Friday, 31 October 2014

Sticky parkin - ideal for halloween or a traditional bonfire night treat

Parkin is a traditional bonfire night treat in Lancashire and this recipe unlike quite a lot of other recipes this immediately has that essential sticky quality that a good parkin needs, easily made gluten free this is also an ideal treat for those unexpected trick or treaters on Halloween.

Featuring a warming mixture of spices and lots of lovely treacly flavours and its flavour improves even further with keeping.

What you need

  • 125g butter or quality margarine
  • 125g dark brown sugar
  • 220g treacle
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g plain flour (gluten free works fine)
  • 2 heaped tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly ground nutmeg
  • Good pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200g oatmeal (fine or medium - ensure gluten free if necessary)
  • 60ml of skimmed milk
  • 9" by 9" square tin, lined with baking parchment

What you do

  • Preheat your oven to 150c (fan) or 170c (std oven)
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and treacle, once melted add the bicarbonate of soda and allow to cool slightly.
  • In a large baking bowl, place the flour, Ginger, nutmeg, cloves,oatmeal and baking powder. Mix well together and then add the melted treacle mixture
  • Stir together and add the milk, mix until you have a very loose liquid cake batter.
  • Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes or so until a cocktail stick comes out of the cake clean.
  • Cool in the tin until its safe to handle (normally about 30 mins) and then cool fully on a wire rack
  • Cut into squares to serve, stores well wrapped in an airtight tin.

I'm linking up to Tea Time Treats co-created by Lavender and Lovage and  this month hosts Hedgecombers, the theme this month being BONFIRE NIGHT!

                                                     Tea Time Treats Lavender and Lovage

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Ghoul-ash pies from Hollands for Halloween !

Fancy winning some limited edition tasty Ghoul-ash pies from those lovely folks at Hollands Pies find out how below.

We've been lucky enough to sample this tasty recipe and think they would make an excellent spooktacular addition to any Halloween party table. 

Legendary pie and pastries maker Holland’s Pies has launched a search to find the UK’s best Halloween creations in return for its exclusive Halloween Pie!

Whether it’s a special Halloween recipe created for those trick or treaters, a show stopping costume, party decorations or even Halloween themed crafts Holland’s wants its fans to share their wicked Halloween creations on its Facebook and Twitter pages or via email:

Holland’s are offering the most impressive creations a limited edition batch of its ‘Ghoul-ash Pies’ created exclusively for Holland’s, this Halloween, by celebrity chef Tom Bridge, off The Great British Bake Off. The trick is to get you’re pictures in quick, to get your treat!

To create the Ghoul-ash Pie at home, follow this recipe:

Holland’s Ghoul-ash Pie

1 tbsp vegetable oil
450g/ 1lb stir-fry beef strips or minute steak cut into strips
100g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
3 tsp paprika
500g potatoes, peeled and cut into smallish chunks
600ml hot beef stock
500g jar tomatoes -based cooking sauce
Handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped
450g/1lb short crust pastry

Heat half the oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the beef for 2 mins, stirring once halfway through. If your pan is small, do this in two batches. Tip the meat onto a plate. Heat the remaining oil in the pan (no need to clean) and fry the mushrooms for 2-3 mins until they start to colour.

Sprinkle the paprika over the mushrooms, fry briefly, then tip in potatoes, stock and tomato sauce. Give it all a good stir, cover and simmer for 20 mins until the potatoes are tender. Return the beef to the pan along with any juices, and warm through. Stir in the parsley and a swirl of yoghurt and allow the steak to cool completely and place into a container to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 200c / 400f gas 6

On a floured board, roll out pastry until it is 1 inch larger on all sides than top of the pie tins. Without stretching, press rolled out pasty into the pie tins with a quarter inch over lay on outside edge of pie tin. Using a knife cut remaining sheet of pastry and top the pies. Fill the pies with the beef and top with pastry lids, crimping and egg wash to seal the lids, pierce a small hole in the centre to allow the steam to disperse. Use any left over pastry to make decorative shapes. Brush one side of each piece with egg and arrange pieces, egg side down, on pastry over beef. Place the pies on a baking sheet and bake in the centre of the oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the baked pies from oven and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Become a fan and share your Halloween creations at and on Twitter @hollandspies. For further information on the Holland’s Pie range please visit

Produced in Lancashire for over 160 years, Holland’s Pies is one of the North West’s best-loved pie makers; producing a range of delicious pies, puddings and pastries for pie lovers everywhere.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Rustic courgette bake

This weekend we have finally pulled up the last courgette plant of the season, as part of the tidy up a couple of large courgettes were discovered in the undergrowth. So this recipe makes the best of the last of this seasonal bounty, with its roots fairly in the Mediterranean this dish gives a heavy nod towards Lancashire too as its features lots of local produce.

I love dishes like this where everything is placed in one pot and the oven does all the work, if you haven't got some homemade tomato sauce to hand then a jar of quality passata works great. I also raided the herb garden for my herbs, selecting sage, rosemary and thyme and a little oregano to be added to the dish.

What you need

  • Couple of courgettes, washed and sliced length ways into strips
  • 1 large red onion - peeled and sliced into finely fine halves (local grown)
  • 1 jar passata or similar quantity of homemade tomato sauce (homemade)
  • Selection of fresh herbs - rustically chopped (homegrown)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Local Cheddar cheese - coarsely grated (local)
  • Yogurt - thick Greek style (local) about 200 ml
  • 1 egg - free range (home laid)
  • Large cast iron skillet / ovenproof dish
  • Oil (olive or rapeseed)
What you do
  • Preheat the oven to 200c (fan)/ 220c (non fan)
  • Add a little oil to pan and gently saute to courgette strips and onions.
  • Now layer up with tomato sauce on the base, courgettes and onions, herbs, and then repeat.
  • Mix the yogurt and egg together, top of the dish and then finish with grated cheese
  • Strew with more herbs
  • Bake for 20 - 30 minutes until golden and bubbling and the courgettes are meltingly soft
  • Serve with crusty bread for mopping up all the lovely juices

We are linking up to Cooking With Herbs - who's theme this month is Scarborough Fair. This dish contains Sage, Rosemary and thyme, created by the lovely Karen over at Lavender and Lovage and hosted by her too this month.                                        


We are also linking up to Extra Veg hosted this month by A Mummy too


And finally Simple and in Season created by Reb Behan and hosted this month by her too.

                                                            Simple and in Season

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Pork Pies from Haynes Men's Pie Manual

This recipe is two recipes combined from the Haynes Men's pie manual which was reviewed here by Mr Lancashire Food, who was trying to create a pie of his youth.

What you need to make 4 generous individual pork pies
  • 225g plain flour
  • 225g strong white flour
  • 150g lard - melted gently, do not boil
  • 125ml boiling water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
For the filling
  • 400g chopped pork shoulder, blitzed in the food processor

  • salt and pepper
  • 125ml veal stock 
  • 4 sheets of gelatine
What you do
  • Mix the flour, salt and sugar in large bowl
  • Add the melted lard and boiling water to the flour bowl, mixing carefully with a knife until the mixture is cool enough to handle.

  • Knead for a few minutes
  • Divide the mixture so you have a approximately a quarter for your pie lids
  • Roll out your pastry and shape for your pie tins, Mr LF used some small metal pudding mold, ensuring he used a slip of baking parchment under the pastry to assist removal later

  • Shape the pastry, ensuring no gaps in the sides and fill with your seasoned pork, which you have divided equally between pies (MR LF is an engineer so he weighed and divided by 4 in his case)

  • Roll out your tops and using a little beaten egg create a tight seal on top of your pie. 
  • Make a small hole in the centre of the lid to let out steam. Crimp artistically around the top

  • Brush the tops of the pies with beaten egg and bake in a preheated oven at 200c/180c fan for 15 minutes and then turn down to 150c and bake for another 35 minutes 
  • Remove from the oven once golden brown and leave to stand in the tins until completely cold
  • To make the jelly filling, soak the gelatine in some cold water for 5 minutes, squeeze out the excess moisture , add this to hot veal stock and stir until melted.
  • Very carefully and very slowly pour the jelly liquid into your pies through the small hole in the top ( Mr LF used a tiny funnel) 
  • Cool and chill in the fridge

These amazingly tasty pies were made using some lovely local pork from a farm shop pretty local to us, the family farm grows a good percentage of their own fruit and vegetables and also raises a variety of animals including turkeys. Its definitely worth seeking out some good local pork as this is the star of the show in these pies.

Mr LF surprised himself as to how easy the pies were to create and their frugality as well. To make 4 handsomely sized pies cost about £3 in ingredients and energy and the pies could have easily been sold as artisan pork pies at £1.50 each. 

The pies would make addition to a picnic, buffet or ploughman's accompanied with chutneys or pickles. As these are particularly man sized pies,  I can only manage a half a pie so maybe next time around Mr LF needs to make them a little smaller !

Recipe is based on the Haynes Men's pie manual which retails at £21.99

The book was provided for review on a complimentary basis and any thoughts are mine or Mr LF's, we were not required to post a positive review.

We are adding this post to Credit Crunch munch - created by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4all, hosted this month by A New Addition as this is a very frugal recipe that tastes amazing !


And also to Shop Local  created byElizabeth's Kitchen and hosted this month too by Elizabeth


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Mens Pie Manual by Haynes. A Guest Review by Mr Lancashire Food

If , like me you are a man of a certain age, you grew up with a collection of Haynes Manuals. Maybe to get your first car through its MOT and later on to give your lawn mower a service before its first cut of the season. These's books were written with step by step instructions and photographs to important steps in the processes. So, what has this got to do with cooking? well, the people from Haynes have teamed up with food journalist and author Andrew Webb to produce a manual to Men's Pies.

Just like the traditional manuals, the book is broken down into useful chapters.

· Tools of the trade - an overview of all the strange things you find in the kitchen but were afraid to ask what they did.

· Making Pastry - covering such topics as different flours and fats and how to make seven!! different types of pastry. Watch this space GBBO next year !

· Stocks and sauces - we all like the juicy gravy and jellies in pies.

· Meat Pies - following a short section on food Hygiene we are treated to step by step instructions on how to make 20 different meat related pies.

· The next five chapters cover other pie fillings such as fish, vegetables and fruit. Also, a chapter on pasties, sausage rolls etc.

As this is a book about Men's baking Mrs LF decided that I should make a from the book. Being a Lancashire lad, born and bred in Chorley, I grew up on a traditional pork pies made by Thornleys pork butchers, so it had to be a pork pie. Looking through the book, I decided that a cross between a Melton Mowbray and a Gala pie resembled most the pie of my childhood.

The Haynes Men’s Pie Manual is available from priced £21.99 and would make a smashing thoughtful christmas present for the man in your life.

My only disappointment  being a Lancashire lad that missing from the book was the iconic Lancashire speciality - the butter pie, otherwise its a great book. This blog fortunately does have a recipe which you can find here.

I'm going to hand back over now to Linzi for her to blog my actual bake from the book. Here is the first image of my bake.

Spicy gingerbread loaf

This recipe is a firm family favourite and is pretty quick to whip up with the added bonus that its all made in one pan (less washing up, yeah I say). It has a lovely warm spicy flavour which is perfect with a cup of tea after a walk in blustery autumnal weather when you have been kicking through fallen leaves.

The sultanas are moist and juicy and really add something to this bake and it stores perfectly wrapped in an airtight tin, the recipe also has the bonus of making two loaf cakes.

What you need
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of sultanas
  • 4 oz Quality margarine or butter
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp mixed spice ( I used Lebuchen mix )
  • 3 tsp ground ginger

Boil this for 10 minutes or so to allow the fruit to swell, then cool fully, add 2 eggs and 2 cups self raising flour and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, mix well and pour into two 2lb loaf tins, bake in a preheated oven at 160c for 40-50 minutes.

Super easy, wonderful comfort food .......

This would also be served at a bonfire party or for revellers paying a visit trick or treating.



I'm linking up this to Treat Petite hosted alternatively by Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer, the theme this month is Trick or Treat.

                                                           Link up your baking posts from the last week

And also Bake of the Week over with Helen at Casa Costello

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Preston Marriot Great British Steak Off

Last night saw us visiting the Preston Marriott Hotel for the launch of their #steakoff nights. On the press launch evening the competition steaks hailed from the USA (Creekstone Farms Natural black angus beef) and from the much more local Ribble Valley, Lancashire (Manor Farm, Hurst Green), chef carefully prepared some mighty hunks of meat for the awaiting guests to taste test and from which to make your choice.

We had a choice of a tomahawk, t bone, fillet, sirloin and rib eye cuts from both countries to choose our chosen favourite steak from. With some trepidation both Mr LF and myself plumped for origin B - sirloin, hoping that we had chosen the Lancashire Beef (fingers crossed) as we much preferred its meaty beefy flavour.

Chef Paul Mitchell  and his team then prepared our steak dinners to our specific order in terms of origin, cut and cooking level.


The dining area in the hotel is sumptuously appointed and the steaks even more so, our steaks were served with fabulous double cooked chips, watercress, Bearnaise sauce and mammoth onion rings, as we awaited the results of what countries steak we had chosen. For those of you with mammoth appetites the tomahawk as pictured below would satisfy you and probably Fred Flintstone as well !

Photo kindly provided by Foody Phil

We were finally put out of our misery - yeah we had chosen the Ribble Valley steaks - talk about relieved as I wasn't sure how I would of coped if I had chosen the American version, which were also good but as you all know we are very big on local produce here at Lancashire Food.

You too can book an evening where chef will prepare steaks from different origins for you to taste
test before ordering your steak dinner for the evening, I am lead to believe it likely to be Yorkshire versus Lancashire for the first public steak off, launching on the 15th November. Prices start at £15.95 for a steak dinner with a tasting expereince and for you lucky readers we also have a discount of 10% if you book and quote SO1 at the time of booking.

I am sure the evenings are going to be very popular and you can book your steak off by contacting the Marriott directly.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

mini nibs - where do you nibble yours ?

I know this sounds sacreligious but this week we have mostly been nibbling something thats made in Yorkshire !
Mini nibs are handy  resealable snack pots of crunchy munchy dinky cheese straws, which come in three flavours

  •  Exceptional cheddar cheese 
  • Exceptional cheedar and spicy chilli
  • Exceptional cheddar and cheeky onion
Apparently all the cheddar cheese used in nib nibs hails from Garstang in Lancashire

The mini nibs range also includes some very moreish roasted salt and pepper jumbo peanuts (my personal favourites from the range) 

The total range is great to serve as a snack with drinks with friends and the pots are also great for popping in your rucksack whilst out on a walk. The nibnibs range is avaliable  through many quality outlets including Booths Supermarkets, nibnibs have a handy stockist finder on their website. They are also on Facebook and twitter too. 

Now here's the great news we have some nibnibs to giveaway in an easy Rafflecopter giveaway, so if you'd love to try some nibnibs why not join in the fun do you own taste test.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run from 12pm on 15th October to 12th November.
The prize is a selection of nibnibs which will be sent direct to the winner.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Tiramisu coffee cups

Tiramisu is the ultimate comfort food (eat your heart out Jamie Oliver) and for many years I have used Antonio Carluccio's recipe, decadently rich and creamy with just the necessary amount of alcohol and coffee to cut the richness of the marscapone.

Antonio is one of my food hero's an I have been lucky enough to meet him many many years ago, he is such a humble down to earth man, so approchable. Tiramisu means lift me up or pick me and was apparently created in the 1960's and first appearing in a recipe book in the 1980's.

Its an easy recipe and one I have used for many years, you can ring the changes with the alcohol added to the coffee (brandy, amaretto, sherry, kalhua, tia maria) and also you make this gluten free if you make some gluten free sponge or get hold of gluten free sponge fingers.

Traditionally made in a flat dish and cut into squares, I thought I'd ring the changes and use coffee cups instead.

What you need
  • Marscapone cream - 1 tub
  • Sponge fingers
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • vanilla paste
  • Cocoa powder
  • Expresso coffee
  • Slug of alcohol (I like using amaretto for its almondy flavour)
What you need to do
  • Mix the egg yolk and sugar in a bowl with about 1 tsp of vanilla paste

  • Whisk the marscapone with the vanilla paste until soft and then stir in the egg mixture

  • Next mix approximately small coffee cup of expresso and the slug of alcohol in a bowl, allow to cool slightly, so you can put your fingers comfortably in the mixture.
  • Soak the sponge fingers in the coffee mixture until softened but not breaking up.
  • Layer in the coffee cups with alternating layers of cheese/egg mix and the sponge fingers soaked in coffee

  • Once you come to the top of the come, smooth off the final cheese/egg layer and sprinkle with cocoa
  • Chill well and serve to your awaiting public.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Roots - Hand Cooked Vegetable Crisps

Roots - They taste so good because "Its in our roots" ! 

We were really pleased to receive a sample of Roots - Hand cooked vegetable crisps in the post recently, we are amongst the first foodies to get their hands on this new delicacy, produced by Huntapac one of the the UK's leading growers of carrots and parsnips. 

Huntapac has its origins in wartime Britain (1942) and hails from the Lancashire village of Tarleton, famous for its potato and vegetable growing. The crisps are made from carrots, parsnips and beetroot grown in Lancashire and across the UK by Huntapac. 

The vegetables are thinly sliced and hand cooked in pure sunflower oil and lightly seasoned with sea salt, sold in 50g bags and also catering packs these are a tasty addition to any lunch or snack time.

The tasty crisps are crunchy and deliciously savoury, yet with a sweet salty edge. Good job they only sent packets and not the catering tub ! as they are very very moreish.

I am also really pleased to say that you can purchase Roots in selected Booths stores across Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire in the sandwich aisle, further strengthening their relationship with the local regional supermarket chain.

You can find Roots on the internet, facebook and twitter as well.

We received the sample on a complementary basis, all views and opinions expressed are our own and we were not required to write a positive review.
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