Archive for the ‘British Food’ Category

The Best of British Cheese

Sunday, June 1st, 2014
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From the humble Cheddar to the majestic Stilton, Britain is famed for its wide selection of delicious cheese products. As the French look on with jealousy, British cheese makers continue to strengthen our cheese heritage with a vast range of traditional and modern flavours. Travelling through Britain’s various regions you’ll find that the taste, texture and smell of cheese varies but the exceptional quality remains. If you’re in search of a new addition to your cheese board or a secret ingredient for your cheese sauce, then keep reading as Sykes Cottages gives you a guide to the best of British cheeses.

Blacksticks Blue

Blacksticks Blue from Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses

Blacksticks Blue from Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses

Described as the daddy of all blue cheeses, Blacksticks Blue is a multi-award winning blue cheese from Lancashire produced by the good people at Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses. This unique, blue veined cheese has its own distinctive amber hue and the extremely creamy flavour is the perfect accompaniment to a thick slice of bread or salty cracker. Ideal for cooking, this scrumptious cheese is also a firm favourite with chefs and wonderful when stirred into hot mash potato!

Caboc

Caboc supplied by International

Caboc supplied by International Cheese

The oldest cheese in Scotland, Caboc is made using a double cream and is coated with toasted oatmeal. This unique cheese is extremely creamy with a slight sour note finished off beautifully with its chewy, nutty edge. This cheese is completely different to most others you’ll find on your average cheese board, so when serving, we would suggest small slices teamed with a lightly peppered cracker and a glass of single malt Scottish whisky.

Cheddar

Cheese from the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company maturing in Gough's Cave

Cheese from the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company maturing in Gough’s Cave

The earliest reference to Cheddar cheese in Britain dates back to 1170 and the village of Cheddar has been synonymous with cheese since the 15th century. It’s no wonder then, that Cheddar is home to one of the nation’s most loved cheeses. With their cheeses maturing in cloth for up to 18 months, the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company has won several awards over the years and with its new cave matured cheeses, we’re sure it will be winning competitions for years to come.

Stichelton

Stichelton

Picture via Flickr.

This very special blue cheese is made in a brick built dairy located on the northern edge of Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.  Stichelton is one of the very few British blue cheeses which are made using unpasteurised milk; this traditional technique adds to the cheeses sweet and creamy flavour. Instead of piercing the cheese by hand, the cheese makers at Stichelton use a specialised machine which speeds the bluing evenly throughout the cheese giving it a rich, gentle blue note.

Yarg

Cornish Yarg

Picture via Flickr.

Wrapped in a natural rind of wild nettle leaves, the fresh and creamy Cornish Yarg is extremely popular here in Britain and over at Lynher Dairies they are experts at brushing the nettle leaves onto the cheese in concentric circles. After five weeks of maturing, the cheese takes on a unique mushroom taste which works perfectly in a creamy cheese sauce. The clever cheese makers at Lynher Dairies have even come up with a wild garlic yarg, which uses Ramson leaves instead of the traditional nettle coating; a real talking point for any cheese board!

We hope you have enjoyed our choice of the best cheeses Britain has to offer. For more information on the cheeses mentioned, please follow the appropriate links to their suppliers.

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.

The Perfect Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
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Mums are, for most of us, the most important people in our lives. They’ve looked after us when we’re sick, let us wake them up in the middle of the night after a nightmare and always put us first, often acting as our personal bank along the way. Whilst as we grow up the need to be tucked in and consoled after a nightmare may subside one thing remains; our mums are always there for us. Whilst we can show our gratitude to our mums throughout the year, the perfect day to give her a real treat is Mothering Sunday. We think that allowing mum a lie in whilst you prepare her breakfast is one of the best ways to pamper your mum this Sunday, so take a look at our guide to preparing and making the perfect breakfast in bed.

Creating The Perfect Breakfast in Bed

Image via Flickr

Plan your menu in advance; making sure that it involves all of your mum’s favourite breakfast foods. Is your mum a lover of a fry up, or does she prefer to munch on muesli? Once you’ve decided on your mum’s perfect menu, head out and buy the ingredients then make life easy for yourself on Sunday morning by doing any preparation the night before. Once you’ve rustled up your mum’s delicious breakfast, pop it on a tray with a glass of her favourite fruit juice, tea or coffee along with a small vase of flowers before taking it to her to enjoy from the comfort of her duvet. If you want to cook your mum something special but you’re a little stuck for ideas, why not take a look at a couple of our favourite breakfast recipes below?

Vanilla and Cinnamon French Toast

Image via Flickr

To make three slices of French Toast

Ingredients
1 Egg
60ml of Milk
10g of Sugar
A dash of Vanilla Extract
Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
A knob of butter
3 Slices of Bread (French bread that is thickly cut and a day old will work best)

  1. Whisk the milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a frying pan on a medium heat.
  3. Dip the slices of bread in the egg mixture, then add to frying pan.
  4. Cook each side until they begin to brown.
  5. Serve with maple syrup, bananas and fresh strawberries.

Tomato and Bacon Breakfast Bruschetta

Image via Flickr

To make four Bruschettas

Ingredients
750g Cherry Tomatoes
3 Tablespoons of Oil
1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
4 Slices of nice thick bread
4 Rashers of Bacon

  1. Toss the cherry tomatoes in one tablespoon of the oil and the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper then bake them in a preheated oven at Gas mark 6, 200C for about twenty minutes.
  2. Whilst the tomatoes are baking, brush the bread with the other two tablespoons of oil and place on a baking tray. Put them in the oven during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  3. Cook the bacon to your liking then either cut into pieces to mix with the tomatoes, or leave whole and place on top.
  4. Top the bruschetta with a poached egg to make it a little more filling.

We hope that this post has given you some ideas on how you can treat your mum to the perfect breakfast in bed this Sunday. If you’re a pro at creating a good breakfast, then tweet us and let us know your tips! If you’d like to completely spoil your mum this mother’s day with breakfast in bed in a lovely holiday cottage, it might not be too late! Take a look at our last minute cottages or give us a call on 01244 356666 and we’ll be happy to help.

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.

Some Fantastic Food Festivals Taking Place This Year

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
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Here in the UK we are becoming more and more conscious of what we eat, something that is reflected in both the variety of cooking shows on the TV and also the number of delectable food festivals that are cropping up all over the country. As far as I’m concerned there are few things better than a proper food festival with the classes and demonstrations from famous faces of the foodie world and, of course, the copious culinary delights that you can find, and so for this post we’ve decided to take a look around the country and see which events we think promise to be a bit special this year.

The Pembrokeshire Fish Week

pembrokeshire fish week

Photo Courtesy of Pembrokeshire Fish Week

It may have been perennially underrated however the tide is beginning to turn for British seafood, and with events like the Pembrokeshire Fish Week you can understand why! Running from the 28th of June through to the 6th of July the Fish Week is the perfect way to give the whole family a taste of some of the fantastic foods on offer in Britain’s waters with BBQs, tapas and of course the classic fish and chips. As well as sampling these delicacies, you’ll be able to take part in friendly pub quizzes and watch some of the counties best musicians, and then there’s the chance to try something new with classes in foraging, kayaking, surfing and coasteering!

The Malton Food Lovers Festival

malton

Photo Courtesy of the Malton Food Lovers Festival

Recently the town of Malton in Yorkshire has undergone a culinary revolution and has gained a bit of a reputation for being a little haven for all of the food fanatics out there. The town hosts a famous monthly food market which often features demonstrations from famous chefs and is also the home of TV chef James Martin’s award winning restaurant. Add to this the ever popular Malton Food Lovers Festival that this year runs on the 24th and 25th of May and with patrons such as Jean Christophe Novelli, the BBC’s The Incredible Spice Men and the star of Channel 4′s Simply Italian Michela Chiappa the 2014 edition promises to be bigger and better than ever!

The Great British Food Festival

gbff-81

Photo Courtesy of The Great British Food Festival

This year the Great British Food Festival is taking place at various venues around the country with the opening edition finding its home at the glorious Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. With displays from some of the top local chefs and artisan talks to help you get to grips with skills such as cocktail making and wine tasting you’re guaranteed to walk away knowing more than you did when you arrived. Or if you fancy a challenge you could always enter the Great British Cake Off or the ever popular Men vs Food where you could tuck into delights such as a chilli vodka shot, a foot long chilli sausage or even a refreshing chilli flavoured sorbet!

I hope that this blog will have inspired you to tuck into some fantastic British food! If so don’t forget to take a quick glimpse through our other foodie blog posts where I’m sure you’ll be able to find something else to whet your appetite, from pancakes to Christmas leftovers and much, much more!

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.

Pancake Recipes for Kids

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
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The Sykes Cottages office is a buzz with conversation, as we can’t stop talking about Pancake Day! Which toppings we’ll be having, the best flipping technique (it’s all in the wrists) and of course how many scrumptious pancakes we can consume. Children love pancakes, whether they’re sweet and sticky or warm and savoury so here at Sykes Cottages we have decided to share with you our favourite pancake recipes for kids, in hopes that you’ll be joining in on the Pancake Day celebrations. Keep reading for two mouth-watering recipes including both traditional crepes and American style pancakes.

Via. Flickr

Via. Flickr

For a lunch time treat try making the children our delicious savoury ham and cheese pancakes. When paired with a healthy salad this combo is sure to impress children and adults alike as a fun alternative to the common sandwich. The following recipe takes less than 30 minutes to complete and will serve 2 -3 hungry mouths.

Savoury Ham and Cheese Pancakes

Ingredients

  • Ingredients for the pancakes
  • 55g plain flour
  • 140ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • Oil for frying
  • A pinch of salt
  • Ingredients for the cheese sauce
  • 25g plain flour
  • 225ml milk
  • 100g Emmental, grated
  • 25g butter
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Ingredients to top
  • 80g/3oz of smoked ham
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced

Instructions

  1. For the pancake mix, sift both the flour and salt into a large bowl leaving a well in the middle.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the egg and milk.
  3. Slowly add the mixed egg and milk to the well in the flour and whisk together until the batter is smooth (set to one side).
  4. For the cheese sauce start by melting the butter in a small pan, once the butter has melted whisk in the flour.
  5. Leave the mixture to cook for 1 minute, then gradually add the milk whilst consistently stirring. Bring the ingredients to the boil before reducing the heat to a light simmer for 1 minute until the sauce is smooth and thick.
  6. Stir in half of the cheese and season to taste with black pepper.
  7. Back to the pancake mix; Pre-heat an omelette pan until very hot and add a small amount of oil. Ladle in around 2 tablespoons of pancake mix and tilt the pan from side to side until the mix covers the pan in a smooth thin layer. Cook for 30 seconds before flipping.
  8. When the pancakes are turned scatter the ham and spring onions on top of the mix. Spoon over some cheese sauce and top with a sprinkling of the remaining cheese.
  9. Your pancake is now ready for serving! Fold the pancake in half and slide out of the pan onto a waiting plate ready for greedy hands to get tucked in.
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Via. Flickr

Via. Flickr

For an extra special breakfast which will set the kids up with bags of energy for the day ahead, try treating them to our banana and blueberry pancakes. These delicious American style pancakes are not only healthy but fun too as the left over fruit is perfect for making funny faces! Our American style pancake recipe will serve 4 people and takes around 40 minutes to make.

Banana and Blueberry American Style Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200ml of semi-skinned milk
  • 130g Greek or plain yoghurt
  • 55g butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 100g blueberries
  • Oil for frying
  • A pinch of Salt
  • Extra blueberries to decorate
  • 1 banana, sliced to decorate
  • Maple syrup to drizzle

Instructions

  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt before stirring in the sugar, leaving a well in the middle.
  2. In a separate blow whisk together the yoghurt, vanilla extract, eggs and mashed banana, then slowly whisk in the milk.
  3. Slowly add the yoghurt mixture to the flour whilst whisking, when mixed add the melted butter and blueberries stirring all together.
  4. Pre-heat an omelette pan until very hot and add a small amount of oil. Add 1 tablespoon of batter in to the pan (you should have enough room to cook 3 pancakes at a time).
  5. Fry at a medium heat until little bubbles start to rise on the surface, once this happens turn the pancakes over until the same happens on the other side.
  6. When the pancakes are cooked through slide them onto a waiting plate and have the children decorate with blueberries, chopped bananas and maple syrup.
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We hope that these delicious sweet and savoury recipes have inspired you to try your hand at flipping a few crepes this pancake day! Just remember safety first; be sure to wear your apron and keep the children back when the pancakes start flying as what goes up must come down!

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.

Classic Comfort Food With the Humble Potato

Monday, January 27th, 2014
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You might not know it but today is National Potato Day. Yes that’s right, the most humble of vegetables now has its own day in the calendar and let’s be be fair you can’t begrudge it, after all the average Brit consumes over 90kg of spuds every year! In celebration of National Potato Day we’ve put our heads together and come up with several recipes for some spud-based comfort foods perfect for getting you through the long, winter days.

Leek and Potato Soup

Nothing can banish the winter blues like a hot bowl of soup. This creamy leek and potato soup is the perfect pick me up after a long day at work or can be served up as a hearty lunchtime treat. The following recipe takes less than an hour and makes enough soup to feed 4-6 people.

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil,
  • 1 thinly sliced onion,
  • 2 thinly sliced leeks,
  • 225g of potatoes cut into cubes,
  • 1.2 litres of vegetable stock,
  • 150 millilitres of double cream,
  • A handful of bacon lardons,
  • salt and pepper.

Method

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan. Add the potatoes, leeks and onion and cook until they start to soften (should take around 3-4 minutes).
  2. When the vegetables have begun to soften add the stock and lower the heat. Leave to simmer gently until the vegetables are tender.
  3. In the meantime fry the bacon until crisp.
  4. Blend the soup until smooth, stir in the cream and reheat.
  5. Season to taste, serve up in a bowl and garnish with the crispy bacon.

Tartiflette

It may not be a traditional British recipe but this sumptuous, cheesy potato dish is the perfect comfort food! It originates from the French region of Haute-Savoie high up in the Alps and has since become a staple dish in ski lodges throughout the region which is surely a good sign for a winter warmer! This recipe will take about 1 hour to cook and serves 4 people.

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Ingredients

  • 1kg of peeled potatoes,
  • 250g of bacon lardons,
  • 2 small shallots,
  • 1 clove of garlic,
  • 100 millilitres of white wine,
  • 200 millilitres of double cream,
  • 1 Reblochon Cheese (around about 500g) sliced. (You can use Camembert as an alternative)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees centigrade (gas mark 7).
  2. Boil the potatoes for 5-10 minutes in salted water (or until the potatoes begin to get tender).
  3. Drain the potatoes and leave to cool.
  4. Fry the bacon, garlic and shallots until golden brown, this should take around five minutes. Now deglaze the pan using the white wine and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Thinly slice your potatoes and layer them, along with the shallot, bacon and garlic in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the cream and top with the sliced cheese.
  6. Place in the preheated oven and cook until the cheese is browned and has begun to bubble.
  7. Dish up with either the traditional accompaniment of charcuterie, gherkins and pickled onions, or if you don’t fancy that then a crisp green salad also works well.

Corned Beef Hash

This meal is the perfect comfort food, ideal for an evening meal or even as a hearty breakfast treat on the weekend. This version should take under an hour to cook and will make enough to comfortably feed four people.

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes cut into small cubes,
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil,
  • a finely diced onion,
  • 1 clove of garlic,
  • 1 tin of corned beef,
  • salt and pepper,
  • 1 egg per person.

Method

  1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain them and then set aside to steam dry.
  2. Heat some of the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the cooked potato and continue to fry for another minute before crumbling in the corned beef and mixing it together.
  4. Move the mixture into a suitable dish and place under the grill until it starts to crispen up.
  5. Whilst the corned beef hash is under the grill fry the eggs using the remaining oil.
  6. Remove the hash from the grill, divide it between everybody and top with the fried eggs.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy making (and eating!) these lovely comfort foods, and remember you can always take it a step further and book yourself one of our cottages with an open fire to really beat the winter chills!

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.