Archive for the ‘British Food’ Category

Harvest Fest: Where to find Britain’s Best Farmers’ Markets

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
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“That’s it, from now on, I’m healthy eating!” I can’t count the times I’ve heard – and uttered – this pledge, yet nine times out of ten this good intention fails to materialise. Since the health benefits of eating well came to the fore, the price of so called superfoods has rocketed, making it difficult for some to budget for a healthy lifestyle. But buying fresh produce needn’t be expensive; head to any of the UK’s hundreds of weekly farmers’ markets, and you’ll find plenty of healthy, locally sourced produce at fare and affordable prices. Here’s five of our favourite agricultural markets from around the UK.

Orton Farmer’s Market – Orton, Cumbria

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Over 35 local farmers, producers and craftsmen set up shop at the Orton Farmers’ Market, a large produce fair taking place in the centre of Orton village every second Saturday of the month. Fair organisers stipulate that all wares sold at the market – be it food stuff or craft – must be grown, produced or manufactured within fifty miles of the village, so punters know what they’re buying is home-grown. Expect fresh veg grown in the emerald Eden Valley, moreish seafood from Morecambe Bay and affordable meat that hasn’t travelled across the sea to reach your plate.

The Goods Shed – Canterbury, Kent

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Housed in a Victorian railway building, The Goods Shed offers a charming place to shop for top quality nosh. Purveyors of delectable local produce since the early noughties, The Goods Shed is one of Britain’s only markets that operates daily – even Sundays. The Goods Shed has a different vibe to other farmers’ markets, with regular sellers housed in specially built concession stalls throughout the building. You’ll find a variety of quality food and drink at the market, including locally brewed ales at The Bottle Shop, delicious continental meat at Patriana Charcuterie, and tasty cheese at the Cheese Makers of Canterbury – scrumdiddlyumptious.

Stroud Farmers’ Market – Stroud, Gloucestershire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Multi-award winning isn’t an accolade you’d associate with a farmers’ market, but there’s no other way to describe the Stroud Farmers’ Market. As one of the UK’s biggest, busiest and outright brilliant farm fairs, Stroud has received glowing recommendations from the Sunday Telegraph, The Independent, The Times and everyone’s favourite Cornwall based chef, Rick Stein. The market features well over fifty produce, craft and miscellaneous stalls, making it by far Britain’s biggest farmers’ market. From bread to veg, you’ll find everything and more at the Stroud Farmers’ Market.

The Orkney Farmers’ Market – Orkney, Scotland

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

OK, it’s not as local as the cornershop, but the Orkney Farmers’ Market is well worth the leg-work. Featuring a fantastic array of local tradesmen – not to mention a wonderful location in the heart of Kirkwall – the Orkney Farmers’ Market is one produce fair you’ll want to spend plenty of time perusing. The event brings plenty of regular stallholders selling a variety of fresh produce and items; plus, there’s usually some entertain put on in support of local charities. The Orkney Farmers’ Market takes place on every last Saturday of the month, so do stop by if you’re in the area on this date.

Cook up a storm in a country cottage

If tasting local produce is on your UK holiday wishlist, why not take a look at our range of self-catering country cottages? Featuring charming kitchens, spacious larders and comfortable dining areas, these holiday rentals are ideal for those who want to cook up a storm using the freshest local produce – take a look now.

Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Sykes’ Favourite Tea Rooms

Monday, October 6th, 2014
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If there’s one thing we’re known for in Britain it’s our love of a cup of tea. If that tea comes in a pot beside a slice of a homemade cake and finger sandwiches then all the better. Wherever you find yourself on these isles of ours you won’t be too far away from a delightful tea room and – as anyone who follows Sykes Cottages on Instagram will know – we aren’t shy of indulging in a good brew and slice of cake every now and again. As we’re the sharing sort, we’d like to share with you some of the best tea rooms we have enjoyed during our travels.

The Stirrup Eating House, Haworth

TheStirrup

The Stirrup Eating House is the perfect location for replenishing your batteries when exploring Haworth. Whether you’re just stopping by for cream tea, or want to relax with their afternoon tea you won’t be disappointed!

Bettys, various locations in Yorkshire

Bettys

The world famous Bettys is at the top of many an afternoon tea fan’s list of tea rooms to visit – and for good reason. From delicious chocolates and cakes, to biscuits and, of course, scones, anyone who walks into a Bettys’ tea room is greeted with the delightful aroma of high quality, home made goods.

Harrods, London

Harrods

Afternoon tea at Harrods in The Georgian Restaurant is the ultimate indulgence. Choose from a selection of tea inspired cocktails and mocktails, or treat yourself to the more traditional Georgian Afternoon Tea.

Baldry’s Tearoom, The Lake District

Baldrys (1)

With homemade bread and cakes baked fresh every day and a huge selection of gluten free options available, there’s something delicious for everyone to enjoy at Baldry’s Tearoom in Grasmere. These delicious treats are enjoyed in the tea room’s vintage style on mismatched plates and cups, providing a wonderful atmosphere.

York Cocoa House, York

York Cocoa House

For chocolate fans and those looking for something a little different, York Cocoa House cannot be missed. The aptly named Afternoon Chocolate includes all the usual components of afternoon tea; scones, finger sandwiches and petit fours but with a chocolatey twist. Everything is homemade and served in their chic café right in the centre of York.

Llanfair Caereinion, Wales

Llanfair (2)

Serving a selection of sandwiches, cakes and drinks, the tea room at Llanfair Caereinion is highly recommended by members of the team here at Sykes Cottages. Everything is homemade, delicious and well-priced, making it the perfect tea room!

The Devonshire Arms, Skipton

Bolton

Surrounded by the beautiful grounds of the Bolton Abbey Estate is The Devonshire Arms in Skipton. Their full afternoon tea includes homemade sandwiches, pastries and of course, tea or coffee but with the added benefit of beautiful views and comfortable sofas so that you can lounge away the afternoon!

Wherever The Feeling Takes You

Scone

Cream tea is such a delight that it seems a shame to only indulge in it whilst at a tea room. Whenever the feeling takes you why not make yourself a pot of tea and indulge in a slice of your favourite cake? It really does perk up the afternoon!

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Easy Egg Recipes for British Egg Week

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
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Believe it or not, today is the start of British Egg Week. That’s right, the humble egg now has its own week, and who could deny it that? It’s an absolute staple no matter what meal you’re looking at; breakfast, lunch, dinner, if you’re stuck for an idea the egg will always come to the rescue. But forget about a simple boiled or fried egg! In celebration of Egg Week, we’ve had a look and found some fantastic eggy recipes for you to try out!

Eggs Benedict

Where else to start but with the classic brunch, Eggs Benedict? You just can’t beat it when it comes to a special occasion! The following recipe should be enough for two people and will take around fifteen minutes, though you can save time by using pre-made hollandaise sauce if you’re pushed for time.

via Flickr

via Flickr

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

  • 3 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 75 oz of melted butter
  • 2 large egg yolks

For the dish:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 slices of ham
  • 2 breakfast muffins

Method:

  1. Start by making the sauce. Simmer the vinegar over a medium heat until it has reduced by half. Then, place it in a heatproof bowl along with the egg yolks over a pan of simmering water. Whisk these two together until the mixture starts to thicken up, then whilst whisking, gradually add in the melted butter. Once that is done set the sauce aside.
  2. Half and toast your muffins.
  3. Fill up a deep pan with water and bring to the boil. Stir the water briskly so that it is swirling around the pan and add in the eggs, the movement of the water should keep them held together nicely.
  4. Place your ham on top of the muffins along with some of the sauce.
  5. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon after they’ve been poaching for three minutes and place on the ham. Top with the remaining sauce and serve.

Scotch Eggs

Next is the classic picnic treat, although it will be just at home tucked away in a lunch box for an indulgent snack. The recipe shouldn’t take any more than 45 minutes to make and will leave you with 4 beautiful scotch eggs to work your way through.

via Flickr

via Flickr

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 400g of sausage meat
  • 75g of breadcrumbs
  • a handful of flour
  • 2 litres of vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbspn of English mustard

Method:

  1. Place four of the eggs into a pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for three and a half minutes. Once they are cooked immediately move them to a bowl of cold water and peel.
  2. Season the sausage meat, add in the mustard and split the mixture into four equal sized balls.
  3. Prepare three separate bowls, one with the breadcrumbs, one with the flour and one with the remaining egg cracked into it and beaten.
  4. Take one of the cooked and peeled eggs and a ball of sausage meat. Dust the egg with a bit of flour, flatten the meat into a pattie and wrap it around the egg. Repeat this for all four of the eggs.
  5. Dust the ball with flour, dip into the beaten egg and roll in the breadcrumbs.
  6. Heat all of the the oil in a deep pan. You can check the temperature by dropping in a breadcrumb and seeing if it starts to fry. Once it is hot enough, place each of the scotch eggs in and then cook for four minutes, giving them a turn every now and then.
  7. Using a slotted spoon remove the eggs and pat them down with some kitchen roll to remove any excess oil.

Bacon and Leek Quiche

Finally we’ve got one of my personal favourites, a good old bacon and leek quiche. You can serve it up either fresh out of the oven, or leave it to cool down for a lunchtime treat. This recipe uses a pre-made pastry case to save time, although if you’d rather make your own you can find a great recipe here, just don’t forget you’ll need to blind bake the case before you add in the mixture.

via Flickr

via Flickr

Ingredients:

  • 150g of bacon lardons
  • 3 large leeks
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200ml of double cream
  • 50g of cheddar cheese
  • 1 pre-made pastry case

Method:

  1. Fry the bacon lardons in oil for 5-7 minutes until they have started to brown.
  2. Peel and wash the leeks then finely slice them, also peel the garlic clove and finely chop it. Add the leeks and garlic to the pan with the lardons and turn the heat down. Gently fry the mixture until the leeks being to caramelise, this should take around 10-15 minutes.
  3. Once the leeks are done, spoon the mixture out into the pastry case and spread evenly.
  4. Mix the eggs and cream together with some seasoning, then pour over the bacon and leek mixture. Top with the grated cheese and place in an oven at 160°c for 25 to 30 minutes until.
  5. Cut into slices and serve.

So there you go, some of our favourite egg recipes to get you through British Egg Week. If you have any suggestions for other recipes be sure to let us know, either by tweeting us or telling us on Facebook!

Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

UK Michelin Starred Restaurants – Where to Indulge this Autumn

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
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Of the four seasons, autumn is my favourite. Warm woollen jumpers, colourful forest walks and early nights all add to this season’s charm, but possibly its best feature is the abundance of seasonal produce on offer. For me autumn is all about food and for a real treat during these chilly months I like nothing better than indulging in a luxury meal cooked by some of the UK’s finest chefs.

To help whet your appetite for autumn we’ve put together a selection of four Michelin starred restaurants offering a delectable selection of seasonal produce.

Mr Underhill’s Restaurant, Ludlow

Image taken from Mr Underhill's website.

Image taken from Mr Underhill’s website.

Mr Underhill’s has been serving award-winning food for over 32 years and with courses like ‘White fish veloute, marmalade ice cream and shellfish wafer’ it’s no wonder people keep coming back to this delightful venue. Set at the foot of Ludlow castle, overlooking a beautiful courtyard garden with views of the River Teme beyond, this really is a magical spot.

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Dublin

Image via Flickr.

Image via Flickr.

The Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is the only two star Michelin restaurant in Ireland and has been at the centre of Dublin’s fine dining scene for 33 years. Reading through this venue’s menu is sure to make your mouth water with courses like ‘Mellow Spiced Wicklow Lamb with Avacado Mousseline, Piquillos Pepper, Olive Crumble and Pearle Jus’.

The Bath Priory, Bath

Image taken from The Bath Priory website.

Image taken from The Bath Priory website.

From Michelin starred dining to award winning gardens, The Bath Priory offers an outstanding dining experience. Their executive chef, Sam Moody, has created a fantastic reputation for flavour and their current menu doesn’t disappoint with an indulgent selection of autumnal flavours available in their mid-week lunch menu.

Castle Terrace, Edinburgh

Image provided by Castle Terrace.

Image provided by Castle Terrace.

The Castle Terrace Restaurant in Edinburgh specialises in using the finest produce Scotland has to offer and delivering it in a neat and tasty package to their customers. Their ‘Celebration of The Season’ menu is a must and for me it’s all about the fish! Freshly caught from the North Sea there is a choice of Squid, Skate and a selection of shellfish.

We hope this tantalising selection of restaurants hasn’t left you feeling too hungry but that it has inspired you to get out there and taste all the delights autumn has to offer. If you come across some scrumptious autumn food then be sure to let us know either by Facebook or on Twitter.

nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.

Summer Fruits Recipes

Friday, August 15th, 2014
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With summer now in full swing, our gardens, fields and supermarket shelves are packed full of delicious summer berries. These delightful fruits are of course extremely tasty when eaten alone but really release their summer flavour when teamed with one of our summer fruits recipes. If you have an abundance of summer fruit that you need to use up this season, then keep ready as we share with you three of our favourite summer fruit recipes.

Summer Pudding

Packed full of summer berries, this recipe looks impressive but is deceivingly easy to make; ideal for large party gatherings, summer pudding is sure to wet your appetite this summer. The recipe below will serve eight people and takes around 30 minutes to prepare before at least six hours of chilling in the fridge.

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Ingredients

  • 500g Raspberries
  • 300g Strawberries
  • 250g Blackberries
  • 100g Redcurrants
  • 175g Caster sugar
  • 7 Slices of bread (Works best with day-old bread from a square, medium thick loaf)

Method

  1. Wash and then gently dry all fruit. In a pan, gently heat sugar and 3 tbsp of water until the sugar is dissolved. Stir and then bring to the boil for 1 minute before adding in the raspberries, blackberries and redcurrants. Cook on a low heat for 3 minutes stirring occasionally, you want the fruit to be soft but mostly intact. Put a sieve over a clean bowl and pour in content of pan.
  2. Line a 1.25 litre bowl with cling film, leaving an overhang at the edges (this will make it easier to turn out the pudding at the end). Cut the crusts off the bread and then cut all but 1 slice in half at a slight angle.
  3. Dip the pieces of bread into the fruit juices one at a time, and line the inside of the bowl with the bread (place the whole slice of bread at the bottom), take your time with this step making sure everything fits together nicely. If there are gaps you can’t fill simply cut the bread again until it fits. Make sure to leave a few slices for the top!
  4. Spoon in the fruit adding a few strawberries every now and then. Once the pudding is full, dip the last few pieces of bread in juice and place on top, trim any overhang with scissors. Bring the cling film up and loosely seal. Put a side plate on top of the pudding and weigh it down with cans. Chill overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours.
  5. To serve the pudding, take off the cans and plate, then open up the cling film. Place a plate upside down on top of the pudding and flip over. Remove the cling film and serve with left over fruit juice and cream.

Elderflower Cordial

Bring a touch of class to your summer party this year by adding a dash of homemade elderflower cordial to your guests’ soda water or sparkling wine. This easy recipe will make around four litres of cordial and takes 30 minutes to prepare along with a 24 hour picking process.

Picture via Flickr

Picture via Flickr.

Ingredients

  • 20 Fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
  • 2 Unwaxed lemons
  • 2½kg White sugar
  • 85g Citric Acid (This can be bought from the chemists)

Method

  1. Place the sugar and 1.5 litres (2¾ pints) of water into a large saucepan. Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved (don’t boil) stirring occasionally.  Whilst the sugar is dissolving, peal the zest from the lemons using a peeler, then cut the lemon into round slices.
  2. Once all the sugar has dissolved bring the pan to the boil before turning off the heat. Wash the flowers by filling a basin with cold water and swishing them from side to side.
  3. Lift the flowers out and add them to the syrup along with the lemons, zest and citric acid. Stir well and leave to infuse for a minimum of 24 hours.
  4. Line a colander with a fresh, clean tea towel before sitting it over a large bowl or pan. Ladle in the syrup mixture letting it naturally and slowly drip through the tea towel. Then use a funnel to fill sterilised bottles.
  5. The cordial will be ready to drink straight away and will keep for up to six weeks in a fridge. You could also freeze the liquid in plastic containers if you wanted to keep it longer.

Strawberry Ice Cream

What better way to cool down this summer than with a nice refreshing scoop of strawberry ice cream? Our simple three step recipe will make a litre of ice cream and takes around 30 minutes to prepare, plus a minimum of six hours of freezing before it’s ready to serve.

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Ingredients

  • 400g Strawberries
  • 200g Condensed milk (Half of a 397g can)
  • 250g Mascarpone

Method

  1. Pull the green hulls out of the strawberries (if they are hard, cut into halves or quarters) and place in a flat bottom dish. Use a potato masher to squash the strawberries down as much as possible.
  2. Place the mashed strawberries into a bowl along with the mascarpone and combine the two together by mashing. Add the condensed milk and stir everything together (don’t worry if the mixture is lumpy or streaky!)
  3. Put the mixture into a plastic tub and leave in the freezer for a minimum of 6 hours (overnight preferred). To serve, simply scoop the ice cream out into bowls or cones.
nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.