Saturday, 31 October 2009


Pork was always chops or sausages or paté but now I've been educated.  I spent an hour back at Sillfield Farm with Peter Gott & learned a little more about the pig.  And wild boar.  But mainly the humble porker.   Peter showed us how they butcher pork & which cuts benefit what method of cooking.  Being a fan of slow cooking ('specially now I've got a slow cooker) & usually this means cheaper cuts of meat, I found it very interesting.  Needless to say I came away with some "steaks" best suited to slow braising, probably Monday or Tuesdays tea.  Oh & some wild boar stuffed chicken rounds.  I have ideas aplenty for paté too!  I really want to just buy my pork from Peter now I've seen his pigs, stroked one of the boar & seen the piglets!!   Proper British pork, outdoor reared & welfare top of the list.  The prices aren't bad either.  It does help to see & understand how our food is produced.  Next on the list?  Need to find a beef farmer, chicken farmer & sheep farmer who do what Peter Gott does down at Sillfield.  Kendal Food Festival is something I do hope is repeated, it has been well worth it for my food education, not to mention my sons.
Tonights tea was slow cooked supermarket pork steaks, supplied by mother.  Potentially bland.  Flavour was added in the form of apples & onion & fresh sage.  Easy recipe, brown the meat in a little butter, put in casserole, brown the onion & apple in same pan, add to pork.  Deglaze pan with a little white wine, or cider &/or stock, pour over pork & put in slow cooker & forget for 6 + hours.  Stir cream in before serving if desired.  Served tonight with reheated braised red cabbage & apple, (much improved by reheating), roast butternut squash, roast left over new potatoes with sage, carrots & green beans.  Filled me up & set up Joe for an evenings trick or treat.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Food, glorious food

Kendal Food festival has been a very good idea I think.  We've enjoyed it so far!  Joe in particular.  The only drawback is that it's half term week - good for the kids - but it's also the last week of the month & money is in short supply.  So we've been limited as to what we could do.  However money was very well spent on the sausage making course down at Sillfield Farm with Peter Gott.  We came away with over 2KG of unique own recipe sausage & boy are they good, not mention cheaper than we could buy anywhere made with free range pork & a low fat content.  I do like to know what I'm eating isn't rubbish.  Today Joe made bread rolls for free courtesy of Kendal College.  They're good too & will be warmed up tomorrow for lunch along with homemade soup & paté.  Not to mention the lessons Joe has learned about breadmaking & sausage making & some of the science behind the recipe proportions.
Nearly forgot, I came across a blog by another South Lakes lady, Audreys Tea Shop, the apple & date chutney sounds yummy.  But the trip to Mums has provided me with some of her Autumn chutney & some spicy apple chutney, so I'm set up for a while now!

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Two posts in one evening!!  I shall definitely be visiting Natland Millbeck Icecream Parlour during the food festival week, it's only around the corner!!  And dear Joe fancies sausage making down at Sillfield Farm near Endmoor, with Peter Gott, he who supplies Jamie Oliver no less.  Oh such a lot of goodies to anticipate.  Then I must remember that mother wants me in St Annes to conduct some business with her solicitor that week as well.  As long as it doesn't clash with the food, cos the food might win!!
Apples, apples, apples.  And no photos, as I only thought about that just now!  I've made apple & damson cheese, spiced apple butter, damson & apple jelly, crumbles, pie fillings, apple & blueberry muffins & I've run out of apples!   I have yet more recipes for apples that I want to try, so I shall have to raid my friends orchard again, if there are any left that is.  Apples & plums were taken down to Mum as she's the chutney queen & I love her autumn chutney.  There's no point me making any as I'm the only one in the house that eats it! 
We've emptied the local trees of a bumper crop of sloes this year & have plenty of gin on the go.  I prick the sloes, cover with sugar & gin & forget about them until I need the jars the next year, then I bottle it.  I discovered some 2006 damson gin this year so instead of discarding the damsons, I removed the stones & covered them in melted dark chocolate ready for Christmas.  Waste not, want not. 
The biggest problem with all this food is that I'm having to watch my weight & I do not like not being able to eat what I like so I came to the conclusion I will just have to get yet more exercise to counter the effects!!
Actually exercise is readily available in the form of Dillon.  He loves to go out, doesn't always want to return home when I do but we go out every day for a good hour when I get back from work.  This leaves me just enough time to get a meal on the table before the anorak has to go to work.  I must get more organised!!  A slow cooker is in my future despite t'other halfs opinion that he doesn't reckon much to them.  I also want a dehydrator for next summer & maybe a food mill to help with the food prep. 

Today I was out walking with Dillon for a good two hours, would have been quicker but most other dog owners see him & want to talk to him.  He's such a sweetie.  Not to mention the fact I had to retrace my steps twice, once as I missed the footpath, & the second time I had to walk back half a mile as I didn't want to walk through a small field full of cattle on & around the footpath.  I was once chased by some young bullocks & knowing dogs can encourage them to show more than a passing interest I decided I'd rather walk back along the road.  It's fun exploring the local countryside.  The two dogs we had before, Sindy & Jess, didn't need so much exercise, so now I'm walking off the pounds & enjoying the fresh air.  Even if sometimes it's wet & windy.  It also means I get to pour over maps which I loved to do as a teenager.  We have some wonderful countryside here outside the Lake District.
Yesterday I happened to pass Oxenholme railway station with Dillon at the time lots of enthusiasts were gathering to watch a steam loco, the Royal Scot, pass through.  Later info revealed the engine to be the Duchess of Sutherland for those that want to know these things.  I rang home to get Joe up with a camera, (we don't live far away) but some bright spark had been messing with the camera & all Joe managed was a shot of a carriage.  I was busy keeping Dillon in check as this huge puffing monster went rushing past & boy did it move fast.  So I went back later to catch it on the return journey & was lucky enough to discover the new Tornado loco was due as well!

The last week of the month is Kendal Food Festival which I'm looking forward to.  We have some damn good producers locally, & it will be interesting to see just what will be on offer.