Chris cooking around the world.


Chilli is obviously very popular at the moment as our next contribution is Chilli chicken bean bowls from Anne's Kitchen, who has a great tip on shaping your bowls by microwaving your tortilla and then shaping over a bowl.

                               turkey chilli (1024x674)

Another chilli dish this time from Searching for Spice who linked up with a healthy Turkey chilli. What an easy way to get some of your 5 a day.


The next contribution is Greens, beans and potato soup from blogger Green Gourmet Giraffe, this wholesome soup is made in remembrance of a work colleague and also as an ideal way to clear out the fridge vegetable drawer.

                                 Vietnamese Spring Roll

Next in this mammoth roundup is the stunning Vietnamese style summer rolls from Vohn's Vittles , this recipe is beautiful and the sort of food I like to eat.


We have the Kitchen of Kiki to thank for our next recipe, a simple but very tasty cold potato salad with herbs. A great summer dish for a hot day, as Kirsten says its quick to come together and only requires a very short time in the kitchen to make.

                                                Pineapple Mint Frothie

The taste space kindly linked up with the delicious looking Pineapple mint frothy drink, What an amazing flavour combination and one that must have been well in a hot Houston from where Taste Space hails.

                                Herbed Cauliflower ‘Rice’ with Tahini Yoghurt

Cauliflower is all the rage at the moment and this is a great recipe for Herbed Cauliflower rice from Recipes from a pantry. Such a versatile recipe and ideal if you are paleo or on a no carb diet.


We now pop over to Fabfood4all for an amazing looking Roasted tomato, red pepper and chorizo soup, featuring basil one of my favourite herbs, I can smell this from here, Wonderful.....

                                Roast Lamb with Tahini-Eggplant Puree

Our penultimate contribution is Mint Cumin roast lamb with moutabal from The Lass in the apron.This Lebanese Nigel Slater inspired dish would make a lovely variant on a Sunday lunch.

                                Lemon and Mint Pesto by

Last but not least rounding off an amazing Cooking with herbs is a Lemon and mint pesto from Feeding boys and a firefighter. This versatile pesto is a great recipe to help in tackling that rampaging mint plant in my garden.

A very tasty and inventive contribution from Choclette over at Chocolate Log Blog with chocolate bean burgers with chilli sauce. Delicious.....

Thanks everyone for your amazing contributions, I've really enjoyed hosting. See you all soon.

                                                      Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage

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