Archive for the ‘British Food’ Category

Bake like Berry: Britain’s Best Regional Recipes

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
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You need only glance at The Great British Bake Off hashtag to realise this humble baking competition – once the darling of BBC2’s off-peak schedule – has become a goliath of modern broadcasting. Though I wouldn’t normally spend my evenings watching Paul Hollywood and Mary B munch through soggy FANCY-00038335-001patisserie whilst monitoring #GBBO, both peer pressure and curiosity have led me to become a regular viewer of the show.

Upon reflection of GBBO’s meteoric rise to the top of TV rankings, I’ve come up with just one answer to its popularity: Brits love baking. Cakes, pretzels, rye bread, religieuse, povitica, fruity Swedish tea rings – we’ll bake the lot, and eat it too. With this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of regional bakes that will tantalise those tastebuds; just beware the soggy bottom, ensure your whites are perfectly stiff and remember, it’s all in the wrist action.

Yorkshire Parkin

With Bonfire night on the horizon, we think it’s time everyone baked up a batch of the classic Yorkshire pud, Parkin. Tradition tells that Parkin was eaten on Guy Fawke’s night, though we’re sure you won’t be hung, drawn and quartered for enjoying some at other times of year. Both spicy, moist and hearty, Parkin is the ultimate autumn comfort food. Here’s how it’s made.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr


110g soft butter

110g soft dark brown sugar

55g black treacle

200g golden syrup

225g medium oatmeal

110g self-raising flour

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground mixed spice

2 medium eggs, beaten

1 tbsp milk

Pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 140C/120C fan/ Gas Mark 1. Grease and line a square cake tin.
  2. Melt the butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup over a gentle heat, ensuring the mixture doesn’t bubble. Once melted together, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the melted butter mixture and fold. Pour in the beaten eggs, milk and combine.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 1 ½ hours, checking it regularly to ensure it isn’t over baked.
  5. Leave the parkin in the tin to cool for around twenty minutes, before transferring to a cake rack to cool completely.
  6. Wrap the parkin in greaseproof paper and wait a minimum of 1 week before consuming. This will help develop the sticky texture and give it an intense, rich flavour.

Welsh Cakes

Or pice ear y maen, are a timeless teatime treat whose recipe has spanned generations. Simple to make yet delicious to eat, Welsh cakes are the perfect pudding to make with your little bakers. These rounds of delight should take under twenty minutes to make, so they’re great for those who want to get their bake on without clearing their schedule.


225g plain flour

85g caster sugar

½ tsp mixed spice

½ tsp baking powder

50g butter, chopped into pieces

50g lard, chopped into small pieces

50g currants

1 egg, beaten

Splash of milk

Pinch of salt


  1. Put the flour, mixed spice, sugar and salt into a bowl. With your fingers, rub in the butter and lard until crumbly. Add the currants before working the egg into the mixture to form a soft dough. If the mixture feels too dry, add a splash of milk.
  2. Roll the dough on a floured surface to the thickness of your finger and cut rounds using a 6cm cutter. Add a small amount of lard to a heavy frying or griddle pan and cook batches of the cakes over a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Serve warm with butter and jam, or sprinkle with caster sugar for a sweet treat.

Cornish Pasty

How many Cornish pasties have you eaten in your lifetime? If the answer’s none, shame on you. Personally, I can’t get enough of these pastry crescent moons, though I should start watching the waistband. If you want to know how to make Britain’s oldest and best pastry-clad lunch, follow these simple steps.

Cornish Pasty – Via Flickr

Cornish Pasty – Via Flickr

Ingredients (Makes 4 pasties)

For the pastry

125g chilled and chopped butter

500g plain flour, plus extra for rolling

1 egg, beaten

For the filling

350g chuck steak, chopped finely

1 large onion, chopped finely

2 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

175g swedes, peeled and finely diced

1 tbsp ground black pepper


  1. Combine the butter, lard and flour using your fingertips or a food processor, adding a pinch of salt. Add 6 tbsp of cold water to make a dough. Cut into 4 equal parts, and chill for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Mix the filling ingredients with a pinch or two of salt to taste and set aside.
  3. Roll out the pieces of dough on a floured surface until you have 4 rounds that are just over 20cm in diameter. Use a plate to cut to a circular shape.
  4. Pack a quarter of the filling along the centre of each round, ensuring to leave space at the ends. Brush the dough with beaten egg before drawing up both sides so they meet at the top. Pinch together to seal.
  5. Lift each pasty onto a non-stick tray and brush with the remaining egg glaze. Bake for 10 minutes, before lowering the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas4 and baking for a further 45 minutes until golden. Delicious served warm.

Scotch Shortbread

When I was a nipper, my grandparents would always bring me a tartan tin of Scotch shortbread from their travels north of the border, and it was delicious. Thankfully, the Scots don’t seem to mind sharing their recipe with the rest of us, so why not bake a batch of these wonderful bikkies yourself. Here’s how.

Scotch Shortbread – Via Flickr

Scotch Shortbread – Via Flickr


125g butter

55g caster sugar

180g plain flour


  1. Heat the oven to 190C/Gas 5.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar and flour together to form a smooth paste.
  3. Turn the mixture onto a surface and roll until 1cm thick.
  4. Cut into fingers or small rounds and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle with caster sugar and chill for 20 minutes.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20. Set aside to cool.

Get your bake on in a Sykes holiday home

We can’t give you Berry and Hollywood, but we can give you cottages. Thanks to their charming country kitchens and wonderful dining areas, our self-catering holiday homes provide the perfect place to get your bake on and unwind. So Britain, let’s get baking.

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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.

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.

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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


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


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


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


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


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!

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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


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


  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


  • 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


  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


  • 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


  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!

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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.

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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.