Archive for the ‘British Food’ Category

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.

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.


  • 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)


  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.


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


  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.


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


  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.
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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.

UK Food Festivals in August

Saturday, August 9th, 2014
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As a nation of food lovers, it’s no surprise that there are few things more appealing to us Brits than a food festival. Whether it’s a modest local event with a few stalls or a more extravagant affair with live kitchens and entertainment, a British food festival is a fantastic day out for young and old alike. To whet your appetite for the many food festivals taking place this summer, we’ve compiled a shortlist of our favourites.

Oxfordshire Chilli Festival, 16th August

Chillis at a food festival

Via Flickr

If you’re into spicy food then one food festival you don’t want to miss this summer is the Oxfordshire Chilli Festival. Located in the historic market town of Abingdon, this festival promises to be a fun and unique day out for all the family! Follow the Chilli Trail around this beautiful Oxfordshire town and discover stalls from the best chilli products on offer in the UK. There’s also set to be chilli cook-offs, and one for the brave- a chilli eating competition. For a food festival with a difference, the Oxfordshire Chilli Festival is sure to get your taste-buds tingling!

BBC Good Food Festival, 23rd- 25th August

Churros at a food festival

Via Flickr

This August bank holiday weekend, Hampton Court Palace is hosting the very first BBC Good Food Festival. This festival is sure to be a real treat for foodies, promising artisan produce and street food, along with family entertainment including cookery lessons for kids, chocolate kitchens and a maze! You can also watch some top chefs cooking live on the Summer Kitchen stage, with demonstrations from the likes of Gregg Wallace, Shelina Permalloo and Lisa Faulkner to name just a few. Throw in some live music and book signings for good measure, and visitors are sure to have a fantastic weekend.

Newlyn Fish Festival, 25th August

Fish food festival

Via Flickr

The annual Newlyn Fish Festival is taking place for the 25th time this August and promises to be a fabulous celebration of Cornish seafood. Newlyn is one of Cornwall’s oldest and most distinctive fishing ports and is the perfect place to explore the incredible seafood culture that Cornwall has to offer. The festival itself offers a great variety of things to keep you entertained including a fish auction, Great Cornish Fish Off, fish display and plenty of cooking demonstrations. In addition, there’s also live music and entry is free for children under 16!

If you’re heading to a food festival this summer and need somewhere to stay, then look no further than our wide range of holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland. We now have over 5,000 self catering cottages to choose from!

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Sykes’ Summer Strawberry Recipes

Thursday, June 26th, 2014
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I think it’s fair to say that summer is well and truly here. There’s been a bit of sunshine, it seems like everybody’s had a couple of BBQs and Wimbledon has not long started. Now for me one of the best things about a good British summer is the strawberries; you just can’t beat them, and whilst many people choose to stick to the classic combination of strawberries and cream, it doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to get a bit more creative. That’s why, we’ve come up with some of our favourite summer strawberry recipes, so take a look and see if there’s anything that you fancy having a crack at.

Strawberry Jam

There’s nothing quite like a good batch of strawberry jam, whether it’s to go on top of a couple of slices of toast, finish off a home-made Victoria Sponge or crown off a scone as part of the perfect cream tea.  This easy recipe should take you less than an hour to make and you’ll end up with enough jam to fill up 4 or 5 400ml jars.

strawberry jam

via. Flickr


  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 kg of strawberries
  • 500g of jam sugar (high in pectin)


  1. First of all sterilize your jam jars. To do this you can either immerse them in boiling water or put them in the oven for ten minutes at 100°c.
  2. Cut your vanilla pod in half lengthways and then scrape out the seeds.
  3. Add the vanilla seeds, sugar and strawberries to a large pan and crush them together using a potato masher.
  4. Put the pan on to a medium-high heat and bring the mixture to the boil.
  5. Simmer it for 5 minutes before turning the heat off.
  6. Skim any foam off the top of the jam and then leave it to cool before decanting into the jam jars.
  7. Seal them and put them in the fridge.

Strawberry Cheesecake

If you’re after a hassle free, yet decadent dessert then this strawberry cheesecake is just the thing for you; after all, it only takes just over an hour to make! The strawberries contrast delightfully with the creamy topping of the cake, and if you want you can always add a touch of the home-made jam from the above recipe as a coulis topping!

strawberry cheesecake

via. Flickr


  • 250g of digestive biscuits
  • 100g of melted butter
  • 600g of cream cheese
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 100g of icing sugar
  • 1 medium sized pot of double cream (around 300 ml)
  • Punnet of fresh strawberries


  1. Crush the digestive biscuits until they are crumbs and then add the melted butter. Mix them together and then use the mixture to line the bottom of your tin. Put in the fridge for an hour to set.
  2. Cut your vanilla pod in half lengthways and then scrape out the seeds.
  3. Beat the vanilla seeds, cream cheese and icing sugar together until smooth. Then mix in the double cream.
  4. Spoon the cream mixture onto the biscuit base and smooth out.
  5. Leave in the fridge overnight and top with the fresh strawberries before serving.

Eton Mess

If you’re after a proper British dessert to make the most of the strawberry season then you really can’t beat Eton Mess! After all, it’s traditionally served during an annual match of cricket between Eton and Harrow; you can’t get more quintessentially British than that! What’s even better, the recipe shouldn’t take you more than twenty minutes!

via. Flickr

via. Flickr


  • 400 ml of double cream
  • 500g of fresh strawberries
  • 3 ready made meringue nests
  • A few sprigs of mint


  1. Take half of the strawberries and blend them until they form a smooth purée.
  2. Set aside a couple of strawberries and roughly chop the remaining ones.
  3. Crush the meringue nests into rough chunks.
  4. Whip the double cream until peaks start to form, then stir in the strawberry purée and pieces of meringue.
  5. Serve the mixture up in bowls and garnish with a sprig of mint and the remaining strawberries.

So there we have it, some great summer recipes to make the most of beautiful British strawberries, and remember to make the most of them as before you know it the season will be over. Also, be sure to let us know if any of you have a crack at one of the recipes, either via Twitter or Facebook- we’d love to know how you get on!

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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.

Perfect Picnic Spots in the UK

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014
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There really isn’t anything better when it’s warm than packing up a picnic and heading outside to dine alfresco. The blog writing team here at the Sykes office love it so much that we head outside to eat our lunch whenever possible! Now, whilst the park we head to is lovely for our alfresco lunching needs, it isn’t quite like the following places, and now we can’t stop thinking about packing up our blankets and some tasty picnic food and heading to one of these destinations.

Top Withens – Haworth

Top Withens in Haworth

Image via Flickr

One for the literature lovers is Top Withens (or Withins) in Haworth, West Yorkshire. Whilst its appearance doesn’t match the description of the house in the book, many believe that the abandoned farm at Top Withens was the inspiration for the farmhouse in Wuthering Heights. The derelict ruins of the farmhouse and the rolling countryside views created by the high position of Top Withens make it the perfect place to roll out your picnic blanket and dine alfresco. Who knows, it may even inspire you to write a future classic piece of literature, too!

Devil’s Dyke – Suffolk

Devils Dyke in Suffolk

Image via Flickr

Devil’s Dyke located in the South Downs National Park is not only the UK’s longest, deepest and widest dry valley, it is also a glorious location for a spot of outside dining from a picnic basket. Owned by the National Trust, Devil’s Dyke is not only a stunning location but it also plays host to a variety of events throughout the year; from guided walks to heritage open days, so you can really make a day of it!

Glenkiln Sculpture Park – Dumfries

Glenkiln Sculpture Park in Dumfries

Image via Flickr

If you’re looking to really get away from it all on your picnic, then Glenkiln Sculpture Park is certainly the place to do so. Despite many of the sculptures being removed for safe-keeping, there are still some stunning things to see due to the walking route running alongside Glenkiln Reservoir; giving you a beautiful waterside view that is just perfect when enjoying your picnic.

Barafundle Beach – Pembrokeshire

Barafundle Beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Image via Flickr

Often, the idea of having sandy sandwiches and trying to fend off hungry seagulls somewhat dulls the appeal of picnicking on the beach. However, with a stunning beach like the one located at Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire, the chances are that you won’t want to leave to get food elsewhere, so a picnic may be a necessity. Looking at photographs of this beach with its almost white sand and stunning blue water, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was on the coast of an exotic island and in fact has been voted many times as one of the best beaches in both Britain and the world!

Feeling inspired?

Teddy Bears Picnic

Image via Flickr

If you’ve been inspired to pack up a picnic this picnic week then we’d love to hear about it! Let us know via twitter or facebook where your favourite place is to lay out a blanket and indulge in some snacking in the great outdoors!

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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.