Saturday Quick Post From The Bedminster North Street Fair

Happy Saturday and I hope the English weather is treating you well. We had some rain yesterday, but this weekend is shaping up to be lovely.   Took a morning stroll in the Bedminster area of Bristol as the North Street fair was on.  Lots of stalls selling food, treats, plants, and other cool stuff.  

  

This is on until 5 pm today and is great for families too as there are a few rides and amusements for the kids.  

I even found a stall selling Mexican food products, and picked up some green chile enchilada sauce and some corn tortillas from Mexico.  Looks like these can be ordered online through www.mexgrocer.co.uk.  I’ll combine these products with some local veggies for enchiladas sometime in the near future. 

Also picked up a lively slice of Victoria Sponge from the Malago Women’s Institute who had beautiful goodies for sale. 

  

 

Then I saw some strawberry plants and thought, wouldn’t it be nice to make my own sponge with home made strawberry jam? Here’s hoping for a plentiful bounty! 

Enjoy your weekend where ever you are. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

  

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Triple Perry Cider Cake

I think summer is here in England, which means enjoying cold glasses of cider while gazing upon the harbor side here in Bristol.  Cider is sweet, crisp, refreshing, and can also be used in ways other than drinking on its own.  Its sugar content makes it perfect for treats, baked goods, and even braising meat.  But since I like treats, I decided to make a Triple Perry Cider cake using a bottle of perry I bought from Ralph’s Traditional Cider while at the three counties show.

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Ralph’s Perry Cider on a summer’s day

Ralph’s Cider and Perry is located on the B4372 between New Radnor and Kinnerton in Powys, Mid Wales.  What I liked about this cider is that it was really light and crisp.  What sold me on taking home a sample box is that this cider is made the traditional way using an original victorian cider press and stone cider mill.  Check out the pictures on their website as it’s really interesting to see this type of machinery still in use and producing a wonderful product.  They also host a cider making festival in October.

Ok, onto the cake.  Here is what you will need to make a Triple Perry Cider Cake:

  • 1 cup golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup pear cider
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (I used pumpkin pie spice, but all spice is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Quick side note.  During my trip to Cornwall last weekend, I picked up some sea salt from the Cornish Sea Salt Company at Sainsburys in Newquay.  They offer regular salt, flavored salts, seasoned seaweeds, and lots of recipes on their website.  I definitely plan on placing an order online in the future.

Salt from the Sea
Salt from the Sea

Ok, now to bake. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius.  Grease or line two round baking tins.  In a saucepan, add the syrup, brown sugar, sultanas, dates, butter, and cider.  Heat this just enough to melt the butter and mix to create a smooth liquid.  Be careful NOT to boil.

Heat until combined and smooth
Heat until combined and smooth

Put this aside and in a separate bowl, combine the flour, sea salt, ground ginger, mixed spice, and baking soda.  In a tiny bowl, lightly beat the egg and set aside.  Do not add the egg yet like I did; this will create lots of unnecessary lumps.

Dry ingredients only! Leave the egg until the end.
Dry ingredients only! Leave the egg until the end.

Once the dry ingredients are mixed, add the liquid mixture until just combined, then add the egg, incorporating it into a smooth batter.  Pour evenly into your two greased or lined cake tins and bake for 30 minutes, until the cake is springy and a knife or toothpick comes out clean.  If you use a large cake tin, bake for about 40 minutes, but just make sure to check it throughout the baking process.  I have a fan oven, which sometimes makes for a slightly faster baking time, but your cake should be golden and not too brown.  Over baking can sometimes make a drier cake.

Ready for the oven, but don't drink the rest of the cider just yet!
Ready for the oven, but don’t drink the rest of the cider just yet!

While those beauties are baking, you’ll make the cider cooked pear filling and cider caramel topping.  In the same saucepan you used for the liquid ingredients, you will then add:

  • The rest of the bottle of cider, just over 1 cup’s worth
  • 2 pears, chopped finely or chunky, its up to you
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
Preparing the filling and topping
Preparing the filling and topping

Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring the entire time, for 10 minutes.  Then reduce to a medium boil for another 20 minutes, or until the pears are cooked and soft.  Turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the burner.  It should be time to take the cakes out of the oven now.

Stir the entire time, try not to burn
Stir the entire time, try not to burn

Once the cakes are cool enough to handle, take them out of the tins and place onto a plate.  If you decided to make one thick cake, cut this in half to form a top and bottom.  Carefully spoon out the bits of pear from the saucepan mixture and place on top of the bottom cake layer.

Look at that chunky cider pear filling!
Look at that chunky cider pear filling!

Turn your attention back to the liquid mixture still in the sauce pan and bring this to a boil.  You will reduce this down into a caramel, so its VERY important you stay here and stir.  Don’t leave because this can burn very easily and you will be sad.  You want the consistency to be thick, but keep in mind, it will thicken even more as it cools.  For me, I reduced it until it really coated my spoon. I then turned off the heat and took it off the burner, leaving it to cool for only 5 minutes while placing the top layer of cake over the pear filling.  Then while the caramel is still warm, pour this silky goodness over the top, letting it ooze over the edges in all its glory!

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Triple Perry Cider Cake for the WIN!
Triple Perry Cider Cake for the WIN!

And there you have it, Triple Perry Cider Cake.  Triple because there’s 1) Cider in the batter, 2) pears cooked in the cider mixture, and 3) cider caramel on top.  This treat is sticky, sweet, and oh so good!  It may not look so fancy once you cut it, but I don’t care because I have cake.

Sticky, sweet goodness
Sticky, sweet goodness

I still have two more bottles of Ralph’s Traditional Cider left, so come back here for another cider recipe soon!  As always, thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Happy Eating!
Happy Eating!

Cheese and Wine from the Three Counties Show

FullSizeRender (20)Good day to all! I’m still working on tasting my goodies I purchased at the Royal Three Counties Show two weekends ago. Our treats today include some wine and cheese, which is a perfect snack on this windy Bristol day.

The fruit wine comes from Halfpenny Green Vineyards located in Staffordshire (DY7 5EP).  I know this part of England is known for cider, so when I saw this was an actual vineyard for wine, I had to stop and try some for myself.  They have an interesting history, first planting only a 1/2 acre in 1988.  Now, they are one of the largest UK wine vineyards totaling almost 30 acres.  Location for these vines are ideal, being somewhat sheltered in light free-draining soil, so its no surprise that what I sampled was vibrant and full of flavor.  We decided to purchase a bottle of Blackbeer and Raisin fruit wine.  They recommend having it on its own or mixing with soda water.  For me, I preferred to sip it and savor the sweet ribbons of raisin and hints of licorice.  This is actually something I would love to have in the winter as well, maybe even warmed up while relaxing by a fire.  I’ll have to visit the vineyard in person sometime as they offer tours, and if not, there’s an online shop offering an ample variety to choose from.

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Halfpenny Green Vineyards offering lots of wine to choose from at the Royal Three Counties show

To accompany the wine, I opened one of the three cheeses I purchased from Croome Cuisine located in Whittington, Worcester (WR5 2RQ).  I can’t find a website, but they do maintain a facebook page here and seem to be present at quite a few shows and festivals in the area.

Roasted Garlic & Parsley Mature Cheddar
Roasted Garlic & Parsley Mature Cheddar

Today I tried the roasted garlic and parsley mature cheddar atop some crispbread.  This cheese was nice and crumbly with a pleasant herby aroma.  I loved this garlic flavor and it paired nicely with the parsley.  The taste was robust, but not too overpowering.  It would make a nice addition to an omelette, quiche, or savory tart, although I’m sure I’ll get through it just fine on its own.

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Delicious and Crumbly

Croome Cuisine features a wide range of interesting cheese flavors and I can’t wait to open the other two I bought (red onion & sage, or Worcester sauce & shallots anyone?).  Their products can be found in loads of shops in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Herefordshire, etc. Find some if you’re in these areas and you will be happy you did!

My next post will feature something sweet and cidery.  But for now, thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Quick Post From The Cornish Coast 2


Good day to all! Another quick post from the Cornish coast before heading back to Bristol.  Had another lovely sleep at the Cliff House and tucked into this gorgeous breakfast while gazing out to sea. I highly recommend this guesthouse for the comfy rooms, stunning scenery, and full breakfast in the morning.

The Cliff House is on the right of the row of houses on the top

Before leaving Newquay, I stopped off at Paulines Creamery as I heard it was a nice bake shop in the town center.


I grabbed some pasties for lunch later on in Bude, as you do when in Cornwall. Did you know the Cornish Pasty is a protected food? In order for a pasty to be called “Cornish” it has to be made in Cornwall according to certain specifications, as noted by The Cornish Pasty Association.

Pasties for lunch on Summerleaze beach in Bude

However, my main reason for stopping at Paulines was for a slice of their sticky toffee caramel cake.  It was my little slice of heaven! The only mistake I made was not bringing back an entire cake to nibble on throughout the week.  Thank goodness they ship!

Toffee Caramel Goodness

I also picked up some other goodies I’ll review in addition to the rest of my haul from the three counties show. Hope your weekend was delicious!

Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Quick Post From The Cornish Coast 1

The view from The Cliff House in Newquay, where we’re staying

Hello from Cornwall! Having a quick weekend away as I think it might be summer here in the south west of England. Spent the morning in St Ives exploring the Tate and winding my way in and out of the cobblestone paths. Lots of people about and quite a few shops offering up homemade fudge crafted with Cornish cream. Decided upon a Finger Box sample pack at The Cornish Candy Shoppe.


Each one includes a generous assortment of flavors. I was lucky enough to sample rocky road, strawberry, black currant, and death by chocolate, to name a few (these were my favorite ones).  They also feature hand made chocolates, britles, and nougats with lots of gift pack options – that is, if they last the journey home. 

Off to enjoy some fresh seafood tonight and plan on going native with some proper Cornish pasties tomorrow. Where ever you are, enjoy your weekend!

Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Rustic Galette topped with Single Gloucester Cheese

For last night’s dinner, I decided to make a galette topped with some of the single Gloucester cheese I bought at the Royal Three Counties show.

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On Saturday morning, I stopped off at the Gloucester Cattle Society tent where they had cheese, cuts of beef, and sizzling burgers for sale. I decided to try some single Gloucester cheese as I’ve never had it before and doesn’t seem to be as readily available as double Gloucester cheese.  I tried to find the difference between the two, and the website from the British Cheese Board sums it up nicely.  The distinction has changed throughout the decades, but now single Gloucester is only produced within the county, whereas double can be made and sold anywhere. There were a few varieties for purchase, but I decided on a small wedge from Jonathon Crump’s cheese which was unpasteurized and organic.

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I couldn’t find a website for them, but the label states they are located in Standish, Gloucestershire. I decided to incorporate this cheese into a rustic galette as it was creamy, but not too sharp which would compliment the bits of salty pancetta I would put on top.

First, I made the galette dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, chilled
  • 1 egg yolk
  • dash of distilled malt vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons ice water

FullSizeRender (9)Mix together the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, and salt.  Incorporate the butter into the dough, mixing it with a pastry cutter or your hands until it becomes crumbly.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, vinegar, and water (it will be a bit frothy).  Add the liquid to the flour and knead until you have a smooth dough. You can add more ice water if necessary, a tablespoon at a time.  Separate the dough in half for two small galettes. You will roll it out before adding the filling, so you can cover the dough and chill in the fridge until its time to fill.

Next, I began preparing the filling.  The best thing about galettes is that they are so versatile.They don’t have to look pretty and can be filled with anything, sweet or savory, and are perfect for when you don’t feel like using a pie pan.  I decided to fill mine with pancetta (from Aldi), onions, mushrooms, and spinach.  First I fried up the half a package of pancetta until cooked, then set it aside, leaving the oil in the pan.  Then I sautéed the onions and mushrooms with a heaping spoon of chopped garlic.  This stage will produce a good amount of liquid from the veggies.  Too much liquid will give your galette a soggy bottom, so I reduced that to retain flavor.  I then turned off the stove, and added the chopped spinach which cooked on its own from the residual heat.

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I preheated the oven to 210 degrees celsius and spooned half of the filling onto the center of each piece of rolled out dough. Spread the filling, leaving about an inch of dough around the galette to fold.  It probably helps to put the rolled out dough on your parchment paper lined tray before you fill it, just sayin’.  You then want to carefully fold up the edges of the dough a little at a time.  The flattened dough doesn’t necessarily have to be perfectly round as it all gets folded up anyway.

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Next I grated the lovely single Gloucester cheese and smothered it over the top before putting the galettes into the oven for 20 minutes.


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The dough should be a golden brown, so a few more minutes may be necessary depending on what type of oven you have.  I have a fan oven here in England, and 20 minutes was sufficient for a gorgeous looking galette!

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I also picked up a bottle of apple juice at the Three Counties Show.  I don’t really drink juice, unless its orange juice accompanied by a shot of vodka.  However, I tried a sample of what I thought was cider and it turned out to be one of the most delicate tasting juices I’ve ever had. This juice comes from Once Upon a Tree located in Ledbury (HR8 2RG).  They produce a nice range of juice, cider, and perry.  This juice is made with the Discovery Apple, which is smooth and sweet, and not at all sharp and sour as some apple juices can be.  Their products are available online, at really great prices, so I’ll definitely be buying this again.  My meal was finished off by a punnet of Malvern strawberries bought before leaving the Three Counties show.

I’m heading to Cornwall this weekend to celebrate my two year anniversary and will be bringing along a bottle of wine also purchased at the show. Hopefully I’ll remember to do a quick post in between spending time at the beach.  I’m hoping to find some Cornish products to use for future recipes, but next week’s recipe will probably be something with cider!

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Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

The Royal Three Counties Show

I had quite a day at the Royal Three Counties show yesterday and barely know where to begin.  Despite a rainy start, the grounds were packed with people buying, selling, showing, and shearing!

Showing some cattle
Showing some cattle
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One of the many sheep
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A bit of show jumping
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More horses hanging out

First off, the grounds covered lots of yardage with areas reserved for the horses, cattle, sheep, with pens to showcase each.  The main arena at the very north of the grounds featured the dressage, horse and carriage showings. The area adjacent to the south entrance featured a lot of the sheep and cattle showings, along with the sheep shearing competitions which was a highlight for this city girl! Seriously, shearing that wool is tough work, but these guys made it seem almost effortless as they worked on 8 sheep during the early stages of the competition. Can you imagine shearing a hundred or more in a day?

Sheep shearing semi- finals!
Sheep shearing semi- finals!

Anyhow, onto the food and drink, which were the things I was looking forward to the most.  However, I was so in the zone, that I forgot to capture and record some of the food I had eaten.  Halfway through my first scotch egg ever, I realized I should probably take some photos and write some things down.  So, today’s post will go over a few of the things I ate hot and ready.  A lot of the suppliers have an online presence, so if you see something you like, check them out and tell ‘em  you found them here, on Bristol is Home.

OK, so that scotch egg.  I love eggs and sausage and all things fried. However, since my first visit to England in the summer of 2002, which included exploring Scotland, can you believe I’ve never tried a scotch egg? Yeah, me neither. So when I saw The Handmade Scotch Egg Co Ltd  display, I had toIMG_0930 try one. The toughest part was choosing as they had tons of variations of the classics, some with spicy tones, and even one with whisky.  However, I decided to try the “Monty” which featured dry cured ham wrapped around the egg, which was then surround with free range pork.  Sorry if the pic isn’t too photo worthy; I was almost too busy devouring it before I realized I was supposed to be reporting on it too!  The Handmade Scotch Egg Co. can be found at two places: Egg’cetra (the first ever Scotch egg shop), 14 Friar St, Worcester, and The Nest (their headquarters), Hereford Rd, Ledbury.  You can also shop online at: handmadescotcheggs.co.uk, and check out their facebook page here.

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What I ate next isn’t English, per se.  However, when you consider the diverse multicultural fabric that comprises the UK, and that I went to school in Indiana where pierogis were served in the dining hall, I knew I had to try one of the Old Granary’s huge pierogis.  If you like pasties, then you’ll like this traditional Polish treat too.  These handheld parcels feature savory fillings encased in a yeast dough.  I chose the chilli beef, although to be honest, I could have easily eaten each one they had on offer.  They are located in Herefordshire (Marden, 10B Walkers Green, HR1 3DN) and also have a facebook page here.

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Next was my favorite of all the savories I tried: a good ol’ sausage roll straight from Cooper’s Gourmet Sausage Rolls (link) in Shropshire.  These sausage rolls were stuffed with generous heapings of  tasty meat and were such a great price (2 pounds each at the show) that I had to try two.  The Peri Peri was spicy with the perfect level of kick, and the Hickory Smoked BBQ was so flavorful, that if you closed your eyes, you’d swear you just grabbed it off a table in Texas! They really were that good, and I’m kicking myself for not buying more to take home.  They currently deliver to tons of shops and delis, so check them out online to see if you can find some near where you are: www.coopers-sausage-rolls.co.uk and don’t forget to check out their facebook page here.

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To end today’s post, will be some chocolate I bought with the loose change I had left in my pocket.  I wanted to focus on local flavors, so the Herefordshire Gooseberry Elderflower and the Herefordshire Gwatkin Cider flavors from La Fleur de Chocolat caught my eye.  The cider truffle had a smooth filling inside that featured a hint of sharpness you might find in a good cider surrounded by good quality chocolate.

My FullSizeRender (4)favorite however, was the white chocolate truffle, as the gooseberry elderflower goodness inside was just heavenly.  It was tart, yet creamy and silky.  Infact, I would have bought a jar of just the filling if it was offered.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like these two flavors are available online (although other gorgeous flavors are), so if you see them at a show, buy some and you won’t regret it. Located in Herefordshire (HR2 9BS), they also feature chocolate making and desert classes throughout the year. Check out their website at: www.lafleurdechocolat.co.uk

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Again, this is just a small sample of what I ate.  This show was such a great day out, that I’m already planning a return for their Autumn festival later on in the year.

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I also brought these goodies home which I will be cooking with for my next few posts. Stay tuned…

Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Welcome to Bristol is Home my lover!

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Hello, hello! Welcome to my blog on all that is delicious about Bristol and the West Country! I decided to create a page that explores the local tastes that are abundant around here.  We have incredible access to fresh farm produce, flavorful meats, hand crafted goodies, and cider galore! And what better way to begin our hunt than to spend a day at the Royal Three Counties Show! (royalthreecounties.co.uk) This event occurs over thee days, June 12, 13, & 14, at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, WR13 6NW.  In addition to being England’s largest livestock and equine show, there will be lots of stalls featuring food and fare from local artisans.  It sounds like its gonna be a great day out for everyone and there may even be people jumping out of planes to say hi! Not sure what I will find, but my upcoming recipes will rely on what I come across this weekend, so stay posted and happy eating!