Saturday, 26 February 2011

Costs of food

This blog is about buying fresh food that fits all pockets. I was listening to the radio about the idea to fund vouchers for fresh fruit and veg for some sections of British Society. The lady being interviewed said that as strawberries and blueberries were so expensive they would not be bought very often. I do wish that someone would champion English Apples. They are wonderful and taste even better. Please will someone start an Apple Marketing Board to do that? The variety of flavours is awesome as is the textures and sweetness. A huge variety available for a lot of the year, much better than the standardised imported ones. Although there are very good imported ones too.

I live in a county that is meat producing and does not grow much in the way of fresh fruit and veg. However for the people who say food is expensive here is what I spent at my local ALDI supermarket on 15/2/11 and what I got for my money.

large can red kidney beans 19p
2 pots of cottage cheese plain £1.38
1 large can chopped tomoto's with herbs 41p
specialist porridge with dried fruit £1.29 ( I don't normally pay that much)
250g fresh green beans .55p
1 head brocolli 39p
1 yoghourt 180g 29p
6 pink lady apples 1.99
carrots 500g 39p
pack stock cubes 65p

total £7.53

Well Done Aldi, excellent quality of fruit and veg and very fresh.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Great Blue Cheese- With Nail Blue

Good tasting food can only made with great ingredients. I want to have some links to out side suppliers where great tasting food is available. are
the suppliers of speciality Cheeses, Farmhouse butter and milk Winter Tarn Organic Farm are situated near Shap, Cumbria, CA10 3EW. I met them at a 'Made in Cumbria' food fair. There is a bit of a joke as to the name of the cheese. The farm is situated close to where the film was made Withnail and I and as the blue streaks are produced with nails, the title was born.

This blue cheese is very similar to a dolcelatte Italian blue but I may be biased as I am jumping up and down for UK producers, I think its better. Its softer in texture and I think the flavour lingers more. The piece I had was fairly ripe and was good on its own or made into a sauce. If I had not eaten it all you could have had a picture of it.

There was also a newish (11 weeks) cream coloured smooth Caerphilly type which lingered in the mouth after a creamy start and an incredible Double Gloucester, red, creamy. A lot of cream descriptions here but that's what they are like.

Saturday, 12 February 2011


Rain and mud underfoot did nothing to spoil the day at Dalemain House near Penrith, Cumbria which has an annual Marmalade festival. I enjoyed most of tastings. The categories for the competitions are Aritsans, Clergy and Peers, B and B and hotels A Family affair, Dark and Chunky. The Inventive section had ones with strawberry and even lavender. A 'Merry' category has lots of booze in it and also a Seville Orange section.

I met the two ladies who have set up for all the jam jars you could need. They have also started the with Pam Corbin wife of Hugh Ferneley-Whittingstall as the patron. She ran Thursday Cottage Jam company for quite a few years so knows what she is talking about.
I saw the judges had a drink of water inbetween tastings, if I had tried this maybe I could have managed more. Plastic spoons were supplied for tasting so you could work round them all if you wished. Please do not double dip and please put dirty spoons in the basket.

Clear with fine rind looked like someone had done some exceptionally fine even knife work on the peel. So clear you could see through it, the colour of pale straw. The darker marmalades were from amber to almost coral and as dark as sienna and mixed spice. Even darker ones were orange red, a chilli red and orange and even some apricot shades as well. Some had little peel and some were so dense with it you could not see any jelly. Thick cut varied from very thick to nearly thick. Some thick cut was all peel and very little jelly.

One entry even had seville oranges grown in Afghanistan with the marmalade made in England.

There was a battle of the ashes with Australian entries at one end of the table and English entries at the other. It looked very competitive from where I was standing. The prize to be returned to OZ is two wooden spoons.

There is also a label competition for the best label on the jar. I note the one that came second had young brothers on it in the family entry section with photos of them both.

I met one of the judges who was a food buyer for Fortnam and Masons. He was most interesting in telling me how they work with small suppliers to make sure of the quality of the products they sell. The company make the marmalade receipe of the best in show and it will be in their store in Piccadilly London.

I did not put my seville orange marmalade in the show as this year for some unknown reason it was a bit cloudy. Each of the entries were marked out of 20 and had comments. I took note of all of them. Cloudy looked OK really.

The marmalade orange tang lingered in my mouth all day-delightful.

Great Tasting Food

To have great tasting food you have to buy great tasting ingredients. I want to do a section on this blog about where to buy good tasting food. That encompasses food markets, food producers artisan food producers and everything else in between.

This photo is in Feuteventura in the Canary Islands, Spain and is bread made in an outside oven made of stones at an outdoor museum. The bread is made of unbleached white flour and is fairly dense but light and has a light touch of caraway seeds in it. It goes very well with the goats cheese made down the road. The lady is the baker. I have not seen this flavour of bread in the UK. Great idea.